Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Follow Me" is a not a passive command...

To start off my series on Dispensationalism, I am going to post my most recent sermon (4-19-09)...

Its general idea is that Jesus' message to his disciples after his resurrection was the same as it always was: "follow me." The intention is that Christ has asked us to promote his upside kingdom of grace, love, help, peace both now and forever. The distinction from elements of Dispensationalism will be evidenced later, but juxtapose this "follow me" idea with sitting and waiting for Christ to come back, not advancing the kingdom, not being like Jesus to whole communities.

Take a listen and I hope you are moved by this wonderful story.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>HERE IS THE LINK<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Credits, Disclaimers and Extras:
(1st) I know I messed up on saying that it was the high-priest and not the high-priest's servant as evidence it multiple gospels.

(2nd) I got a lot of these ideas from Rob Bell

(3rd) there are multiple variations on the first calling of the disciples and I went with the most repeated. This idea intrigues me and I will be exploring the ancient theologians views and reconciliations of these soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two nights ago, I stayed up to watch a documentary entitled, "What Would Jesus Buy?" As far as documentaries go, I have seen a bundle and this one was ok... It follows an actor who plays a fire-and-brimstone, southern white pastor who leads a choir across the nation at Christmastide to protest mass consumerism. The message of anti-consumerism was great but the delivery seemed all over the place in what was being viewed. They wanted to show the cause but also the humanity of feeling like one was not making a difference and the obstacles that get in the way. For an hour and a half film, I assumed it would be more focused in its attempt.

As far as the anti-consumerist message, I loved it. It wasn't a bunch of people who seemed like their hearts were going to fall out of their chest if they didn't get their way. The parody and comedy proved to be a marvelous rebel tool, as it has for a long time now. But I think we forget how good it works. Reverend Billy goes into businesses, malls, Starbucks and finds a way to be as ridiculous as possible to bring attention to the cause often times leading to an arrest. There is no vandalism or anything of that nature, just good old fashioned being loud, noisy, and showy (which seems to parody Christian political movements, of the right, in the last few decades perfectly). BTW, he is banned from every California Starbucks...

The thing that most struck me was that in the guise of this, the sincerity of it all played out well. These people genuinely wanted you to know that they thought this unhealthy over-consumption was detestable, we were trapped AND that there was a better way; they just wanted to sing about in carol form.

Are they right? Of course!!! Jesus himself said that wealth was deceitful (Matthew 13:22) and so much more about wealth. But the story that most is applicable, for me, from Jesus' mouth is about the cup. You see, Jesus was hanging out with some religious leaders of the day, which he had no patience for, and they began to question him and what he thought. Well, he laid into them very hard and what he said to them is applicable to us (but I assume it would be much more grace-filled). He said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean" (Matthew 22:25 & 26). Our consumption is just the symptom of the things inside us not being want we want or fulfilled. We want good but we don't have it and so try and fill it. It quickly turns into self-indulgence because we are just looking to what feels good; just some relief.

I know this is true in my life. I came from a bit of poverty and am in constant self-battle for denial. I want nice clothes. I want people to think highly of my tastes and style, but have to refuse it because of the meaning I would be putting on it. It would falsely make me feel better. The battle with food is lost. I love to eat out and have nice meals and eat when I can and I know it stems from the self-indulgence inside. I eat when I am tired, bored, sad and my body craves more and more. It has become more then just energy; it has become comfort and a false one at that. I have put hope, only if it is a little, into food to make me feel good but this hope rots and fades and falls away. This literal consumption is only one of the things we need to shed and with Christ, we can!

Two verses this reminds of:
(1) Is about treasure (hope) that fades and one that doesn't like my food and our consumption:
  • "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6: 19-21)
(2) The second is for me and others who delight, too much, in food or any other thing that brings them false hope:
  • "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3: 19-21)
Blessings and Peace to you all and viva Jesus, viva la revolution!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stepping Out on my Own...

This blog has been a long time coming. And like all things, there must be a genesis! Whether it turns into an online public/ private diary of thoughts on faith, grace, and community or a thriving bee hive in which that community can bounce ideas around and discuss these topics has yet to be determined (by you). But know that this will search out truth, test boundaries and pre-conceived notions, ideas, traditions, judgments, and actively pursue justice and holiness alongside all the grace we can gather from the source of real grace; Christ Jesus our Lord!

It is here and now that I make my stand to move outwardly. It is here that I live out loud with all my faults and dreams and ideas (both wrong and right). I will not cower any longer behind my youth or inexperience or people-pleasing attitude. It is here that I will act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with my God. I will unashamedly preach Christ in defense of the poor and downtrodden. I will, at the same time (which seems to be a passing phase these days), uphold scriptural holiness but also knowing that "there is no holiness but social holiness!" (Wesley).

This does not mean that I am closed to ideas and thoughts different then mine. Quite contrary, I welcome all discussion as it is how we grow. I will be firm but kind and loving. I may be wrong but that is what searching is all about.

May the God of courage and brotherhood rest here and may we come to see His ways. May there always be peace and our relationship take precedent over all else. May we be able to be wrong to keep relatively a good amount of peace between us and may we all love one another and we are being loved and love ourselves.