Monday, October 11, 2010

Crazy Love, Chapter 1 Review
by Wes Olsen
       I spent a good 2 hours at Starbucks this weekend reading and thinking through the first chapter, "Stop Praying",  of Crazy Love by Francis Chan. No, I am not a slow reader, I just wanted to take time to think through the questions that Francis raises in this first chapter.
       The big idea in this first chapter, is to stop praying and rushing in with words to speak to God and first consider who God is; to have a healthy fear or reverence to God and stand in awe of Him. In order for us to do this, we must begin with reminding ourselves who God is so that we know whom we are coming to in prayer. Francis explains in some detail, the attributes of God: God is holy, God is eternal, God is all-knowing, God is all-powerful, and God is fair and just. As Francis explains these attributes through scripture, the weight and gravity of this God becomes heavy and big, and I become smaller and sinful.
      Finally we are taken into the throne room of Heaven as described in Isaiah 6 and Revelations 4, and I personally felt like I was finished, undone and wretched as my imagination took me to this awesome throne room of God. It left me quite breathless and dumbfounded. I was certainly in awe and I could not speak and maybe this is often how it should be as we approach this wonderful, magnificent God. Have you stopped to consider Him today? Have you chosen this day whom you will serve?
       Take a few momnets today and stand in silent awe of our great and mighty God, who loves us.

Dirty Mouth and blindness? You may have a condition called "Dirty Heart"by Wes Olsen
     Have you ever heard of the saying, "Garbage in, garbage out"? It is a phrase from the 1960's that is used in terms of computers and the information that you give them, is the information that comes out. It is said that the phrase became famous during the O.J. Simpson trial when his lawyer, Jonnie Cochran used it. I believe it can be used in our lives to describe how what we hear, watch or the things we participate in, go in us and affect what we say, how we view people, or what we continue to do.
      In Matthew 15 Jesus is being questioned by the religious leaders about why His diciples do not wash their hands before they eat as their elders traditionally do. Jesus flips the question back on the religious leaders by asking them, why do they break God's law with their traditions? He calls them hypocrites in front of a crowd of people, and then addresses them in verse 10,
"Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' "  The disciples were then worried and told Jesus, as if He didn't already know, that the Pharisees were offended. Jesus calls them blind guides and that anyone who follows them is blind too.
       In our culture today, there are many blind guides and many people willing to pluck out their eyes to follow these blind guides, just to seem current or a part of culture so that hey will not be left out. recently I watched an interview with rap-star, Eminem, where he speaks about not allowing filthy language in his house or around his kids, because he does not want to expose them to that stuff. And yet his lyrics are often filled with drug abuse, murdering or raping others, and filthy language. The most shocking part of the interview came when they showed a clip of his concerts and the young teenage girls at the front, near the stage, singing lyrics about abusing women, and crying while trying to touch the edge of Eminem's garments. Why? They are blind.
       The solution to the dirty mouth and blindness, is a clean heart. And you can only get this cleaning of the heart by the Great Physician, Jesus. Who opened the eyes of the blind, both physical and spiritual, and gave them new clean hearts. It amazes how much youth want to follow blind guides and how much parents either allow them to or turn a blind eye because it's too hard to allow them not to.
       My encouragement to our youth is to watch what you are putting in your heart and ask the question, "Does this glorify God?" And make the wise decision and not the blind decision. To the parents I want to encourage you to not to give up and invest yourself in your youths lives. Ask them what they listen too, look at their iPods, and check their phones and computers every now and then to see if there is garbage going into them, poisoning their heart. Finally, we must always consider God in every activity and with our thoughts, thinking of the cross and the ransom that was paid for you and I.
       This dialogue with Jesus ends in verses 15- 20, where we have the diciples asking Jesus to explain this more fully to them. See even the diciples don't see very clearly! Jesus says,
"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. 17 "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' "
        Ask Jesus today to clean out your heart by repenting of sin and trusting in Him!

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Mt 15:16-20). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Mt 15:10-11). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Important Dates:
10/13/10, Youth Group, 6:30 - 8:30
10/20/10, Youth Group, 6:30 - 8:3010/24/10, Registration and Down Payment Due for Encounterfest
10/27/10, Youth Group Costume Party, 6:30-8:30
11/3/10, Youth Group, 6:30-8:3011/10/10, Youth Group, 6:30-8:3011/12/10 - 11/14/10, Encounterfest 2010 @ Camp Berachah


We thank God for each and every one of you,

Shorewood Foursquare Ignition Youth Ministry Staff

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