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Greatest Love Lyrics  

Verse

You’re my greatest love 
With me in this storm 
When I sink in fear and doubt 
You pull me back up 
You’re my greatest strength 
with me when I’m weak 
Teaching me faith over fear 
in the furnace flames 

(Chorus)
Jesus I hope 
In Your Great Love 
I will fix my eyes above 
Jesus I know 
You’re my Great Love 
I will set my heart to trust 

Chorus 2
You’re with me every time 
You’re present in my trials 
You’re faithful in my fear 
My life is Yours 
You’re with me every time 
You’re present in my trials 
You’re stronger than this storm 
My Greatest Love 

Bridge
I choose to put my faith in You 
I choose to place my trust in You 
I choose to lay my burdens down 
I know that You are with me God 

JoHanna (on end chorus) 
By my side, when fears arise, all my life is Yours 
By my side, when storms arise, You’re my greatest love

A New Year, A New Opportunity 

I wanted to share two stories with you, as 2020 ends and 2021 begins. 

 

Story One: Some context, this story took place a few years ago, I wrote about it to my support team at the time; 

Yesterday I was doing my job at Jason's and my manager chewed me out for something small. Still, it hurt my feelings and it just set me back all day wondering what I could have done differently. I went to bed feeling pretty bad about it. Later as I woke up and went to the prayer room I met with my supervisor and he had some critiques for me as well. It was bad timing on my side because I was feeling the sting from something else. Things always seem to pile on top of one another when we are hurting.  

What happens to me when I am criticized or misunderstood is I often beat myself up for it. So right after I got out of this meeting with my supervisor a girl came up to me (she was from another country) and asked me what the word "meek" means and she pointed to Matthew 5:5. I answered her the best I could, but I was a bit preoccupied with all the things I was dealing with internally. I'm not even really sure what my answer for her was now that I think about it.  

I sat down in the prayer room and Satan began speaking so many lies over me. I was accepting them and taking them as if it was what I deserved to hear. In the end, my question became; "Why God, would you want someone like me?" "Why haven't you given up yet?". Satan was throwing out all the regrets of my past, my current issues, and even things that don't even make sense at all. At that moment I sat there as the worship team played and I cried and struggled with who I am.  

I felt a tug from the Lord to go to Matthew 5:5 again and to read it. I read it through a few times and I didn't understand what God was trying to say. I felt another small tug from the Lord telling me to look at the one cross referenced verse that my bible had for Matthew 5:5. This is what it said;  

Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:4) NKJV  

It wasn't like every bit of the issue went away in that moment when I read this verse, but I felt relief immediately. Because I know that I am this verse. I don't know what will be said about me when I die, but I believe with conviction that I walk out this verse. This is one of the best gifts the Lord has given me. It's a reminder to me that in the confusion and doubt that He knows me and sees me.  

I learned something today. Meekness is NOT about being a doormat for people to walk all over. Meekness is all about submitting to Jesus and His leadership. Jesus will give the keys of His Kingdom to the meek because they love Him and have fully submitted to Him as King.  

I want to end with a little excerpt from a book I've been digging into a lot lately. It's about when you hear the call of God on your life and are driven into the wilderness rather than to action. This is from the October 13th devotional; My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers  

We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and yet when we start to do it, there comes to us something equivalent to Moses’ forty years in the wilderness. It’s as if God had ignored the entire thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged, God comes back and revives His call to us. And then we begin to tremble and say, “Who am I that I should go…?” We must learn that God’s great stride is summed up in these words— “I AM WHO I AM…has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). We must also learn that our individual effort for God shows nothing but disrespect for Him— our individuality is to be rendered radiant through a personal relationship with God, so that He may be “well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We are focused on the right individual perspective of things; we have the vision and can say, “I know this is what God wants me to do.” But we have not yet learned to get into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead. 

 

Story Two: Bugs Bunny, Beads, and Being Built to Last

One day when I was little I brought home a MASSIVE Bugs Bunny toy. I remember thinking this toy would be with me forever. It was the biggest and most impressive stuffed animal I had ever seen in my young life. Turns out though, that the people who decided to give it away for free were the wise ones. You see, this toy had holes in it, it was leaking beads, and no patch job was going to save the questionable material this toy was created with. I don't remember for certain, but I don't think the toy lasted more than a week. This toy was not built to last... 

If you're like me 2020 messed you up a bit. It hit hard and revealed some things about what I am made of. Maybe this year you felt a bit like my Bugs Bunny toy, this year poked holes in you, the things that held you together are slowly falling out, and you're scared you lost who you were before. Maybe you feel like throwing yourself away, giving up on your faith, like you're worthless. 

Can I ask you a challenging question? Are you in this thing for the long run? Are you built to last? 

Can I ask you another challenging question? What if the beads (the ones that filled you before 2019) were supposed to fall out? What if the pain of this year is refining you to be something more than you were? What if God wants to make your inner man out of a material that is built to stand the test of time? What if the only way to get to that result is through trials? 

Isaiah 40:6-8 

A voice said, “Shout!”  

    I asked, “What should I shout?”  

“Shout that people are like the grass.  

    Their beauty fades as quickly  

    as the flowers in a field.  

7 The grass withers and the flowers fade  

    beneath the breath of the Lord.  

    And so it is with people.  

8 The grass withers and the flowers fade,  

    but the word of our God stands forever.” 

 

The truth is, deep down, we are slowly withering away, and some years take their toll more than others, but God's word will always stand. I don't know what your year has been like, but I do know that some things are built to last and some aren't.

 

One more verse,

John 15:16  

You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name 

When we feel completely lacking there are two choices to be made, throw it all away, or dig in deep and let God prune us so that more fruit can come. 

I'm praying your 2021 is blessed, that you would dig deep into the well of God's word, and that it would establish you, build you up, and inspire you to seek Him. 

 

Good things on the way! 

 

 

-Dan

 

 

How Can One Person Promote Unity? (Original Post: February 15th, 2018) 

Fractions within the church are deeply personal. In many cases, these fractions have caused people to leave the church altogether. It is easy to feel lost in the midst of these divisions in the church. The church is meant to be our safe place and when it isn't we feel great uncertainty about what actions to take to help. Yet even in the darkness, one individual can contribute positively. One person can be a unifying voice in the midst of the dissension. One person can contribute to unity, but one person cannot accomplish unity on their own. Unity within the Church can only be accomplished when individuals practice grace and compassion within community when the Church emulates Jesus' humble example, and when reading and obeying the word of God is a top priority. 

Human beings were created by God for fellowship with one another. Community provides one of the clearest ways to encounter the grace of God in our lives. This was made clear when God stated “It is not good for man to be alone” in Genesis 2. In most cases, people begin to isolate themselves after they are hurt by the church. Isolation within the church is one of the key factors in disunity development. The popular idiom; “hurt people, hurt people'' has an underlying truth to it, but the better phrase would likely be; “all people, hurt people”. Jesus is the only man who treated each person perfectly in His time on earth. One of Jesus' most common proclamations to his disciples was a reminder to love one another. Today, we exist in the most isolated and independent time in history. We don't rely on others in the same way previous generations needed to in order to survive. Our self-reliance has slowly deteriorated into self-indulgence, even inside the walls of the church. We seek grace from the pastor's message, from the worship team, and from the smiles we receive from others as we walk out the door. This form of Christianity finds its success or failure in what “I” receive out of going to church. Grace doesn't work in self-indulgence. Grace is shared among a fellowship of like-minded people working through their differences and growing to love each other. Grace factors into unity in Paul's famous line in Romans 5:8; “Christ died for us.” This beautiful “us” Paul is referring to is worth fighting for and believing in. We come together and find the best of ourselves when we lay down our self-indulgence and fight for others' greatness above our own. Isolation and division are only broken down in the confines of trust and compassion. Compassion is actively choosing to respond with grace to someone else's pain. It's a picture of coming underneath someone and lifting them up. Compassion is neither passive or free, it requires something from you. 

Jesus is the head of the church and all things were made through Him. No one can contribute to unity 

like Jesus. The humility of Christ provokes us to emulate His example. In order to emulate Christ, we must change the way we look at the church and at ourselves. Philippians 2 is one of the clearest passages in the Bible on humility. In the passage, Paul speaks on “lowliness of mind” and “esteeming others as better than ourselves”. Lowliness of mind is not immaturity, but a practical childlike faith that places love as the highest goal. When love is prioritized it matters more than being the smartest person in the room. The greatest resistance to unity within the church is each person's individual pride. This is why Paul exhorts the Philippian church to change their mindset to be like Christ Jesus. Jesus was the most intelligent person who ever walked upon the earth, and yet He carried himself with complete humility and kindness. To esteem another above yourself is to love as Jesus loved. Jesus did not die for us in our best moment, rather He died for us when we were yet sinners. Outside of the church people are capable of loving each other when they have reason to, but we as Christians are called to love beyond what is deserved. We love one another in our weaknesses and in this we accomplish humility towards one another. 

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. In God's word, we find our greatest hope for unity. Christians all over the world unite around God's word in a variety of circumstances and challenges. God's word sifts through our intents. When we emphasize God's word we allow God to sift our intents and motives. We enable God to unite us in obeying His guidelines for unity. Leaders within the church are wise to prioritize God's word above any self-help books or worldly ideals towards unity. Within the church, God's word functions as an anchor, setting boundaries and providing clarity. The church must not only read the Word of God, but we must also obey the Word. Jesus' brother James' exhorted the church in his day to not only be hearers but also doers. Unity in the church happens when the Bible is living and active in us. As we embody the word to one another, we unite in the fellowship of God. 

Unity within the church cannot be accomplished by one person's strength or zeal. It requires grace, compassion, unity, and an emphasis on the word of God. One person can contribute to unity by embodying the character of Jesus Christ. By emulating Christ, we encourage others to seek His face and obey His word. It changes the conversation from what we want our church to be like to who we want our church to be like. The wounds of disunity and brokenness were put upon the cross with Jesus. His words still echo through time into our hearts today, as we remember His sacrifice. He laid down His life for us so that we may lay down our lives for one another. In this sacrifice we find unity.

The Value of Each Individual (Originally Posted July 16 2016) 

As I'm writing this the world counter online says there are over 7.4 billion people on the earth. Approximately 358,000 children were born today and roughly 150,000 people breathed their final breath. About 21,000 people die each day from hunger. All these statistics make us numb and make us feel small, but here's something that shocks me. It is estimated that you and I likely know about  600 people. That's a small world to live inside in the context of 7.4 billion people around the world. Want to make it even smaller? Statistics say that the average person knows about 10-25 people enough to trust them. (a) I realize there are always exceptions to every statistic, but it truly is amazing how little of the world we actually see and interact with on a daily basis. In reality, these friendships are few and far between as we pass by thousands upon thousands of people and don't even think about it. The question is; How well do you value those 20 or so people that you currently trust? 

I think what worries me in the age of social media and technology is that discipleship is often done through our phone screens rather than face to face. Facebook and Twitter have come to be pulpits for our ideals and for our reactions to the world around us. I have found it's easier for me to say things to people behind my phone rather than looking people in the eye. The noise of dismissal and superiority are deafening on social media. How many people have you dismissed today? How many people have you overlooked? Thank God for mercy in trying to love each other well. We fail at it more than we could ever realize. 

Somehow in God's crazy design you are reading this right now and I am someone you know in some social capacity and you decided to read this. I value your time and that you chose to read this, and I value you probably much more than I have stated to you. I know personally that one of the greatest desires I have is to express what I'm feeling in my heart and to have it be understood. I don't think I am alone in that desire. I believe the greatest ache on our planet right now is by hurting people wanting to be seen and heard. They are your friends, coworkers, and family. They need you! 

So today I'm focusing on the value of each individual. The value of loving each other as Christ loves us. I hope this can express the desire God has to use the church to disciple one another just like he discipled 12 young men. I believe the greatest struggle of a ministry internally is to care about each individual as much as the congregation as a whole. We are one body made up of many parts. Each part is vital for the success of the entire body. I hate to be the guy that makes sweeping statements, but I truly believe that the church is failing in valuing individuals above the seats they occupy. We have to get back to the basics and start from there. 

I often look at these massive worship events like Onething or Passion and I see 20,000 young people worshipping Jesus together which is an amazing thing! But I often think about what happens when music and teaching stop. I remember when I was 17 years old and I was just one person among those 20,000. In my heart, I was signing up to follow Jesus for the first time in my life. As I made the decision to start following Jesus I was worried about the world I was going back to once the conference was over. In fact, I thought about it the entire 8-hour car ride back to Minnesota. I knew I would be walking into a life I had built with no real accountability and no Christian friends. I knew I would be trying to tear down the facade of a good Christian that I had built to actually build something real. In plain terms; I really needed someone who was like me. I wasn't looking for answers to questions as much as I was looking for a friend to walk with me and be there when I stumbled to help me to get back up. 

There are plenty of people out there who are willing to mentor someone which basically is a nice way saying you see yourself above them. My question is are you willing to be a friend? Are you willing to stand beside those that need you? Are you willing to get over how long you've known Christ to actually be like Christ to someone? What if your calling isn't to impact thousands but rather to impact the faces you see every single day. What if the church valued each person the way Christ does? What if the monotony of everyday life was tricking you from seeing the treasure that is found in the people you see each and every day? 

3 quick practical ways to apply this in real-life interactions 

1. Be present in your conversations. Value the person you're talking to by being focused on them. 

2. Listen. Encourage them. Point to the Bible and to Jesus. Don't act like you know everything! 

3. Tell the people you care about that you care about them. Simple, but so important! 

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another"- John 13:35 

a. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/science/the-average-american-knows-how-many-people.html?_r=0