Tag Archives: jesus

Good Friday :: 2010

The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but, to those who are being saved it is the POWER of GOD! 1 Corinithians 1:18

Today, once again, I am struck by the profound mystery of the cross. Why God in His kindness would allow mankind to have the ability to choose death or life, knowing we’d tinker with death (sin) and knowing it would then mean that He would have to give of Himself (through Christ’s life, death, resurrection and glorification) to put it all back together again…simply mystery. Profound, deep, no-words-kind of mystery.

How thankful I am for Jesus today. I’m thankful because of the hope I have to live for something bigger than myself. I’m thankful because in the suffering of the Cross, Jesus took on death for me, for you, for all of us!! What an AMAZING example for mankind and in Jesus obedience He displays the Fathers love for us. ‘6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5:6-8. This should wreck us. This historic mystery is the centerpiece for true peace in this life. This is what it means to know Christ, to know Him in His suffering.

So in this Holy Week…be reminded that God is so crazy about you that He would make a way for me and you (unholy people) to have relationship with Him (who alone is HOLY GOD).

Soak in the mystery today and celebrate the victory of Jesus conquering the grave this Easter Sunday. Don’t miss the opportunity to really basque in the cross though..stop, think about it, let your eyes well up with tears of grattitude, be thankful, get your life centered in Christ and let’s live a life full of this mystery!

Here’s a song and video that my brother, Ben, shared with me today.

My Wifes Website Was Nominated :: Go Vote

All I can say is that my wife, Promise Tangeman-Wurzell, is cooler than me on EVERY front. I’m really proud of her and I know how hard she works everyday. She’s committed to excellence and to being a person filled with love in all that she does. I think her blog is just a glimpse of who she really is, but it’s an accurate depiction of her love for life, God, art and people. I wanted to invite my readers in to affirming her work with a vote and to connect you to her work if you don’t yet know about it. Either way…Go VOTE for her…do it for me. 🙂

HERE’S WHAT PROMISE WRITES ABOUT THE NOMINATION:

SOOO excited to tell you guys that I was nominated for ‘Show It Best of 2009 Design’ award. If you’ve never heard of ShowIt it’s an amazing creative software company that has created a TON of products that are so helpful for photographers, designers, and really ANYONE. Right now I’m using their product called ShowIt Sites. My website is hosted completely through ShowIt and I got to design EVERYTHING by myself. Great stuff. It is super user friendly.

Anyways, this nomination only turns in to a win through your votes. SOOOOO….if you would be up for it and would be willing to take a minute to vote, well, I would be so grateful!! The nomination was for the category ‘Dig the Design’ for best Web Design. It’s really pretty simple and since YOU ALL are really great at voting on things I’m sure it won’t be a thang!! Might I add that it was this community that voted me the winner for the Collide Magazine ‘Readers Choice Award’. SOO COOL! Thanks so much. You guys are AWESOME!!

Okay, here is how you can help me out and vote:

The voting is all online and through a Facebook voting platform. All you need to do is click link and it will get you started. A couple quick notes, you may have to hit an ‘accept’ button when it asks you if you want to give access to the poll. From there all you need to do is double check that you’re in the ‘Dig the Design’ category, find my site and vote away!

Again thanks sooo much for voting for me and for being such an awesome online community. If I win you all get the credit.

GO HERE (Show It Site on facebook)
2. CLICK “DIG THE DESIGN”
3. VOTE FOR MY SITE

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Thanks for taking a minute to go vote for Promise. I think she’s worthy of the award and I’ve already cast my vote. 🙂

Prayer Won’t Be Enough…

This morning I watched a picture montage of the tragedy that is Haiti today. I watched as THOUSANDS of people stood in line in the HOT sun waiting, hoping and fighting over bags of beans, rice and oil. Many of them waited for hours just to be told that there wasn’t enough and the aid group had given out all the food they had. The already hungry people of Haiti are now even hungrier in the aftermath of the earthquake. I was struck with the reality that as Christ followers, when it comes to those in need, prayer alone will not be enough.

I had a couple interesting and diverse comments from people on a Twitter post I put out on the subject. Some agreed, some totally disagreed and said that prayer is sometimes all you can do. Personally, I could not disagree more with that statement. I would love to hear your thoughts on prayer and the needs of the poor. Do you think that it, alone, will be enough from what you know about what Jesus commands us to do?

Below is my response to the person that may disagree with me on this statement. I think Jesus sets the record straight on how we ought to engage those in need. I want to make clear that I am a FIRM advocate that prayer is an essential component to following Jesus, but, on it’s own it will not meet the needs of the poor. Here is my response:

Twitter: Watched a piece on @CNN about the lack of food in #Haiti. It’s not enough just to pray we must mobilize what we have for those in need!

I look at Matthew 25 where Jesus delivers his poignant and final sermon on ‘The Sheep and The Goats’. As you read that passage, NO WHERE, does Jesus mention that if we ‘pray’ for the least of these that it’s somehow serving their needs. Interesting, because I think Jesus (of all people) knew and understood prayer and the power of it. I find it interesting that these were His words in His final sermon:

Matthew 25:34
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

When he says those things, the questions come:

44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He makes this next BOLD statement regarding 34-36 to answer the question and it’s interesting that He never ONCE mentions prayer. He mentions physical, tangible ways in which we serve Him when we serve others. The outcome of ‘when’ we do these things comes in this next verse:

45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

He then talks about what happens to ‘the goats’ or those that did not live these things out:

46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I’ve heard it said that Matthew 25 is not so much concerned about the ‘ROOT’ of salvation, but, about the ‘FRUIT’ of salvation. It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, you cannot LOVE me and NOT engage in the plight of the less fortunate.

Again, I observe, PRAYER alone will not be enough to meet the call of what Jesus asks of us to develop as the fruit of our salvation. I’m not saying dismiss prayer, but, I am saying we better do more than just pray according to Jesus. My prayer is that Jesus would give me the courage and heart to serve the way He wants me to serve. I hope it’s your prayer too.

I’d LOVE your thoughts on this post. What do you think?

Holy God & Matt Maher…

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My good friend Matt Maher is a student of the hymns. Last year, I heard a retooled version of this song while praying with Matt Maher and his gang. It was such a powerful statement of the theology of our faith. I love that this hymn comes from the 1700’s. It’s a song of the fathers of our faith. There were men and women writing songs in the 1700’s with the same heart and mind that I have about my faith in 2009. There were people hundreds of years ago crafting melodies for the corporate gathering with a heart to teach theology through their song. There were men and women bowed down in awe of the mighty hand of God.

Matt wrote a beautiful chorus addition to this old hymn. I’ve actually never asked Matt why he wrote the chorus or why he chose this hymn, but, when I sing it I’m reminded of the timelessness of the faith we have through Jesus Christ. What an amazing gift to be able to sing truthful words, worship our God, teach theology and gather in awe of our amazing God. How sweet to look back in history and know that men and women worshiped and adored the same God that we worship and adored today in Chandler, Arizona, today in 2009. We do it bowed down with one heart and one mind declaring that He alone is holy!!!

Worship Leaders: What songs are you singing in your church that are full of theology?

Here’s how we did it at church today!

Check out these lyrics:

Holy God

Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord

We praise You with one heart
We bless You with one mind
We bow down in awe of Your might
For You alone are holy

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.


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May I recommend that you buy Matt’s newest record called ‘Alive Again’?? I can, almost, promise you that you will not disappoint. Click the picture above for a link to the record! Enjoy!

Kenya | August 2009 | Send Us…

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Brian & Promise – Seeking Justice in Africa

To You, Our Friends…

Promise and I wanted to post a quick note to see if you’d be willing to help support us in fundraising and prayer as we get ready to go serve some people we love in Kenya, Africa.

A couple of years ago our church, Cornerstone, crossed paths with a brilliant and beautiful African woman named Mama Zipporah. Oddly enough, I was aware of the work Mama was doing in Kenya as she was the primary reason that the filmmakers from the revolutionary documentary called Invisible Children found their story.

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Mama Zipporah has an orphanage in Kenya called Huruma Childrens Home. She is in the business of living out the scripture in Isaiah:

Isaiah 1:17

learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed. [a]
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

Right now Mama has 150+ children in her home. Most of the children come from a horrific background of abuse and abandonment. Mama and her team have made it their aim to not just be a transitional orphanage but rather to provide these children with love, dignity and family.

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Let me just say that Promise and I know Mama, personally, and spent a great deal of time with her here in Arizona last fall when she came, unexpectedly, as a broken widow to grieve the loss of her amazing husband Papa Isaac. We cried with her, prayed with her, laughed with her and dreamed with her about how God would continue to use her in the plight of the less fortunate.

As a church we are in the process of helping them fund and build a dormitory that would allow them to bring in 200 more children. It’s our privilege to have been invited to come, serve and help build this additional dormitory so that they can rescue more of these orphan children and give them a place to call home. Mama’s dream is to bring these children into the home, share her love with them, share the love of Christ with them, give them an education and, effectively, raise up the future leaders of Kenya. This is the dream, this is the hope and this is the heart of the Kingdom of God.

Promise and I will be leaving with our team on August 7th, 2009 and we will be in Kenya for 10 days doing a wide array of things with the Staff at the home and with the children. One of the things we’ll be doing is putting on a ‘summer camp’ for the older children (ages 12-18). I’ll be leading some worship, Promise will be teaching some Art & Photography and we’ll have some great time to build into some of these amazing kids. Additionally, we will be helping finish up their dormitory and chapel spaces.

Here’s the reality, WE NEED YOUR HELP funding us to get to Huruma! The cost of the trip is $3200 dollars, total, for both of us to get to Huruma. This is actually an AMAZING price for both of us to be in Africa serving for 10 days (flights, food & transportation for both of us are all included in that price). We are trusting God that we can raise all of that support in the next 6 weeks. We are just going to be bold enough to ask you if you would consider helping us get to Kenya. Honestly, any amount is a huge help at this point. If you have $10 dollars, $1000 dollars or anything in between IT WILL HELP US!!! Anything you give is completely tax-deductible and we would be forever grateful!

Here’s the two ways you can give financially:

1.    Give Online – Cornerstone has a website where you can give directly to our account for this trip.  When you click the link below you’ll have to click create an account, which only takes like 2 minutes, and you’re then able to use a debit or credit card to give to this mission. Creating the account allows our finance office to mail you a giving statement at year-end. Be sure to select one of our names (Promise or Brian) in the drop down menu so that you can give to us. Here is the link: http://is.gd/16yFI

2.    Mail Check – Make any checks out to “Cornerstone” and in the memo section put “Wurzell – Kenya Aug. 2009”. You can mail Checks to us at this address:

Cornerstone
c/o:Brian & Promise Wurzell
2211 E. Pecos Rd. Suite #2

Chandler, AZ 85286

For more information on Huruma Childrens Home – check out their website: http://www.hchngong.org/

You may also email Promise and I if you have any questions regarding this project. Please email us promiseandbrian@gmail.com

If you cannot give financially, seriously, would you pray for us and our team? Pray for Mama Zipporah and pray for these children that God would use Huruma to be a place where they’re built up to be the future leaders of their country. Mama is the widow serving the orphan and we want to do whatever we must to support this Kingdom mission. We believe it’s possible. Thanks for your support and your friendship!

Gratefully,

Brian & Promise Wurzell

P.S. – We would love to see some of your prayers for us and for Mama Zipporah and her team right here on this blog post. Just leave a comment and type out your prayer. We will be sure Mama and our team get to see these prayers too. That encouragement would mean a lot to more than just Promise and I. Thanks in advance!

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Sonic Awareness – Session 1

Earlier today I had the chance to team up with Ryan Axtell to really dive into the nuts and bolts of the evolution of the Acoustic Guitar for the Worship Leader. In this video, Ryan uncovers a new discovery of ours that we think could shape the culture of equipment for Worship Leaders, internationally. Have a listen and let me know your thoughts! This will also be featured on our Cornerstone Worship Arts Blog.

Good Friday – His Suffering, His Death…

I watched this video today and it just is amazing to consider what Christ did for us! We have an amazing Savior, Friend, Hope and Sacrifice in Jesus. He truly paid it all and thanks be to God for giving us Jesus. Today is a day to remember his suffering. Today is a day, not to move to His resurrection, but, to soak in his suffering. Today is a day where we remember, that where animals used to be slain for the remission of our sins, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. He took the place of an animal, a Lamb, but, moreover, a PERFECT LAMB that we might be Co-heirs with Him in the Kingdom of God.

In a few sentences what does Christ suffering mean to you? Comment if you would!

Listen as this Surgeon explains, from a medical perspective, what Christ did for us on that cross. Reflect, consider, be still, contemplate, medidate and remember Christ in his suffering today. Let Easter come where it will this weekend, but, for today just consider Christ in his suffering for us.

Isaiah 53:4

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Also, this Lenten prayer has been one that I’ve mediated and prayed many times during the season of Lent (thanks for the lead jarrett stevens). Join me in this prayer today:

A Prayer for Lent, by Henri Nouwen

How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it?
But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?

Yes, Lord, I have to die-with you, through you, and in you-and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection.

There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger,impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it.

O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.

A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee; Image Books, 2002

In a few sentences what does Christ suffering mean to you? Comment if you would!


The Shack – An Abomination?

I recently saw this clip from a Pastor in the Seattle area named Mark Driscoll. He’s a pretty credible leader within the larger scale of the church and has a wide stroke of influence nationally. I’ve actually visited their church in Seattle and they are doing some AMAZING things in that city. Mark also has some brilliant things to say about leadership, vision and the local church.

I watched this clip and for some reason it just didn’t sit right with me. Honestly, I’ve never read The Shack (and I probably need too), but, I did watch an interview that Jarett Stevens did with the Author of the book at 7:22 back in the fall. Personally, I enjoyed the interview with the Author and I thought he explained the premise on which he wrote the book and did that pretty articulately.

I’m curious what your thoughts are on Marks perspective regarding The Shack. Have you read the book? Is it, truly, heretical as Mark calls it? Do you get the sense that William Paul Young is simply utilizing a story to paint a picture or is he really making a ‘false idol’ for us to try and contain? Watch the clip and post your thoughts!

Alternate Arrangements…

While sitting in ‘Sweet Tomatoes’ with Ryan, Jason, Matt Maher and Kenny Butler, earlier this week, the dialogue was started about songs we think could work acousticly. We then talked about songs that really maybe couldn’t be changed from their original format. We all had a few thoughts and then the legendary Matt Maher (if you don’t know who Matt is…he wrote the song ‘Your Grace is Enough’…no Chris Tomlin didn’t write that…the genius Matt Maher did…give him credit!) just mentioned that the Hillsong United tune ‘Break Free’ was one of those songs.

Well, later in the week we just could not refuse the chance to prove Matt Maher wrong. So we did and here’s what we came up with for it. Also, don’t forget to watch the bonus video of the acoustic version of ‘Your Grace is Enough’. I’ll just say in advance, you won’t be able to ‘get enough’ of this goodness. Let me know what you thought…leave a comment! 🙂

FOR ONE OF MATT’S BRIGHTER MOMENTS:

THANKSGIVING 2008

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These are the kind ladies serving us here in Washington for our Turkey dinner. We have Betty Anne, Loretta Lynne, Marjorie Adel and Sarah Lee. They’ve prepared some GREAT hot dishes and will serve us shortly. As you can see they are EAGER to serve us.

JUST KIDDING.

I’m actually in Silverdale, Washington for this Thanksgiving break. It’s been a beautiful few days here in Washington State and this perfect November Thursday is no exception. I’m up here spending my first, EVER, Thanksgiving away from my family. I miss them, but, I’m very glad to embark on the journey of sharing in new family with my soon to be bride Promise.

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We’ve had a fantastic couple of days just enjoying friendship and family in stunning weather for this time of the year in Seattle. Just perfect!

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Today, Troy Grover (check out his photography) who is the boyfriend of Aimee, Papa Gary (my soon to be Father-In-Law) and myself smoked us a Turkey. I would say we were pretty successful in that it was the first time any of us had ever done it. There will be a video coming soon to show you our journey…it started at 3am this morning! All in all it was a great experience for all involved.img_0552

As I think about the amazing blessings of my life and what I’m thankful for, these things come to mind:

I’m thankful that the God of the universe would want a relationship with me and that He has made it possible through Jesus. I could not imagine my life a part from my journey and quest to know Christ more deeply and find ways to let His love manifest itself in me! This is the essence of my life and I’m so grateful for my life in Christ!

I’m thankful for my wonderful, beautiful, stunning, life-giving bride to be, Promise! She has become my best friend and I cannot wait to grow old with this woman of God. Her passion for Jesus, her love for me, her uncanny humor, her sensitive spirit, her much needed touch in my life, her love for people and her unpredictbale creativity WOW ME DAILY!!! She is the joy of my life.

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I’m thankful for my family. What an amazing legacy of Jesus they have passed on to my life. I’m forever indebted to parents that trusted me deeply and lovingly committed to do their part in laying a foundation of faith in my life. I’m so grateful for their encouragement, support and help along the way of life’s journey. My brother Ben, a loyal brother. He is kind-hearted and knows me well. He’s my best man! My sister Bonnie, she’s a beautiful gem of love and fun.

For my church! Never forget that buildings don’t make a church…YOU are the church. I know we’re a large community, but, the growth in my young life over the past seven years has lasting significance. I’ve grown in my leadership, my heart for people, my love for Worship, my hope for the local church and have been challenged by the way we risk together. I’ve got miles of possibilities to learn and grow and in this season YOU are the people that will challenge me to become. Let’s keep pushing each other to become more like Jesus, reach out in to our city in a brand new way, shine in the Phoenix Valley like no one else and stretch our arms across the world into Kenya to bless the widow and the orphan.

Lastly, I’m indebted, in ways I cannot understand, to those of you that advocate for the freedom that I enjoy daily in this country. Thank you to those of you that serve as in our military and government. Your commitment to making this country free and beautiful is so appreciated. From the gal deep in the sea on a submarine that’s away from her family for months on end. To the mayors, police, fire and local people…you are appreciated. Thank you for what you do. We live in the most amazing place in all of the world.

We were reminded tonight, by Papa Tangeman, on what the deal was with this whole Thanksgiving thing. He reminded us of how it came to be and, contextually, the need for Americans had for a time to be thankful. He read this to us and I thought it was brilliant. Abraham Lincoln clearly bore a Kingdom heart. A heart rooted in Covenant, Worship and Justice (as my friend Dr. Hubley would say). I know this is a bit long, but, I REALLY encourage you to read this and if you get the chance, after you read, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. Comment away and Happy Thanksgiving!

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A Declaration of Thanksgiving

Abraham Lincoln Manifesto of Gratitude

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Ocotber 3, 1863