How we Miss the Point of Adversity & Pain


I talked about the point of pain and adversity, and how God turns our pain and adversity into joy over the last two weeks at Revolution Church. You can listen to part 1 and part 2 by clicking the links.

Often, one of our struggles in pain and adversity is that we look for things that are not promised.

While God does give us answers as to why things happen the way they do, He doesn’t always. Not only doesn’t he always answer the “why is this happening” question, when he does, it is rarely on our timetable.

We aren’t promised answers. We are however promised that we can have joy (John 16:24), we can have wisdom (James 1:5), we can have God’s presence and peace (Philippians 4:7).

Here is our problem with that: we aren’t always content to have God’s joy, wisdom and peace. We want answers.

It is this desire for answers, this searching for answers (while not wrong) that causes us to miss the point of adversity and what God is doing in it, through it and seeking to accomplish.

In short, we ask and seek the wrong the things.


Top 5 Sermon Downloads at Revolution Church for 2011

Over the past week on twitter, I’ve been re-posting the top 5 sermon downloads at Revolution Church for 2011. Here they are:

  1. The Vow: A Good Man (Ephesians 5:22 – 33)
  2. The Story of God: The Image of God (Genesis 1:26 – 28)
  3. The Story of God: God’s Blueprint for Marriage (Genesis 2:15 – 3:19)
  4. The Vow: A Good Woman (1 Timothy 2:8 – 10)
  5. Give Me Faith: The Storms of Life (James 1:1 – 4)

Does Prayer Really Work?

Everyone at some point, pray.

But what does prayer look like? How do you pray? Is there a secret? Are there words we should use or shouldn’t use? Is there some kind of process to prayer? What about unanswered prayer? Is there such a thing as an unanswered prayer?

This Saturday, we wrap up our 15 week journey through the book of James and look at the question of “Whether or not prayer works?”

This is a question that everyone wrestles with at one point or another and the answer that James gives to this question is incredibly eye opening.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

Also, don’t forget about our Good Friday service:  Who Killed God? and Easter Weekend as we kick off a brand new series The Story of God. It is going to be a great weekend as we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrate baptism.

See you Saturday.

Weekend Mind Dump…

  • I used to do this on Saturday, but now that we have 2 services I find that I am wiped by the time I get home and have very little brain power left
  • So, this will usually be done on Sunday’s
  • Let me start off by saying, I love 2 services
  • The spirit, power, energy and momentum in both services is awesome
  • It has been pretty split as far as attendance goes in each service
  • Last night was crazy, we had so many first time guests, over 20
  • I stood there asking, “Where do all these people come from?”
  • Last night was our 2nd highest attendance ever
  • It was a tough message last night, preaching on the point of pain and suffering is a hard message to give
  • The situations that make us ask that question are real, heart breaking, raw
  • I believe Scripture has a ton to say on how we understand those moments and the nature of God if we are willing to listen, often we aren’t
  • The things people asked for prayer that they are dealing with are enough to make anyone beg for Jesus to come back and right all the wrongs of the world once and for all
  • Maybe that is one of the points, pain and suffering makes us long for Jesus to return
  • If you missed last night, I’d encourage you to listen here
  • I got to speak at Intervarsity on Thursday night
  • Love speaking to college students
  • They really believe that what happened in the book of Acts could actually happen again
  • While some adults have questions about God changing a city or a campus, students don’t see why it can’t happen
  • What was even cooler was seeing a bunch of them at church last night
  • Love when the weekend goes as it has
  • Friday night, Katie and I went out to celebrate our 9 year anniversary
  • It is crazy to think we have together almost a full decade
  • We are blessed to be one of those couples that has done the hard work and is happier today and more in love today than when they got married
  • On our anniversary, I shared some of the things we’ve learned about marriage over the years, you can read them here if you are curious
  • Recently, I’ve been doing a bunch of reading and researching on leadership development, community, discipleship and mission
  • There is a lot going on behind the scenes of our church preparing for the future and how we take everything to the next level
  • I will be sharing some of these things over the coming months, all I can say is:  I and the leaders at Revolution are more excited about what God is doing in and through our church and what he will do in the future than ever before
  • It is awesome
  • Katie and I are heading up to the crossing tonight for their 2nd to last service
  • Really excited for them to join us and be a part of what God is doing in our city and church
  • Last night we announced what Easter weekend will look like at Revolution
  • Good Friday, we are showing the film from Mars Hill called Who Killed God?
  • This is a powerful look at the crucifixion
  • On April 23rd, we are kicking off a brand new series called The Story of God
  • That night, I’ll be talking about how God made us in his image, what that means, how that shapes our identity and how we look at each other and our world
  • We will also be having a baptism that night
  • If you are interested in taking that step, simply email Chuck Tommervik
  • An easy way to stay up to date on what is happening at Revolution is on our Facebook page, if you haven’t “liked” it, go here and do so
  • Next week, I will wrap up our series on James and look at if prayer works, how does it work, how do we handle moments that God says no
  • You don’t want to miss it

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Point of Pain and Suffering

Whenever we talk about pain and suffering and why God allows things to happen, we often talk in big, broad strokes. We ask questions like, “How could God allow the earthquake in Japan? Did he cause it? What about the helpless people who are hurt, abused, killed because of the greed of a few?”

Then, we start to get personal.

Why did God allow that relative to abuse me? Why did God let my spouse walk out on me? Why won’t God allow me to have kids? Why is God making it so difficult for me to find a spouse? To get pregnant?

We all have other pain we didn’t wish was in our lives. It might be relational (parents, siblings, co-workers, kids, spouses), maybe it is health and a nagging ache that won’t go away, it might be emotional stemming from past hurts (some caused by us and some caused by others).

We have all made choices that we wish we could unmake. Things that we have done that if we could do over, we would go in a drastically different direction.

What about choices that others have made that we are stuck with? We have to deal with ramifications of the choices, often not good, that others have made that affect our lives.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

This Weekend @ Revolution: How to be Rich

It truly is an exciting time at Revolution Church right now. Last week was our first night with 2 services, at 4:15 and 6pm and it was awesome. We had more people in the first service than when we launched over 2 years ago. Paul, our worship pastor, pointed out that when he came to Revolution that the whole church looked like that and then we got to do another service. It truly is a testament to what God has been doing, is doing and will continue to do.

I shared a few weeks ago that I have gotten more emails about this series and what God is doing in our lives through the book of James than any other series we’ve ever done. And I think this week will be another instance where God stretches us and challenges our thinking as we look at our lives and how the gospel transforms us and our thinking.

A lot is said about God and money in the church. Some pastors shy away from it and say nothing about what the Bible has to say about it. Others talk about it all the time, usually saying that if you give a certain amount to God you will get a certain amount back.

The Bible has a lot to say about money. Jesus talked about money more than he talked about heaven and hell. At Revolution, we preach through books of the Bible and so far, every book we have preached through money has come up. It is all over the Bible.

This week will take a different look at money. In James 5:1 – 6, which is what I’m preaching through on Saturday looks at “How to be rich.” One thing the Bible doesn’t say is that being rich is wrong. But what does it say? Who are the rich? How do they get rich? How does God judge those with more than others?

What about debt? Is going into debt ever okay? Is it ever okay to not pay a debt? What about the housing market? What does God say about walking away from a house you don’t want anymore?

Every week I’ve shared that James was written to help people see if their faith in God was genuine, if they had really been transformed by the gospel. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than in how we make money, what we do with it and the goal we have for our money.

I truly believe that Saturday night will be an eye opening night, but also a night that can bring a lot of freedom in your life in terms of how you look at money, how you make it and what you do with it. What if the gospel actually can transform this part of your life and bring freedom to it? Can you imagine what that would be like?

That’s what we’ll look at on Saturday night.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Tired, but a good tired
  • Tonight was the first night of 2 services
  • So cool to see how many people stepped up to make it happen
  • It is humbling to me all the people who work to make Revolution happen every week and the passion they have to help people in Tucson find their way back to God
  • I am blown away every week by the caliber of our leaders, we really do have the greatest leaders a church could ask for
  • It was a pretty intense sermon for me tonight, very personal and pastoral for me
  • It is heart breaking to know people who are making choices contrary to God’s word and you see how the story is going to end and you just want to stop them
  • That’s what I felt tonight
  • We ended the sermon with a really powerful sermon that you can see here
  • If you missed it, I’d really encourage you to watch it
  • I was challenged, being 31 and thinking that my life is so short, it doesn’t last forever and how my choices would be different if I lived with the reality of that and the reality that Zac said, “You may have already lived past the halfway point of your life”
  • Wow
  • In case you missed last night, you can listen to the message here
  • I will admit, I didn’t know how tonight would go and if anyone would be there since Arizona had a big basketball game overlapping both services
  • Awesome to see how God continues to grow our church
  • We had more people in the 1st service than we did when we launched
  • Excited about taking a retreat day this week and head up to Mt. Lemmon
  • A much needed thing to clear my head and keep my heart close to Jesus
  • If something in tonight’s message jumped out to you and you’d like to do some more reading on learning how to set goals and make plans in a Godly way and learn how to trust in the character of God and his sovereignty as the basis of those goals, check out these books:  Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny by Mark Batterson, The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God by Mark Buchanan, and Chazown: Define Your Vision. Pursue Your Passion. Live Your Life on Purpose. by Craig Groeschel
  • Started reading a book last night that is really challenging me, great look at the inner life of a leader
  • Katie and I are heading up to The Crossing tomorrow night, the church we’re merging with to hang out with them and attend church
  • I’m really excited for Easter weekend when they join us
  • Hoping to wrap up the study guide for our next series this week
  • Really excited about spending 5 months preaching through the Old Testament
  • That’s all I got, barely keeping my eyes open

Letter from Yourself Twice Your Age

To end my sermon tonight, we showed a video of someone who died at age 34 of cancer. The video was a letter he wrote to himself as a 17 year old.

The point from the sermon was, let’s say you are 31 as I am. If myself at 62 wrote a letter to me about my life, my decisions, goals, dreams and how things turned out. What would it say? Would it have any warnings? Would it challenge me to live differently than I am or did?

Here is the video:

It really is sobering.

To see the other videos from this series, one other one from Zac and one from his wife after his death, go here.

This Weekend @ Revolution Church: Making Decisions, Setting Goals & God’s Will

Saturday is going to be an exciting night at Revolution.

We are going to 2 services this week:  4:15 and 6pm.

We are kicking off our services this week with a bang, you seriously don’t want to miss the start of the service.

We are also continuing our series in the book of James on one of my favorite topics and a topic I get a ton of questions on:  figuring out God’s will and making decisions.

Figuring out God’s will is often made out to be this mysterious thing that only a few ever figure out. What if it isn’t that mysterious or difficult to figure out? What if God’s will has already been revealed and what if God’s will had more to do with our lives than just the big stuff? The only time we seem to worry about God’s will is when we are facing a major decision or major life change. But what if it encompasses more than that? What if God is actively involved in every aspect of our lives and cares deeply about the big decisions and the small ones?

If so, how do you figure it out? How do you make plans and set goals? Is it okay to do that?

This is going to be an exciting night for Revolution Church and a very eye opening night for many people as we think through our lives, our goals and how we are living our lives and the part God plays in our lives.

You definitely don’t want to miss it.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

Sunday Night Mind Dump…

  • I normally do this on Saturday, unless I get home Saturday and just find myself spent
  • Last night was a pretty emotional and spiritually draining night of preaching for me
  • I continued preaching through the book of James and I preached on 4:1 – 12 last night on the topic of sin and finding freedom
  • As a pastor, those passages are hard because I know so many people in my church are struggling, hanging on in their lives, hoping to find freedom and wondering if it is just a mirage or if the gospel actually can bring freedom
  • Fighting sin is a battle and any pastor who preaches on sin can tell you that preaching sin, grace and freedom is a battle
  • If tonight spoke to you in some way, here are some books that would be worth checking out:  Unfashionable:  Making a Difference in the World by Being Different, You Can Change, and Redemption:  Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds we Carry
  • It was also our last night of having just one service
  • I’m so excited about going to 2 services next week and seeing how God continues to work at Revolution and grow our church
  • I’ve been working on the study guide for our next series, so excited to spend 5 months going through the Old Testament
  • I think it is going to be very eye opening for a lot of people
  • Met a local pastor last night who came to check out Revolution, love that we can be a church that gives pastors a place to worship and be fed
  • It was also cool when he shared all the things he had heard about Revolution, what we’re doing in the city and how God is working in people’s lives
  • Humbling that the name of Jesus is spreading in our city and we get to be a part of it
  • Pretty excited about grilling some burgers, making homemade fries in the deep fryer and hanging on the back porch with Katie tonight
  • Started a challenging book on Friday that every young leader should read, The making of a leader by Robert Clinton
  • Wow
  • After chapter 2 I told Katie that I wished I had read it 10 years ago, would’ve saved me a ton of leadership pain
  • In case you missed the release of Rob Bell’s latest book and the controversy surrounding it, I’d encourage you to read my review of it before buying the book, might save you $12
  • We had a rummage sale for our adoption over the weekend and raised over $1,200
  • I am so humbled by how many people not only donated stuff, but gave up hours to help us set up, work the sale and tear it down
  • If you haven’t “liked” our adoption fan page on facebook, please do so
  • It is the best way to stay up to date on what is happening and how you can be involved in making one less orphan in the world
  • If you’d like an easy to support our adoption, here is one
  • I’m heading up to Phoenix this week to spend some time with some other Acts 29 pastors, always walk away from those times blessed with a lot to think about, always challenging
  • So excited about preaching on the concept of “Someday” next week and that many of us are someday people
  • I’d ask you to be praying for me and the other leaders at Revolution this week as we gear up for 2 services and what God is going to do as we move forward as a church