Yet another name to add to my list.
I’m going to live somewhere where you can have like five million pets.
And name one of my dogs Stephen.
We talked about him in Sunday school this morning.
We talked about how the early church chose seven special men (“Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch”) and how Stephen was freaking BOLD.
(Sidenote: I wrote “Be BOLD like Stephen” on my hand after Sunday school!)
Just look at 6:8 to 7:60
He stood up for what he believed in, and got STONED.
They THREW ROCKS AT HIM.
We talked about persecution, about how we just had See You At the Pole at our Junior and Senior High schools.
Mr. W (who teaches at the HS) asked what we would think if after SYATP day, the students who had been involved had been called to the office and told not to express their faith in any way, shape, or form. What if you were in that group, and you were told you couldn’t wear a cross necklace, weren’t allowed to wear shirts with stuff about Jesus and church on them, etc. And what if you forgot and came back the next day wearing your cross necklace and got suspended? And after your suspension, you forgot again and wore a Jesus shirt? Principal expels you. And because you were part of the SYATP group, they ALL get expelled. And because you’re expelled, you’re seen as trouble-makers in your town, and nobody likes you.
He told us that we have to be willing to stand up for our beliefs even if it costs us everything.
Stephen was STONED TO DEATH for standing up to the Sanhedrin.
I think you can handle a few funny looks.
And today’s sermon was about finding, following, and fueling your passion.
A few things I wrote down that PD said that struck me:
God is a God of passion.
Anything great is born out of passion.
Passion is a worldly term, but it belongs HERE (in the church). We should be living with Godly passion.
Lust is always about What can I get?
Love is always about What can I give?
Christianity is the only religion in which our God is willing to DIE FOR US. (No other religion’s deity is THAT involved in their people’s lives, that passionate about them.)
Living your passion is fulfilling, but it’s not easy.
Fear is the great passion killer.
Newsflash: You’re going to fail. So what?
God walks with us.
There’s going to be pain.
Don’t let pain derail your passion—let it MATURE you.
Pain = mature passion = compassion.
Second Corinthians 1:3-4.
Without faith and passion, it is impossible to please God.
Life is not perfection, therefore it is not Heaven.
Take a leap of faight, belive in what your eyes cannot see. (Poor Baker’s Dozen)
Live with Integrity (walk your talk), Intentionality (follow-up), and Inspiration (Ephesians 3:20).
Point: live passionately. Expect God to do great things.
CS Lewis once compared us to children playing in mud puddles.
I wanna dive in deeper, swim a little farther in Your sea of saving grace. So let the current pull me, let mercy wash right through me, ’til I only see Your face. (Bible Camp theme song several years ago)
When I was coming home from church, I caught the final verse or so of Salvation is Here.
Then John Waller’s Faith is Living came on. (I ♥ John Waller. WIW is freaking awesome.)
At church this morning, we sang a “new” (to the worship sets) song–Chris Tomlin’s Our God.
We also sang Our God Saves and I’m Singing, and during the offering, BD sang Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying.
Some of the lyrics that stuck out to me today were:
If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
Only one love brings you freedom; only one man took the nails.
Hear the JOYFUL sound of our offering as Your saints bow down, as Your people sing. We will rise with You, lifted on Your wings.
Mourning turns to songs of praise!
I also thought of AR’s Don’t Wait, etc. (Check out this post for a couple other AR songs I like a lot.)
That’s what I’ve learned so far today.
Now I’m off to finish devotions (MW challenged us in part to spend 10+ mins a day in the Word) and bake cupcakes for my Fresh girls!
Busy week ahead, and I’m kind of excited for it. =D