Happy New Year! Get “real”. Live your life “full” without making empty promises to yourself.

31 12 2010

Happy New Year from Baltimore!

If you work out at a club you probably dread this time of year. The parking lot is full again. You can’t get time on your favorite machines. It takes quite a bit longer to get your normal workout and even longer still to get out of said parking lot. If you’re of the cynical variety you’re secretly placing bets on which of the January Newcomers will last until February.

You’ve probably heard it said, “it works if you work it”. On New Years we tend to make resolutions. The truth is that most of these end up just Empty Promises.

It’s annoying, right? Someone makes a promise they never fulfill. You don’t know like it when someone does it to you. Why do the same thing to yourself? You don’t want friends to be fake with you. Don’t be fake with yourself.

Let’s get real.          Reflecting on the past year and being honest about the future can be very helpful!

Real life can be great! Get real. Be authentic…top to bottom…through and through. Live your life on purpose.

Truth be told…many of us don’t…many of us don’t live our lives “for real”. Many of us don’t take time to get real with ourselves. Sure we’ll moan about being in dumpsville, but spending productive time reflecting and planning? Forget that.

“Productive time reflecting and planning”? You should try it. You might like it.

Sure a movie is worth 2 hours of your time over the holidays, but is your life worth the same amount of time?

This New Year’s try spending a bit of time in reflection. Turn everything off, put the phone & laptop away, get out pen and paper.

For best results, you should also spend a bit of time in prayer and the Bible (before/during/after this process).

1. Make a few lists – keep it simple:

A. What do I like about last year?

Think about different areas of your life. List the simple stuff. For me, having a faithful wife of 14 years is a big deal!

B. Why am I happy about where I’m at now?

Every minute you spend to make this list quality is well worth it!

C. What does the Bible say about me?

Write out a few simple observations. Please let me know if you need help with this one.

D. What does God want me to do this year?

Make time to ask God what He thinks and He will answer!

2. Ask someone that you trust and respect to glance at your list.

As soon as possible, get a few minutes over coffee with a “coach” to review the lists with you.

3. Use the teamwork to generate a short list of “Next Steps”.

Hopefully this simple exercise leads you to a simple way to improve this year.

When I have been honest with myself, asked God for guidance, listened to a coach, and used “Next Steps” it has always made January easier. When you “get real” it’s much easier to live your life on purpose. Very quickly your life will be full. You will find yourself doing the things you want to do, and not wasting time just “spinning your wheels”.

Get real, live your life on purpose, and you will soon be living life to the “full”!

Happy New Year!

Ear Candy Saturdays – here’s an interesting mix

18 12 2010

Radical Face – Welcome Home

Red Shepherd – Blue Skies

Green River Ordinance – On Your Own

Laura Veirs – July Flame

Jeremy Larson – Today

Merry Christmas from Baltimore!

15 12 2010

On a recent return trip from Virginia our children let out a spontaneous cheer, “Yeah! Baltimore! We’re Home!” as the downtown skyline came into view. We love our city and we love our neighborhood!

We would love to share personal stories with you, just ask!

Thank you so very much for praying for us and the church plant in Baltimore! In a few short months we have settled in and we are thrilled to see the foundation of this church plant taking shape. We are so happy with the quality of our core group and their sacrifice!

Quality connections are being built with neighbors, co-workers, schools, and other churches. Our team is seeing opportunity at every turn!

In 2011, our weekly core group meeting will become a weekend service. Our small groups will be starting. Our community service will grow. We aim to reach our first 100 not-yet-believers to connect them with Jesus Christ.

Here are a few things we are praying for now:

1.       We are constantly praying for our city! May God push back the darkness seen in murder, drugs, violence, and the tragedy lived out by so many children! May they all be drawn to repentance and His mercy!

2.       Divine Appointments. Pray that our relationships with not-yet-believers would bring fruit in their lives. So many families to be reached and over 100,000 college students in the city.

3.       Community Service. Pray our initial service in the public school will grow into much more. Pray that we will find many more ways to serve the city.

4.       “Laborers.” Jesus told us, in Mt 9, to pray for more team members to help the work. Please pray that this will happen for us in 2011. Small group leaders, worship leaders, all sort of volunteers.

We believe that this year will be HUGE! Millions need a life giving relationship with Jesus! We are building the foundation of a church designed to help them find it!

Every week we share in worship, prayer, full kids program, and discussion. Once a month we share communion. We are building a great savings account for the expenses of full blown weekend services in 2011.

If you would like to receive monthly updates: please email me at bmalmin@gmail.com to be added to our monthly prayer update email list.

If you would like to donate: please visit www.citybiblechurch.org Click on Donations, Online Giving, when you click on “Categories” you will see “Other” select it and then “Baltimore Church Plant” will be an available option. Thanks in advance!

If you would like more info on this, please go to the “Discussions” post on this subject at the CBCBaltimore facebook group page.

Please do take time to pray with us! God is our source. Your prayer is greatly appreciated!

Thank you for agreeing with us in prayer! Merry Christmas!

Pastor Ben, Rebecca, Charlotte, & Gideon Malmin with the whole CBCBaltimore Team!

Ear Candy Saturdays – on the mellow side

11 12 2010

Ear Candy Saturdays

Uncovering something good for the first time…well, that’s just one of the best things in life.

When it comes to music, it seems like everyone under the age of 40 (that includes me) thinks a band is ruined if they get discovered. Listen, it’s not like a cafe where “getting discovered” means you can’t get a table. The beauty of music is that you can always listen. If other people discover your band it just means that the artist is more likely to produce another album.

I love discovering a new sound. There’s something to learn from anyone. Hearing a new voice can be such a great experience!

…my favorite movie quote on pop music…

I just wanted to put out there some of the songs I’ve been listening to lately.

Maybe you’ll find something that you like – for the first time.

When I started this list it was huge and so I checked out a few of the videos. That lead me to just putting a few songs here to get started. Most likely I’ll start to list different stuff every week, but I’m really interested in what you might have to say…or what you might have to suggest.

The list is by artist and then song name (in no particular order):

Athlete – Tourist

If you get the Half Light album it comes with the Roots Manuva remix of this song…completely different and should be the sound in the dictionary next to ear candy.

The Avett Brothers – Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

Enjoyed this song, but maybe enjoyed the video even more. What are they saying?

Fair – Disappearing World

Lisa Gungor – Jesus and John

Monsters of Folk – Dear God

SIA – Breathe Me

5 for Friday:

10 12 2010

Here’s 5 items on the radar this Friday:

Friday is a good time celebrate a great week and get ready for the weekend. Take a quick minute to click on each link!

5.Guitar Legend Friday!

4.Flying Rhino’s FRABOOM amazing interactive experience bringing kids and parents together.

3.Reading the Bible I think about what we’re doing and I think it’s perfectly normal.

2.Here To Lead Michael Lukaszewski discussion about church planting in the city.

1. Reality Show Puts Spotlight on the Rescue of Vegas Prostitutes

Are you hurt, angry, lonely, or tired? Help is on the Way – Jesus a Messiah Predicted

8 12 2010

It’s probably safe to say that we have all been hurt, angry, lonely, or tired. Most likely you are one of these, right now, maybe more.

Unfortunately, life will get you down at some point. You can get up, but after a while it’s hard to get up.

Help is on the way.

God is real. God is alive. God loves you. God knows where you are at and what you are going through.

God has sent help your way!

We have all been caught with our hand in the cookie jar. The truth is that our mistakes separate us from God.

Yet our Father God has a plan for your redemption.

Jesus is the Way to real love and peace in a relationship with God.

Jesus is a Messiah that was predicted!

Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible we read the words of Father God wanting to get back to the life, the purpose, and the relationship the He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Before they disobeyed, before they broke away from the relationship with God it was easy to walk with Father God and talk with Him. They had no fear. They had no guilt. They had everything they needed. They had peace. They chose to break that relationship.

God planned to send help. He planned to send His Son as a Messiah.

What is a Messiah?

Messiah: “anointed one” ancient custom of consecrating priests, prophets, and kings by anointing them with oil. Jesus held each of these offices. – Unger

Messianic Prophecies – God had been planning for centuries to send us His Help!

Isaiah 53 and other prophecies about Jesus can help us see that Jesus didn’t just show up unannounced.

1 Who has believed our message?

To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?

2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.

3 He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrowst that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!

5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.

6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.

8 Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.t
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.t
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.

9 He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

What were your observations?

How does this make you feel?

How does this effect your view of Jesus?

Here’s a little more to consider about the many ways Jesus the Messiah, “Help on the Way”, was predicted…so that you would know Him as God’s Help for you.

“The Old Testament, written of a one-thousand-year period, contains nearly three hundred references to the coming Messiah. All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and they establish a solid confirmation of His credentials as the Messiah.”

“Twenty-nine prophecies from the Old Testament, which speak of the betrayal, trial, defeat, and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, were spoken at various times by many different voices during the five centuries from 1000-5000 B.C. Yet all of them were literally fulfilled in Jesus in one twenty-four-hour period of time.”

The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Josh McDowell

Here’s a few examples of this:

Born of the seed of woman Genesis 3:15 “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 “The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Son of God Psalm 2:7 “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father.

Son of Abraham – Genesis 22:18             Son of Isaac – Genesis 21:12                   Son of Jacob – Numbers 24:17

Tribe of Judah – Genesis 49:10                           Family Line of Jesse – Isaiah 11:1           House of David – Jeremiah 23:5

Born at Bethlehem – Micah 5:2                            Presented with Gifts – Psalm 72:10 Isaiah 60:6

Jesus seen as…  Prophet – Deuteronomy 18:18                Priest – Psalm 110:4                   King – Psalm 2:6

“A consideration of Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah reveals that there were two streams of thought. One stream spoke of the deity of Christ, while the other spoke of the humanity of Christ. The Jewish interpreters of the Old Testament could not reconcile these streams. They could not understand how the Messiah could be divine, and yet also human. “ KJ Conner

Deity of Christ

Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jeremiah 23:5  “For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land.

Psalm 2:7     really should read the whole chapter

“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’”

Humanity of Christ

Deut 18:15  “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,

Isaiah 11:1-2 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,  The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

Numbers 24:17  “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,”

These verses serve as good reminders that Jesus the Messiah was predicted for thousands of years.

Even better to learn from watching the heart of God revealed through His work over the centuries!

What was His redemptive plan?

What does that tell you about His love for you?

Do you believe it?


Thank You to all US military including my Grandpa!

7 12 2010

On this anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor I wanted to say a quick thank you to all who have served our country.

Thank you to all US military. Thank you to all surviving veterans of World War II.

This includes my Grandfather John Casson who served as a Merchant Marine in WWII.

Thank You!

What happened to Big Ben? An Oregon Duck Haloti Ngata, now a Raven, put on the hit!

5 12 2010

Ben Roethlisberger got hit by an Oregon Duck Haloti Ngata for a loss, and let me tell you that was the plan tonight in this hard hitting AFC North rivalry.

Oh yeah that nose is broken! Have you ever seen a nose do that and not be broken?

Check out what we saw in a Christmas parade today:

Ear Candy Saturdays: Let’s Go Surfing and Enjoy the Silence

4 12 2010

Ear Candy Saturday

Don’t you love finding something new? Here’s a few bands that are doing things a bit different.

Tell me what you think about it

The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing

It’s always great to have heard a song before you hear it in a commercial.

Animal Collective – My Girls

Baltimore boys grew up not far from our new home.

Nada Surf – Enjoy the Silence

…if you don’t know much about this team you need to learn more about their work.

Sunbears! – Little Baby Pines

weird, right? …but you want to listen to it again!

Josh Garrels – Freedom

I remember the first time I heard a great artist on the streets of NYC, subway station even. So cool…and years later saw her on Oprah…my wife pulled it up on the DVR, only way I see Oprah…at any rate, this artist gives me that same feeling. Has to be hours and hours of working on his own to arrive at this sound.

Matisyahu – Old City Beatbox mix

….here’s an artist worth talking about…I prefer this video as an AUDIO ONLY…

So much to say here…how about simply…this artist knows the value of time spent alone, quiet, and working hard at his craft.

Making life complicated seems to come so naturally. Simple life seems to be what we crave. Jesus knew what we would need today.

2 12 2010

Making life complicated seems to come so naturally. Simple life seems to be what we crave. Jesus knew what we would need today.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NLT

It’s so simple and yet so difficult. It seems so easy to get caught up in activities that really don’t have anything to do with either of these values.

Now why is it that we needed to move across the country, away from family/friends/church and the life we had built to get a deeper realization of how much time we spend on things that just don’t matter?

How much time do we give to the things that matter most?

How much time do we give to loving our God?

How much time do we give to loving our neighbors?

Think about it like this picture. If the larger container (with cool stir stick) is your week and the beakers are your different activities – what color will your week be? How will it taste?

What is getting the most attention?

Obviously, Jesus was talking from a perspective where people knew that God had created life with a value on family and hard work to supply the needs of family. (needs)

How much of you…how much of your heart, soul, and mind goes into loving your God?

How much of your heart, soul, and mind goes into loving your neighbors?

One of the most challenging aspects of this statement from Jesus, for me, is the simple words here that mean exactly the same thing today as they did 2,000 years ago:


your God

with ALL your…

Love your neighbor

Simple – Yes

Easy – No

Hey, let me know when you have this one figured out – I’ll start living just like you!