North Star

Typical day at the hospital volunteering:: organizing! I was focusing intensely on categorizing the patient care cart I forgot that the other volunteer was in the room with me organizing clothes. As I remembered, I asked her if she heard about the shooting at Short Hills Mall where a man was murdered in front of his wife over a car. She came closer to me and expressed her feelings of uneasiness and not understanding why this kind of thing happens.

After we verbally affirmed how awful and tragic and heart-wrenching this is we returned to our task at hand. As I was elbow deep in varieties of bar soap, I thought to myself, “Ask her about after life. No, Christine, she’ll think you’re crazy. Seriously, this is the perfect opportunity. But how do I explain this kind of situation? She isn’t going to understand. Just say something!”

Then she speaks before I do. And says, “I think I’m going to go back to the playroom and clean up before the ice cream social. I think I really need to do that.” As I watched her leave, I immediately realized the opportunity that I missed. And I thought, this is why these things happen.

Bear with me.

Our God is not a God who wanted this to happen or intended it to happen. He is a loving and kind God who is also angry at this situation and I can guarantee you, grieving over this. (Genesis 6:6-8) But, He will use this for good (Romans 8:28) and I could have been a part of that today. I could have shared the gospel with my Jewish friend. I could have let her know that it’s OK to be sad, and it’s OK to be angry but we have hope because Christ has come. He offers the peace and security that our souls crave in this crazy world we live in. We don’t need to fear death because He came to overcome death!

This man did not deserve this. And yet in his death, God can use it in a million different ways to draw people closer to Himself. Like today. I had the chance to share the Good News in response to this man’s story. We need to take these opportunities of suffering to share that if we receive Christ as Lord we will live with Him in eternity! And it’s not just a promise for when we die, but abundant life until we die (John10:10). When evil strikes, we have the assurance that as difficult as it is to live on this earth, we’re just passing through.
 
Friends, please do not lose sight of those around you who need the Gospel. As we meditate this week on the amazing act of Jesus coming into this world, don’t contain this joy just for your own heart! Share the Good News. Be bold. Be willing to look foolish so that God’s Word, His story and the truth of how he can change our lives would save and restore another soul.

“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:1,6

The-Name-of-Jesus v1

Have you been there? Maybe it’s a sickness, maybe it’s a death, a divorce, job loss or a son/daughter that is drawn into sex, drugs or alcohol. Heart-broken. Helpless. There is nothing you can do except fall on your knees and cry out to God. Why does God allow these storms to come into our lives?

The last 3 months for me personally has been a challenging time. Not only have Ann and I been going through the hardest storm in our lives (read about Joshua Luke and updates here) but it seems like everyone around us has been hit with a storm as well. Here are few:

– Our good friends, “The Shueys”, found out that cancer was discovered in Christine’s mom’s lungs and lymph nodes (our small group)

– A brother, artist and Collyde Summit 2013 worship leader, Aaron Keyes, had his trailer vandalized and robbed (if you can stand with Aaron, help us raise funds for replacing their equipment: http://goo.gl/0GdMua)

– Another small group member’s Uncle was diagnosed with cancer

– Just found out that Margaret Feinberg, one of our Collyde Summit keynotes was diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 30 days (her blog)

– ….and many more personal storms…..

Why? Why does God allow these storms to come into our lives? I believe God sends storms into our lives for three reasons:

  1. Remind us of who He is (the creator of the universe who holds all things in His hand)
  2. Remind us of who we are (sons and daughters of the most High God) and
  3. Remind us that life is a vapor (in other words, this fallen world is not our home and He has prepared a new place for you). Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Maybe you are going through a really hard time or a storm in your life – I want to leave you with something a friend told me once, “When Jesus is all you have, you will soon realize, He is all you need”.

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If you have prayer request, please use the comment feature to share it with us. The Collyde Team is fasting and praying on Saturday, October 10 and we will pray for you and your need.
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grayson

Did you hear this story? It’s a video that has gone viral. Three-year-old Grayson Clamp who was born without cochlear nerves hears his Dad’s Voice for the First Time after receiving an auditory brain stem implant. Here is the link to the Video: Click. The first words he hears from his Dad is this “Daddy loves you“.

My mind instantly thought of our Heavenly Father and the first time I heard His voice clearly on June 25, 1995, as He whispered in my ears, “Daddy loves you”. I remember falling on my knees and crying for hours on the bedroom floor. Maybe you remember the day you heard Him speak for the first time and maybe just like me….. tears were rolling down your eyes…. as you realize what He was saying to you… He loves you.

In this fast-paced, ever-busy and noise-driven life we are living in, I sometimes wonder if the world shuts out the voice of our Father. There is a world out there that is waiting to hear those few words from their Creator, Father in Heaven “Daddy Loves You”. Here is the most amazing aspect, God wants to use you to share that with the people at work, the local coffee barista you go to every morning, the gas station attendent you see every morning – everyone around you. They can’t hear His voice but we can do something about it. Are you ready to share Christ? Let’s be bold – there is a world that is waiting…

No Details - Simple - Church Screen

Reason #1:
Phil Wickham – Need we say more? Phil Wickham will be LIVE from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, June 7th! (check out one of his songs: link)

Reason # 2:
Speaker lineup (June 8th) – Pete Wilson, Margaret Feinberg, Dr. David Ireland, Bonnie Gay (here are personal welcomes from Pete Wilson and Margaret Feinberg)

Reason #3:
Our theme: ONLY BELIEVE. Obstacles and challenges in this journey are just altar moments in our lives where God reveals His face to us. (read our theme – it will inspire you – link)

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HomelessPerson

I must have read this story over a thousand times from my childhood but I missed this very important “Act of Faith” from a blind man named, Bartimaeus, who had a life-changing collision with Jesus. Notice what it says in Mark chapter 10:50 – “And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus”. He threw his blanket away. Now this might seem ordinary to you and I but to a homeless blind man, a blanket means more than you could imagine. It represents his identity, his home, his safe place and probably the only possession he could call his own. Faith is sometimes a reckless abandonment of all the safe and sure things.

What’s your “blanket”?

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I was waking up late. The curtains were pulled closed and I remember lying there in bed for awhile. Graduation had taken place the week before and I really enjoyed college. In an intense moment of sadness, I felt overwhelmed by all the “best” times that were behind me. There was another thought that came with it, though—one that nagged at me: “Jesus, you had to have meant more than this.”

From an early age, my parents had brought my sisters and I to church, so I had heard the stories. I went to youth group, bible studies throughout college, and sincerely tried to understand Jesus’ teachings. What I hadn’t known was that He had good plans for me.

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Game changing Collision 1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just one year since I first experienced Collyde and got connected with Jinu Thomas. When he asked me to consider blogging here regularly, I was excited, nervous and humbled all at once. God is doing some amazing things through Collyde and I am honored to be part of this growing community.

I’ll admit – I’m kind of a newbie at being on this side of a blog. I’m usually on the reader side, trying to learn as much as I can from folks like Michael Hyatt, Catalyst, and Tim Elmore. But what’s really come home to me lately is that while I always want to be a student of leadership, ultimately, my own leadership will only be realized as I craft it in the lab of life. Here’s the thing though – that lab is often a messy, unpredictable, disappointing place. It’s a place that requires a redemptive, transformative power that must be fueled by the gospel.

After all, “leadership is a stewardship. It’s temporary, and we’re accountable.” (via @andystanley) The only way for me to have any sort of fighting chance of stewarding well is if I’m grounded in the gospel. That is a true game-changer in the lab of leadership.

It’s on my heart to steward this platform well by facilitating the collision of ministry-minded people who are passionate about seeing the full gospel and visionary leadership collyde for the sake of the world and the glory of God. I hope to encourage and challenge others, but I need to be encouraged and challenged too. I’m just getting started trying to put together the pieces of gospel-driven leadership. Processing what that looks like and how it all fits is best done in the context of community. I think our online community here could be a great space for that process.

I can’t promise life-altering revelation, or even groundbreaking leadership principles. What I can offer is real, honest, wrestling with questions and issues that are intended to help us get our hands around what it means to not just be an effective leader, but what it means to be an effective, gospel-driven leader. Why is this so important? Because I am convinced that leaders are made in the lab of life. As redeemed children of the living God, our lives ought to be marked by a different kind of leadership than our counterparts who’ve not yet experienced the transformative grace of the gospel. There’s something richer, deeper, more complex to this whole leadership thing when you overlay the gospel. That, my new friends, is what I hope we can discover, or perhaps re-discover, together.

Soli deo Gloria.