Saturday, September 25, 2010
You name the artist edition - leave your comments
Friday, September 24, 2010
What Does Humility Look Like?
Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.Humility may be the one thing that the more you think about having it, the less you will have. The more you pursue it, the farther from it you will go.
If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
How much do other people really matter to you? I mean really matter. Not as something you have to deal with, or obstacles to your goals, or even people you politely enjoy - I mean matter - in such a fashion that what happens with them is more important than what happens to you.
Do you have people like that? Here is one thing I think for certain - the rate of failed marriages in this country has everything to do with a lack of such humility. We divorce because of what we need, often ignoring the needs of the other.
Confession - there are different kinds of humility and some of them I am pretty bad at - classic example - I slot people. I have times to be sociable and times when "I need to get stuff done." When it is time to be with people, I think I do a reasonable job of being sincerely interested and I do pray for them regularly, but when it is what I consider my time to get something done, I do no brook intrusion well at all.
But then I must ask if there are limits. There are times when I would never get done those things that have to be done. Probably it is in how I beg people's indulgence when I need to get something done.
Sometimes style matters - especially when it comes to humility.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Why Must They "Reconcile?"
D.A. Carson writes:As I read that and one more time the grace versus works discussion erupted, I asked myself, "Why do we set action and grace as opposites - or even need to reconcile them - why not just pursue both with vigor?"These things are not necessarily opposed to each other. All gifst require action and response. If my wife gives me an object d'art for some occasion, that gift must be properly displayed, it must be kept clean, maintenance of some sort may be required. Should a friend give me clothing for my birthday, it must be worn, washed, folded or hung, and generally cared for.You will not grow in the Christian life through stasis. You must move.
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
But move where? Move how?
What is "grace-driven effort" and how is it different from some other kind of religious or spiritual effort?
The gift of life given to us by Christ's death and resurrection is indeed a gift, but as any gift, it places responsibilities and burdens upon me. I have on occasion received gifts that I did not enjoy. They were stored and no action resulted from them. Is that what we think of the gift Christ gave us with His very life? Is it that unappreciated? Must we debate whether to put it into storage or to maintain it?
I find this discussion wearying becasue it creates a false dichotomy. Salvation does not result from works, but there is nothing in that statement that says the gift of salvation comes with out action - NOTHING.
It's our attitude that matters. When one uses a gift, do you think of the giver? I make an effort to. When you go through life, a life impossible without the gift of grace, think of the giver of that life. Honor Him by maintaining it well.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This passage speaks to all Christians who want to help their churches be strong and healthy. Churches can have a wide variety of foundations. Some are built on the charisma of a founding pastor. Some are based on a desire to reach people for Christ. Some are intended to represent their own denominational “flavor” in a certain area. Some are founded on authority and tradition. But 1 Corinthians 3:11 reminds us of the only solid, sure, and trustworthy foundation for every church . . . Jesus Christ, crucified and raised from the dead, the Lord and Savior.I am reminded of the hymn:
What is true for the church is equally true for each one of us. We are all tempted to build our lives on foundations other than Christ. Yet when we do, we will inevitably discover that our building begins to crumble because the foundation is inadequate. How much better to base our lives—and to live each day—intentionally resting on the grace, mercy, love, and justice of Christ!
The Church’s one foundationAnd the parable:
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."So much poured into a single metaphorical image. Must be important.
Of course, if you ask anyone that claims to be a Christian what they base their lives on, they will answer, "Jesus" - but if that were really true, the world would be a radically different place. Clearly we build foundations of something other than Christ and then try to pain it with some sort of "Jesus paint" so it looks like Him. I think that is idolatry - don't you?
SO what have you painted with Jesus Paint?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Most Bull*&^% International Environmental Initiative In History
If you are cooking on an open fire, you have bigger fish to fry than the smoke in terms of maintaining your life, nutrition and health. What?! do they think people cooking this way live in the heart of London? Sorry to tell you well intentioned, but grossly misguided souls - no electricity, no natural gas. So, raw food is it? There's a choice - lung cancer over 30 years or death next week from any one of the 1000's of disease vermin in uncooked, unprocessed food.
Stupid, stupid, stupid...
Paul chose to avoid eloquence in Corinth, but that does not mean Christians should never use persuasive arguments in presenting and defending the Gospel. Different contexts call for different strategies. The example of Paul warns us against assuming that it is always best to communicate in the mode of any and every culture, because the very forms of communication might themselves be inconsistent with the message. Preachers and teachers need to exercise mature discernment when choosing how best to communicate in any given setting.How many forms of communication do we exercise in that might be inconsistent with our message?
Of course, there is big discussion now about social media - but who is that discussion among? - Those of us that spend a lot of time on the Internet. Meanwhile - it's just happening in a lot of other settings.
Is the discussion happening among those where it really matters, or will it simply happen? My guess is the later. If using social media in church "succeeds," then soon churches everywhere will join the trend without ever critically analyzing it - even if the medium is contradictory to the message.
Sometimes, I think that is what has happened with the worship revolutions of the last decades or two. I am sure in the beginning there was discussion, but now churches simply adopt it becasue they feel they have to to survive. Critical analysis is simply avoided.
The problem is the kind of success they chase may or may not have anything to do with the message they seek to proclaim. Does number of people hearing a message really equate to the success of the message?
In the business world where I work there are so many "innovative" business that run hard, appear to succeed, and then crash and burn. Then there are those that work,a nd work, and work, often unglamorously, often with limited success. They never pull off the big deal, but they never crash and burn either. There are lean times, even hard time. But those businesses usually, in the end, succeed. The owners and employees make money, maybe not a lot, but they don't lose a lot either. - and they have some to keep at the end of the day.
When we consider all the new "ways" to communicate the gospel. We might want to think about that. It's plain, but....
Monday, September 20, 2010
This made me think of how there's almost nothing we do today that isn't blogged, Facebooked, or tweeted. When someone in our culture is having a rough time, they tell us online. When they are serving others, they tell us online. And when they are serving others despite having a rough time, they tell us online. There is almost no thought, feeling, inclination, impulse, or attitude we don't share with everyone who will listen.I think this is right on and it set me to thinking about social media a bit more. I tend to defend the media and say the problem is how it is used, not the media itself - but as I watch young people use it, I see something very scary.
I think my generation has spun the older Me Generation into a sort of "Look at Me" Generation, and now of course the generations after Gen-X are progressively perfecting "Look at me!" into a science. Or an art. I'm not sure why we seem constantly puzzled that someone like Paris Hilton or Spencer and Heidi can be famous for doing nothing when nearly everyone these days thinks everything they do is something, something worthy of comment or props or Likes.
We only have what it takes if we have what Jesus has. He is worthy. And what I think my generation needs (and what the ones after and before it need, of course) is a fixation on Christ, in whom we find the proper proportions for our feelings and our expression of them. We learn that not every thought or opinion we have is a must-read for the entire universe. We see that the scandalous validation of grace for the unworthy creates healthy honesty and thoughtfulness.
Only this fixation will make the cry of our generation, "Look at him!"
Yes, it's a cry of "look at me" - but it's not even "at me" - it's at a crafted image of "me."
Nothing is as humbling as genuine human contact - something social media cannot provide. Frankly, that is what I think makes social media so tempting.
But I have hope. Real relationship, once experienced, is not only humbling, addictive. With the humility comes enormous reward - it opens the door for us to truly look at Christ and then we are blinded with beauty.
THis is not only why we need church, but why we need small churches.
Try joining one - you might like it.