Month: December 2009

Even Thor Owns an iPod

This is a comic I purchased recently and I find it completely erroneous. This is Thor an Asgardian God of Thunder listening to an iPod. Yes, they are everywhere evidently. However the message the illustrator, Marko Djurdjevic portrays is epic. We have here the image of a god that is leaving his people, leaving the world he knows and entering into a new one. However, this is not what Paul has in mind. God doesnʼt leave us in our suffering. God joins us in our suffering, he yells right beside us as it is evident by his actions on the cross. Our sufferings bring us solidarity with Christ. To be in Christ, then, is to possess what is often spoke of as full salvation: everything necessary to our past, present, future and eternal welfare has been secured for us by the action of God in Christ and is stored up in Christ for us to share and enjoy. But, it is not only benefits and blessings that are in Christ; we are in Him ourselves.

Jurgen Moltmann and many others that continued his theological thoughts within the Emergent Church have adapted what they call a hope filled eschatology. Meaning it was good news when Jesus came the first time, and it will be good news when he comes again. Moltmann echos Paulʼs hope in his greeting when he wrote about Auschwitz.

“…Like the cross of Christ, even Auschwitz is in God himself. Even Auschwitz is taken up into the grief of the father, the surrender of the Son and the power of the Spirit… As Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, only with the resurrection of the dead, the murdered and the gassed, only with the healing of those in despair who bear lifelong wounds, only with the abolition of all rule and authority, only with the annihilation of death will the Son hand over the kingdom to the father. Then God will turn his sorrow into eternal joy… God in Auschwitz and Auschwitz in the crucified God – that is the basis for a real hope which both embraces and overcomes the world, and the ground for a love which is stronger than death and can sustain death.”

1 Cor. 15 from The Message says this,

“If corpses canʼt be raised, then Christ wasnʼt, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ werenʼt raised, then all youʼre doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. Itʼs even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because theyʼre already in their graves. If all we get out out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, weʼre a pretty sorry lot. But, the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.”

The hope of the resurrection sees a future for those who have past, and those that are living in the present can gain courage for the future. It is because of this abundant hope of overcoming death, our little hope for the future, better times can strength, and do not fall victim to doubt and cynicism. In the midst of a culture filled with anxiety and doubt, we hope and do not give ourselves up to despair.

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Servanthood and Paul

Verse One, Paul and Timothy servants of Christ Jesus… wait servants of Christ Jesus is a little bit of an odd greeting.

What do they mean by servants?

Isnʼt the term “Servant” negative in connotation?

The only servant that I could think of well writing this is Alfred Pennyworth. The trusted butler to the one and only Bruce Wayne. keeper of the Wayne household even before little Brucey was potty trained. Well taken care of by billionaire Bruce Wayne and at most times the sole confidant Alfred was, to Master Bruce. Actually this is not the only servant that I could think of after this summer. The children in Uganda are all to aware of the strife contained in being servants. These children are taken in the night to fight in a war that has drastically changed their culture. These are the Invisible Children of Uganda and if you ever want to know more just come chat with me anytime.

But, why does Paul insert this negative image in a greeting? It seems as if Paul is already letting the people of Philipi and the reader aware of a couple of major themes to his letter, First there is an attack being made on the church, which leads into the second theme of the hope of a better day. Very applicable to the Invisible Children and any other servants out there. A hope of change, a hope of unity and a hope of a future.

The image I think of when I hear the term servant is suffering. The importance in the greeting is not found in the word “servant”, but how Paul finishes the greeting. He addresses the people of Philipi not as Philippians, as he does in chapter four, but instead he calls them saints … in essence he is calling them Christians. Yet again though, the importance is not in the title it is in the thought of the greeting. Paul is getting at the very centre of Christian belief, there is creativity, meaning, and hope in the fulfillment of suffering.

Notes From the Field – Part 1d

Session 4 – Tom Davis

  • Children’s HopeChest
  • Author of Fields of the Fatherless and Red Letters
  • James 1:27
    • 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
      • God has a heart and a passion for the poor
      • There are over 200 verses about the “fatherless”
      • If this is such a predominant characteristic in God, than why do we as little Christ’s struggle with such awkwardness in the presence of the fatherless
  • Those in the church spend a lot of time talking about what we are saved from, but what about doing what we are saved for
  • We see our lives through various lenses
    • These are our experiences
    • What are God’s lenses?
      • Does God like what he sees when he “wakes” up every morning?
  • For instance, there is only a five dollar difference between life and death when it comes to maleria
  • Amos Chapter Five talks about what has gone wrong in the world
    • Amos 5:21-24
      • 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24But let justice roll down  like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
        • God wants Justice and Fairness in the world
  • “One of the easiest places to hide from God is in religion”
    • We become luke-warm, comfortable, forgettable Christians
    • It becomes all about me, and not about God and His will
    • God is to be given the best, not the easiest
  • Edmond Burke quote – In the book Red Letters
    • “the definition of evil in the world is when good men and women see injustice and do nothing.”
  • Luke 10:25
    • The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

    • We already know the answer to obtaining eternal life (v.25)
      • 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
    • However, he tries to justify himself (v.29)
      • 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
      • The great BUT statements of our lives (But, I…)
      • This parable is Jesus telling us how to live heaven on earth. In essence he is telling us that we are “Sons and Daughters of God”
        • Our goal is to change all of eternity b/c of our actions
          • B/c of the parable we are capable of using our influence, integrity and experiences as Sons and Daughters to create such change
          • We are children of royalty
  • In order to reflect a loving God we need to love others
  • In the parable “The Priest and Worship Leader” (Levite) pass by the Samaritan
    • What is Jesus trying to tell us about church leadership?
    • What does this say about being people of influence?
  • Mark Chapter One
    • Jesus is deeply moved by compassion
  • When we read nothing but the Red Letters of the Bible, we are witnessing great compassion at work
  • God is able to see that there is more wrong in the world than what our eyes will allow
    • When we show up somewhere, we are no longer alone b/c of the compassion of God
  • 70% of Russian orphans kicked out of the orphanages when they turn 16-17 end up in prostitution (females)
  • God is able to become a “father to the fatherless” through his people
  • Psalm 68 – Father to the Fatherless
    • 4Sing to God sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD exult before him! 5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 7O God, when you went out before your people,when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
      • If God cares that much, shouldn’t we
  • We were created to live out crazy adventures
    • Jesus was a revolutionary Messiah – should we not try to be agents of change for our own earthly revolutions?
  • Jesus loved the poor so much he hid himself among them.
    • We should strive to do just that, Love Jesus so much that we hide in Him

The Prophet – Alexander Pushkin

The Prophet

Alexander Pushkin

Through dark, athirst in soul and heart,

I roamed a desert in a daze

And where the pathways cross and part

I saw a six-winged Seraph blaze.

With moving Fingers soft as sleep

He brushed my eyes and they grew deep

Until they gaped with Prophecy

And saw as startled eagles see.

He brushed my ears wherein he poured

The noise of every thing that roared:

I heard the shudder of the sky,

The whir of angel hosts on high,

The stir of beasts below the sea

The vines that burgeoned round the Tree,

And, leaning to my lips, he wrung

From out of them my sinful tongue

Pitted with guile and perfidy;

And his Right Hand where blood was wet

Parted my palsied lips and set

A sapient Serpent’s sting in me,

And with a blade he slit my chest,

My quaking heart thereout he reft

And in the cleft within my breast

A coal alive with flame he left.

Then in the desert I was dead

Till God called unto me and said:

“Arise O Prophet! Hark to Me!

Go forth imbued with My desire

And take My Word by land and sea

To set the heart of Man afire.”

Notes From The Field: Part 1c

These are my personal notes from the Promise Keepers event held on the 13th and 14th of November. These are my notes and my thoughts that go along with them. They are not necessarily the thoughts of the speakers, so they should not be taken as so. This event was a fantastic, eye opening weekend that I shared with my father. Enjoy the notes and thoughts and if you have any questions feel free to comment or email me.

Thanks,

Session Three – Craig Gross

  • Founder of xxxchurch.com
  • There has been a change in the world of pornography
    • It used to be hard to obtain and see, now it is hard to avoid
    • 400 million porn sites
  • Porn isn’t real it is a reality and has no place in a healthy relationship
  • Two Truths about Porn
    • Fantasy, not reality
    • You are not alone in your struggle
  • 70 billion dollar industry
    • 12 Billion is pent on the industry which is more than the revenue for professional organized sports in North America
  • When caught in the struggle and fantasy of porn the question that needs to be asked is whether or not you are willing to fight for your family and for your relationship with God
  • “What started online has taken me offline”
    • An individual that confessed his addiction on xxxchurch
    • Online surfing only leads to even more addiction outside the comfort of home
  • Craig on what he sees when he looks at the crowds from his booth at Porn Shows
    • “These aren’t images, these are lives.”
      • The people that are in the industry are now real for Craig at the shows and he sees them with the lens of Christ
      • People broken, in pain and in most cases seeking for help
  • Best quote of the whole weekend
    • “You can’t blame the dark for being dark, you can only blame the light for being dark.”
  • “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” Bible
    • He does love Porn Stars, just not porn
      • These are children of God not images or fantasies
    • On average they give out 3-5 thousand bibles per show
  • He has never met a girl that is in the industry that says she is happy
  • Romans 7:18
    • 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
      • What holds us back in the world?
      • We begin to believe things like “I can will it, but I cannot do it.”
      • We get pulled by the influence of sin to do the opposite of Christ
  • As men if porn gets into our lives it strips us of our integrity and our word (influence)
  • Three Steps
    • 1) Step up and confess to God
      • God loves us despite our faults
      • We can’t live freely unless we are willing to die for Christ first
      • All roads to recovery begin with Jesus
    • 2) Confess to someone else
      • most confessional emails sent to xxxchurch are to the info account, not to accounts of actual people
      • They still haven’t confessed to a real person, they are still stuck in their fantasy land
      • nine out of ten conversations actually stop after they realize that it takes a real person to stop an addiction
        • They get scared off when info@xxxchurch emails them back
      • Filters found on xxxchurch.com send emails to your selected individuals to foster an accountability system
        • This allows for some light to penetrate the darkness
    • 3) Physical Removal
      • Proverbs 26:11
        • 11Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
          • Who really likes vomit that much?
      • The Bible is very clear as it tells us to flee sexual sin
      • x3pure.com (type in Canada for promo offer)
        • Process of removal and a curriculum
      • At this stage if it takes getting rid of your computer do it, cell phone, blackberry etc.
      • WHATEVER IT TAKES!
  • The message of Jesus is to unite not divide
    • This was in reference to his friendship with Ron Jeremy
    • Love the sinner hate the sin idea