Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Follow Me...David Platt...Book Review...

These two words: Follow Me have been eating me up for a few months now. I am committed to walking with Jesus...always have been since 15 and always want to be...I have been studying this in the book of Mark...I have stated a few times on Twitter and FB that "Follow me: is a graphic illustration of faith." As I flew over to Africa I devoured David Platt's latest book called Follow Me. I love reading those books that state exactly what I have been preaching, saying, and praying. Platt in his book states, "I want to move from what we let go of to whom we hold on to. Page 4" He follows this statement up with "With good intentions and sincere desires to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, we have subtly and deceptively minimized the magnitude of what it means to follow him. Page 7" After I read these words I closed the book and repented...right there on my flight over the Atlantic. Jesus I don't want to water down discipleship for the sake of decisions. It's a bid to come and die. Die to self. Die to stuff. We are already dead in our transgressions...let's let Jesus make us alive in Him. After I spent some time contemplating those opening lines I gathered the courage to reopen the book and journey on...I am slow glad I did. Oh yes I am so glad.

I found much hope, clarity, and courage in the entirety of the book. Here are a few quotes that inspired me. David Platt thanks for leading faithfully...I love it.

"Everyone who follows Jesus biblically will fish for men globally. Page 71"

"Following Jesus necessitates believing Jesus, and believing Jesus leads to proclaiming Jesus. Page 88"

"This is God's will in the world: to create, call, save, and bless his people for the spread of his grace and glory among all peoples. This will is not intended to be found; it is intended to be followed. Page 135"

"The reality, however, is that it's biblically impossible to follow Christ apart from joining his church. Page 150"

"It is biblically, spiritually and practically impossible to be a disciple of Christ (much less make disciples of Christ) apart from total devotion to a family of Christians. Page 173"

"The great commission was not a choice for them to consider, but a command for them to obey. Page 178"

"We don't just live for people to hear the gospel; we long for people to respond to the gospel. Page 187"

"God has given his people worldly wealth for one purpose: the spread of his world wide worship. Disciples of Jesus live simply and sacrificially because we want the glory of Christ in all nations more than we want nicer comforts, newer possessions, and greater luxuries. Page 196"

So what about Africa...well I saw men and women living this out...sacrificing their lives and living simple to see Jesus exalted...

So friends...if you are bored and want to get inspired and challenged...pick up this's more than just an inspiring read...he gives a great plan, outline and pattern for you to make strides in being a disciple and making disciples.



So following my rush out of the hotel room after oversleeping...I found my travel host with a gentle comforting smile on his face. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to see two new friends. Mary & Joseph Mombo. The Mombo's serve in largest slum in Africa called Kibera. The numbers of people range from a million to around 200K people. My guess is towards to larger number. Ten years ago the Mombo's followed God's call to leave their previous location and life in Nairobi and make their way into the slum. They now run a medical clinic that provides health and medical care to mommas giving birth everyday to babies. Many who are battling HIV/AIDS. Upon arrival they showed me the amazing medical clinic, the church, tin metal school for the children and the abounded orphanage that must be demolished and rebuilt by government standards to house children. I have seen slums all over the world and this one is no different. Rubbish and refuse all over the place. The smell of disease, death, and sickness rampant. Yet in the midst of death the Mombo's are pouring out the light of Jesus. Seeing miracles, deliverance and healing right before their eyes on a daily basis. My heart was stirred. It's what extreme poverty does to me every's the reminder that I must continually lead my family and influence others to live simple so we can serve and give to the poor, widow, orphan and prisoner.

I will leave you with a few photos.


Check this kid out!

Simple adorable.

These girls are displaced right now.

Clinic on left. Home to be torn down and rebuilt with cement blocks on right.

The old children's home that is condemned.

Delivery room for mommas.

Menu for kids. What would your family think of this menu?

Joseph & Mary Mombo.

So who wants to go serve with me here?

Thanks for letting me process.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Kenya Time...

It appears that the only time I use this blog is when I am either on a trip around the world or during events of importance. Which I suppose is a good thing...I can't write like Amanda Jones or I might write more often.

I had never been to Africa and I can't believe I waited this long. William Taylor was right. He has told me for 7 years now that I needed to come with him. As I got on a plane to fly via Amsterdam to Nairobi I always leave with a pulled heart. I absolutely love being with my family. It's hard on me leaving my family. I would rather take them than leave them. So when I travel without them (which I do often for what I do) it's because Jesus has said to go. To see my son, Jayk, cry when I am leaving makes my heart hurt but he knows why we do what we do. As Christians we help people go to heaven. So as I the plane door closed (after a delay out of Houston) I locked in emotionally to see God's hand in Kenya. I arrived in Nairobi around 8:30 pm and made it to the hotel. I was beat.

The next morning I was to meet our travel provider at 10 am to leave. I woke up at 10:25 (ooops!!). I was up early and closed my eyes for just a few minutes...well those few minutes turned into longer. The great thing which often doesn't happen in the USA is what is known as "Kenyan Time."

So let's talk about time for a bit...I will write them with a number assigned...not that they are sequential...these are just my thoughts blasted from my heart to your eyes...hopefully they will speak to you too...

1. You plan your ways but God directs your steps...but do you let I let him...or do we schedule so much that we have no room for Jesus to do a new thing...a new divine appointment...a divine conversation...a divine rest...

2. We waste our time...even when we schedule it. I like time management. I like getting things done. However, I want to put myself into a position that my life isn't run by clocks, agendas, time, and deadlines. Seriously...I get more work done when I work focused, live focused, serve focused but not on a time clock. So maybe it's not time management but it's life management...but you don't manage a dead life...we died to this life to live a dead life in Christ...we no longer live...He lives in us...Jesus lives in don't have to manage your life when Jesus is your life...I am preaching to myself right now...but can I get an "amen!"

3. Time and is never done on time schedules...relationships grow outside a time clock as, meals, tea, lunches, trips, travel...these all need more "time" than people "have" to give...which I am tired of...I am sick of it...we have to schedule community awful is that? I just saw this tweet today: "Working definition of community: people know each other deeply, serve unselfishly, celebrate often and endure life setbacks together. via Mark Miller" Let's let time be what others let control them...and but me and my family...we shall let the Spirit drive lead us...

4. Kenyan Time...people are people where I was in Kenya...not machines...not individuals trying to make a name for themselves...rather people apart of a greater body...a greater I want to set my clock to Kenyan Time...what about you...? Will you join me...

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

I leave you with the above scripture...your sanctification is what he is after...of your entire being...his faithfulness is what is behind the effort to change your through and through...let your life be changed...

Also pray for me...pray for Kay...pray for Jayk and Judah...pray for wisdom for us...leadership for us...insight...

Feb. 18, 2013

Please excuse my randomness is writing...some writing, some teaching, some preaching...but all with a heart for Jesus and his kingdom advancement.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time...the greatest gift we can give...

As I write this blog Jerrell has just taken Jayk to go fishing for the first time...Jayk has been so excited for days...seriously excited...full of anticipation and wonder of what it will be like to catch fish, have his own poll and have boy time...

As the drove away early this morning I was just overwhelmed with the thought that the greatest gift that we can give our kids is our time...time is the most precious of all commodities...and we seem to have such little of it in this day in age...Jayk didn't want a new toy (even though he loves new toys) he wanted an experience...even though if you were to ask his five year old self he might say toy :) but deep within his soul he wants time...time with Jerrell to learn to be a man...time with me to eat apples and watch a fun cartoon before bed...time...

I would say most of us feel that way about anyone we love, we just want their time...time to hear us, understand us and just love us...because when we give our time or receive time from someone else it changes us, molds us and shapes giving our time we receive something that could never be captured into words...Something I am reminded of as I type is that Jesus always gives us time with him, any moment of any day he gives himself to us, may we receive it amongst what we think "matters" today...the most precious gift Jesus could give us was himself and he did that on a cross, all of himself for all of humanity.... have 24 hours a day...who are you giving your time to? who needs your time? is the most precious gift you can give someone...

Thank you Jerrell for giving the greatest gift to Judah last night with a baseball game and then this morning with Jayk continually amaze you dearly...

Monday, April 30, 2012

Brazil Day 4

Days like this in ministry and life make it all worth it. I could not have been more pleased with the men on this trip including our pastor. The church we are here serving has their services at night so yesterday we planned a BBQ for men of the church and the community. Bubba Crosby shared his story and he killed it! It was incredibly awesome to hear how God took Bubba on this incredible journey through a career in major league baseball and how God used it so powerfully in the lives of these men and young boys. Following his story we ate plates full of Brazilian BBQ and had great conversations with these men even with some coming to know Christ or hearing about Him for the first time. One of the best times of the morning BBQ was the baseball demonstration that Bubba lead all these men and boys through. To see these men learning a sport for the very first time was quite enjoyable but greater was the love that we all demonstrated one to another.

After a short nap and shower we jumped back in the bus and headed to the church. A few of us did some pre worship service seminars on Marriage, Administrators in Education & the student ministry. Then we took a short break, snacked on some food, Skyped in our wives to let them see our faces and the church. As the worship service as soon to begin to people were pouring in...probably 250++ were crammed in the worship center and it was rocking! A few people started their relationship with Christ, many were encouraged in their walks with the Lord and we as the team were blessed. After multiple pictures and a long dinner we all crawled in bed sometime after midnight. Our hearts were full and our bodies exhausted but we believe that God has been glorified and the hearts of the Brazilians encouraged.

This day will be a great marker in many of our lives.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Brazil Day 3 (Saturday)

Brazil Day 3.

This day we have been anticipating for a long time. Months ago when we spoke with Patti LaCarter in Brazil about bringing a team down we discussed the potential of @greggmatte leading a pastors seminar. Well today this is all coming to fruition. The hours and hours of work by Patti and her team is coming to light today. The organization, prayer, invites, recruiting, communication, etc.. that was poured into this time together today is amazing. I am sitting in a packed church (250 seats) with Brazilian pastors. This place is full of life, energy, expectation.

Today Pastor Gregg crushed it. His message was duly translated into Portuguese & sign language. This is the results of the hard work and dedication to Patti LaCarter and 16 years of ministry here in Brazil. The relationships she has sustained and the prayers that she has prayed are evident. I can't get over what we experienced today. It was powerful and encouraging.


To end the day we sat around a Brazilian Steakhouse and had the sweetest time of encouraging Patti & was powerful.

You can tell we I am a bit tired in recording the details...but just want you to know that today (Sunday) will be a full day...pray for us...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Brazil Day 2 (Friday)

Brazil Day 2:

We were all up early this morning considering many of us had been up 36 hours or so straight (minus a few cat naps on the plane). Breakfast at 7:00 am. Devotional at 7:25 a.m. and a departure sometime after 8 to go work in the slums with one of CBO (Comunidade Batista Oceanica) newest church members. She has recently be apart of the church...she has three kids and we are praying for her husband to start following Jesus. We thought we were going into do a few small projects but it turned into a little bit more...I'll save the details.

One of the best intros of creating community and seeing fellowship grow is generated the fastest when the group is tested with what we call "liminality." Pushing a group to the limit in which it appears what is put before them cannot be accomplished or achieved within themselves. As we loved on this family and worked on their home our hearts united as one. We laughed, worked, and saw our own hearts change for this half day project.

We then took some showers to remove the paint, mortar, and dirt before we headed out to see more of the city. We spent 30 minutes at one of the highest points in the city across the bay from Rio...we overlooked the bay, the buildings, the beaches, the boats, and the beauty of God's creation. All of us truly could had sat up there for awhile reflecting, praying and taking in God's fame & beauty.

We then made our way to downtown Niteroi to visit a Catholic church and some black magic stores. Black magic/spiritism is strong in this country. It's totally dark and demonic. There truly is a strong spiritual attack waging all around us. Walking the streets packed with street vendors, street food, one of stores and packed streets truly does allow you to see the diversity and lostness of a city.

Two of our prayers have been: 1. Instead of touched emotions we will have changed values. 2. Our goal is to move missions from an event to a lifestyle. Join us as we serve others and grow in Christ today.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Brazil Day 1

Upon landing in Brazil, we skated through immigration and customs without a hitch. We actually got through customs so fast we had extra time to wait upon our hosts arriving to the airport. We then traveled an 1:30 through Rio traffic heading into Niteroi seeing the sights, sounds and smells of a beautiful country. Let me touch on few insights from today...

Food: We definitely will not starve in this country...our first restaurant for lunch (which for some was breakfast since our "snack" on the airport was almost non existent.) and our dinner restaurant are large buffets in which you weight your plate at the end of the line. One fun piece is the ability to pile on meat at the end of the line. These opportunities serve as key times of face to face fellowship and interaction with one another as well as our local Brazilian friends. With piles of food and a bit tired you can only imagine how much we need a 2 hour break after lunch to rest and shower.

Church: Wow! What Jesus has done here with Patti LaCarter & Georgia Costa is amazing...I am still blown away by the work of the Lord through them...The pictures and stories we have are so inspiring and we have only been here 1/2 day. More on this to come...

Ministry: Last night the men killed it! Truly...Travis Herzog & Russell Johnson did an amazing job working with the preteens/children. Even seeing a child commit their life and loyalty to King Jesus. Anthony Brown & Tom Tyrell were the perfect two to share with the Celebrate Recovery men and women...their personal stories weaved perfectly into loving on these amazing people here in Brazil. Then I got to be with the teenagers/college students at a nearby home. Wow! What a great job James Mayes did in telling his story. You could have heard a pin drop. The hope of the church in Brazil has a lot of potential with who we met with last night.

As we wrapped up the day...which felt like 3 days...we sat on the hotel porch above the swimming pool and reflected moments/stories/pictures of how Jesus was revealing himself already.

All are healthy but exhausted. Let's see what tomorrow holds..