Over the last week I have been reading through the new book “Mud and the Masterpiece: Seeing Yourself and Others through the Eyes of Jesus.” by John Burke. It has been amazing to hear all the stories of the people who were impacted by the love of Jesus at Gateway. But the impact of the stories of Jesus and the way he cared and for those that felt more like mud then the masterpiece. One comment really impacted me as I read this book:
“Think about it: Jesus didn’t confront Zacchaeus about his thieving practices, he offered relationship, and that changed Zach.”
The relationship that comes from the radical grace that Jesus offers to each and every one of us. What an impactful statement he did not point out the problem but the possibilities. So it is my hope and prayer that each person that takes the time to read through this book will see that we are a masterpiece created by the master and that we can’t fix the masterpiece ourselves. When we try to fix the painting the only thing that happens is a distortion of the original creation. Kind of like what happened to this picture:
We spent this last Sunday talking about what happens when we step outside the boundaries of what God created for our lives sexually how that can create guilt and brokeness. That we can feel like the mud has been thrown all over the masterpiece. It is our hope that everyone understands that forgiveness is received and not achieved.
What does it mean to you when you hear the statement: “He offered a relationship”?
As we continue in the “Sun Stand Still” series it is amazing to continue to hear about how God is moving in each of our lives each week. I am so excited that we were able to talk this week about how the Bible the word of God is so important to our ability to live a life of Audacious Faith. So as I said I a want to share with you the Faith Confessions that you can find in the book “Sun Stand Still” on pages 114 and 115. I beleive that as we take these confessions that are grounded in the word of God the Bible we feel an sense of what God is doing in us and through us.
Faith Confessions (page 114 & 115)
- I am fully forgiven and from all shame and condemnation. (Romans 8:1 – 2, Ephesians 1:7 – 8, 1 John 1:9)
- I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation. (Joshua 10:12 – 14, John 14:12)
- I have no fear or anxiety; I trust in the Lord with all my heart. (Proverbs 3:5 – 6, Philippians 4:6 – 7, 1 Peter 5:7)
- I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life. (Exodus 3:9 – 12, Psalm 57:2, Colossians 1:24 – 29)
- I am fully resourced to do everything God has called me to do. (Deuteronomy 8:18, Luke 6:38, Philippians 4:13)
- I have no insecurity, because I see myself the way God sees me. (Genesis 1:26 – 27, Psalm 139:13-16, Ephesians 5:25 – 27)
- I am a faithful spouse (if you’re single, you can slip FUTURE in there) and godly parent our family is blessed. (Deuteronomy 6:6 – 9, Ephesians 5:22 – 25, Colossians 3:18 – 19, 1 Peter 3:1 – 7)
- I am completely whole – physically, mentally, and emotionally. (Pslam 103:1 – 5, Matthew 8:16 – 17, Corinthians 5:17, 1 Peter 2:24)
- I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God. (Genesis 45: 5 – 8, 1 Samuel 2:26, Acts 2:37 – 47)
- I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:16 -17, 1 John 3:16; 4: 9 – 12)
- I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make. (2 Chronicles 1:7 – 12, Proverbs 2:6, Ecclesiastes 2:26, James 1:5)
- I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus’ name. (Genesis 50:20, Psalm 3:1 – 3, 2 Thessalonians 3: 2 – 3)
Here is something that I would challenge you to do. Take these statements and print them up and place them in a place where you will see them every morning. We as a family have placed them in each of the bathrooms in our house as a reminder of how are life can look as we speak the word og God over our lives. We seek to be a family that lives a life of Audacious Faith.
As we head into the month of February we all know that Valentine’s Day is in that month. So with that in mind we decided that it was a great time to talk about relationships, marriage, and all that goes with that. Valentine’s Day is really a day that we celebrate the love and relationships we have and it comes only once a year. What is sad is that may be for some people the most romantic and awesome day they have in the year which is really pathetic! With that in mind we are going through a series called ”I Want A New Marriage” what we want people to really see is that the new marriage or relationship that they want is the one that they already have, it just takes some work. I know that we always hear that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, well that is because someone on the other side of the fence put the work into the yard and that is why it looks the way it does.
I thought that we could start out the month by giving people some tools that they can use when it comes to the relationships in their lives. But I want you to realize that the tools are only good if you use them. Here are two books that I have read in the last couple of weeks that I think have great information and practicality in them for relationships.
“Love & War: Finding the marriage that you dreamed of” by John and Stasi Eldredge you can also find the 8 week Devotional for Couples that is great.
“The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” by Gary Chapman it too has a companion book that you can go through as a couple for Bible Study.
“Love & War” is a great book that walks you through their relationship and all that they struggled with to be where they are today. It is a great read if there are things in your marriage and relationship that are keeping you part. ”The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” is a great book that will actually give you work to do at the end of each chapter that allows you to put into practice what you are learning, if you are not a big reader then this is the one that you will what to get. I hope that this is a help to get things rolling in your relationships and marriages. Even if you are a single person these are great to read because it prepares you to think now about what you will want in your marriage. If you are a single guy then I would encourage you STRONGLY to read these because it will prepare you to be the husband that I guarantee a lady is looking for in her life.
So I am sitting in a friends house in Jefferson City, MO with my wife when I receive an email from my 16 year old son asking me to read a book report he is about to turn in at school. As I sat there and read the book report I was more and more amazed at what an awesome man he has become and how proud I am to be his dad. It brought me to tears. His mom then came in the room and I said you have got to read this. In a moment Michelle was reading away at the same report. Her face was all a glow as she just sat there and said, “WOW!” I am not going to just sit here and tell you about it I want to give you the chance to read what he wrote, so here is Tyler Bloyer’s report.
The world that we live in is constantly pressuring us to conform to its ways. The book that I read, Hero: Becoming the Man She Desires written by Fred Stoeker and co-author is Jasen Stoeker, is trying help the men of God fight the fight and staying strong to the commitment we made with our bodies. It is taking on the myths of this world head on and firing back using what the Creator says. It is a book for the defense of those who want to keep sex between their future wives and them, and no one else.
The author is just trying to tell me that, just because I am a follower of Christ, it does not mean that I cannot have the same romance and intimacy that my peers have through premarital sex. Stoeker is helping me by suggesting to me what it takes to be a man of God through my actions with the women around me, and with my future relationships. He writes to me that a man of God does not look at women in a degrading and disrespectful way, and that God created them special and of course different than us men. And these differences are not just physical, but also mentally. The way that women view relationships is very different than the way a man perceives them to be. Women are more likely to be dedicated to a relationship, than a man would be. Also, he lays out all the expectations that God has for his men about sex and abstinence (Oh no I said abstinence!), and how important it is for them to protect their hearts from the temptations of our sex driven culture. God created sex, so why would he think it’s horrible and bad? He doesn’t, God created sex for a reason. It is the bonding of one man to one woman. He made it be awesome and pleasurable. What he doesn’t like is when people abuse this wonderful gift, and use it for our own ignorant pleasures with whomever we feel like it. He created it for a man and a wife to have together, when they had made that commitment to each other and God. AKA when they say I do. But our culture tries so hard to make men like me, fall to its low standards of integrity. Men are constantly under attack through the movies and TV we watch, through the music we listen to, and the websites we view. Satan has used many things to break followers of Christ down. He uses porn, masturbation, and other things like premarital sex. And sure man, we are not perfect people AT ALL, and if anyone says they are, they’re liars. We make mistakes just like everyone else. The only perfect person ever on this planet was Jesus. He never sinned. But yet, he came here on this jacked up world, and he died in place for all the crappy things I’ve said or done. And for this, I know that even though I live in a world of constant temptations and pressures, I know that because I believe that God came here for me and died for my mistakes, that I don’t have to worry about where I’m going after I die. It’s a sure fact.
This book is a tool that God has placed in my life, and I now know what I have to do to be the man that He wants me to be, and the man that future bride deserves.
I continue to pray for the young lady that will some day be my sons wife. I pray that she truly sees what being a Hero for Real looks like.
So over the last weekend I had the opportunity to be able to read the book “Guerilla Lovers: Changing the World with Revolutionary Compassion” by Vince Antonucci. Not only is it a easy read it has some great humor in it. I have had the opportunity to hear Vince speak and he writes just like he talks fast and furious. This book brings to light the need for us to live our lives just as Jesus has called us too by loving people. But in Vince’s unique way he points us in the direction to do it like someone fighting a guerilla style war under the radar. To love the people in our communities to the point that they ask “Why we are doing it.” The other great thing about this book is that at the end of each chapter there are questions called “It’s time to talk Guerilla” and then more that call you to action called “It’s time to Get Guerilla”. They are great for enabling you to think through all of the encouraging, motivating, and challenging things that you read in this book. I think that every person that calls themselves a follower of Jesus to read it and apply it. Let’s go Guerilla and change the world.
This last week I was able to spend some time in between packing and moving our house for Colorado to read a book called “Primal”. While I was reading this book there were several quotes, comments, and lines that made an impact on me especially as we step out on a new journey. One of them was this:
“The word enthusiasm comes from a combination of two Greek words: en and Theos. It means “in God”. And the more you get into God, the more passionate you become .”
One question that I have is this; “How enthusiastic are you about your relationship with God?” The way that you answer that question might really point you to where you are when it comes to being “In God”. I don’t know how many times that I have heard people that say they are following Jesus comment that they are really struggling with being in a relationship with God. What I want us to think about is are we really “in God” or or are we more into us? If we were more into God then we would be more enthusiastic about who He is in us. I pray that this week you are able to see that it is more about you being into God then who you are. For if we are in Him then we will become more like Him.
May we be enthusiastic about the God that sent us the great gift of Grace when we really did not deserve it. May we be enthusiastic about the God that loves us no matter what and no matter where we have been. May we be “in God” today because, we are “in God”.
Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of reading the books that Mark Batterson has written. It was also my pleasure to be able to listen to him share about the amazing things that God has been doing in the church that he pastors in Washington D.C. at a seminar for church starting at “Exponential”. Each time I have cracked the pages of one of his books I have be fortunate to learn something new about God, have a great time doing it, and been challenged to step out on faith. It was through reading the book “Wild Goose Chase” that God spoke to my wife about starting a church. It was through the reading the book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy day” that we as a family felt the spirit speaking to us as a family to set life goals and take the fight to this life that God has given us. In his newest book “Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity” I have been impacted beyond my anticipation. In this book there is a great gathering of the historical, the biblical, the analytical, and the creative.
“Have you ever noticed how many times Psalms tells us to sing a new song? That creative command is repeated no fewer than half a dozen times. Evidently God gets tired of old songs. He doesn’t just want you to worship Him with your memory; He doesn’t just want you to worship Him with your memory; He wants you to worship Him with your imagination. Love isn’t repetitive, Love is creative. As love grows you need new lyrics and new melodies. You need a new song to express new dimensions of love. If you tell your wife that you love her the same way over and over again, she may stop believing you at some point. Why? Because your words are an expression of memory instead of an expression of imagination. It’s half-hearted because it is half minded” Mark Batterson “Ritual” pgs 110 – 111
I think that this is a book for everyone that calls themselves a follower of Jesus should read. It pushes and prods in ways that enables you to really grasp some old areas of faith in new ways. This will be a book that I read as well as my whole family, this is a book that I am excited to say has as much of my ink in it from marks and high lights as what the book originally came with when it was printed. Take the time this Christmas season to share with those around you a great expression of what it means to follow Jesus in some new ways. LET’S GO PRIMAL!
It is amazing to think that when it comes to life that we each have to choose a path on which we will walk. That it can be one that we walk alone or one that we can walk with others. So many people think that by choosing the road that others have walked that it is actually the better way to go. But what if the path that is chosen leads you over a cliff or into the den of a hungry lion. Would you still choose to follow the road that has been chosen by the others.
Proverbs 22:3 (NLT) “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
We need to realize that each and everyone has the opportunity to choose which path we will walk. Last week I read the book, “Principle of the Path” by Andy Stanley. In this book he takes the verse from above and equates it to the many areas of our lives that deal with choosing a path. No matter what we do we make a choice. When we don’t make a choice that is even making a choice. It puts us on a path and every path leads to some where. Where you end up starts with a choice and the choice is which path you will take. The picture at the beginning is one my son took while we were on the beach in San Francisco. In my mind as I looked at this picture and I saw the three sets of footprints as mine, my sons, and my Father’s in Heaven. It is my prayer for my children that as they live this life that they will always be able to see the path that I hoped and prayed that they would be on. I prayed that the path would always be walking with my Father in Heaven. That as a dad I have walked with my children and allowed then to stumble and skip ahead enough to know their own path when it comes to being a follower of Jesus Christ. That as their footsteps continue on and mine do not that they will have the knowledge that the Father of us all will be with them every step of the way.
I love books and I have to say that I am a Barnes and Nobles junkie. I am an addict! Hi my name is Scott and it has been two weeks since I have bought my last book. But this summer I found an author that I would highly recommend. His name is Jon Gordon I have read three books of his that I feel are quite encouraging the titles of these books are “The Energy Bus,” “The No Complaining Rule,” and “Training Camp”. Jon Gordon has put together three books that should be read by parents, teachers, leader, and pastors. They are all in story form and they all teach about areas of life that we need to develop and improve not only our relationships but ourselves. Both my wife and daughter Danielle are reading or have read some of these books and have been greatly challenged by them.
I would like to really encourage people to share the book “Training Camp” with the men in their lives. It is a great story about a football player and his quest to become great at what he is doing in life. But during this quest he is challenged and eventually enters into a relationship with a much wiser and older man that mentors him. I believe that this story is one that will enable each man to become more then he is today and enable him to grow in areas of his life that will not just make him better but his wife, his kids, and those that are around him.
Each and everyone of us needs to go to “Training Camp”!
What if you were a person that did not consider yourself a Christian and you decided to enroll into one of the most conservative Christian colleges in the United States. That is exactly what Kevin Roose did and it lead to the book: “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University.” This young man chose to transfer from Brown University to attend Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University all the time planning to write about his time at the school. (You can read the full article from NPR on by clicking on this Kevin Roose’s name.)
What I thought was interesting was the final couple of sentences in the article:
But there was just a little disappointment. “They thought, given the semester with me, that they would have done a better job of converting me,” Roose says.
They may have done a better job than they thought. Even though he’s back at Brown, Roose still tries to pray every day. He says the act of prayer changes him, referring to the writings of Christian author Oswald Chambers.
“He said that it’s not so much that prayer changes things as that prayer changes me — and then I change things,” Roose says. “That’s going to be important for me — to sit down every day and think about the problems and the challenges facing other people in my life, and really trying to increase my own compassion that way.”
What the students at the school saw as a loss of conversion was actually the starting steps to a young man becoming more familiar with Jesus. We need to remember that someone coming into a relationship with Jesus is not up to us, it is up to Jesus. We are just to share with everyone who He is and then leave the rest up to Him. We give ourselves to much credit when it comes to the process of someone coming to Jesus. In John Burke’s (Pastor of Gateway Church) book “No Perfect People” there is this statement: “Our responsibility is not to make people grow or change. Our task is to create the right soil, a rich healthy environment, in which people can grow up in faith until the invisible God is made visible through his body, the church.”
Sound like Kevin Roose encountered a group of people that were tilling the soil for growth. The question that I have for each one of us is, What are you doing to prepare the soil? If you are leading people what are you doing to e create this kind of environment? Who knows your best friend, your brother or sister, or husband or wife, may be the Kevin Roose in your life.
The last couple of weeks I have been doing some research for our “Man vs. Wild” message series for the month of March. I have taken the time to read one book and half way through the other book. The first book is called “No More Christian Nice Guy” and the second book is called “Unleashing Courageous Faith: The Hidden Power of a Man’s Soul” both written by Paul Coughlin. So far they have both challenged and encouraged me as a Godly man, husband, and father. I say that because for most of my adult life I always felt that there was something wrong with who I was a Christian man. (Now for those that know me yes you knew that there was something wrong with me, beat my family to the punch) I like to bungee jump, skydive, ride a motorcycle, I love UFC and MMA, I go nuts over hard hits in football. These are the things that I like and I never knew if that was what I was allowed to like being a Christian man. I would always hear the comments “Well isn’t that too violent?” or “Don’t you think that is setting a bad example for your son?” Well, what I have really thought about those comments was “I Don’t Care what you think!”
Now that I have read these two books I have to say that I feel even more called to be the man that God has created me to be, you want to know why? Because I was not called to be a “Nice Guy”, I have been called to be a “Godly Man” and being Godly does not always mean that I am nice. I want you to also know that I hope that no one ever calls me nice again. (pg. 181 “No More Christian Nice Guy”: The word nice comes from two very old and unflattering words, one is French and one Latin. They both mean “ignorance, an absence of knowledge or awareness.) My goal is to be Godly and being Godly is not nice and sometimes it means that I need to get into a fight. I need to fight for the love of my wife, I need to fight for the needs and care of my kids, and I need to fight against anything that goes against what God wants for my life. What I really think is that if more men knew that being a Godly men was about getting into a fight they might be more apt to want to follow the Jesus that went all the way to the cross fighting for our freedom, he fought so hard that it meant His death. That is the Jesus that I follow, not the feathered haired, pasty white, never smiling Jesus, that was always serious, and would get knocked down by a sixth grade girl. (I have the 6th grade daughter that could do that by the way.)
If you were to go to church and hear about a Jesus that was a real man, what difference would that make to you?
So as I shared before the “Bloyer” clan has taken on the task of developing a Life Goals list, not for the family but individually. So this last Sunday night we went to Starbucks each of us got our favorite drink and we decided to sit together and we began to write life goals. Now I want you to understand that a week ago we decided to pray about these goals and we would wait to write any of them down. Certain people in my house that will remain nameless decided to start writing. But there were a few of us that still needed to process what this meant and what the goals to were look like. So we all then re-read the information that I got from Mark Batterson after reading “The Wild Goose Chase” and “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy day!”.
After we all were on the same page about the goals the pens came out and the writing became fast and furious. With moments of my wife and kids looking of to some distant place and then back into the “Life Goals” journal that I created for them. As a husband and a dad I have to say that it was an amazing moment. I saw passion, creativity, and excitement that was more then just about the coffee and the addiction that we all have to it. I saw in the faces of my family a glow about what God could really do in them and through them when it came to these goals. We all continued to write until one of us broke the silence. I honestly have to say that I think that it was Morgan when she asked how to write “Broadway Musical Performance”. Right then and there Michelle and Danielle had to find out why this question was being asked. One of Morgan’s “Life Goals” is to sing and perform in a Broadway musical. She said I think that is something that I could do to glorify God with my talents. There was a strong AMEN from Mom and Big sister! So with that being said here are a few of the things that were written down:
Michelle: Go to Culinary school, Send her parents on an all expense paid vacation.
Danielle: Play volleyball at ASU, Remain pure for her Godly husband (Dad liked that one)
Tyler: Go on a photo safari in Africa with his Dad, Play in the NFL
Morgan: Learn to play the guitar before she is 18, Sing and Perform in a Broadway Musical
I wanted to be able to share this with you because I think that we as parents forget that our children have hopes and aspirations to do things in their life. That they can see way bigger then we think and that we need to challenge them to go for it. This week I am preparing a message for our series “Fear: What is Gripping You?” the topic this week is failure. I want my kids to learn to fail, I want to them to have to realize that unless they are seeking the kingdom of God and His goals that there will be failure. The biggest thing is that I don’t want them to remain there. Here is a quote from Teddy Roosevelt that I think is awesome.
The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.
May we as God’s people realize that He has not called us to a life of safety. But a life of adventure and that we as parents are not only called to this life, but to model it to our kids.
What “Life Goals” do you have? When have you asked your kids what their “Life Goals” are? Maybe it’s time to sit down, pray, and see what adventure that God has placed before you and your kids?
So as I have been reading the different BLOGS and watching the Catalyst Backstage Videos there are some amazing resounding themes that have come out. That we as leaders in ministry need to be seeking to do new things in our churches. We are to be focused on the relationship with the living God then just working for him. That are lives are to match what we say, this is what Andy Stanley said, “We want our leaders to have consistency between what they say and what they do.” Then he at the end of the conference made this statement,” When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near. You look back with smiles and lots to celebrate, but you don’t have a lot to work forward to.”
He then posed this question: “Are you willing to be involved in the future more than the present?”
It can become so easy just to keep your eyes on the things that are right before you. If you are constantly just looking at the horizon, then you miss the beautiful stars that are above your head. Some time you just need to do some star gazing. So this last month as part of my book reading list I read the book “Wild Goose Chase” by Mark Batterson.
This is an amazing book that challenges you to look into what it really means to be a follower of Christ. The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit they called Him “An Geadh-Glas” the Wild Goose. So that is where you get the idea of the “Wild Goose Chase” are we living a life that is involved in the chase. In Chapter 2 at the beginning he says that the average person will spend half their waking life at work, that is about 100,000 hours at work. He follows this up with the statement; “instead of making a life, all we do is make a living.”
So it caused me to think about the goals that I have set for myself, my relationships, and my family. This week I handed out to my family notebooks that we are going to put our “Life Goals” in. We have taken this last week to pray about what God has placed on are heart and then this Sunday Night we are all going to Starbucks get a drink and spread out and write our goals. Then we are going to come back together and share what we have written. I am excited to see what my wife and kids write as we seek what God has for us in the future. I am excited to see what things we are going to accomplish with the Lords leading. When we are done I will make sure that I share with you some of things that we come up with.
What Life Goals have you set? What things are you planning to do in the future? What do you see God wanting you to do?
Take the time and do some star gazing.
Here is a special prayer that I read from the book “IT” by Craig Groeschel.This book is about the church and the work that we have in this world. He has the premise that there are churches that have “IT” and churches that don’t have “IT” or that have lost “IT”. I am excited to say that this book challenged my thinking, caused me to evaluate what I do and how I do “IT”. The message of Jesus Christ is not something that should be taken lightly or without passion or thought. May I say this prayer and know that it is a way to always be seeking “IT” so that the gospel will go out and the Holy Spirit changes lives. It is a Franciscan benediction read it and process “IT”:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
What are your thoughts about this prayer? How can you see this playing out in your daily life? What can you do to see that you church has “IT”?