Saturday, March 31, 2007
If I Had A Link For Every...
Thank God we survived.
Perhaps the most useful thing ever invented.
Maybe so, but I bet turning it rightside out was a pain.
Hey, It's Saturday - Play a little.
Bet this guy got an A:
Tell me again, what is art?
No, that's really what it says.
I just hope they did it carefully.
Then what happened?
Related Tags: joke, humor, sarcasm, wisecrack
Comics are reflective of society, almost always, and Joanie Swift is a fine example of that. She accidentally discovered Johnny Quick's secret formula and gained her powers. So why the blatant rip-off? - you might ask. Well, at the time family life predominated society and society's view of itself. The sidekick phenomena that we have looked at before lead to a trend where some super-heros had whole "families." There were, in the '60's and earlier, titles like "The Batman Family" or "The Superman Family" and Captain Marvel also has a whole legion of "family" members.
One of the reasons I am fascinated with the speedsters to this day is that it is one of the few titles to retain that "family" tradition. Even speedsters unrelated by blood band together into kind of a family unit. Admittedly it is a broken and untraditional family, but at least they try. Batman also has hangers-on, but they are so dysfunctional as to challenge the adjective.
Besides - how can you argue with a lady who has a waist that preternaturally thin. She has got to be wearing a corset. Now there is a super-power, super speed running in a corset!
Related Tags: comics, comic books, comic art, speedsters, Flash, family, Joanie Swift, Johnny Quick
Friday, March 30, 2007
Networking - Excellent! But...
DAW: Well, Hugh, my sincere hope is that one day, we all have to make that choice that Ulysses makes. Let me give you White’s crackpot theory. I’ve been putting out this crackpot theory for a long while, everybody thinks I’m nuts, but with each passing day, I believe it more and more. And it’s simply this. We, as a society, as a world, have become totally dependent on these machines. From the refrigerators to the computers to the televisions to the microwaves, you name it, and it all depends on one thing, and that is electricity. And I am absolutely convinced the day is coming soon, how I couldn’t tell you, when I couldn’t tell you, the power’s going out. And when the power goes out, we’ll then find out what is in people, and how they are able to deal as human beings in a simple world, when all the toys and gadgets are taken away. I’m uneasy, but I think in terms of basic survival, it’ll be a grand time, and farming will be essential if people are going to eat, and we’ll get back to the basics.In the end, both David and John Mark have a point here. I agree with John Mark, technology is technology, it is to be feared and/or embraced - people make it bad or people make it good. But I also agree with David, people are formed by how they communicate and with whom they communicate. My bottom line is this, using the Internet, we have figured out how to inform, but not to form. Using the internet we can teach, but we cannot mentor, we can preach, but we cannot disciple.
HH: Well, Frank Gaffney calls it the Electro-Magnetic Pulse. It’s the EMP weapon, so you should consult with him. He’s worried about it, too, David. Now…but put that aside. I want to get to the other one, which is given that the seven deadly sins…my friend once told me that the Devil arranged for the collapse of the Berlin Wall, because he was doing better on our side. And given that all of the seven deadly sins are certainly accelerated on the internet, and I mean them all, doesn’t that necessarily mean, John Mark Reynolds, that more souls are in more peril than ever before?
JMR: More souls are in more peril than ever before, because more souls exist. But no, exactly the opposite is true, because anything is really good, because if it exists, it’s good. It can only be twisted by the Devil. So all this information, all this sea of creativity, is fundamentally, at the deepest level, a reflection of the image of God in people. And the Devil may twist it, he may break it, he may try to use it to corrupt us, but in the end, this fundamental crying out towards God, this fundamental cry of existence, will cause it to be a more positive thing in aggregate than a negative. You know what? People have been predicting the end of the world and the fall of the West based on technology for 150-200 years now. But I would rather be alive today, with the problems we have today, than in 1950, or in 1920. I’d rather be facing the problems we face, and they are great and mighty, than facing the problems that faced the United States in the 20’s and 50’s. Our best days are ahead of us, Hugh.
Jesus ministry was to, in part, change the focus of His people, formerly the Jews and now the church, from informing, teaching and preaching, to forming, mentoring and discipling. The Word became flesh.
There is indeed a need for information management in the church, and all this new technology is wonderful for that. But it cannot in any way change the fundamental mission of the church, nor can it substitute for the hard, fleshy, personal work of transforming people's lives.
How should a church use technology? That depends very much on the church. If the church is active, forming, mentoring and discipling, then I think that church can embrace the technolgy and use it as the tool it is intended to be. But if your church is not doing those things, then the technology will just be another way to avoid them.
Related Tags: church, social networking technology, forming, mentoring, discipling
A Link In The Hand...
If you understand why this headline is funny, you're old.
Winston Churchill was right - two people separated by a common language.
Disney in in the toilet.
While the Scots know precisely what to do. Although I am fairly sure this is not it:
Reality TV in space?
Yeah and now they will have the coldest April in history.
How did the student know?
Related Tags: joke, humor, sarcasm, wisecrack
Related Tags: humor, Friday Humor, joke, video, corn
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Let's Staff Up!
- Because it doesn’t make sense to build a church around a personality.
- Because there are no supermen(women). No one pastor has all the gifts.
- Because isolated pastors can become blinded to their own lacks and get tunnel vision and become egomanical.
- Because pastors cannot lead alone.
- Because pastors benefit from being bi-vocational.
- Because it models the diversity and interrelatedness of the Body.
- Because it keeps pastors from becoming fake images which inevitably leads to moral failure and/or disappointment.
- Because it is hard for pastors to foster servanthood when they are put on a pedestal separated from the people.
- In summary, because the senior pastor position is an impossible position to live up to.
I canot help but reflect on the fact that all of those are based on a gross misunderstanding of the office of pastor, the organization of the church, and leadership.
We are talking pastor here, not guru. It is as simple as that. No one ever intended the pastor to be all that these points seem to insist he/she should be - which brings me to my second point - the organization of the church.
This sort of vision for what a pastor should be comes out of the assumption that the church is a service provider to the congregation, that somehow the church and the congregation are separate entities, and yet that is not the biblical model for the church. Scripturally, the church IS the congregation.
I think that part of the reason this service provider model has developed is because it has been increasingly difficult for pastors to get laymen to take the kinds of leadership roles so clearly intended for them. What that tells me is that pastors don't understand leadership very well, they can't do it and they can't train others to do it.
Providing a service in the form of some program, curriculum, or some such is a mechanical activity. Secure materials, location, promote, teach, NEXT! Leadership is a very different thing - it is far more than simply turning the wheels of activity. Leadership envisions, it motivates, it inspires, and it transforms.
Managing things is very different from leading. These points put the pastor in the role of manager, not leader. It's about mechanics, not transformation.
How much time do you think Jesus spent teaching the Apostles organizational skills?
Related Tags: leadership, pastors, management, model, the church
Illuminated Scripture - Artist's Choice
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture, Illustrated Scripture, Computer paintbox and texture
A Link Is Born Every Minute
Buckyball danger? Like most chemical dangers, exaggerated, but you are talking one of the most complex synthesis is chemical history, which means it won't be plentiful anytime soon. A chemical has to be plentiful to be a problem, so why is this work being done? Because Buckyballs are cool and therefore easily funded. There is a lesson in there.
Relatedly, there was a good editorial in the WSJ (subscription required):
Democrats in Congress have packed $20 billion of pork into the Iraq war spending bill, so why not lard on an all-politics solution to securing the nation's chemical facilities.What, precisely, was he doing?
"Toxic" chemicals, as aficionados of endless political crusades know, have been a target of the environmental left for decades. After 9/11, they saw an opportunity. They've argued that the path to chemical security lies in requiring the industry to use "inherently safer technologies." Guess what "inherently safer" means: Banning some chemicals or requiring substitutes.
The substances greens consider most "unsafe" happen to be the ones they've been trying to eliminate for years, for reasons having nothing to do with terrorists. Inconveniently, most of these chemicals, such as chlorine, serve vital public-health purposes and have no substitutes. Opposed to this one-size-fits-all mandate for an entire industry stands the Department of Homeland Security. Late last year it issued broad draft regulations that laid out stringent standards for chemical-plant security, but gave companies flexibility to decide how to meet those standards.
Let's hope Senate Republicans get these chemical provisions excised from the final war-spending bill. Homeland Security is within two weeks of issuing its final rules. Throwing a monkeywrench now will merely guarantee more years of wrangling over chemical security rules that should have been settled long ago. If greens and Democrats want to rid the world of chemicals for environmental reasons, then engage in an open debate about the pros and cons rather than waving "terror" as a ruse.
And we think we are out of TV production ideas?!
I don't get it?
A pressing matter of great national import.
...a serious issue involving flatulence in cows. I could not possibly think of anything funnier that that phrase.
And probably won't remember.
Because I'm beautiful on the inside?
Quantum weirdness is cool.
Obviously the work of a super-villian.
Related Tags: socialism, enviromentalism, science funding, terrorism, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Cussin' and Fightin' and Carryin' On
But I do think there are bigger fish to fry here. In fact, I don't even know what Piper preached on at Passion07 and that's a shame. It's my own fault for not looking deeper to find out what he preached on, but I bet the content of the message as a whole would be a better topic of discussion than the one word that offended some.I am reminded of a speech I heard Mike Yaconelli give years and years ago. Mike told a story about a young, never-been-to-church-before woman that came to worship one Sunday in desperate need. When it came time for the congregation to share their prayer concerns, the young women stood up and said, near tears, "I appreciate your caring about me - I had a really shitty week."
Anybody with any common sense knows what happened next...and no, it wasn't that someone reached out and comforted this poor desperate soul. Needless to say she was ostracized for daring to use such a word in a church service. Anybody besides me feel the need to turn over a few moneychangers tables about now?
One of my mentors in Young Life contended that in some settings the absence of cursing created a cultural barrier that inhibited the transmission of the gospel message. Now. of course, the Lord's name was never misused and sexual reference was avoided, but words that were merely impolite, words that he argued had, in those cultural contexts, been robbed of heat and overused to the point of being punctuation, were fair game.
Legalism is an ugly, ugly thing. Wasn't that the very heart and soul of Christ's ministry? Some, like Judas, expressed regret that Christ did not come to overturn Rome. That's because He did come to overturn the ridiculous legalism that had grown up within the ecclesiastical confines of His chosen race.
Jesus hung with prostitutes, and I am willing to bet you when one of them told Him about their shitty weeks, He did not banish them from His presence. I'll even bet you He was willing to respond with words like, "How shitty was it?"
My heart hurts when I see us stand in the way of God's good work with our own pettiness. David is pretty polite about it when he says
I also think this sends a bad message to anyone who stumbles on discussions like this who are considering the Christian faith. I can imagine someone seeing this stuff and thinking, "my goodness, if I ever embrace the Christian faith and have a little slip of the tongue I'll probably get hammered for it - no thanks!" I doubt they would be impressed with our convictions and our spirituality, nor do I think this would entice them toward the faith.Sometimes I wonder if we operating in God's name are not His biggest enemies.
Related Tags: cussing, ministry, gospel, words, legalism
You'll Never Link Alone
Would that I had time to dig into this. It is becoming apparent that Environmental fascists will stoop to anything, and since cattle rearing is linked to global warming - I just have feeling about who is behind this.
Fall down funny news story of the week.
State legislatures - serious institutions doing serious work.
There is lonely and then there is this.
Here's a monster movie in the making, brought to you int he glory of smell-o-vision. Here's the plot, it'll mix with this stuff, a little radioactivity, some music be Peter, Paul, and Mary, and voila' instant bad monster in the breeze.
There is a certain perverse delight in this story.
The stuff of comic books come to life.
What a pig.
It's where The Watcher stands.
Call me when it eats a dog, then I'll be impressed.
Usually he is condemend for vigilantism.
Some dogs have all the luck.
Wimps, total and complete wimps 150hp!?!?! - I've seen lawnmowers with more. Give me a break.
Related Tags: Hugh Hewitt, global warming, beef, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
One of the phenomena of human existence that has always fascinated me is our response to human density. It seems, the more crowded someplace is, the less civil. Also, in places like amuzement parks it seems like the more crowded, the more we stick to just the group we came with. In precisely those situations that require the greatest amounts of human cooperation, the less likely it is we will communicate with one another and build that cooperation. I can think of no more obvious evidence of our sinful nature than that one.
In the church, we see the anonimity of the mega-church draw people, the size allowing people to avoid actual relationships. A while back, my wife and I needed "a breather" from our church - just someplace we could visit every now and then for a different perspective and to escape the pressure of a church where we were very active. There was one where we really enjoyed the worship service and especially the preaching, but we never went back. It was so small, that we stuck out like a sore thumb. We were looking for someplace where we could sit and enjoy, but the stream of people wanting to shake our hands and encourage us to come back next week made that nearly impossible.
The desire for life in isolation like this is, in the end, just a reflection of selfishness. What would have happened if the apostles had chosen a monastic response to Christ rather than a relational one?
Sometimes all this causes me to wonder about Godblogging. It is so easy to sit at home - alone - and write. But the only time I have ever seen blogging really accomplish something is in the conext of relationship. Meetings, group blogs, telephone conferences. These make blogging useful; otherwise, I wonder if it is not just another form of self-absorption?
Related Tags: relationship, ministry, blogging, church
When You're A Link, You're A Link All The Way
Oh no, the government is always good and would never engage in extortion.
Capitalism at play. (HT: BHT) Is anybody besides me saddened that it is mostly movie-talk, not book-talk?
Because it will make Mrs. Blogotional very happy.
Poor kids, they'll be poked and proded for the rest of their lives. I mean we know what happens.
Is this a trail YOU want to follow?
Manna from a bus?
There are wine snobs, and then....
This is much better than this. I mean lasers are cool, but instant is for amatuers.
For some reason, they turned me down.
Wouldn't it be better to hunt them for Christmas dinner?
Doug F. Deer strikes.
They were chasing small children into an industrial kitchen.
Fascinating. They called one John and the other Talbot.
Is there a pot 'o gold in the tail?
But can you eat the houses?
Adn when it comes to this blog, they are probabaly right.
Related Tags: church split, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Monday, March 26, 2007
Christians do not have to force themselves to church when church is just flat out wrong. There is nothing that hurts me more than the wounds I have suffered at the hands of the church and the far worse wounds that many others have suffered from the same source. I have much sympathy for the idea that the church has done as much harm as it has good.
I've met Mark, he is a good man, and nothing condemnatory I write here applies to him.
Because of my sympathy exrpressed above, I always have a hard time when clergy talks about the necessity of supporting the church, believing the genuiness of their motives. Are they motivated by true conviction or the need to maintain thier paycheck/power or other self-interest? I spend much time in deep prayer on that fact, greatly saddened both and my cynicism and that conditons exist that justify it.
So how can a church and its representative clergy get through my cynicism? Well, as I have said, lecturing me on the necessity of going to church is not going to do the job. What I usually look for is confession, its attendant humility, and sincere effort to lead the church towards the holiness it is supposed to exemplify.
The church as an instituion and it clerical representatives needs to become very, very comfortable with the words, "I was wrong."
In the age of the "already/not yet" we will not achieve the perfection God intends for us. Thus confession has its so vital role. This is a difficult problem for clergy as leadership often demands the appearance of rightness. But we must remember that in our faith context rightness comes from confession - it is our strength, not our weakness.
I grant such an apporach to leadership may in fact limit our worldly impact, but I think it will add to the Kingdom in ways we cannot imagine.
Cross-posted at How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church.
Related Tags: church, church-going, confession, cynicism, strength, leadership
I Linka You, And You Linka Me
But leave it to Instapundit to find the most disgusting display in the history of "peace protests" via Pajamaa Media. It was the usual cliche' for a while, but then.... Such people require no refutation, they disqualify themselves.
Amy Ridenour is presented some of last week's congrssional global warming testimony that you did not hear about in all the hub-bub about the Goracle. Part One -- Part Two.
I have seen the future and it is TMNT. The Turtles have shed the childishness and become bona fide action heroes. That still makes this a superhero movie and therefore not exactly deep, but quite enjoyable. Most notable; however, was the CGI animation. They managed to do in this film what has never been done before - make the true comic image come to life. The costume changes in most superhero movies are mandated because seeing people in spandex just doesn't cut it, but this technology could get past that limitation. I cannot wait to see Wolverine in spandex, not leather.
Looking for that "special something" for that bare corner in the living room?
"Special toilet guide has become a new profession in Wuhan" I would say that the bar for what qualifies as a "profession" has lowered considerably in China. How many years does that "toilet guide" degree take?
Don't you think we should let the chimps tell us?
Could this story be at all related to this one?
Related Tags: Iraq, Congrssional funding, peace protesters, TMNT, joke, humor, sarcasm, wisecrack
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The Kingdon of Heaven Is Link a...
Fascinating. And yet, there appears to be a meme building.
Does conversion count when you are just plain blotto? In my youth I had many "spiritual conversations" after a few; they were pointless.
Anyway, this must be what it is like to hear a sermon by John Brown.
I'm jealous - Monterey is nice, but live jazz is the best!
Yeah, but what's the fun without betting? I can just see all those little elementary school kids throwing doen PB&J's.... But there are inherent dangers of another sort.
Is Amazon the new Neiman-Marcus? (HT: Instapundit)
Related Tags: Europe, church, pulpit puns, joke, humor, sarcasm, wisecrack
Sermons and Lessons
George Campbell Morgan, Congregational divine and preacher, was born in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England, in 1863, and was educated at the Douglas School, Cheltenhani. He worked as a lay-mission preacher for the two years ending 1888, and was ordained to the ministry in the following year, when he took charge of the Congregational Church at Stone, Staffordshire. After occupying the pulpit in several pastorates (including four years in America), in 1904 he became pastor of the Westminster Congregational Chapel, Buckingham Gate, London, a position which he held until 1917. Besides being highly successful as a pulpit orator, Dr. Morgan has published many works of a religious character, among which may be enumerated: “God’s Methods with Man,” “The Spirit of God,” “The Crises of the Christ,” “The Practice of Prayer,” and “The Analyzed Bible.”
Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the son of man, then shall ye know that 1 am he, and that 1 do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me; he hath not left me alone; for I do always the thing8 that are pleasing to him. As he spake these things, many believed on him. - John 8:28-30.
The Master, you will see, in this verse lays before us three things. First of all, He gives us the perfect ideal of human life in a short phrase, and that comes at the end, “the things that please him.” Those are the things that create perfect human life, living in the realm of which man realizes perfectly all the possibilities of his wondrous being – “the things that please him.” So I say, in this phrase, the Master reveals to us the perfect ideal of our lives. Then, in the second place, the Master lays claim - one of the most stupendous claims that He ever made - that He utterly, absolutely, realizes that ideal. He says, “I do always the things that please him.” And then, thirdly, we have the revelation of the secret by which He has been able to realize the ideal, to make the abstract concrete, to bring down the fair vision of divine purpose to the level of actual human life and experience, and the secret is declared in the opening words: “He that sent me is with me; my Father hath not left me alone.”
The perfect ideal for my life, then, is that I live always in the realm of the things that please God; and the secret by which I may do so is here unfolded - by living in perpetual, unbroken communion with God: communion with which I do not permit anything to interfere. Then it shall be possible for me to pass into this high realms of actual realization.
It is important that we should remind ourselves in a few sentences that the Lord has indeed stated the highest possible ideal for human life in these words: “The things that please him.” Oh, the godlessness of men! The godlessness that is to be found on every hand! The godlessness of the men and women that are called by the name of God! How tragic, how sad, how awful it is! because godlessness is always not merely an act of rebellion against God, but a falling short in our own lives of their highest and most glorious possibilities.
Here is my life. Now, the highest realm for me is the realm where all my thoughts, and all my deeds, and all my methods, and everything in my life please God. That is the highest realm, because God only knows what I am; only perfectly understands the possibilities of my nature, and all the great reaches of my being. You remember those lines that Tennyson sang - very beautifully, I always think:
Flower in the crannied wall,Beautiful confession! Absolutely true. I hold that flower in my band, and I look at it, flower and leaves and stem and root. I can botanize it, and then I tear it to pieces - that is what the botanist mostly does - and you put some part of it there, and some part of it there, and some part of it there. There is the root, there the stem, and there are the leaves, and there is everything; but where is the flower gone? How did it go? When did it go? Why, when you ruthlessly tore it to bits. But how did you destroy it? You interfered with the principle that made it what it was—you interfered with the principle of life. What is life? No man can tell you. “If I could but know what you are, little flower, root and all, and all in all,” I would know what life is, what God is, what man is. I can not.
I pluck you out of the crannies; - Hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little Flower—but if I could understand
What you art, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.
Now, if you lift that little parable of the flower into the highest realm of animal life, and speak of yourself - we don‘t know ourselves; down in my nature there are reaches that I have not fathomed yet. They are coming up every day. What a blest thing it is to have the Master at hand, to hand them over to Him as they come up, and say, “Lord, here is another piece of Thy territory; govern it; I don’t know anything about it.” But there is the business. I don’t know myself, but God knows me, understands all the complex relationships of my life, knows how matter affects mind, and physical and mental and spiritual are blended in one in the high ideal of humanity. Oh, remember, man is the crowning and most glorious work of God of which we know anything as yet. And God only knows man.
But here is a Man that stands amid His enemies, and He looks out upon His enemies, and He says, “I do the things that please him" - not “I teach them,” not “I dream them,” not “I have seen them in a fair vision,” but “I do them.” There never was a bigger claim from the lips of the Master than that: “I do always the things that please him.”
You would not thank me to insult your Christian experience, upon whatever level you live it, by attempting to define that statement of Christ. History has vindicated it. We believe it with all our hearts - that He always did the things that pleased God. But I have got on to a level that I can touch now. The great ideal has come from the air to the earth. The fair vision has become concrete in a Man. Now, I want to see that Man; and if I see that Man I shall see in Him a revelation of what God’s purpose is for men, and I shall see, therefore, a revelation of what the highest possibility of life is. Now this is a tempting theme. It is a temptation to begin to contrast Him with popular ideals of life. I want to see Him; I want, if I can, to catch the notes of the music that make up the perfect harmony which was the dropping of a song out of God’s heaven upon man’s earth, that man might catch the key-note of it and make music in his own life. What are the things in this Man’s life? He says: “I have realized the ideal - I do.” There are four things that I want to say about Him, four notes in the music of His life.
First, spirituality. That is one of the words that needs redeeming from abuse. He was the embodiment of the spiritual ideal in life. He was spiritual in the. high, true, full, broad, blest sense of that word.
It may be well for a moment to note what spirituality did not mean in the life of Jesus Christ. It did not mean asceticism. During all the years of His ministry, during all the years of His teaching, you never find a single instance in which Jesus Christ made a whip of cords to scourge Himself. And all that business of scourging oneself - an attempt to elevate the spirit by the ruin of the actual flesh - is absolutely opposed to His view of life. Jesus Christ did not deny Himself. The fact of His life was this - that He touched everything familiarly. He went into all the relationship of life. He went to the widow. He took up the children and held them in His arms, and looked into their eyes till heaven was poured in as He looked. He didn’t go and get behind walls somewhere. He didn’t get away and say: “Now, if I am going to get pure I shall do it by shutting men out.” You remember what the Pharisees said of Him once. They said: “This man receiveth sinners.” You know how they said it. They meant to say: “We did hope that we should make something out of this new man, but we are quite disappointed. He receives sinners.”
And what did they mean? They meant what you have so often said: “You can’t touch pitch without being defiled.” But this Man sat down with the publican and He didn’t take on any defilement from the publi¬can. On the other hand, He gave the publican His purity in the life of Jesus Christ. Things worked the other way. He was the great negative of God to the very law of evil that you have - evil contaminates good. If you will put on a plate one apple that is getting bad among twelve others that are pure, the bad one will influence the others. Christ came to drive, back every force of disease and every force of evil by this strong purity of His own person, and He said: “I will go among the bad and make them good.” That is what He was doing the whole way through. So His spirituality was not asceticism. And if you are going to be so spiritual that you see no beauty in the flowers and hear no music in the song of the birds; if the life which you pass into when you consent to the crucifixion of self does not open to you the very gates of God, and make the singing of the birds and the blossoming of the flowers infinitely more beautiful, you have never seen Jesus yet.
What was His spirituality? The spirituality of Jesus Christ was a concrete realization of a great truth which He laid down in His own beatitudes. What was that? “Blest are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Now, the trouble is we have been lifting all the good things of God and putting them in heaven. And I don’t wonder that you sing:
My willing soul would stayNo wonder you want to sing yourself away to everlasting bliss, because everything that is worth having you have put up there. But Jesus said: “Blest are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” If you are pure you will see Him everywhere - in the flower that blooms, in the march of history, in the sorrows of men, above the darkness of the darkest cloud; and you will know that God is in the field when He is most invisible.
In such a frame as this,
And sit and sing itself away
To everlasting bliss.
Second, subjection. The next note in the music of His life is His absolute subjection to God. You can very often tell the great philosophies which are governing human lives by the little catchwords that slip off men’s tongues: “Well, I thank God I am my own master.” That is your trouble, man. It is because you are your own master that you are in danger of hell. A man says: “Can’t I do as I like with my own I” You have got no “own” to do what you like with. It is because men have forgotten the covenant of God, the kingship of God, that we have all the wreckage and ruin that bights this poor earth of ours. Here is the Man who never forgot it.
Did you notice those wonderful words: “I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I speak.” He neither did nor spoke anything of Himself. It was a wonderful life. He stood forevermore between the next moment and heaven. And the Father’s voice said, “Do this,” and He said “Amen, I came to do thy will,” and did it. And the Father’s voice said, “Speak these words to men,” and He, “Amen,” and He spoke.
You say: “That is just what I do not want to do.” I know that. We want to be independent; have our own way. “The things that please God - this Man was subject to the divine will.” You know the two words - if you can learn to say them, not like a parrot, not glibly, but out of your heart - the two words that will help you “Halleluiah” and “Amen.” You can say them in Welsh or any language you like; they are always the same. When the next dispensation of God‘s dealings faces you look at it and say: “Halleluiah! Praise God! Amen!” That means, “I agree.”
Third, sympathy. Now, you have this Man turned toward other men. We have seen something of Him as He faced God: Spirituality, a sense of God; subjection, a perpetual amen to the divine volition. Now, He faces the crowd. Sympathy! Why? Because He is right with God, He is right with men; because He feels God near, and knows Him, and responds to the divine will; therefore, when He faces men He is right toward men. The settlement of every social problem you have in this country and in my own land, the settlement of the whole business, will be found in the return of man to God. Wheu man gets back to God he gets back to men. What is behind it? Sympathy is the power of putting my spirit outside my personality, into the circumstances of another man, and feeling as that man feels.
I take one picture as an illustration of this. I see the Master approaching the city of Nain, and around Him His disciples. He is coming up. And I see outside the city of Nain, coming toward the gate a man carried by others, dead, and walking by that bier a mother. Now, all I want you to look at is that woman’s face, and, looking into her face, see all the anguish of those circumstances. She is a widow, and that is her boy, her only boy, and be is dead. Man can not talk about this. You have got to be in the house to know what that means. But look at her face - there it is. All the sorrow is on her face. You can see it.
Now, turn from her quickly and look into the face of Christ. Why, I look into His face - there is her face. He is feeling all she is feeling; He is down in her sorrow with her; He has got underneath the burden, and He is feeling all the agony that that woman feels because her boy is dead. He is moved with compassion whenever human sorrow crosses His vision and human need approaches Him. And now I see Him moving toward the bier. I see Him as He touches it. And He takes the .boy back and gives him to his mother. Do you see in you mountain a cloud, so somber and sad, and suddenly the sun comes from behind the cloud, and all the mountain-side laughs with gladness? That is that woman’s face. The agony is cone. The tear that remains there is gilded with a smile, and joy is on her face. Look at Him. There it is. He is in her joy now. He is having as good a time as the woman. He has carried her grief and her sorrow. He has given her joy. And it is His joy that He has given to her. He is with her in her joy.
Wonderful sympathy! Ire went about gathering human sorrow into His own heart, scattering His joy, and having fellowship in agony and in deliverance, in tears and in their wiping away. Great, sympathetic soul! Why? Because He always lived with God, and, living with God, the divine love moved Him with compassion. Ah, believe me, our sorrows are more felt in heaven than on earth. And we had that glimpse of that eternal love in this Man, who did the things that pleased God, and manifested such wondrous sympathy.
Fourth, strength. The last note is that of strength. You talk about the weakness of Jesus, the frailty of Jesus. I tell you, there never was any one so strong as He. And if you will take the pains of reading His life with that in mind you will find it was one tremendous march of triumph against all opposing forces. About His dying - how did He die? “At last, at last,” says the man in his study that does not know anything about Jesus; “at last His enemies became too much for Him, and they killed Him.” Nothing of the sort. That is a very superficial reading. What is the truth? Hear it from His own lips: “No man taketh my life from me. I lay~ it down of myself. And if I lay it down I have authority to take it again.” What do you think of that? How does that touch you as a revelation of magnificence in strength? And then, look at Him, when He comes back from the tomb, having fulfilled that which was either an empty boast or a great fact - thank God, we believe it was a great fact! Now He stands upon the mountain, with this handful of men around Him, His disciples, and He is going away from them. “All authority,” He says, “is given unto me. I am king not merely by an office conferred, but by a triumph won. I am king, for I have faced the enemies of the race - sin and sorrow and ignorance and death - and my foot is upon the neck of every one. All authority is given to me.”
Oh, the strength of this Man! Where did He get it? “My Father bath not left me alone. I have lived with God. I have walked with God. I always knew him near. I always responded to his will. And my heart went out in sympathy to others, and I mastered the enemies of those with whom I sympathized. And I come to the end and I say, All authority is given to me.” Oh, my brother, that is the pattern for you and for me! Ah, that is life! That is the ideal! Oh, how can I fulfil it? I am not going to talk about that. Let me only give you this sentence to finish with. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” If Christ be in me by the power of the Spirit, He will keep me conscious of God’s nearness to me. If Christ be in me by the consciousness of the spirit reigning and governing, He will take my will from day to day, blend it with His, and take away all that makes it hard to say, “God‘s will be done.”
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