Archive for the ‘The Journey’ Category

Merry Christmas!

Posted: December 25, 2010 by Rich Landosky in HSM, MSM, The Journey

Asleep In The Light

Posted: September 15, 2010 by Rich Landosky in HSM, MSM, Rich's Random Ramblings, The Journey, Thursday Thots

Several weeks ago while I was on vacation, I sent a tweet out saying that we were going to turn up the heat this year on evangelism.  As I spent time with the Lord on vacation, I felt Him laying on my heart that we needed to get more serious about reaching the lost with the Gospel.  Last year I think we successfully turned up the heat on serving.  We had a lot of you actively involved in many of our AWOLs – service projects, servant teams and missions experiences.  I am proud of our group the way we have started exercising our gifts, talents and abilities for God’s glory.

I think The Church tends to falls into one or both of two dangers way too easily.  The first is focusing so much of our attention on “us” that we completely lose sight of the world outside of our church walls.  The second is focusing so much of our attention on missions around the world that we fail to see those dying right next door to us.  And that’s where I believe God wants us to look this year.  Not at the expense of the rest of the world “over there” nor at the expense of building solid and authentic community here with other Believers.  All three are equally important.

I heard Keith Green – a former Christian musician who died in the 90s –  say, “There are still billions who don’t know Jesus Christ yet.  It’s either God’s fault that they don’t know about Jesus yet or ours.”  Those words struck me.  Honestly, God could easily reveal His love for us through His Son in a moment, in an instant, without our getting in the way.  But He doesn’t.  He has chosen to use us as the vehicle in which to share the Gospel with the world.  Why?  I think I’ll save that for next week.  Suffice it to say that it isn’t God’s fault that billions don’t know yet which means it must be our fault.

So, the question remains – what are you going to do to reach those around you with the Gospel?  Listen to Keith Green’s song “Asleep In the Light” set to pictures in the video after the jump.  Then in the comment section, leave the name or names of some of the people around you that you are going to try to share the Gospel with in the coming weeks and months.  We can all be praying for each other as we get serious about reaching others with the love of Jesus.

What Would You Die For?

Posted: March 30, 2010 by Rich Landosky in The Journey
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Read this today on Seth Barnes’ blog (Radical Living In A Comfortable World).  What is your answer?

I often ask people, “What would you die for?” Most people are unable to answer with conviction. And that’s a shame.

It’s particularly a shame for those of us who say we’re Jesus followers, but who fill our lives with a ceaseless quest to fulfill our own small needs. Such a pursuit is not enough to build a life around. And, as Taylor Mali points out, our narcissism and ambivalence is reflected in our speech.

How about you, what would you die for? Is it reflected in the way you speak?

Read this today by Jon Achuff on his blog, Stuff Christians Like.

“Are you OK?”

That’s my wife’s polite way of saying, “Why are you being such a distant, distracted jerk right now?”

She said that to me about a week ago and she was right. I was distant. I was distracted. I was a jerk. Above all, I was surprised.

When I hit funks like this, I like to act shocked. I put my hands on my head and say in quiet wonder, “What is going on? Where is God? How come this Christmas season feels so awkward and scattered and ill fitting? What’s going on God, what are you doing?”

It’s better that way. The blame isn’t on me. No one likes to throw themselves under the bus. That would be bananas. But I have no problem acting surprised when God feels far away. If I was honest though, if I really looked at the last few weeks with a filter of truth, I probably would have instead said something like this:

“Wow, my quiet times have been wildly inconsistent this holiday season. I mean I often struggle with them during vacations because my normal patterns are all jumbled up but I reached new lows this Christmas. I’m not starting my days with God right now. I’m not praying actively like I usually do. I’m not centering my mornings and my days on who he is and who he made me to be. It’s been a week since I’ve cracked my Bible and in it’s absence I’ve been filling my head and heart with junk.

I’ve been watching shows on Hulu that I never watch. I’ve been aimlessly surfing online which is usually a deathtrap for me. I’ve been nudging my boundaries all over the place. I’ve been reading and listening to things I usually avoid. Hmmm, I wonder if any of that will have a consequence?”

It does. It might take me a while to realize what I’m doing but when I finally come around it seems so obvious. When I remove quiet time and add junk, things get gross, fast. How am I surprised? How am I shocked that my decisions get shady? How am I perplexed that it’s suddenly a little easier to lie and twist the truth?

I don’t know if you ever do this, but I’m exhausted by it. I don’t like whimpering out of 2009 spiritually but even more so, I don’t like limping into 2010.

Let’s put aside our surprise. Let’s stop pretending. Faith is a day by day, decision by decision, breath by breath kind of thing. And when we spend those days indulging in poison, we get poisonous lives.

The cat is out of the bag. Farewell surprise.

Thoughts To Start The New Year

Posted: January 4, 2010 by Rich Landosky in HSM, MSM, The Journey

I read this on Seth Barnes’ blog today and thought it was well stated.  And since it is a key part of our purpose and mission as a student ministry, it is worth posting for all of us to read.

Your Purpose on Earth by Seth Barnes on 12/31/2009

Tomorrow starts a new year – time to look at the big picture of life, answering questions like, “Why am I here – what’s my purpose?”

Just a few thoughts about that: Your primary purpose on earth is not to do good works. If you follow Jesus, your purpose is to embrace the ministry of reconciliation. Though we’re separated from God and feel the distance, we were born to be with him and to bring others into his presence. He reconciles us in our broken state to himself and asks us to invite others to the party.

Maybe that sounds like evangelism to you. The word “evangelism” sticks in a lot of people’s throats like a bone. They equate the term to acting like a kind of a religious used car salesman in a cheap suit. The problem is that when Jesus asks us to share the gospel wherever we go, we complicate his assignment with threadbare words.

My guess is that if we really understood how so many people feel, it would be much easier to embrace the ministry of reconciliation.

Perhaps you’ve never experienced the sense of utter despair that comes when you feel abandoned by God. Perhaps you’ve forgotten what it was like to feel God’s embrace for the first time.

People all over the earth feel ugly, forgotten, and estranged from God. The Bible calls them “children of wrath,” and that’s how they feel – at odds with themselves and the God who made them, living in a scarred and forgotten place. Listen to a missionary friend of mine describing the Islamic culture in which she works, “The legalistic religion dictates every aspect of  culture turns their lives into little more than an empty performance of religious acts from cradle to grave.  The streets also teem with the various categories of the hopeless. Twisted forms of the crippled, deformed, and indigent hobble down the sidewalks or lie on cardboard mats begging for small change. The lunatics wrap themselves in filthy blankets and rail into empty space. The poorest of the poor are labeled sinners and treated as soulless outcasts. The sense of oppression is thick.”

How do you respond? I think, “Someone needs to launch a rescue mission to set these people free.” And if you were to launch such a mission, people would call you a “missionary.” And you might blanch at the thought. What do you feel as you read these words? Perhaps you feel a small twinge of the pain they describe. Perhaps the word “missionary” conjures up a picture of people being preached to who are quite content to be left alone. Whatever your response to the words, don’t let them distract you from your purpose. We mustn’t let words trip us up or water down the urgency of our assignment.

As a follower of Jesus, your purpose is a noble one. You are called to partner with God to help people realize their belovedness, to see a God who is lovesick and wants to woo them back to himself. It’s the task of setting things right, of restoring the natural order to things – orphans brought into a family, parched lips feeling the refreshment of a cool drink, lonely hearts feeling the glow of companionship.

Jesus described his kingdom as a place where lost things are found. When we’re that lost thing and he finds us, we realize the treasure we are in his eyes. And we get to join him in helping others to see themselves that way too.

It’s an incredible thing to partner with God. It’s wonderful to help a person see that God loves them. If you’ve experienced it, it may have been the high point of your life. To join with God in helping others experience his love is a privilege that we we need to grasp. It’s a purpose to which we must commit.

Steve Taylor Week – Day 2

Posted: December 8, 2009 by Rich Landosky in Rich's Random Ramblings, The Journey
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This song by Steve Taylor, On the Fritz, was prophetic.  A short time after this song came out in the late 80s several well known TV evangelists fell morally.  Around the same time, so did my youth pastor.  And it hasn’t slowed down since then.  If only we all would take to heart the words of this song and kept close tabs on our integrity, especially those in any kind of leadership.

I’ve just started reading Francis Chan’s latest book, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.  Chapter One hits with a question that is a sobering.  Take a look at these words and allow them to sink in a few minutes.

And this is the question I just can’t get around:  If It’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us [Romans 8:9 — You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ] and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple [1st Corinthians 6:19-20 — Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.], then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?

This may be a silly illustration, but if I told you I had an encounter with God where He entered my body and gave me a supernatural ability to play basketball, wouldn’t you expect to see an amazing improvement in my jump shot, my defense, and my speed on the court?  After all, this is God we’re talking about.  And if you saw no change in my athleticism, wouldn’t you question the validity of my “encounter”?