Month: June 2010

i had an amazing conversation yesterday…

with a 91 year old gentleman from our church.  i’m filming a project for our tv broadcast this weekend and wanted to talk to some veterans.  i asked around and someone told me to give World War II Naval Veteran Mr. Billy Beaver a call.

i made an appointment and took my rig over to his house.  he was so gracious.  he showed me some of his military trappings and we sat down to talk.  he wanted to do a practice run, but i pushed record, just in case something wonderful happened.  he told the most amazing story.  i finished filming and we talked about God and the chronological bible he was reading.  i also promised to come back and have coffee with him sometime.

to say that i was blessed would be an understatement.  i think sometimes because of my role in churches that somehow the message gets sent that i don’t like older people.  nothing could be further from the truth.  i love the wealth of knowledge, experience and maturity that many of our older saints bring to the body of Christ.  i was so thankful for the 30 minutes that i got to spend with Mr. Beaver.  it makes me think that maybe i need to search out time to spend with our seniors more often.  even though they may not like our “rock band” worship, and even though they may ask me questions about the things they don’t like.

how blessed are we?

Proverbs 16:31

Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained by a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29

The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old.

got into a twitter conversation…

with a person who tends to bully other people with the bible.  i was accused of being biblically ignorant.  my original intent with engaging this person was to ask them to stop being so judgmental of “seeker” churches and their choices with how they attempt to reach people.  pretty much if you don’t preach the gospel the way this person thinks it should be preached, then well, you are wrong and sending people to hell.

my thought is if God can use donkeys, bigamists, prostitutes, murderers and utter failures, then He can tell His story through a poorly crafted movie sermon.  it seems quite often people place the responsibility on man and his ability to discern and study.  i believe that God does the work and the drawing.  if Christ is lifted up, He will draw all men.

now don’t get me wrong.  i’m not for willie nillie biblical errors, i love the word of God and i read and study it.  but in my opinion, i don’t think even the greatest theologians are or were completely literate when it comes to the bible.  and i will be honest that i’m illiterate to an extent. but that’s hard to admit because  my pride gets in the way.  i could have played “textual tennis” with this person and answered all of their “challenges”, but i didn’t see any point.  i wasn’t going to win. and actually i don’t need to.  pride again.

that got me to thinking.  the bible is the best attempt that we have as humans in our limited intellect and language to describe and understand God.  yet even if i studied just one aspect of God for the rest of my life, my knowledge of that one aspect will be incomplete until i see Him.  when i see Jesus, wow, i can’t even begin to fathom what that will be like.  all theological arguments and questions will be nil at that point.  i will see clearly what was veiled.  as i behold His glory, old things will pass away and all things will become new.  that happens even as we behold the glory of God here on earth.

i got my pride and feelings hurt by a guy who insulted my intelligence.  when i should have just let it go and said “who am i”?  this passage was brought to mind, and i’ve been meditating on it over the weekend.

Philippians 2

Imitating Christ’s Humility

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Shining as Stars

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

i think so many people have a great love for Christ.  then they begin to study His word.  they begin to have great understanding and compile knowledge.  they begin to consider themselves smarter and better than others.  and i think they begin to miss the point of Christ.  He had all scripture at His disposal yet never used it as a club to beat people over the head.  He used it to call out the “religious”.  Jesus tells us in Luke 19 that He came to “seek and save that which was lost”.  He also says in that very same chapter that salvation had come to Zacchaeus house that day.  Zacchaeus had a heart change from being in the presence of Jesus.  nobody had to preach him a theologically correct sermon with specific guidelines.  he didn’t pray a sinner’s prayer.  he was in the presence of Jesus and it changed him forever.  when did we begin to believe that our feeble attempts at accuracy outweighs the presence of Christ?

if people think that their “proper” preaching of the gospel and their personal holiness is what “saves the lost” then that is nothing but idolatry.  again thinking their way of doing things as superior.  Jesus is the one who seeks and saves the lost.  Jesus is the draw.  He is the one to be lifted high.  He alone deserves the honor and the glory.  i really don’t know anything.  i’m nothing spiritual in and of myself.  it is Christ righteousness and His glory that allow me to even comprehend what i do know.  and it’s that same grace, mercy and glory that will allow me to see Him face to face someday.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

i’ve been reading…

Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola.

well i say i’ve been reading it.  basically i’ve been reading 5 paragraph’s and a sentence over and over.  i can’t get past them.  they are wrecking me along with Leonard’s video on the supremacy of Christ, i’m beginning to believe that all the giftings and talents i have in ministry are for naught if i can’t sort out these things.  i’m weeping over the idea that the church hasn’t given Christ the supremacy that He deserves.  that we worship the word of God over God Himself.  i just wanted to share these paragraphs, and hopefully i’ll be able to continue on with the book.

So what is Christianity?  It is Christ.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy.  Neither is it a new type of morality, social ethic or worldview.  Christianity is the “good news” that beauty, truth, and goodness are found in a person.  A true humanity and community are founded on and experienced by connection to that person.

Conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection.  The Bible’s use of the ancient Hebrew word shubh to call for “repentance”–in Deuteronomy4:30 and Nehemiah 1:9, for example–implies not viewing God from a distance but entering into a relationship where God is command central of the human connection.

In that regard, we feel a massive disconnect in the church today, and we believe that the major disease of today’s church is JDD:  Jesus Deficit Disorder.  The person of Jesus has become increasingly politically incorrect and is being replaced by the language of “justice,” “morality,” “values,” and “leadership principles.”  The world likes Jesus; they just don’t like the church.  But increasingly, the church likes the church, yet it doesn’t like Jesus.

Something is wrong when it’s easier for some Christians to think of the world without Christ than the world without Bach or the Beatles or Bono.  When we dethrone Jesus Christ from His rightful place, we tarnish the face of Christianity and redefine it out of existence.

Can our problems really be caused by something so basic and simple as losing sight of Christ? We believe the answer is a resounding Yes. Answers other than Christ to the problems of the church today mean that we are more into solvents than solutions.  For that reason, this global, Google world needs a meta-narrative more than ever, and the Jesus Story is the interpreting system of all other systems.  In this hour, the testimony that we feel God has called us to bear revolves around the primacy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Specifically, we need to decide how we are going to answer one question….

Who Do You Say That I Am?

go here to see Leonard talk about inviting people to come to Christ.

how can God best use me?

that is my thought this morning as i was writing and reading.  how can God best use me to grow His kingdom.  have i best used my strengths to move people closer to God, or am i just using my strengths to better things for me?  are my ideas, just that, my ideas?  or are they God ideas birthed in me by the Holy Spirit.  i find myself constantly checking my motives.  i don’t want to be a huge fake.  i guess what i’m really asking is:

am i affecting change that reflects the radical love of Jesus and His kingdom?

i was reading in Luke 4 today and to be like Jesus and move people towards His kingdom i think we need to be like this.

Luke 4:18-19 (New Living Translation)

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come

if the Spirit of the Lord is upon me? if i’m supposed to be like Jesus?  then i am anointed to bring Good News to the poor as well.  i’m sent to proclaim that people held in bondage will be released and that the blind will see.  i’m able to tell people who are oppressed that they will experience freedom because the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

am i doing this.  am i living out being like Christ?  are you?