My life as I follow Jesus Christ, and live life as a husband, father, friend, pastor, runner, coach, and sinner who found forgiveness and favor with God.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween = Jimmy Swaggart Mini Me

What you are about to hear is true.

Growing up as a Christian kid in a Christian Elementary School, Halloween always meant "Harvest Party", which is pretty funny (and horrible) because we did everything everyone else did on Halloween, except that it was basically for Christians only.

At our harvest party, we were only allowed to dress up as either 1) a Farmer, 2) a Bible character, or 3) a Christian role model. Well, preaching must have run in my veins, and somehow I caught wind of Jimmy Swaggart on the boob tube, and decided I wanted to be him for Party, and so my mom put me in my little three piece suit and clip on tie, slicked my hair over, opened up my Bible to John 3:16, placed in my hand, and Wah-La! Jimmy goes to school!

Well, I did that for two years straight - loved every minute of it, and saw no reason to not do it a third year in a row, when my parents approached me and let me know that I should be someone different that year. I just couldn't figure out why! And the rest is history.

Happy Halloween everyone - if you have kids - use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself to your neighbors and begin relationships with them...after all when else is it "normal" these days to knock on a door, and be greeted with a smile!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hey Beth Moore: Get INTO That Pit!

ok, ok we're talking about different "Pits", so go ahead and keep getting OUT of the "pits" that Beth Moore speaks of in her book such as the pits mentioned here:

Job 33:28 “He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.’

Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit (pit of despair), out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

But this Sunday, I'll be preaching for the second week on getting INTO certain pits such as the one mentioned here:

2 Samuel 23: "Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion."

My user-friendly definition of these pits: The pit is where the action is, and if you embrace it – your life won’t be boring and lame like so many religious people.

The pits must not be avoided, but rather seeked out. Benaiah didn't find himself in a pit, he saw a pit, altered the course of his journey so he could jump in and make something happen. As Christians there are "pits of destiny" we must pursue with faith, courage and risk, and there are "everyday pits" waiting to be encountered to bring the light and love of God to those who are in the dark and wounded.

It's time to get INTO that pit!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When God Says "Nevermind, Just Kidding"

Due to the fact that this blog is public, I don't have the liberty to go into details, but let's just say that in the past month I truly, honestly, and passionately felt God speaking to me as if I had been standing in a dark room, and BAM the lights were turned on and I could see everything so clearly...

and now - due to a strange and unexpected turn of events - all that passion, vision, understanding, and clarity seem to be for not. It's as if God is saying, "Hey Brian - you know all that stuff I downloaded in your spirit with passion and fire...nevermind, I was just kidding."

Of course, I'm mature enough to know that God has everything planned out, and that I will look back some day and understand the reasoning behind everything, but in the meantime it sure seems weird.

In this time of wondering, I'm reminded that things like "vision, passion, dreams, movement, Kingdom advancement, and other cool stuff are not to be the things pursued. Ever. The pursuit must be Christ and Him alone. To be closer to Him, to understand Him, to die to self that I might more like Him. God doesn't promise cool stuff - he promises Himself...and if we think that's not good enough, then we don't understand the power and fullness of his suffering, death, and resurrection.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
- Lamentations 3:24


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Got My Sunday Preach On: Get INTO That Pit!

I'm up to bat for two straight Sundays, so I'm continuing a series I started this Summer called "Lord, Make Us Dangerous" (with props to the peeps that did the "ONE PRAYER" series...I believe Perry Noble preached with that theme, and I turned it into a five week series).

This week the sub-title was "GET INTO THAT PIT", using the story from 2 Samuel 23:20:
"Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion."

Benaiah not only lived dangerously, he altered his path in order to find danger. We must follow his example and be dangerous people who live to bring light to darkness in very intentional ways.

You can here the message here. Next week I'm going to talk about the types of pits we should get into: Destiny Pits and Everyday Pits, and communicate the missional lifestyle. Can't wait!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm a bachelor tonight...what a LIFE

So...the wife's out of town, so I got crazy...and am going to bed at 10pm. My day without the wife consisted of...

1. reading
2. eating
3. planning
4. eating
5. working on the trim in our house (only 8 months overdue)
6. eating
7. digging in the yard for our sprinkler system (only 18 months overdue)
8. eating
9. planning
10. in bed

Yeah, I'm a wild and crazy guy without my wife...I ate everything in our house...not good...but I gotta go LIFE is on!

Crisis Control: Will you please shut up?

What is your first reaction to overwhelming news? What do you do when something happens that could be disastrous? After reading 2 Chronicles 20 I'm reminded that I need to shut up and follow this guide, rather than my own. This has an amazing story describing how God wants us to respond when we are hit with terrible news.

First Reaction:
"Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought the Lord for guidance." (v.3a)

How many times is my first reaction to bad news to grab my cell phone, or shut down and just think, or scream "are you freaking kidding me?". The first thing that Jeho did was seek the Lord for guidance.

Second Reaction:
"He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast." (v. 3b)

I think when things go bad I do the, eat, eat...which could also be described as...escape, escape, escape... Jeho grabbed godly people and said, we're going to attack this thing head on in the spiritual realm first, and fast before God.

Third Reaction:
"He prayed, 'O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven...You are powerful and mighty; no once can stand against you!'" (v. 6)

His prayer began with exaltation and magnification of who God truly is: ALL POWERFUL. He didn't cry out some "woah is me" prayer - he declared the greatness of God.

Fourth Reaction:
"And now see what the [enemy armies] are doing...Now see how...they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us an inheritance...O our God, won't you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help." (v.10-12)

How often have I tried to figure out how to fix the problem using my giftings, personality, and strategies, when God is looking to show HIMSELF strong by acting on our behalf, rather than me looking to show MYSELF strong, as if I have the ability on my own to control a crisis.

The results:
read it for's amazing.

The results of doing it with your strategy instead:
read it for's horrible.

so, how will I respond next time a crisis occurs? It's up to me to follow the pattern of God.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Newsflash: We're not on a mission for Jesus

"We are not on a mission for Jesus, we are on a mission with Jesus." I heard that quote today listening to the Lead Conference online which is for church planters.

We are not on a mission FOR Jesus... In other words - if we live our lives doing stuff, and working on strategy, and outreaches, and counseling, etc. with the perspective that "we've got a job to do" we're going to live in disconnect from the very source of purpose and power - Jesus Christ.

We are on a mission WITH Jesus... If you miss having a personal, devoted time to simply be with Jesus do you apologize to God and say sorry for missing that important component to your mission, or do you apologize to God and say sorry for hurting your relationship with Him?

We're supposed to be connected and partnered with Christ. We must not rob ourselves of the purpose and closeness of being in relationship WHILE we're on a mission for Him!

For more on getting our priorities straight you can read Vince Antonucci's blog which is just tearing me up right now! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Defeating a Million Man March with Prayer

Did you know there was a million man march in the Bible? One of the greatest stories of victory in the face of overwhelming odds is found in 2 Chronicles 14:

"9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you. 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah carried away very much spoil."

Wow. A million man march was defeated by the prayer of a godly man. There's a bit of background in chapter 14, that needs to be understood that went into this prayer:

1. He ditched, burned, and destroyed all forms of ungodliness in his life and in his areas of responsibility (v.3)
2. He encouraged everyone to seek the Lord. (v.4)
3. Instead of being lazy, he utilized the time he had to do what he could (vv. 6,7)
4. When the attacks came he relied on God, not his own wisdom, power, or strategy.

So when he lifted his voice, God was attentive to his prayer.

You may be in a crisis. You may not be. But we must all live our lives holy and unto the Lord if we want to see our miraculous God act on our behalf when crisis comes.

What does this mean for me?

Well, my life is about as uncertain as it's been in a decade. I need wisdom, provision, and guidance. So I will lift my voice with faith that my God cares about me and is anxious to come to my rescue...not because I deserve it, but because God's grace (his favor) is on me thanks to Jesus who died on the cross to get me that favor with my Creator. I love you Jesus.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baptisms on the Beach

Wow, yesterday we had a blast down off of Marine Drive as we baptized some students in the Columbia River! It was cold, but a great fall day as Kevin, Sam, and Chelsea proclaimed their faith in Jesus and got dunked! You can check out the slideshow here!

Miracles Shmiracles...

Ok, so this is not a normal thought for me because I fully believe in the supernatural power of God. I believe in miracles. I believe we should lay hands on people and pray for their healing. I believe if God can supernaturally save your soul from an eternity in hell, he certainly can give you a supernatural spiritual prayer language. God is invisible - it's not hard for me to hold fast a theology of live, current, active miracles on both the inside and outside of our lives.

That said, I think sometimes we put the cart before the horse. One of our favorite verses about the miraculous is found in John 14:12-14:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"

Many times I have found myself preaching this verse as a faith builder..."God wants to do greater things in you than Jesus did!" Kind of a Carpe Diem message. Yet when I look at the context, I find that this conversation was found in the upper room, where Jesus had just washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus begins talking while at the feet of Peter, and continues the conversation quite possibly while he was still on his knees looking up at the disciples.

So, picture Him on his knees looking up at his disciples, with a dirty, smelly towel in his hands, his knees are red from the grimy pressure of being on the floor...and he says
"anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, even greater..."

I believe in miracles. But maybe, just maybe we should focus on washing the feet of those around us - and "even greater" serving than that...THEN we can ask for anything in Jesus' name - and as he sees us following his example of "embracing the towel" he freely gives to us whatever we ask.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Vitals Are In

Most of you know that after 8 years of infertility issues, Jennifer and I are finally having our first baby...a baby girl! So, life is changing around the Becker household as is our budget, as we prepare for our princess to join us in February. One thing that we realized was the need for Life Insurance, so today Portamedic came to take our vitals and fill out some forms.

My Blood Pressure: 112/64 (pretty darn good)
My Resting Heart Rate: 48 beats per minute (really darn good)

It sure beats the old me that weighed 295 pounds, and couldn't run a mile! Now that I've lost 110 pounds and just ran my fourth marathon (26.2 miles), I'm seeing the "fruit of my labor".

When it comes to ministry, what are the vital signs of health...
  • Attendance?
  • Posture of people during corporate worship?
  • Number of Water Baptisms this month?
I'd love to hear some thoughts on how you know that you've got some great vital signs as a ministry.

P.S. For those who haven't seen the "old Brian"...enjoy the pic below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

"Only a fool despises a parent's discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise."
"Whoever abandons the right path will be severely punished; whoever hates correction will die."
"If you listen to constructive criticism you will be at home among the wise."
"If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding."

- Proverbs 15:5,10,31,32

A couple things here...first of all we need to be hungry for correction and teaching. I certainly hate the idea of spending time doing the wrong things and wasting my life.

Correction is not always going to come from your best friend - it's going to come from people that make you squirm - like family, bosses, and spouses - because they actually know you.

Don't just be an encourager to someone that is under you - tell them the truth - what they're missing. I've had way too many people pat me on the back and say "great job bro, keep it up!" when I really needed their wisdom to fix some long standing issues that were keeping me from some victory.

And finally, let God bring his grace and mercy into your life by getting serious with him about your life. The last thing you need is a token Bible reading and wussy prayer time...make it count...let God form you with his hands and transform you by changing the way you think. Correction could never be so good!

What correction has saved you?
What do you wish people would tell you?
What are some wrong ways to correct?