Archive for category Testimonial
MainStreet celebrated our first year of public ministry this past Sunday. Here are just a couple of the stories of how God has been at work among us this past year! Read many more MS Stories here.
I’m preparing a sermon this Sunday playing off some of the biblical themes in The Hobbit. Below is my favorite conversation from The Lord of The Rings. Friends, these stories of Middle-Earth are only a pale shadow of the real adventure that God calls us into. It’s an epic story and we have a major part to play if we’ll only wake up and discover God’s intended plot for our life — and give up the pathetic story of the American Dream that lulls so many into a dull life of mere self-preservation and comfort-seeking. We were created for so much more!
My life was forever changed the day I stopped to ask the hobbit’s question: What sort of a tale had I fallen into. Answer: God’s unfolding masterpiece — and it’s been an epic journey ever since. Enjoy this conversation! -JB
“The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same – like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”
“I wonder,” said Frodo. “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.” …
“I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!’ And they’ll say: ‘Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn’t he, dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.’” …
“Why, Sam,” Frodo said, “to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you’ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. ‘I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?’”
“Now, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, “you shouldn’t make fun. I was serious.”
“So was I,” said Frodo, “and so I am.”
Here’s a ‘Mission Moment’ story from our church planting mission in Mound, MN.
In Acts 16, Paul is called to the region of Macedonia in a vision. I believe God still calls people to particular places to bring the gospel. That’s why I’m in Mound. But I’m not alone.
Another unsuspecting “victim” of the divine summons is Deano. Deano graduated from Mound in ’01 and has been living in Otsego/Elk River area an hour or so away. However, Deano has spent the past few springs/summers coaching baseball in Mound.
Deano surrendered his life to Christ in 2009, and since then has been sensing God nudging him back to Mound to reach his old town and classmates for Christ. Amazingly, Deano says this call became strongest last August, but Deano kept waiting because he knew he couldn’t accomplish much on his own out here.
Little did Deano know that at this very same time last summer, we began holding MainStreet Launch Team gatherings and asking God to bring others around our vision to plant a new church in Mound! Isn’t that just like our God!?
Deano first heard about MainStreet from our local chiropractor, and we finally connected this past month. In January our Launch Team prayed specifically that God would bring a bold, evangelistic personality to our Launch Team to help spread the word in the community about MainStreet. Deano is a direct answer to that prayer!
Deano is filled with passion for God and a burning desire to draw others closer to Christ. Deano has hit the ground running, is moving back to Mound in March, and wants to use his house in Mound for hosting his own LifeGroup and other MainStreet ministry events.
Thank you LORD for answering our prayers, and thank you Deano for hearing His call and responding in faithful obedience.
“Do not be afraid….For I have many people in this city.” -Acts 18
I came to the United States to attend a small state college.
I planned to go on to medical school. My first year of college was perfect. I was getting great grades, and I had a girlfriend and lots of friends. And I was quick to point out to people that I had all of this without relying on anyone but me.
I knew plenty of Christians. In fact, I read the Bible often, just so I could argue with Christians. I wanted to know what they believed so I could break down their reasons for believing. For example, my biophysics professor was a Christian. He would tell me about the miracles in his life, the ways he supposedly saw God’s work in the world. But I thought he was way off. I’d argue with him, and try to convince him he was foolish to believe in Jesus. His faith was a joke to me.
It didn’t take long for God to change my mind. During my junior year of college, everything in my world started to fall apart. My girlfriend broke up with me, I ran out of money and I had to drop out of school. So much for having it made. I thought about going back to my family in Sri Lanka, but I didn’t want to face them when I’d failed so miserably.
One night, I sat in the college library, trying to come up with ways to get out of my situation. The only solution that seemed “reasonable” was suicide. But as I sat there thinking of the best way to kill myself, I heard a voice say, “Have you ever asked me for help?”
Read more of Sam’s story here.
I found this video at The Resurgence. Apparently some Christian guys were shooting a music video for a Sunday service and a homeless man came into the frame and started singing to Jesus out of the blue—wow. A beautiful moment caught on video to be shared by all.
This video is from @loswhit and the guys at Buckhead in Atlanta.
As I was preparing to preach this first sermon in my hometown, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ preaching debut in his hometown of Nazareth. Remember the story? Jesus stood up in the pulpit, read a passage of Scripture, and after a short, poorly received sermon was chased to the edge of town by the angry congregation who then attempted to throw him off a cliff (Luke 4:16-30)! Then Jesus said, “a prophet is never welcomed in his hometown.”
Trusting that he knew what he was talking about, let me make it clear right now that I am no prophet. And if I say anything this morning that offends anyone, I pray you will be more merciful than those Nazarenes.
The Million-Dollar Question
Perhaps the first thing the senior high youth discovered about me when I arrived at this church some months ago is that I LOVE STORIES. I love books. In fact, all winter they have been forced to gather every Sunday night in my basement filled with books, which I have called “The Professor’s Study.” My love for books, however, goes deeper than an appreciation of good literature. My love for stories finds its root at a much deeper level of my being, at the core of my identity, my understanding of who I am and why I am alive.
This morning I want to share my story of how God flipped my life upside down—or more accurately, right-side up— simply by reading a book. I want to share with you how God gave me a new purpose, and a new identity, through the power of a His Story.
Sam and Frodo, the two hobbits in The Lord of the Rings, have been struggling along for quite a while on their journey. They are exhausted, confused and desperately searching for direction and hope when Sam asks the million-dollar question: “Frodo, I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?” Read the rest of this entry »
We Christians in the Christian blogosphere can easily isolate ourselves and our writing into a little club of associates who all speak our language and understand our biblical framework. This goes for Christians in general who only surround themselves with other Christians and pastors whose social interaction is almost exclusively with fellow believers.
When was the last time you had to answer some very basic, fundamental questions about your Christian faith and beliefs to somebody not completely immersed within the Christian subculture? I was recently interviewed by a family member for a college paper for a class on an Introduction to the Christian Faith.
How would you answer the following questions? For what it’s worth, here’s a glimpse at my off the cuff answers. Read the rest of this entry »
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Keri made me watch it. I didn’t want to. I watched it when it first came out in the mid 80s when I was about 8 years old. It was creepy. Do you remember The Neverending Story?
Bastian is a boy bossed around by his dad and bullied by schoolmates, all the while grieving the death of his mother. The story is about finding hope and meaning through the power of imagination and story. Bastian is losing hope in a world filled with pain and suffering, and quickly losing confidence in himself as he seems to have no one around who believes in him.
Bastian seeks refuge from three bullies in an old bookshop where he encounters the cranky old Coreander. Coreander is pleasantly surprised when he finds out Bastian loves to read great adventure books like Lord of the Rings, Tarzan, and Robinson Crusoe. After listing some of his favorites Bastian’s eyes are captured by a magical looking book resting in the old man’s hands. Here’s the conversation that follows:
Bastian: What’s that book about?
Coreander: Oh, this is something special.
Bastian: Well, what is it ?
Coreander: Look. You’re books are safe. While you’re reading them you get to become Tarzan or Robinson Crusoe.
Bastian: But that’s what I like about them.
Coreander: Yes, but afterwards you get to be a little boy again.
Bastian: What do you mean?
Coreander: Listen (he motions for him to come nearer.) Have you ever been Captain Nemo, trapped inside your submarine while the giant squid was attacking you ?
Coreander: Weren’t you afraid you couldn’t escape ?
Bastian: But it’s only a story.
Coreander: That’s what I’m talking about. The ones you read are safe.
Bastian: And that one isn’t ?
“Your books are safe,” says Coreander. What does he mean? He seems to mean this: Read the rest of this entry »