Saturday, July 29, 2006
I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish.
My heart breaks for the barbarians. There is no doubt about it, they are a hard pack of wolves that have fed on the carcasses of this world. They are brutal, raw, in your face, dirty, coarse and care not for sanitation. They don't care about rules, rites or rituals other than the ones they have learned in the dark or through pain. They don't fit tidy programs, sanitized environments or white gloved hand shakes. They will shock you or ignore you. They don't care about what you think they should care about. They can disgust you, use you, screw you or just blow past you. They are this cultures underbelly but they are not soft but have grown calloused by being dragged along the highway of life.
Obligate: to bind or compel.
I am obligated to the Barbarians.
“God saved the Jews in a Jewish way, the barbarians in a barbarian way."
-Clement of Alexandria
We need to face the reality of this truth. The barbarians among us or that live on the margins or the ostracized or ignored places within our communities are in need of those with a call to be bound to them. They are in desperate need of those who will find out how to see them saved in a "Barbarian way". The barbarian way isn't about motivation, inspiration or feeling more manly' it's far more brutal and dangerous than that. It's not something like a christianized weekend warrior thing...it's cultural baptism by blood.
It requires something from us...like Paul circumcising Timothy to reach a group within a culture...what are we willing to bleed for? Timothy heard the barbarian call and followed it in a path of his own blood.
In order to reach the Barbarian you are going to have to face the reality that you are going to have to embrace the freedom of Christ in order to get where you need to get in order to be close enough to them. You are going to have to look like them in many ways to reach them and that might require more of you than you think. Can you lose to gain? Can you throw out your prissy propriety and be counted among them? Are you willing to eat their food, drink their drink, wear their clothes, speak their language, walk their paths, know their homes, share their fears and endure their weaknesses?
Can you lose your reputation for love? The only way to traverse the steep paths towards the walled off hearts of the barbarians is to truly wear the shoes of the gospel of peace. You must be walking in the peace of the gospel. Your conscience must be at peace. You must have what the bible calls a strong conscience not a weak one. Study to find out the difference, it may surprise you.
"To bind the conscience where Scripture leaves freedom is a very, very serious crime."
It will in fact, steal from you the ability to incarnate into the people you must be to reach the ones who require you to change to reach them. You must change to see change in them.
But for some of you that change is a clarion call to abandon the safety of the familiar, the suffocation of the sanctuary and to be released back into the wilds again. You yearn for freedom, the ability to throw off the civilized trappings of the "greeks" and once again sing the songs of men instead of humming the soft melodies of the ladies.
You hear the poetry of the barbarian, etched in the stones of zion, carved there by a tattooed God, whose eyes kindle with eternal fires and his breath smolders with words that can shatter mountains, split open the dark seas of mens hearts and enflesh the dead with the breath of His nostrils.
Poetry is ultimately mythology, the telling of stories of the soul," he wrote. "The old myths, the old gods, the old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our minds, waiting for our call. We have need of them, for in their sum they epitomize the wisdom and experience of the race. -Stanley Kunitz,
I dare you to listen to the whisper in the wind and follow it...you will never be the same again and isnt that what you know you desperatly need?
My course is set for an uncharted sea. -Dante
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Finally Metallica graces us with the ability to download their fiery music on itunes. It's a good day to own an ipod. Currently listening to "Blitzkrieg" a good sonic kick in the head after a day that kicked me in the groin.
Call me carnal though I prefer Colonel...but nothing soothes the pulsing veins of emotion like a stroke from the electric guitar; it's like a good audio massage to the strained nerves.
Heavy metal is like alcohol...listen responsibly kiddies...not everything out there is good for the soul but some of it can resole the leather back into your boots. I couldn't have lost 35 pounds without the headbangers pushing me on in the gym thats for sure!
Sometime life demands you scream back at it...for that God made Heavy Metal.
Youth pastoring is a tough job. So many times you wonder if all your blood, sweat and tears is in vain. It often feels like trying to build a sand castle on the edge of an incoming tide. I know I felt that often. trying to resurrect in one night what was being killed every day of the week...but the memories are worth more than gold.
The love and friendship, the prayer nights, the long rides with hours of conversation, the laughter, the tons of junk food and the moments when God danced with us were life changing.
These two have been woven into my spiritual life history..I pray they are a part of the future too...Daughters of thunder they are for sure...I pray the Lion roars through them LOUD in the days ahead, as He has in days past.
I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor. -Charles Spurgeon
This article is so good in my opinion. I find it glimmering with truth, like a field sown full of precious gems. I dare you to read it fully, I promise you will find a overwhelming desire to hang it's sparkling truths around your neck in honor of God's praise and grace.
Read it here: http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The Creator never mocked us with yearning for that which we have no ability or possibility of attaining; that our heart longings and aspirations are prophecies, forerunners, indications of the existence of the obtainable reality... Orison Swett Marden "The Miracle Of Right Thought" 1910
I found this book in a used bookstore in Lincoln City, Oregon, a small coastal town that we vacationed in this last week. I treasure my other hard bound copies of Orison Swett Marden's books and this was a great find, well worth the $40 I paid for it. You can get reprints of most of his work online but you have to hunt to find these old, hard bound copies. Finding them is like finding treasure to me...especially since my dad was there too and he didn't find it first! Used bookstores like this one are priceless to me. It frustrates me that all the big franchises and the internet are pushing these kind of stores into the margins. I would rather buy a book face to face in a store that obviously loves books than in one of these slick stores or non-fragrant websites. The store I bought this book in had all kinds of great artifacts hanging on the walls and ceilings...spears, arrow heads, shark teeth, old paintings etc...sooooo deliciously atmospheric.
We had a great trip to Oregon but I didn't get to go to my favorite bookstores while we were there. Micah got sick and the heat and humidity was so severe, we decided to come back a day early, which meant I had to miss my book hunt day in Portland. Oh the agony! It was a real bummer...I miss having access to good bookstores and especially ones that carry a great selection of used books. Spokane is really hurting when it comes to good used book stores. In fact...I can't think of one. There is a good one in Coure, D' Alene but the religion section stinks, as do most around here.
I plan to create a space in our church that will become a small book store that will focus on mainly old writers...Dead Guys often speak the loudest to me it seems. Hopefully we can see it grow and become a local source for people to encounter the truth that is hidden away in these fragile and dusty yet, life giving old books.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
The two hot theologies today are Reformed and emerging. Reformed theology offers certainty, with a masculine God who names our sin, crushes Jesus on the Cross for it, and sends us to hell if we fail to repent. Emerging theology offers obscurity, with a neutered God who would not say an unkind word to us, did not crush Jesus for our sins, and would not send anyone to hell. I came to Reformed theology by preaching through books of the Bible such as Exodus, Romans, John, and Revelation, along with continually repenting of my sin. I am, however, a boxers, not briefs, Reformed guy. I am pretty laid back about it and not uptight and tidy like many Reformed guys. -mark driscoll more here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/127/52.0.html
Have you ever wondered where all the different Christian
denominations sprung from?
Here is a chart that shows the denominational family tree form the
reformation on...I found it interesting.
BY ERIC LANDRY [POSTED ONLINE: JULY 8, 2005]
Forbes magazine, typically dedicated to chronicling the lives of the uber-wealthy, has turned its attention on a new billion dollar business: the Christian motivational talk circuit. In a short article appearing in the July 4, 2005 issue, author David Whelan, writes that “Christian speechmakers generate perhaps $100 million a year in fees…growing 25% a year.” Although the article highlights Ken Davis, a graduate of a Bible institute who turned magic and motivation into an $800,000 annual gig, Whelan also lists more popular keynote speakers who command even more money: NFL quarterback Kurt Warner at $40,000 per appearance, actor Steven Baldwin at $10,000 per appearance, baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser at $20,000 per appearance, and actor Kirk Cameron at $5,000 per appearance. To get an idea of what sorts of messages you might hear at the events where these speakers are headliners you only need to see the title of Davis’ typical Sunday morning homily offerings: “Why the Bible compares us to sheep and how to become a super-sheep” or “Living and laughing together.” Sounds swell. Billion Dollar Fluff...
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The symbol of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation - a “burning bush” with the Latin phrase “Post Tenebras Lux” translated into the English means….. “After Darkness, Light.” The “burning bush” symbol and the Latin phrase were used by the Reformers to represent the light of the Gospel of Grace overcoming the darkness of works righteousness and self-confident synergism which was the basis of salvation in Roman Catholic Church in the centuries leading up to the Reformation.
I am finding great solace in these biblical truths of late:
Sola Fide ~ Faith Alone
Sola Gratia ~ Grace Alone
Solus Christus ~ Christ Alone
Sola Scriptura ~ Scripture Alone
Soli Deo Gloria ~ Glory to God Alone
I give God praise for who He is and for the great blessing of preaching His glorious gospel by His eternal Spirit for the honor and glory of Christ.
It truly seems like a dawn after a great darkness...
“The Church exists for no other purpose but to draw men into Christ. . . If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other reason.” - C.S. Lewis
To be drawn into Christ is the purpose of the Church. To proclaim a gospel of CHRIST not man. To lift up the suffering symbol like Moses did with the serpent on the stick, so that all that look upon Him might be healed. Look to Christ sinner...look to Christ saint. Be drawn into Him and you will find life. He freely offers you the fruit of the tree of life to bring about the healing of your soul and the nations. Pick His fruit, eat freely, let His life giving Spirit produce in you the overcoming grace needed to emerge from your death and walk in newness of life.
The Spirit and the Bride say come...in your deadness, your sinfulness, your hopelessness...come. In fact, don't come until you see that you are totally wrecked, fully without hope, miserably depraved, woefully bound, overpowered and without hope in this world. If you are bruised to the point where one step seems excruciating to bear...come. If the candle of love, of light and of hope seems to be smoldering it's last breath...come. He will not break or snuff you out...
"A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment into truth". It speaks of Jesus' ministry being one of gentleness and mercy to sinners. "...by misery he is brought to see sin as the cause it, so that together these, a bruised reed and a smoking flax, make up together the state of a poor, distressed man. This is such an one as our Saviour Christ terms 'poor in spirit' (Matthew 5:3), who sees his wants, and also sees himself indebted to divine justice, [with] no means of supply from himself" (pg. 3-4). But this bruising is itself a gift of grace, as it is "required before conversion that so the Spirit may make way for himself into the heart by leveling all proud, high thoughts, and that we may understand ourselves to be what we indeed are by nature" -Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) "A Bruised Reed."
A BRUISED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK...that's the kind of person who is just hanging on for dear life by the narrowest of threads. Jesus grabs hold and makes the ones weak in faith stronger. A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT SNUFF OUT...the smoldering wick is the candle that has just gone out. It won't take much to re-light the flame and it won't take much to snuff it out entirely.
Matt. 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Saturday, July 15, 2006
"Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old time
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are...
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
I thought I would share a few things that I have seen take place in my experience of planting a church. I hope that it will encourage those who are caught in neutral in their own burden to see God grow His community in whatever place He has laid on your heart.
First of all...I wish I would have done it sooner. Life is far more exciting on the seas than on the shore or in the harbor. Yes the ocean of life is unpredictable but God has a wind for sailors of the spirit.
There is always a fear of pirates on the open seas.
I never seem to learn this lesson...fear always stands in the way of faith.
What looming villains of destiny haunt your thought of a spiritual voyage from safety to adventure?
There are always tales of disaster, or failure, of obstacles to large, tragedies, and BLACKBEARDS that sink ships.
Adventure breeds the cowards tale...remember that, it can become a sirens song that will steal your courage and castrate you.
There is ALWAYS reasons to not do something that is dangerous, risky, unpopular or simply crazy...but those seem to be the things that produce the most reward for me. I find God on the the edge of sacrifice and potential failure and at almost every point of decision to do such endeavors there is always many voices and situations that seem to scream out in opposition to such steps. No matter how deep the burden or how long the call has been echoing in the prayers and visitations of the Lord...there will always be reasons not to do it, whatever it is. Accept it, embrace it and learn to move in spite of it or you will stall in the freeway of destiny.
Our walk is by FAITH...get that in your head and take that as your compass and you will be able to sail seas in the night.
God travels a lot at night, so learn to guide yourself in the dark by the LIGHTS. For me those light are sometimes dim but they are always there. What "lights" have been with you for a long time. What words from the Lord, what visions and dreams stick in your heart like a deeply barbed hook? What scripture passages never let you go? What places make you weep and draw you to prayer? What kind of people touch your heart? What part of the city seems "different" to you? Where do you drive when you want to pray? All these are small lights that end up being quite navigable in the dark. They are not the primary LIGHTS but they are lights that help. In the end you are going to have to grab the wheel and direct this ship of destiny in some direction and the longer you wait the longer you will have other people steer you towards their destiny. Everyone wants a crewman not a captain.
An oar is a safe place but no matter what amount of energy you expend, you will still go in the direction the captain is guiding the ship...no matter how much you bitch about the course...until you leave the galley you won't get somewhere different. And realize this...there are many people rowing oars that love to complain but won't get on deck and dare to grab the wheel. They have many complaints but no compass or charts...they know what they don't like but not where they want to go. They will keep rowing, it is safer and there is a lot of company in the galley.
I'm not talking mutiny...get off the ship after you have learned enough. When have you learned enough, you say? When you are sure you don't have it figured out anymore. When you no longer no where to go but just that you have to go. If you want to take the wheel of the ship you are on then you are probably not ready. When you are wiling to jump off and swim for dear life and find your own ship...than you might be ready. These seas need daring captains these days and the safe ones are still scrubbing someones elses deck somewhere, sheding tears of regret as life slips by and lands destined for them stay unreached.
Nobody likes change but a baby in a dirty diaper and even they cry about it. Some people that you thought wanted change...don't and many you thought didn't...do. There will be people you thought were on the same page and are not and there will be people you never expected had it in them...they do. Be ready to be surprised and aware that you too will have to accept the changes and some of them will hurt.
Face it...it will cost you but the cost is worth it. You need vision and dreams but you also need to draw with an eraser because the work you are going to see emerge is alive and it will have a life of it's own. Like parents that have children...they will look and share much that is similar about you, they will be an outgrowth of your life but they have their own personality too. Train up a child in THE WAY HE SHOULD GO is critical. God is leading you in vision and dreams but you do not see all the picture only some of it, so be open, walk clearly but light footed in order to adjust quickly.
Don't write in permanent ink but with a pencil and make sure it has an eraser because you will need it.
You need a crew to sail a ship to live a dream. Sow years into a city, it will produce sons and daughter that will become the crew of your dream. Birth your own church body through love, care and time. Raise up sons and daughters and they will share your heart, understand your mind and trust God in you because they have seen God in you.
Go for it captain...there is One who is in you that knows the way...trust Him. He made you the way you are, dare to lean on that internal spirit that He has put in you. You are not what they say you are...you are who He made you to be. Trust who He is in you and you will make it. He's got a bottle of fine wine ready to smash against the bow of your ship if you are ready to set sail. We will all praise God from the dock and a few will join you too. Hoist your sails captain...the seas await you.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Yes, son...I agree.
By despising all that has preceded us, we teach others to despise ourselves. -William Hazlitt, 'On Reading Old Books', 1821
A pint to musty old books!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I do not think anyone ever knows the preciousness of the blood of Christ, till he has had a full sight and sense of his sin, his uncleanness, and his ill-desert. Is there, any such thing as truly coming to the cross of Christ until you first of all have seen what your sin really deserves A little light into that dark cellar, sir; a little light into that hole within the soul, a little light cast into that infernal den of your humanity, and you will soon discern what sin is, and, seeing it, you would discover that there was no hope of being washed from it except by a sacrifice far greater than you could ever render. Then the atonement of Christ would become fair and lustrous in your eyes, and you would rejoice with joy unspeakable in that boundless love which led the Savior to give himself a ransom for us, "the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." May the Lord teach us, thundering at us, if need be, what sin means. May he teach it to us so that the lesson shall be burned into our souls, and we shall never forget it! I could fain wish that you were all burden-carriers till you grew weary. I could fain wish that you all labored after eternal life until your strength failed, and that you might then rejoice in him who has finished the work, and who promises to be to you All-in-all when you believe in him, and trust in him with your whole heart. -C. H. SPURGEON, 1834-1892
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
I might just say in response to much silly talk about the dangers of exhausting the mysteries of God, that my conception of God makes such a thought ludicrous. If we may compare God's wisdom to a ragged mountain and our growing understanding of it to a slow assent, I do not have the slightest fear that during some midnight meditation I may (by the grace of God) attain some new ridge and all of a sudden find I am on the peak of the mountain with no more cliffs to climb. On the contrary, for every newly attained height of insight there stretches out an ever more glorious panorama of manifold wisdom. And one can only pity the poor souls who, for fear of finding out too much, never approach the sacred mountains but stand off and chirp ironically about how one should preserve and appreciate mystery. -John Piper
Oh this resonated in my heart. We all too often lose the passion for the ascent of the mountain of God. We let our hunger wane and quench our thirst on the sodas of this world instead of the truly life giving water of His spirit. Our hearts rarely beat with a desire to know Him more...because if we are honest, it seems we have heard it already before. It's like there is only one recipe for a sermon and most people just keep serving us left overs with fresh parsley only. Or we have deadened our spiritual appetites for the things of God by gorging or grazing on the empty calories of this world and our anemic flesh.
I am being awakened yet again by the infinite openness of God that beckons exploration, discovery and experience.
I think the current message series is critical to a full life in the Spirit. If you do not understand Grace vs Law; then you will not produce vintage of the Kingdom life that God truly intended you to drink. So pop the cork and pour yourself a glass of new wine and enjoy the gospel in all it's freedom, flavor and joy producing potency!
Sitting at the bed side of a friend and sister in the Lord who is suffering from cancer and is very near deaths door is a difficult place to be. She’s a precious woman and her extreme pain and prolonged dying has been excruciating to watch and even more challenging to answer the bitter questions of those she is loved by, and have had to watch her waste away.
Deep and honest questions in cold hallways...tears and anger mixed into an emotional wine that is being forced down tender hearts throats. Who can answer such suffering? What words can be weaved to soothe the ache of a soul that is being skinned alive by the rusty edge of disease?
All I could think of was Jesus weeping before the tomb of Lazarus.
God weeping in the face of death...a strange moment indeed, considering He was about to raise His friend from the grave. Maybe those tears were your tears, my tears...the tears of all of us who won’t be able to witness such a miracle but must wait until the final resurrection.
Could He have been weeping in fellowship with all of us who will taste death’s sting, have to watch the poison of death steal away the people we love. Maybe those were the tears for those who whose faith will be shattered on the jagged rocks of tragedy.
All I know is that death caused Jesus to weep...so I can weep too, in hope of the promise that:
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. -Rev 21:4
Lord knows that there will be so many “former things” that will be worthy of “passing away”...Lord hasten the day.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully
receive from Him the little things? If we do not give thanks daily
for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where
there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much
weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only
keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so
far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our
fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there
for us all in Jesus Christ. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
This quote strikes at the heart of what I often think is a weak side
of my charismatic church back ground. We have been over-stimulated in
our gift focused conversations, sermons and stories. We lose the
miracle of little things in the buzz of talking about supposedly big
things. We pray for revival and forget to smile and be friendly. We
ask God for miracles but can't handle reading His word. We love the
tingle of emotional and moving worship but balk at faithful service
that isn't always so glamours.
One of the amazing truths that I am seeing in our journey to live
church in and among an urban neighborhood is the power of presence.
Simply being present unlocks potential opportunity for relationship.
People recognize faces here. The people who live around each other
notice what is taking place in their little world, good or bad. There
is a rhythm of life and change is easily noticed. Being someone for
somebody in someplace is powerful around here.
It is the life found in the simple incarnational phrase about Jesus
in the gospels..."He came and dwelt among us". Simple yet profoundly
challenging in our increasingly private, digital and isolated worlds.
Learning to do this together as a church community is vital to
building on the momentum and sensitivity of doing something new in a
community like ours. People are watching people and a group of people
can leverage that consciousness in their favor.
I see that happening with our Kid's Quest ministry on Sunday
afternoons. People notice kids playing, singing and eating outside. I
watched a little girl straining her neck to watch from a few houses
away. She was invited by the team but didn't come, I am not sure
why, but she sat and watched with full interest.
Never underestimate the power of simple or weak things...
God draws straight lines with crooked sticks. -Joni Eareckson Tada
She stumbled up to our house, drenched in water or sweat, barefoot, wide eyed, dazed and confused for sure, mumbling that she wanted a drink of water. She kept yanking up her white pants that kept wanting to fall down. She paced around in circles like a dog in a cage.
I went inside to get her water, she kept saying she was having a bad trip...that was an understatement for sure...she had gotten on the wrong train.
I gave her a cup of cold water, she drank some, handed it back to me and walked off with her hands waving in the air and saying someone was trying to kill her. How right she was...
I tossed the left over water out into the grass and as I did, I noticed her watch me do it. In a split second I felt remorse...my action seemed to picture the disdain she felt...tossed aside, cast out, abhorred like a dirty diaper. I wish I wouldn't have done that.
Some say God punishes us for our sin...but we really slit our own throats.
Your own wickedness will chasten and correct you. -Jeremiah 2:19
My first visitor was a meth addict...what a culture shock...welcome to the neighborhood...I wonder if it was Jesus stopping by to welcome us.
Friday, July 07, 2006
LeeElla and I have been married 16 years today. Happy Anniversary babe!
Out of all the blessings in my life, my wife is the highest and most precious for sure. She is amazing, no words can really do justice to the blessing she brings into my life and the many people she loves and serves and walks with.
With all the hell we have been through in the last few years, she has been a rock. Not a rock without tears but a rock in the midst of the storm. She knows her God, is bold in her faith and such a woman of grace and faithfulness. I admire her, love her and thank God for her.
It breaks my heart to know that at this time in her life there is too much pain rolled into too little joy and that a few people that she loves simply have not a clue to the treasure they so easily ignore, disrespect and cast shadows on. She is still a bright soul no matter what cloud seeks to pour down rain on her path. Her works will praise her in the gates.
I regret this year is that I have so little to adorn her with, in the matter of wealth. She deserves, rubies, diamonds, gold and silver, trips to exotic places, walks on quiets shores, dinners that don't contain dishes slamming, children squawking and dogs yelping.
Oh for a thousand tongues to sing the praises of such a godly woman, tender lover, caring mother and strong partner. She deserves so much more than I can give her but at least I can declare her praise in the gates...
I know that your streets are paved with Gold in the place that truly matters and that the Lord is building you a castle fit for the queen that you are with the treasures I am storing up. I will keep sending Him heavenly riches to build it with.
I love you with all of my heart.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains proves that he no brain of his own."- CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON
I find it interesting that Theology stirs up a once quiet nest of sleeping vipers. You see, today we don't teach very much theology or doctrine in our churches and I understand why. If you don't we can all gather together and have a mix of various theologies, philosophies, and various aberrant doctrines all smashed together like our mommies warm and toasty casserole.
As long as we don't point towards one way...we all seem to get along fairly well. But soon as you start really addressing biblical doctrine people start getting all unsettled, fidgety and slightly nervous. People don't want you to mess with their ideas of God even if they might be historically unbiblical. But to be honest most people don't even know what doctrines they even agree with. We are a hodge podge of Oprah, Dr. Phil, contemporary christian music and books, coffee table theology and various miss matched beliefs born out of grandma's church or our church hopping transient lifestyle. Most christians are A.D.D. when it comes to finding a church family...they can't stay put long enough to form much of a systematic theology. In fact most churches no longer teach much about doctrine but really just give us doses of spiritual junkie juice to get us through the week with a good spiritual high.
Most conversations can't wade to deep into the historical religious past because hardly anyone reads anymore. We can talk politics, ipods, sports, movies, music and about sex but when it comes to theology or history...we are ideological ignoramuses...midgets of the mind. I know that is harsh but come on let's be honest...study to show thyself approved?
Please...I hear just pass the remote, give me a potluck, a movie night or a 3 point ditty more than let's study the word.
I repent of such mindless christianity. What ever happened to love the Lord your God with your...MIND?
When did following Jesus get boiled down to feeling holy ghost goose-bumps, hugs and kisses and melodic hand waving? We need men and women who can speak to the issues that our culture is wrestling with and forgetting to wrestle with. Some truths are simply being ignored to our own poverty. Many Biblical truths are hard to unravel and surly won't be addressed sufficiently in a 30 minute heart rub on Sunday morning between cheerios and Pizza Hut.
Don't insult me with your paper thin sermonizing...I need meat as well and milk to face the battles that rage against my mind and heart. I require full course meals to strengthen my inner man to wrestle against the flesh, the world and the devil. Quit allowing this culture to determine the depth of God's river that should flow out of the pulpits again. Don't let X-Box set the mental comprehension limits. Our culture can't be the thermostat of the church when it comes to setting the bar for the saints of God.
It may be a thermometer but please...please...please...preach the word in season and out!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.
- Teddy Roosevelt
As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut,
nor were you washed with water for cleansing;
you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths.
No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you,
to have compassion on you.
Rather you were thrown out into the open field,
for you were abhorred on the day you were born.
When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood,
I said to you while you were in your blood, LIVE!
I was looking at my friend Jennifer's little baby girl today and as I
looked into her eyes, I was reminded of this scripture.
In fact I was sharing and a word came out from the Lord for me,
probably unnoticed to others but my spirit heard it.
I came back home and spent time in prayer and worship and studied
this passage in the present voice. It was full of life and light.
A child can be born but needs to be cared for.
A baby can come into the world through many different ways, it
matters not, be they good or bad, for Life is life to the child.
What matters is what happens to that life after birth. God is the God
of LIFE and He will speak LIFE to anything born but not parented.
I truly believe that the church is guilty of this sin. There are
countless "squirming children" littering the "open field".
They were born...but not brought up.
Individuals, churches and ministries that have been birthed...but not
You may be "squirming in your blood" even now. You have experienced
what it feels like to not even have your "navel cord" cut before you
were cast out into the "open field". You know the fear, the
loneliness, the terror of being abandoned, vulnerable and without
protection. You have experienced the darkness of cold stares,
whispers, rumors and backs turning. You know what it is to cry and no
one comes to your plea. You know silence.
But you also will know HIs coming...
God is a father to the fatherless...(Ps. 68:5). He is searching for
the abandoned and the ones who have been born but not brought up. He
is searching for the naked, the uncared for, the ones who have no
inheritance. He is looking for you and He will find you in your
puddle of blood.
I thank God, for He has become more to me than I thought He was.
He has sown up my belly, washed me clean of the dirtiness of my
entrance into life;
for no birth is without a huge mess. Life is always a bloody mess!
Remember, it matters not, what other people say about you...what
matters is what God says about you or over you.
And He says...LIVE !!!