Saturday, December 31, 2011
New Year Comic Art
Friday, December 30, 2011
What in the world would he say to us today? I don’t think it’d be a softer message. I had to come before God and say, “Lord I feel sick.” And I confessed to Mark [Beuving, who edited the book] and Preston [Sprinkle, the coauthor] as we were working on the book, “I confess to you guys, I confess to the church, I know I have backed away from certain things because of my arrogance. I thought I could attract more people to Jesus by hiding certain things about him.” I had to confess my arrogance.Think about all the ways we discuss changing the tone of of what Jesus preached. Less than the words we use, we just ignore significant parts. My favorite is that we must always remember the grace of the cross comes from the same source that destroyed the world in a flood. The same Jesus that refused to defend Himself when on trail had just days before provoked that trial with acts of incredible anger and violence.
Or how about the arrogance of only letting the God that created us all only so far into our lives? Who, precisely, is supposed to be in charge here? And that is the bottom line, isn't it. Our faith is not something that we figure out and analyze and shape - it is something that shapes us.
On my trip tot he Holy Lands last summer, I walked into the Garden of Gethsemane and tears started to flow uncontrollably. When I talked to some people about it, they subjected the experience to much analysis - it was quiet, less crowded, most authenticated.... I listened for a minute and then walked away. Analyzing it makes it about me, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit - that was enough.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Dealing With Scripture and Knowledge
Men profess to know the truth; but they know it not in its proper order, in its harmony in use. It leads them not to Christ, and brings not Christ unto them; and so is lifeless and useless. Hence, oft-times, none are more estranged from the life of God than such as have much notional knowledge of the doctrines of Scripture. For they are all of them useless, and subject to be abused, if they are not improved to form Christ in the soul, and transform the whole person into his likeness and image.I know this has and often still does apply to me.
Dear God, I pray that your Holy Spirit may not only teach me, but provide me with wisdom and shape me into a man that uses knowledge to benefit not myself, but your Kingdom.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
How The Spirit Speaks
Paul assumes that the Holy Spirit will be active in the church. Here he mentions prophecies, occasions when Christians speak forth God’s messages directly. In another of his letters Paul includes many more ways the Spirit speaks and acts within the church (see 1 Corinthians 12-14). But just because someone claims to have a message from the Spirit, that doesn’t guarantee the correctness of the claim. The community needs to “test everything,” to discern whether the message is from the Holy Spirit or some other source. If something is truly from God, then it should be embraced. If something is found to be evil, it should be rejected.How different this age is when we want to be "solo" Christians. Accountability seems to be the last thing anyone looks for in a church these days. Mega-churches are set up for anonymity, the opposite of accountability.
Analogously, if you believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding you in some specific area of your life, you ought to submit your conviction to your Christian siblings for help with discernment. In my case, I would share it with a more mature Christian whose wisdom I respect, or with my small group, or with my wife, or, in all likelihood, with all of the above. It’s scary to do this, of course, because those around us are generally more open to God’s will for our lives than we are, and would be less likely to project our desires onto God than we would be.
I think this is great advice from Mark. Who are the people in your life that fill this role? If you cannot name any, maybe you need to find one.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
So I wonder what is really making us fat? Is it our stress, our sedentary way of life, the chemicals in our bodies and our environment, the technology we use, our disconnect from God, hormonal imbalances, or just plain overeating and a lack of discipline? Yes all of these have been accused of contributing to our obesity. And I suspect that all of them do contribute but what is most puzzling to some is that in spite of all the bad press that obesity gets the figures continue to escalate.Here's what I know, and having lost 200 pounds I must know something.
When I quit worrying about why's and how's and just said "I'm an obese, fat slob - I need to do something about it," I did. No excuses, no conditions in my life that had to improve, no tomorrows - just very fat todays.
I am not prepared to say obesity in and of itself is a sin. It was certainly a sin what it did to those around me, and my attitude was often sinful, but I will analogize it to sin.
It's too complex to analyze and only Holy Spirit powered discipline can fix the problem.
One ramification of that is that it is a highly individualized problem. No program, no sermon, no lesson set is going to help. Frankly, you'll never friend someone into changing it.
But the genuine love of Christ, expressed by those around them will, in God's good time, help them to know it is ok to admit their problem.
Thoughts on obesity in this that has become the eating season.
Monday, December 26, 2011
From Whence Sin?
That was not the first time — nor the last — that I came to see how selfishness has a deep connection to all of our sins; it is a lesson I keep needing to relearnThe Anchoress is, of course, Catholic and the res of her post bears the marks of her Catholicism, but how startling is her statement to all of faith.
It strikes right at the root of the "church as service dispensary" model followed by so many evangelical churches. Getting the service I want in an inherently selfish undertaking. When we build the church to feed that, are we really teaching the lessons the church should teach?
Sunday, December 25, 2011
The End Of Advent
Related Tags: Christmas Art Work