Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THIS IS THE THING FOR 2009

Disclaimer: We do not discriminate against or harbor prejudice towards the elderly, midgets, or Republicans. But, old Republican midgets may cause problems (John McCain). We just can't handle them all in one. Separately...no problem. Thank you. Enjoy...

video

Some inspirational photos to remind you of our goals for 2009.

5.) Show the 70's NO MERCY!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v13/hoardmeister/superfly.jpg


4.) Show the economy NO MERCY w/ your new career in professional sports!



DoggieToss.jpg

(dog tossing)

RockPaper.jpg

(United States Association of Rock, Paper, Scissors)

skeeball1.jpgSkeeball2.jpgskeeball3.jpg

Ski Ball...classic!

Extreme Ironing! Show that Ironing board NO MERCY!!!

3.) Show resistant McCain supporters NO MERCY!
http://www.stampandshout.org/_gfx/_bst/_ex/mcancient.gif

2.) Show old people and midgets A LOT OF MERCY IN 2009!!!

http://media.ebaumsworld.com/picture/FingerTight/Midgets.png

http://www.middle-east-online.com/pictures/biga/_25122_midgets-30-7-2004.jpghttp://www.voagno.org/Portals/20/elderly%20ladies.jpg

1.) Finally check out the blog DAILY because YOU deserve it!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

THIS IS THE THROWBACK!

video

Here's a throwback video...this blog is getting way too serious and spiritual...sorry guys...this is dedicated to my freshman year in college...

Enjoy Stef!
Happy Sunday!

I heard an illustration by Craig Groeschel, which seriously inspired me. A couple of years ago, Craig wrote Confessions of a Pastor, where, with raw honesty and transparency, he talked about things he struggles with as a pastor, leader and husband. On stage he admitted that pornography was an area in his life which he struggled to maintain victory in. His honesty and transparency sparked a domino effect within his congregation. That week during a small group meeting a man in the meeting confessed that he battled with pornography as well. He figured that if a pastor could be open and honest then so could he. It just so happened that there was a guest/visitor in the group that night, a woman who was inspired by such a group of people that could be so honest and vulnerable with one another. She figured if their pastor could be honest, and this man in this group could be honest, so could she. That night, an unbeliever confessed to a group of Christians that she was a stripper and that she was unhappy with her life. That night that group of believers agreed to pay the woman's bills for the next couple of months so that she didn't have to strip anymore.

That story is not out of the Bible.
That story is not out of the book of Acts.
It didn't happen in Africa.
It happened in a normal church, with normal Christians.

As you come home from church this afternoon allow me to ask you a couple questions...

Is your church a community of people with whom you can be genuine, true, and honest?
Do you feel like you can truly be yourself with your church "family"?
Can you be vulnerable in your relationships with the people whom you share your faith?
When is the last time your community of fellow Christians truly changed someone's life?

I hope you had a great time singing, praying, and hearing the God's word this morning. But nothing we do inside a church building on Sunday scares Satan or shakes hell. Actually being the Church outside in the world Monday through Sunday is what matters. If we would start to live like Jesus, really live the lifestyle of Jesus, in a radical way, then hell would be afraid. Because if we, the Church, started actually living like Jesus, WE WOULD CHANGE THE WORLD! WE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WITH THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD!

How is it that tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners were drawn to Jesus? Why did Jesus have the power to change their lives...and we don't? Why does the world only feel judged by us and not loved? Why do we feel judged by each other and not loved? Didn't Christ give us the power to do what He did? Why do we settle for less?

Maybe I'm making it too simple. Or maybe it just is this simple. If a rabbi and some fishermen could change the world, so can we. Let's get on with it!

Thanks for reading...now GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT...

all love
Manny

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pearls and Treasure

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field...Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:44-46
My whole life I thought this passage meant that my relationship with God, or the Kingdom of God was like the fine pearl, or a treasure hidden in a field. And that I had to sacrifice everything and prove to God that I wanted and desired a relationship with Him more than anything else.

It's true that this passage is about sacrifice, but maybe I got it wrong who needs to make the sacrifice. Or who the sacrifice is meant to emphasize.

I read this passage now and I realize that maybe we are the fine pearls, maybe we, the children of God, represent the treasure hidden in a field. We take our talents, our time, our resources, and lots of times we lose ourselves in unhealthy relationships, unfulfilled jobs, and our selfish desires. We hide ourselves from God in our sin, brokenness, and shame. But through it all, even though we are hidden in the field of life, we are still treasure. And rather than reading this passage of Scripture as God saying that we need to desire Him more than anything, maybe we should see it as God wanting and desiring a relationship with us more than anything else. And
that He's willing to do whatever it takes to have that relationship.

Since the Garden of Eden, our natural inclination has been to run away from God or hide when we struggle with sin or when we are ashamed. Genesis 3:8 says that Adam and Eve, "hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden" We too hide from God in our own "garden". But God's first question to mankind, is the same question he poses to us now. A simple "Where are you?"

Let God ask you that question. Where are you? And don't hear it as judgemental dad asking you because He's waiting for you to mess up and want to condemn you. Hear that question from a father that wants to know where his treasure is.

You may look at yourself and see your failures, shortcomings, mistakes, flaws, and imperfections, but God sees treasure, He sees pearls, and no matter how far we try to run or deep we try to hide He'll never lose the sight of His treasure. But while others won't take the time or energy to really search for a hidden treasure, God does and will. It's a whole lot easier to sacrifice everything for someone who has sacrificed it all for us.

Remember, behind all those imperfections and flaws lies a treasure that God will never loose sight of, and never stop searching for. He's placed a treasure inside all of us. There's nobody like you! Give the gift of yourself.



No words are really necessary after seeing this. Please just find a way to give the gift of life, in some way shape or form. And go see Seven Pounds, because the movie really drives home the point of giving sacrificially.

Jesus will say, "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

They will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?"

He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

It's time for social justice to stop being a trend and start being a lifestyle.

Thanks

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What happens when there's no space for what God wants to do in our religious way of doing things?

What happens when our religion simply isn't big enough for God?

What happens when our religious ideas reject what the Spirit of God is doing?

This is the dilemma of the first Christmas, and the rest of the New Testament. Time and time again, God has had to lead people to rebel against the religious system in order to accomplish his will, because religion was actually starting to confine and constrict what God's will was.

Examples: John the Baptist is baptizing in the wilderness, trying to lead the Jewish people into repentance. At the same time, the Temple (the religious institution), was where people were supposed to go for the remission of sins. But God leads John to do something unorthodox because the religion that supposed to lead people to God wasn't doing it's job. Therefore God leads John the Baptist to break the rules of his religion in order to lead people into a relationship with Him

Jesus heals multiple people on the Sabbath. This is against Jewish law, and the Pharisees (the religious institution) try to kill Jesus because he's breaking the Jewish law. There was no room in their religion for God healing people that needed Him.

My personal favorite -- Acts 8:26-40. Philip baptizes a eunuch. According to Jewish law eunuchs were not to be baptized, and were defiled in God's sight. Philip, a Jew, knows this, but instead of following what his religion holds as right and true Philip follows the Spirit of God and leads this eunuch into a relationship with God,

The first Christmas follows the same storyline! According to Judaism, God is NOT supposed to be human. But God breaks all the rules, and John 1:14 tells us "the Word became flesh and blood". God is always a step ahead of us. That first Christmas He showed that He is a giver...a giver even of Himself. So in the spirit of Christmas, let God give you the gift of Himself -- in true, authentic, dangerous, vulnerable relationship. Scrap the religion!

What is your religion telling you? What do you believe simply because it's what your church or pastor or denomination holds to be true? That God doesn't speak to people? That you can't have a legitimate ministry because you're a woman? That God doesn't physically heal people? That 'speaking in tongues' isn't real? That really loud music is the only way to worship? That we shouldn't talk about Mary? That having correct theology is the most important thing? That you're not spiritual or saved enough to hear God's voice and know his will? That your pastor is closer to God than you are? You have to get married? You shouldn't get married?

Where have your religious ideas put God into a box?

This Christmas take that box, unwrap it, and allow God's gift of the Holy Spirit to break down your walls of religion, and give you a spirit that follows His, even if it's to territory your religion doesn't acknowledge as orthodox. This Christmas let God give you the gift of risk. The risk of relationship. You're not always going to get it right. Sometimes you'll think you heard the voice of God, and be wrong. But it's the raw beauty of relationship. This Christmas allow the Spirit of God to take you to heights in a relationship with Him that your religion can't contain. God is bigger than the rules we set up. He's bigger than your idea of Him. He's bigger than your agenda. He's bigger than your plans. He's bigger than your preferences about church. But God is only as big as you'll let Him be in your life.

Let God surprise you this Christmas...all you have to do is open the box.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I simply have 3 recommendations for everyone:

1) Read The Shack by William Young. It will change your life!!!

2) Download Viva La Hova by Jay Z and Coldplay


3) READ MY BLOG!!!

LOL

IT'S A NEW DAY...HOPEFULLY...

IT'S A NEW DAY...HOPEFULLY...

A week ago, in a move to truly reflect the diversity of our nation, President-Elect Barack Obama chose Rick Warren to perform the invocation at his inauguration next month.

Of course the gay and lesbian community was not thrilled about this, because of Warren's conservative stance on gay marriage. As was predictable "the vitriolic gay response revealed the ugly face of gay and lesbian stridency and strong arm tactics to try and force their views on the majority of Americans who do not agree with them on their key issues."

Two things were not so predictable. 1) The negative response by conservative Christians 2) The negative response by African Americans

It's unbelievable to me that conservative Christian gave an uglier response to Obama's decision than gay and lesbian activists did. Why are conservative Christians so upset that Rick Warren would PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT ELECT? Doesn't Christ teach us to pray for our leaders, much less to pray for our enemies? I would have never thought that praying for the president was such a sin.

On the other hand, African Americans are upset because Obama chose a white pastor to preform the invocation. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Barack Obama's win is definitely a major leap forward for African Americans, but it's also a major leap forward for unity, justice, healing and reconciliation in our broken and fragmented country. Sorry if this hurts people's feelings...but Obama's win is not an excuse for African Americans to be racist toward whites. Obama chose a white pastor...and that's fine with me.

Hopefully we can begin to walk in a new day...where conservatives can pray for their liberal Democratic president. A new day...where homosexuals don't feel threatened and upset by the mention or presence of Christians. A new day...where blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, and everyone else can get along and unite under a common purpose. A new day...where the victory of a black man, isn't only celebrated by African Americans, but by all who believe in equality, freedom, hope, reconciliation, and unity. A new day...where even African Americans confront their own racial prejudices and rejoice in Obama's inauguration without taking issue with the color of the man's skin performing the invocation.

It's a new day...but are we all really ready for the challenges of change and the road to reconciliation? I hope so!