Monday, April 30, 2007

Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness

Steve spoke yesterday at TrueNorth about the beatitude of hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What a much needed topic! Anyway, it made me think of Colossians 3:1-2, which simply says that we should set our heart and mind on things that are above. This, to me, is the basis of hungering and thirsting. I love the song we sang yesterday called Center by Charlie Hall. In it, we sing words inspired from Colossians 1:17, declaring that God holds everything together.

Louie Giglio, founder and visionary of the Passion Movement, spoke on the human body at one time and the amazing things that are contained in us. He said that a molecular biologist told him to check out this fascinating thing called "laminen". Laminen is a substance in our body that literally acts as glue or stitching between our cells. Giglio said that when he saw a super zoomed in picture of laminen he was completely floored. It turns out, laminen is a cross-shaped structure. It puts new meaning to the verse above that says God holds everything together. Literally!

What's the point? Everything...I mean EVERYTHING...starts with God. If our minds are not centered and focused on Him, if we aren't cross-eyed, then we will try to satisfy the hunger and thirst somewhere else...and we'll come up lacking. Something I shared a few weeks ago that I will reiterate here is that I have started praying and asking God to be the Lord of my day. Since that day, my relationship with God has been revitalized. I'm not saying I'm perfect now because I pray this prayer, but I am saying that, for this season in my life, those words have become very powerful and important for me.

Being cross-eyed takes discipline. I have to be disciplined to go to be early so I can get up early and spend time in the presence of God. I have to make the decision to read my bible and pray. There are so many things that can distract me, but by humbling myself and seeking God, those distractions seem to fade away.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Tonight at Jteam we discussed this past Sunday's message on "Happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." One of the guys in the group mentioned a quote from Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Minneapolis, about an observation he's made about us as people. It seems, to Mr. Bell, that we have become more of human-doings than human-beings. Think about the contrast between the two. It's as simple as the difference between the two words "do" and "be". To do is to perform or produce. It implies action. To be is to exist.

It's so easy to get caught in the doing of life that we forget to just be. Sometimes we need to take the time to feel life again, rather than to do it. God says in Psalm 46:10 to "be still, and know that I am God." Honestly, I couldn't tell you the last time I was completely still and waited on God. It's a hard thing to do, but we must.

So here's a list of suggestions of how you can become a human-being again:
-Take a walk in nature and observe God's creation up close.
-Take time to listen to someone's story in order to get to know them better.
-Read a book that will challenge you to examine your life to see how you can improve yourself.
-Make it important to play. Let your hair down and have fun! Fun is a huge key to being!

These are just a few things. Does anybody else have a suggestion?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Facedown - May 20th

Yesterday I met with our Facedown creative team to continue dreaming and planning the next edition, which is just a month away. I am so pumped! God has already started inspiring us with some really cool things. You will not want to miss it.

One of the things I love about Facedown is to watch how God puts each edition together and how each one He makes completely unique. I have people talk to me all the time and say "remember that one with the glowsticks?" or "remember the one where the singers were no where in sight?"

Through it all, Facedown still has a very simple focus. Leviticus 9 says that the Israelites were at the foot of the mountain of God after they left Egypt. They were instructed precisely how to present the first offering to God and they followed it to the "T". And then, after Moses and Aaron had met with God in the Tent of Meeting, they came out, blessed the people and then the God showed up!
"...and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown." (Leviticus 9:23-24)
Here is a basic definition of worship. Worship is our response to the revelation of God. You can see that in this verse. God shows up, the people respond. And they respond in two ways, which brings us to the two pillars of Facedown.

First, they shouted for joy. They celebrated. They went crazy. Ever been to a football game and the home team scores a winning touchdown at the last second? The crowd goes wild, right? Well, that doesn't even compare to how the people of God responded in this Leviticus passage. Why? Because God accepted their offering. He found it acceptable. You know what? God has accepted an offering that blows theirs away. Jesus Christ. He's our offering, once and for all. And we've done nothing to deserve it. Which brings us to the second response...

Secondly, the people of Israel fell facedown. And get's for the exact same reason. After their celebration, I imagine a moment when an eerie silence falls over the people. There's a light switch flipped or something that causes them to realize that God accepted their offering. He found them acceptable. And it's the same for us. But here's the difference. The only part we (humanity) had in presenting this offering is that we crucified God's Son. The Lamb of God spilled His blood to cover us and make us acceptable in God's sight. When we truly realize that, we can't help but fall on our faces in awe of God.

In a few weeks, I will begin a daily journey to Facedown. I'll post thoughts to help prepare our hearts to meet with God as May 20 draws closer. I hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This morning I popped in a song that I haven't listened to in quite a long time. It's a worship tune from the late '90s called We Are Hungry. I was first introduced to the song from the Passion: The Road to OneDay album that came out in 1999. Anyway, as I listened to this song, I couldn't help but fall on my face. I began to cry out to God to make this song true in my heart as well as in our be hungry for God.

Through it all, I decided to make a little video to this song with pictures of worshipers from different events at TrueNorth. So here it is...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Prayer Power

This past weekend Laurie went with some friends to Columbia, SC, to see Beth Moore speak. 18,000 women in one place. That's a lot of estrogen. Anywho, she said it was an amazing time of worship and teaching. Here's a picture of the event...

One of the things Laurie mentioned from this weekend was something Beth said about prayer. She made the comment that when we pray, things happen that wouldn't happen otherwise. Now, I know what you're thinking...but when I pray nothing happens. But according to Beth, that's wrong. There is something that is set into motion in the spiritual realm, a releasing of God's power and blessing, that otherwise would not happen if we didn't pray.

I've been thinking about this. Why don't I pray more? Is it because I'm too busy? No, I'd say I'm too busy NOT to pray. Is it because I don't set my priorities right? Well, that's definitely part of it. But there's something bigger than that. It's because I've lost faith in prayer. I have a hard time admitting that, but I think all of us can relate to this in some fashion or another. Let me explain...there are many prayers that God answers that I will never see the physical outcome of. Part of that is because He will choose to answer with a "no". Another part is that there are requests that happen in someone else's life that I may not have day to day contact with. And yet another part is those requests that take many years to answer. I've known people who have prayed for someone to come to Christ for 10 or 20 years.

Prayer takes patience, which is a virtue that isn't practiced a whole lot in our society these days. We have to learn to wait on God and trust that He hears us. We also need to realize that there is a power in prayer that is like no other power.

Lord, help me to fully understand and realize the power that takes place through prayer.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Photo Booth

This past December, we got Laurie a new MacBook for Christmas. (Disclaimer: I am of the belief that the only type of computers that exist are Macs. Anything else is strictly a figment of the imagination.) The MacBook has a built in camera in the computer monitor portion of the computer. It's really cool. Apple even created a program to go with it called Photo Booth. It truly is a great invention that could bring hours of endless enjoyment and laughter. You can choose one of many effects to apply to a picture that will morph the image into quite a few different things.

Recently, the kids and I had some fun with it...and here are the results:

Here's me with some fun buck teeth...
...and then there's poor little Ella...
...Stephen's having fun!
I cannot look at this one without completely losing it!
...and lastly, Zane the alien. Kind of freaky!

So there's an example of endless entertainment in the Bradford household!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Alive. I've been thinking about that word a lot this week. What does it really mean to be alive? The dictionary defines it simply as "living; not dead." Another definition I saw was one that reads "continuing in existence."

Steve talked a lot about what it means to be alive this past Sunday. You can read a recap of it here. And then last night at JTeam, we watched a Louie Giglio message titled "Alive", which was a look at the intricacies of the human body. He spoke of how our bodies are made up of over 70 trillion cells. 70 trillion. That's a lot of zeros!

So what I've learned through it all this week is that God made me, and in a incredibly amazing way. As Psalm 139:13-14 says, "For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." I guess what's so captivating for me with this is that God knows me intimately. He knows what foods I like, what music I'm in the mood to listen to, the amount of stress in my day...and He knows each of the 70 trillion cells in my body. That's amazing to me!

I have to say that I want to be more than "not dead". I want to be ALIVE! I don't want it to be said of me that I'm just continuing in existence. I want to take life head on and live for Jesus with passion and excitement.

Life is definitely more fun when you live it ALIVE..

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter Thoughts

We had band practice last night for our Easter service. Wow! I am so pumped for Sunday to get here!!! I don't know what exactly it is...I just really believe God has a HUGE day in store for us. I can't wait to see what He does!

There's a song we've introduced recently called "All Because of Jesus" by Steve Fee that's sticking in my mind right now as I think towards Easter. The chorus of this song says:

It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive

It is all because of Jesus...I have hope because of Him. And life. And peace. Joy. Forgiveness. Grace. Salvation. Redemption. I could go on forever...and it's all because of Jesus. I'm humbled that He would shed His blood for me. I don't understand the love He has for's truly baffling. The Son of God, leaving the Presence of God to come to earth...for us.

On this Good Friday, let us remember that Jesus willingly took our sin on His back and was willingly nailed to the cross. Why? For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Monday, April 02, 2007

What if...?

I was checking out the myspace page of my buddies Merge Sunday and they had something that's got me thinking. The section talking about who they are says this:

Four passionate guys with hearts for worship and a passion for sharing that through their musical talent. mergeSUNDAY is a lifestyle. What if everyone took the way they live on Sunday morning and made that a part of every day instead of saving it for that one special day of the week? We were made to worship, and not just on Sunday mornings. God doesn't want the best of what we have; He wants ALL of it. Our bad days, our good days, our broken and bruised. All of it. Live every day like it's a Sunday.

What if we lived everyday of our lives with the same passion and energy for God that we save for special occasions, whether it's church or a Facedown-type event? I was talking to Gene today about worship and that worship is, at its simplest form, our relationship with God. It's how we respond to Him when He reveals Himself to us. Did you catch that? It's our response to God's revelation of Himself.

Have you ever wondered why people act they way they do when they sing a worship song or say the things they do in everyday conversation when talking about God? People raise their hands, shout at the top of their lungs, clap their hands, fall on their face, sit silently...and that's just a few things! I've heard people say that they are better then they deserve, or they are blessed. Why is that? I believe with all my heart that it is because they are feeling something inside that they have to get out through speech or action.

I'm curious...why do you respond to God the way you do?