Saturday, December 18, 2010
So I missed on writing about Thanksgiving...and the thoughts of having So much to be thankful for in life. Blogs on everyday life, from thoughts on books, movies (like with The Book of Eli...did anyone else wonder if Kirk Cameron was going to make a cameo in the movie) putting together a youth concert, to my son just turning one (now theres easily a daily blog) and now recently being checked for skin cancer. So can I double up in one day and write more in depth on such things of life. Meanwhile the only thing worst in being away for so long...is not being missed....Hope to hear from those that just "happen" to read this and take part together in this Beautiful Ache.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him ps 95:4.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Thats just it we are distracting ourselves from what is at hand, literally right before us, in and around us, the presence of God and the celebration of remembering that His love is beyond reasoning, explanation but that He would die for you and me. Its even grace that He would tell us to remind one another of what took place, this act of love that has no match throughout history. Some may read this and think I am making light of communion. The truth is I am pointing out the reality that we do make light of communion in various ways. Where has our heart and mind been during the week Monday through Saturday? How about that very Sunday morning. Did we have to get in some sport scores? How was our conversation to our love ones at home and on our way to church. John Acuff gives a message called "Booty God Booty" Where we are consumed with self/world then Sunday we have God back in our life only to return to "booty" by Monday if not in the church parking lot as soon as we exit the church doors.
Making light of communion is certainly no new thing In Corinthians 11 we see communion turned into a party (okay now the gum thing dont seem too bad) "And then I find that you bring your divisions to worship—you come together, and instead of eating the Lord's Supper, you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves. Some are left out, and go home hungry. Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk. I can't believe it! Don't you have your own homes to eat and drink in? Why would you stoop to desecrating God's church? Why would you actually shame God's poor? I never would have believed you would stoop to this. And I'm not going to stand by and say nothing." And you know WHY they had to be told to STOP being glutton pigs and getting hammered at the "communion table" Because believers, the church was actually doing such, thats right they would enter in to partake of sacred communion and leave bloated with food and intoxicated with grape juice (for the extremely conservative we will make believe it was a special Welch’s juice). Most of us have read that and thought man how lost, messed up were they back in the early church. And when we know deep down this is in each one of us. Many of us have done far worst but at the same time we share with one another that our "deepest" sins are we dont read as much as we should and perhaps too much TV. When in reality sinfulness goes deep and wide in our hearts and minds. As one person put it if we were truthful some of our thoughts would have Jesus drinking gin from a cat dish. There is a saying (that has been credited to Augustine but seems no one is certain) The church is a whore but she is my mother No matter who said it or in what context I understand such that we as a body tend to sell out for most trivial things. The church has committed tragedies in the name of Christ. We have come to His table as a ragamuffin and been a made pure, holy, saint overflowing with His grace and mercy only to leave stumbling back into the world consume with self. Im not sure how we "pull this one off" and quickly forget what God has done and is doing for us and what He has for us as we take our very last breathe. Communion indeed is more of a invitation then a refusal/denial. Jesus wants us to come to the table but how tiresome is it for all involve, spiritual draining for only that one moment to be your connection with God for the week, the month. I believe theres a call for us to always see the table before us. In the best of times and in the wilderness where there only seems to be darkness and storms. Jesus remains awaiting for us to come and at that table we are His children, sons and daughter. There is no caste system in Jesus eyes and at this table we are practicing and preparing for the grand banquet where once and for all at His table the lame can walk, the deaf can hear, the blind can see, the poor are rich, and the weak are strong. The lost are found. No shame. No condemnation. More than enough reason to be in awe. Jesus says “Come and Remember Me”
Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord's Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me.What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
27-28Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of "remembrance" you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.
Friday, September 24, 2010
A few days ago I was reading this and the "Three Days later" got my attention. As in being a disciple and following Jesus you have witnessed Him do great things. Miracles after miracles and perhaps most of all Loving those who hated him. And the hate was obvious but now He takes the 12 aside and lays it all out before them. In a nutshell Jesus lets it be known once and for all that he will be betrayed (by the chief priests and teachers of the law, so yea they see themselves doing a "God thing" aka doing God a favor), Condemn to death, mocked, spit on, flogged (beaten till his back is turn inside out) and finally they will kill him. So I'm wondering after saying all that he concludes with Three days later...Would I be taking it all in and truly believing Him. Or would I be glad I packed a lunch (wouldn't have to ask for another miracle before I went my own way) and be on my way. Of course I would love to say I would have followed Him even unto the cross. Well at least be there at the scene and well, ah its no use if I didn't run then I know I would have ran just like the disciples did when they finally arrested Jesus. They were told again and again it would take place and these great followers assure themselves they were ready. Couple of them even asked about seating arrangements in Heaven soon after Jesus states what will happen to Him. They sort of had the attitude hey if you can do it so can we..And Jesus say yea in a way you are correct You will indeed taste such things as well.
So anyway we know what took place "3 days later". As Tony Campolo says in a message :"Its Friday but Sundays a coming!" I know all about the "Fridays" in our life But do I live as if Sunday is a coming? Do I live before or after the "3 days later"? Thomas has been branded with the nickname "doubting Thomas" But its this very same man who said "Let us also go, that we may die with him" Jesus was going to raise Lazarus from the dead but all Thomas and others heard was that they were going to place where Jesus wasn't well liked to say the least. And while Jesus is talking about a "sick" Lazarus, Thomas only comment is Lets go die with Him. Its been said when Jesus said follow me it was a invitation to the cross. There we die to our self, sins, past and everything that is not of Him. And in that rests our hope and trust in that no matter what we will come to see Him face to face three days later. Because for now its Friday...but Sundays a coming!..
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the seas with a millstone tied around his neck than him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves" (Luke 17:1-3)
Sinning is part of adolescence. Sinning is the natural consequence of young people rebelling and finding their way. That's why youth workers talk a lot about sin. We're good at warning young people about dangers of sin. We talk a lot about aborting, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography-and we should. And even more than warning kids away from sin, Jesus' admonition to his disciples makes it clear that we're not to cause any of them to sin.
What if our ministries cause little ones to sin? What if our programs cause the little ones to sin?
Think that's ridiculous? I wonder.
See if the following tendencies feel familiar...
When we tell young people that Jesus is the answer to all our problems, when we paint the world as black and white, when we make following Jesus an either/or proposition, when we suggest that young people "just pray, then everything will be all right," when we promise that Jesus always makes us happy and always gives us what we want, we cause little ones to sin.
We know life is much more complicated than "take two Jesus Pills and call me in the morning"
If we're honest, we know not everyone who follows Jesus is happy, fulfilled, or has it all together. Surely we understand that prayer is much more complex than simply requesting and receiving. Even asking "What Would Jesus Do" isn't all that simple-because often we don't know what Jesus would do!
When we promise that life with Jesus is simple, we set up our youth for failure. when we run off in affairs, what do our youth do then? When their senior pastors are caught abusing little children, what are our youth supposed to think then? How do we communicate the harsh, complicated, difficult, wonderful reality that Jesus really is worth following-even when life is blurry, confusing and difficult?
If I witness one more Jesus cheer, If I hear one more "let's have a hand/round of applause/praise offering for Jesus," If I have to endure more pep rally for Jesus, I'm returning my youth ministry I.D. Card Because as much as we criticize and complaining about our media-ravaged society, as much as rant about the evils of MTV and Pop culture, we've imitated them by rushing to create the worlds biggest youth events.
At these events we parade around and glorify all things "beautiful"-the dazzling musicians, the laser shows, the foxes and studs for Jesus. At these events we mesmerize young people with how "cool" Jesus is. These pep rallies give teens the illusion that God is cool, that God is winning, that God is the majority-and that their ministries and youth leaders are cool, too. But what these events don't dare say is that even cool, dazzling, "beautiful" youth workers (adults) are screwed up,broken and constantly in need of Gods grace.
So rather than cheering our young people into the kingdom, maybe we should point them to the the broken, inconsistent, uncool followers of Jesus found in the Bible. Maybe we need to stop pressuring our young people to cheer long enough to prepare them for a world in which the real heroes are powerless, tiny and considered insignificant.
The radical, ugly truth? Jesus was killed by the very people who threw him a pep rally a week before.
What characterizes followers of Christ is that we tell the truth. I'm not talking about doctrinal truth-I'm talking truth truth:Where we talk about our strengths and weaknesses;where we talk about victories and defeats;where we talk about our successes and failures;where we talk about our answers and doubts;where we talk about our joys and depressions;where we talk about or courage and fear.
We talk about all of life. We're not afraid that teens will see life as a struggle every day-and that it will always be so. Most of all, we point them away from us and toward Jesus. We decrease while Jesus increases.
Whats so disturbing about youth ministry today, however is how little truth telling there is.
I've been in youth ministry for 40 years and I wish I could have some of those years to live over again. Oh God, forgive me for causing your little ones to sin. Oh, God, help me to learn from my mistakes. Oh, God, in spite of me, cause all of your little ones to run into your arms.
Oh, God help us all.
**Mike Yaconelli (July 24, 1942 — October 30, 2003) was a writer, theologian, church leader and satirist. Co-Founder of Youth Specialties, a training organization for Christian youth leaders, and The Wittenburg Door (sometimes just The Door), a satirical magazine, Yaconelli was also the pastor of a small church in Yreka, CA - "the slowest growing church in America" as he called it. He and wife Karla used to share their time between Yreka and the Youth Specialties offices in El Cajon, CA.As well as his contributions to the Wittenburg Door, Yaconelli also wrote a number of books for youth leaders, and was a well-received Christian conference speaker. He was a regular at the Greenbelt festival in the UK. On his last visit to Greenbelt, he said:
If I were to have a heart attack right at this moment, I hope I would have just enough air in my lungs and just enough strength in me to utter one last sentence as I fell to the floor: "What a ride!" My life has been up and down, careening left then right, full of mistakes and bad decisions, and if I died right now, even though I would love to live longer, I could say from the depths of my soul, "What a ride!"
Mike was killed in an automobile accident in 2003.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Happy Beautiful Scandalous Easter
This Easter think about what it means that Jesus arose from the dead. Without such news the cross would mean little, well actually nothing. We are in desperate need of a risen Savior. Think about how everything first fell apart in the Garden with Adam & Eve. And the very first time the risen Savior is seen He is mistaken for a gardener, that is beautiful irony. In just the first few chapters of Genesis mankind had exited shamefully from the Garden and man has spent the remaining chapters of the Book and life to get back to the Garden. A paradise, a peace, a hope, a Love that is unconditional and because of this thing we called Easter also known as a "Beautiful, Scandalous Night"..
At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white On that beautiful, scandalous night
Dont let this go by us so easily this year. Take a quiet time with a sunset and let your heart and mind go those moments on the cross. The movie Passion doesnt (and cannot) touch the emotional & spiritual pain that took place in Christ solely for you and me Beyond the Easter Bunny, candies, nice dinners, church service there is more so much more..In closing Steven James sums it up just right..
The bunny has upstaged the rabbi and stolen the show. The search for plastic eggs has replaced the search for a missing body. Easter has evolved into just another nice,harmless,spineless. little holiday with the climax being a bunch of snot-nosed kids fighting over a piece of chocolate, when its supposed to be about a wrestling match between life & death, a cosmic struggle between good and evil. Easter has lots of lilies and spring hats and piles of fake, green, curly plastic grass stuff, but none of that has anything to do with the raw reality of a bloody cross and the final hope of the empty tomb. The truth is most people just aren't moved by the Easter story anymore. Its like we've walked in at the end of the movie and we just don't get what all the fuss is about. "Is something wrong?" The people who are crying shake their heads. "Then why are you crying?"..the empty tomb doesn't make sense without the cross, the cross doesn't make sense without the manger in Bethlehem and the manger doesn't make sense without the Garden of Eden. Its All one story. And only when you finally untangle it, see its scope, and enter it for yourself do you realize that the story has finally entered and at last untangled you."- Steven James (Story)
Easter such a Beautiful, Scandalous Night...
"Go on up to the mountain of mercy *To the crimson perpetual tide *Kneel down on the shore Be thirsty no more* Go under and be purified*Go on up to the mountain of mercy *To the crimson perpetual tide *Kneel down on the shore* Be thirsty no more Go under and be purified"
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
One of the "favorite quotes" Christianity isn't about religion its about relationship, really? While that is true the question that needs to be asked is this true in our lives? Personally if Christianity is based on relationship then I know I'm a lot closer to religion.
Years ago in this movie a young lady said she told a teacher you are my favorite teacher and the teacher replies then why didn't you pay more attention to me..and she adds I sort of see God the same way. And that makes me think about my walk, this relationship. I lack so much quiet time, devotional time, call it what you will but its lacking. And such shallowness leads to not seeing Him in every aspect of life. Most of us in the last 2 years have chased after time with Facebook than the face of our Savior. See that's what Jesus Christ is Savior, Lord, God, ..how much time does such deserve?
Rich Mullins said he was once asked who his hero was and he replied St. Francis of Assisi and the person said but why isn't Jesus your hero? Rich replied Hes my Savior not my hero. Again I think many of us tend to treat Him as a hero who perhaps saved us from drowning and at one point perhaps we couldn't get enough time with Him and show thankfulness but now its okay if we just keep in touch. Its like we are "tweeting" God. Our words and ways have lost their meaning much like the worlds views on holidays.
Churches are quick to criticize the water down version of Sacred Holidays but are we not the ones leading this dance. Which matters more the world saying Happy Holidays or Christians Spending millions for "toys"/gadgets rather than giving to those that need it most? Lets see "what do you get one who has everything" or how about clean water for the one who absolutely has next to nothing.. We really are in need of a reality check. As we go into the doors of the meeting place we called Church (btw..we are the church not the building) and as we leave. I believe many of us are clinging to how God see things through our eyes and yet we should be seeing through His eyes, to love what He loves, and hate what He hates, and finally a passion to be with Him. To Know Him. To Know Him More and More..
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3
Friday, February 19, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
SO what are your resolutions? Better question yet are there any left that you still havent broken. Its "okay" that you have broken them just start all over again. I mean thats all one can do. Of course dont wait till ah 2011 but start over now. Sometimes we need to offer a bit of grace and mercy to ourselves as well. We will mess up, some more than others (by the way doesnt make you better than others just perhaps a better opportunity to encourage others with a taste of grace and mercy). And while we are starting over how about we think on things greater than ourselves such as things that may last eternally. We tend to fool ourselves thinking we have "tomorrow" and for most of us that means we promise ourselves old age of 80 plus will come before we leave this place. And I would say we really take away from the value of time by the way we use it.
I read an interesting thing about what time it is in your life.
- If your age is 15, the time is 10:25 A.M.
- If you are 20, the time is 11:34 A.M.
- If you are 25, the time is 12:42 P.M.
- If you are 30, the time is 1:51 P.M.
- If you are 35, the time is 3:00 P.M.
- If you are 40, the time is 4:08 P.M.
- If you are 45, the time is 5:15 P.M.
- If you are 50, the time is 6:25 P.M.
- If you are 55, the time is 7:34 P.M.
- If you are 60, the time is 8:42 P.M.
- If you are 65, the time is 9:51 P.M.
- If you are 70, the time is 11:00 P.M.
SO what time is it in your life? Lets say its not even noon or perhaps 11pm. No matter the time in our life we should be using this gift carefully and wisely. This definitely sounds alot easier than it is, well at least for me. In hindsight most of us will be sadly shock for not getting away from things like the TV and computer to deepen relationships. The conversations we only talked and fail to truly listen. Take in the beautiful creation around us.Fix your eyes on the stars and moon at night. Appreciate all that we do have rather than whine and wish we had more. Be in awe of the things your body can do and the so many things we simply take for granted. The Word tells us a prayer should be is to ask our Creator to teach us to number our days. This resolution would change our world if we made this our resolution. The little things in life will matter little to us as we take in the more important things in life. Now you the reader must decide what is of most importance to you and live accordingly no matter what time it is in your life.
PS actually started this blog to say Happy New Year and to say we have a newborn about 2 weeks old. So yeah according to his clock he isnt even getting up yet. Which is good since at the moment hes sleeping right by me as I blog this entry. Its 4am, and that seems to be about the time in his life.