Monthly Archives: October 2008

An Excerpt from my Journal

Over the last few weeks we’ve been talking a lot about journaling and regular bible reading at Ephesus. Today, I wanted to share my journal entry from this morning. I thought it would be cool to expound a little more on the concept of journaling by giving a peek to what I’m seeing God’s Word each day.

TITLE: Laws vs. Gifts

READING: Job 19; Mark 1,2

SCRIPTURE: Mark 2.27

OBSERVATION: Jesus is declaring the concept of Sabbath as a gift from God, not a legalistic requirement. Often we twist God’s gifts into rules and legal requirements. In that, they lose their beauty and “luster.” We have a mental block that goes up when something goes from being a gift to a requirement. We do the same thing with God’s Word. It’s a gift to us and instead we often view the bible as a kind of required summer reading that we try at all costs to avoid and put off until the last possible moment. Or we get the Cliff Notes, or bum answers from a friend. Too often we don’t explore it for ourselves.

APPLICATION: I want to start recognizing God’s gifts to us as opposed to seeing legal requirements. That’s a pat to spiritual deadness. The Jesus I follow loves us and has good gifts to give, if I will accept.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to see the gifts you give and not get hung up on apparent legal requirements. Jesus battled daily with legalism and won, help to walk in that victory.

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Missed opportunities

I just finished reading a piece in the most recent issue of Relevant Magazine by Adam Smith. I’ve become a huge fan of Adam’s listening to him on the Relevant Podcast, truly one of the funniest things out there. If you don’t subscribe go to itunes now and subscribe. Next to the Ephesus Church podcast, it’s one of the best audio excursions out there! Adam recently moved to New Zealand to explore some new opportunities in life, but he has continued to Skype into the podcast and write for Relevant. This month he recounts a recent occurrence in his life after moving to New Zealand. He was at a bus stop when a young (very) couple sat down next to him. She was crying and the guy was trying to get Adam to talk. Adam relates how he had no desire to talk with them or get involved in the situation. The guy continues to prod and eventually Adam talks with him and learns of the difficult situation they’re in. What Adam honestly admits is that he didn’t want to, and didn’t do much for them and struggled with that reality afterward. He says he can quickly give to a worthy cause, or buy clothing that supports the right causes in the world but when God put opportunity right in front of him he shied away. This struck me to the core. How true of so many of us who claim to be Christians. We’ll give money, drink fair trade coffee and avoid Nikes but when it’s right in front of us, we can’t be bothered, don’t want to be bothered. I struggle with this constantly. I’m working on it. God has called me and Ephesus to Charlotte. There is very wealthy communities in this city and there are extremely downtrodden communities, what am I going to do to be hands-on with both? It can’t just be a check or an exhorting word from the pulpit. It has to be life…. Very soon at Ephesus we’ll be introducing you to the Hyaets Community in West Charlotte. One of our attenders, Anna, is living out Jesus right in the neighborhood. Actions are speaking. I’m praying I’ll get out of my self-induced bunker and live and work with the people God has called us to in Charlotte. I’m praying that the vision God has given for Ephesus will happen. He’s called us to reach those who are more fortunate and then leverage the available resources to impact, in a HANDS-ON way, those not as fortunate. It’s the model of the New Testament church. It’s also the model the founder of our Foursquare movement, Aimee Semple McPherson, lived out at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles during the Depression. Through Angelus Temple, the affluent of Los Angeles, including movie stars like Charlie Chaplin, used what they had to feed and clothe so many affected by the poor economic times. In fact the food banks and commisarys of Angelus Temple fed and clothed more than the City of Los Angeles or any other government agency of the time. Today, the Dream Center and Angelus Temple continue this very hands-on Christian lifestyle. It’s encouraging and challenging to be reminded this kind of Christian lifestyle is a part of our denominational heritage.

I saw myself so clearly in Adam’s story of the bus stop (he’s a former pastor). I’m praying God will increase my boldness. I’m looking forward to plugging in with Anna and Hyaets and what they’re doing in West Charlotte. Pick up a copy of the most recent issue of Relevant and be challenged in what you are REALLY doing to be Jesus to this world and our community.

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Ephesus location update

Just a little while a go I found out the Brevard Street building passed final inspection. The only piece left is the video system which will be installed on Monday. With the last minute notice and the hold-up with the video system we are going to wait one more week to move back to the Grace Event Center on Brevard. This Sunday we will have our last service at AREA 15 and make the move to Brevard Street next Sunday (10/26/08). We are waiting one more week, but this time we know it is definitely ready for us to move back into! What a journey! Thank you for your patience throughout this process and your continued support of Ephesus. I look forward to seeing many of you this Sunday morning at 10:30am at AREA 15 and NEXT Sunday morning at 219 S. Brevard Street in Uptown Charlotte!

Here’s a pic of the almost completed Brevard Street venue…

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