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Small but Mighty

Last night, we had our second launch team meeting, and I am so excited about the group that is forming around this new vision!

We are creating an Acts 2 community.
Trust me…you don’t want to miss out!

A few weeks ago, I challenged our new launch team to be the church for those in Joplin. At this point, we have collected 15 Personal Hygiene Packs full of necessary products… a small step towards keeping people healthy during devastating circumstances.

I was truly blessed by their response.
We are not large, but we CAN make a difference.
We are blessed to be a blessing!

A church that ministers to the needs of people will reap the harvest of the Lord. This means that no matter how small or insignificant you feel, you CAN make a difference.

THANK YOU Elevation Church, for stepping up and being the hands and feet of Jesus to the people of Joplin. This is the beginning of a powerful movement of the Lord.

God, use us for your GLORY!

Let me close with this prayer from John Wesley, and may this be your prayer as well…

“I am no longer my own, but Thine. Put me to what thou wilt; rank me with whom Thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by Thee or laid aside for Thee, exalted for Thee or brought low for Thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Thou art mine, and I am Thine. So be it. And the covenant, which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”

-Daniel

Denial -Part 2

“Suddenly Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: ‘before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.’ And he went away, weeping bitterly.”
Matthew 26:75
Peter remembered.

It was in that moment that Peter came face to face with a harsh reality…

He wasn’t who he thought he was.
He was the opposite.
He discovered inconsistency.

Can you relate? 


There is nothing easy about being confronted with your own brokenness; your own weakness.

Peter was a strong and confident disciple. He had decided early on that Jesus was the Messiah and that he would follow him to whatever end necessary.

However, when time came for “whatever means necessary,” Peter didn’t follow through with his commitment.

We may not know exactly why he denied Jesus, but we are told how it affected him.

Matthew tells us he went away “weeping bitterly.” Have you ever wept bitterly over your own sin? Have you ever wept over your own denial of Jesus?

My heart hurts for Peter in this moment.

Because I’ve experienced life at this level.
I’ve experienced my own sin at this level.
I know what it feels like to want to run away and hide.
I know what it feels like to experience a tsunami of hopelessness that leaves you wondering if life can ever be restored.

I imagine Peter “went away” wondering if Jesus would ever speak to him again. Was his life, as he knew it, over? 
 


…YES!

Peter would never be the same.

And in John 21, Jesus restored Peter. Peter is asked three different times by Jesus “do you love me?” There is no doubt that Peter loves Jesus, but Jesus is trying to get Peter to believe again. Jesus is pulling Peter out of the hole of despair and re-assuring him of their relationship.

It’s critical to notice that Jesus is restoring the relationship first. Peter needed to feel the security that comes from knowing you are a child of the King; from knowing that he is beloved. 
 


The reason I answered, “yes” earlier is because Peter would never be the same…and isn’t that the goal?

The goal is to become more like Christ. Peter was restored by Jesus and ultimately given the mission of leading this young movement in the world.

I know Peter never forgot what happened that day when he denied Jesus three times.

I also know that Peter never forgot the day that Jesus restored him back into fellowship.

It is a hard lesson when we are confronted with our own duplicity.
It was for Peter. It was for me. It will be for you.

But HOLD ON! Don’t give up just yet! God isn’t finished with you! God still has a plan!

If you are sinking, REACH out to someone who can help you. Joy comes in the morning! God’s mercies are new everyday! On the other side of pain is JOY!

Don’t bail. Don’t medicate. Don’t hijack the process.
Remember the promise and go through the process, so that you might experience the payoff.

If you need someone to pray for you send me an email at dtaylor@elevationstlouis.com 
 

You don’t have to do it alone. You can make it. Believe today that God is ABLE! 
 


-Daniel

Denial -Part 1

“Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man! And immediately the rooster crowed.”
Matthew 26:74

Peter was so confident in his devotion and commitment to his Messiah that nothing could get in the way.

Except for the threat of death.

Peter talked the talk but when his claims were tested, he bailed.

He was afraid! Afraid of what might happen to him if he admitted that he was one of Jesus’ disciples.

When I read his story I become rather frustrated with Peter. I get frustrated because he was SO committed to Jesus; so loyal.

Although, at the same time, reading about Peter’s shortcomings somehow makes us feel better about ourselves. I mean, we’ve never denied Jesus like Peter did…or have we?

The truth is, we deny Jesus on a fairly regular basis. We profess with our words that Jesus is our Savior and Lord, but walk out the door and deny him with our life (DC TALK).

Where are you denying him in your life? Is it a relationship or a group of friends? Is it at work? Is it by some secret life or habitual behavior that no one knows about? 
 


You see, even in my frustration with Peter, I love his willingness to share his shortcomings. This should help us MOVE forward in our life, and not become complacent.

We should never use his example as a means of justifying a static life. Peter’s example is to spur us on towards growth in Christ.

Don’t read his story and say, “Well—Peter struggled with this, so it’s okay!” If we do, then we are in jeopardy of living a life less than God’s best.


 
Where have you settled? Confess this to the Lord, repent, and receive God’s power through the Holy Spirit—so that you might MOVE forward and find a better way. 
 


-Daniel

I Need a Doctor

Love him or hate him, Eminem is one of the best rappers/artists out there today.

Yes, his lyrics are extremely offensive, brutal, vulgar, sexist, and hurtful.  And he is definitely not someone you want your kids emulating.

Yet, even in the midst of all those things, his music is making an impact on our culture. Not only is he extremely talented, but his music is also ridiculously honest and raw.  His lyrics are stories of struggle, brokenness, hurt, and longing.  These all have to do with the human condition; which is why, in my opinion, he sells so many albums.

People relate because he is telling many of their own stories.

Am I giving him too much credit? …Maybe.  But there is something going on in his music that causes people to connect.  I am not saying we should condone this type of behavior, but I am saying we must LISTEN.

It is in the listening that we become learners, and when we become learners we can be light.

Did you get that?

LISTENING —-> LEARNING —-> LIGHT

If the church doesn’t become LIGHT in the darkness we will lose our core identity.  It is the mandate of God that the Church stand at the crossroads of Heaven and Hell and fight for the souls of men and women who are in the darkness.

If we won’t, who will?

Christ came to seek and save that which was lost.  He has given us this same ministry.  Let us take this cause, becoming listeners, learners, and light.

Let me give you example of what it might look like to exegete the culture:

Take the song “I Need a Doctor” by Eminem and Dr. Dre [the clean version of course] and listen to it.

It is a strong song about friendship, loyalty, devotion, weakness, strength, struggle, pain, betrayal, loss, etc.  It is also a song about never giving up on a friend, no matter the situation.  He is saying that NO MATTER THE COST, HE WILL NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE HIS FRIEND.

This is also s a redemptive song about the individual who has been beaten down by life, but now they are getting back up with the help of a friend.

And yes, there are also attributes that are evil and revengeful.

Yet, at the core of this song humanity is reflected as the lyrics paint an honest picture of the state of our culture.

It would not be hard to incorporate this into a conversation, a blog, a bible study, a sermon, or even worship.  The struggle isn’t necessarily ‘can we relate it to what we are doing’, it is more ‘will we’?  Will we risk “Christians” criticizing us or maybe even removing fellowship in order to reach people far from God?  People who are more inclined to listen to Eminem than they are to darken the doors of a church.

I struggle with this as much as the next person.  I want to isolate myself and my family from this world, but that isn’t the calling.  The calling is mission.  The essence of the Church is mission.  We must stand at the crossroads and communicate the gospel in the most effective way possible so that people might be saved and transformed by Christ.

Today, how could you listen more, learn more, and ultimately be the light in this dark world?

Please send any hate email to donotbother@yahoo.com

-Daniel