Josh Brage

I just think this is funny.
August 30, 2005, 5:38 pm
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That is about all I have to day about this. This is funny and it is good to laugh. Have a good day.


TEA for Two
August 30, 2005, 5:16 pm
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Fascinating idea. I think someday I will write a book about this. For now a post.

Do you want to know how to improve your relationships with God, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your brother, your best friend, your friend, your classmates? Do you want to have successful relationships with people so that you can help them, get help from them and otherwise live a real, authentic life in this world?

Of course you do! I have found something that I find to be extremely useful in all of these endeavors! All you need to do is to remember this: TEA for Two!

How do we build relationships, express our love for people, disciple anybody and ultimately love people into the Kingdom?
We give them our TIME, ENERGY and ATTENTION.
If you can remember these three things you can start to build and/or improve all of the relationships around you. No, I apologize it has nothing to do with remembering anything, it has everything to do with DOING something about what you remember!
This is all I will post for now, I started to go through the three, but then I realized that each of these three will require a little more discussion than I am prepared to give right now. I will develop all three of these in the near future, meaning by the end of the week.

Joe and Me
August 28, 2005, 6:03 pm
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This is my best friend, Joe Turner. What is so interesting about this picture is that I am preaching and he is listening that is a big switch.

New Orleans . . .Wow
August 28, 2005, 5:41 pm
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The Mayor of New Orleans has ordered a mandatory evacuation of his city. This is big. To me this is huge. 487,000 people in city, 1.3 million in the metropolitan area. Wow. Talk about logistics. Baton Rouge is about to have its best economic year since the movie Moulin Rouge came out and ignorant people thought it was in Lousiana.
One thing that I am thinking about is that when something like this happens it effects the entire United States. Think about the ripple effect. Insurance, weather reporting, stocks, tourism and tons of other factors have already been completely effected. Wow. What a country.

Ministry; First of Many
August 26, 2005, 3:59 am
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Ministry is a funny thing. I think that it is hard to define at times. This is funny, because we all think that we know what it is. Here are a couple of things that I have found ministry to blatantly NOT be: a way to a relationship with God. Ministry will reveal what is there; if there isn’t much, then that will be often tragically obvious. Ministry is NOT an ego-gratifying ordeal. It might be if you are so overwhelmed by your ego that anything, including losing at Scrabble, feeds that debilitating force. Ministry can and will run you down, at times. At times you will feel that you have nothing to give anyone.
Ministry too often comes out of men from a place of need or obligation. “Someone needs to do something.” Or, “No one else is going to do it, I have to.” These are both, in my opinion, both tragic and potentially dangerous motivations. Ministry should come out of an abundance that you have in your life. Ministry should come out of your life, your quiet time with God, your Bible reading, your world with God. Ministry is a conduit for God to use for His life, Spirit and anointing to flow through into other people’s lives. Ministry is NOT something that should be, or needs to be manufactured.
So what do we do to not fall into the all-too-often told story of an overwhelmed, overworked, overstressed young minister who’s family and personal life is falling apart? First, we have to be focused on self. I know, this is apparent heresy and completely goes against the Bible. No, it doesn’t. When you are focused on your life and your walk with God, then everything else ‘ministry-wise’ is naturally there. It isn’t forced or hard. Sure, it might get challenging, but not in an ‘I am completely drained’ kind of way.
Second, focus on your family. Our lives come out of who we are at home. That is integrity. Paul talks about this while talking to Timothy about who should help lead the church. Focus on loving your wife and earning her respect. You will be such a more productive man and minister with a wife who loves and admires you standing by your side or behind you however you want to look at it. Love your kids. God’s greatest calling was that of a father. Be a great dad to your kids!
Lastly how do we focus on all of this without it becoming about us? We must realize that we don’t find ourselves apart from God. This is a basic Christian truth that I believe is vastly overlooked. It is ONLY when we have surrendered our identities to God and released all of our ambitions, desires, hopes and dreams to His sovereignty then He can take all of those things and start us on the journey towards our divine calling and purpose. Through self-denial we discover ourselves, fully! Once you are in this place, you will have already been doing ministry for while, maybe without even realizing it. Your life will be a ministry. People will experience the life of God, just by being around you, because there is so little of you and so much of God.
So there it is, minister by not ministering. Help people by focusing on your life. Find God by pursuing yourself. And allow yourself to die, only then will you really discover who you are.

Authenticity . . . again
August 24, 2005, 5:24 am
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This is such a wierd thing. I think it is really hard sometimes to be real. The reason I say it is wierd is because, I think it is the most difficult to be real with myself. And then, or course with God. Honestly, knowing where you are at seems to be extremely difficult for me. Sometimes my mind is set that I am this scum that will never do anything, let alone help anybody. And then sometimes I overshoot it and completely overestimate my abilities.
The question of ‘who am I?’ seems to come up again and again. But recently as I have been thinking/praying about it I am realizing something, this is really a subordinate question. There is a bigger question. The question seems to be ‘Who is Jesus?’
Now as soon as I say that, alarm bells go off in my head, “Churchiness! Spiritual NONSENSE! WOHOO! WOHOO!” I say that sincerely. Here is my thinking:
The big question cannot be about me and my identity. Why? Becuase I have to be defined by something other than me. I don’t think I can make too much sense out of this, but . . . it seems to me that the only way for me to find me is by me finding Jesus, who is the author and creator of my life. My life was created and is being lived out in HIM. In this inseperable spirit, mine with His, He seems to be the one to base things off of. He is the eternal One. He is the unchanging One. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
My quest is to find my identity, reality and authenticity. When I am real with myself, I can be honest with God. This is my aim. Raw, difficult, brutal honesty with God.
I want so badly to be in a place with God, where all of my stuff is on the table. ALL of it. I don’t want to hide from God. I want to stand before Him and be able to say that I serve Him with a clear conscience. Not because I am pulling it all off, but because it is all out there. There is nothing in my life that can be ‘found out’ and thrown in my face. God knows it all. I know that God knows it all.
God take me to that place. It is scary and I don’t know how to get there. But I know I want it. It is intimacy with You that I crave. I know that this is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but I want to be close to You. Take me there. Take me deeper than I planned to go, keep me longer than I planned to stay and let it cost me everything I have. God I choose to deny myself on a daily basis, in an effort to find You and to find my REAL life. God I choose to pray when it is hard, confusing, frustrating and seemingly futile. God I choose to evaluate my life honestly, not in an academic way, but in a real, honest, this is my sinful heart way. God help me find You. AMEN!

Discipleship . . . What’s That?
August 21, 2005, 6:07 am
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What a phrase that could be thrown around at 100 different things, but what is it? Well, I am not going to launch into any deep philisophical discourse, nor am I going to unload a wealth of Biblical study information, I am just going to say a couple of things that give an idea of this kind of thinking.
First, discipleship is relationship! Period, that should be the end of our discussion, but it isn’t. Discipleship is merely taking relationships to the next level.
Second, discipleship is hard. It is hard to have relationship at the center of what you do. Why? Becuase people are difficult. People do not have formulas or real working patterns. People are people. This means that they are hard to understand, hard to help and hard to relate to . . . sometimes! But with God’s help and some determination to die to ourselves and live for Him loving His people we can do it.
Third, discipleship is Christianity. These two phrases are interchangeable. We don’t think of them as such normally and I believe that this is why we have so many problems in our Christian world. To be a Christian, is to be like Christ. Christ spent the vast majority of His ministry time on this earth pouring His life into 12 men. 12. The multitudes came, but they were not His aim or focus. The Sermon on the Mount was given on the mountain to His disciples, the masses followed Jesus and He willingly preached, but His intent was to teach His disciples. Jesus was never after a crowd of people, but they were always after Him.
Finally, discipleship is life. A phrase that we throw around here at my church is “Doing life together.” This is Christianity and Discipleship at its best. It is not some highly regulated program, it is not some overly difficult heavy burden to carry, it is not some unattainable mysterious thing that only a few people can ever experience, no, it is people loving Jesus, living life and loving each other. That is the call of Christianity. This is my call as a person. My life is to be devoted to making disciples of Jesus, however and whatever that entails!