the reeves crew and rockwall

er_welcome_logoThe Reeves crew is very excited to announce we’ll be making the move to Rockwall where we will be ministering with the Eastridge Church of Christ.

We’ll be burning up the road over the next several months, commuting on the weekends to Rockwall while the kids finish the school year in Tyler.

a_place_for_you_ministriesWe are so humbled to be a part of the amazing things God is accomplishing through the Eastridge Church. A church with a wonderful history of unity and Kingdom-thinking.

Please be in prayer for our transitional time.

Glory to God!

Jason

transformative thinking

transformed

“You’ve heard it said…. But I say….” we hear our Lord proclaim over and over in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus reinterprets. He reforms. He reprioritizes. “I know that you’ve heard it this way….” “I know that human nature says to respond like this….” “I know that you bring your own presuppositions to the table….” “I know this is the way that you once thought of things… but now, things are different.”

Jesus steps into our world and transforms our thinking, our ideologies, our worldviews, our way of life.

Here’s a tough one He tackles: “Love your enemies.” “You’ve heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

Love your enemies!? I have a hard enough time getting along with my friends!

Pray for (bless) those who persecute you!? Are you serious?

And it’s an active love for our enemies. And it’s a very tall order! More than just a passive bearing of persecution or hatred. Loving them. Blessing them. Doing good to them. For them. Regardless of who they are or what they’ve done.

In this and in countless other ways Jesus calls for a radical paradigm shift. A radical change of mind. A change of perspective. A change of heart.

We see Jesus exemplify His own teaching as He prays for God to forgive those who are responsible for His death (Luke 23:34). But what about we who are ultimately those who are responsible because of our sin?

The Apostle Paul connects the dots for us: But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:8-11).

You see while we were still enemies of God, Christ died on our behalf.

“Love your enemies.” It’s one of those areas of the Gospel and one of those areas of our life and faith that we would just as soon ignore. It’s about a radical change of mind. From a mindset that is worldly to one that is of the Kingdom. It’s about seeing the potential for the magnificent impact of the Gospel of Jesus in the most unlikeliest of places. Just like God saw it in you, and in me.

Glory to God!

Jason

straining at the oars

Sail Boat Bulletin Cover

At times we are tempted to think that we do this all on our own.

I was once talking with a friend who was struggling. He was going through a difficult time in his life and there was no easy solution. It was going to take time and it was going to take God.

In a moment of frustration he said to me, “I feel like I’m a just a speck in the ocean that’s being tossed all around and nobody knows but me.”

Maybe you’ve been there.

Maybe you’re there now.

I had a professor who would say, “Speak to those who are weary and hurting. Speak to them often. We are so very fragile.”

And so if that’s you today, I want to share with you an encouraging thought from God’s Word.

In Mark’s Gospel the account of Jesus walking on the water generally the miracle itself is our focus. The event comes right after the feeding of the thousands on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and His disciples had actually travelled across the sea to spend some needed time away from the masses, but are immediately inundated as they arrive. After the crowds are filled and leave, Jesus sends the disciples on their way, now across to the other side, as He goes on a mountainside to pray and spend intentional time with God (we should learn from Jesus).

“When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and He was alone on the land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night (3-6am) He went out to them, walking on the lake” (Mark 6:47-48a).

If you go on reading you see where Jesus steps into their boat and immediately, powerfully, divinely calms the wind and the waves and the storm. Looking to Matthew’s account we see where Peter has the faith to step out of the boat and actually walks on the water toward Jesus! But when he takes his eyes off of Christ and becomes fearful of the chaos around him, he quickly sinks (something we should take to heart).

Here’s what I’ve been getting at…. Mark says that the disciples were rowing in the boat in the “middle of the lake.” John affirms they were “three and a half miles out to sea” (John 6:19). Jesus, as He is on a mountainside praying, sees the disciples “straining at the oars.” They’re three and a half miles out to sea! At 3am! Half way across the Sea of Galilee at 3am and yet Jesus divinely sees those He is closest to struggling. He sees those that He loves “straining at the oars.” He sees them pounded by the wind and the waves, tossed back and forth in a sea of uncertainly, and it’s immediately upon seeing His disciples struggle that He is filled with compassion and begins to walk toward them across the water.

The love of Christ is revealed in our Savior’s actions as He comes to us in our time of need.

This is what I want you to hear: You are not alone.

You have a Savior who is filled with compassion as He sees you “straining at the oars.”

Glory to God!

Jason

do not be afraid

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“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

I believe fear drives us more than we are aware. It drives our lives, it drives our relationships, it drives our churches more than we’d ever like to believe.

When children are small they’re often afraid of the dark. Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown or an internal fear of darkness, but many kids (and not a few adults) are afraid of the dark. And it’s amazing how a dim, little light plugged into the wall can put those concerns so at ease.

And so David in Psalm 27 writes as fear gives way to faith. Boldness, because of the God we serve. “The Lord is my light,” he declares. He is our light! And not just some puny Walmart night-light. The Lord is the sun that scatters the darkness in our lives. David continues, “The Lord is my salvation.” He is the One who rescues and the One who saves. “Whom shall I fear?” he asks. And look at how personal David’s words are: He is “my” light and “my” salvation. The Psalm originates out of the trust and reliance of David upon God. A trust that has grown through experiencing the power and provision of Almighty God time and time again. “The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Only when we are close to Him, are we completely protected. Only when we reside in Him, can we fully be at peace.

I wonder what fears you have today? I wonder what might be weighing upon your heart or upon your mind this moment?

• The fear of not being enough.
• The fear of inadequacy.
• The fear of being left out.
• The fear of rejection.
• The fear of past sins.
• The fear of present worries.
• The fear of an unknown and uncertain future.
• The fear of being found out that you aren’t who others think you are.
• The fear of (fill in the blank)….

If you can relate to fear, may I speak a word of hope to you today? God is God! He is strong. And He is faithful.

366 times in Scripture, He declares to his people, “Do not be afraid.” 366 times! One for every day of the year, plus leap year! And I believe the reason He affirms this command to us so many, many times is that we need to hear it! We need to be reminded.

God’s desire is that fear would give way to faith in the lives of those who belong to Him in Jesus.

Do not be afraid!

Glory to God!

Jason

i once was lost

Green Field Website Banner

“Where would I be without Christ?”

If I were to pose the question, and have you ask it of yourself, what thoughts immediately come to mind?

(I’ll wait a few moments for you to think and carry this through a bit).

“Where would I be without Christ?”

We all approach a question like this from differing perspectives. From varying backgrounds. Some were raised with a Christian worldview. Others come to Christ much later in life. But regardless of the journey, surely we’ve come to a maturity of faith that recognizes our reality in Jesus. And in our understanding of who we are in Christ, do we ever consider who we would be were it not for the Lord in our lives?

Without Christ we are lost. Lost. Lost to ourselves. Lost in ourselves. In our sin. In our own depravity. Perhaps a sober consideration of past failings brings us to an inkling of who we would be were it not for the Spirit of Christ. And I believe it can be extremely healthy to recognize who you and I would be without Him. The reality that without Him we would be morally ruined. Spiritually bankrupt. When we come to this conclusion, we in turn are better enabled to minister to those who are indeed outside of Christ.

The Apostle Paul opens our eyes to who we are outside of covenant with God when he writes, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were…” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, praise God his pen continues, “But, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v11).

The wonderful question that comes out of Paul’s message to these Christians is: “Who can be saved?” And the answer that wonderfully springs to life in verse 11 is: “Anybody!”

Do we see those who are outside of Christ for their lostness? Are we aware that they are who they are and do the things that they do and live the way that they live because they’re lost? How else do we expect them to live? They’re lost! Do we see them in and for and through their lostness?

If so, does it elicit compassion or disdain on our part? In our heart of hearts, are we filled with the loving kindness of God for them? Or is there a slight (or not so slight) hint of contempt?

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.

Glory to God!

Jason

communicating Christ

Megaphone

The way information is processed and is passed on evolves over time. From word of mouth and letters carried by the Pony Express to the latest multi-media blurb found on the internet, the way information is effectively shared and received continues to develop day by day, year after year.

In the early days of newspapers, when newspapers were the primary method of delivering the news, when something big had occurred, the publisher would not only publish the usual daily paper, but would also publish an “Extra.” The extra newspapers were sold on the street corners, often by newsboys, who had a stack of papers and would sell them to those who passed by. When an Extra was published, the newsboys would call out “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” to call attention to the fact that something big had happened, and an extra bit of pressing news had been published.

How do we go about sharing the Good News of Christ? How do we go about communicating Christ in a post-modern and, some would advocate, a post-Christian, culture? What is effective? What is not? What was once effective but no longer is? How do we adapt? It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over believing a different outcome will be the result. The message of Jesus remains the same. But how do we go about carrying out the mission of Christ in the contemporary world we find ourselves? Sound discussion has taken the place of fierce argumentation. Praise God!  However many today ask the question: “Is there really anything that’s worth discussing?”

Christianity has always existed as a culture within a culture. Being a mission-minded people and effectively carrying out the mission of Christ entails both a striving after the Kingdom and an understanding of the environments we find ourselves a part.

The Apostle Paul affirms, “I have become all things to all mankind, so that by all means possible, I might save some.” Same message. Differing methods. No one has all the answers. But I believe asking the questions is a step in the right direction.

Glory to God!

Jason

the 2014 top 5

open book

Each year I post the top 5 books (aside from Scripture) that made the most impact on me during the year.

The year’s “must reads.”

5 books that stand out from among all the wonderful books that I’ve read during the previous year.

Some are recently published.

Others are from years ago.

Each however, profoundly influential in my own spiritual journey.

And that I pray, will be a source of courage for you as well….

Randy Harris’ newest book Life Work: Confessions of a Everyday Disciple completes a trilogy of work (cf. Soul Work and God Work) focused upon discipleship and following Jesus. Anyone who knows Randy or has learned from his teaching and preaching is familiar with the humility, dedication, and conviction he brings to every step of life.

I Knew Jesus Before He Was a Christian, and I Liked Him Better is the most recent book from Rubel Shelly’s pen (keyboard). Rubel has influenced generations of believers, and to me, I Knew Jesus Before He Was a Christian is Professor Shelly’s Magnum Opus.

I’m working on an eBook focused on the practice of spiritual disciplines, and so much of my reading during 2014 has centered upon this end. No author has influenced my life in this respect more than Henri JM Nouwen. No one. Every word from Nouwen yearns for Jesus. One book from my friend that has been especially meaningful to me during this journey has been The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence.

From Gabe Lyons, the author of UnChristian, comes the book, The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World. If you’ve ever overly-concerned yourself with the future of faith (as if it’s not safe in the hands of God), Lyons assures, the best is yet to come.

ACU professor of psychology, Richard Beck, writes regularly of the collision of theology and psychology at his blog Experimental Theology. In his work he consistently pursues the call of Christ for we who believe, to love God and love others. In his most recent book, The Authenticity of Faith, Beck considers what holistic faith truly looks life.

Glory to God!

Jason

our commitment to the Kingdom

prayer

To what degree are we committed to the Kingdom of God? For many the answer resonates quickly. Commitment is readily affirmed. But I’m talking specifically about what is revealed in our actions. Do our actions demonstrate a commitment to the Kingdom? Or, do they demonstrate something wholly different than perhaps we even feel within?

Christianity is, by design, relational. Our relationship with God. Our relationship with others. With His church. With the world. As in any relationship, what is within must be expressed in order for it to be truly valid. Too often in many personal relationships the goodness that is within is scarcely expressed. At least, it isn’t conveyed well enough. What I mean is this… sometimes a husband and father may in his heart love his family. He truly believes he loves them. And in his heart of hearts, he does. But somehow that love stays inside. He may within himself feel that he loves his family. And the family may witness glimpses of that love. But primarily what they experience is a dad who is tired all the time, complains a lot, never seems satisfied, and for the most part wants little to do with the interworking of the home and gives a sense that he just wants to be left alone.

As the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”

The same can be said of faith. The evidence of our commitment to the Kingdom is revealed not by what is within, but rather by what is expressed through intentional action in our lives.

In Galatians 5:22 the Apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Paul says to us, “This is what it looks like when the Spirit of God resides within you. Love is revealed. Joy is made evident. Peace sooths from within. Patience is a constant. Kindness is our natural response. Goodness is pursued. Faithfulness is what we are about. Gentleness is the norm. Self-control is a given.” And if we think things through, as God orchestrates the design of Scripture, it is the Spirit Himself, guiding Paul’s pen, saying to us, “This is what it looks like when I live within you.”

Second Century Apologist, Irenaeus, writes: “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I cannot help but think our being “fully alive” is conditioned by our relationship with God through Christ, an acute awareness of God, and by our commitment to the Kingdom.

Glory to God!

Jason

the scandal of the Cross

cross

“For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18

These words of the Apostle Paul encourage we who have faith. They affirm to us that no matter what others think or say or believe, no matter the lack of conviction or lack of faith of others, the reconciling message of the Cross of Christ is powerful to us, even if it isn’t to them.

But most often in our conversations and in our emphasis, we place a little too much distance between verse 18 and verse 17.

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel – not with words of wisdom, lest the Cross be emptied of its power.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17

Now don’t think for a moment that the Apostle Paul is downplaying the role of baptism in one’s response to the Gospel. Rather, I believe what the Apostle is emphatically seeking to convey is the overwhelming centrality of the message of Christ and the total reliance upon the power of God – that completely rests within the content of the message itself.

Paul strips away anything that we ourselves could add to the message by assuring that it is not with anything that we bring to the table that makes the message more influential. Not by any oratory prowess or skill, or by any honed, tactical argumentation – but rather the power lies within the message. “…not with words of wisdom, lest the Cross be emptied of its power.” It is the shock of the story of the Cross. And the shock of the story of the God of the Cross that motivates and prompts response.

The Gospel has always been scandalous, because it is a message of grace. Grace is scandalous because it releases control. It relinquishes control to the only One who truly possesses it. The scandal of the Cross is that it is God Himself who “is both just and the One who justifies” (Romans 3:26).

Christ brings the Kingdom (Reign) and the Cross (Sacrifice) together, which no one can fathom. Therein lies the power of its message.

Glory to God!

Jason