Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christianity is For Those Willing to Die

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and his son
Do you have what it takes? How far are you willing to go? Are you willing to act in a way that people are going to think you're out of your mind? I've heard it said that the safest place to be is in the center of God's will. I understand what people are getting at when they say that, but I think many people who hear that misunderstand. Being in God's will is not safe for the temporary. It is only safe for the eternal.

There is a man in Iran who is scheduled to be executed at any time. Today he will be asked for the third time to deny his faith. He won't do it. And because of that Iran will be able to execute him. The execution may happen today. If I told you he was a, "Christian terrorist" you may understand his execution. But he's not. The only crime Yousef Nadarkhani is guilty of is changing his faith from Islam to Christianity. Please pray for Rev. Yousef, his family, and the congregation to whom he is pastor.

Is Pastor Yousef in God's will? Yes. Then why is he being executed? Because being in God's will is not safe in this life. Asking Jesus to be the leader and forgiver of your life only gives you safety in eternity.

Please write a letter to the Iranian embassy here and plead with them to not execute Pastor Yousef.

In Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were set to be thrown into a blazing furnace. But before they were thrown in they looked the king in the eye and said these words,

If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn't, it wouldn't make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn't serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up."

In other words, we trust our God and no matter if we aren't saved from the furnace He is still God. Standing in the middle of God's will can be a dangerous place. But it is the perfect place to be. You will never be more complete than when you are exactly where God wants you.

Our new series Sun Stand Still has been invaluable to me. The only other study that has impacted how I view finding and following the will of God would be a study called Experiencing God. I encourage you to read Sun Stand Still, digest it, and act on it. Following God isn't always safe, but it's good. Are you willing to give it all? Buy the Book Here

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We All Have Heart Disease. Your Mouth Proves it.

I have heart disease. Not the kind you're probably thinking of. You see, it's not physical (Sometimes I wish it was physical). I'm talking about the part of me that loves, hates, lusts, desires, and completely loses it. The most inner me.

It's like the fat guy with heart problems that goes to the doctor. The doc tells him that if he'll start eating right and exercising they can head off a heart attack. Then the fat guy says he needs all that really tasty food to support his body and he can't exercise because it makes him tired. You see, he's fat, and if the doctor can fix his heart then he'd want to eat better and actually have the energy to exercise. Then the doctor interrupts and explains that he needs to change his actions in order to fix his heart. That's how we will fix our hearts. There is no magical prayer or button that will fix our hearts. It takes effort and exercise.

All of us have heart problems. If you don't believe me, have you ever said something you regretted later? Something that just came out of your mouth? You may apologized and said, "Oh that's not me, I don't know where that came from." The truth is that is the most real you people will ever see. Jesus knew where those words come from. They come out of our hearts.

In Matthew 15 Jesus says, What comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. The words that come out of our mouths come straight from our hearts. Filthy mouth = filthy heart. It's not a real difficult equation. People can get a glimpse of what is in our hearts by what comes out of our mouths.

Then Jesus tells us in the next verse For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.

I bet you thought your heart just pumped blood. Oh no, it does WAAAY more than that. The equation gets a little more inclusive: Filthy actions = filthy heart. What is wrong with us comes down to a problem with our hearts. Our hearts are dirty, but how do they get that way?

We fill them with dirty things. The wrong friends, the wrong jokes, the wrong TV, the wrong movies, the wrong video games, the wrong conversations, the wrong websites, the wrong... You get the picture. We didn't get where we are on accident. We're not going to get out of where we are without intentionally making choices that will clean up our hearts.

We get over hatred by loving people. We get beyond greed by giving. We stop lying by telling the truth. We have victory over sexual impurity by practicing purity in every area of our lives. There is no magic button that will fix your heart and change all those things. You have to change those things to fix your heart. It takes purposeful actions to start cleaning our diseased hearts out. We didn't get in this hole on accident, we'll never get out by magic.

When we start to change what we put into our hearts what comes out of it will surprise us, but in a good way. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 4:23 to Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Do whatever it takes to make and keep your heart pure. That's going to take some tough decisions, but they are choices that need to be made.

I had to share this message to you. Most of what I said above was not original to me. If you would like to hear more you can check out Andy Stanley's sermon It Came From Within Part 1 It's a powerful message.

In Closing...
  • Saturday Night Service: We had an amazing time this past Saturday. We worshiped the Lord, drank, coffee, and tweeted. Way hipster. There was even a beret in the crowd. KEEP INVITING PEOPLE
  • Sacremare: We're getting close so we're going to have to double our efforts to get this thing together. I think it could really impact the community. FOR REALZ we're having a meeting after church this Saturday and Sunday.
  • Twitter: Start following us on twitter @OceansideChurch. Start using our hashtags #OCnite #OCday and #OCprayer. Get the word out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do You Need A Victory?

Baptism on Sunday

Sometimes victory can seem like something out of reach. Have you ever been in the middle of a project and you couldn't see how you were going to finish it before the deadline? Then, to your surprise, you got it done. It took late nights, perseverance, time management, and insane hours. But you had that victory moment!

In college I remember looking at my syllabus's thinking, "There is no way we're going to cover all this." Some how we would. I would get all the projects done and all the exams passed. One class, specifically, was the bain of my existence. Anatomy. I had to memorize, what seemed like, every piece of the human body. Thousands. Of. Parts. With the help of my wonderful wife I passed by one point. That was a huge moment of victory for me.

Sunday September 11, 2011 was another one of those days. I had the privilege to baptize one of the students we had been working with at Reality for several months. It was so mind blowing to see God work in a person's life and actually change them. I could tell she was growing because she started making the right, but often more difficult, choices.

Those kind of victories are why we do the things we do at Oceanside. Why are we starting a new Saturday night service? To be able to have a hip service for cool people. No. We're doing it to reach a type of person that may not be reached any other way. Why do we offer movie tickets to guests who come to Reality? So they can see a movie. No. So that when we have 37 students at Reality because they want movie tickets and hopefully a few stay and we can actually make a difference that will last for eternity.

I think I used my life verse last week, but I love it so much, I'm going to use it again. Deal with it. Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Look at you life and figure out what you consider victory. Would God put your victory in His win column? If not, examine how you can change that and get victory for God. The rest of this week serve God and run as hard as you can, lengthening your stride so that can pass the finish line proudly. Enjoy the victories and learn from your defeats.

In Closing...
Saturday Night Beta Service starts this Saturday at 8PM. Please come enjoy and hang out with us. Gourmet coffee, a great message on the power of God in our lives, and killer worship.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oceanside's Youth Group Needs Some Help

Owly Images
The Students on this board are the ones you need to pray for.

Yesterday was Reality Youth's big back to school push. We call it Back to Cool. I know it's a way dorky name, but that is kind of the point. It was the most successful Back to Cool party we've ever had. We fit 37 students and workers in our little building. Praise God!
Owly Images
Playing an Icebreaker Game...

So, you may ask, how did we get them their? We lured them in with money and movie tickets. Before you freak out it is a Biblical model. Luke 14 tells us to, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. The understanding of, "Compel"is by any legal means. The Message says it this way, Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! In other words do whatever you can legally do to get them under the preaching of the Gospel. That is what we did.
Owly Images
Playing More Games...

With the help of some great volunteer staff we pulled off games, food, and a gospel presentation where almost half the students raised their hands for salvation. We had all kinds of students at church: profest atheists, Christians, nominal-Christians, non-believers, and students with lots of needs. I'm so proud of our students!

Here is the Problem:
I told the students that I would give the one who brought the most friends a $50 gift card to Town Centre. I honored that and had that ready to go. I also said I would give all the friends of the winning student a free movie pass. The winning student brought 11 friends! I was only prepared for at most 5.

We Need Your Help:
We need 6 people to give $10 to help cover the costs of the tickets we didn't have the money for.

You can send your gifts through the mail to (Please get it in before next Wednesday):
1728 Rifle Range Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

or give online at this link ONLINE GIVING. Please, memo it for the Youth Group. Thank you for your help. When you give you're impacting the lives of students who may never hear the gospel any other way.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I've Tabled Sanctification or Cool Story Bro

Practicing Sanctification...

Sanctification... It's a cool word. If you're alone right now (or even if you're not), say it out loud. It's fun to say. It's not always fun to experience and do.

Some of you may ask, "What is sanctification?" I'll explain it with a story and then a verse...

Thursday and Friday Pastor Trey and I were putting together some new tables for our hip Saturday night service. The tables were circular and it was important to find the relative center. After a quick search on Youtube we found an easy way to do that and we started putting the legs on the tables.

The first table we put together was a little sloppy. We were almost an inch off of center. It's nothing life altering, but it wasn't as sturdy as we wanted. So on table two we figured out what we did wrong and reduced our error to one-quarter of an inch. We were getting better. On the third table we were determined to make it our best yet. So, we measured twice three times and drilled once. It was even better. We were only less than a sixteenth of an inch off. We got better over time.

1 John 3:2-3 explains sanctification this way, Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. [Emphasis is mine.] Sanctification is becoming more like Christ tomorrow than you were today. It's the process of reaching perfection over time. Becoming like Christ.

Drinking coffee on one of our tables.

If we would have had a one more table and a square I really think we could have hit dead center. It took time and practice.

Our Christian life is similar. When we first become followers of Christ all of our sins are forgiven, but that doesn't mean we just stop doing sin. The goal is to become more like Christ every day. As Philippians 4:12-13 says, Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. It's a process that we have to push forward through. Today focus on being a better person than you were yesterday, repeat tomorrow.

On The Other Hand...

  • Oceanside Saturday Night starts on September 17 at 8PM. It'll be our beta service so we might be a little sloppy. But if you're ok with that join us! We're aiming for gourmet coffee, loud music, and digital integration (So it might not be for everyone).
  • Sun Stand Still I've just started reading the book for the new series we're doing. Amazing! You'll be blown away. The series truly kicks off September 17 and 18. Start saving a few bucks to buy this book. It's one of those books you'll want to have around for a long time.
  • Scaremare keep thinking about your rooms. We're going to have another meeting this Sunday (Sept. 11).