4.25.2011

The Reliability of the Internet

"The problem with quotes on the internet, is that you can never tell if they are genuine."
Abraham Lincoln

(Thanks to Steve Brown)

4.22.2011

Coincidence Maybe



These guys came and played a month or two ago, it was a lot of fun!

4.10.2011

Sunday?

I am unsure of myself...

Some of the things we do take so much effort. We don't mind the effort if something fruitful happens because of it.... but what about when there isn't much positive result?

This is a constant concern when it comes to some of the things we do as a church. Even more specifically, corporate worship gatherings. It just seems like it isn't all that important to people. ...is it?

It takes quite a lot of effort to make a Church service happen. Setting up, and tearing down; selecting music, practicing it, playing all of the various instruments, setting up the PowerPoint so others can sing along, running the sound board and the projector; preparing lessons for the kids, teaching the lessons, training people to teach; preparing a sermon and preaching it...

But what is the fruit of all of this effort? Dozens of hours of labor that involves at least a dozen people to pull off, and what is the result? Do other people value this? Is God honored? Are people committed to participate, or even show up?

Here is where I am unsure of myself. Is this question only arising because of my own self pity? ...my own sense of personal worth? ...my own ego? Is it just that I don't like preaching to a sparse house?

If this is true, then shame on me. ...but being as honest with myself as I can, I don't actually think those things are what causes me to ask these questions.

What I want to know is this: Is all of this effort producing the results that we all say we want? If not, why are we continuing to spend all of this time, energy, and money? If it is producing results, is it possible that we could produce the same results at the cost of significantly less resources? In short, why do we have a worship gathering if people don't value it? Why do we have a worship gathering if it isn't causing our church, and the neighborhood, to draw near to Jesus, His people, and His purposes?

Body Rituals Among the Nacirema People

4.05.2011

Pleasure

“Bring to me a sweetness surpassing all the seductive delights I pursued.”
St Augustine

A Transformed Heart

"...and in turn the heart, your faithful echo, instructs our other faculties. In this mortal and spiritual compound, this sphere that you look upon as your kingdom, it is the heart that reins supreme under your direction. Since it has no other instincts than those inspired by you, everything that you propose delights it. What human beings and the devil would like to substitute, only disgusts and horrifies the heart...."

Jean-Pierre de Caussade

4.04.2011

Fidelity

"We all have a hunger for certitude, and the problem is that the Gospel is not about certitude, it's about fidelity...fidelity is a relational category and certitude is a flat, mechanical category. So we have to acknowledge our thirst for certitude and then recognize that if you had all the certitudes in the world it would not make the quality of your life any better because what we must have is fidelity."

Walter Brueggemann

4.03.2011

Enchantment

“God and His purpose is the eternal object and enchantment of the faithful heart.”
Jean-Pierre de Caussade

SVS Promo

SVS Promo -30 sec version from Society of Vineyard Scholars on Vimeo.

4.01.2011

...on Hell

I came across this from one of the Gospel Coalition guys in the midst of the whole Rob Bell fiasco. I really couldn't believe someone would state it out like this. Usually when someone uses these kinds of words they are parodying the Reformed position, but here it is from the horse's mouth:

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SOANDSO said the primary way God showed his love toward humanity was in sending his son to die for their sins.

(Okay, I am with you here)

"When you think about the innermost meaning of the cross is, it is this," SOANDSO said. "You and I deserved an eternity of wrath in hell that would be unending."

(I would probably use some very different language here.)

"Wrap your mind around this for a second," he continued. "It is a horror that doesn't end. There's no anesthetic and you never settle in. And we all deserve it. The Bible is teaching that all the wrath that was due to us, God emptied out on his son at the cross. On the cross where Jesus died the wrath of God was satisfied. He used up all his anger that he had towards us on Jesus. At the heart of the atonement is this. You don't understand the cross without this."
"You don't know the love of God if you don't know the wrath of God,"
BLANK said. "The precondition to understanding the love of God is you have to see what God had to overcome to save you. These things may seem paradoxical, but they are together everywhere in Scripture."

(And now he just sounds like God is sadistic.)

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It is interesting that he essentially says God hates us so much that the only way He could accept us is by killing His son. I have never heard anyone say it that way (without intending it as a parody). So the question is, does God really need to kill someone (anyone) in order to feel better about letting us in? Is that really what the cross was about? Aren't there some very different pictures in scripture regarding what Jesus accomplished on the cross? Aren't there some very different pictures of what God was up to in the crucifixion?