Why I traded Alcohol for Espresso.

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First off, let me introduce myself to you if you do not know me. My name is Justin Golden, Student Director at Journey Church of Tifton, Georgia. As cliche as it sounds, I love coffee. I love espresso. I love Jesus.

This isn’t a fancy post. In fact I want it to be very basic and to-the-point. Christians today, are making it harder and harder to distinguish the difference between believers and non-believers. We should be different than this world. If our life doesn’t look any different than that of a non-believer, how are we shining the light of Jesus through our lives?

We are different. We all have different gifts.  I believe God has used my past to teach another generation; God uses my “before Christ” lifestyle as a testimony to others. 3 years ago, I did not have a relationship with Jesus. I was raised in church and thought that was enough. My weekend life of drinking, partying, etc. was normal to me. I thought nothing of it other than I was just living the life!

Now, I am not here to say whether alcohol is bad or good or ok to drink or not. That is not the issue here. What I am sharing here is that my life when I chose to drink alcohol, wasn’t honoring Christ. It was to get drunk. It was to fit in with the crowd.

It really bothers me when I see friends who claim to know Christ and claim to have a great relationship with him, continue to indulge into the sin of drinking to get drunk. See, this is where we have to look at our own lives and examine what is in our hearts. If you really want to honor God, how do you do it with a 12 pack of cold Bud Light in your hand every single day?

Let me explain my self. Do I believe you can be a Christian and still drink alcohol? Yes I do. But, What is the motive behind your drinking. Scripture tells us to be sober minded. Are you drinking to get drunk?  Ultimately what is your motive? Do you run to alcohol for comfort? Isn’t that what Christ is for?!! Are you running to alcohol because of your shame? That’s what Christ is for!

Anytime we substitute a earthly thing for the position of Christ in our life, it becomes a sin.

God made it clear in the Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Anything we put before God, is an idol. We replace God with something else.

As for me, I look at my ministry. If one of my youth was to call me one night needing me to come get them, would I be ready? See, if I chose to have a couple of beers at night in my home, would that be ok? It could but I wouldn’t be ready for ministry at all times. There would be no way for me to leave and go minister to them.

Another thing I do not want to do is be a stumbling block for a fellow brother. If I went to Applebees and have a couple of cocktails, I open the door to cause a brother who may be dealing with alcoholism to stumble.

“It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble” (Romans 14:21)

The apostle Paul writes in Romans 14:17 that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

I may be stepping on some toes. But, thats ok. In everything we do, we should honor Christ.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)


As for me, I will continue to order my double shot of espresso with a splash of cream.

Evangelism – What is it?

Originally posted on Reformed Baptist Fellowship:

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 by Earnest C. Reisinger

Evangelism is the communication of a divinely inspired message that we call the gospel. It is a message that is definable in words, but must be communicated in word and power. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance…” (1 Thess. 1:5). That message begins with information and includes explanation, application and invitation.

The information is how God, our Creator and Judge, in mercy, made His Son a perfect, able and willing Savior of sinners. The invitation is God’s summons to mankind to come to that Savior in faith and repentance, and find forgiveness, life and peace.

“And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).

“Jesus answered and said unto…

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Nobody wants to follow Jesus

Originally posted on Faith And Works:

Romans 3:11: No one understands; no one seeks for God. 

This might be one of the most comforting scriptures I have come across in a very long time.  Everyone is believing in something deep down that they think truth to be based upon a complexity of factors. I don’t want to get into the complexity of these factors nor stereotype educational levels that predicate ones beliefs.  Where I do want to journey though is in why someone would ever want to be a Christian particularly in todays post modern American culture.

When we look at the mediating factors of todays cultural issues we find that America is changing drastically from its past cultural beliefs to modern cultural beliefs.  This has never been more apparent than the homosexual agenda that is changing the views in homes, businesses, government and the church.  With the majority in America embracing the homosexual lifestyle those who stand on…

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Relief. Intimacy. Yearning.

Originally posted on Daughters of a King:

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Have you ever had that feeling that you are just missing something? That there is something there, but you can’t figure out exactly what it is? Well, welcome to the club. I am confident when I say that there are a lot of us currently in this club. The club of confusion, anger, questions, and longing. However, in the midst of all of these emotions, God finds a way to reveal Himself.

This has been my life for the past few weeks. You could even label me the head leader of the club! I knew that God was there, speaking ever so gently to me. But I was foolish enough not to listen. He has revealed to me that I need to immerse myself in a trust for Him. But how? How am I supposed to do that? I mean, I know that you are supposed to trust in God…

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Why I Don’t Love My Fiance

Originally posted on Michael J. Pittman:

In 130 days I’m getting married, and a friend recently asked me why I love my fiancé. I wanted to share a deeper perspective on Amanda and I’s relationship, so before I answered why I love her, I had to first explain to him the reasons I don’t love my future bride to be.

I came to two conclusions:
First is, I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the outside. I know. It sounds cheesy, it sounds sappy. This perspective is not a novel idea by any means. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t love you for what’s on the outside. I love you for what’s on the inside.” But that brings me to my second conclusion.

I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the inside either.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things on the inside and outside that I love about

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God is Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Originally posted on Daughters of a King:

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Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What kind of title is that? Well let me explain. God. Is. Everything. While He is probably the kitchen sink, too, you understand my point. God encompasses all; God is all; and God is in all. I was reminded of God’s beauty in this regard as I read Psalm 139. This passage is chock full of examples that show that God truly is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. (I would like to encourage you to take time and meditate on this passage and ask God how He can use this Psalm to speak to you personally.) 

Let’s take a closer look at what David has to offer in Psalm 139. The psalm starts right off the bat with an example of God’s true intimacy. “O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” Examined. I am no English major, but I…

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Teaching the youth of this generation

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I wish i could say that i was a huge influence on today’s youth. Telling you that i was, would be a lie. As a youth leader, you strive to pour into the lives of teens the gospel. Every aspect of our life is revolved around our calling. If you have a wife and kids (which i don’t yet) you have to find a balance between the two. 

Today’s youth are immensely difficult to understand. The mind of a teenager is far and wide. Keeping focus of a teens mind during a sermon, message, or whatever you would like to call it, takes a little more “umph” in your tone. A monotone speaker is quick to lose the attention of a teen. This is something that i personally struggle with. If a monotone speaker is speaking, i absolutely can not stay focused! 

One way i plan on improving my speaking is to keep it different. When you approach teenagers to share the gospel, keep it fun, keep it real, keep it different. One thing most teens will tell you is that they want you to be REAL with them. They don’t want a friend, they already have plenty of them. They want someone to teach them how to be a Christian adult. 

This generation also has a strong focus on self. Child-rearing “experts” told their parents that the self-esteem of children is fragile. They advocated parenting approaches that made children the center of the family and convinced each other that “I am very, very special”. At the same time, growing financial prosperity has meant children and teenagers no longer have to work in order for a family to survive. Well-meaning parents have released their offspring from work inside or outside the home as a loving gift. 

High school graduates who feel special and who never developed a strong work ethic tend to approach employment with this sentiment: “I deserve to do only work that is meaningful and rewarding to me– and that offers growth potential so i can continue doing only those things i want to do.” But, given their lack of skills and training, those 18-25 tend to find only hourly jobs that are somewhat menial and not “meaningful”. Their frustration with such positions causes them to change jobs frequently. On average they change positions seven times between the ages of 20 and 29.

Changing romantic partners often, changing jobs often, and thus moving often gives those in this age range a sense of instability. This uncertainty also causes them to sense they are not adults. 

To conclude, i just want to blare the importance of the role of a youth leader. Our calling is fun, but serious at the same time. If you are a youth leader, or have teenagers, teach them about Christ. Make everything you do or talk about include Christ. Most importantly, be the example of a Godly man or woman. Pour into them the verity of Jesus. 

“Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until i come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. (1 Timothy 4:6) 

You never stop loving us.

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The last few months have been a challenge. I have been busy with school, church, and work. It has been easy for me to let the world interrupt my time with the Lord, but this should never happen.  I have noticed that it is easy to put my quiet time with the Lord to the side and say I will do it later and it never gets done. What I am trying to say is that we should never let things in the world stop us from having a steady relationship with the Lord. The world and the things of it should never come between our study time, our quiet time, our personal time with the Lord. I now see the effects of neglecting to study my bible everyday for almost the entire past week.

I drove out to our Church’s property this morning. I am a member of Journey Church in Tifton, Ga. We are currently in the works of building our new location our on HWY 125 north in Tifton. The property right now is just dirt with sewer drainage and weeds until we are legally ready to start pouring our foundation which should be soon, Lord willing. As I was sitting in my truck, I started praying. I found myself praying for so many things that I have forgotten about. I just stared in awe at the property thinking of how God can use this small 19 acre piece of land to impact our community, the communities around us, and the world. The future of Journey Church or should I say the future of God on HWY 125 north is just so exciting. I think sometimes people are scared of change. That would be why some people do not like Journey Church, because we have change. Our church exist to see people far from God to embrace the journey to live for God, love people, and serve the world. Our environment is casual, our worship is authentic, our sermons are relevant, we value community and build lasting relationships, we experience life change. I do not know what is in store for me in the next few years. I would love to know that I will be a part of Journey Church forever, but I don’t know what God has planned. God’s plan for me may be staying right here in Tifton, GA where I feel comfortable or it may be somewhere upstate or across the world. I don’t know where he wants me but that’s where I want to be. We must be open to move when God says move. Whether it is helping someone who is sick and needs help or whether it means to pack up what you have and move. Sometimes it may mean selling all you own to go full time overseas. I want to know that wherever I am that God placed me there. As of right now, God has placed me and blessed me to be a part of the staff at Journey Church, but who knows where God is leading me? I just pray that we all understand the seriousness of God and what he has called us to do as disciples.

Jesus left us a commission. He said “Go, make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28) What is keeping us from following this command? Is it because it isn’t comfortable? Is it because it doesn’t fit in our American Dream lifestyle? Is it because it would actually cause you to change your life? Maybe God wants us to change these things because they don’t honor him anyway. We should live a life worth of the calling we have received.

In closing, I hope someone reading this will understand that it is possible to waste your life. If we live a life for ourselves, we do not accomplish what God wants for our lives. He wants us to reach others and help them. Tell others about Christ and show the love that you’ve been shown. I am excited to see what God has in store for Journey Church, for Tifton, and for the world. God Bless.

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly

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Some things are better together than separate. Few people eat peanut butter sandwiches. Not many people eat jelly sandwiches. But nearly everyone enjoys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Why? They taste better together.

The peanut butter and jelly of effective evangelism is proclamation and affirmation. Proclamation describes the event of giving  a clear explanation of the gospel to a non-Christian as an event like in Mark 16:15- “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

Affirmation describes living the character of Christ like in john 20:21 – “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”.

Proclamation is preaching the gospel with your lips. Affirmation is preaching the gospel with our lives. Proclamation is doing. Affirmation is being. Proclamation is telling the truth. Affirmation is living the truth. Effective evangelism, especially of secular people, requires proclamation and affirmation.

in Ephesians 4:15 we are told to speak the truth in love. Truth without love destroys. Love without truth deceives. Truth combined with love draws people into a relationship with Christ. Truth and love are what lost people hunger to see. Truth and love are proclamation and affirmation joined in effective evangelism.