Okay…so I’m a bad friend. I moved and didn’t tell you. And now you’re walkin around my old yard. Scratchin’ your head and wondering where we went…
I’m now blogging at www.jasonqueen.wordpress.com
Come on over. We’ll grill some burgers and talk about the new days…
*We’re back from the beach! It was a great vacation, but its more than great to be back home. Here are some quick words or phrases that sum up our trip: full van; are we there yet?; bathroom stops; hot; Colonial Inn; rednecks rednecks everywhere; gotta remember to tell Mike Jr. about this place; beach; sunblock; hot; waves; Caleb’s first time at the beach; smell of sunblock; pool; decorated nags; Kitty Hawk Kites; Dunkin Donuts; pizza; Bodie Island Lighthouse at night; Hatteras Lighthouse; ferry; seagulls; Ocracoke Lighthouse; Blackbeard; hot room at night; is the air conditioner even working?; Nags Head Pier; fish tails nailed to a post; beach; pool; pool; beach; sand; seashells; sandcastles; big waves; Currituck Lighthouse; reading; posting pics to facebook; Disney Channel; sea oats; pancakes; Jockey’s Ridge;
*It was great to be back yesterday. A special thanks to Matt for teaching Sunday School for me. He got into some deep stuff. Very deep. Very good but very deep.
*Met a great new couple right after class–Luke and Brandy. They are from Washington state.
*Got back to the church at about 5:00. I was excited to be back and excited to see what God had planned for us.
*I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as music goes. Brandon was set to take the lead and we had asked for consistent commitments from the musicians and singers, so I just wasn’t sure who we would see. The Lord continues to show me that His Will will be done, and we were blessed with a great group of singers and musicians led by Brandon.
*Thanks to Brandon, Donald, Lindsey, Lilian, Mark, Davis and Jared for your dedication and allowing the Lord to use you. I got lost in the worship and it was a great place to be 🙂
*The band nailed “God of This City”! Its still in my head. Matt said the same thing.
*Thanks to Donovan and Erika for their continuing help and support.
*Our passages for Sunday night were Acts 13 and 14. I felt like the Lord wanted me to read STRAIGHT through the passages and thats what I did. I will admit, there was one point where my voice was speaking louder than the Spirit’s in my mind, and my voice was saying “stop reading. you’re losin them”. Thankfully, I didn’t listen and I kept on reading and allowing God’s Word to go forth.
*The main points the Lord highlighted for me from Acts 13 and 14 were how the missionaries were commissioned and covered by their local church; how they were directed by the Holy Spirit; how they were obedient to the Holy Spirit’s direction; how God provided the audience to hear God’s Word; how the missionaries spoke God’s Gospel, using God’s Word.
*It was tough looking out at a congregation that is mostly filled with women and saying that God had told me to reach the unsaved men of our city. It was tough and scary, but the response I’ve gotten has been more than encouraging.
*I plan to blog more later about what reaching unsaved men will look like.
*I can’t wait until next Sunday! See you then.
~~Jason Queen, Tree of Life Ministries
Somewhere in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Pastor Jason and his family are wandering around, looking at lighthouses and taking pictures of giant grasshoppers. I, however, am stuck here in good ol’ Lynchburg, so I guess the least I could do to occupy my time until someone opens a TOL OBX is write the blog.
Now Jason wasn’t here to bring a message on Sunday night, so I really have no message to blog on. In times like these, we typically just pick a blogging topic, and since Jason isn’t here to stop me, I think now is a good time to blog on the top 5 reasons why I think Bill Clinton should still be President. Okay, fine, I won’t really do that to all of you. But there are some good reasons in that list! Just wanted to clear that up.
Now for the past few days, I’ve been getting my kids ready to go back to school. Caroline will be entering the 2nd grade, Josiah will be in Kindergarten, and Avery will be in preschool. It just astounds me that all of my babies are now in school. The house will be quiet throughout the day. I will (possibly) be able to get some work done. This makes me very happy. But at the same time, I want to keep them in the house until they’re 35. You know, to have proper time to raise them right. To keep them in our little Christian bubble. Sometimes, this sounds like the perfect plan. But then I read where we are called to go into the world and show people the love of Jesus, and it brings me back into focus. Even though I want to keep them under my wing and protect them, they have a greater calling. And I trust that wherever God leads us, He will protect us.
I pray that all of our school children will be a light to those in this city. I pray that we can once again, through the raising of a new great Christian generation, be able to proclaim that our God is the God of this City.
As you go through the rest of your week and into next week, please keep our school children in your prayers.
Well I personally think that is a great lead back into Jason’s “God of This City” series. He can thank me later. Have a great week and see you all Sunday!
Sunday night’s service was very bitter sweet for me. We had a baptism, and that is always joyful. It’s great to see new people publicly display their decision to follow Christ. That never gets old. We also prayed for the Bivens family as they begin the next stage of their journey, which takes them to Florida. I’m personally not liking this stage at all, but I’m sure God knows what he’s doing and has great things in store for them!
Pastor Tommy brought a great message on Sunday! You can always count on Tommy T to keep it real, and he brought a much needed eye opener. 5% of us share our faith. 5%!! It made me feel very guilty to realize that I probably talk more about the Yankees beating the Red Sox than I do about my God.
I’ve always struggled with sharing my faith with people I don’t know. I’m not the type of person that you will find walking the streets, handing out tracts. Some people can do that, bless their hearts. But if we take note of what Jesus did here, we find that he made a connection. He spoke the Gospel into that woman’s life. He went into the town, took the time to sit and talk to her, made a connection, and spoke with love. How often do we take the time to do that?
Next Sunday is the live taping of our worship service. Come on out to TOL and spend some time just worshiping our awesome God with us. See you there!
*Yesterday was flip-flopped. I know that sounds like a beach reference (the beach references will flow next week because, well…we’ll be at the beach) but I mean I started the day preaching instead of ending the day preaching. Pastor Mike was out of town, so I was blessed with the opportunity to bring the morning messages at 8:00, 9:15 and 11:00. Things went very well. I’ve gotta boast in the Lord because I know that I lack the ability to do anything without Him and yesterday was awesome! I heard the Lord speaking words that I hadn’t planned or even thought. There were times when He was coming through me, around me and over me. Great morning!
*My main passage was Levitcus 25. Leviticus? Yep.
*The Lord led me to teach/preach on the concept of “Jubilee”. The key words of Jubilee were “return”, “revert”, “release” and “redeem”. The Jubilee was to start with the sounding of a ram’s horn and the Israelites were to return to their homes; property would revert to its original owner; original ownership would be redeemed; and servants and debts would be released.
*The most unbelievable aspect of the Jubilee in my opinion, was the fact that it was never celebrated or observed. The ram’s horn never sounded.
*We walked through passages that connected Jubilee to the Messiah (Isaiah 61) and of course to Jesus Christ, the true Messiah and the true Jubilee (Luke 4).
*The Sunday evening service was all over the place. Technology reared its ugly head last night and briefly threw us all for a loop, but things stabilized. Thanks to everyone for holding things together. The Lord blessed us and all went well.
*David led worship. Pink shirt and all!
*We prayed for the Bivens family and said goodbye to Joe. Joe, of course, played a major role in the Life at 6pm service, and he will be missed. On a side note, Joe has somehow eeked out about 17 going away lunches. Not real sure how he did that, but…
*We baptized David J. last night. It was the first baptism I had ever led by myself and it was wonderful. Matt helped me. In fact, as I think about it, I dont remember bringing David out of the water…Thanks Matt! and David thanks you as well, I’m sure 🙂
*Pastor Tommy brought a great message from John 4 on the Samaritan woman at the well. He made some great points and some of those points are shaking me up.
*Tommy painted a great picture of all those Samaritans coming over the hill…beautiful!
*Last night was a great night. Next week’s service will be a live recording of the praise and worship team, so “God of This City” continues next week.
~~Jason Queen, Tree of Life Ministries
Five Reasons Why The Friday Five Is Erratic
#5: I’m off on Fridays and try to devote Friday to my most important five–Misty, Jasilyn, Noah, Jacob and Caleb.
#4: No internet at home. Yeah, I know. This makes me seem like a Clampett. In many ways I am. So, its hard to publish the post with no internet acess. I could come to the office and many times I have, but…see #5.
#3: Sometimes I allow Brandy to do it, but I’m secretly fearful that she will post a “Top 5 Reasons I wish Bill Clinton Was Still President”.
#2: My life has settled into a gear that I can only label “consistently random”. My blogging often mirrors my life.
#1: Great ideas rarely run in packs of five. They usually run solo, or in packs of three. Perhaps I could do a “Monday One” or a “Thurdsay Three”.
Before I get into how much I liked Sunday night’s sermon, I must address 2 things. Just bear with me. This, especially the first, must be done.
1. I reread the paragraph Jason wrote on his Monday Morning Downloads that starts “The Sunday evening service was awesome” about 4 times. I have come to the conclusion that Jason really DID use the phrases “off the chain” and “off the hook”. I was hoping that I had imagined it, that maybe somehow I just read phrases that I have never even heard of, but as it turns out, I was sadly mistaken. Please pray for our pastor.
2. Speaking of people who need our prayer, Jason mentioned that this was Joe’s last Sunday night with us. Jason actually used an appropriate term this time when he said this was “depressing”. We have been friends with Joe for a while, and it will be sad to see him and his family go. We are, however, taking applications for someone who can fill Joe’s Clown Shoes. 😉
Now, back to the service. I’m glad Jason decided to ditch the Man Series…if only for a little while. I’m not sure I could stomach that quite yet. Instead, Jason has done a series called “God of This City”. I LOVE it!
I have fallen madly in love with Lynchburg since moving here 8 years ago this week. Now when I first moved here, I realized very quickly how different it was from the small northern town I had grown up in. Everyone here goes to church. I mean, quite literally (almost) EVERYONE here. One Sunday morning I remember being on my way to church and seeing one of my neighbors out jogging. I started praying for my poor heathen neighbor because they didn’t go to church and must not be saved. I later learned that they did indeed go to church. In fact, they went to our church. They just went to an earlier service. I’m going to admit that I stopped praying for my neighbor at that point. Why? Because if they went to church, they must be saved.
Here’s the problem I’ve encountered with Lynchburg. Everyone is either affiliated with a church and thereby “saved”, or they have had contact with the “saved” of Lynchburg and don’t want to be affiliated with their church. And by “contact” I mean that they see us as we rush by them in a hurry, trying to get to our church service or baseball game on time that we ignore the fact that the unsaved of Lynchburg are all around us, hurting. We are so wrapped up in our church bubble that we don’t have time to see that they need someone to help them, to show them the love of Christ. We say that we’ll witness to the lost by the way we live our lives, but when do they see it? We are too worried about getting our pretty church clothes dirty or have that church bubble pop and leaving us exposed that we don’t let them into our lives. And what’s worse? They know this. That’s how a lot of the lost in this city especially view the Christians of Lynchburg.
I only realized this recently through a friend of ours. This friend is unsaved, and has been around the churches of Lynchburg. She grew up in church. In her mind, she has seen the way the church treats others and even their own. In her experience, she sees how the church “lives” and doesn’t want to be part of it. So we welcome her into our homes with open arms and occasionally beat her with baseball bats (don’t judge us!). We can just hope that she sees the love we have for her and for God and pray that she would want a relationship with Christ, instead of just the “religion” that she has seen.
We say our church is “Distinctively Different”. Let’s not have it be just because our Sunday Evening Pastor uses phrases like “off the chain”. Let’s have it be because we are what we sing about. We are yearning for Christ. We are actively pursuing Him. We are willing to follow him into the city of Lynchburg to reach the lost. Personally, I hope that God tells me the lost are waiting for me at a Hillcats game. But that’s just me…
*Yesterday started out cloudy and gloomy and rainy but it ended bright and sunny. The mood of the day ran arm in arm with the weather.
*Our Sunday Morning Bible Study topic was holiness. Not necessarily a theological cup of OJ if you know what I’m saying, but the class really got excited about it and brought up some great points. We looked at holiness at it pertained to God and holiness as it pertained to people. Some great discussion was raised, primarily circling around the question, “is it possible for us to be holy while we occupy fleshly bodies?” Like I said, not necessarily a theological pick me up, but it ended with the encouragement that we had to rely on Christ and the direction of the Holy Spirit.
*The Sunday evening service was awesome. If I was 15 years younger I would say it was “off the chain”. If I was 15 years younger and had the ability to travel back to 1989, I would say it was “off the hook”. But since I am the age I am, and since time travel is at least for now an impossibility, I hereby proclaim that the service was “awesome”.
*Here are some reasons why it was awesome.
*Misty ran screens for me. Erika is in Hawaii and Misty filled in. She did a great job.
*Joe ran sound for me. He will be leaving next week, which is depressing, so I will move on 😦
*Lindsey led worship and she is anointed. She sang the song “Yearn” and I love that song and when it is sung by an anointed singer it is awesome.
*I was blessed to be a part of a vow renewal ceremony. A couple named David and Dawn renewed their marriage vows and it was beautiful. God led me to write the ceremony instead of taking a form and that ended up being the perfect way to go.
*We launched our “God of This City: A Love Story” series last night. Our scripture passages were Jeremiah 29 and Daniel 6.
*Jeremiah 29 presented a letter from the prophet Jeremiah which contained words of encouragement and direction from the Lord to the remnant of Israelites who had been carried away captive to Babylon. Here is part of what the letter said:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
We took a close look at this passage and took away some guidance as to how we should live in our city. How do we know when to put down roots and settle in the way this passage suggests or when to call out against it the way Jonah suggests? The answer lies in discernment. If you read through Daniel 6, you will see how Daniel lives in a foreign city yet remains true to his God. Daniel is the poster boy for discernment.
*I love this quote from Spurgeon. “Discernment is not just knowing the difference between right and wrong, its knowing the difference between right and almost right”.
*I left feeling like I said what I was to say and there were times when I was hearing myself speak words that weren’t even coming through my brain. Those are the best ones. You’d better be sure they are coming from God, though.
*Next week, part2. Can’t wait!
~~Jason Queen, Tree of Life Ministries
*I’m sitting here in my office on a Monday afternoon, writing “Monday MORNING Downloads”. Why? Because yesterday was a jam packed day and the events of that day motivated me to take action in some areas, so this morning has been spent doing just that–taking action.
*Yesterday was a good day, but I felt like I was learning to drive a stick shift. I’d get going, and then I’d stall. I’d rev up, squeel tires…and stall. It was that kind of day.
*God was gracious to me, though, and He allowed me to be a part of His work for yet another day.
*In Sunday School, Maria M. joined us and shared some stories from the mission field. She has been to Kenya three times and it was easy to see her passion for the people of Kenya. She couldn’t hide her love for them even if she tried.
*Okay, so now its Wednesday morning and I’m in Greensboro finishing this blog post. It should’ve been finished on Monday, because if it isn’t finished on Monday, then its really not a Monday Morning download. In fact, it should be finished in the morning in order for it to be a Monday Morning Download…but, alas, I have missed the mark on many levels. I’ve got some good excuses reasons, but there are no excuses.
*So here I am in Greensboro with TOL’s Children’s Ministry and I’d like to finish up by looking back on Sunday night.
*Sunday night’s service was AWESOME! I have tried other words but I love the word “awesome” and I’m publicly resolving to use it more often. Sunday night’s service was awesomely awesome. I allowed myself to be distracted by a bunch of things when I got to the church but by the time the service was swinging open, I was able to focus in worship and clear my mind and remember why I’m called to do what I do.
*Brandon did a great job leading music. I like his style quite a bit and I think his style of music can create an entry point for unbelievers to open themselves up in worship.
*We closed out “Swallowed Whole” and I’m a bit sad about it. I had a blast preparing for this series and I learned SO much about Jonah. The Lord really opened the book up to me in ways that I hadn’t really thought about before.
*The main theme of Jonah is God’s power and how people react to it.
*I would like to close with these two questions: First, how have you seen God’s power revealed to you this week? And secondly, how have you responded to it? Have you responded at all? Did you see it, but just go on about your day, facebooking and ipoding and emailing and myspaceing without taking the time to reflect and thank and ponder?
*I’ll be bringing you all an important “Man Series” update very soon, so look for it!!!
~~Jason Queen, Executive Pastor, Tree of Life Ministries