DNow 2009 – Be Dangerous!

Disciple Now 2009 has come and gone and what a weekend it was. Steph and I hosted the Jr. And Sr. High School girls and I ran the technical end of the worship services. I have not been this tired doing something I enjoyed this much in a long time…

However, it didn’t seem like it was going to start out that way at all…

Friday I had a plan. I had taken the day off from work so that I could get up, help Steph finish straightening up the house, do the slides for both nights on my Mac laptop, get up to church early and do lighting design and get ready to worship. Yea that was the plan and the world saw to throw that out the window almost immediately.
Sure I got up early enough to put the plan in motion and was actually helping to straighten the house, AS PLANNED, when the day crashed. I got a call from the office that the office email was not working. I went downstairs and made several attempts to restore service but without any success. I called our IT support and had them on the phone working on this issue for hours. To make a long story short, our domain hosting account was set up on a domain name we no longer used or even kept up with and it had expired. As of this email, it is still down until IT support can restore email in the morning. The good news is we found the problem. The bad news is that it took my plans and laughed at them.
Around lunch, I started to get out my laptop to do the slides with. Only one problem, no mouse or power supply. 2 things you really have to have to work on a laptop. After a feeble search, I gave up and went with desktop plan. So for the next hour, I worked on the slides for tonight to run on the desktop in the loft at church. Around 2 pm, after a lot of frustration, I grabbed the thumb drive with the slides on it and headed to LMBC.
Once at LMBC, it didnt get any better. I uploaded the slides and began to do lighting design. Only one problem. The lights were not communicating with the board. I reset the board, breakers and lights with once again, no success. I worked with them getting more and more frustrated all the time. Finally I realized that I was the one trying to fix everything and I couldn’t do that.

I walked away…

I went into one of the Sunday school rooms off to the side. “God I can’t fix this. Nothing is going right. Help me!”

Wrong prayer. Instead of show me the way, use me, take this from me, I said basically help me look good and solve this problem. I didnt realize that you could even pray a wrong prayer and maybe it wasn’t the wrong prayer, just the wrong WAY to pray.

I gave up and did the speaker slides for the evening just to take my mind off of it, or so I thought. I went over and over in my head what could be wrong while doing the speaker notes. Greg came up at 3:30 and said “Come on, go to the zone, walk away” which I did. The leaders for the night met for a short worship and communion. Danny and Derrick led worship for the leaders and it was EXACTLY what I needed. I needed to take my focus off of the details that I WAS TRYING TO FIX and let God run the show. We had about a 30 minute worship service and communion and I walked out of there giving all the technical problems to God.

Funny thing about God, it’s His church, His building and guess what else….it was His lights that weren’t working.

We got back to the loft and Greg and I began checking the lights. We found one light with WAAAAAY too many cords going to it. Once we removed some of the length of cords, BAM! The lights came ALIVE! It was like it was too far away from the power source. Like I was that night from God. I had lost my power source, just like I had lost it for my laptop and I had let too many technical details make me lose sight of the purpose of the weekend. Once I realized this, I CAME ALIVE just like those lights.

The band Unlucky Tree led worship. These guys really rocked the place like it hasn’t been in a while. It was loud and a lot of bass with cranked up guitars and very loud drumbeats. The kids, and I, loved it! They ripped the roof off the place and then toned it down and led us right into the very presence of God Himself.

The theme for the weekend was about being “Infested” and how we need to be “Infectious” with the Love of God. Steve brought a great message on Friday night but Friday night couldn’t come close to Saturday night.

By Saturday afternoon, I had found my power supply for the laptop and had the scripts ready to roll using my Mac laptop for better video quality (Friday night we had one video completely lock up, man do I love my Macs!) All of the technical problems had gone away once I gave it to God. The band stepped up the worship service and really knocked it out of the park. They played a version of Amazing Grace like it was on steroids mixed with I Am Free that really started us off with a bang. Two of their original songs really brought us into worship once again.

Steve’s message for the night was on 3 types of people:
Dead
Defeated
Dangerous
It really hit close to home with me. I struggle daily with how much I want to be used by God and how much I want to be in youth ministry but I am stuck in my dead end go now where not even close to legitimate job that I am in. I fall head over heels in the defeated category hanging on to my problems and sin. He then talked about being dangerous. He used the example of Lazerous and how the Jews wanted to kill him after Jesus had brought him back from the dead. Because of him many Jews were following Jesus. That is what Christ wants us all to be. Someone who is focused on Him and lives for him daily. Someone who will be faced with attacks all the time because they do so much for the kingdom that the world wants to take them out. As he put it, people don’t shoot missles at cruise ships, they shoot them at battleships. I don’t want to be a cruise ship, I want to be a battleship. I want to be DANGEROUS….
Today, was the final day of DNow with Unlucky Tree leading the 11 AM service in worship and Greg teaching about Infested.
Today we got to see the results of the weekend when one of the youth, came forward and gave her life to Christ.
And that made THE ENTIRE WEEKEND all worth it…

Dear God,
Thank you for this great weekend that we had just being with our youth and worshiping you God. I love it when I get so caught up in worship that I forget what I am doing in the booth. I love it that I can be in the back of the room, singing right along with the band, tears flowing down, raising one hand in praise to You, and using the other to advance the slides so others can worship also. You gave me this opportunity and I am so blessed in all that You have done for me. As long as You give me breath, I will serve You. Just please don’t let us do the pepper or coke games again…..the end result was pretty gross….

Keith

How big is a mustard seed?

Recently, I have become a fan of “Glory Revealed”. Its a compilation of Christian artists that have come together. These artists have written songs for worship straight out of scripture. As I am looking for some of their music online, I came across 2 of their songs, “By His Wounds” and “Restore to Me”. Really incredible songs that have really touched me in the past few weeks.
In my continuing quest to find more of their music, I came across Candi Pearson Shelton singing “Glory of the Lord Revealed” based on Isaiah 40.

Well today, for the first time, I actually read Isaiah 40 and the Word of God came alive to me.

Isaiah 40:3-5
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.

5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

When God comes, mountains and valleys will move and rough ground will be made smooth. Not an impossible task for the One who created the mountains, valleys, and the rough ground. What blew my mind is that while I am reading this scripture, God reminded me of scripture that said in John 14:12

12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Greater things than move mountains…

At first you think, yea right. Like I could actually move a mountain. Then reality hit me. If I believe I can’t do something, chances are I won’t be able to. I have defeated myself before I began.  If I doubt the real power of God to work through me and actually move a mountain, to raise up a valley and to make the rough road smooth, how could I believe that He created me, created everything around me. How could I believe that He can solve all of my issues, my problems, my desires in my life.

I realized just how small my faith is.

Matt. 17:20

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

To put it in perspective, a mustard seed is approximately 1/16″ in diameter and about 1/2 the size of a poppy seed.

For the first time, I have realized that there is truely nothing that we can’t do with God behind us. We can overcome fear. We can overcome hard times.

We can say to mountains, MOVE!

Now….how big is your faith?

Dear God, thank you for little God moments in my life. Especially those that come unexpected. Help me to see that with You beside me and working through me, there isn’t anything that I can’t overcome. There isn’t anything I can’t deal with.

There isn’t anything that I can’t accomplish through You.

Help me grow my faith and allow You to do Your will through me, and not my will at all.

Keith

Start the car, put it in gear, now push the gas….

Last week was definately in my top 25 weeks of all time. It started off with a long weekend in Pigeon Forge with Steph’s family and ended up with the launch of a new ministry opportunity that God is starting through some of us at LMBC. In the middle of this hectic week, I got to speak to the youth at Focus. I had to keep asking myself, can this week get any crazier but yet I was having a ball at the same time.
The only down side of it was Steph went on to the mountains a few days ahead of me. With life at my job not so secure at the moment, I didn’t think it was a good time to be taking off so I encouraged her to have a good time and I would be there Thursday after work. Thursday came before I knew it and I had a great drive up just me, God and some really great road trip tunes. I was there before I knew it.
This was the first time in the few trips that I have made with them, that it was cold and rainy. Not a lot of great outdoor things to do when its like this plus Cades Cove was closed so not a lot of family pics like normal (this is usually one of my favorite things to do is take a LOT of pics during this trip). We made the best of it and still got to go to Gatlinburg Saturday night for chocolate covered caramel apples for Steph (this is her favorite thing to do during this trip also).
Once we were home, I knew that I would be speaking to the youth on Wednesday night. I already had my notes together and just wanted to “tweak” them again. Well tweaking took 4 pages and made it 7 pages and I didnt think that I would have more than 15-20 minutes to speak (turns out I ended up speaking for 40 minutes WOW). Taking Steph’s advice, I tried to let it go.
Wednesday night came and so did fear, nervousness, doubt and did I say fear? I had never spoken before a group like this before except for small opportunities here and there but knew that this was something that God was leading me to and I needed to trust Him. The music and game kicked off and I knew that I was just a few minutes away. I took that moment and walked away from everything. I went into one of the rooms off to the side and just gave it to God….

“God, I am so scared. I know this is what You are leading me to do and I know You are with me. Take my fear, take my doubts and let the words that I speak be Your words, not mine.”

And then I walked toward the stage for the very first time to lead a group of youth.

And God took over.

Greg had asked me to teach that night on Respecting Your Parents. Now this is something that I have been taught all my life plus its what we were talking about in class so it was not an unknown subject to me. As a lead in, I had the booth play the song, “Parents Just dont understand” and old rap song by Will Smith that not many of the kids knew. Once I said the very first word….it was all good. It was like God wanted me to take the first step, and then He took the rest. I got a chance to make some people laugh, poke fun at some parents, but also to allow God to speak through me. I have never in my life been so scared one minute, and having so much fun the next. God truely took over like I have never experienced.

I talked about everything from my life with Steph, to Pacer’s and Camaros, Atari’s and Xboxes. I gave one of the youth an actual Beach Boys record because he had brought his bible and had never seen or touched an album before. I used examples in my life, my experiences with my parents and their experiences with their parents to reach a room full of kids and parents.

The next day, I made a comment to Steph that I came off that stage knowing without a shadow of a doubt, that being in youth ministry is what God wants me to do. I don’t doubt it for one second. It has been my passion for a long time, I just haven’t stepped up and let God take over. I had my own agenda and plans for me and speaking to youth was no where in the picture. She then told me this was an answer to her prayer. She had been praying that I would know one way or the other. WOW! More confirmation of what God is doing in our lives.

However, the best part of that night was not realized until days later. One of the parents came up to me on Sunday morning and said that I really spoke to him that night. He told me about his life with his parents and how he needed to work on his relationship with them. This was a parent, not a youth. Here I was trying to reach youth and God used me to reach a parent. God used me to make an impact on someone. Sure a lot of people said that I did a great job, except for the fact that I said ‘bama was 2 states away from there and I dissed on Glee twice. Steph was very encouraging as always. Greg was encouraging and wants me to speak again, but hearing that parent say that the message spoke to him, made the fear, the nervousness, and the doubt, all worth it. It helped me reach a lifelong goal of making an impact in someone else’s life, as many had made an impact in my own life.

But the week wasn’t over yet.

Saturday night was the launch of Refill431. This was a ministry that came out of the floods in our area to reach out to those who don’t come to church. We want to follow the lead of Pastor Blake and instead of doing follow up with people who come to our church, we want to go out into their environment and bring them in. We want them to hear the Word of God through music and fellowship and let God worry about the rest. So a group of us started Refill 431 based on Acts 4:31…

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We set up with the Daily Grind Coffee House in our area to come and play. Danny, Tatum, Allyson and Nate got together on Saturday afternoon. We came up with a play list and took worship to Daily Grind. The place was packed with people. Sure most were from LMBC but we learned a lot about what we can do and how huge this is going to be when we give God the glory, and allow Him to work through us. It was an incredible night and a great end to a busy busy week.

And today, we got a date to go back. How Great is Our God!

Dear God, I cannot imagine making it through last week alone. You walked hand in hand with me as you do every day and You were with me as I stepped out into the life You are leading me and Steph into. I have never been so sure of Your plan for my life. I am so unworthy of the blessings that You have poured out on us but I am so grateful. Help us to always see how You are using us and help us to never lose sight of that. Help me be patient and wait on You. Help me be content and realize that You are all that I need.

Keith