Cell Phone Fun – More “1 Thing” Ideas

In a previous blog, I showed you some snippets of some ways that I distribute our "1 Thing" cards. Every once-in-a-while somebody will mention from the stage (at Journey) some of the crazy ways that I give out the cards. Some of you don't think that it's true. So over the next few weeks, I am going to document (via cell phone video) some of the ways that I give out cards.

Sometimes it's difficult to come up with ways on your own, so I thought I would help out with my blog. Also, I would love to hear about any crazy ideas you've come up with. Email me (smooth@takeajourney.org) and I will post it on my blog. If you video it, post it on youtube or something, and I will feature it on my blog!

This campaign is about to go viral, but it needs your help!

Without further adieau here is crazy idea # 3:

The Movement Continues With a Minor Setback.

I'm talking about "Love God. Hate Sin." Okay, so maybe it's not quite a movement, but it could be. There is one small setback, and it comes by way of a blast from the past. Mylon LeFever already wrote a song called "Love God, Hate Sin" back in 1987. When I found that out, I have to admit I was a little excited. I used to love some Mylon LeFever back in the day. I thought maybe I had stumbled onto the theme song for the movement. I was gravely disappointed. The song sucks! And he sucks for stealing my mantra. Okay, not really. You can catch a depressing snippet of the song here.

Nevertheless, the movement continues unabated. I'm gunna make a t-shirt… and sell it on my blog… and get rich… or at least I'll wear it, anyway.

Cell Phone Fun – Loitering & Littering?

Here at Journey, we are in the middle of a big campaign called 1 Thing I Need to Change. When you have a moment, you should totally check it out at 1ThingiNeedToChange.com. We have asked our people to get involved in this viral campaign to help get the word out. Well, I talk all the creative ways that I find to disseminate information all the time. So here is this episode of Cell Phone Fun: "Loitering & Littering." (Important note: I in no way support loitering or littering… unless it furthers my own personal goals)

Great Daily Prayers – Against Pride

Ask anybody that knows me and I will regularly admit that my biggest spiritual struggle is with pride. When I have confided with my friends about this struggle, many times they look at me with confusion. Sometimes they even try to disagree with me. The reason that many people do not see pride in my life is because that have confused arrogance with pride. Arrogance is a byproduct of pride, or more accurately an outward manifestation of pride. They should not, however, be equated with one another. Here's the relationship: One cannot be arrogant without being prideful, but one can be prideful without being arrogant. Pride is a necessary prerequisite for arrogance, but arrogance is not the necessary result of pride. Oftentimes I can be very prideful. I am not often arrogant. I deliberately try to avoid being arrogant, because nobody likes arrogant people, but that does not mean that I have necessarily dealt with the heart issue of pride. (Side note: Paul Crouthamel wrote a great blog this week along these same lines. You should check it out.)

In Romans 12:3, Paul tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought but to think of ourselves with sober judgment. "Thinking more highly of yourself than you ought" is a good working definition of pride. When I am honest with myself and make an attempt at "sober judgment," I must admit that in my heart of hearts, I am full of pride. How about you? Probably most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought. That's why we get pissed off at people in traffic. What right to they have to treat me that way! In a recent blog, my wife said that we think we deserve something because of a sense of entitlement. Then she went on to explain that a sense of entitlement is essentially thinking that we are more important than anyone else. That's pride. When get get enraged because we have to wait in a long line, or when we think that traffic laws don't apply to us, or when we gossip or talk bad about others, or when we won't volunteer for certain positions at church because they are "below us," or we hold back money that is rightfully God's because we "need" it, we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Am I hitting close to home yet?

So that brings us to today's "Great Daily Prayer." Here is a great one in the battle against pride. This one again comes from The Imitation of Christ. and the opening quote comes from Psalm 8:4.

Lord, "what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?"
What have we deserved that you should grant us your grace?
O Lord, what reason have I to complain if you abandon me? Or if you do not do what I ask, what can I rightly say against your decision?
What I should truly think and say is this: Lord, I am nothing, I can do nothing, I have nothing of myself that is good, and I am defective in all things and continually tend to achieve nothing.
And unless you help me and inwardly instruct me, I will become totally lukewarm and ineffective.
For while we please ourselves we displease you, and while we pant after the praise of people, we are deprived of true virtues.
Your name be praised, not mine — your work be magnified, not mine. Let your holy name be blessed, but let no part of human praise be given to me.
You are my glory, you are the joy of my heart.
In you I will glory and rejoice all the day, but as for myself I will not glory in anything except my infirmities.
Let others seek honor from one another, I will seek the honor that comes from the only God.
For all human glory, all temporal honor, all worldly elevation, is worthless and foolish when compared to your eternal glory.
O my God, my truth, my mercy — O Blessed Trinity, to you alone be praise, honor, power, and glory forever and ever.

Love God. Hate Sin.


Something's been bothering me lately. I think in recent times the church at large has ceased hating sin. If I had to guess, I would say that it's probably due in part to the uprising of new churches which are responding to legalism which has plagued the church in times past. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are many churches that are still very legalistic. I'm reminded almost every week of churches that are just focused on the wrong things. Many of us grew up in churches where it was more about preserving 1950's social norms the pursuing genuine scripture oriented godliness. Somewhere along the way the western church confused social norms with morality, and what resulted was the idea that the purpose of the church was to create good upstanding people. I love what C.S. Lewis said concerning this issue. He said that "Jesus didn't come to make good people. He came to make a different sort of person altogether." Jesus' goal was never about making us "good." His goal was to make us new! It was never about rules. It has always been about relationship. Even in the Old Testament. God gave his law to reveal his character. Yes, he expects us to follow his law because his law reveals his character, and he expects us to become conformed to his character. But it was never about the rules themselves. It was about him and us walking together. In the beginning, genuine relationship existed, then it got screwed up. Now, all of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is about restoring that relationship. I know, I know. You're complaining that I'm oversimplifying things. But I would contend that all the intricacies of Scripture fit under the umbrella of restoration. 

Okay, now I'm going to stop harping on that because it's not my point. I actually think that many of the next generation of churches get that. Sure, many would not articulate it in that way, but we get it. I think the challenge for the emerging church is to not let the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction. I fear that it may have already happened. Our problem is not confusing old social norms with morality, but confusing freedom in Christ with tolerance of sin. Somehow "love the sinner, hate the sin" has become "love the sinner, tolerate the sin." 

This morning I came across something that Jonathan Edwards wrote about sin:

We should hate sin worse than death, and should fear it worse than the devil himself; and dread it even as we dread damnation.
Sin in its own nature is infinitely hateful so in its natural tendency it is infinitely dreadful. It is the tendency of all sin eternally to undo the soul. Every sin naturally carries hell in it! Therefore all sin ought to be treated by us as we would treat a thing that is infinitely terrible.

So this morning, I had to ask myself the question: "Do I hate sin?" Do I despise it, loathe it? Does it make me sick to my stomach? Or do I tend to tolerate it in my own life and in the lives of others? I have to admit that too often I tolerate it. Jesus takes us as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way. He changes us. He disciplines us. He loves us enough to take us through the painful process of sanctification. And then in the name of love, we balk at calling out sin in the lives of those around us. What we do is pick out a few choice sins like homosexuality, abortion, and drug addiction to be adamant about and fool ourselves into thinking that we take a strong stance against sin. What about gluttony? Gluttony carries hell in it! What about lust? Lust carries hell in it! What about gossip? Gossip carries hell in it!What about laziness? What about hoarding financial blessings? What about neglecting the poor, widows, and homeless? What about any number of so called "little sins?" Do we hate them? Do I hate them? Honestly, I am literally nauseated right now. I think I could use a little nausea. You probably could too. 
Hate sin! Hate it because it destroys anything that is good and right. Hate it because it is out to destroy you. Hate it because it is out to destroy your family, your ministry, your life. Dread it as much as you would dread going to hell. Dread it until the day that God damns it forever to the lake fire along with Satan and all his minions. Hate sin! Hate it!
I'm starting a mantra, right now. Maybe it will catch on. "Love God. Hate sin."
So may your own sin nauseate you. May the sin of those around you trouble you. May you love God and hate sin.

My Back is Out

I’m blogging from my phone right now because I’m flat on my back. A little over a year ago, I learned that I have a herniated disk in my back. It doesn’t give much trouble, but my doctor told me to “live in constant fear.” He said that I would be completely fine one moment then the next moment my back would go out. Well, its been over a year and I’ve had a few scares but no big flare ups… until today. After a great weekend, I am now flat on my back and can’t move. FUN! Meanwhile things are piling up. Awesome. On the bright side, God allowed me to get through the weekend so that I could preach. Thank you God for that. By the way, if you get the chance, go by takeajourney.org and listen to or watch my message from this weekend. It’s the message called “Gratitude.” Also, thank you to Pastor Jimmy for allowing me to speak this weekend. You’re an awesome pastor and leader. I love working for you.My Back is Out