Category Archives: Lessons from life

Detroit Thanksgiving Drive Recap 2015

This month we hosted our annual Detroit Thanksgiving Drive at City Church and this year we hosted it in two locations, with the main drive happening this past Monday. It was the best drive we have ever had.

Our goal of helping 1100 families was met midday on Monday and by this afternoon we easily surpassed 1500 families (I have the contact info to prove it). It took four truck loads, two packed trailers…twice!, over 4 tons of turkeys & hams and lots of work.

I’m exhausted but overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude and love.

Today, I made the last drop-off to a shut in veteran we have helped a lot over the years who lives in one of the worst neighborhoods in all of Detroit. He is a shut-in and can’t go out of the house without help. As I dropped off his Thanksgiving bag, he was in tears and said “thank you” at least 4 times. I almost started crying there in his living room.

This drive was a lot of work, many phone calls, meetings with businesses and begging companies to donate everything we could for months. We had a lot of help and I have the best team in the world to help pull it off. Many people saw the need and jumped on board to make a difference.

“It’s not enough to do nothing. It’s time for us to do something.”

The song “Do Something” by Matthew West has been on repeat at City Church for sometime. The song challenges us to ask: “If not us, then who.” I pray that you are inspired by the selfless actions of the many volunteers that gave so much to help so many.

As I sit back and think of 1501 families that received help from our drive, I am ready to start working on the next drive as Christmas is in a few weeks. As my friends already know,

here we go…

-jon 

#push

Thanksgiving Video Recap

City Church Thanksgiving Drive Recap

 

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Do You Even Lift?

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I love the gym. My dad got us into sports at an early age and with that came a desire to compete. I can’t remember a year in my life where I haven’t participated in some type of sport or been active in the gym. Even now as I enter the 30’s of my life, I still love competing, playing football and lifting weights. A few years ago I started taking lifting seriously and began with baby steps lifting with specific goals in mind.

When you truly love the gym, you make it a part of your life.

In the gym you have a culture unlike any other. People from totally different lifestyles and backgrounds will give respect not based on what you say or what you wear or by what your name is, but by what you actually do…specifically what you lift, how hard you try, how you lift and how much.

So when talking to someone about the gym some will talk about treadmills, yoga classes or cycling…that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about the guys who go to gym 5/6 days a week not to workout but to train. Some are bodybuilders, others are boxers and some (like me) used to play sports and just love being back at it again. When talking to one of these guys it’s easy to spot a faker. They talk a big talk, but in actuality they don’t lift jack.

This has created a saying in the gym world of “do you even lift?”.

Let me explain. When someone talks big but obviously can’t back it up…do you even lift bro? When I see someone in the locker room talking about how much they can lift…but then see them proceed to put on a size small shirt…do you even lift? When you see someone post a selfie…do you even lift? When someone talks about working out and exercise but you never see them…ever…in the gym…do you even lift? When you hear a couple lifters talking about 315 for sets of 12 and pressing 900 deep and squatting to the grass…and you have no clue what they are talking about…then bro, do you even lift?

This brings me to to ask this question…do you even lift…spiritually? I’m not asking if you know the lingo but rather do you have enough time and practice in your life to be able to lift heavy weight spiritually?

Most Christians don’t lift…at all.

I say this because I read blogs and hear sermons that are very weak, anemic even. How can we explain seeing so much decay not in the world but in the church if not for the fact that most Christians really don’t work hard at being a genuine follower of Christ?

Most Christians are not faithful to what is necessary to succeed in the faith. The American Church has become lazy, fat and weak spiritually. Most Christians have never studied like Martin Luther. How many Christians do you know that have ever written dissertations or commentaries like Calvin and MacArthur? Most Christians aren’t faithful enough to stay in one church and help it grow nevertheless help get others started.

The Church has become full of obese Christians…spiritually.

We need to get off the pew and into the Bible. We need to become students again. We then need to go out of the classroom, get out of your greenhouse and into the real world where real people live and exist. I believe the reason why there is such a disconnect between the real world and the majority of people in the church today is because if Christians really had to lift heavy weight…they’d collapse.

Bro…do you even lift?

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Pray for Detroit!

Please pray for the Jacksons, The City Church & Detroit  – Missions Video Summer 2013

The goal of the video is two fold: to remind all of us of what’s happening in Detroit, and to help others support our greater vision of reaching the hurting, addicts and helpless in Detroit. Our prayer is to glorify God with changed lives. We are doing this. Pray, help, give, and see God change this city.

The City Church embraces those that society has considered outcast. We have numerous addiction programs to help the addicted, a food pantry to help the hungry, help for those in need of housing and we want this all to increase so we can help more. We have partnered with likeminded ministries to start 20 missions in Detroit by 2020. Our goal is to be able house hundreds within the next few years.

We are not a church that thinks we are better than anybody, rather we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus and help those who need it most.

Pray for Detroit Missions Video

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Believe

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This past weekend, I gave this poem I wrote at the conclusion of the message. It is entitled “Believe.” Believing in Jesus is important, Believing in Jesus is key to the Christian life. I want to prove it to you now. While I am not an Emerson, my feeble attempts will I pray suffice. 

Believe.

Believing will get you thru the dark days, troubled times, hard choices, tough hours.

Believing will guide you thru storms, cloudy waters, disasters, the unexpected, detours and road blocks.

Believing will help you when you feel alone, feel weak, feel sad, feel down, feel hate and even sometimes feel nothing.

Believing will lift you when your pushed down, held down, torn down, pulled down, left down and out.

Believing will stable you when it gets rocky, when it gets loud, when it gets tiresome, when it gets tipsy.

Believing will do when others don’t, will when others can’t, go when others stop and be when others ain’t.

Believing will give you understanding when others only see depending.

Believing will give you deliverance when others only see chance.

Believing will satisfy you when life won’t, love won’t, people won’t, family won’t and yes even “they” won’t.

Believing in Jesus will cost you, but the return on investment is eternal life.

Believing in Jesus will stretch you, but won’t leave you hanging.

Believing in Jesus will grow you, but not force you.

Believing in will cause you to pray, to worship, to talk, to preach, to witness, to sing, to shout, to dance, to clap, to be silent, to be still, to shut up, to nod, to think, but most of all to listen.

Believing in Jesus will get you more than a fish sandwich and so much more…More than just food, more than just happiness, more than just filled…

Believing in Jesus gives you peacefully serenity, belonging community, divine credibility, Biblical sensitivity, and an answer to depravity.

Believing in Jesus is the only and final answer to the human condition, the souls depravation, eternal damnation and everyones dysfunction.

Believing in Jesus gets you to the right destination, away from destitution, because of His designation, there is now a glorious expectation.

Believing in Jesus causes spiritual fascination, deep soul exploration, holy dedication, Christian duplication and path illumination.

Believing in Jesus is possible of his incarnation, cross humiliation, hells penetration, sins eradication and the free gift of salvation.

Believing in Jesus is not Christian hibernation, lamentation, or to your own reservations.

Believing in Jesus is the souls restitution, living ammunition, Bible admonition and Holy Spirit absorption.

Believing in Jesus will cause you to Bible meditate, others accommodate, gospel communicate, self exterminate, become more considerate, and yes some will say you hallucinate, that your a degenerate because you don’t hypothecate like their proliferates, but thats unfortunate because….

Believing in Jesus is all apart of his orchestrate, to recalibrate, reorientate, restimulate, rescesitate, consolidate, and recreate those who will believe in the infinite.

Believing is so simple a child can do it, this is not explicit, nor is it a whodunit, but rather a transmit, a potrait, a hand-writ, a heavenly benefit so that – HELL – you and I could forfeit instead of inhabit.

Believing is not something you do, it’s sadly overdo.

Believing is a heavenly circumspect, to rid us of our sinful disconnect to gloriously reconnect us to the master Architect.

Believing is a project, it takes some retrospect and yes intellect, but you can reconnect because with Jesus we are the saved elect.

Believing is a paradigm shift, a paid for gift, a heavenly drift to give you a lift  you from the sinful rift.

Words from my mouth, thoughts from my head can yet be offscreen, some might think overkeen, but I pray in between and a spiritual canteen.

For believe means: all I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all that is unseen.

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Know your role.

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And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:10-14 ESV)

Monday is chest and tricep day in my current workout split. On this given Monday morning it was about 520am and I couldn’t believe the words that came out of this scrawny dudes mouth. I was stunned, in awe that someone could be that arrogant. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn something from anyone, and helpful correction is great but this was just amazing.

Here we were, 3 huge guys lifting heavy weight on the bench press (me, Brian & Ray). We had just moved from a smith machine to the bench, and were now adding super-sets of tricep pushdowns (back to back workouts without break). When a young guy who was literally 1/3 of my size and about the size of Ray’s leg walked over to us and began to correct us on how we were lifting.

He began to tell us, no joke, that if we wanted to have bigger muscles we needed to do the reps like he did. Now, my arm is bigger than his waist and his head was bigger than the gym we were in, but that didn’t stop him from jumping in front of us and loudly telling us and anyone that could here that we were doing the workout wrong.

We were all polite and just nodded after a few moments of looking back and forth at each other in disbelief and thats when it hit me…know your role. 

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have been the little guy trying to correct bigger guys, not in the gym but in life.

That guy had probably read a magazine, saw us working out and just thought to correct us without even thinking about the possibility that we have been lifting for years. Brian has been lifting for over a decade and Ray has been a gym rat for over  twenty years. The same thing has happened in my life. I get an idea, a moment of brilliance (so I think) and rush to correct those that I feel are not doing it right. Shame on me.

The Pharisees were the kinda people that knew everything about what everyone else should be doing and what they weren’t doing, yet were blind to their own arrogance. In our story, Jesus tells a crowd that it’s what comes out of a man that defiles him, not what goes in. This was a total contradiction to Pharisee teaching as they taught abstinence and prohibitions in everything to avoid being corrupted. They thought they were good and wicked stuff out there polluted them when Christ was teaching it was the exact opposite.

We can easily be blinded by our own muscles.

No I am not talking about biceps, but in the spiritual walk we can think we are better than we are and start acting like pharisees. Christ calls this blind leading the blind. Pharisees were those that thought they knew everything, when in reality they didn’t know jack. Now should we correct sin and uphold justice? Of course, but make sure your in the right before you speak.

You had better have muscles if you’re correcting other people with muscles.

A pet peeve in my own life is when I was younger I thought I was a somebody because of my dad, my last name and my accomplishments. It was only after being torn down time and time again that I realized how weak I was and how that I needed to let God build me up and not my mouth. For me this has meant keeping my mouth shut when people say, write or post things negatively or even if I just disagree with it. This means doing right and not worry about who gets credit or who gets recognized. This means let the other guy bench differently than me and not correct it, because he has bigger muscles than I do and until I can bench how much he is lifting, my mouth stays shut.

The Christian life is not a body building contest.

Have you ever been to a body building show? I workout with Frank, he is a professional body builder who has placed regionally and nationally. He works out two times a day, six days a week so that when he gets on stage he has bigger muscles, a more toned physique and looks better than his opponents. Sadly, most Christians (including myself) fall into this trap of trying to flex bigger than our Christian brothers in an effort to show how strong we are.

If you’re so strong, lift heavier weight.

This is the challenge, if you think you got it, then go lift some weight. Don’t talk about it, preach about it or blog about it, go lift! Go do something! I know guys that are musicians who can sing and play, but they can’t lift. They sure do know how to flex that one muscle, but they aren’t building the body “body-building” of Jesus’s church. I know lots of ministries that love to correct other ministries on form, procedures, & preferences but they are not lifting and the evidence is the ditch they are falling into.

Do you even lift?

The sad thing is that most don’t even lift. Most aren’t even trying and the evidence is a fat, over-weight Christian (spiritually), who is suffering from heart disease (sin), a lack of exercise (obedience), and no passion for the work of God but rather loves to stay home and sleep in instead of go workout (worldliness). Know your role before God, work on obeying and start lifting.

Today, I was back at the gym.

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Time to Rest

Hope you all have had a great summer, in our home it has been great. We moved, added another son, remodeled a house, adopted some teens, had a missions team up from ATL, hosted some city concerts, did a wedding, roofed my garage, and a bunch of other stuff. I got some great reads coming for you starting next month and I will start sharing with you some great stuff coming this fall at City Church.

Enjoy July, glad to have air conditioning.
-jon

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Lessons from my Father

Father’s day is this weekend and a week ago Friday (June 1st) my wife gave birth to our third son. I have so much more to learn in life and the older I get the more I understand that I really know very little. In this journey God has blessed me and there are some lessons that my father has taught me that I want to share. Being that this months has been a big one for me…here are some lessons I learned from my father, that I want to teach my boys.

Love Jesus. 

Sounds simple, but takes your whole being to achieve. You can’t just be in puppy dog love with God, you have to love Jesus as He loved us. Ya gotta give your whole life to God and let Him drive.

Work hard. 

As children we were taught to work hard. Dad made sure we boys worked, I am so grateful that words cannot express it. The only easy day was yesterday.

Pray, read the book, pray some more. 

My dad started with teaching us at an early age to read the book and pray. When we were really young it was prayer and Bible story before bed, as we got older it was incentives and now in my adult life it is ever rewarding.

Lead by example. 

My dad could talk like nobody I have ever met. From a kid I have been with my dad on visits, counseling calls & heard countless sermons, but it was the sermons away from the pulpit that have really stuck. The proof was in the pudding.

Love people.

God gave me grace, so I get to give grace to others. I have made many mistakes, and I am always blessed when others give me grace. Love others even when they don’t deserve it, I know I don’t deserve grace.

Be a man.

Whiners are bums, bums are losers, and losers quit. I’ve met lots of boys, many good ole boys, and have friended a few men. Men keep their word. Men don’t just do there best, they get the job done.

Love your wife. 

My dad has always loved my mom. My mom has been treated like the queen she is by my dad. My dad sticks up for my mom in public and in private. Kind words, loving actions, gracious and kind.

Serve the church.

My dad has dedicated his life to the pastorate. His passion for pastoring is worth emulating. Being a pastor is one of the most demanding jobs in the world. I could digress on this, but simply put we are doctors without days off. I love my dad for serving the church even when the church is ungrateful and undeserving.

As this father’s day comes and goes, love your dad. Love your spiritual dad, your physical dad and your father figures. Our dad’s ain’t perfect, but without em life would have been worse.  Love you dad. Thanks for the lessons. Still listening.

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