Thursday, October 20, 2011

Radical Faith

What is faith? Well as the dictionary defines it: confidence or trust in a person or thing. Let's look at Genesis 22 and examine Abraham's faith in God and how we can relate to it now. To understand the context, God had miraculously provided a son for Abraham way later than normal. It's not normal to have a baby at 90 years old. But anyways, God had promised Abraham "I will make you a great nation." (Genesis 12:1-3). So Abraham now finally had a son to call his own and God's promise would be fulfilled.

But then, getting into our text, God commands Abraham to do something very odd. He tells Him to go and sacrifice Isaac, his one and only son, as a burnt offering to the Lord. What!? And what is Abraham's response? He gets up early the next morning to start the 3 day journey! He didn't delay the trip. When they got there, he told the servants that he and Isaac would return and worship together. Whoa! That's faith with the expectation that God will come through for them. That I would argue is true faith. If you take your faith in Christ away from your life, would your life look any different than it does now? Abraham proved his faith again by responding to his son saying "God will provide the lamb for the sacrifice." Again, faith with the expectation of God coming through. That's radical faith right? This is Biblical faith. It's radical because this type of faith is not seen nowadays and is so foreign to most churches.

This is the type of faith God is after. Now we'll look at God's response to Abraham's act of faith. The Lord saw his radical obedience to kill his own son because He told him to do so. God is glorified through our acts of faith and obedience. God provided a ram for the sacrifice because He saw that Abraham truly feared God. Abraham believed God would provide. To get very practical, when you pray do you believe wholeheartedly that God will answer that request? Abraham was willing to give up his most prized possession, his son, because God called him to. Would you? God is glorified when we prove our obedience through radical faith. This is the Biblical model of faith.

I leave you with Jesus' words on faith: He said to them, "... For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."(Matt 17:20)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Biblical Philosophy of Missions

"I believe" Statements

1. I believe that God has called me to give my life for the sake of sharing the Gospel.

2. I believe God has called me to a local body of believers, but also to share Christ with the unsaved.

3. I believe that I play a part in advancing the Gospel.

4. I believe that through the power of Christ, I can be unashamed of the Gospel.

5. I believe the local church is the hub of God's activity in missions. 

References for Study

1 Chronicles 16:23-24, Psalms 96:3, Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8, Acts 26:17-18, Romans 1:16

Other Resources

(Getting an email sent to you each day with a specific group of people to pray for)
I would highly encourage you to take part in this. It's a very good way to remind yourself of the need in the world for the Gospel.

Ways to have a day-to-day Global Missions Mindset:

1. Pray, Pray, Pray for the advance of the Gospel
2. Expose yourself to certain missions (i.e. books, people, events, etc.)
3. Reminding yourself each day that there are people dying and going to Hell today because they are lost. 

Biblical Philosophy of Dress

"I believe" Statements:

1. I believe that the way I dress affects our influence on others.

2. I believe that the way I dress ought to glorify God.

3. I believe that the way I dress shouldn't be a stumbling block to others.

4. I believe the way I dress shows my desire for purity.

5. I believe that the way I dress should be align with my sexuality.

6. I believe that the way I dress should reflect Christ and not be centered on myself.

7. I believe that the way we dress should not be associated with something that God hates.

8. I believe that my clothing can become an idol. 

References for Study

1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:2-5, Deuteronomy 22:5, Romans 14:21, Galatians 5:16, Genesis 3:21, Colossians 3, 2 Corinthians 5:15, etc.

Principles For Thought

1. Maintain the male/female distinction (Deut 22:5)
2. Consider the effect of clothing on our influence (Matt 5:13-16)
3. Make sure our clothing doesn't "offend" anyone (Romans 14:21)
4. Be sure our clothing is modest in God's sight (2 Cor 5:15)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Reading List 2010-2011

The Truth About Sex - Kay Arthur
Respectable Sins - Jerry Bridges
Erasing Hell - Francis Chan
Forgotten God - Francis Chan
Crazy Love - Francis Chan
Praise Habit - David Crowder
What is a Healthy Church - Mark Dever
The Deliberate Church - Mark Dever
Confessions of a Reformission Rev. - Mark Driscoll
Vintage Jesus - Mark Driscoll
Doctrine - Mark Driscoll
Cross-Cultural Connections - Duane Elmer
I Am Not But I Know I AM - Louie Giglio
The Air I Breathe - Louie Giglio
Growing Up Christian - Karl Graustein
Boy Meets Girl - Joshua Harris
I Kissed Dating Goodbye - Joshua Harris
Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) - Joshua Harris
Do Hard Things - Bret and Alex Harris
Dug Down Deep - Joshua Harris
Worship Matters - Bob Kauflin
Counterfeit Gods - Tim Keller
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
Humility - C.J. Mahaney
Living the Cross Centered Life - C.J. Mahaney
Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller
He Is Not Silent - Robert Mohler
Grace Like River  - Christopher Parkening
Finally Alive - John Piper
Supremacy of God in Preaching - John Piper
God is the Gospel - John Piper
Desiring God - John Piper
Radical - David Platt
The Millenials - Thom and Jess Rainer
Facedown - Matt Redman
Visioneering - Andy Stanley
Next Generation Leader - Andy Stanley
Every Young Man’s Battle - Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn
Tactics - Fred Stoeker
The Way I Was Made - Chris Tomlin
These are the books I've read this last year. They've been very beneficial in my own walk. Thought I would share to give you some ideas if you're looking for a good book or two. Wouldn't say I agree with everything these guys write, but still there are a lot of golden truths to be discovered and reminded of.
Much love to you all,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Overcoming Pornography

There are so many forms of pornography in the world we live in. And such easy access to it. I could share with you all the stats of the industry itself, but that wouldn't accomplish the purpose that I'm writing this for. My goal through this post is to help you receive victory in your fight for purity. So understand two things: 1) the porn industry is powerful; but 2) Jesus is more powerful. And He already defeated it's power by rising from the dead and conquering sin.
So, for whatever reason this sin has been called the "secret sin". For whatever reason I felt that this sin was somehow more sinful than other sins. But, truth is: a sin is a sin. And ultimately the punishment for sin is death and separation from God forever (Romans 6:23). So, be it a lie or a murder, you're destined for Hell. We have to understand that this sin of pornography is no worse than other sins. For some reason, we've categorized sins into major and minor. C.S. Lewis says in his book Mere Christianity, “The bigness or smallness of the thing [sin], seen from the outside, is not what matters.” Ultimately, we need a heart transformation. In God's eyes, sin as sin has to be punished. Again, a sin is a sin. Granted it's a whole lot harder to admit to viewing porn, than it is to admit to lying. But why? 
Because you sinned, something had to die. From the very beginning, the sacrifice for the first sin of our first parents was a blood sacrifice by God Himself (Genesis 3:21). Adam and Eve attempted to cover their sins with tree leaves, but God saw fit to kill an animal to give them the garments to cover themselves and ultimately their sin with. Again the punishment for sin is death (blood had to be shed). That lie that you told was sin. That last time you sat at the computer looking at a porn website was sin. You deserved to die and be in hell forever. That's the bad news. . .
But, this is where the good news comes in.
Jesus, God's only son, humbled Himself and came into this world as one of us (Philippians 2:6-8). He was tempted in every way possible (Hebrews 4:15), yes tempted to lie and tempted to lust after a woman. But, the crucial point being that He didn't sin. Not once. But, He chose to befriend the sinners (Matthew 9:12-13). He loved the sinners (John 3:16). And He forgave the sinners sin (Luke 7:48). But the religious people hated Him because He did all this. And they couldn't accept the fact that He was God incarnate ("in the flesh"). Which eventually led them to crucify Him.
But, this is where the beautiful exchange is. Again the punishment for sin is death. God's wrath had to be satisfied. Someone had to die for the sin for you and I. Jesus did that. Jesus satisfied the wrath of God by His sacrifice (Romans 3:24-26). We deserved it, Jesus endured it. That's the beautiful exchange. All the times you've fallen into sexual lust and fantasies, you can rely fully on Jesus' perfect life. Because when your trust is in Him for dying for you, God sees His righteousness when He looks at you (2 Corinthians 5:21). That's crazy! And worthy of a life of praise.
This doesn't take away the struggle and temptation though. So what happens when it comes up? Even when I write this, I sit in a busy college cafe where girls are dressed in a way that draws attention to them inappropriately. And to be honest my sinful nature wants that. But through Jesus death and resurrection on the cross, I have the power over sin and death to beat those thoughts (1 Corinthians 15:57). That same power that conquered the grave, lives in me and you. But we still fall. And that's where Jesus' living a perfect life comes in so huge! If we had to live up to God's standard of holiness, we would fail miserably (Romans 3:10). But Jesus lived up to it. And if that's what we're relying on fully, we can rest assured that God sees His righteousness instead of our sin.
When I fall into sin I have two choices: 1) I can choose to stay down on myself and live in guilt and shame over my sin or 2) I can choose to repent and rise up again. It comes down to this: am I relying fully that Jesus covered all my sin on the cross and that through Him I have the power to overcome it.
I trust and pray that this would be of an encouragement to you. Let the gospel be your assurance and power to fight sin, knowing the battle is already yours through Jesus’ victory. 
[Now may] “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Guys In Relationships

This is written to all the guys out there in the world who are in any relationship with women. I’m speaking straight from my heart here. And believe me there’s a lot of passion coming behind me. Is the way you treat women honorable to them or does it treat them as dirt? 
One of the things the ticks me off the most is when guys treat girls wrongly. Who gives you the right to use that girl for selfish, sexual, and emotional ambitions? Who? I can almost guarantee that your girl would give anything for a guy who would love her for who she is and not just for her body. 
I think it begins first with the way we view girls. Do we view them just as “eye candy” or do you see them as a daughter of the same God that you say you serve? It sickens me to see guys do awful things to the girl they supposably love. How is that love? The Bible tells us in 1 John that true love is sacrifice. It’s what Jesus did for us on the cross. He did ultimate love sacrifice. Love is always looking for the benefit of the other person.
You guys that have your hands all over your girlfriends and then you go to church and take communion, the Lord’s body and blood, with the same hands like it’s no big deal. Tell me what’s right about that? Get your heart right. That’s so wrong. That’s how our culture thinks. It’s no longer rebelling to have sex, it’s rebelling to wait until marriage for sex. 
I challenge you to rebel from our culture’s standards. 
Be the leader in your relationship. In the relationship I’m in now with the girl that I like, I’ve had to step up and stop from foolish talking and such that would lead to something bad in the future. Sure it hurts, cause I’m naturally sexually attracted to her. But I also know that God is honored through our actions of waiting. The ultimate purpose of a relationship is to glorify God. 
I would encourage you to set up guardrails in your relationship. What are guardrails on the road for? Exactly, keeping the car away from danger. And for the most part where are they located? Right up on the danger spot? No usually they are built back away from the problem. The same is true when we set up our guardrails in a relationship. You know yourself better than anyone. So you’re the one that needs to be the one who sets up those in your life. It’s for the sole purpose of keeping yourself from problems so that you can glorify God. 
More than anything though, build your relationship on that which lasts: Christ. Too many relationships that I’ve seen have been built on emotion, and when a problem comes up because they’re foundation isn’t dug down deep in Christ; it blows away with the storm. Use the Bible as your counsel! There’s so much wisdom in it. Read books on relationship. Joshua Harris’ writing has been a huge blessing to me. 
But, guys please take the initiative to lead your girl rightly. I can promise you that she will be crazy over that! That’s how God designed it! You lead, and she submits and you live in perfect harmony glorifying God by Biblical love. She longs for that leader in her life. And she also longs for that guy who will love her heart and not just her body. And your relationship will finally be based on that which lasts: Christ. Get your parents, friends, and pastor involved too!  They have so much wisdom on topics like this.
Prayer is crucial. Pray and ask God to reveal to you His will for your life. It also involves you being in the Word, that’s His written revealed will! Submit to Him. God has put your parents in your life to guide you, and it’s our responsibility to submit to them (Eph 6) So trust their input if they are godly people, if not then find some older couple who knows you well that you can trust will be straight up with you.  
Be comforted that God is sovereign and has the perfect partner lined up for you. Your job is to trust Him to bring her into your life in the right time. So please, I beg you, treat your girl and other girls with respect so that you honor God, her, and her parents. Remember that that heart, body, and mind isn’t yours until you are one with her. 
Know that I love you with my whole heart and that’s why I write this. I want to see a change in the world in the ways guys treat girls. 
Much love,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is Christ Divided?

I think within the body of Christ there are different people with different interests and gifts. But, as a whole divisions among the body are a hinderance to the gospel. I completely respect people with other beliefs from me in how they view Scripture, but for me to verbally attack them with my words, whether in front of them or behind their back, is sin.

When others verbally attack someone's ministry that is trying to follow to the commands of Scripture is wrong. How to do you think an unsaved person views this when he sees it? People are selfish. And we all have preferences. I really think a lot of these disagreements in the Christian circles really boil down to people and their preferences. That's not to downplay different Doctrinal issues. But have you gone to Scripture to find out what God says about it, rather than listening to what other people say about it. Ultimately we will be held accountable for our own lives. Stop attacking the way other people do ministry and hold certain beliefs. Notice I say attack. I believe we can lovingly talk about the beliefs and why we hold that belief. We all are here to be a light for Jesus and to lift each other up in the faith.

So when you are tempted to bash someone else's ministry. Stop and ask yourself what you are doing to reach the people they are reaching through that ministry. Remember that we are here to glorify God by loving Him and loving others.

Much love,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Testimony of a Gracious God

Well...I grew up in a Christian home. Sound familiar? Well to me it does because for most of my friends this is the case in their life as it is with me. But that means nothing. Granted it’s a huge blessing having a father and mother who love God with their whole heart, but it doesn’t automatically grant you salvation. I guess I thought it did.
I was born on a Christian university to Christian parents where we went to a Christian church and I went to a Christian school my whole life. Still there too. Needless to say I knew that Gospel (that Jesus came because we all sinned, died for our sin, rose again victorious over sin and death, ascended into heaven where He is now interceding on our behalf before the Father, and our hope is built on that He will return someday and take us to heaven to be with God forever) but when you accept this it changes you. I never accepted it.
I thought I did when I was 4. Went forward because I saw someone else do it and I thought it would be cool. No idea what I was doing. Again the Gospel changes a person’s life. No change in my life though. Fast forward through elementary school and stop in junior high school. My life would look something like this: Put on the “christian” face while at church, school, and before my parents, but when I was with my friends I knew I could “trust” or I was alone I was filling my head with TV shows that whet my appetite for sex. Sin satisfies for a season then it’s gone leaving you wanting more. I went to movies for satisfaction. Again it didn’t last. Then I discover the internet which has no end it seems. I was filling my head with pornography. My relationships with others and my parents was horrible. It became a normal habit and I always felt that people knew, so I lived my life in fear of people finding out. 
This is never a fun way to live life. Wouldn’t recommend it for those of you wondering. I was caught multiple times but couldn’t get away from it. I was always trying to find ways to get around my parents. This lifestyle went on for 5 years. 
Junior year of high school was a very awkward time for me because I was starting to grow up and realizing my life was a wreck. I lived for the next high. My dad is over all the fine arts at the university that my high school was connected to. I was always the sports dude. Got to impress the ladies right? Fine arts people can’t do that I thought. But I have to make the old man proud right? So I tried out for a play at school. With no intention of making it. But God had different plans for me. I made it... 
God is good. 
It was from that, that I started to see Christian brothers and sister love each other. When we were at rehearsal they had a ton of fun, but also talked about what they were learning about God. They were truly happy and satisfied in God! I started meeting with my youth pastor with some other guys in my youth group during the time I was in the play. The play went well but I still had not been changed by the Gospel. My youth pastor decided to meet with some of the leaders in youth group. I wasn’t much of a spiritual leader, though I did lead worship on the guitar. But for whatever reason God saw fit for me to be in that group. Little did my youth pastor know that through his words the Holy Spirit would convict me and show me my need for a Savior. I remember the night like it happened yesterday. I can’t tell you the date or anything but I was driving home after one of the meetings and I opened up and talked to God for the first time in a while. I had grown up in a christian home my whole life...I knew what I had to do to be saved. I could tell you in my sleep. But it finally became real to me! I asked Jesus into my heart and decided to follow Him with my life. 
Jesus saves.
Having a head knowledge of God doesn’t get you to heaven. It’s by the grace of God that anyone can have eternal life. My life was transformed into a new creature in Christ on that night. I had the desire to be in His Word. I started having burdens for people that I knew. My Bible teacher at school and I started meeting on a regular basis going through Spiritual Leadership. At the end of that year I got elected as an officer over my senior class. I don’t say this to brag but to show how God gave me huge opportunities right at the start of my walk with Him. Still not sure why. 
Come to the start of my senior year. My whole senior year is filled with growth and opportunities. First, being an officer involves that you talk in front of people. Before I was in that play I wasn’t a big fan of it. But through the play really started to enjoy it. A little bit.... I started to have opportunities to talk in front of people quite a bit. The student body organization asked me to preach in front of the whole school, I got asked to be in another play, and I had opportunities to preach at prayer meeting at school. Why do I say all this?
I started to feel the call to preach through all of this. One day before chapel I asked God to show me if He wanted me to use my voice for Him. I don’t know how Biblical it is to ask for a sign, but I did. And God answered very clearly. The sermon right after I asked was called “Using Your Voice for God.” You can’t tell me that happened by chance. God started to give me the desire to be in the ministry. At the end of my senior year God gave me the opportunity to work at Woodlands Camp in GA. Changed my life again there as I was with people who knew a lot about God and really loved Him with all their heart. Continual growth here in my life is a pattern that wasn’t there before. 
After camp, I had the burden to start a Bible study at the college that I was going to attend. It happened and it grew very fast to about 50 people! Only by God’s grace. I am so unqualified as a leader and God graciously provided very godly people to work with who are so much better as leaders than myself. It was a growing time for all of us as we all had different circumstances that came up due to the size of the group. But a lasting impression that God left on me was that I sort of planted a little an extent. But through all that God has given me a desire to plant a church in California, a love that has always been there in my life. I was starting to realize that God put that love there for a reason. 
So presently I am studying to be a pastor. And again my life is constant growth. I don’t say any of this to brag, except to brag on my God and what He has done in and through me. Through Christ I have victory. It’s not to say that I’m not tempted cause I am. But by the grace of God, He keeps me from it. And when I choose to go my own way there are mercies anew from Him. 
We all need Jesus. Do you know Him? Do you really know and love Him? 

All the glory to my Father in heaven,
Cam Lawson

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Run to the Cross

I'm sitting here wondering why the world looks so good to me. It seems as though my love for God has been replaced with things of this world. John tells us in his 1 John all that's in the world: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. All of those are related to self not the world..the problem is with me not the world. Yeah the world is full of sinners that sin but we can't blame our problems on the world itself. But I can't get away from the thought that God feels far away. The problem is that I'm not looking hard enough. When God ceases to be precious, man ceases to be faithful. It's so easy to get caught up in the pleasures of the world (i.e drinking, sex, music, entertainment in general) I know I have. I look down on those who fall deep into the sexual sins but then I find myself there. I find myself looking down on others because I'm "better" than them (don't sin as much as they do in a certain area). That's foolishness. A sin is a sin in God's eyes. I categorize sins too much. When I sin, I rightly deserve hell. Whether it's a lie or I look at pornography on the internet. It's sin. And Jesus died for that. When the things in this world are calling your name...go to the cross of Christ. Run to the cross of Christ. It puts everything in perspective. Love God. Love Others. And thoroughly hate sin.

Much love,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Will of God

The will of God...

We all want it for our life. Cause God expects us to right? I mean God says He will give us the desires of our hearts right?

I'de like to look at this Biblically. I want us to look at Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. But in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path" 

The first part says we need to trust God with our whole heart. Obviously we say we trust God with whole heart... but do we really? Why should someone we don't trust lead us? We follow someone BECAUSE we trust them. We trust that they know what is best for our life. God, the God of the universe, knows and wants to guide us in following His will.

I always thought I had the second part of this down... "Lean not on your own understanding." Ok yeah don't trust yourself, got it.  Leaning means resting on something. We like to rest on something comfortable am I right? Aka a bed :) Our own understanding is what makes sense in our heads or what we are most comfortable with. God expects just the opposite. God doesn't make sense a lot of the time. He isn't so concerned with the destination, than the journey there. He grows us through the agonizing journey to get to the final destination. I don't see being in the center of God's will as being comfortable. Yes, His will is perfect though.

I love how this passage builds on each part. "But in all your ways acknowledge Him." Ok so this means in whatever we do acknowledge He is God? Well yes. But I believe this also means that we are to seek after Him, realizing that we are finite creatures who are in need His help as we go our way. So both are very much true in this sense. 

This leads me into the last part of this "And He will direct your ways." When we put these three truths together, then God promises to direct our paths. Like I said before, this passage builds on each section. God obviously finds all three parts necessary. What a comforting thought that the God who made the universe and died for everyone's sins, wants to guide and direct their paths. He promises that to us right here in this passage. 

Finding the will of God. Or should I say: actively pursuing to be in the will of God.

Prayer I believe is setting the heart on the will of God. It's not telling God what your will is and asking Him to fulfill that desire. But rather telling God something like this: "God, Your will is perfect. I ask You to align my will with Yours. I trust that You know what is best for my life. Whatever You have for me Father. I want as well." Its one humbling themselves of their pride and submitting to whatever God has for them. Getting one's heart set on things of God. When our hearts are taken over by God what we want will be what God wants.

That is finding the will of God. That is God giving us the desires of our hearts. That is God's love.

Fall...and Rise Up Again

Fall, fall, fall... It's all I seem to do sometimes. And I'm afraid it's the thing I focus on too much of the time. I seem to only be able to focus on the fact that I've sinned yet again against my Savior. But God tells us in His Word (Proverbs 24:16) that a righteous man falls seven times and rises up again. Seven times he falls. And yet he chooses to rise up again. Most of the time I feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. But God says that the one who rises up again, no matter how often he falls, is righteous! I fall many times. Many times. But as a child of God, I hate living in that sin. Thats a mark of being a true believer. That really hadn't been explained to me. I would always hear speakers say things that would make me think I wasn't a believer because I couldn't break a certain sin and continued to fall into it. Even though I hated it when I fell. Now if you're living in sin and loving it.. we have a different story. But a true believer, when he sins, will hate it, make it right, and will choose to rise up again and seek the Savior. 


Salvation: 1. a saving or being saved 2. a person or thing that saves 3. spiritual rescue from sin and death; redemption. 

I recently have been tempted to believe that I am not good enough to be a child of God. Let's face it: I fall often. Constantly I am thinking about my future and how God has called me into the ministry. Therefore I have been struggling with great guilt and shame when I sin. I feel that I am not living up to the standard when I fall in my temptation. The reality of that thinking is frightening. Because it means that I am relying solely on what I have done (or my works) for salvation.  What does the Bible say about this? Titus 3:5 - "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." It's not by works. It is all about God's mercy. 

I say that I trust in Jesus alone, but my thinking is different. But in the past few days, the Gospel has become very real to me. The fact that Jesus came to this earth, was tempted by everything imaginable, lived a perfect life, was beaten and cursed, drank the Father's wrath for the sins of the world, and rose again conquering death and sin is enough for a lifetime of praise.

Jesus came taking us as we were. There is nothing that we did to look any better in His eyes. We were covered in sin. Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." All have sinned, there is none righteous no not one. We don't have to clean up our act to come to Jesus. Because when He saves a soul, He does the changing from the inside out. When we feel we must live decent lives along with Jesus' saving to get to heaven, we are following a false gospel. That's not to say we're free to live however because we have Jesus. No the Bible tells in Matthew 7:17-18 - "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit." 

So today we can rest assured that Jesus completely paid for our sins on the cross. There's nothing we do, but believe in Him. Why, you ask, is it so simple? Because it brings the One (Jesus) who does the saving and changing glory. If we played a part in it, we would feel we deserve some glory or credit. But, praise the Lord, it's Jesus who saves! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Burden for California

This will be short. Just going to share where my heart and burden lies. I'm starting to realize that my love for and desire to live in California is a God given desire. Really feeling that God wants me to plant a church there. Freaks me out.. But at the same time excites me like crazy. There is a huge need for churches out there. Ok ok I know you can pull the whole "They need churches everywhere Cam." Yeah but my passion and burden is for Cali and if that's where God has me then it's a sin to not go there. Straight up. Maybe He doesn't have that for me. But I know one thing that if I am not in His will then I will be miserable. Seems to be God's tool for getting people back onto His purpose and plans. But the reason I feel God may have me start a church out there is that I started a Bible study at the school I go to. It's been incredible to see how God has grown it over the year. Phenomenal stuff happens when you let God take the drivers seat. But anyways I'm not all about numbers but God has saw fit to have 45 people come. I tell you that to show you what He has done! But it's almost like I planted a little church here. Hear me out. Not trying to take the place a local church, but figuratively speaking its a mini-church (get it? the opposite of a mega-church..ok that was stupid) But yeah God has had us go through many difficulties and has taught me a ton about leading His sheep. Biggest thing is that I can't do it alone. Cause I tried. Probably out of selfish ambition, which always leads to a fall. Thats somewhere in Proverbs (Too tired to look it up..transparency time!) But God in His grace has used this Bible study to allow His sheep to learn more about Him and get somewhat in perspective how small we are in comparison to Him. To bring this back to my burden of Cali; I would ask you to pray for our Bible study. And that God would continue to teach me and the others how to better followers of Him, therefore becoming the leader He wants me to be. And that my heart would be open to what He has for me in the future and that I would pursue it wholeheartedly. So much for being short....

Much love,

Carry the Name of Jesus

Sitting here really burdened about the many lost souls dying without Jesus even at this very moment. Whether they know of Him or not, they are lost. We have the answer living inside us. We know the Way. And the way is Jesus! I mean He tells us this in John 14:6. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

Heard a great quote: "Live it out [living your faith out] and others will see it; and they'll want it; and cause God isn't gonna hold that back He'll give it to them; and then they'll live it out." And the cycle goes on. Thats what it comes down to: people passionately carrying the name of Jesus by their words and deeds. Col 3:17 "Whatever you do in in word or deed, do all in the name of Jesus Christ, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." In all that you do, do it in the name of Jesus.

Think of big name people like say Tom Brady, Justin Bieber, Kesha. Those are all names of people that are pretty famous. But we know the Name above all other names, the Name that can save people from their sin. And yet we are too scared to share it to others? And we know the certain stats of a professional ball player or we know every song by a pop artist? I'm not saying those things are wrong but is Jesus at the base/foundation of your joy?

Jesus ultimately brings satisfaction in one's life. Sin and the pleasures of this world bring temporary satisfaction but only Jesus brings full satisfaction. So are you carrying the name of Jesus everywhere you go? It really doesn't matter where you go (i.e mission field, next door) if you aren't carrying the right thing: Jesus. Carrying the name of Jesus involves living out His love. Christianity doesn't mean Jesus to our culture. We carry the name of Jesus, not Christianity. So let's let our lives show that! In every aspect of your life strive to carry the name of Jesus and declare His fame to the world.

Much love,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love God. Love Others.

Simple thought that Jesus uses to describe a Christian, yet we tend to make this overly complex... Is it really as hard we make it out to be? [Matt. 22:36-40] To get a little context: Jesus had silenced the Sadducees (a religious group much like Pharisees) so the Pharisees heard about this and gathered together.  One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him. He asks "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" This is where verse 36 picks up. Jesus answers him "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. [Deut. 6:5] This is the great and foremost commandment. The second: Love your neighbor as yourself. [Lev. 19:18] On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Therefore we get Love God. Love others.

I like how Jesus answers the lawyer. The lawyer thought he would test Jesus. But Jesus answers with a very simple response. He was the first one to combine those two texts from the Old Testament to summarize the Law. Is this as hard we make it out to be? Loving God and loving others? Jesus expects us to do this.

Love your neighbor as yourself...well could that mean, if we took it literally, that what you spend on yourself, you ought to spend the same amount on others? Love your neighbor as yourself. I'm not going to tell you what to do, but God might. Would you listen if He called you do give 50% of your income to missions? Would you? But maybe it's not all about money? Love your neighbor as yourself...ok how do you spend your time? Would you be willing to spend 50% of your time doing something for others? It's in the Bible people! I'm just trying to help you understand that this is what God expects from us. I don't know how else to take "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Love God. Do I need to go into that? When He says take up your cross and follow me. [Matt. 16:24-25] Have you ever thought about that? Or do you say that without thinking? The cross. This is what Jesus died on. The cross in Bible times symbolized death. It was what the used to kill people. Jesus couldn't mean "Take up your cross" like that could He? Well, how else to you take that? But, what Jesus is after is a heart that is willing to lose their life for His sake because they love Him that much. That's serious love. Do you love Jesus like that?

So I end with these few remarks. It's not me who's telling you right now to give 50% of your income away to the poor. No, that's not me. It's God. I pray that God would use these words to help people better understand what it means to: Love God. Love Others.

Much love,