Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Listening to the Voice of God Even When it Calls for the Strange

I would like to begin this audio blog with a word of caution to all of you listening because it comes from the heart of God to the call in my life. Thus, what I say may not be for you personally, but it may encourage you to listen to the voice of God even when it calls for the strange. The topic is a subject that I believe would benefit every Christian believer, but it may not be your cup of tea so to speak. The subject of our savior is one of many descriptive qualities; such as, He is redeemer, creator, sustainer, and in us wisdom, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The specific quality of God in His Son Jesus is that Jesus was a Jew, not an upper middle class American man who was successful in life and longs to give us the American dream.
Jesus is a Jew who was raised as a Jew and followed the Jewish custom of living under the Law and thus, came to fulfill the Law that His Father God set up in the Torah so that by fulfilling the Law Jesus could take our place on the Cross as the sacrificial lamb, spotless and without sin (Hebrews 4:15). The Torah is the first five books of the bible that are commonly followed by those of Judaism (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). Normally, in the past, just hearing that these five books are important to me as a Christian would have turned my face green with the anticipation of throwing up. I was so entrenched by the legalism I learned growing up in the Baptist church that it almost caused me to quit being a follower of Christ.
However, today my heart is to know God intimately, not just common taught facts by man, but that the Holy Spirit would reveal the depths of God to me as I continue to pant after Him. I want to learn about the history of how Jesus grew up, what was taught to Him as the foundation for living and as the foundation for understanding the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The new covenant did not take effect until Jesus rose from the dead; therefore, it gave Paul the freedom to go out and do something revolutionary. Paul taught that Jesus was not only for the Jew, but also for the gentile, that there was a place in the family of God in the Kingdom of Heaven in whom the Jewish people have an inheritance to those who believe in the name of Jesus as savior.
I live not under the law, but under grace which allows me the freedom to not be condemn by the law but to live out the greatest commandment that encompasses the law to complete my Joy by living in intimacy with God. In no way am I asking everyone to go out and pick up a Torah portion and read it systematically, but I believe that is exactly what God is calling me and my family to at this point. To study the Torah, the prophets, and the gospels to read the history of our faith, to discover why Jesus did what he did in the ceremonies and in teaching the disciples (who by the way themselves were Jews). We have a Jewish Savior, who followed the Jewish customs, stirred the pot, and yet He did what God told him to do. It was blasphemous for Him to compare himself to God, by calling himself as such, but the truth was this, that as Paul writes, he thought it not robbery… (Phil. 2). I want to share with you the journey as a way to encourage you to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
About a month ago, I began to hear from a dear member of our Monday Night Fellowship named Miss Pat about the importance of studying the scripture under the eyes of the Jewish traditions and from the reading of the Torah. I completed Seminary in 2001 with a Masters Degree without ever understanding the importance of the way Jesus was raised and taught. It caused me to want to know God, after hearing from this lady who is full of the Joy of the Lord because of her study of scripture, and her personal relationship to Christ, Who by His grace saved her and gave her His life.
The question at this point for me is this; will the study of the Torah help me understand the grace of God in the parameters of the Law? Or will it just be another attempt at legalism from which I’ve failed so miserably in the past? I’m a skeptic at best when it comes to tradition, ceremonies, and festivals, because I’ve given myself to these traditions in the past and brings about much pause and reservation before diving deep. I’ve also have been praying for a way to involve my family in the study of scripture and prayer; I really want my girls to know God, I pray daily that God will draw their hearts to His that they may walk in intimacy with our great Father in Heaven.
I was given a magazine name “Messiah Magazine” Torah, Grace, and Truth. The name of the magazine caused me to want to read it because what I’ve learned so far in my walk is that grace and law do not mix. I’ve lived for the past 15 years studying, learning, and identifying myself in the grace of God. I’ve always believed that the law was holy, but it condemned, shot arrows to the heart, and never showed me a loving father. My sin earned me death and separation from God; Christ took my place and has given me life through my belief in Him. I’ve never wanted to intentionally break the law because of grace, but this is what happens when we taste grace, I became rebellious because I believed I could do any sin, and it would be covered. That’s dangerous living and I was on a road to destruction because of my living under what I thought the grace of God covered.
Grace does by the way cover all my junk, and it remembers my junk no more, but there is still a place and purpose for the Law. Jesus freed me from the condemnation of the law, to live by the law written on my heart. I do not want to break the law, I don’t want to intentionally break the Ten Commandments, but I do want to know God. I still have sin in my life that I desperately want to walk away from, I know my life is hidden in Christ and when the spirit shows me the details of what I need to crucify in my life, he’ll show me what it is and it will not be fun to let go of the toys that reign in my heart above God. I want God to reign unchallenged in my life.
The study of Scripture is important in my life as an individual, father, husband, and youth pastor, my desire to know God has grown out of a desire for intimacy with Him. I desire that my family would know God. I believe God is calling me deeper to search out the depths to discover how much further this rabbit hole goes, I want to taste and see the goodness of God because the taste has caused me to want more that I may put to practice His presence in my life through the joy of my salvation.

be cool,

Jason

www.whoweare.libsyn.com
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saved By His Life


The verse that was never read tonight leaves much to think about amongst such an enigmatic and diverse group of people on Monday nights, yet everyone who shows up has the same need that can be solved through the statement "saved by His life."

We have such great needs in this life that it causes us to focus on that which is temporal; it seems as though non-Christians who are drawn by God to life are saved then fall immediately into amnesia and proceed in the way of the self-life.

The self-life is motivated by the flesh and it finds its life in the words "my and mine" as A.W. Tozer so eloquently describes in his book "The Pursuit of God". When the inward focus of man takes the life of selfish pleasure, it turns into a flesh frenzy and its painful results lead to conflict with self and others who have invested their lives into one another.

As we gathered last night to meet, we began with an explanation of why we didn't read from the book of Jude. If we had gone the way of reading from Jude it would have been flesh motivated by my selfish desire to point out how we so easily forget God and it would have been extremely condemning and nothing good can come from being led by the flesh. I prayed that afternoon and God changed the direction of my flesh focus to being spirit focused and the night began with a spirit of humility.

After experiencing a few songs, the spirit led a prayer and we open the floor for discussion and in watching the group begin, I could see Jaytee searching for a scripture. I finally interrupted him and said what scripture are you looking for, and he said, "the one that says much more having been saved by his life." Cordova asked for his bible and said "I believe it's found in Romans 8", Jaytee says, I was looking in chapter 6, but we ended up finding it in Chapter 5.

A few other people made some comments and we never got around to reading the verse, which in my opinion breathes life into the junk that we face that is flesh fed. God certainly did not want the verse read obviously or it would have been shared, yet, it does not need to be overlooked.

The verse is from Romans 5:10,

"for if while we are enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life."


 

He loves us,

Jason

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Radical Living


Today I decided to move the office outside onto the front porch of my home, mainly because I wanted to break from the normal routine of my day and think outside the box for once in my life. I’m no longer fearful of breaking from the norm (I know I’m such a rebel sitting on the front porch) in my life but as a recent quote I once read that said, “The Christian Life is not only about killing sin, but about radical living.” I wonder if this qualifies.
I sure feel pretty radical today, I’m in a t-shirt, shorts, and flops on the front porch carrying out my daily regimen of chores. Feeling pretty salty I must say. I’m enjoying the blustery weather that is soaking the ground, no thunderstorm here just a dense heavy rainfall that is giving this parched land some drink. Often my soul feels parched and in need of God to rain down upon me this continual vat of grace that never runs out, but often I try to figure it out under my own circumstances, my muscles, and call it radical living.

I spent many days in the past wondering how to rid myself of sin and make myself the Grand Pulbah of finding out formulas to kill, cover, and cleanse myself of this thing called sin. I’m not sure about you but the formulas haven’t worked yet, the formulas only soothe the problem but never healed it. So one day I read this scripture which set me free from trying to kill, cover, and cleanse myself of this thing called sin. It reads, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

So it was up to God to put the plan together to satisfy the need of making a sacrifice for sin, this sacrifice by the way was once for all (which includes you and me). So much for being Conan the Destroyer of sin, that onus was put on the cross which became the finished work, the final payment, and the cleansing work of sin. How arrogant is it for us to think that we can rid ourselves of it, when scriptures tells us that God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for ________ (put your name in the blank), that ________ (put your name in the blank) might become the righteousness of God in Jesus.

We Christians spend a lifetime trying to figure out how to rid ourselves of sin instead of knowing God intimately and we miss out on life trying to come up with the cure that has already been found. I will not spend one more minute on trying to figure out how to kill sin, but I will waste my time on knowing God which is far more radical than crunching numbers and figuring out formulas. Take a moment today and rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross and find your “radical” living in dependence upon his muscles and not yours!


I love you guys, thanks for your prayer and support.


Conan the Destroyer,

Jason
P.S.
As a part of radical living we are going to be closing down our building in the downtown area due to the fact that we believe that this is God's direction. We will have our Monday Night meetings in the homes of those who attend. Pray for us in this endeavor we are already seeing God move through this decision.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Question

Do we still know that God is able to meet and satisfy our needs even though He has no obligation to do so?

God's love is not based on our race, color, or paycheck.

God's presence is not out of range so that He is unreachable.

God has given us the Holy Spirit (who by the way is God) as a means by which we have become united with Him as a means of life.

You are a created being with worth beyond measure (psalms 139).

You have an identity and where you place this identity is key to how you answer the above question.

We have missed God amongst the hustle and bustle of life that He is in us through the Spirit yet we have forgotten the truth of His indwelling Spirit.

God is beginning to show up in our Monday Night meetings downtown and fueling a passion to know Him. The questions that burden our hearts are there so that we can place our dependency upon God to answer the void within.

God is found amist the saints who have identified themselves in Christ because it has become an awareness of the Spirit.

There is a gentleman who frequents the coffee shop who is in need, doesn't have a job, doesn't have money, and doesn't have the education it takes to find a good paying job. Does this mean that God is not fair to this individual? I certainly could be in the same situation in life if God so chose to let it happen. The point is this, I'm certainly just as dependent as this gentleman. He has a place to sleep, a place to eat, and clothes on his body. He understands that God is showing up and meeting his needs. He knows he's dependent and that every sip of coffee and food he eats is a gift of God.


quit looking for God amongst the clouds and look within and rely upon the Spirit given to you as a gift and you will begin to understand that God is working in you and through you meeting the needs whether huge or small.

Jason
Monday, August 10, 2009

August Rush

August Rush

Football is approaching, school is starting, and after what seemed like a long summer is coming to a whinding end. I never thought that I would be in August talking about the Rangers and their possibility of being in the playoffs. As you can tell, it doesn't take much for me to get excited about life in general. I love football season, High School Football Friday Nights, college football saturdays, and Cowboy football on Sundays.

I looked back over the summer and have noticed that I have enjoyed hanging out with the kids (Zoe and Lucy), (Monday Night children), (and the youth group). I cautiously see that the youth in the church I work for are starting to see the grace of God and receive a taste from Him. When a student comes to understand the grace of God the countenance on their face changes and a since of inner rest appears and they seem to enjoy life a little more. Have you had that type of taste from God that caused you to rest spiritually?

When I think about my own journey of rest and how God showed up in 1996 and changed me by His grace, it causes me to pause and reflect on His goodness, His mercy, and His timing. God has always showed up at the right time in my life and even when I didn't notice that God was even around His timing was still perfect because I remember situations that God showed up and saved me from my stupidity or just went along for the ride in my stupidity to teach me a life lesson.

When God shows up you know it and it is unmistakable how He works in and through us. I've seen the results in my life and I'm beginning to see how He is still teaching me and molding me. None of this teaching and molding is done with the iron rod of discipline, and it is not done with a distant eye watching from across way, but it is done with a nearness that I cannot explain and a smile that is unforgetable.

I get pretty weird when it comes to watching sports of any kind, I'm usually put way to much of my emotions into it, yell way to loud, and jump up and down way to much; just ask my family! Here is the funny thing about all of that, God gets pretty weird with me during the times of watching sports and my fluttering emotions. I believe He enjoys it just as much as I do and enjoys decorating the house just as much as I do. The point is this, God's intimacy is not based on me correcting all my junk, but it is in the joyful delight of just being in His presence and me enjoying Him and He enjoying me.

That is the taste that changed me: What was the taste that changed you? I would love to see your comments on that!

happy August,

Jason
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July Update

THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

This is one of the hottest summers that I can remember here in Texas, we are known for hot summers anyways, yet this summer seems to be scorching up there with the drought we had back in '98.

Have you ever felt like that you've been in a spiritual drought? I've had some conversations recently about the current generation of spiritual people that we are ministering to locally. I've been praying that God would raise up some young people with a burning desire in the hearts to know God, to passionately pursue God, and to not let anything hamper their pursuit of intimacy with God.

We seem to easily forget that the Holy Spirit in us is abundant and not lacking in revelation, understanding, and wisdom. What seems to be causing the drought with this generation? Sure we can go and look at what George Barna's Research has to say about this generation, that there is emergent generation that is looking in all directions for spiritual life willing to accept any means by which they can understand God, but what happens when the search comes up empty even in the local church body?

Is there anyone out there that wants to know God intimately anymore? I fear we have made God out to be distant and far away from us as if we can't approach Him without the understanding that we must acknowledge how sorry we are first. The glory of God is a great subject and one that we should know and understand, but it shouldn't be hampering our progress to know God.

I love what John Piper has written about being a Christian Hedonist that we should find our complete joy in God, I love to enjoy God, I love God's glory, and it is exactly His glory that drives me to want to know Him intimately, but not at the expense of being fearful to approach.

Much of what has happened with this generation of the church body is that they do not understand or recognize the Holy Spirit and the presence of God in us. Since I'm another, that means God won't share His glory with us right? If Jesus glorifies God on our behalf and God has given us Jesus, then hasn't it always been God's even in us?

Just some food for thought, I'm praying that this generation will begin to boldly approach the throne of grace, to march into the presence of God in their time of need knowing that the glory of God will not keep God from enjoying you as well, even in our junk.

Dave Busby talked about living in God's hug and we would do well to begin to reexamine the issue of grace and the approachability of God. It really grieves my heart when I see people who freeze up and become tense when the presence of God shows up. I believe we are seeing a spiritual drought because the presence of God is not recognized. We need a real jolt of practicing the presence of God in our lives. Identifying ourselves in Christ as a means by which we can understand the presence of God, His Glory, and His sovereignty.

God, please fuel the passion in the hearts of this generation to know you intimately, in and out of the walls of the church building and manifest yourself in us your body by your grace and through Jesus we beg.

WHO WE ARE

I began about 20 days ago to start writing some daily devotionals for my students because they enjoyed having something to read and go by while at Lake Forest for the week and I really felt like God was leading me to do it so I prayed about it and God has been blessing this His work to examine specifically "WHO WE ARE."

I've had conversations for many years with different people about scriptures that just say it, that interprets themselves and really gives us a look at about our identity in Christ. Sharing thoughts about specific identity markers and reading the scripture that surround these identity markers to help us understand our "identity."

I've started a group on facebook if you are interested in joining it called, "WHO WE ARE" it begins with day 1 and will move through until God says stop. I'm almost complete with 3o days and will be pursuing to publish in the future. Anyone is available to join and you can invite whoever you want to begin reading and have some open discussion. You can go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/jtgoodson and it will have in my profile on the wall information about the WHO WE ARE group.

GYPSY MARKET

www.mineolagyspymarket.com

vendor info packet at the bottom of the first packet and rental contract if you are interested in setting up a booth, follow the instructions and it will lead you to exactly what you need to do.

July 25 North Johnson St. 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Bring your family and enjoy the arts, music, and market and children's play area! Free Admission.


FINAL WORD

We love each and everyone of you and are thankful for your support in prayer for Teleo Ridge, we invite you all to come and join us at some point in Mineola, TX for an opportunity to see what God is doing here in our community.

Jason
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Loving Our Brother

1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen

This verse came to mind this morning as I was sitting here but God was showing it to me in quite a different way than I usually think about it. If you are like me then this verse almost makes you cringe every time you read it or maybe a better word would be condemned. Now if we feel condemned when we read it then we must be reading it wrong because of this verse,

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Now if 1Jn 4:20 condemns me then I have to be looking at it from the wrong perspective. The thing that got me to thinking on this was remembering someone I knew many years back and I saw God using them as they ministered to others and the very clear evidence of God's life in them. These days they no longer do the things that God showed Himself through in times past. Now I might be wrong in this because I don't know the exact details but I have seen it in many other places also so I think the point is true even if it doesn't quite match this story. What I saw here was a person take themselves out of ministry because of the sin in their life. This is where 1 John came in and the thought I had was, is this person loving their brother by sidelining themselves and not doing the things where God was so clearly living and showing His love through them? The reason I ask this is because of how we like to think of sin most of the time. I think most of us like to believe that as long as it is not seen on the outside then we do not have any. This is a misconception that can cause us much grief and heartache along the way that might be avoided if we were honest with ourselves. You see sin is not something that jumps on us from the outside like we prefer to think of it. The truth is that this body that we live in is like a bucket, every now and then it gets a leak in it and what is inside starts dripping out. I think this verse bears out this illustration.

Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Dwelleth : to occupy a house that is, reside (figuratively inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication to cohabit:

Some of us spend a lifetime trying to keep all the holes plugged and maybe we do a pretty good job of it but the truth is we have never changed what is on the inside one iota. We have only hidden the truth about what resides in this bucket we call our body. But sin is not the only thing that resides here, we also occupy this body along with God. This body is not us, we only live here as does sin and the great thing about it is that this body will never dwell in heaven and when it passes away it will take sin with it. Can I hear an amen.
But back to the problem with sin leaking out. What should be my perspective and reaction when one of those leaks opens up and what's inside shows itself? Should I run and get a mop and mop up the mess, grab a role of duct tape and seal that leak? I don't think so because none of these are loving to our brother. We should be honest with ourselves and those around us just as Paul was, “sin that dwelleth here”. Ask for forgiveness not for Gods sake but as a reminder that this leak that is showing the sin on the inside was forgiven when the Lamb was slain. The leak is not what needs forgiveness but the sin that was already there, that has been there since the day I was born. And what should be my focus here? I mentioned before that sin will pass away with this body when it dies because it is part of this earth. I think these verses answer this.

Col 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Eph 2:5-7 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Thank God that through Jesus dying on the cross He has made us one with Him and this earth, body, bucket is no longer our only dwelling place and our focus should be on things above and not below and I think the mess and the sin qualify as things below.
Before I said that trying to plug the leak or clean up the mess would not be loving our brother and you might ask why. First I do not think that we have the ability to clean up the mess or heal the wounds or leaks that we have, only He can do that in His goodness and mercy. I also believe that the most important thing for all of us in this lifetime here on earth is that we would continually get a taste of God. A taste of Him will change us forever including those around us. I think these verses show what I'm talking about.

Psa 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Rom 2:4 Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

So the greatest ways we can love our brother is to give him a taste of God. But those pesky leaks? You know it's funny how that many times those leaks that show what is on the inside are the very times that God shows Himself, because remember that sin is not the only thing that lives here.


In Christ Seated in the Heavenly Places,
Johnny


P.S. Waiting for the day when I can kick the bucket. :)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is God up to? Do you often wonder about that?

I often wonder what God is up to? I know God's timing is not on our time frame; however, I would love to sit and watch from his prospective in how He deals with the lives of people on this earth. I take a look within myself and wonder how God has put up with me in my few short years on earth? How God has loved me for free without the condition that exist within my heart...in other words, loving only for the good that someone does for me.
What horrible thing to base love on! Yet, it is exactly that type of love that seems to fuel my living. It shows up in subtle ways and in ways that truly embarress me. My wife Kathy has been a beautiful picture of this love that God has for us, she would tell you that it is imperfect; yet, when I am loving her conditionally she still loves me unconditionally. This type of loving really just blows my mind. Kathy is carrying our third child and we are very excited about raising this baby! I have never seen exactly what this baby looks like nor do I know the intricate details of whether this child is a boy or girl, nor have I heard the baby cry or whimper or coo. I did this morning feel the baby kick in Kathy's belly and love began to well up inside of me for this unknown creature.

God already knows what's in store for this child's life from beginning to end... With fear and trembling do I dare think thoughts of what God is up to from His prospective as if I could wrap my mind around it. God first loving this child, is the exact thing that will draw this child to Him. I'm already praying for this child to be drawn to the love of God, the same prayers that I continue to pray for Zoe and Lucy; for Kathy and I.

I wonder what God is up to not because I am at a lost, but I am excited to see what is coming from Him. Is God about to reveal a new truth that I do not know? I sure hope so! Is God going to provide everything I need financially to make it? I sure hope so! Is God going to manifest Himself through me to others? I sure hope so! I do know this though, even if He doesn't do these things He is still God and He is still Good, He is still in control and thank God I'm not, He is still drawing me by His previous love and I can rest in that.

June Update:

Gyspy Market

If you are a local yocal from Mineola or you have an interest in enjoying Music, Community, and Fun with the opportunity to buy from local merchants come visit the North Johnson St. Gypsy Market on July 25th beginning at 10 am and ending at 5 pm. There will be live Music all afternoon, with a mixture sure to satisfy everyone's taste and food to purchase for your pleasure. Come and support the local business district in the down town area, there will also be some fun options available for the children as well so bring the family.

Monday Night Fellowship

We are still meeting on Monday Night at The Place down town, so if you are interested in a family atmosphere mixed in with music, scripture reading, and conversation then Monday Nights will definately be a fit for you. Contact Jason or Johnny with any questions at jason@teleoridge.com or johnny@teleoridge.com .

A.C.E. at The Place

Tuesday Night fellowship for guys, that is intentional Bible Study normally led by John Cordova (who is currently working at Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS) will be led this coming Tuesday by Jason and Johnny. Join us at 7 pm, Grab a cup of Coffee from B&B's and let's talk Scripture.

Ladies Bible Study

Thursday Nights have been for the ladies to have an in depth look at Christ and who He is. They have been studying Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" If you are interested in learning more contact Jason at jason@teleoridge.com .

S.N.A.P.

Saturday nights at the place is still kicking every Saturday Night from 7pm - 11 pm, our purpose is to provide a safe place for students to hang out while having the opportunity to play video games and learn how to play music via the guitar, drums, bass, acoustic, and singing.
Justin Neely oversees the video games
Bobby Simmons and Johnathon McBurnett oversee the music

Without their help, Saturday Nights would not be possible!


A Final word:

God has led me in my heart to begin writing some devotional material for students and I am really excited about walking through this journey: I will be calling the material "Who We Are: A daily reading about our identity in Christ" Jaytee and I always talk about Scriptures that just say what its saying, simple truths that helps us identify ourselves in Christ. So as God begins to shape what this is going to be, I would ask that you would pray as God brings us to mind in making this project about Him and that He would open eyes and reveal truth. Thanks,

Jason
Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 09 Update

John At Lake Forest Ranch

John Cordova began his summer at Lake Forest Ranch this month and is catching up to my number of summers on staff at LFR, good luck! John will be gone through July and will be back in early August. You can keep up with him and LFR at www.lakeforestranch.com. I look forward to going and seeing some old familiar faces with some new no so familiar faces and get a peek on who will walk away with a taste of grace that will change them forever. I will ask John as he has time to sit down and write periodically on how his summer is going.

In Memory of A Friend

There have been people in my life who have influenced me well over the years and I want to reflect on one who was instrumental in modeling what I believe to be one of the key aspects to living, which is loving others for free. Late one night my buddy Bobby Baker and I were making a run to Wal-Mart and ran into a group of young people who were making a journey on faith and didn't have a place to sleep for the evening. The group of course asked Bobby and I about our faith and we responded with the usual answers that we loved Jesus and believe in Jesus and that He saved us...the same typical answers that any teenagers would give to a group of known believers (we really tried to impress them with our knowledge and wisom, I look back on it and laugh). They also asked if we had a place for them to sleep, saying no because Bobby's mother could not hold everyone at her home and I was not going to answer for my parents especially on a school night, we thought of a couple who just might be in love with Jesus enough to let about 6 strangers sleep on their floor....it was Kevin and Joni Best!

Kevin and Joni had not been in Mineola long at this point, but we had been introduced to them through our good friends Don and Jennifer Crenshaw and we immediately loved hanging out with them. Kevin and Joni of course said yes and drove to wal-mart and picked up these students. Just by the fact that Kevin and Joni were willing to do this spoke volumes to me a 17 year old. It showed me a different kind of love that I've never seen before, and I realized later in life that they loved us the same way as they did these students by providing shelter and food for an evening.

I know now that Kevin and Joni were allowing God's love to beam through them by accepting freely these students without cost, loving for free.

This past week Joni Best went to her true home as Kevin wrote to walk in the presence of God and the saints before her and is experiencing the reality of 1 John 3:2 ...we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

Pray for Kevin, Casey, Sam, and Kylie that the peace of God would ease their sorrow and that His grace would be suffiecient in their time of need.

I thank God for my friend Joni and her unyeilding love and passion for people.


Teleo Ridge Ministries:

As we prepare for the summer months we ask that you would join us in prayer as we seek to obtain our non profit status. We are operating on faith through this journey of watching God work in the lives of the people around us daily. We have never missed a rent payment or a bill in the past two and half years and we are deeply thankful to God for providing for us even through these hard days in the economy.

It has been fun to see new faces show up to our Monday Night Fellowship (our big family reunion night), and to watch the kids play and respond. The other night Zoe was standing in the kitchen and she was getting ready for bed, and I asked her, "Zoe, do you know that God loves you?" She turned and gave me the well duh look and said, "of course Dad, He's my Father and I'm His daughter!" and trotted off to the room. She is 4 years old!

In the midst of the choas of monday nights I'm beginning to see as the kids play, dance, color, and sing that they are hearing the words of truth and believing. It also is a blessing to have a wife who models the love of God in raising our kids, it's fun to watch the kids interact and enjoy just being around one another.

we love you and I thank God for all of you who read and pray along with us, we ask that you will remember us as God lays us on your hearts.

loved for free,

Jason
Friday, April 24, 2009

I Am My Beloved's And His Desire Is For Me

I love coffee, it is a beautiful way to start the morning. I particularly love the fact that I can share coffee with people. It is a rariety that I don't enter the coffee shop at B&B's without receiving a hug or a hello of some kind.


It is a place where every body knows your name, a place where you are accepted as you are not for what you should be, and with all of the political uproar in the government you are not looked at as a republican or a democrat; however, you are treated as a valued customer, a valued friend, and family.


So on this April Friday Morning I feel especially loved by God, even though God's love for me is not measured daily by an amount deserved, but that He especially loves me daily not matter the circumstance.


Often I've projected my shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and worth on to God as if it was Him throwing these particular darts my way. God's love for us is not based on our low view of self. I am learning that it is important for us to find our rest in His satisfaction with the finished work of Christ.


God sees us and knows us and has a furious longing to be intimate with us.


I've been spending some alone time repeating this statement from the scripture "I am my beloved's and His desire is for me." (Song of Solomon 7:10). In my time of meditation and prayer this is what I'm repeating over and over and guess what? I'm actually starting to believe it!


If you get a chance go and pick up Brennan Mannings "Furious Longing of God" at the bookstore, it will show you not only this prayer, but many other stories of God's love towards us.


I was rescued from ths life of guilt and shame by my father in 1996, who at the moment where I was the most depressed, guilt ridden, shame fed person, and lost to the fact that God loved me without condition (that means for free). I was prepared to receive the worst when dad spoke up and said these words, "Son, I love you and I am here to get you out of situations that you cannot get yourself out of!"


If you notice there was not a hint condemnation in those words, not any venom to strike down what was already struck down. In these words you will notice that Dad gave me permission to lift my head, he cut me free from the burden of responsibility of earning his love. His love for me was never gone. His love for me never waivered when he knew that my mugshot was going to be displayed, when the report of my arrest was going to show up in the paper.


My dad rescued me from wearing the dunce hat in the corner of the class room. My dad provided a beautiful picture of God's love toward's us. my dad's desire was for me, to rescue me, to get me out of things I could get myself out of, even though I was to blame.


"I am my beloved's and His desire is for me." In meditating on this scripture, I beginning to believe this is true that His desire for me will not be hindered by my guilt, my shame, my low view self...


"I am my beloved's and His desire is for me." This is healing me from beating myself up, from forgetting who I am in Christ, and causing me to rest in His satisfaction.



April 09 Teleo Ridge Update


Pray for us this summer as we move forward with A.C.E. at The Place, John Cordova who has been leading A Cross Examination will be at Lake Forest Ranch this summer and Jaytee and I will continue on with this study.


The Ladies in our group have come together and hav been studying "Breaking Free" from Beth Moore and it is really exciting to hear about how God is showing them the importance of living life outside of the chains of Legalism.


Pray for us as we continue our S.N.A.P. time on Saturday Nights, Justin Neely is leading and overseeing this time of providing a safe place for students to hang out through relaxing and enjoying conversations over board games, video games, or just hanging out on the side walk getting to know these people known as teenagers.


There is an open invitation for any of you who want to come and visit here in TX and see what God is doing here in this community. If you are interested in doing something like that we recommend that you come for the weekend and stay though Tuesday, contact Jason at jason@teleoridge.com and we can set you up with a place to sleep.


We have set up our calender for the Summer and we will have our website updated soon with new pics, bios, and happenings.


much love,


Jason

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Luke 24:3 " but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus"

As you walk into the place on the back wall there is a painting of the empty tomb and the scripture reads from

1 Corinthians 15:55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
56 " The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law;
57 "but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Joe Shelton does a easter study on Luke 24:3 and talks about the most important words in scripture, from the KJV it reads , "and they found not"

Why is this the most important words in scripture? Well, if they had entered and found him...then death would have its victory and Jesus was not God; which leaves us all up a creek. They entered and they did not find the body of Christ, which therefore leaves us with the hope that Jesus was the first born of many to overcome death.

This is why we celebrate Easter, yes this is the identification of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to life. We like Paul, identify ourselves with the crucifixion by recognizing that we have been "Crucified in Christ Gal. 2:20," we identify ourselves by being baptized into his death, therefore we have been" buried with Him" and by the Glory of God we were "resurrected with Him" so that we may walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).

Why is it vital to realize that they found not? They found not, meaning that He was raised to "life" never to face death again, and you who are found in Christ was raised to "life" never to face eternal death but to taste the "eternal life" that you now have in Him.

Easter is about the resurrection to life.....Luke 24:3 " but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus"

Stop and pause today reflecting on the life that has been provided by Christ because of the resurrection....

Jason
Monday, March 16, 2009

"Family" March Update

3-16-09

In trying to define what our Monday Night Fellowship is like to someone, we sometimes find it difficult to convey exactly what is going on! To some it may seem that no pre scheduled event is pretty much chaos; however, community is not sanctioned by itenararies.

Chaos defined is = a state of utter confusion.

On Monday nights we have several families who enter the door at "The Place" and enjoy a time of unorganized fellowship. One of the beautiful things about our meeting is that we all have small children 5 years and younger.


Chaos breaks out at some point in each meeting because kids will be kids...It is a wonderful sight to see our kids enjoying themselves amongst the conversations in the room, amongst the songs being sung, and the scripture being read because we know that the words are being heard and the influence of family is being seen.

How would we describe Monday Night Fellowship in one word, it's "family." Monday Nights are about being family and focusing on the body, in turn that is what makes Christ happy, we are accomplishing His purpose for us each Monday night by doing exactly what He is leading us to do, whether through conversation, communion, worshiping God through music, scripture, or enjoying Him through choas. It is about the Body coming together and being the body and being yourself.



3-29-09


As I left the house this morning in my truck driving to town for breakfast, I realized that God was ready to share some things with me that have been question marks in my mind. The previous evening I sat down on the couch next to Kathy and began to share with her some things that God has been bringing up in my mind, namely, the fact that He has led me to do several things and each one of these several things are left unfinished or not carried out.

In my flesh, that bothers me enough to question if I’ve done anything whole heartedly after God to completion. In my spirit, that does not bother me because I know God is completing the work that He has begun in me.

God began to speak to my spirit this morning of his love over me and his joy over me as his child, He told me that he will accomplish the work that he has sat out for me to do. This is not a work to be pleasing, this is not a work to be satisfied, not a work to clear a guilty conscience, it is however, a work by His hands that he will complete.

Paul wrote, he who began a good work in you will complete it…. Do I believe that God will do that? Honestly I question it sometimes as if I have some authority over his decision. I know that’s not true and so do you. I write only to say this that God met me on the way to town in my truck this morning because He wanted to tell me that He loves, He’s crazy about me, and that He is going to do His will in me.

My desires are to become a more well rounded writer, to travel the country side with my family in tow singing songs that God has given me to sing, telling the truths that God has given me to tell, to build community within the city we live in amongst all backgrounds including the church I grew up in, to point students to Christ as their life, to point adults to Christ as their life, and to point my family to Christ that my children would love God for free with the same love that he has loved them with and towards me.

If God chooses to do these things in me, then so be it; however, if God does not do any of these He is still God and is still in control.

The battle is not so much with what he is going to do, but with how He will do it. I wanted to share with you these thoughts because I know I’m not the only one who dig’s through these questions. I just want to live and let God be Himself in me and that others would see His presence manifested in my life whether through writing, singing, sharing, community, or family… God, thank you for meeting with me and loving me just the way I am.

3-31-09

Wanted to write a quick update on "Joe" she is still in ICU and being monitored and I wanted to say thanks to all of you who are praying for her and her family. As you remember to pray, please continue to do so.

Also, we've really enjoyed having John Cordova here to lead our ACE at The Place on Tuesday Nights. God has gifted John to teach and to have an understanding of God's Grace and He does a great job of relating to people involved at Teleo Ridge. Pray for John as he prepares to go back to LFR (Lake Forest Ranch) for the summer, we look forward to having him back in August.

Pray for us as we continue to build community with our local folks, it is fun to watch God work.

Jason







Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Permission to Hug the Father

It's funny how God so often speaks through simple everyday happenings. For this to make sense I will have to tell you a little bit about Jason's two daughters, Zoe and Lucy. Zoe is four and Lucy is about 18 months. Now these two have quite different personalities as is usual with first and second born and this difference is what God used today to remind me of who He is. Zoe is a little shy and reserved but very loving when you get to know her, or rather when she gets to know you. Lucy on the other hand is very out going and looking for someone to play with most of the time. This story started Saturday night while I was standing talking with some people at the Place during our Saturday night game time. Kathy came in with Zoe and Lucy, she set Lucy down and I squatted down and called Lucy's name. She hesitated for a moment so I spread out my arms and she came running with her arms out to hug me. Now Lucy may come running to you whether you call her name or not but Zoe is a different story. As Lucy came over I noticed the look on Zoe's face. It was not a look of jealousy but more of a “I wish I could do that” so I spread out one arm and called her name and she came running and gave me a hug and then was off about her business of curing Tigger of some make believe ailment or arranging all the stuffed animals for a party. All those important things that us adults miss out on to often because we are to busy with other stuff. We should make it a priority to heal Tiggers of make believe ailments every chance we get or at least that is what I think. Just be careful, they are bouncy, pouncy and fun fun fun. I didn't think about this much more other than how Zoe's countenance had changed after the look on her face to start with. I've seen that face and felt myself making it on numerous occasions as a child. Wanting to do something but a little to timid to ask permission and hoping for an invitation. The memory of Saturday came rushing back this afternoon as I was sitting in the coffee shop. Kathy came walking by with Jason's sisters family and as they passed Lucy turned to come in the coffee shop. She really likes it so she could not be deterred from a visit so as she stuck her head in the door I called her name. She wasn't paying much attention but what happened then surprised me. Zoe came running in past Lucy and came and gave me a big hug. What struck me was that she had taken the invitation on Saturday night not as a one time thing but as open and ongoing. It made me smile to think that she knows me well enough to know that she can do that and it's a safe thing and that I would never refuse her a hug. I little later as I was telling Jason about it God brought a thought to my mind that I often forget. He reminded me that I have an open invitation to run and hug Him. He has given me permission to hug Him at any time no matter what is going on and that is absolutely nothing that can keep me from Him and I can stay as long as I want. His love is so great for me that that permission has no conditions on it what so ever and nothing I do or can do can change that. He simply says come and let me love on you no matter your condition at the moment.

Today was one of those days when God came to me and loved on me through a hug and smile from a little girl named Zoe and reminded me of those things I should not forget.

Luk 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

I hope that you have loved on God today or let Him love on you.

In Christ,
Johnny

Monday, March 2, 2009

February Update



February Update

Greetings family and friends of Teleo Ridge

I wanted to share a few updates and some thoughts with you all. I would like to ask you all to pray for a friend here who is an intrigal part of our ministry here in mineola, Bobby and Amanda Simmons whom just gave birth to their second son (Oliver Thaddeus Simmons). They are precious to us. We also ask that you remember their first son Trey who will have to adjust to not being the center of attention. Bobby leads are Music program on Saturday Nights and the kids love what he is showing them musically. Bobby has an excellent teaching style that is easy for the kids to learn and respond to how music feels. Pray for Bobby and Amanda that they would allow God to direct them in raising these two good looking dudes.



Also we are inching closer to Non Profit Status, and we are in the process of finishing the articles of incorporation and meeting all that the government requires. Please pray for a steady and easy process in establishing this status to help us in moving forward impacting the lives of students and our community.

Pray for Kathy and I, I am going back in for my 3 month check up soon for the Melanoma and we are walking in the fact that God has taken care of this, yet my mind always waivers to the unknown and what’s ahead. Pray that I would just continue to rest in the finished work of Christ on the Cross.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the Teleo Ridge blog please take some time and read, you will find out some interesting details about Teleo Ridge and the people involved and ultimately we hope to encourage you with the words that God is giving us to share. I would ask that you become a follower and leave us your comments and thoughts and how we can help, pray, and encourage you in this journey of living life.

thanks to you all,

Jason
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God


Tattoos. I was thinking about what to write here in regards of where I am at in my own personal life journey. And for some reason I keep looking at my tattoos, so maybe that's what I should write about. However, I'm not writing about ink on this spaniard body of mine but of the Spirit of God who will not fade away. My tattoos tell of a story of how God has and is revealing more of Himself in this temple which contains His living Spirit.

Grace. This was a start of a new understanding and knowing Christ more. I can only know God by His grace for it was how I even began to see the gospel and even hope to experience the gospel on the day to day basis. It is only by God's grace that I desire Him, long for Him, and want to taste Him. Apart from that, I would be prone to live freely in the desires of the flesh and not seek God.

Yes, I am. My understanding of my identity in Christ was another huge moment in my life that is a continuing journey for me. I know that my heart longs to see myself as how God sees me in Christ. I feel compelled to teach about our identity in Christ because I've seen the lack of teaching in this area. We've all received messages about ourselves from hurts, wounds, and pain and ultimately we must receive and believe that Christ is our all in all.

Vine and Branch. Another analogy of our relationship/identity with God. God has taught me through difficult circumstances that I am nothing apart from Him. He is my very life and the producer of anything good that people see in me. I can only be me and noone else, and that's exactly how God meant it to be. I am the branch that God chooses to show that His surpassing power belongs to Himself and not to me. Freaking sweet.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul talks about the ministry of the new covenant which is the ministry of life, namely Jesus Himself. He says is verses 2-6, "You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life".

This is my heart here in East Texas Mineola. I desire to be a minister of the new covenant to those around me. I am not sufficient in myself and my tattoos remind me of this everyday. I want people to read my story, my friend's stories, see the life of Christ and experience this ministry of the new covenant called Teleo Ridge. We are letters written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, freely moving and being Christ in us.

A letter,

John Cordova
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I really expected today to accomplish great things for God. What do you consider accomplishing great things for God? Personally, I believe that God has provided daily for us to accomplish something great… this great purpose is to live in His presence, to accomplish the act of being the man or woman God has created us to be.

I remember struggling with the fact that I had to put a mark on each day and accomplish a great task for God. That is why most of my college days were miserable because I tried so hard to get others to see my works. Thank God I’m not saved based on my works or accomplishments correct? Do you ever find your self in the same predicament? “God I’ve done nothing today that would merit your favor, do you still love me?” I would actually pray that on a daily basis.

Well Jason that is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard! Maybe, however, it’s true. Last Night I sat with a group of people that came to meet and just be themselves, we watch a video of a friend by the name of Dave Busby who expressed that God showed up and answered a question for him, watch the video, it will make you laugh and encourage you here it is: www.davebusby.com go to the website and watch it.

I thank God that God is the one who is accomplishing His work in us, through, and for us. I cannot assume the role of doing great things. I just get to "be" in Christ and He does the work. I know that when I'm down on myself, feeling guilt and shame, and wondering what my worth is I constantly am reminded of finished work of Christ on the cross.

blessings to you all

I would love to hear from you on this subject, have you dealt with some of these same issues?
Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Yessed


2-2-09

This is a T-Shirt I had designed for my youth group at Hainesville Baptist Church. What is the significance of the statement, "I'm Yessed?"

At Teleo Ridge we believe that in Christ you are yessed. 2 Cor. 1:20 says,

" For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us."


Beginning in January we started a youth community time called "CYF" or Community Youth Fellowship at The Place downtown. On this previous meeting we were able to involve ourselves with the kids by sitting in a circle and playing our instruments together and singing songs of praise to God. It was really cool.

On Saturday nights we have added a time which is being led by Bobby Simmons that is introducing music to the kids in a unique way. Bobby has an excellent talent for teaching music and He is a talented musician in his own right.

This is an example of how we are supporting the hearts of those involved in the ministry here at Teleo Ridge, Bobby is called to music, God has opened the door for him to build relationships with students through music.

The same goes for Johnathon McBurnett, who is joining Bobby in this venture of building relationships through music that point to Christ.

These things are so exciting and we are able to watch God move and work in and through us, drawing the kids to himself.

Living in God's Yes means simply that we are loved, accepted, and pursued. God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Isn't that exciting? John 17:23 proves to that God is passionate about us, that He is interested in us.

Jesus is praying for the disciples and the future saints, "the knowlege of life (17:3)," "everything is given from God (17:7)," "We are one with God (17:11)," "we are not of this world (17:14)," "we know that we are sanctified through God's word (not reading scripture, but the living word Christ that sanctifies us) (17:17), " "not just glory given to Jesus but to us as well that we may be in Him glorified (17:22).

I in them (Christ in us), Thou in me (God in Christ), that they (we) may be (teleo= complete) perfected in unity, that the world may know that thou didst send me, (God sent Jesus) (God loves us) thou didst love them, even as thou didst love me (even as God loves Jesus).

This should take you back and help you see how God views you in Christ, that you are loved with the fullness of God. If God loved us any less, then He would not be God and we would not be yessed.

This month pray for us to begin this non profit process and that God will lead us in the right direction of who we should choose to help lead us in completing this task.

Pray for our students and the leaders here who are volunteering to impact their lives on a weekly basis.

Pray for John Cordova as he comes back to Texas and begins his journey with Teleo Ridge in the coming months, we are excited to have him as a part of what is going on here. We look forward to God revealing himself to John and us having the opportunity to love Him as God as loved us...for free.

much love to you all from us here at Teleo Ridge,

Jason
Thursday, January 29, 2009

January Update


1-29-08

I tried a few days ago to post a message using just the facebook site and I messed it up pretty bad; however, I thought this would be a good way to write updates and share thoughts about how God is working through us here in Mineola at Teleo Ridge. I'm seated here at our local Coffee shop named B&B's Legal Grounds which sits next door to our office with Jacob who is along with his family apart of our Monday Night Fellowship. I enjoy having the opportunity to enjoy God with other people and in other people. I have often contemplated what true ministry looks like and it is something that is not easy to describe but I will give it shot with my finite words. Have you ever wondered when you first had a genuine taste of God? I'm not even sure how to say it in terms of how it feels because it is God who has to give you the taste and it is God who makes the truth known. If you have ever had a genuine taste of God, then you know exactly what I'm saying.
For many years I've been apart of some incredible ministry opportunities over the years but very rarely in those opportunities did I receive a taste of God. I think the reason for this lies in the fact that I tried to produce a taste of God that only God Himself can give.
I found myself trying to produce ministry and failing at it miserably, the problem became evident when I found myself just existing in my relationship with God instead of living. I had to learn that I cannot do anything of myself; God revealed to me that He produces ministry and that He produces the living. God produces the taste. When God Manifest Himself you cannot help but to receive a taste.
My first taste of God that I remember came in 1996 when my friend Joe Shelton spoke of how God was not interested in my works, but that He was interested in me, He was not mad at me, He was not disappointed in me, but that He was interested in me. This was a taste of God that changed me forever. When we taste God, a change occurs...that's it! A taste of God will change your life.
A taste of God will give you a desire to pursue God, to know God, and to be intimate with God. If you will pursue God, He will give you a taste. The buffet is there for us to enjoy without cost, without demands, just us wanting to know Him. Through the ministry here at Teleo Ridge, a taste of God is happening not because we are mustering up the work to make it happen, we are just asking God to produce the taste and we are watching the change happen.

O taste and see that the Lord is good...(Psalms 34:8).

Jason

Please share your comments and thoughts with us, let us know what your thinking and how you are doing. We appreciate you support, your prayer, and your friendships.

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