Thursday, October 29, 2009


[ Do we use the Bible to justify how we view the world,
or do we let the Bible shape the way we view the world? ]
What do you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Verse(s) of the Day:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

- Romans 8:5-6

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great Quote:

Our core problem is not that we are too passionate about bad things but we are not passionate enough about good things.
~ L. Crabb.
HT: Alan Hirsch
[via: Twitter]

Monday, October 19, 2009

Who is my neighbor?

We've been talking about neighbors with the students at the church for the past few weeks. Its, for me, been an interesting conversation to think about as I've been preparing for our time together.

We started this month by looking at the passage commonly known as the story about the Good Samaritan [Luke 10]. The point we made that night, is this is not a story condemning the priest and the Levite; in this story Jesus is answering the question asked by an expert in the Law: "Who is my neighbor?" So the story is looking to get this expert to see that the Samaritan is his neighbor. Now what we don't see in our American world, is who the Samaritans were to the 1st century Jews.

To a Jew at this time, the Samaritans were not well liked people. There is record in many ancient histories that, they committed acts of terrorism in the temple of Jerusalem [i.e. scattering pig bones in the temple]. We see in the book of Nehemiah that they did everything they possibly could to destroy the Jews [so they're arch-enemies]. We read in the Gospels, the way that they dispute the Jewish claims about religion [so this has an element of a holy war] We also read in the Gospels the ways that the Jews would go out of their way to avoid all contact with the Samaritans [so they ditest each other so much they won't even have contact with each other]. So if we were to create a 21st century counterpart to the 1st century Samaritan it would be the essense of the enemies of our country [a Taliban/Nazi/Communist].

The question he is asked is really somebody wanting to clarify who they should feel obligated to love. Jesus responds with the most ridiculous possible possibility: the Samaritan. If you read the story, you'll see at the end, that this expert in the Law cannot even say "Samaritan." His response is "the one who showed love." He hates the Samaritans so much that he refuses to even say the word, "Samaritan." When asked who we're responsible to love, Jesus says: "even the one who hates you and wants to see you dead, that's who you're supposed to love."

Let's look at this at two levels:

  • personal: who do you need to see as your neighbor personally? Who is your enemy? Who do you hate? Who do you find it hard to love?
  • global: who is does our country see as our neighbors? Who is our enemy? Who do we hate? Who do we find it hard to love?

So the question today is: Who is your neighbor?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Verse of the Day:

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
[I John 4.7-12]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great Quote:

[You can murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder.]

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Great Quote:

Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man has a right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the water, and because his ruler has quarrel with mine, although I have none with him?
~Blaise Pascal


Question of the day:
[If a fly lands in the communion cup: is the fly made holy; or is the communion wine/juice tarnished?]

Why ask this question: [here]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why get up on a Sunday?

If I had to pick a day & time to have a church service, Sunday AM would not be my first choice; I'd prolly go with Thursday night. I mean, sleeping in on a Sunday morning is amazing! [there's no mystery to why so many people do it: its pretty sweet!] Of all the times and all the day, why would Christians have picked Sunday morning as a time/day to gather together? Didn't they know sleeping in on a Sunday morning is as close to heaven as some people will ever get? perhaps you know what I'm talking about?!? [when we lived in Kentucky, we attended a church that had a Saturday night service, it was awesome!]

So why Sunday? Christians talk about the Sabbath, but let's just clear something up: the Sabbath is Friday at sun-down to Saturday at sun-down. Christians gathering on Sunday has very little if nothing to do with the Jewish Sabbath. Its a completely different day. Sorry, but we don't meet on Sunday because of Sabbath.

If you read the book of John, you'll notice that John makes a small note about the specific day that Jesus is raised: he calls it, "the first day of the week." Its a very powerful metaphor [think the first week in Genesis 1; John's book is LOADED with imagery. Its so brilliant]. You see in the 1st century Jewish mind, Sunday was the first day of the week; its much like Monday is for us today. There was no concept of a weekend, Sunday was the beginning of a work week. When John says that Jesus rose on the first day of the week, he's making a statement about a new start. This event has begun a new reality, a new world, a new order is among us. He was the first to emobdy CHANGE you can believe in.

This is one of the earliest understandings of salvation, a whole new order to creation. In this reality, Christ is the center of the world. This new week is no longer ordered by the old way, but by the reality of Jesus' death and resurrection. Life not death has won. No longer must we live stuck in our evil ways. No longer is death in the lead, no! life has won. It is this reality that Christians would gather to celebrate [this is why the would begin their gatherings with the greeting, "He is Risen!"]

Now the earliest Christians would have had to work on Sunday - there was not a nice 2day weekend. If you were a Jew you took 1 day [the Friday night to Saturday night Sabbath] then you went back to work, and the Romans didn't have such a day. They still had to work on Sundays. So they would get up early, before they went to work, to worship the new reality: DEATH is dead, and Jesus Christ is alive! They met, as we do, to celebrate the beginning of a new week.

Why do we meet on Sunday mornings? Because its the first of the new week. Its a tangible [touchable/observable] image of who we are as Christians. Because of this, we wake up and celebrate, because a new week is upon us and death is dead.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Quote from Christopher Columbus

How should we respond to this quote?

"In all the world, there is no better people nor better country. They (native americans) love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and are always laughing ....They would make fine servants...With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." - Christopher Columbus

HT - Adam Strauser

Friday, October 09, 2009

Great Video: Rob Bell/Shane Hipps

I saw Shane this summer at a conference in GRAND RAPIDS, MI [the epicenter of progressive culture in the world] and thought he was absolutely awesome! I'm dying to read his book [you could buy me a copy if you're interested], and its on my wish list. [If reading this on facebook click on this link: ]

Rob Bell Interviews Shane Hipps About Technology from Deadly Viper on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Has Halloween Become Overcommercialized?

Great Quote:

The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.~Albert Camus

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Definition of church:

Here is how I would define what it means to be a church:
A revolutionary/subversive/underground community of people looking to unmask the kingdoms that are all around them as counterfeit, insisting that another, invisible/intangible/untouchable Kingdom [aka the Kingdom of God/Heaven] is real, and living in the reality of this Kingdom in the midst of the counterfeit kingdoms.

Jesus as Master:

For years and years Christians have begun talking about salvation in terms of friendship/relationship [as in 'having a personal relationship with Jesus']. We sing songs about being friends with God. We like this, because there is something inside us that wants to have a relationship with God; we're created in the image of the One who is community/relationship [Father, Son, Holy Spirit]. So while this has connected with something deep inside us, it is not the entire picture.

The problem with merely defining salvation as a personal relationship with God is that it does not leave space to talk about how we live. Personal relationships are all about connecting; they're friendships. If I have a personal relationship with God, it does not mean that I need to live my life any differently than if I did not have a personal relationship. God is not looking JUST to connect with us, he wants to change the very way we see/relate to/understand the world.

If we read the New Testament, we see that God is interested in Lordship. God is interested in how we live; actions, thoughts, & desires.

It is easy for Christians who see salvation as "Personal Relationship" to talk against lust, murder, & hate as sin; the Bible specifically says so. But this view of salvation has a hard time dealing with passages that deal with money - of course friends don't really tell each other how to spend their money [that's just not polite]. Yet, we see that in the New Testament, this seems to be a major point of conversation for the earliest Christians. God, through Jesus, is not just looking to restore a personal relationship with us; he is looking to become our Lord/Master/King.

What does it mean to have Christ as our master? Well it means he controls the way we live our life. He governs the way we think, plan, pray, dream, spend, & see. He wants to shape and form the way that see our neighbor, the way we respond to stress, and how we believe the world is being made better.

[I'd like to talk in the next few posts about ways Jesus is looking to become our Master/Lord/King]