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Archive for December, 2006

Visioneering

Yo, yo, and hello! How’s it going everybody? I hope and pray all is well.
Jake wrote a blog about interviewing Ted Decker over the phone. How cool is that?! Pretty cool, I must say. Decker is a big time Christian novelist guy. I understand that he grew up on the mission field in Indonesia (spelling error?). He lives in Colorado now. I imagine most of his novels come from his growing up years in Indonesia (though I could be wrong about that).
Anyhow, I read chapter two in Visioneering today. This chapter is about preparing yourself to take action on accomplishing your vision. We must always be praying for opportunities to talk to whatever powers that be that can help you along the way. And we must always be preparing a plan to accomplish the vision. The Bible says Nehemiah had developed a plan to carry out the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. But he had to talk to the king where he was incarcerated. No telling how many times he was with the king, but the opportunity to talk to him about his predicament hadn’t come up yet. But he had been praying about it, so when an opportunity did come he was ready to talk about it.
This is a really good book y’all. Please get it and read it. This is a good book. And read Nehemiah in your Bibles sometime too. I’m going to read it today too.
There have been some really good college football bowl games on. Last night Texas Tech had fallen behind 38-7 with a little more then 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and came back to win the game 44-41 in over-time. Incredible! Go Tech! And today Boston College was trailing against Navy and BC came back to win the game with a field goal with 5 seconds left in the game. Very exciting!
Guess that’s all for now folks. God bless you in Jesus’ name!
Zack

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Yo, yo, and hello everyone! I hope and pray all of my readers are having a great day today.
My sister and brother-in-law found out they are having a baby girl! Everyone in our family is so very excited! She’s due in May I believe. Jake put the sonogram pictures on his blog risefromyourslumber.blogspot.com. She looks beautiful already, just like her mommy. I am very confident that Jake will be a wonderful dad and Angie will be a wonderful mom. I love them all very dearly! Congrats Jake and Angie!
I’ve started on some reading projects now. I hope to blog about them along the way. One of them is called The Dirt on Learning. It is by Thom and Joani Schultz. They both are producers for Group Publishing. They produce Christian Education materials. In The Dirt on Learning they use Jesus’ parable of the Sower as a paradigm for Christian Education. They propose that teachers engage their students in the learning process. It is a very good book. I’ll update more about the book as I read more and more of it. So far I’ve just read the introduction and chapter one. In this chapter they encourage teaching that is interactive and that the real quest of teaching is that your students learn and retain the information that you want them to learn. Very good stuff!
The second book I’m reading is called Visoneering by Andy Stanley. In this book Stanley talks about developing a vision and then helps us develop steps that makes the way to accomplishing the vision. I’ve read the introduction and the first chapter in this book as well.
In the Intro part of the book Stanley defines Visioneering as “.. the course one follows to make dreams a reality. It is the process whereby ideas and convictions take on substance”. A very good definition, I must say. He develops a mathmatical solution to it as well. Visioneering= Inspiration+ Conviction+ Action+ Determination+ Completion.
In this book Stanley uses principles from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. Through out the book he puts forth twenty building block principles to help us develop a vision and visioneering. The first 3 are in the first chapter. The first one is that a vision begins as a concern. Nehemiah was in captivity when he heard about the crisis in his homeland and it broke his heart.
The second building block is that a vision doesn’t necessarily require immediate action.
He goes on to say that we must wait before taking action for two reasons. Firstly because the vision matures us. As stated before, visions begin as concerns and burdens. We need to wait it out to make sure what was a problem to us yesterday is still that today, tomorrow, the next day, and so forth. And the second reason is because we mature in preparation for the vision. I’ve heard before that God doesn’t call the equiped, He equipes the called. That is certainly the case with this reason. With a great task must come great preparation. “God has to grow us into our vision” as Stanley says.
The third reason is that God is at work behind the scenes preparing the way. While Nehemiah was in captivity in Babylone, God was behind the scences clearing the way for Nehemiah to go and make right what was done in his homeland.
Lastly, Stanley talks about two ways we can conclude between what is just our ideas and what are God’s plans for us. The first is a God-ordained vision will eventually feel like a moral imperative. We will eventually feel compelled to take action on what is troubleing us.
The second is a God-given vision will be in line with what He is already doing in the world.
I’m looking forward to writing about these two books. Please go out and get them. I shouldn’t write so much about the books’s contents so please buy them and read them. I certainly hope and pray they will help you all out as much as they are helping me.
Guess that is all for now. God bless you all in Jesus’ name!
Zack

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",,,To Death do us Part"

Yo, yo, and hello to all my readers! I hope and pray everyone is having a great day today.
When my brother and sisters and I were little I remember watching the movie Princess Bride countless times. I almost have the whole thing memorized. Especially the “mawage” sence.
As I recall here is how it goes, “Mawage- is what brings us togetha today!
That bwessed awangement! That dweam within a dweam will follow you all your life!
So charrich your wife! Do you have the wing?”
Marriage is really and truely a beautiful and wonderful thing. When you find a man and woman who truely love each other, they commit their lives to each other in marriage, and stay commited to each other, then it is a beautiful thing to behold.
The phrase “…to death do us part” has taken on new meaning to me recently. At my church there was a couple who had been married for 58 years. Fifty-eight years! That is truely awesome! But when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversery the wife was starting to show signs of Parkinsons (spelling error?) disease. It quickly got worse. By the end of the year or 2 years she was reduced to being a vegtable (spelling error?). All she could do was lye there. She couldn’t walk. Couldn’t talk. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t do anything, except lay there. Her body had become a prison of sorts for her. But her loving husband kept taking care of her. Even when she had to be put in the hospital, he visited her every single day. I think he missed one day in the 3 years she was there. And that was because it was too icey on the roads to drive on. She passed away earlier this year. Her husband misses her greatly. I know he always will. He goes to visit her in the cemetary everyday. What a great example they were and still are.
“… To death do us part”.
God bless you all in Jesus’ name!
Zack

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Identity Crisis

Yo, yo, and hello to all my readers! I hope and pray all of you had a very Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!
Here is something I’ve been thinking about. My sister and brother-in-law have one dog and two cats. The dog likes to lick himself alot. I think that he thinks he’s a cat (by the way, Jake wrote a hillarious blog about his two cats and the dog at risefromyourslumber.blogspot.com). And my brother and sister-in-law have three cats. One of them likes to go on walks. Now I think the cat thinks he’s a dog. They don’t have a dog, so the cat has no excuse.
So, there’s a dog in our family who thinks he’s a cat and we have a cat in the family who thinks he’s a dog. We have an identity crisis on our hands! The Apostle Paul seems to have dealt with Christians who were having an identity crisis in 1 Corinthians. In chapter 6 Paul is telling them not to bring law suits against one another in the courts of non-brethern. Instead they were to rull over these things themselves. I’ll pick it up at verse 9 through 11. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be decieved. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (notice now). And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God”. Paul seems to be telling them not to keep acting like the world. They used to be doing the things described in 9 through 10, but then in verse 11 he says, “And that is what some of you were”!. He’s saying, your not like that any more! Stop acting like what you used to be! Start acting like the people of God that you are now!
I guess that is all for today. Merry belated Christmas! And have a Happy New Year! God bless you all in Jesus’ Name! I got a few books for Christmas. When the New Year comes, I’m going to read 2 books a month (hopfully!) and blog about them. Take care everyone!
Zack
ps. Please be praying for the AIM students especially today (those who are on their mission fields and those who are preparing in Lubbock to go to their mission fields). And please pray for Elijah and Kristan (preparing to go to Auckland, New Zealand) and for Rob and Denyce (preparing to go to Moscow, Russia). And one more thing for Rob and Denyce. I don’t think I should share there circumstance, but just pray for them please. God knows. They’re really hurting right now. Thanks and God bless!

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Merry Christmas :)

Yo, yo, and hello!I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! God bless you all in Jesus’ name! Have a great time with your families and friends.
Zack

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Sports Theology

Yo, yo, and hello to all of my readers. I hope and pray all of you are doing well today.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. This is what I call Sports Theology.
Sports Theology says that if team A’s pitcher hits a batter on team B then team B’s pitcher needs to hit a batter on team A. Or if there’s a ruff play by one of the teams then the other team is expected to retaliate in some form or fashion. I don’t know if any of you saw or now what happened in the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks game from last week, but one of the Knicks players tackled a player from the Nuggets (a great play in football, but this basketball) who was driving to the basket for a layup. Then a huge fight ensued. A prime example of Sports Theology. Your team “runs up the score” on our team, so we’re going to retaliate. One of your players ruffs up one of my players, so we’re going to fight now. That’s the way it is in sports.
But that’s not the way of the Kingdom. In fact Jesus says if a man stricks you on one cheek turn to him the other also. And if a man wants you to go with him one mile, go with him two miles. Jesus also says that peacemakers will be blessed and called sons of the Kingdom. This is what we can call Jesus Theology.
Often I get highly involved in cheering when I’m watching a game on TV and even cheer when there’s a ruff play and will sometimes cheer for the other team to get even. I enjoy watching Monday Night Football. During Half Time there’s a segment called Jacked Up. This is where the guys who do the Half Time show choose a hand full of plays in which one player hits someone on the other team so hard it knocks him clear off his feet. Often one of these hits will leave you saying “Ohhh…! Ouch!”. It’s one of my favorite parts of the whole game. It might meen I have a real violent and sidistic part of me or something. But again that’s not Jesus’ way. I need to work on this.
Your thoughts please.
God bless you all in Jesus’ name. I hope and pray all of you have a great day!
Zack
Ps. The Mavs beat the Kings a few days ago and we won last night over the Sonics. Go Mavs!

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Yo, yo, and hello to all of my readers! There are several things to talk about today. First of all, I feel the need to apologize for not blogging the last few days. Been really busy. Now I’m back.
Secondly, I’ve read the third chapter in Like a Shepherd Lead US. It is called Soul Care and The Heart of the Shepherd by David Wray (Bible professor at ACU and elder at the Highland Church in Abilene). At the top of the chapter Wray tells two storys. In the first one he tells of his first ministry position in which he was thrust into a heated discussion between the eldership and a group of youth deacons. They were arguing about the youth ministry taking the teens on a swimming outting in the late summer. A reasonable solution was proposed, that they would wear cover up clothing (a t-shirt and shorts) over their swim suits. This seamed to appease the elders. On the day of the swim party, no one wore the cover ups until mid afternoon, when sun burn was a chief concern. Shortly their after the elders came by to see if their demands were being met. They came, looked around, saw everyone wearing the agreed upon cover ups, and went home happy.
Then he wrote about his second ministry venture inwhich the elders actually took part in the member’s lives and took a more prayerful approach in their eldership. Wray says this second ministry experience rather then the first was a more powerfully positive ministry experience with elders who took on a more shepherding role to being elders. The first group of elders where more of managers for the church then shepherds.
Next Wray discusses a few of shepherding models in the Bible (in both the Old and New Testaments). In the Old Testament he lists Isaiah 40:11 and Jeremiah 50:6 and tells us how these “witness to the importance of shepherding”. And Ezekiel 34 is certainly the most comprehensive Old Testament text on shepherding. Wray says that if we treat 34:4 (for example) as a “spirit description” instead of a job discription he would paraphrase as follows, “You have strengthened the weak, healed the sick, and bound up the injured. You have brought back the strays, searched for the lost. You have ruled them kindly and gently”. He goes on to state that all of these paints the picture of the “responsibilities of shepherds in the twenty-first century, and provides us a biblical shepherding model. Tasks given in this passage concentrate on relationships and challenge us to live near the sheep.”
Then he talks about the four most important tasks of the shepherd in great detail. The first of these is strengthening the weak. If shepherds really know their sheep as well as they should, they’ll know which ones are “strong” and which are “weak”. Shepherds really need to be out amongest their sheep to really get to know each one of them. They need to be among them, to smell like sheep (which is the book title of a great book on elders as shepherds by Lynn Anderson) in order to know what their individual needs are.
The second one is healing the sick. As was stated in the chapter before this, elders are called upon to pray for various situations. And of course one of these is when one is sick (and could be spiritual or physical). Wray brings up a great analogy of when we are physically sick we go to the doctor who prescribes medicen for us to take to bring us back to health. So when we are spiritually sick we must seek out our spiritual doctor (Jesus). We must go to our shepherd to help us go to God to recieve healing in our souls. As James says in chapter 5, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well, the Lord will raise him up” (5:14-15).
The third one is binding up the injured. This includes special spiritual care during times of loss and times of grief. Elders who are truely shepherds will be closely tied to their flock. Then they will visit them in hospitals, in funeral homes, at home wherever to conduct spiritual soul care. Injured sheep are at great risk. Ezekiel 34 paints the picture of injured sheep lying somewhere in the wilderness. If they aren’t found soon wild anamils will find them and devour them. A sheep’s wool coat can be quit heavy and top them over. If they aren’t found soon they will fall prey to any wild anamil that should find it. Their only hope is to be found in time by their shepherd. Far too many times the church finds out about people who have been spiritually devoured by the devil (who’s described as a lion in 1 Peter 5) and it is too late for them to be found. We need to make ourselves available at all times to them to make sure things like that don’t happen.
The next part is bringing back the strays. In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable about a shepherd who gathered 99 of his sheep and went out to find the one lost sheep. And when he found it, he scooped it up in his arms and brought it back rejoicing that the one lost sheep was found. In today’s society we have little or no room for lost things. If something is lost, we too easily toss it out as a loss and move on. Not so in Kingdom business. The Cheif Shepherd will not rest until He has ALL of His sheep back home again.
The next section is on searching for the lost. When a person is lost today scores of people roam the area searching for the one who’s lost. In the same way, biblical leaders search for the lost. As stated above the Cheif Shepherd doesn’t rest until everyone of His sheep is found and accounted for. Far too many churches hear in the US are in decline and people are falling away from the church. We need to be about going out their and find them and bring them back.
And the last section is about kindly and gently leading them. Shepherds must gently lead their sheep. Leadership that is harsh will quickly drive their subjects away. Biblical leadership must be gentle and easy to gain the sheep’s respect, then they will follow him any where. That is what John 10 talks about. Here Jesus says that He knows His sheep and that His sheep know Him and know His voice. They’ll follow Him anywhere, but they won’t follow a stranger. They’ll run away from him. Also in this section Wray talks about the issue of authority in the elders. John 10 especially talks about that too. Here the shepherd has so much “authority” that his sheep only obey his voice. Why? Because the shepherd has earned his sheep’s respect. So much so, infact, that they only obey his voice and no other. They’ll run away from any stranger. They only listen to and obey their shepherd’s voice.
I certainly believe Ezekiel 34 is the most comprehenisve treatise on biblical shepherding in the Old Testament. Please also not Matthew 20:22-25; Luke 15; John 10, and Acts 20 as shepherding models in the New Testament.
Well, I guess that’s all for today. Thank you all for reading my e-book. God bless you all in Jesus’ Name. Have a great day.
Zack
Ps. Please pray for the AIMers especially today (all those currently on the mission field and those still in Lubbock preparing to go to the mission field) and for my friends Elijah and Kristan and friends Rob and Denyce as they are preparing for their respective mission fields. Thanks! God bless you all once again.

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