5.26.2009

5.25.2009

Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth

"In addition, whenever Paul talks about justification he is also talking about the coming together of Jew and Gentile in Christ. I do wonder whether for many Christians in the Western world that sort of sense of ethnic integration has just not been on their radar screen. Or if it has, it’s been as one distant fragment of the message, rather than something that is front and center. And making it front and center I think is very uncomfortable for many people, not because they’re racists necessarily, but just because there’s a sense that this wasn’t something we thought was as central as that. No doubt we should love all our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it didn’t seem to be as important. For Paul it is radically important, and I think that demands in a lot of people a major category shift which they’re really worried about making."

NT Wright
(Click on the title link for the whole interview)

5.18.2009

He

born blind; half human, half empty
blind to the Truth, blind to my own state of affairs
human yet missing even the knowing of something missing
a hole in my heart that only ached, not knowing it needed filling
a bleak picture of half a man, ever seeking, ever searching
ever running from the monster in the mirror
lost to myself, to the kingdom, to the King
lost to the King; my being cut out of existence


IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, THE WORD WAS LIGHT AND LIFE
HE CAME TO THE WORLD OF MEN, HE HAD CREATED IT
HE GAVE HIS LIGHT AND LIFE TO THE WORLD OF MEN
HE SPENT INFINITY GIVING HIMSELF TO THE WORLD OF MEN
THEY HAD TURNED FROM HIM, YET HE STILL GAVE LIGHT AND LIFE
TO THOSE WHO WOULD TURN BACK


ever seeking, yet somehow knowing,
the direction sought was not the one traveled
this life was producing Death, running to-and-fro and accomplishing nothing
beating the air with my fists, vain rebellious conformity to the world
searching roads that ought not be traveled, push past the warnings
now mired in the swamps, feeling Death
i knew i needed to extend a hand, to reach beyond myself
somehow to find the Truth beyond this world, to find Life, to have it live in me
only the hole in my heart ached now, stuffed with the Death i had filled it with
it was visible, the black oozing scar where a soul should be
and then i knew, i must reach beyond myself, to the only cure


THE WORD TOOK THE WORLD HE HAD CREATED, THE WORLD THAT HAD DENIED HIM
AND PLACED IT UPON HIS SHOULDERS, THE DEATH, REBELLION, HATRED, VILE...
HE TOOK UPON HIMSELF THE DEATH OF THE REBELLION WORLD
THE PLUNGING DAGGER OF VENOMOUS DECAY INTO HIS OWN BURNING BLEEDING HEART
THE WORD EMBRACED THE DEATH THAT WAS ELECTED BY HIS OWN CREATION, HE SWALLOWED IT WHOLE


AND DIED

THE UNIVERSE WENT OUT, INFINITY HAD ENDED, LIFE WAS DEAD, LIGHT WAS DARK
DEATH ITSELF, HEIR TRIUMPHANT, PRESUMED TO CLIMB THE THRONE
THE ACCUSER GLOATED, TAUNTING, VICTORY WON...


...YET DEATH COULD NOT KEEP IT’S HOLD UPON HIM!
THE AUTHOR OF LIFE, THOUGH DEAD, NOW LIVED!
FOR THE RESURRECTION-LIFE COULD NOT BE KEPT IN DEATH, THE WORD REIGNS
THE LIFE-LIGHT BLAZED OUT OF THE DARKNESS; THE DARKNESS COULDN’T PUT IT OUT



and the Word turned to me; He looked and He saw
He stretched out his Bleeding Hands; hands offering Life
He offered his Life; He offered to fill the hole where my heart should be
with his Bleeding Heart
and where once had been emptiness, was now The Life
and where once was crusted blackness and oozing decaying Death
now flowed the streams of Living Infinity



i have met the Word
the great Fountain of Life at the center of Infinity


HE LIVES WITHIN ME

5.15.2009

More Lyrics from Previous Life...

Reason is gone
This brain is out of practice
Thinking is alien
It’s alien to me
The day is through, the lights are out, and I’m alone again
Electrons comfort me, the television is my only friend
There was a time that I swore, this would never happen to me
I look for inspiration like I’ve done so many times
There’s something missing here I can’t define
Would you like to go to a place inside my head?
Or would you like to watch me fall asleep instead
Instead

Indecision, Television
Takes my mind away
Growing stronger, how much longer
Will things be this way?
I look at my close friends they wear expressions of concern
They don’t want me to forget all that they think I’ve learned
I’ve explained my situation, but why can’t they see
Friday’s just another night for me
For me

Now there’s a feeling that I get when I’m at peace with all I see
And it’s a rare time that I spend with no one else around but me
These moments are so precious now
Getting better just like wine
But wine won’t make me happy
There was a time I thought it would
I thought it could, I thought it should
Now turned around I’m looking down
There’s nothing there but I can still
See myself a lonely boy

5.14.2009

Did you say something?

But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 19:40

original sin

he is a decent sort
but flawed
always so close
only to be brought down
holds the key to every door
yet has not realized his aim
somehow i think
he is not quite right put together
his antagonist is Himself

5.12.2009

God Doesn't...

"God doesn't call those who are equipped, rather, He equips those He has called..."

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"When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities."

The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus

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God isn't really all that impressed with a 'fast horse,' but rather a horse who is willing to be trained. (Psalm 147:10-11) A football player who runs a 4.2 second 40-yard dash, but has trouble determining which end zone he should run towards, is of no help to his team whatsoever.

Similarly, a person who has tremendous knowledge of scripture, or wonderfully effective communication skills, or wields charismatic influence over others, is of no service to God (and is a danger to him/herself and others). If they are not humble before God, receiving His wisdom and power instead of offering God theirs, then there is as much good to come from their efforts as the blazing fast running back who unwitting heads the wrong way down the field...

5.10.2009

How Serious?

"But other Means must be employed in most cases. Two of the most useful are: openness to others and resolute avoidance of situations in which pornography can be indulged. As for openness, this may involve confession (to appropriate persons in appropriate ways), sharing with others in the same difficulty, a "buddy" (accountability) system with a small group of others (not all necessarily in the same difficulty) that allows you to meet and discuss regularly and to call on others for prayer and support in the hard times. Another measure that can be taken here is to kneel down publically and pray out loud for deliverance from your temptation. Perhaps "in church." (St. Benedict threw himself into a briar patch upon the occasion of salacious thoughts, and it seems to have done wonders for him.) Now at this point one might say: Are you serious? My answer would be: Are you?"

Dallas Willard

(Click on the title link for the whole article)

5.09.2009

Great turn of Phrase

"There is an adage that says the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. The Kingdom of God is the iceberg to the Titanic of the world's idolatries and ideologies. I don't want to overstate the case, but I don't think the primary way the Kingdom of God functions is by being an adversary to culture. It is by "being," period.

If we are art connoisseurs looking for a great painting, and someone holds up a Rembrandt in the midst of a bunch of stick figures, then little critique of the stick figures is needed. Obsession with critiquing stick figures becomes counterproductive. Objecting to the inclusion of human images in paintings because stick figure paintings contain human images becomes outright destructive. That is why the central focus must be on who we should be not what we should oppose.

Paul (and others) does critique the empire in a variety of clever ways but I suggest that he sees the ultimate and most powerful critique as the simple presence of Kingdom of God."


I thought the above comment (taken from a conversation at the Jesus Creed blog) was worthy of reprinting:
Micheal W Kruse

5.08.2009

Scripture

A real and great temptation with scripture is to apply it to other people...

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Remember, there are two kinds of wisdom:

James 3:13-18

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The trick is not really about knowing scripture, but about living in harmony with the God scripture points to...

5.07.2009

Inaugurated Eschatology and the Invasion of Normandy

Inaugurated

Dictionary: in·au·gu·rate (ĭn-ô'gyə-rāt')

tr.v., -rat·ed, -rat·ing, -rates.

To induct into office by a formal ceremony.
To cause to begin, especially officially or formally: inaugurate a new immigration policy. See synonyms at begin.
To open or begin use of formally with a ceremony; dedicate: inaugurate a community center.

Eschatology

Dictionary: es·cha·tol·o·gy (ĕs'kə-tŏl'ə-jē)

n.

The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind.
A belief or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment.

=========================================

The German forces had conquered Europe. Adolf Hitler held dominion over the entire continent.

The Allied forces planned an attack on the mainland from England. Day One of the invasion onto the coast of France was called D-day. The Allies needed to gain and hold a beachhead on the coast of Normandy. To fail to do so was to risk the possible loss of the continent to Germany, to succeed here was the beginning of permanent victory.

The Allied success in establishing a beachhead at Normandy was the point at which the outcome of WWII was decided.

The war was not yet won, but in a sense it had been won. From this point on, the German armies had no real hope of success. The victory had been achieved, but not yet realized. Hitler had been defeated, but had yet to realize it.

=========================================

Inaugurated Eschatology

Christians believe that we are currently live in the time of the end. What was achieved by Christ on the cross was precisely the final victory. There is still the manifestation of that victory, the 'putting it into effect' that is, and must be, taking place. But the victory is already won.

There is still the possibility of loss and casualty, but there is no question of the outcome of the war.

We live between the times.

Jesus has won the great battle for us, and we now put into effect that victory as we await His return and the full and final consummation of victory.

5.06.2009

Smoke Machine Jesus

Had a conversation with a friend recently who visited a worship service that had a fog machine during worship...

Got us talking about the bells and whistles of church and how that compares to what church is really about.

Devotion, Community, Discipleship, Mission.

(As an aside, excellence in showmanship is not necessarily antithetical to Jesus, there are times when they coincide, and when they do we should be appropriately grateful, but we should choose to pursue Jesus!)

===========================

Got me thinking...

What do you do when people show up at your church from another church in town?

Do you know them?

Do you know their story?

When you find out that they are leaving community to come and participate in your community because of the bells and whistles, what do you do?

(Lets say they are coming to your church because their past church was 'too big,' or 'too small,' or 'the worship was too white, or too black, or too old, or too new,' or perhaps 'you preach the Word,' or their Sunday School didn't have enough kids in it... you get the point.)

Why would you leave your friends to have good music?

The answer is either a deeply perverted view of God, or little to no love for those so called friends, or both...

Why would you allow someone to leave another community behind and start spending time with yours? It obviously isn't because you care about them and want them to grow into mature Christian people...

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I come from a church where people were encouraged to work it out with their previous church, not simply to plug into ours; so I guess I have a hard time understanding the inclusion of people into a community who have left another one...

Love to hear your thoughts...

5.02.2009

Trust, Pain, and My Father

Had some real deep conversations this past week with some friends:

What in my life has hurt me?

How have I experienced rejection, alienation and abuse?

What am I afraid of?

Do I still feel the effects from these things?

Where do I find it hard to trust people?

Where do I find it hard to trust God?

Are these emotional scars and painful experiences directly related to the places where I mistrust my heavenly Father?

(Check out Floyd McClung's book The Father Heart of God)

Lyrics from a previous life...

I’m feeling cold today
Frozen to the core
I need some inspiration
To pull me from the floor
Take me down the road
To a place I’ve never been before
Open up my eyes
Show me colors that I’ve never seen
Open up your mouth
Give me perfect words I’ve never heard
I’m ready now let’s go
Burn my world a southpaw curve
Fast and hard, like vida blue

I’ve lived a lot of everyplace
But nowhere I’d call home
The look in every strangers face
Tells me I’m alone
Take me down the road
To a place I’ve never been before
Open up my eyes
Show me colors that I’ve never seen
Open up your mouth
Give me perfect words I’ve never heard
I’m ready now let’s go
Burn my world a southpaw curve
Fast and hard, like vida blue


- ALL