BASECAMP, First Trinity

Worshipping “STUFF” -Advent Conspiracy {BaseCamp}

It is really hard to worship God in a world that works so hard to get us to worship just about anything but.  It especially seems to try to get us to worship “stuff”.  This little ecard says a lot in just a few words:

indexOur culture is addicted to money.  Whether it’s working (too) hard to acquire it, trampling people to save just a little of it, or spending way too much of it, to the point of going into debt, money seems to demand our worship.  Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year on Christmas.  And while there’s nothing wrong with giving or receiving gifts, it seems a bit excessive.  And, there’s a better way!

God doesn’t demand our worship the way money and “things” do.  God doesn’t enslave us and require us to bow down.  He simply loves us and invites us to look at him and place him above all things.  He does this, as the Baby who chose to become one of us, to humble himself BELOW all things, and be born into this world, live here and die for us.  That’s something worth worshipping.  So this Christmas, perhaps these words from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” sum it up, just right.

‘It came with ribbons, it came without tags,
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!’
And he puzzled, and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore,
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before:
‘Maybe Christmas’, he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store’
‘Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Let’s spend a little less this year on the things that don’t matter so we have the time, energy, and resources to give to the things that really do.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destorys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  – Matthew 6:19-21


BASECAMP, Crossroads, First Trinity

Worship Fully – Advent Conspiracy {BaseCamp}

To go in line with the congregation-wide Advent Conspiracy (AC), the high schoolers are exploring the AC themes on Sunday mornings during Education Hour as well:

  • Worship Fully
  • Spend Less
  • Give More
  • Love All

In describing and defining worship, one of the videos we watched last week said this:

“We look at God and place him above all else. Because He is Worth it”

I love this definition!  As we wrapped up our time together, the high schoolers came up with practical ways we could do that throughout the week… to look at God more and/or to put him above all else.
Here were their awesome suggestions.

  • Having little reminders of God on your phone (text messages, or wallpaper backgrounds)
  • As you are brushing your teeth, use that as a reminder to pray for someone
  • Daily Bible reading and prayer
  • Listen to worship music each day in addition to or instead of other music
  • During prayer, spend time specifically to thank and praise God not just ask for things
  • Set aside time for him – take one of the time during the day you’d spend on Facebook or texting and intentionally spend it with God instead.
  • Anything you do, do it to your best ability as a way to glorify God

What about you? How would you define worship?  What are ways this week you can put God first and look to Him more?

In the midst of the busy Christmas season, stop and take time to Worship Fully.


BASECAMP, Crossroads, First Trinity

I am Second – Week 4 {BaseCamp}

In this final week of our I am Second series, we see that when we are second, God can do amazing things through us. As you listen to Stephen Baldwin’s story, pay attention also to the story of their cleaning woman, Augusta.

What I love about Augusta’s story is that she understood that God could use her.  She could have beat herself up thinking, “God can’t you have something better for me than cleaning other people’s houses?!?” But instead she saw God using her in ways that were beyond her imagination, to be able to share the love of Christ with rich and powerful people.

Whatever God calls us to in life, the ultimate purpose is to share Christ.  No matter what our actual “job” is, it comes second to the calling of Christ.

What about your current situation might lend itself to living boldly for Christ and showing people what His love is really about?

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:
BASECAMP, Crossroads, First Trinity

I am Second – Week 3 {BaseCamp}

Perhaps the most universal desire in every human is the desire to be loved. It looks different for each of us, but if we’re honest for ourselves, we all want that.  And we all have a desire to love others as well. God created us that way.

Yet in this broken, sinful world, most of that promise to love, fulfill, or satisfy us leave much still to be desired.  This young man took a tradition from his high school and turned it around, finding contentment while showing compassion as well.

A lot of things in this world try to tell us we’re unlovable.  A lot of other things lie to us and tell us they can make us feel loved.  The truth is, God alone is love. In understanding this truth, we are okay with giving up our pursuit to be number one because we know the true “Number One” loves us more than we could imagine, even enough to die…

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis added)

To whom or what are YOU looking to fill that void of love?  Why not turn to Christ, the One who IS love?

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:
BASECAMP, Crossroads, First Trinity

I am Second – Week 2 {BaseCamp}

In Week 2 of our “I am Second” series we’re going to be hearing from NFL Quarterback Landry Jones.  One important piece of being able to say, “I am second’ and actually being able to live it is remembering our need for God.  One of the things that stood out to me most from this video was when he says, “I didn’t think I needed God.”  He was doing just fine on his own, or was he?  Check it out to see what he discovered:

Especially when things are going well, it’s easy to think that we’re just fine on our own.  When life doesn’t remind us this is a lie, Scripture does:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

The truth is that apart from God we can do NOTHING.  We really do NEED God… not just for salvation, but for every day life.  When we remember this truth, we truly can be “second.”

When have you felt like you just didn’t need God… that you could do life on your own?  How did that work out?

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:
BASECAMP, Crossroads, First Trinity

I am Second – Week 1 {BaseCamp}

No one wants to get “second place.”  While silver is great, it shows that the Olympian just BARELY missed the gold.  Who wants to be “second fiddle” when you could be first. The second best gadget may be nice but what about your friends that constantly show off “the best.

When it comes to our relationship with God, though, I have to admit that being “second” (or maybe even third or forth or last) may indeed be better.  Sure, I want to be in control, but time and time again in life I’ve seen that God’s plans for my life are SO much better than my own.  By letting God take the #1 spot, life is truly better. God seems to agree and tells us why:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

This week on Sunday morning with the high schoolers we’re starting a new 4-week series called “I am Second.”  I am Second is a movement that involves people, including celebrities, famous athletes, etc, sharing with the world why being second to God is perhaps the best thing about their lives.  Each week we’ll look at a different video and see how their stories relate to our own.

This week we’re going to hear from Moriah Peters, an American Idol contestant who thought she was giving up all her dreams by being honest about her faith and values in the audition process.  Little did she know at the time that God had bigger plans…

Sometimes following God and trusting His place as #1 is hard and makes you look very different from the world, perhaps even weird, but God’s way is the best way.  We can trust that.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:
BASECAMP, Crossroads

“Oh, My God, Hear My Prayer!” {Basecamp O.M.G. Series}

This week we wrap up our 3 week BaseCamp study on worship and prayer called O.M.G. The first week focused on calling on God’s powerful name in times of need and last week was worship God in awe and wonder for who He is and His great love for us.

A third way in which we see the phrase, “Oh My God” used in Scripture is in confession and asking God to hear our prayers and pleas to forgive and restore us.  One example is found when Solomon is dedicating the temple of God in the old testament.  As part of this dedication he reminds the people of their sin and the need for God to hear their prayers in this place and forgive:

“…there is no one who does not sin…yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you. Now, O my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place.”  (2 Chronicles 6:36-40)

We see this again in Daniel chapter 9 as Daniel, too, lifts up a prayer on behalf of a group of people.  He says:

O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (Daniel 9:18-19)

What I love about this passage is it reminds us that God does not hear us because we are righteous but because He is merciful!  That is why we can even have confidence to pray this prayer.  In the midst of our brokenness and sin, we can remember that we too are called by God’s name, we are his children and he longs for us to cry out, “Oh My God! Hear my Prayer!”

He is ready and waiting to say, “I hear you my child. I love you and I forgive you!”

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)


omg facebook

BASECAMP, Crossroads

“Oh, My God, You Are Awesome!” {Basecamp-O.M.G. Series}

We are continuing our BaseCamp series this Sunday called O.M.G., a study on learning to call on the powerful Name of our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer in worship and prayer.

Last week we talked about using the phrase “OH MY GOD!” when praying in times of desperation and need.  This week we get to see it used in worship of that great Name!  See what I mean in Psalm 71:22-23.

I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.

While God does long for us to call out to him in times of need, how beautiful it is to also worship him with awe and wonder over who God is and His work in our lives.  In times of worship we get to cry out, “Oh My God, YOU ARE AWESOME!”

When have you found yourself in awe and wonder of God?   Perhaps it was in nature when you saw the greatness of a mighty mountain or in the delicate nature of a baby bird.  Maybe it was a powerful healing in the life of someone you loved, or maybe, like the song writer, you’ve found yourself amazed by the great love of God that is steadfast and sure:

“Waves of mercy, waves of grace
Everywhere I look, I see your face.
Your love has captured me,
Oh My God, this love, how can it be?!?”

As you go through this coming week, take time to stop and let God amaze you.  I’m sure you won’t be sorry you did!

omg facebook

BASECAMP, Crossroads

“Oh, My God, I Need You!” {Basecamp O.M.G. Series}




No, I didn’t just forget to delete some random typing from the beginning of my blog post during editing.  Those are some of the most common texting or internet chat acronyms.  While Talk To You Later (TTYL), No Problem (NP), and Be Right Back (BRB) seem like easy ways to communicate quickly, some other acronyms aren’t necessarily the most helpful… or perhaps could they be?!?

For example, #28 on one of many “Top 50 Popular Text and Chat Acronyms”: OMG, which stands for “Oh My God.”  Whether it’s shorted to three letters or said with all seven in the phrase, it bugs me how casually this phrase is thrown around in conversation in place of words that could be used like “REALLY?!?” or “I can’t believe it”.  Sometimes it’s used to talk about something upsetting or frustrating.  At other times simply referring to what clothes another teenager was wearing… “OMG… Did you see that hat he was wearing?!? I can’t believe it.”   Rarely, though, is it used to truly call upon the powerful name of the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

In our next series at BaseCamp (or Sunday morning program for high school students), we’ll be looking into this phrase.  The interesting this is that our conversation won’t be about how we shouldn’t use this phrase but rather why we SHOULD! (Confusing I know).

Believe it or not this exact phrase is used many times throughout Scripture.  This Sunday we’re focusing in on times when we can use this in situations of desperation and needing God to help us.  There are times in life when our only prayer can be “Oh, My God, I need you!”  See what I mean in these passages:

As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God! (Psalm 40:17)

I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! (Psalm 3:6-7a)

In these passages the Psalmist writes of enemies and being attacked.  While we probably don’t face physical attacks each day that threaten our lives, there are many times when, like these writers, our only prayer is simply “Oh, My God, I need You!”

What is an area of your life or someone you love could use a prayer with this kind of desperation… a true need for God?  I think it’s easy for us to forget that we  need God for EVERYTHING… even our very breath.  Anytime you see or hear someone use the phrase “OMG” or “Oh My God” take a minute to stop and really use that as a prayer to the true God of the universe.  Let’s raise up and draw near to the Name above all Names, the One who is able to help us in our times of need!

omg facebook


BASECAMP, Crossroads

You Need The Right Gear {BaseCamp – 101 Series}

If you’re going to go mountain climbing; you need the right gear.

The same is true for our life in Christ.  To grow closer to Jesus, you have to have the right tools for the job.  While God uses MANY things to help us along the way, three of the most important ones I can think of are: God’s Word, Prayer, and Other Christians.  Last week in BaseCamp on Sunday morning with the High Schoolers we talked about the third one, other people.  It is important to not “climb alone” that we dedicated a whole week just to that!  God has placed others around us to help us along the walk, to encourage us when we’re down, and to remind us how to trust and follow God.

This week we’ll be looking at the other two: how God’s Word and Prayer are two of essential tools in growing closer to God.  God’s Word is how we hear from God.  It is alive and active; being attentive to His Word each day is one way he draws us closer to Himself.  As we go through this Circle Maker study at First Trinity, I’m also enjoying a fresh perspective on prayer.  One of the biggest things I’m re-learning about prayer lately, is it’s power to change us.

There are some things in my life that I’ve almost been “afraid” (for lack of a better term) to pray simply just because I wasn’t 100% sure that was actually what God wanted.  I thought maybe it was a good thing and maybe God wants it, but I don’t know for sure and so it was almost as if I was so fearful that I didn’t have the prayers “just right” that I just refused to pray them at all.

But then, through God’s Word, I was reminded of the truth that prayer isn’t about “having it right” but rather, being in relationship with God.  By ignoring these prayers all together, I was missing the opportunity to let God reshape some of these prayers into things that really are 100% His desires.  It’s only been a week since some of these discoveries and I can’t wait to see how God continues to shape and form these prayers in me to be things that bring Him glory.  None of that could have ever happened if I continued to ignore these prayers.  Prayer combined with God’s Word are some powerful tools to climb through this life.

As I think about the times when I facilitate the high ropes course, I stress again and again the importance to the climbers to communicate with their belay team before and all through their climbs.  As the facilitator I know some tricks having done it before.  I know what things are in place to keep them safe and having fun.  I would never start climbing the tower without communicating with my belay team; why would it be any different with my Heavenly belay, God?

How have you seen God’s Word and prayer as crucial tools or gear as you climb through life?

What obstacles sometimes keep you from keeping those tools at hand?

What other “gear” has God given you to help you through the journey?