On April 29th we are going to host a dog fair for north central Austin at Brentwood Park. This year we even got approval from the city because last year we had over 800 people, tons of dogs, and news coverage that led the city of Austin to inquire about why they didn’t know about this event. Oops!
You can click on the link to watch our video from last year or you can visit www.austindogfair.com for more details.
Help us get the word out!
Unfortunately money has become a taboo word in church. It is associated with images of people in jets, mansions, and taking advantage of the poor as eternal life is dangled in front of them like a carrot. It makes my heart sad. As a result money is something we just don’t talk about in church. It is personal. You can talk to people about the Bible, their marriage, and even parenting, but don’t talk about money because that is crossing the line.
Scripture teaches us money is something we shouldn’t avoid talking about, but really it something that should become more common within the church. Specifically there is a church in Modern Day Greece that is such an example that throughout the New Testament their giving is referenced as a picture of God’s grace. Can you imagine money being something that is a picture of God’s grace? We recently talked about money at North Village Church in the hopes that we can continue to grow in the direction of our church being a picture of God’s grace.
In our culture today we don’t see money as a picture of God’s grace, but more so the means by which we pursue security or pleasure. When we pursue security it means we like to save money and the more money we save the more secure we feel. We love things like savings accounts, 401K’s, and Roth IRA’s, because it makes us feel secure. If anything dreadful should happen in life, don’t worry, money will come to our rescue. Sometimes it makes us feel so secure we will judge other people for not being more responsible with money. We will think to ourselves, “Didn’t they know better?” or “Didn’t they have any self-control!”
On Sunday, March 20th, we are going to host Austin Dog Fair as a church. Why would a church host a dog fair? Well, primarily because people in North Central Austin love dogs and Jesus loves the people of North Central Austin so this is just a really easy way to bring those two together.
What will we do at the dog fair? We invited over 20 local pet businesses in North Central Austin, local vets, local trainers, an agility course, games, contests and prizes. It will be a great way for local businesses to gain exposure, and neighbors to meet each other.
This will be our 3rd year of hosting Austin Dog Fair and we are really excited. The people in the community are becoming familiar with it and that has created some excitement also. Hopefully we can capture some video this year and everyone will get to enjoy the dog fair!
In the Scriptures Jesus calls us to put our hand to the plow and not look back. Most of us have no idea how to plow a field but Jesus uses this illustration because life is really difficult. This might be difficult for some of us to understand because when we want food we just run to a restaurant or a grocery store and pick it up all neatly packaged. It isn’t difficult at all. However, plowing a field is really difficult and Jesus uses this illustration because life is really difficult. The kingdom of God is difficult, marriage is difficult, raising children is difficult, working a job every day is difficult and that is why Jesus calls us to put our hand to the plow and not look back.
The reality of it is that our life is like a field and God has apportioned a field for us to plow, and it is difficult because we live in a world that has been tainted by sin. Our world naturally produces weeds and thorns. We live in a world where sometimes it will feel like nothing is working and it is because everything is broken. Sin has taken everything God created to be good and it is completely broken. That is why God entered into human history. That is why Jesus died on a cross. That is why He is calling out, “Follow me.”
It is important to remember when Jesus is having this spiritual conversation He also has His hand to the plow. His plow is facing the cross and He is plowing a row that will lead to great difficulty. He has His hand to the plow, His face toward the cross and He is pressing forward. He is not looking back. He isn’t looking back remembering the good old days. He isn’t look back remembering when He had less responsibility. He isn’t looking across the street at His neighbor’s field, but instead He has His hand to the plow, feet moving forward, and eyes on the cross.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised by the difficulty of life, but instead allow that difficulty to keep our eyes on Jesus and all that we have been given through the cross.
When you work in business there is this constant pull to make more money. Why not? Money is a lot of fun. Our culture will constantly pull us to make more money. We will buy nicer cars, bigger houses, more gadgets, better vacations, better schools and we constantly feel like we need more money.
I remember someone telling me once the question isn’t, “How much money is enough, but how many hours a week is enough.” We can always work more hours and make more money, but instead we need to define the amount of hours. For most of us it is 40-50 hours a week. Work really hard during those hours and then be content with the amount of money those hours bring in for income. For some, it will be $30K and for others it will be $100K, but either way that will answer how much money is enough.
God knows our needs, He gave us our abilities and instead of working 10 more hours for $10K we would do better to work really hard during those hours and trust God to provide us with the money we need.
It’s a new year and always a good time of the year to create new habits and behaviors. One character flaw I have noticed in my life is how easy it is to lie. We all lie. Sometimes we lie about some of the weirdest things. I will even find myself wondering, “Why did I just lie about that?”
Sometimes we will lie to get out of things like when our wife asks if the baby has a dirty diaper and we will say no. Then a few minutes later she will see that the baby does have a dirty diaper and we will say something like, “Oh really, I didn’t smell anything. Really? It must be my allergies. Well, let me know next time and I will change it.”
When the cop pulls us over about speeding we will say, “Oh really, I didn’t know I was going that fast even though I tapped on the brakes when I saw you. Thank you officer I want to be safe.”
In a few days we will celebrate the greatest gift ever given to humanity. The gift is described as a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Considering most of our gifts to each other will be gift cards we have a God who goes to the trouble of giving Himself. Take a moment to reflect on the description:
Savior: This is why Jesus came. Jesus came to be our Savior. All of humanity has sinned against God and we need to be saved. Sin is anything that doesn’t line up with the perfection of God and there are sins of omission and commission. Sins of commission are the ones we know like lying, stealing, and killing, but there are also sins of omission related to our mind and emotions and at times we are not even aware. It is all sin and it separates us from the holiness of God.
Our culture doesn’t believe in sin. Our culture tells us we are just fine, and we just need to look within to find our inner firework to shoot across the sky, sky, sky. The only problem is that the firework doesn’t last forever and instead of looking within we need to look out and see that Jesus has come to save us.
I have noticed a pattern in life. It is a little like the washing machine wash, spin, rinse, repeat. We tend to go through this pattern in life where we pile up on the anxieties of life on our back. We carry the weight of our family, we take the phone call from our friend that needs a little help, we take on extra tasks at work, we go to events to keep people happy, we help out at our kid’s school so we don’t look like bad parents, we help out at church, we coach our kids little league, we help a friend in need, and we just keep adding things on and on until it is exhausting.
On Wednesday I was in Downtown Dallas and I walked by the filming of the Fox Television show “The Good Guys.” I am not familiar with the show, but it is always fun to walk by a little Hollywood action. I walked past one of the actors from the show and thought about saying something, but all I could come up with was, “Hey, aren’t you one of those guys from that television show?” and that didn’t sound very compelling so I just kept walking. Plus, what am I going to say when he answers, “Yeah, I am.” I didn’t really see the conversation going anywhere, but then I did start to think about how often I hear people talking about being a good guy.
In our culture today we hear people often refer to themselves as “good guys.” We might say, “I try to do the right thing or I am not like those other people” and those are just different ways of saying, “I am good guy.” This is especially true in church culture. Good guys go to church. Good guys do the right thing. Good guys do right by their family. Good guys help out in the community. Good guys pay their bills on time. Good guys might buy a sports car, but he never speeds more than 5 miles over the speed limit. Why? Because he’s a good guy. Good guys might mess up everyone once in a while, but nobody’s perfect, and basically he’s a good guy.
In Matthew 6 Jesus is teaching the disciples about prayer and in the midst of the prayer Jesus says, “Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
This language might sound a little odd to us because we live in a democracy, however, Scripture teaches us we have a God who is a righteous and benevolent king and he is establishing his kingdom here on earth. At first we might twitch a little because we have memories of horrible kings throughout world history, but this king is perfect, loving, just, and all powerful. It is a kingdom that will be established for eternity.
In Matthew 6 Jesus is teaching us to pray for His kingdom. Yet, if we are honest we mostly pray for our kingdom. If you turn on the television, radio, or walk in a bookstore you will see that most people are teaching about how God is here to help us get our kingdom started. We have reduced God to a little rabbit’s foot for good luck. We pray for God to help us get through college, God help me get married, God help me get a good job, God help us get a good house, God help our children be safe, God help us have a good retirement, God help us have good health. Those things aren’t bad, but God isn’t here to help us build our little kingdoms. Our kingdoms would be horrible. Our kingdoms would destroy creation, elevate the wealthy, overlook criminal activity, neglect the needy, abuse women, prey upon children, oh wait…
May 8th, 11-6pm at Brentwood Park the community gets together to host a community festival. It includes live music, food, artists, and areas for children. Last year we were able to help out with face painting and this year we are going to run our soccer camps. It will be a lot of fun!
Yesterday our church hosted a garden fair for the community. Why? Because people love gardens and our church just wants to serve the community. It was something fun and simple. We had local vendors from organic gardens, wild flowers, artists, landscapers just come out to create awareness for their business and help educated the community about gardens. You can go to www.austingardenfair.com for more details.
This Sunday we are going to host a garden fair for the neighborhood because after all who doesn’t love gardens! You can click on here for more information.
Lucy Read is the only pre k school in AISD and this year we were able to help the kids have an Easter egg hunt. Over 400 children, over 2000 eggs, and they were gone in seconds!