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Showing posts from 2008

just a thought

America uses 50% of the worlds oil supply.
The average number of cars for a family in America is 3...the rest of the world doesn't even average 1.
Look in your closet, if your like me you probably have more clothes then you know what to do with.
How many shoes do you have in your closet, probably more than you can wear in a week.
Tonight when you go to sleep in your bed, with your pillow and sheets, in your bedroom that is in your house remember this...you have a bed, a pillow, sheets, and a house.

Yet we are the ones crying financial crisis because we can't maintain the level of comfort we once did. Understand that Americas poverty is the rest of the worlds rich.

I believe that instead of crying about the "failing economy" (I say that very sarcastically) and everything we don't have, we need to be thanking God for everything we do have. Our Christmas might not be like it was the years prior, but I have my wife and son and my God...I think this will be the best Christ…

All The Positives

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Fay and I decided to invest in a video monitor for Jonas, so we can watch him when he's sleeping. I know, its ridiculous. Anyways, about three months ago it broke on us. So we got it replaced for free, but have been without it for the last three months. We got our new one last night. Usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays I don't get home until after 8, that means I usually don't get to say good night to my little boy. The next best thing is to watch him sleep. So I was watching him through the monitor last night for the first time in a long time and you would not believe how much that little guy moves around. He's ridiculous! Talk about a restless sleeper (he takes after his father).

Then this morning we were driving to the sitters, late as usual (Its all daddy's fault). Jonas and I were listening to the new Snow Patrol CD, we're both big fans. I kept looking back at him through the mirror and he was laughing uncontrollably. The look on his face was so cute …

Day of Rest

So I took a day off today. Its be a busy few weeks, my phone hasn't stopped ringing, I've been preaching a lot, and I just got off our second night of Connections. So I thought to myself early yesterday, "I think I need a Sabbath." As the day went on I thought about it some more and it became very clear so I said to myself, "Yeah, I need a Sabbath.

The Sabbath was a day of rest. It comes from the creation story. On the seventh day God rested and he told us that we need to as well. Does God really need a day of rest? No. But its a great example for us.

Of course the Sabbath is a day of rest but its so much more. Sometime as a minster I find myself really busy, I go a million miles per hour non-stop. As I find myself getting busier and busier sometime I get the unconscious attitude that God can't do this without me. That couldn't be farther from the truth. My God doesn't "need" me to accomplish his purpose. His work continues even if I n…

I'm Lost

There I was, sitting in Dana's office, wondering...what am I to do this week? Dana is in Mississippi this week and it gets kind of lonely in the back of the church where our offices are. It can gets pretty dark in the church even in the middle of the day, its a waste of electricity to turn on all of the lights. So when I have to go to the bathroom I end up stumbling over the rows because I can't see. When Dana is here the light of his office illuminates my safe passage. To make matters worst, it rained today (I didn't cry, it actually rained, makes things very depressing. Seriously, did you think I was crying, I don't miss Dana that much).

Anyways, its the first day and I already don't know what to do with myself. You guys in Mississippi better treat Dana right. No moving his bed on the stage of the church. No shaving his left eyebrow. No mixing laxatives in his breakfast. I realize that these were all of my ideas, but nobody pranks Dana except me!

Andy, I know your…

The Cries

When the Jews were slaves (remember this word, its important) in Egypt making bricks every single day. They cried out because of their oppression.

Central truth: God always hears the cries of the oppressed.

Not only that, he does something about it. He comes down and rescues them, delivers them from Egypt.

Then we have the son of David, King Solomon. He's an ancestor of the oppressed in Egypt, but thats the last thing on his mind. He's too busy accumulating wives (700, all of royal descent and all with different Gods), concubines (300; nice way of saying mistress or in my opinion prostitute), and money (a whole bunch of freaking money). Not to mention Solomon is to busy with his building plans. Of course, one is the Lord's temple. The other buildings are Solomon's palace, terrace, the walls of Jerusalem, and finally, strategic military bases to protect his fortune...you know, all the basics.

The crazy part is that all those buildings were built using "forced …

The Answer!

You'll have to wait for Connections '09 for the answer to the lion question. Sorry!

What would you do?

Lets just say that one day your walking down by the lakefront and all of the sudden you find yourself face to face with a lion. I know, a question arises, what is a lion doing at the lakefront? Well if this ever happens you can ask him.

Anyways I have a question. What would you do? Would you turn tail and run for your life? Or would you do the exact opposite? Thats right, give chase and run after the lion. What would you do? Feel free to leave a comment with your answer.

Yours,

Justin

God Is Happy

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So I would like to share a conversation with all of you that I had this past Sunday. Most of you know that I had the honor and priveledge to baptize an awesome young man this past Sunday during the second service. Him coming to God was the product of God never giving up on someone. Five years ago he and I sat down to talk about being baptized and he wanted nothing to do with it. Five years later he's in my office asking to baptized. Praise God!

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from this young man. This is how the conversation went.

Justin: Hey bud whats up?
Kurt: Justin, go outside right now.
Justin: Ok, hold on a minute...ok whats up.
Kurt: Look in the sky, I think its neat that the day I decide to be baptized there's a huge rainbow in the sky. Do you see it?
Justin: Yeah, its huge? What do you think God is trying to say to you?
Kurt: That he's happy with me and my decision.
Justin: (pause because I'm taken back at this point) You know what Kurt, I think your exactly …

Connections Opening Night

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After months of planning, praying, and anticipation..."Connections" is finally here. I have to be honest with all of you, I don't think I have ever been more nervous in my entire life. For the last two weeks I have been extremely nervous, sleepless nights, upset stomachs, spontaneous emotional breakdowns where I start crying uncontrollable and I don't know why. You know the typical stuff we all go through. You might ask, "Justin, why were you so nervous?" Was I afraid no one would show up? I knew I was gonna be there and I was pretty sure Dana would be there, thats at least two people showing up. Was I afraid that as soon as the song service started that our sound board would blow up, maiming some innocent bystanders in the process? No, the sound board is old, but I was sure nothing like that would happen. Was I afraid that I would stand up for the first ever Connections service with my fly completely down for all to see? Yes, I was afraid of that…

InsideOut Student Ministries

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What do you get when you mix a stressed out youth minister with a fall launch for InsideOut Student ministries...Me!

Last Wednesday night was our first night back from the summer, excitement and anxiousness filled the air. My self and the worship band practiced for the first time in three months the night before. I hadn't preached a sermon to them in a while. There were some new faces in the crowd with of course lots of old ones as well. So we went out there, turned our hearts towards heaven and went for it.

God had put it on my heart to challenge our students to really take a hard look at their lives. The summer was over, the camps, the special trips that we attend for our spiritual renewal. From my experiences, as soon as the summer starts the students forget their commitments, fall back into their old ways and limp through life until the next big thing. Well this is what I think...That's Stupid!

God intended us to live life to the fullest everyday and that we should b…

Element 4: Intentional Spiritual Growth

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This past Sunday night during our Elements meeting we were discussing "Intentional Spiritual Growth." Everything was centered around the famous "Quiet Time." When Dana and I were preparing for this Element we did not want to make this a "how-to" lesson. We wanted to focus on motivation, what is your motivation to meet with God? What is your motivation to pray and read your bible? As we discussed a lot of different things came out, but the bottom line was, "We have a quiet time because that is what we are supposed to do."

If we are to grow spiritually, we have to get past that attitude. Looking at the first and greatest commandment, it says nothing about "Have A Quiet Time!" God says..."Love Me." That is the motivation we need to have. When we love God we run to be with Him frequently and passionately. This is where intimate prayer and genuine study of his word happens.

Think about it this way. When your in love you …

What is Elements?

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As Connections draws closer (September 7th at 7:00 p.m. to be precise), we have been working very hard to have everything ready to go. Honestly, there's a lot of work that goes into starting a new service. The biggest thing we have going right now is something Dana and I call Elements. Many of you have already heard something about Elements, but are still unsure what its all about. Here's the bottom line.

Elements is a discipleship program that myself and Dana have written specifically for Connections. And to emphasize how important Elements is to what we are doing, lets just say its the foundation of the Connections service. The goal of Elements is to take Christians and and non-Christians and help them to have an authentic and genuine relationship with Jesus. To be just what Jesus intended us to be..."Followers of Christ."

We have identified 7 different elements seen in the lives of a true Follower of Christ. Although this is not an exhausted list, it does gi…

Gabe Lyons On CNN

Gabe Lyons is one of the authors of the book "UnCHristian." A book that is a major inspiration to our upcoming "Connections" service.

The God Equation

Over the last two years I have been doing this little things when I talk about God doing big things. I didn’t realize it until the other day when Dana and I were casting the vision for the Connections service. See one part of starting this service is financial, and part of our goal is to raise $10,000 dollars to help get “Connections” off the ground. And in light of the financial crisis we are all in at the present moment (which I am not convinced of, I think everyone is telling us we are in crisis and we just go right along with it), I decided to contrast the possibility of raising $10,000 with the ability of God to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants. The idea being that nothing is impossible for God. Let me show you the formula.

The first part begins with you acknowledging who God belongs to. He is my God, he’s your God too but that does not negate the fact that he is also my God. Can you argue with that, if you can then you have way too much time on you…

P.S. Name Change

In case you were wondering, yes I have changed Dana's middle name from Anthony to Louise. I felt it was appropriate and dignified and added a little something extra special to his name. I am now working on having it legally changed. Wish me luck.

j

In Defense of Dana King and "The Seraphim"

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Ladies and Gentlemen, my client, Dana Louise King Jr. is not what you would call a great dancer, I wouldn't even call him a good dancer. He isn't known to "cut a rug" or "get down and boogy." Actually I would say that it is down right embarrassing to watch him dance. How could someone with so much musical talent move without as much as a hint of grace? These are questions we will have to wait until we get to heaven to have answered.

But despite his lack of gracefulness, his ability to sway to and fro smoothly, or to jive to even the funkiest of beats. Does that mean that he must completely stop dancing altogether. Most of you who have seen him dance will in no doubt come to the conclusion of "Yes, he must stop dancing." But you don't know the whole story. Little known fact, Dana has always dreamed of being a professional dancer. Every day that goes by that dream fades a little bit. Sometimes when he's watching dancing with the sta…

The Fictitious Fallacy Of False Teachers

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My first baptism was here at Northeast. I will never forget it. Not because it was so wonderful, the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. He didn’t immediately come out of the water and begin speaking in tongues. Nothing cool like that happened. The reason why I remember it so well was because a frantic individual pulled aside after the baptism and began to ask me what I said when I baptized the young man or did I say anything. Mind you this was my first time baptizing someone, I was really nervous, so I decided that just to be safe I should write out everything I was going to say and put it on the inside wall of the baptistery. I pulled of the little piece of paper and handed it to him and said “this is what I said.” It went like this…

“Upon your confession of faith, I now baptize you in the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit, for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

That is what I said, and by the way I say th…

"Hallelujah"

This is Phil Wickham covering the song "Hallelujah" in his hotel room. This guy is awesome. "Hallelujah" has to be one of my favorite songs in the whole world (I just have a hard time singing it).

Special Announcement!!!

Over the last few years I have been praying for a service that would reach out to a younger generation that is being looked over. I just finished a book recently entitled "UnChristian." Its about the image problem that Christians have, this conclusion was made through research done by the Barna Group about how people outside the church see Christians. The results are very sad. The bottom line is that 18-30 don't want to go to church and don't want a relationship with God because they see Christians as too judgmental, hateful, stuck-up, and uncaring (just to name a few).

In response to prayer, new insight, and planning I am excited to say that we will be starting a new service called "Connections" on Sunday nights that will be geared to reach a younger generation. There are too many young adults that are not connected to God. Our mission will be to "connect with the unconnected."

Our first service will be in September. We are calling this a …

Disconnection

Why is it so hard for us to get along? (When I say us I mean the world) Why do we fight so much? Why the wars? Why the violence? Why all the frivolous lawsuits? Why do we feel the need to cuss each other out from behind the steering wheel? Why is it so hard for us to get along?

Connection. The problem is that we are disconnected from each other and thats not the way things were supposed to be. We were made to be in loving connected relationships with each other. This isn't just the design for marriage, although many people can't even say they have loving connected relationships in their marriages.

Thats where the church comes in. If thats where we come in then why is there a generation out there that is so disconnected from the church and from God? Its just a thought, but think about it for a little bit.

Connection...how important is it for you?

This might not make sense right now, but I promise, it will.

J

Who Loved First?

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You were probably about 12 years old. You weren't the coolest kid in school. Your pant legs were too short so your socks would show. You wore thick glasses that didn't help your cause. And of course your hair was a mixture of awkward and stupid, it just never works out. (I would just like to take a moment to clarify that this is you and not me)

Your walking to your first class trying your hardest not to drop your books. Your glasses are fogged up because that's what happens in Florida when you leave the A/C and go outside. Since you can't see anything its a miracle that you actually make it to class without bumping into anyone or tripping over anything. (Once again I would like to stop and remind you that this is your hypothetical experience and not a real life story of mine)

As you sit in your desk you take your glasses off to clean them and just as you put them on you freeze. Across the room a young lady is smiling at you. You really don't know what to d…

The Half-Hearted Disciple

What does it take to be a half-hearted disciple? Glad you asked, well here we go.

First of all go to church, and make sure everyone sees you. Go and shake some hands, give some hugs. Make it look real good. After church you have the whole week off to do whatever you want.

The next thing you need to do in order to be the half-hearted disciple you always dreamed you could be, is to hone you listening skills...block out everything that you don't like. Take what you like and use it, everything else, just throw away. That's the best thing to do in our mix-and-match society.

Be hypocritical. We need to make sure that our kids are staying away from drugs, alcohol, and sex outside of marriage...even if we aren't.

What's wrong with a little white lie, especially if its not hurting anybody. Use that one however you'd like it.

Make sure that you don't get involved in any gossip circles. When you do you have every right to scold the offenders. Of course, when your…

Justin TV A Success

Late Tuesday afternoon the new Video Blog website went up entitled "Justin TV," and as of Sunday night there have already been 72 visitors (and no they haven't all been me). Keep visiting and I'll keep coming up with stupid stuff to say. You can visit Justin TV at the link below...

Justin TV

You can also catch me on itunes, search Justin TV or Justin Larkin.

J

Fury

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What do you get angry about? I was thinking a lot about this after last weeks sermon. It was about Jesus clearing the temple courts. Jesus said, "My temple will be a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of robbers. That is what got Jesus extremely angry, when people mock worship and prayer. Jesus got mad when you attacked what he loves, his God.

I do the same think, I get mad when you attack what I love...myself. I used to have a pretty short temper, and I was thinking about what used to really set me off, and basically it was whenever you attacked me. I talked about this on wednesday night, but I didn't really emphasize how much self-love plays a part in my life. To be honest with you, my actions say that I love myself more than I love God...and that needs to change. Think about what makes you mad, if you only get angry about inconviences and setbacks against you then that means you have a self-loved problem just like me.

Let our hearts b…

Fragments

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Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guest began to say among themselves. “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:48-50

When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror do you know what I see? A man in need of forgiveness. When Jesus refer to this woman he said, "her sins are many." I guess you could say the same thing about me, "his sins are many." But I have comfort, no matter my sins, they are forgiven. I don't have to live with the burdens of my sins pulling me down, because he cleansed me of them. My sins are forgiven, just like the woman.

Psalm 130:3-4 says...

"If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
Therefore you are feared."

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you like the woman, are you like me? Are your sins many? The way I see it, you have two choi…

Disgusting Baby Stuff!

So last night before bed I was playing with Jonas, my 3 month old son. Now he laughs out loud and its really cute so thats what we were doing. He's really ticklish so I was tickling him and he was cracking up. Then all of the sudden he stopped laughing and puked on me. Now, mind you, I have been puked on before, I've even been pooped and peed on a number of times. In Jonas' short time with us so far he has managed to get me with all three.

This time however was a little different, he puked into my belly button. Yes, it was disgusting and odd and I really don't know how else to describe it. All I know is that I will never be the same after last nights experience.

J

The Cell

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John the Baptist, at times he kind of goes unnoticed in our study of scripture. We don't really don't pay a whole lot of attention to him, and I think that's how John would have wanted it. When I think of John I picture a rugged man who only speaks when he has something to say. Thats why it was so significant when he look at Jesus and said "Look, its the lamb of God." He only spoke when he had something to say. He was a real man. Strength and boldness marked his ministry.

Last night in youth group we saw another side to John, his unsure and frightened side. At first it's kind of disheartening, but just think about the circumstances...He was in jail. I don't know about you but I sure have doubted God for a lot less. I have always had a roof over my head. I have always had food on my plate. I have always been able to pay my bills. I always have nice clothes. I was privileged to attend college. I have an awesome and supportive family.

I don'…

Alone In The Boat

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Last night I spoke about Zebedee, the father of James and John. James and John made a decision to get out of the boat and follow Jesus, their dad did not. He sat in the boat and watched his kids walk away. Zebedee missed out on so much because he didn't trust the call of Jesus. The simple call of follow me. I said "Following Jesus always means leaving something behind." Zebedee was afraid to leave behind everything he knew.

I also made a small comment about pride. I really do think that pride played a big role in Zebedee's hesitation. I can picture it right now, James and John urging their father to come with them, and Zebedee mumbling under his breath "stupid kids." There was no way that he was going to let his kids tell him what to do with his life. He knew better, he had more life experience. Because of his arrogance he missed out.

God tells us in Proverbs that "Pride goes before destruction" and that "I hate pride and arrogance…

Never The Same

When people met Jesus, their lives were never the same. He has a knack at doing that. This is what we will be discussing in youth group over the next few weeks. I'm really excited because this series goes a direction you normally wouldn't go because of the stories it tells. Stories about men and women in the bible that we normally don't talk about. It throws the "What If..." question out there.

What if you were locked in prison like John the Baptist, how would you respond? What if you were the prostitute at the feet of Jesus, would you wash his feet with your tears? What if you were the soldier that Jesus healed right before he was taken away to be crucified? How would you respond?

There will be a lot of tough questions asked over the next few weeks, but they are questions that we need to ask ourselves. I truly believe that God will be challenging us to take a good hard look at our lives and our devotion to him.

Tomorrow night we start with Zebedee, the F…

Jesus Is Impossible

Sometimes I have a hard time describing Jesus. On one hand he is just like you or I. I'm sure he would enjoy a good slice of pizza when he's hungry. At the end of a long days work he would relax and when he's tired enough he would sleep. He would probably even snore when he's really exhausted. If you told him something funny while he was taking a drink, more than like that drink would shoot out his nose just like it would us. And of course, what if he doesn't see that bump in the sidewalk and trips and scraps his knee, it bleeds just like you or I.

On the other hand he's nothing like us. He changes water into wine. He feeds thousands with just a fish and some bread. He walks on water. He gives sight to the blind with dirt and his spit. He purifies the unclean skin of the leper. He tells a cripple man to get up and walk and he does. He even breaths new life into the dead.

How can the common and uncommon co-exist? This is the type of thing that makes m…

Logical Love?

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God's love is not logical. We gave him no reason to love us. Think about it, sin is against God and we are sinful beings by nature, and yet he loves us anyway. We did nothing to deserve this love; it's not like we helped him with his algebra homework. We didn't buy him that iPod He wanted so badly for Christmas. And of course we sure didn't rescue God's kitten from a tree. We did nothing to deserve his love.

Now lets just clarify "love" real quick. There are a lot of things that we say that we love. "I love my job." "I love italian food." "I love my cat." This isn't the love that we're talking about, the love we're talking about sounds more like "Hey, I love you so much that I will die for you." I love how Steven James puts it, "He would rather die than live for eternity in paradise without me by his side."

I have the easy job, I get to love God and I have a great reason, He died for…