Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pity the Fool

There is such a powerful thing that happens when someone mentions the name of Jesus. Battle lines are drawn. People take sides. Some wince with discomfort. Still others revel in the beauty of grace. It's such an interesting thing to behold in person. You can see the signs on people's faces. That reaction, whatever it is, can tell us a lot about who we are as a people. Think about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 1:21-25
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The Jews of the time demanded a sign that Jesus was who he said he was. The Greeks needed to reason out what he was all about. What did Jesus do? He offered neither a sign nor reason to unbelievers. He offered salvation for those who believed. Today is no different. Christians have been labeled "anti-science" and portrayed as brainwashed buffoons in the news and popular culture. Yet we are still here. We still endure. There are still those who believe in spite of how unpopular it might make them. God's promises still ring true.

Matthew 16:18
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
So take heart, stand strong and never be ashamed of the Gospel. God is on the move. Let's go with him. Even his weaknesses are stronger than we can imagine. The gates of hell cannot defeat us, the Church of Christ.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Art of Joy

Lately I've had a thought on my mind. How do we get joy? How do we express it?

Most of us will immediately think of things like getting something we wanted or being content with life, but if I think hard enough, the most joyful people I know struggle more than anyone. Having what we'd like doesn't cut it. Neither does accepting our circumstances. No, it's something deeper.

I traveled to India last year. A team from Healing Place teamed up with Joyce Meyer Ministries. We had an incredible time, but of all the sights, smells and sounds one has stuck with me more than anything. We visited a feeding center full of dirty little kids living in the worst sorts of poverty. They were excited to sing songs and tell us the few English words they had learned. And there was one girl that radiated a youthful glow of happiness. I couldn't help but being taken aback by it. Here she was in this slum, and she couldn't stop smiling. When I got back to the hotel, I still saw that smile. It almost haunted me. Maybe it was because I couldn't figure out why she was so happy. Maybe I was feeling shame for not being happy with what God had given me. Either way, it changed me.

Joy isn't dictated by what we either have or don't. Our only true joy is a gift from God. The more we trust him, the more joy he is willing to lavish upon us. The more joy we share with others, the more God will give back to us.

Psalm 16:8-11
8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Yeah, some of us have to work at being joyful. We have to make it a point to "set the Lord always before" us. It's not a science nor method, and joy doesn't just happen. There is an art to it. There is a continual revelation in the making and spreading of joy. I just hope I can learn more in the ways of the art of joy.

Monday, February 16, 2009


God is moving so greatly through HPC El Paso as He is in so many other great churches in our city. We have been fortunate to meet and connect with so many new people. God is moving and we know that He can change the hearts of so many people in El Paso and Juarez. We are growing, not because of our marketing, but because God is honoring our heart.

One of our core values is "Reach". We believe in reaching outside the walls of the church and touching people right where they are.

Mark 1:40-41

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged him on his knees. "If you are willing you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing.", he said, "Be clean!"

You would think that Jesus would have healed him first and then touched him. Jesus knew that this man was an outcast and hadn't been touched, even by his family, maybe in years. This man would have to shout, "Unclean, Unclean" on rare occassions when he went to town from his isolation. People would scatter, stare, and shudder. Jesus, filled with compassion, reached out his hand and touched the man.

There are many people with leprosy in El Paso. They are known as prostitutes, drug addicts, convicts, homosexuals, homeless, adulterers, pornograhy addicts, strippers, the sick, the poor, illegal aliens, widows, and even single moms. People that most people avoid for fear of catching their "disease".

These are the people we are called to touch. We are called Healing Place Church because we are "a healing place for a hurting world". We seek out, find, and minister to these people because they are the very people that Jesus came and died for. Let us not be known for our videos, guitars, or pastor...let us be known for being a church that is "filled with compassion" and does something about it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Closer: To Home.

Last week Esther and I preached together on getting "Closer in Marriage". Doing ministry together has been a dream of ours and we are living it out through our church. Esther did great as we shared from our heart, our passion for marriages.