Sunday, September 22, 2013

Alone In A Crowded World

One of...if not THE...saddest things in the world is "aloneness."  As the world is shocked by the death
of Michael Jackson a few years ago, I cannot help but be overwhelmed with how "alone" he was. He like many "famous" people before and after him ended up in a similar place...a lonely place.  I am reminded of the scripture that says, "what does it profit a man, if he owns the whole world, yet loses his soul?"  Maybe it could be re-stated, "what does it profit a person, to have everything they ever wanted, yet still end up lonely?"  Oh sure, he was surrounded by many people at all times, but did they really "know" him? Did he really "know" them? His life screamed out "aloneness". He was a tortured soul, seemingly spinning out of control for years. The very ability that gained him fame & adoration, also paralyzed him. He was so well known, like many celebrities, he couldn't go out in public like a "normal person". Thus his life became abnormal. Aloneness does that to a person. God said, "we were not meant to be ALONE." In other words, you were not designed by your Creator, to live life "alone". God is all about relationship. He created us in His image. We are also designed for relationship...with God...and with each other. When we live without relationship...stuff goes haywire. Live without God for too long, and watch out, things spin out of control quickly. Live life "alone" without real, authentic, deep relationships with other people...and the "aloneness" will deteriorate you and who you are meant to be. Our culture sees symptoms of aloneness and its effects...not just in secluded celebrities that become eccentric...but in our society in general. Alcohol, addictions and drug abuse are often fueled by the pain of "aloneness". Sexual identity issues flow out of a desperate attempt to have some semblance of "belonging" or "being less alone". Gangs are often a substitute for the family & friends that are NOT there. Materialism grows out of the need to have "stuff" being traded because self worth and value are not felt within. Insecurities and fears of all kinds sprout out of this over whelming sense of being helpless and alone in facing life. Divorce and the re-defining of "family" is a desperate attempt to try and solve the problem of "aloneness" even within the context of marriage & home life. But one of the saddest forms of "aloneness" is "religious aloneness". That way of religious life that is so skewed, that you are left to work out your salvation... on your your effort. Religion, after all, is really "man's attempt to please God". Now this is in many religions...and is a concept many people obviously gravitate towards..."earning brownie points with God". Somehow we feel more in control if its about "us" doing stuff and being "good enough". Many religions hold to this ideology...and many Christians fall into the same trap as well. We like the "control" of doing something to "get" something from God...but its a double edge sword... because it leads to "religious aloneness". That place, where we all face reality, and KNOW we are NOT good enough...that we can't do it on our own. That is "religious aloneness". If you have bought into the mindset that "if" you do the right stuff, the right way, then God is pleased and will bless you... you will quickly feel "alone" when you realize you can't. Even the best of us can't do it all right, all the time. If this whole life somehow depends on you "doing it" to earn God's favor...then you will feel overwhelming "alone"...especially when you realize you can't keep it up. The task is beyond our abilities. If you live there too long, that "aloneness" will deteriorate who you are...and who you are meant to be. Like Michael Jackson, you will live a religiously eccentric life...out of touch...and alone. Not at all what God intended. God said "we are not meant to be alone". He meant it. God in His grace solved the problem of human aloneness and religious aloneness. He took away any barriers that hinder our relationship with Him, through Jesus payment for all our sins & blow its. Now nothing is in the way. God says, "for all who would call on the name of Jesus..." Not just some who are good enough, but those who trust what Jesus did, and trust enough to begin a relationship with Him. Not just a relationship where "your sins are forgiven", but also a relationship "where it is Christ in you" that produces Godly things in and through you. Where God's Spirit guides, directs, counsels and heals the soul that would trust Him. You see, God offers a life now & for eternity, where we do not do it "alone". God provided the payment for all our sins & failings...God guides, directs, counsels & heals us...and by trusting the Jesus in us, it is God who does the transforming within us! We are definitely not alone in this journey! God did not create us to live alone naturally...and thankfully He doesn't allow us to live spiritually alone either...He promises to be with us, every step of the way. At ECHO, we call that "good news"...How about you?

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rhetoric Bombs Away!

Have you ever seen 3rd graders argue?  At some point it will get reduced to the ridiculous.  It may go something like this:  "That's my ball".  "No it's not", is the reply.  "Yes it is, it's mine, give it back" flies back at the ball holder.  "Go get your own ball", the possessor retorts.  Frustrated the response is, "It's mine, it's red, and it has my name on it."  The ball holder yells back, "Prove it".  Red faced the ball pursuer yells, "it's written right there stupid".  Then the reply, "No, you're stupid".  "No you are, if you could read you can see my name written right there!".  In defiance comes, "Your fat, and I don't like you."  "I'm going to tell my mom if you don't give it back".  In sarcasm the mocking comes "Oh go ahead little baby, go tell your mommy, you big baby, go crying home, wah wah wah."  Screaming the response flies at full volume, "Give me my ball before I punch in your big fat mouth!"  "Who cares, here's your stupid ball, I never wanted it anyway." as the ball gets thrown as far away as possible from it's owner in spite.  

Silly as these playground moments tend to be, they appear to be more common these days among the adult population.  It seems people get quite brave on social media these days, and the rhetoric is escalating.  Unfortunately, people don't seem to be able to discuss topics without a verbal assault.  Especially if one should disagree.  If you should take a different view on "any" said out...cause the rhetoric bombs will come a flyin!  Instead of discussing our differing views and understanding why we may see things differently...we call're're believe in fairy hate hate (insert the race of your choice) hate gay are ignorant etc...  The assault begins.  Unfortunately, for many, the pursuit of truth and understanding ends at the bombed out walls of rhetoric.  No one dares venture further lest they be assaulted further.  Sadly, the ability to truly understand differing viewpoints has been diminished.  Sadly, true tolerance of various opinions is diminished in the assaults.  Sadly, the ability for people to journey towards truth alongside each other, even when we may disagree sometimes, gets washed away in the blood bath of rhetoric.  We have become a very polarized people.  Unfortunately, social media has made people braver...and more shallow in their understanding of any number of issues.  Depth comes from probing deeply into the various views on a topic, respectfully learning "why" their may be a difference of opinion.  Sometimes it is a misunderstanding.  Sometimes it is the "worldview" one starts from and the assumptions that go along with it.  Other times, there are valid disagreements, and we may choose to "agree to disagree".  Is that possible anymore?  Or has tolerance become, " I tolerate you, only if you agree with me"?  If so, then we know little of what true tolerance is.  As a follower of Jesus, my world view is Jesus centered.  Perhaps yours isn't.  I get "why" we may see things differently.  But I don't have to rhetoric bomb you into submission to my view, no more than you need to rhetoric bomb me into annihilation, either.  Perhaps if we as followers of Jesus...or as simply human beings...could set aside the distortions of the extreme left or right on any issue...and examine the core points of disagreement, we may actually get closer to the "truth" of the matter.  At the very least we could be respectful as we pursue "truth"...even when we disagree.  Hopefully diminishing the polarized rhetoric bombs in favor of encouraging one another towards truth.  What if we don't?  Then we will see more of the same.  Polarization and a retreating of ideas, as both camps on any issue hunker down to protect themselves from the incoming enemy fire.  And "truth" loses.  "Respect" loses.  "Love" loses.  In the end, humanity loses, because we have lost so much in the causalities of our rhetoric wars...most importantly, we lose each other...and that is sad.  We can be better than that!  Jesus calls us to a better way...

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Oh Hell

Hell. We don't like the idea of it. It makes us uncomfortable. It makes us squirm. Some wish and hope it doesn't exist. Some can't imagine it even being possible. Others respect it's reality but hesitate to dwell on it's ramifications for themselves or those around them. We have often heard statements such as “War is hell” or “I went through hell.” These expressions are, of course, not taken literally. Rather, they reflect our tendency to use the word hell as a descriptive term for the most ghastly human experience possible. Yet no human experience in this world is actually comparable to hell. If we try to imagine the worst of all possible suffering in the here and now we have not yet stretched our imaginations to reach the dreadful reality of hell. According to Jesus, who spoke of hell and judgement more than any one person in scripture, this hell thing is serious business. It is ghastly to say the least. Horrificly unimaginable. Indeed, that is probably why we struggle with the subject so much. According to Jesus, hell is a lake of fire...a place where two of our worst experiences are combined...drowning and burning...but at the same time! Uh no thanks, I'd prefer to avoid that if at all possible! Jesus also uses more graphic imagery:

• Those in hell suffer intense and excruciating pain. This pain is likely both emotional/spiritual and physical (John 5:28–29).
• Hell is a fate worse than being drowned in the sea (Mark 9:42).
• It is worse than any earthly suffering—even being maimed (Matthew 5:29–30; Mark 9:43).
• The suffering never ends (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:48).
• The wicked will be “burned with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12).
• Those in hell will be thrown into the fiery furnace and will experience unimaginable sorrow, regret, remorse, and pain. The fire produces the pain described as “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30).

Now some would suggest that Jesus teachings & parables that many of these "descriptions" are symbolic not literal? OK, perhaps. But since when is the "symbol" greater than the reality? In fact, symbols usually point to a greater truth, a deeper reality. For example, that gold cross around your neck. It is more than a symbol of two pieces of wood in a cross shape. It points to something much more intense...far greater. It reminds us of the reality of the crucifixion, that brutal torture of Jesus that led to His death. It reminds us of Jesus great love for us, "that while we were yet sinners, He chose to die for us, so that we may be able to be sons and daughters of God". It reminds us that the cruelty of the cross would lead to a victory over sin, evil and death in Jesus resurrection 3 days later. You see, that cross around your neck points to much more than just the gold symbol in the form of jewelry. So too does the imagery in Jesus teachings. How ever horrific it may seem, the reality is far worse, far more intense, far deeper. Jesus is trying, as he does in all His parables, to break down the truths of eternity to the level of our human understanding. He is trying to give us a glimpse at the truth at the level of our understanding. But it is not the whole enchilada, as they say. The reality is beyond what we could ever imagine. In that we should take great comfort as we look towards heaven and God's Kingdom realized in its totality. But it should also give us great warning as we look towards the eternal reality of hell.  Jesus spoke of it & lived & died as if "hell" was real.  So shouldn't we also?

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Father's Heart

Don't you love super hero's?  Spiderman, Iron Man, Superman?  There is something about those dudes that we resonate with?  They are brave...though sometimes relunctantly.  They are battling for righteousness in the face of evil & corruption.  They are at their core somebody we would all like to be.  Perhaps that is why, since we were little kids running around with our capes on...we wanted to be just like them!  Have you ever noticed a central quality in all our beloved super hero's...they are willing to lay down their life for the sake of those they love...for the betterment of man that justice can prevail...and so that things can be made right!  I want that...don't you?  Every year as Father's Day comes & goes, some get sentimental.  Some get sad.  Some get hopeful.  Others hope to avoid the "celebration" entirely.  I suppose it has a lot to do with the "father" you had...or the "father" you would like to become.  Some had good dads and good memories.  Some never knew their dad.  Some lost their dad too soon due to death or divorce.  Some strive to be just like dad.  Others strive to be better than the dad they ended up with.  Too many want to be as far from what their dad possible.  It is often hard to look to a model of what a "father" should be...especially if you didn't have a good one...or perhaps didn't have one at all.  Even if you had a great dad...the reality knew him too well, and you know his flaws as well.  So where do we go, if we want to be the dad God desires us to be?  Where is the model to follow?  Where is the guidebook, the roadmap, the way?  Well Jesus models a very interesting truth for us...scripture says that Jesus only spoke what His Father asked Him to speak...that Jesus only did as the Father asked Him to.  I think it would be safe to say that if Jesus were that dependent & trusting of His Heavenly Father...then perhaps we should be too!  In a complicated world, where values & family structures are changing is good to know that our Heavenly Father is trust a Way we can trust...and loves us and our families more than we do.  That's a good thing!  A great thing!  

In Ephesians chapter 5, scripture gives us some great family instructions and wisdom.  But I often think we miss the most important part.  Most people get hung up on the "wives respect your husband" stuff...or the "children obey your parents" part.  But the key, the foundation to it all rests on good ol' dad...yes you husband, father & dad.  This portion of scripture reminds us that a man is to love his wife (his family also) as Jesus loves the church (His followers).  It speaks of this love of Jesus being willing to lay down His very life for those He loves.  It speaks of Jesus presenting His bride (His church, His followers) before God without blemish...without spot or wrinkle.  Jesus righteousness allows His bride to be spotless and without blame before God.  Wow, what a concept!  What a truth!  It is not that the "church" of Jesus followers got their act together and shaped up that removed their own "spots & wrinkles"'s what Jesus did on their behalf!  That is grace...amazing grace!  So what does that mean to us guys as we lead our families, our wives, our means "if" we are to love as Jesus did...then it is not about my wife or kids getting their own act together.  But it is about me loving them & serving them...for in me doing that with God's help... "their spots & wrinkles" are removed.  It's not based in "their" has a whole lot more to do with me.  It's rooted in us guys, being Jesus like in serving them...laying it all down for them...and listening to our Heavenly Father, speaking as He asks us to, and acting as He directs!  That is a that drives us toward our Heavenly Father to guide us, show us & shape us...for our wife & our kids sake!  Ultimately for the Kingdom of God's sake...and may it begin with you & we become the super hero's God has designed us to be!  It may seem impossible at times...but that's what super hero's do...the impossible!

be God's-
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude   

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tolerate This!

"Tolerance", according to Webster's, speaks of "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own... the act of allowing something". In a sense it is a "making room for", even if you don't agree. Our culture seeks "tolerance at all costs", it seems to be a high value to many. In a world of “tolerance” many would love to see it extend towards religion also. Many say, "Well, they all are basicly the same... they are just different paths to the same goal", so we should be tolerant enough to allow this "religious smorgasboard". As I ponder this, I realize that perhaps all religions "are the same" some contend...let me explain. All religions acknowledge one central truth that seems universal to the human condition. Man is not “good enough”. Man has fallen short and needs to grow in His spiritual disciplines to be acceptable to god or even to become more in tune with god. All religions offer this concept as its core motivation. Apparently, humanity, at its deepest core, senses that we are out of favor with our Creator. We know we have sinned and come up short. Hindu’s, Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks, American Indians, Wiccans, Jews and yes even Christians all agree. We are not who we should be, and we need to grow, get in tune, and become "more" than we are. What’s fascinating, is that each of the world’s religions, past, present, and I assume, any we’ll dream up in the future, realize this and are built around “how” we get beyond our fallen-ness, and our human-ness. If you examine them all, they all tend to say similar things about right & wrong, it's quite fascinating really! To summarize some of the common religious beliefs, according to CS Lewis, we all basically agree that:

“-we are to not do harm to others in what we do or say (Golden Rule);

-honor your father & mother;

-be kind to brothers, sisters, children & the elderly;

-do not have sex with another’s spouse;

-be honest (don’t steal);

-don’t lie;

-care for those weaker or less fortunate;

-dying to self is the path to life”

It’s uncanny that such a variety of religions, would all have a similar code of conduct, so to speak, as if we all have some built in sense of right or wrong within us. Actually, we commonly know this as our "conscience", and it appears to be alive and well in most religions. The bible would say, "God has written His moral law on the hearts of all men". It seems that virtually all religions say most of the same things, so they do agree on a lot, don't they? Yes, there is an element of common truth present. Basically, we all agree on what’s right & wrong, in general. We all agree that mankind has screwed up and that we need God or a higher spiritual ideal. All religions offer methods to try to “make up for” or “try to attain”…but only one gives a permanent solution not centered in “us”. The bible says we are saved by God’s grace…not by what "we do". Grace is a concept far more powerful than tolerance. Tolerance is kind of like "grace light" is grace without love. Tolerance makes "room for" what we don't like...grace embraces us as we are! Jesus, God in the flesh, entered our messed up world, as one of us. He came humbly to model love in its purest form, and then He sacrificially died for all sin, all wrong doing, and all failures. God Himself had the solution…He paid His own price…and made a way for everyone to know Him in true & authentic, everlasting relationship. The “wall of our failure to be what we should be” is gone. Now for all who "choose" to trust Jesus, a relationship is available. The question now is, who "trusts" what God has done? Who will step into that relationship? That is what separates the religions of the world. All of them seek to "fix" the human problem of falling short. Only one provides the is uniquely found in Jesus! Only one isn't centered on what "we do", but on what "God has done" for us. That is a significant difference. One worth considering...and exploring. At ECHO we hope to be a safe place for people to explore that very thing...and to experience it the hope they might express it to others also...

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Monday, April 1, 2013

Who Do You Think You're Fooling?

The fool wonders, the wise man asks.
Benjamin Disraeli

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
Psalm 14:1

The best way to convince a fool that he is wrong
is to let him have his own way.
Josh Billings

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

A fool thinks himself to be wise,
but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare

But everyone who hears these words of mine
and does not put them into practice
is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
Matthew 7:26

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin

Fools talk way too much,
Chattering stuff they know nothing about.
Ecclesiastes 10:14

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...
It takes a touch of genius -
and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Albert Einstein

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar?
Where is the philosopher of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:20

Showing off is the fool's idea of glory.
Bruce Lee

Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:7

A fool and his money are soon elected.
Will Rogers

Answer a fool in simple terms
so he doesn't get a swelled head.
Proverbs 26:5

A fellow who is always declaring he's no fool
usually has his suspicions.
Wilson Mizner

Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
Proverbs 10:14

The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool:
these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.

Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly;
the prudent quietly shrug off insults.
Proverbs 12:16

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day;
wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.
Elbert Hubbard

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 12:15

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep
to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliot

Are you so foolish?
After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Galatians 3:3

Any man is liable to err, only a fool persists in error.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
Proverbs 26:11

A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly,
science into superstition, and art into pedantry.
Hence University education.
George Bernard Shaw

Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.
Proverbs 13:20

A fool is wise in his eyes.
King Solomon

A poor youngster with some wisdom is better off than
an old but foolish king who doesn't know which end is up.
Ecclesiastes 4:13

A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy,
and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.
Robert Frost

The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard;
fools look for it everywhere but right here.
Proverbs 17:24

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.

What's this? Fools out shopping for wisdom!
They wouldn't recognize it if they saw it!
Proverbs 17:16

It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others
and to forget his own.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

The fool sits back and takes it easy,
His sloth is slow suicide.
Ecclesiastes 4:5

I pity da fool.

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Luck

St. Patrick's I love this of the best holidays of the year in my opinion. Now it's not only my favorite because I am Irish. My parents were raised in Ireland, and yes most of my relatives live there. In fact my family and I went a few summers ago for the very first time. Wow, what a great experience! Seeing where my parents grew up, tracing family roots, visiting extended family (many I've never met before, face to face). But also gaining a greater understanding of my Irish history and a great appreciation of the most famous of Irishmen...St. Patrick! I know most of us in America see March 17th as a holiday full of drunk folks pretending to be Irish as they drink green beer, eat corned beef and cabbage, and wear a variety of embarrassing green accessories. But you see, St. Patrick's Day is much more significant when you know the true story. First, St. Patrick wasn't even Irish. He was captured and enslaved by Irish men and forced to work for them in Ireland. After years of slave labor he received a vision/dream from God. God directed him to take a certain escape route that would lead to a harbor where a man in a boat would be waiting for him, and that man would take him safely back to his family. Sure enough, Patrick did as directed and there was a man with a boat waiting. Shortly after, he was indeed a free man reunited with his loved ones. Patrick soon came to know God personally and became very devote, even training for the priesthood. After seminary, he was serving as a priest with the usual "churchy duties", when he received another vision/dream from God. This time the vision was a picture of the Irish men who had enslaved him begging him to return to Ireland to tell them about Jesus. Patrick humbly said "yes" and returned to the very people who had hurt him, used him, abused him & cruelly took him from those he loved. Patrick was used by God to bring the truth of Jesus to the barbaric Celtic tribes warring throughout Ireland. Due to his willingness and God's grace, St. Patrick's legacy is responsible for Christianizing the nation of Ireland! That is why the Irish celebrate St. Patrick. He is the patron saint of a nation, that is responsible for millions of people sharing in the blessings of the Kingdom of God for generations. I don't know about you, but that story motivates me. To think a humble man, simply being willing to do as God directed, could be part of such a miracle! Wow, I want to be like that dude! Were the Irish just "lucky"? Right place, right time? Coincidence? Heck no, they were blessed by God intentionally through a man that said, "yes, I hear their cry, and I'll go do something about it...personally!" You see, Patrick probably was real uncomfortable going back to Ireland. He probably hated the Irish for what they did to him. He probably feared for his safety, feared for his life even. Yet he trusted God, and went a people most of the church establishment in his day thought was a lost cause. I love that...God does miracles in the midst of lost causes! God loves to transform lost causes! Our prayer is that ECHO would be a church that is willing to go to people that the "church establishment" may see as lost causes. Our prayer is that we can be a part of "lost cause miracles!" Our prayer is that we would be willing to be uncomfortable...hang with those we usually don't...reach out to those we may even fear...or don't understand...or maybe don't even "like"...and learn to love them as Jesus does. Because somehow in the midst of that, God's love grows inside us and spills out on those people around us, as we learn to "love others as we love ourselves". As we serve people, with tangible expressions of God's love, grace & compassion, God shows up in us and through us! Because no one should be left out. I love that! It's God's heart, His desire...that no one should be left out! I see that in the life story of St. Patrick...and I feel its a great example to us of what a church can ECHO of God's love from generation to generation! Because God's heart is that no one should be left out...can you hear the ECHO...

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Can You See?

Window In The Skies

The shackles are undone
The bullets quit the gun
The heat that's in the sun
Will keep us when there's none
The rule has been disproved
The stone it has been moved
The grave is now a groove
All debts are removed

Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
What it's done to me?

Love makes strange enemies
Makes love where love may please
The soul and its striptease
Hate brought to its knees
The sky over our head
We can reach it from our bed
You let me in your heart
And out of my head, head

Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
What it's done to me?

Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Please don't ever let me out of you

I've got no shame, oh no, oh no

Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
What it's doing to me?

I know I hurt you and I made you cry
Did everything but murder you and I
But love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize
To every broken heart
For every heart that cries
Love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize

Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
What it's doing to me?
lyrics by U2

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Love Out Of The Box

OK, in the aftermath of Christmas bliss, does anyone know what's up with "Boxing Day"? How weird...we celebrate "boxing" the day after Christmas? Well, at least in Canada and the British Commonwealth they do. Why is the sport of boxing glorified...and if so...why the day after Jesus birthday? Now I'm not a sporting prude of any kind...I get the sport of boxing, as violent as it is to I'm not saying, "boxing sucks"...but why the holiday? Are those beer swilling, hockey brawling Canadians that desperate for another day off work? Whats up with that, and who signed off on it? So I checked a bit on why...and guess what "Boxing Day" ain't what most of us think it is. It's not about "boxing" the sport at all...though we often joke and refer to it as such. It's actually a day firmly rooted in the Great the true Spirit of Christmas. "Boxing Day" was a tradition that took place the day after was a day to give gifts to those less fortunate than you. The more fortunate gave to the less fortunate. Often those items were very practical...clothes, food, tools, cash... usually based on the families needs you were giving to....and they were often put in boxes to be given to those families. Hence the term "boxing day". It was a "loving others as you love yourself" kind of day. After being showered with gifts on Christmas by those that love in turn, took December 26th to give to those with less than you. Wow, how'd we miss this holiday in America? In our churches? It's quite the cool thing really...this "Boxing Day". Somehow we missed the point. It reminds me of how we often miss the point in church circles. Too often we get caught up in building our kingdoms... our churches...our ministries...our legacy...but we miss the main point. Jesus summed it up for God with all you got...and love others as you love yourself...the "point" is relationship...with God and with others. Real, authentic relationships of love, grace, forgiveness, compassion...of being known and of knowing...of doing life together. But somehow we box ourselves into what "church is"...its 2 fast songs and 3 slow songs...announcements and a message...its cool, state of the art performances that are as slick as slick can be (even timed to the minute)...its Walmart greeter type people at the doors saying "hi", but never knowing or caring to really know me...its programs that dazzle...its events that attract the biggest crowds...its buildings built to impress...its eye catching marketing to draw people in...oh ya, and of course we need to work in some kind of small group thing, cause that 'community' thing is popular these days. What? Have we boxed ourselves in? How closed in are we? Because that's what others "do"... are we to do the same? Is that what Jesus really asked us to do? Have we missed the point entirely? "Community" isn't a cool trendy word to put on your website...its the goal. Relationships are not "one of" our programs to attract more is THE "point". It is emphasized throughout scripture...over and over...without love you are not God's...even miracles done without love are meaningless (even annoying)...and lest we forget...even churchey stuff done super well, if done without love, Jesus says, "go away I never knew you". Relationships...real authentic, relationships as God the point...not a peripheral add on or option. All we do at ECHO gets filtered through this...does it enhance a persons growth in their relationship with Jesus?...and does it create an environment where love grows person to person?...if not, we don't do it. It simply is not what its all about. Some of that stuff can be helpful...but without is a waste. So why waste time thinking church is about something it isn't. In the end we look foolish...completely ignorant of the obvious...yet our boxed in viewpoints limit our perspective. Jesus would challenge us to look to the source...look to what He says is vital...if you do, you'll be able to step out of those boxes of "church-ianity" and begin to live life as God intended...a process of loving Him more and more...of receiving His love at a deeper level...and of passing that love on to others, as His Spirit teaches you. At ECHO, we love getting out of the about you?

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On The Road Again

Who ever said life's goal was happiness? In reality, we all live as if that is true, don't we? We strive for the right job to make us happy...we strive for the right house, the right friends, the right experiences, the right hopes it'll all end up taking us to that elusive goal..."happiness". Of course the ultimate is that place called, "a state of happiness"...somewhere down the dusty road of life we are to "arrive" in that place...that destination...that place...that "state of happiness". I think with that mindset, we set ourselves up to be disappointed, and with that our journey leaves us frustrated, unsatisfied and forever seeking happiness. Even Christians live in this mindset. Some came to begin their relationship with God under the guise that now everything in their life will finally "click" more bumps in the road. Unfortunately, too many quickly realize that a relationship with God doesn't guarantee "happiness" some get angry with God...or feel He is mad at them...or their faith is too weak...or even that maybe this "God thing" isn't even real. It's a shame, because we have set people up to be disappointed. Does God provide eternal life, and is heaven a place where all is provided and their are no more tears? Oh ya, definitely, but that's heaven, not earth. Too often we don't make that clear. The bible makes it clear "we only see things in part", as humans on earth, so it's hard to comprehend it all. People still die. Children contract horrible diseases and suffer. War exists. Tragedy's still occur. Couples still get divorce. Addictions still can ravage people's lives. Whether you are a Christian or not, life still hits you in face! Now if you believe that being "happy" is the goal... then many are bound to be disappointed. Some will point to the bible verse that says, God gives us, not just life "but life more abundant". That's true abundant life is promised, not just eternally, but also now in the present life. But what about the scriptures that say, "we are to take up our crosses daily", and others that speak of living a sacrificial life, where we willing lay down our lives for the sake of God's Kingdom and others? What about the road "being narrow and hard" not wide and easy? What about the greatest "being the servant?" What about Jesus promise that those who follow Him "will be persecuted" for it? This raises an important question: Maybe God's "abundant life" isn't what we think? Maybe God's "abundant life" doesn't equal our visions of "happiness?" Maybe "happy" isn't the goal at all. If you think about it, "us" being "happy" is really a very selfish, self-centered view of our relationship with God and life. Since when is the story about "us?" Last I checked the story was about God, and we are bit players in what "He is doing." If we don't understand that simple truth, then we live as if God is our "great vending machine in the sky" that's waiting around to meet our never ending list of wants and needs. There is this tension in most of our lives, where we seek after "what we don't have", rather than be content with "what we do have" each day. If we are always seeking that elusive "thing or person or experience" we don't have...then we live continually frustrated...which chokes out noticing all that we do have today. What we do have is "never good enough", which becomes our mindset...surely not an "abundant life" way of thinking. Philippians chapter 4 gives us a better picture, perhaps, of what God's abundant life is like. It speaks of "learning to be content whether I have a little or a lot". It speaks of not being anxious...but instead submitting to God all our concerns, wants and desires, in prayer and trusting Him in that...and instead thinking on what is good, right, pure, lovely etc... In other words, stop fretting over your vain attempts to be "happy" through whatever means you feel will get you there. Instead God suggests, that we learn the art of being "content", because in "contentment" we discover the "peace that surpasses all understanding" and we experience "the strength to do all things". Notice its centered in God not us. It's a very subtle but profound truth, but oh what a difference it makes. Life centered in "us" brings a lot of frustration and anxiety...cause the search for "happiness" is ever elusive. But life centered in a growing, trusting relationship with God... where we learn to think on the right things...submitting our concerns to God in prayer...well that brings a "peace" in the midst of the craziness of life, a peace that is supernatural. Not only that, but we experience a "strength" that sustains through whatever life throws at us. In that, we find a joy, that is beyond what we call "happiness". Somehow we need something to get us through life when we don't "feel happy". A joy centered in a God that wants to journey with each of us through life...through the darkest valleys...and to the most majestic mountain tops. GK Chesterton once said, "one sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peaks." We can never underestimate what God can do in and through us, regardless of life's circumstances. He desires for us to trust Him enough to allow Him to bring peace and strength when we need it...often in the midst of circumstances beyond our understanding and capabilities. I read where CS Lewis said it this way, "God loves us not because we are so lovable, but because He is love." At ECHO, we want to encourage a pursuit of this God...rather than a vain pursuit of happiness that is so elusive. Jesus said, "that if we seek Him, we will find Him". That's a pretty good place to start and a safe road to journey on... At ECHO we just want to point you in the right direction!

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Scream

In a world where we all crave to "belong", we try so hard to find "our spot". Some people take on the persona of those they want to be accepted by...others change their clothing style, haircuts, the way they talk, the music they listen to, even the food they eat...just to "fit in." In our vain attempts to find "our place", we often become less of who we really are, so that others will accept us...ironic isn't it? Perhaps that is why one of the coolest messages that Christmas screams to us is that "you belong!" God loved us enough that He reached down to each of us, through His Son Jesus, to let us know personally that we are invited. He could have sat up in His heavenlies, kickin back on His throne, watching us peons try to figure this thing out...and maybe, just maybe some of us may "do good enough" to make it into His presence. But instead, He came to earth as one of us, to show us the way. A personal invitation, if you will. In the flesh, He humbled Himself, not only in teaching us personally about the Kingdom of God...but He also made a way for everyone to get there! The bible says "there is no greater love than this, that a person lay down His life for another". Think about it...God sacrificed that we can be with Him...because we belong. We were designed by God to spend eternity in relationship with Him. In His great love He layed down His life in the flesh and died, paying the price for each of us. The bible says, "the wages of sin is death"...and Jesus made sure we didn't have to pay that price! God chose to submit to His own penalty, on our behalf, because we belong with Him...not apart from Him. Now the only choice for each of us you trust enough to enter into a relationship with the God who loves you and has made a way. The key to belonging is being willing to belong. The key to finding your place is trusting the One who knows the way. We each have that choice, to take our rightful place... because of Jesus. And that wonderful truth...the fantastic story of the baby in a where it all begins. And that is worth celebrating! For the bible also says, "that God wills that no one should perish, but would have eternal life". So God's heart is evident in His words and His actions...that we all belong! We belong in eternal relationship with the One who is Love. We belong eternally in a place where there is no more sin, pain, tears or brokenness. We belong at the table...we belong to the family...we have a place. As a hand fits perfectly into the sand, so you fit perfectly in your place that God has prepared for you, in His Kingdom. At ECHO, we hope to create an environment that makes room for everyone...because you "belong." That's God's heart...and it should be ours as well. This isn't just a Christmas should be an everyday thing...because you do belong...and we are so glad for that!

Merry Jesus Birthday...where your story begins...

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankfully Knowing

We love Thanksgiving in my house, don't you? Lots and lots of great food...turkey...stuffing...cranberry...carrots...yams...mashed cider...ahhhh good stuff! Lots of family and friends too...that makes it even better. We usually open up our home to whomever wants to join us. Having lived in a college town, often people can't get home for we live 2,500 miles from relatives so we can relate, so now we welcome whoever would like to join in the feast...the more the merrier. Then top it all off with lots and lots of football. Oh ya, just relax, laugh, tell stories and watch football till we slowly...drift that "oh I ate too much"...nap...zzzzzzzzz. That's our Thanksgiving...sound familiar? Yep...its probably a lot like yours too. It seems that's the typical modern American Thanksgiving (barring a few minor variables). Yet the first Thanksgiving was quite different really. We seem to depict it as if it was almost like what we do today...except with a few Indians and pilgrims thrown in...but it wasn't. In 1621 life in America was very different. No grocery stores. No Walmart Super Centers with an abundance of cheap, affordable food. No wealth to speak of. No cities or established communities anywhere near what we have today. Life in 1621 was about survival. People farmed and hunted to survive. Remember people came to America to escape religious and government persecution. They desired freedom...and were willing to risk it all to have a shot at it. Not a guarantee of it...just a shot at it. Thankfully, for us, they succeeded. But for this first group of settlers, having enough of a harvest to survive the harsh winter was a big deal. Without it they die and the dream ends. But with the help of local Indians teaching them techniques to grow crops in this new land, along with the resources these settlers brought from Europe... together, the harvest was plentiful. Not plentiful, as in cook it all up and eat too much, till you fall asleep on the couch. But plentiful as in store the food after its been gathered...and be careful, even very moderate in using it ensure you make it through the winter. In fact, history tells us, this first Thanksgiving was not so much a "feast" of gluttonous proportions, as it was a day of quiet, thankful, worship to God. Most of the day was in prayerful solitude. These pilgrims knew without God's provision and protection they wouldn't survive. The cold, harsh winter would take its toll if their harvest wasn't sufficient. Their hearts were overwhelmed with gratitude. It wasn't a wild, loud party of celebrating till you puke. It was a day of prayer, worship and hearts of gratitude toward God...that happened to end in a meal...a modest meal...a meal of Thanksgiving. At ECHO, we know how easy it is look at history through the eyes of our current culture, and sometimes miss the essence of the moment. Isn't it weird how "our" Thanksgiving is a day of eat till you drop, over abundance...with a token prayer of thanksgiving thrown in. While the pilgrims Thanksgiving was a day of reflection, prayer and quiet gratefulness...with a moderate meal added in to seal the deal. Somehow we miss that part of "thanksgiving day". In America we do the same with most holidays. We can often miss the significance of Christmas, the 4th of July, Easter...and yes even Thanksgiving. Other cultures have faced the same dementia. The biblical era Hebrews often had celebrations to commemorate very significant things, usually tied to God and their nations history...yet often the scriptures tell us of their absent mindedness. Often the rituals of celebration had lost their meaning...and the party became the focus, rather than the celebration being about the significance and meaning they were reminded of in that moment...or holiday...or ritual. Unfortunately, we too the same...I suppose its part of the human condition...this type of memory loss. But at ECHO, we hope to intentionally re-focus our minds and hearts on the foundational things God has done...and appropriately celebrate them! It's good to celebrate authentically. But not good to celebrate simply for the sake of the party. In that is a distinct that God would hope we would avoid. At ECHO, we hope to encourage all of us to avoid it also...because if we do...there is a lot to be thankful for!

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Friday, November 2, 2012

WWJV (What Would Jesus Vote)?

It is almost "Election Day" again, and they say our destiny rests in the hands of millions of "we the people".  Yet I wonder?  You see I was recently reading an interesting article the other day about Russia and the Communist Stalin era. It was accompanied by a photo of a government building with a statue of Stalin as seen through a bullet ridden window. A cool photo...which is also very symbolic of a broken political system. While it may have begun with good reaped far more destruction than history has revealed. I say this to lead into a topic this blog is not intended to be "about"...politics. In particular, American politics. Very specifically, how Christians should respond in the midst of American politics. Now let's be honest we have very different views as believers on how Christians should live out their political opinions. On one hand, the conservative, traditional, more fundamentalist side would project itself as the 'republican' side of Christianity. On the other hand, some would suggest the more "open minded" believer would be 'democratic'. Many in the emergent, postmodern movements of Christendom would backlash versus the 'republican' stereo type by simply being 'democratic' as an alternative reaction "against" the abuses of the 'republican right' concepts prevalent in American culture. Now politics is interesting to discuss and debate, but let's face it...American politics is very corrupt and manipulative. Most citizens don't really "know" what they are voting on...and don't have the time to research and vote wisely. Most vote based on "sound bites" and "image". A majority of voters in America (which is usually less than half of the population by the way) make major decisions without really "knowing"...unless seeing commercials and tabloids equals "knowing" to you? Now, I'm not being "anti" American here...I'm just being humbly honest...America is an imperfect thing, run by imperfect people, swayed all too easily by the wrong things. In my life time, especially during the last 20+ years, since the early 90's when it specifically got worse...there has been an escalation in impropriety in campaigns. It used to be accepted protocol for instance, that a former President "would never" criticize a sitting President. This protocol was done in the spirit of respecting the office and the country as a whole. Today that protocol is out the window...and we are not better for it. Losing "respect" for authority, even those we disagree with, is not healthy...nor biblical. It also used to be off limits for anyone to go after a candidates family...spouse... and especially their kids. That "respect" has been off the table for a long time, and I would suggest, that many a good candidate has "not" run for office based on the crap their family would have to go through...and that does not strengthen weakens us as a country and as a culture. We live in an era when rumors, gossip, half truths and flat out lies get floated in the media to undermine opponents. Every campaign does it. Every party does it. The bigger the campaign, the bigger the sh** that flies. Then the pattern is...the candidate of the party that is the "source of crap flying"...will step up publicly and proclaim the "high road" of condemning "whoever" says such things and declare those things as inappropriate. But as both parties have learned, it's a win-win when this is done. You get to float "rumor, lies, and half truths" into the public discussion...while also looking noble by saying, "I do not condone this type of politics". You undermine your opponent while also making yourself look noble and "above the fray". This tactic has accelerated over the last 20 years, and its too bad. What's worse is, it works. It works, because most people vote on these "sound bites" even if they are fabricated... twisted...or half truths. Both Democrats and Republicans do I'm not taking sides here...but it stinks. The integrity of American politics on a "marketing & journalistic" level is so below the lacks integrity, respect & honor. No wonder other countries are losing more and more respect for us...we don't even respect our own! OK, politics is a messy subject...and I haven't even gotten into the money behind the scenes that manipulates both parties agendas...and has polluted the judgement of far too many "public servants?" Let's face it, most politicians live far better lifestyles than you and me...most Senators, Congressmen & Governors are millionaires plus. So let's not pretend "money" isn't in play here. So as followers of Jesus what do we do? Is Jesus a Republican dude? Is Jesus some kind of Democratic guy? Maybe He's a Libertarian or Green Party or Independent? As followers of Jesus our agenda should be the Kingdom of God. God says we belong to His Kingdom...not of this world. So if the "King" lives in our hearts...and we "serve Him"...then His rule trumps all else! I would suggest that American Freedom is a far cry from the Freedom Jesus provides. American freedom has degenerated into a freedom without responsibility...a "do as you please, you can't stop me" kind of freedom. I would suggest that God's definition is very different, and if we serve Him then we better filter our "American Freedom" through God's Kingdom's Freedom. God makes it clear that freedom has responsibility attached to it. We are all given a "free will", the right to choose, even a right to choose selfishly or wrongly or even to our own detriment. But freedom is not absent from responsibility. The choice is clear biblically, you choose your own way, and you are choose God's way, and He is responsible. But either way, someone is responsible. Now God chose to be responsible because of His desire for relationship with us, and after all He is the Ruler of His Kingdom, so all who choose to walk in His Kingdom ways are under the covering of His authority. Of course not all choose God's ways...they'd rather go with "their ways" that that that freedom... comes a responsibility (good or bad). I would suggest that as citizens of the Kingdom of God then we should look at who we vote for, or what agenda's we support, in light of God's Kingdom. What does He say is consistent with His Kingdom. It will not be one party over another. I've lived long enough to know that as polluted as our government and political systems are, it would be hard to find any one candidate that is totally in sync with God's Kingdom 100%...but I'm running them through that filter anyway. Because God's ideals are more important than any candidates or party. As a follower of Jesus we should honestly look at the issues at hand in light of God's Kingdom... prayerfully consider complex issues like poverty, abortion, war, capitalism, taxes, global warming, education, law enforcement, the economy etc... in light of God's values...not your own. As subjects of God's Kingdom, we should align ourselves with Godly principles...not our party...nor our favorite candidate. It's a sad failure of many followers of Jesus to not honestly assess their politics in light of God's Kingdom. This is hard, and often complex. For instance it's easy to say God hates war because "killing is sin"...but what about the many biblical accounts of how God used war to rid evil and expand righteousness. Many love the passive, peace keeping images of Jesus...but forget that in the end of time, Jesus leads an army to defend His people versus the armies of the world that attack. History ends in an epic battle that Jesus is in!!! The issue of war is complicated, its emotional, and yes we don't have enough info to really know most of the facts (as common citizens we are usually in the dark dependent on sound bite media)...but its not as simplistic as "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" Is war right or wrong? Biblically, the answer is "sometimes yes and sometimes no". History would say the same as we look back in hind sight. There is a lot of biblical and prayerful reflection in seeking the heart of God on this matter and many others. Is capitalism "at all costs" biblical? In America it is, but isn't it also got a strong propensity towards selfishness and greed? How much is enough? Should we take advantage to get ahead? When are we as American's comfortable enough? Is the goal even comfort? The bible would suggest it all belongs to God, and we have the responsibility to steward it well. We are asked by God to use it appropriately, within a Kingdom concept...not necessarily a western capitalistic concept. Are we building our kingdom or God's Kingdom? Perhaps that is a better core question to ask. Global Warming? Interesting fact, while earth has risen a fraction of a degree over the last 20 years, Mars has risen by over 9 degrees, so apparently our green house gases are raising the temperature on Mars too? (I say, sarcastically) Actually, sun spot activity is the likely culprit in Mars case, but on earth? First off the science is all over the place on whether its happening or not. Some say we actually have just ended a warming phase, and now may enter another cooling cycle, some go as far as saying "ice age". That's funny because in the 70's that was what we were taught, that we were entering an ice age, because the earths temperatures were dropping. Now in the 90's and new millennium we're warming again, perhaps only to enter another ice age to come? Once again, few of us "know enough" to get beyond media soundbites...but the core question really is...are we being responsible? God clearly gave us this planet...He said it was for our pleasure & provision. The resources here are for our use...but when is the use of those resources wasteful? That really is the question...once again a question of stewardship or "responsibility". I really don't have a horse in this race, but I do have to constantly ask my filter my opinions through God's opinions...or else I'm floating down the wrong river. Are people wasteful?...yep. Are people irresponsible?...yep. Are people selfish?...yep. What would God's Kingdom suggest we do with all that? Are we to become "like god" and try and control it all somehow in a feeble attempt to preserve whatever "we think" is necessary...or are we to preserve Kingdom values in how we steward what God has given us? I suggest that is the real question. Don't get me wrong, God cares about our human condition very much, but His ways are not like our ways...and the key as followers of Jesus, is not one party or another...not one candidate over another...they are all flawed...but if His people really pray, and consider Kingdom values honestly, then we can function as we should as citizens of the Kingdom of God first...who also happen to be Americans. If we get that backward, we'll continue to see the cracks of a broken political system grow and more and more get wounded in the process. Let's be honest, even American politics is broken whenever it strays from God's ways. We should never set aside God's Kingdom in favor of our own or our favorite parties. As followers of Jesus we should lean on His Truth, His Way and His Wisdom. At ECHO we are not a Republican thing...nor a Democratic thing...we are a Kingdom of God thing. The Kingdom of God is at hand, Jesus said, so as we learn to be as close to Him... learning His ways, values and principles...while trusting His rulership...we can learn to expand His Kingdom (rather than our own). Join us as we learn to honestly filter our life (even our politics) through the Kingdom of that there may be more of Jesus and less of "us" in our culture. Discussing it all is challenging... opinions are ingrained in most of us...but challenging each other to go deeper than "our" opinion to God's Kingdom's, that's really where truth is discovered. Now I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a lie...swayed by the latest tabloid or some kind of fool...I want the truth...and that's found only within the context of God's Kingdom. Can we challenge each other more based on God's opinion...rather than our own? At ECHO we desire to do just that. It's a wild, fun, crazy, messy ride...but one worth living.

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Paradox. Two things that don't seem to go together. They seem out of place when united. They don't fit when in the same sentence or thought. We see them if life all the time. It creates a tension. It gets our attention. We notice that there is a disconnect here. It troubles us. It confuses us. It gets our eye or ear for all the wrong reasons. I think we see paradox often in how God's love is spoken of...and in how we depict Him. God is defined as Love...yet is often depicted as a cruel ruler, sitting on His throne, watching the innocent suffer. He is described as a Father who treasures His children. Yet, He is often seen as the One in whom you'd better please...or you're toast...quite literally, burnt toast! God is powerful. Yes, He rules the universe He created. Yes, He made the rules & systems we try to live within. Yes, He holds our very breath... even our eternity in His hands. But why, oh why, have we reduced Him to tyrant? The bible says, "His loving kindness leads us to repentance". Not that our fear of Him, leads us to repentance. Yet, we often use fear as a weapon to draw people into God's arms? Huh? What are we thinking? We see God's loving kindness displayed most perfectly in Jesus. He didn't come as a King to rule, though He had the authority to do so. He came as a child, who would grow into a servant, a man who would ultimately lay down His own life for those He loves. Loving kindness in action. He treated the outcast, the sinner, and the overlooked with the utmost respect and dignity. He loved first. Shouldn't we? At ECHO we see Jesus loving kindness as our model...our heart to emulate. Repentance is a word we don't like. It implies guilt doesn't it? It says I did something wrong and I need to admit it. Man, I hate when that happens. But why? Is it because I am afraid of a God I have let down? Am I afraid of a God that's ticked off at me? Or perhaps, if I take a close look at God's heart, I see a kind heart, one that desires to be in relationship with me, in spite of my mess. If I look closely, I will see a heart in Jesus that desires to forgive. A heart that makes "repentance" easy. One that simply says, "turn from that...and come towards Me...I love you!" Our heart at ECHO is to point people towards that come close to the God that oozes loving kindness...and makes turning from our own much easier. That is God's heart...and Jesus was exhibit #1... may His people be exhibit #2!

be God's!
Brian O 
Lead Pastor dude
Tyler, Texas

Friday, October 5, 2012

Strong Love

Your Love Is Strong
lyric by Jon Foreman (Switchfoot)

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us wicked sinners
Lead us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

be God's!
Brian O
Lead Pastor dude
Friends Community Church
Tyler, Texas