Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bible Verses: May 27 - June 2

Thursday May 27, 2010
Read: Psalm 23.1
Think: What does a shepherd do for his/her sheep? Doesn’t a shepherd provide & protect his/her sheep? Don’t they do everything they can to make sure the sheep are ok?

Friday May 28, 2010
Read: Psalm 23.2
Think: Calm pastures and quiet waters are good places to be if you’re a sheep? Do you feel like God is taking you to good places? Do you trust God to take you to places that are good for you?

Saturday May 29, 2010
Read: Psalm 23.3
Think: What is a path of righteousness? Do you feel like your life is a life is on a path of righteousness?

Sunday May 30, 2010
Read: Psalm 23.4
Think: Do you feel like you’re walking through a dark valley?

Monday May 31, 2010
Read: Psalms 23.5
Think: “What does a table in the presence of my enemies mean to you?”

Tuesday June 1, 2010
Read: Psalm 23.6
Think: When you think about dwelling in the house of the Lord, what do you think? Is this a good place, or is this a bad place? Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing?

Wednesday June 2, 2010
Read: Psalm 23
Think: What do you think the message of this passage is? Why would David write about a shepherd? Is God your Shepherd?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kingdom of God pt 3.

In the Gospels, the accounts of the life of Jesus, we find the message of a new kingdom. A kingdom that is radically different than the kingdoms of earth. This kingdom, which is inaugurated by the ministry of Jesus is one that will change the earth. This Kingdom is last forever.

Now there is an interesting play on words that happens here. You see, in one book its called the Kingdom of Heaven in other books its called the Kingdom of God. So which is it? Well, when you begin to think about it, they're really calling it the same thing. Heaven is where God is, thus the kingdom of Heaven is really the kingdom of God. Its the kingdom of God.

Now what can we see from thinking about this. Well this kingdom is not a location. This kingdom is whereever God is - and he's everywhere - so location isn't a good way of understanding this kingdom.

If this kingdom is where God is, then perhaps its about a certain way that it works. Its a kingdom that is vastly different than the other kingdoms. This kingdom is about flow, organization, orientation, and ethics. Its a kingdom that operates by a different set of criteria.

This is why Jesus can say its like a Mustard Seed. You see mustard seeds spread like crazy. In Jesus' day, they were actually outlawed in Jerusalem. They were outlawed because they could destroy foundations, walls, and buildings. It would overtake gardens. Mustard seeds could get out of control. It talks about something that comes in and completely changes the entire make up of the area.

This kingdom is where God is. This kingdom does not have boundries. This kingdom is not about power, or about success. This kingdom is not about control. This kingdom is about being in the presence and living out the presence of God.

And may this kingdom come.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kingdom of God pt 2.

I'm reading the book The Myth of the Christian Nation, by Gregory Boyd. This is an interesting work. It came out of a sermon series he preached 5 or so years ago in which 20% of his church left.

The thesis of this book is that in the world [and especially in America] we assume that our country is blessed above all others by God, and that the role of Christians is to perserve the "Christian values" in our mainstream culture. The problem with this, Boyd argues, is that America [nor any of the other kingdoms of the world] is not inherently Christian. THUS, when talking about the Kingdom of God, we're not talking about the United States of America.

This is his reasoning. There are two types of kingdoms out there [and I'm totally paraphrasing his stuff, so if you want quotes, follow the link of the book to Amazon, but it, and read the stuff yourself]: Kingdoms which use power to control people, and Kingdoms which do not. ALL governments of this world use power to control us. Even if there are elections and we can decide the laws, those laws are then enforced by force and power. This is not the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is a place where grace rules the day. The Kingdom of God is a place where love is the greatest value. The Kingdom of God is a place where the poor are valued as much as the rich. Where the weak are look upon as blessed. This kingdom is vastly different than the kingdoms of this world. The kingdom of God is a place where the values are different. Success is not a measureing stick that is used to place judgment on anything.

Thus we need to, when thinking about the Kingdom of God, use a different set of expectations. We must understand it is something completely different something completely not of this world [John 18.36]

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Great Quote:

"Too often the price exacted by society for security and respectability is that the Christian movement in its formal expression must be on the side of the strong against the weak. This is a matter of tremendous significance, for it reveals to what exten a religion that was born of a people acquainted with persecution and suffering has become the cornerstone of a civilization and of nations whose very position in modern life too often has been secured by a ruthless use of power applied to...defenseless peoples."

-Howard Thurman
[Found in A Peculiar People pg 39 by Rodney Clapp]

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Great Quote:

War settles nothing.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower