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Posts Tagged ‘inspirational blog Atlanta GA’

Helping A Friend

August 1, 2012 Leave a comment
Baby laughing

Be a part of 1 Million Laughs for Charity!

This isn’t one of my normal blog posts. It’s going to be short and sweet. My friend Dave Pileggi at Pretty Funny Stuff has a video he has created that benefits charity. We are trying to help the video go viral, so if you could post it to your social media sites: Facebook, Twitter (mark with the hashtag #1MillionLaughsForCharity), Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. The video is hysterical and the song is available for download via Dave’s website, iTunes, and Amazon.com (search for “1 Million Laughs For Charity” on iTunes and Amazon.com to find the song). It’s only $.99 per download and 1/2 of that goes to Lazarus Ministries in Atlanta – helping meet the basic needs of the homeless.

Dave’s video is below. You should be able to click on it to open it up in YouTube.

Photo Credit: By Jim Champion

Really Church?!

July 31, 2012 2 comments
church pews

Real life is lived in circles not rows!

A friend of mine recently posted a video to Facebook that really bothered me. Apparently Sunday, September 18 has been deemed “Back to Church” day by a group of local churches. In theory, I think what they are trying do is good but the delivery just isn’t right. I know I may receive some backlash over this, but here goes. What bothers me about some churches is they try to be something that they are not – Why advertise using a hip, cool, and contemporary style when you are a more traditional church? Why try to appeal to a younger crowd when your congregation is predominantly older? This is one of the biggest problems I had in the church where I grew up – it felt like they were trying so hard to be something that they were not, to the point where they were alienating people.

The church I currently attend has a very contemporary style of worship – they aren’t going to break out the pipe organ and cover all the windows in stain glass just to reach people that are into that. That’s not who they are as a church. The church I grew up in was a very traditional church and they attempted to do a contemporary style worship service and it went over like a lead balloon (to the point that several of the younger members left the church because it was so bad). My point is, find what it is that your church does best and embrace that! One church is not going to be the right fit for everyone. If your church is more traditional in style, become informed about a church in your area that is more contemporary – it’s okay to tell people “Hey, we’re more traditional but if you want more of a contemporary style the church down the street may be what you need.” The Church (notice the “Big C”) get so competitive when we’re all trying to achieve the same goal…reaching people for Christ.

My second problem is the video looks incredibly cheesy. I honestly would be embarrassed if my non-Christian friends saw that video. Their first response would be “Really?! You want me to come to your church based on that video?!?! No thanks – I’ll pass!” As a church we need to quit trying to do things WE THINK will reach people…we need to meet them where they live. When was the last time you asked a non-Christian friend or family member why they don’t like church or why they don’t attend? Ask, then listen to them – help them find a church that meets THEIR needs, not what YOU think they need. Again, it’s not “one size fits all” when it comes to church.

My final problem with this is why is Sunday, September 18 such a big deal? Why are we not making an effort to live daily as an example of Christ showing those around us why we are different? The way to get someone to come to church with you is to develop a relationship with them. I was talking with a friend at church on Sunday and he said that every Sunday at our church that 10% of those attending that day are guests who have never been to the church. At first, to me that didn’t sound like much, but when you figure each of our three services holds about 3000 people a week – that comes to about 900 people a week who are visiting for the first time. WOW! That is 900 people who have built a relationship with these people and genuinely care about them enough to bring them to church. When we have these “Back to Sunday” type events, people think we are treating them like a number or a “check mark” we get for doing our good Christian deed for the day. I don’t know about you, but if I was a non-Christian that be the quickest turn off from church for me. So why do we do it?!

My challenge is two-fold: 1) To the Church (again notice the “Big C”), don’t be fake and try to be something that you’re not – people can tell when you’re not being real or genuine. 2) To the church (notice the “little c”) live a daily life for Christ that would help you develop genuine relationships with non-Christians around you. Relationships where they know you care about them and don’t just see them as a “soul to save.”

Below is the video my friend posted on their Facebook. Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below.

Photo Credit: By s marcu

The Concept of Mercy

beeper

God is on call waiting for you.

I was reading Day 9 of 40 Days Living The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight this morning and the overlying theme on today’s entry was mercy. It’s hard as a society to grasp the concept of mercy, because it’s not something we typically experience in our world on a daily basis. My first instinct was to go to the dictionary to see what mercy actually means.

Mercy – /mur-see/:

  1. Compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
  2. The disposition to be compassionate or forbearing.
  3. The discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
  4. An act of kindness, compassion, or favor.
  5. Something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing.

Though all five definitions are appropriate regarding God to some degree, the last definition is what really felt applicable for me when it came to this excerpt from the book. McKnight talks about the fact that it is God who provides mercy and that is only provided when someone needs it. He uses the analogy of God being “on call” when it comes to giving mercy to those who need it. The example made me think of my friend who is a nurse – she is often on call for her job. The only way she provides care when she is on call is if someone actively calls her and says “We need your assistance today.”

Not to sound trite with a “Sunday School response,” but God is available at our calling…we just have to actually take the initiative and call Him! Matthew 7:7-12 encourages us to just ask and God will follow through, but you have to start by asking…don’t just expect it to happen. One of the biggest challenges we as the human race face is to show mercy to those around us, especially when they don’t ask for it or we don’t think they deserve it. God has shown us mercy, so it goes without saying that we should do the same for others.

Photo Credit: By Hades2k

God Isn’t A Part-Time Lover

Lego hearts

Godly love isn’t part-time.

In preparing for my day, I read today’s entry from 40 Days Living The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight. Day 4 talks about seeking the face of God. We build relationships with others when we spend face-to-face time with them. God doesn’t have a physical face like ours, but this is how we as people with a finite mind can get a better grasp on developing our relationship with our Creator.

One quote from today’s reading just really hit home with me:

“Love isn’t God’s part-time vocation, as if God is sometimes holy and other times loving. God is love, always and forever. And, the face of God’s love is His unconditional regard for who we are and sacred concern for everything we do.”

We think of love in earthly terms, but to quote dc Talk (yes, I’m kickin’ it old school this morning) – “Not love like we know it, like ya love your girl. It’s a love from above not of this world.” God can show us love through many ways (not in a “new age…God is in everything” kind of way). He reveals Himself to us through people, circumstances, and His Word. For me, I feel like He reminds me of His love through music.

In 2001, Michelle Branch released the song “Everywhere” and it filled the Top 40 radio stations. Several in my circle of friends were convinced that she was a Christian and that the song was about her relationship with God. The lyrics had that kind of cryptic “I am singing about another person but I could be singing about God” vibe to them so who really knows her intent when she wrote the song. (The video shows her obsessing over a guy, but the visual of a video doesn’t always correspond with what the singer intended with the lyrics.) Here is the chorus, so you can judge for yourself –

“Cause you’re everywhere to me. And when I close my eyes it’s you I see. You’re everything I know that makes me believe. I’m not alone. I’m not alone.”

I was listening to the song the other night on my iPod and it just made me reflect on how, regardless of our circumstances, we’re not alone…for God is with us and His love surrounds us. Enjoy Michelle Branch’s video for “Everywhere” below.

Photo Credit: By Bill Ward

Prayer and Bruce Almighty

man praying

Why do you pray?

The subject of prayer has been on my mind today. We don’t truly understand the concept of prayer in today’s society. How can talking with someone we don’t see be of benefit to us? One of the biggest misconceptions about prayer is that we do it for God’s benefit. If I pray “Lord, I need a job. Please provide me with a job as soon as possible. Amen.” God’s reaction isn’t going to be “Wait…you need a job? I had no clue – thank you for letting Me know this!” Prayer isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s really for our benefit. One of my favorite quotes about prayer is by C.S. Lewis – “I don’t pray to change God’s mind. I pray for God to change my mind!”

Through prayer, we realize how much we really need to depend on God. Praying makes us aware of our limitations and reminds us of God’s greatness. Prayer does not obligate God to give us what we want – He is not a supernatural vending machine dispensing our desires at the push of a button. When you are in a relationship with someone you spend time communicating with that individual, otherwise the relationship will suffer. Prayer is about communicating with our Creator and developing our relationship with Him. Sometimes even the church struggles with the concept of prayer (Andy Stanley did a great sermon on this very topic – Big Church (Part 2): Big Prayers (NOTE – The video will automatically start on Part 1, so you will need to select Part 2 for this particular sermon)).

A great illustration of our misconception regarding prayer can be found in the 2003 Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty. It’s the tale of Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey), a down on his luck news reporter who gets frustrated with God. Bruce accuses God of being cruel and not doing His job, so God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce His powers for one week to show him that he can’t do it any better. In one particular scene Bruce tries to figure out how to answer the prayers of the world (see the video below) and decides to create a computerized system. He realizes that the more prayers he answers, the more prayers come in. Frustrated, he decides to answer “yes” to all prayers. The results of Bruce’s action cause extreme chaos in the world (you’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens).

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about prayer?

Photo Credit: By Leland Francisco

Discipline Equals Love

June 21, 2012 2 comments
Time Out Chair

The dreaded “time out” chair!

Yesterday I was able to spend some time with my younger brother and his kids. He has three kids that are under the age of seven, so things can get very interesting at times. One thing I noticed was if my brother told one of them to do something (or not to do something), depending on their mood, the response often would be something negative like “No!” or “I don’t want to do that!” At times they may even think their father is mean because he won’t let them do whatever they want. What they don’t understand is my brother has a reason behind why he is telling them these things – he loves them and is looking out for their best interest.

As believers we often find ourselves questioning why God wants us to do something or why he hasn’t allowed something to happen for us. We get mad at Him, stomp our foot, and say “No God, I don’t want to do that!” or “Why did this person get to do that and I don’t?!” Sometimes we go to the extreme of being so mad at God that we try to run from Him. Quite frequently God will just let us have our temper tantrum and then look at us and say “Are you finished yet? I know what I’m doing.” Other times God will just let us have what we think we want at that time and when we realize we were wrong He asks “When will you learn? I know what’s best for you!”

Now days it’s the norm to see parents out in public telling their kids “I’m going to count to three and if you don’t do (or stop doing) <insert whatever random act here>, then you are going to be in trouble!” A couple of weeks ago, our pastor started a series called Age of Kings. One of the main points he mentioned in the first week was “God doesn’t count to three.” He doesn’t say to us “If you don’t do this (or stop doing this) I’m going to count to three and there will be consequences!” He just lets us do our thing and suffer the results. He doesn’t do this to be cruel, on the contrary as Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Discipline is what helps us grow and what teaches us right from wrong. Dictionary.com has three different definitions for discipline:

  • To train by instruction and exercise
  • To bring a state of order and obedience by training and control
  • To punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct or chastise

Which of these three definitions do you think of when you view how God disciplines you as His child?

Photo Credit: By Stephen Nakatani

Help Me Raise Support For My Brazil Mission Trip

Londrina

Londrina, Brazil

Nine years ago I had the privilege of being a part of something big in Londrina, Brazil. The church I attend (Buckhead Church – a campus of North Point Ministries) established a partnership with a church in Londrina, Capela da Graça (or “Grace Chapel” in English). We have worked with them to develop ways they can reach those in their community that other local churches have not. Over the past nine years I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on two additional trips to Londrina.

Recently I have been approached about going on another trip to Londrina to help Grace Chapel establish a Singles Ministry in their church. In Brazil, it is typical for an individual to go straight from college directly into marriage, but there has been a recent “changing of the tide” (much like that in North America) where people are waiting longer to get married. These young adults have no ministries geared specifically towards them as most Brazilian churches put them in with their youth group. When 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and older are put in this type of environment they are not challenged spiritually or personally, so they just leave the church.

I will be going with a small team (we are still finalizing the team, but between 5-8 single adults) to Londrina August 31-September 10, 2012. Each team member is asked to raise $3000 in support to cover his or her portion of the trip. There are three ways you can help support me and the team:

1) You can give online –

  • Go to: https://ssl.northpoint.org/ssl/globalx/
  • Fill in your contact information
  • Under GlobalX Trip Information select Brazil in the “country” drop down
  • Select Brazil Singles Event in the “trip” drop down
  • Type Scott Couey in the individual field
  • Fill in your credit card information (online giving accepts Visa, MasterCard, or AmEx)
  • Click “Review Donation Information” and finalize your transaction
  • A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you and will serve as your receipt to use for tax purposes (as donations are tax deductible)

2) You can donate via check. If you are interested in donating via this method send me a private message on Facebook or e-mail me at scottcouey<AT>yahoo.com (just replace the <AT> with @) and I will give you directions.

3) Most importantly, you can pray for our team. I will be updating my personal blog (https://scottcouey.com/) with details as we prepare for the trip and while we are on the trip.

Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated. Even if you do not feel like you can give much, every little bit helps. We have been asked to have at least 50% of our financial support in by July 6 and 100% by August 17.

If you are not able to give financially, I understand completely and know that the main thing you can do to support me and my team is pray for us.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our trip, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support!

In Christ,
Scott

Remember Me?

Buckwheat

“I’m Buckwheat! Uh member me?!”

There was an old Saturday Night Live skit with Eddie Murphy as a grown up version of Buckwheat from the Little Rascals. His catch phrase was “I’m Buckwheat! Uh member me?!” It was like that familiar friend from our childhood (okay, some of us saw the show in reruns) was back just as we remembered him. It was like he had never left.

Sometimes I feel like God says to us “Hey, I’m God. Remember Me?!” We get so caught up in our daily routine that we neglect the most important person in our life. Circumstances may come (be it a death in the family, loss of a job, divorce, etc.) and though it might not seem like it at the time, they will also pass. The comforting thing is the reminder that Deuteronomy 31:6 gives us –

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

The end of this month will mark eleven months that I have been without a job. It’s been a tough and trying time, but there have been many instances where God will orchestrate something in my life (like an unexpected interview) and it feels like He is gently whispering “Hey, remember Me?! I’ve got this!” I know that I will eventually find a job and I’ll be able to look back on this time in my life as something that was well worth the wait.

How has God been telling you “Remember Me?!” lately?

Photo Credit: By Michael Lehet

Disney Kids Go Wild!

playing dress up

Why do we rush to be “grown up?!”

Something has been on my mind lately (not in a “keep me up all night” kind of way, more of a general wondering). Why do former Disney Channel stars feel the need to prove to the world they are “all grown up” now? Miley Cyrus has been caught doing everything from smoking a bong to dressing very provocatively for her age. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens are both trying to disassociate themselves from their Disney squeaky-clean, good girl images with a new indie movie. Demi Lovato hit one of her backup dancers and then ended up going to rehab.

If you think I’m just calling out the ladies of former Disney shows, the guys aren’t exactly angels either. Former Disney star Mitchell Musso was busted for a DUI and he was only 20 years old at the time. Not to mention Musso’s numerous tattoos – did he not think about how they will look when he’s sixty and has “moobs” like Steven Tyler? In a 2010 interview, Disney star Hutch Dano (18 years old at the time) was asked by a reporter “What do you think of the fact that when you type ‘Hutch Dano’ into Google, one of the first suggestions it makes is ‘Hutch Dano shirt off?'” and his response was that he “became immediately uncomfortable.” Apparently it no longer makes him uncomfortable because he is now posing for shirtless pictures. Disney’s High School Musical star Zac Efron is trying to shed his Disney image as well.

I was devastated when 80s pop stars Debbie Gibson and Tiffany both posed nude for Playboy because they were my age and were good, clean, wholesome role models prior to this. I’m afraid the same is going to happen to these kids. How much longer until Playboy comes out with a “Former Darlings of Disney” issue (the thought totally creeps me out by the way)?! I also hope that none of these guys get caught in a sexting scandal like Anthony Weiner or Brett Favre. I just don’t understand why they feel they have to go to the extreme to prove to people they are no longer a little kid.

It’s been proven that one of the basic human needs is a sense of belonging, but I think we as a society tend to take it to the wrong extreme. Why can’t someone enjoy their childhood and not worry about proving that they are an adult? As I get older, I wish I had embraced my childhood longer – as an adult you have to worry about bills, work, money, relationships, and more. I wish I could tell these former Disney stars not to stress so much about proving to the world they are no longer a kid. I also wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to enjoy life more and not worry about growing up so much.

If you could tell these former Disney stars one thing, what would it be? If you could go back in time and tell your childhood self one thing, what would it be?

Photo Credit: By Silwertand

Clearing The Clutter

No clutter

Time to clear the clutter!

I know it’s sad, but I moved in March and I’m JUST starting to go through and unpack things right now, two months later in the month of May. Clearing the clutter can be a painful process – sorting through things that may have emotional attachment, accepting that a certain part of your life has passed, or realizing you can’t go back to the way things used to be during a certain part of your life. This week I have gone through old clothes, cds, and books – most of the excess will end up at Goodwill or used music or book stores. Whether you hate or love it, the process is a necessary evil (otherwise you’ll see me on a future episode of Hoarders).

Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I am definitely my father’s son when it comes to being a pack rat. I will find an excuse to keep anything and everything. Well, I finally parted ways with a Mickey Mouse phone that I’ve had for at least ten years and never used once. A three cd disc changer stereo (with only two of said cd changers working) has now taken up temporary residence at Goodwill. This weekend I will be going through several books and cds, then making a trip Monday to a couple of local shops to see if I can get cash for some of the things I just don’t use any more.

Purging the unnecessary has become quite liberating – I don’t feel tied to my “stuff” any more and have more room to just live. I feel like this has also been a “clearing of the clutter” for me spiritually as well, as I find myself asking what things I need to get rid of in my life that are taking a negative toll on my spiritual life. Regardless, I feel like once I am on the other side of this time in my life I will be able to see things more clearly for a lack of a clutter. I can easily relate to comedian Bone Hampton when he talks about the clutter in his life in the video below (NOTE: go to 4:00 in the video to see the part about cluttter, but the rest of this bit is really funny as well).

Photo Credit: By Sean MacEntee

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