Wednesday, May 25, 2011
According to the website for Merrian-Webster's Dictionary, these are the definitions for the following words:
Orthodoxy-Conforming to established doctrine especially in religion, conventional.
Orthopraxy-Correctness of action or practice.
Most of our focus in the Western Churches is on the subject and training of Orthodoxy, and what we believe, should believe and know. The doctrine, the ideas and the proper way to process out what we think.
But what if, instead of Orthodoxy our focus was on Orthopraxy? What would it look like if the actions, the activity of my life was more important than what I studied and what I wanted to believe was the right thing to do? Instead of thinking and discussing, I acted and practiced the right way, the way I was intended to function.
For me, I an trying to be less focused on what i read and formulate in my head, and more on how I treat those around me, how I communicate God's love and His plan to the world. Today, what is your spiritual walk focused on? Are you more concerned with proper thought, or proper action?
Sunday, May 22, 2011
1. Christian or not, many people found this funny.
Yes, I know the group that originated this on FamilyRadio has done it before, and there are claims that should not be made, because no one knows when Jesus will be coming back. I agree with that, hands-down. We don't know the date, the time and should not make those predictions or promises or assumptions.
But do we need to laugh? And what are we laughing about? And why are we laughing? Don Miller, in his book "Searching For God Knows What" talks about the notion that we are all on a lifeboat, pushing someone else over the edge or "under the bus" if we can. Trying to make ourselves look better but at the expense of another. It is the school bully/bullied persona-if we can get out of the way so others can laugh at someone else, than no one will laugh at me. These are fellow Christians who need help in better understanding the Words of Jesus-they don't need us to join in with the "Rapture Party" humor and laugh at them.
2. The people of FamilyRadio had a few things right.
When was the last time you had a chance to talk to someone about the Rapture? When was it out in the mainstream, or all over your facebook/twitter/work conversations? Although the date wasn't right, they gave us a chance to discuss it and bring it into the forefront. Jesus is coming, there is a plan in the future for a new heaven, and new earth and a reconcilliation with our Creator.
A local mega-church preacher was just interviewed on the news about this. And after his joke of "oops, I am here but I did not prepare a sermon", he focused on the "no man knows the hour" idea, and said that the man making the prediction "is a kook". Where is the mention of Jesus or the need to get aligned to God or so many other things? The nightly news just gave you a chance to talk about God's love-instead you used it to showcase humor and "oh, not me-it's him who is wrong"...which brings me to:
3. Many missed an opportunity.
The question needs to be asked-did you use it as an opportunity to share God's love and his plan for the world-or did you use it a chance to say something witty and funny, and loose the opportunity to share? This was a chance that you may have missed. What do we discuss now as Christians? How wrong this guy was? How we were in the "correct" camp by not saying he was coming May 21st? How about just telling someone that He is coming-have you done that to anyone recently who wasn't a believer? Really threw out your convictions and faith to them?
4. Jesus is coming.
This isn't funny. It is isn't humor. Jesus is coming. He will be here, and we won't know the date or the time-and when He comes, we will know it according to the Revelation to the Apostle John. Make sure you have all of your heart where it needs to be, and that you have done everything you can to help those around you know it as well. Love will win-Jesus will win. That is the side I want to be on.
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” Revelation 22:7
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In many churches around the world, there is an essence of shared experience that we go through...
There is fellowship, prayer, singing, teaching, offering, invitational
And all of those components to the experience help move US closer to God.
But the Lord’s Supper is different, isn’t it?
While all of these forms of worship move US towards God, Communion is unique in that it isn’t about us and what we do that is so important, but it is what we receive here that frames the moment
While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
The words of Jesus reflect that it is HIS actions, HIS giving to us.
We understand how we do something, taking the bread and cup but we may not see how God does anything.But during Communion, God does something-He acts.
We do not come to the table to learn something with our minds---we come to meet God. God and people meet here and something happens.
Here we touch eternity. Here God gives love, forgiveness and grace and we receive.
He graces us, and for a moment we are in the presence of the Almighty reaching out to us. Heaven meets earth, like a wet sloppy kiss. There is an essence of God meeting us here on this plane, this moment and reality and it is real and it is present.
In prayer we go to God. In the Lord's Supper He comes to us.
In the moments you get to experience Communion, focus on the knowledge that God through Jesus is reaching out to you and asking you to remember, asking you to experience His presence and feel His love.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
There are a lot of opinions floating around the blog-verse, about the right answer to numerous quandaries and controversies. Each of the topics have sparked a wide variety of responses, and they range from full of love to full of malice. Currently, Rachel Held Evans is the driving force behind a "Rally to Restore Unity", and it got me thinking about what that unity looks like in light of our "virtual water-cooler discussions".
Got an opinion or idea about heaven or hell or Osama or Obama? What makes a good politician or what should those values look like? How about earthquakes, evangelicals, unity or proper ways to react to others around us? Who is Christian enough, or too Christian or too liberal, conservative or too indecisive? These are all open to interpretation and criticism-and if someone will listen, someone else will tell you what they think.
But who is asking? Who is listening? What does it look like to someone outside of the Christian-a-verse in blogs and on twitter and book-face and everything else in-between? Have we effectively argued our way into a conversation that looks nothing like the conversations Jesus would have us partake in? What do our interactions look like for those who need to hear the words of Jesus the most?
I struggle with telling my side of "how it is" because, really-it is just my opinion, isn't it? And when I strike down a flagpole of what I believe, I choose a side, and that effectively labels everything else wrong or a non-truth because it isn't my view, it isn't my way.
I am tired of choosing sides, tired of needing to think the right way or say the right things about stuff that doesn't tie into who Jesus is and how I can be his hands and feet. How much minutia do we swim around in, only to miss the focus, the mission, the ways we can unite as one?
Donald Miller, in the quote above, says it well-when "I am" is the focus-I miss out on "I AM", I miss out on you, I miss out on us and the story and the opportunity for the unity we could have as God's people-as His segula-as His treasured possession. That is the unity I want-with the Creator and with you. Let's stop being individual pieces of trinket. Let's be His treasure.
"For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession." Deut. 7:6
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.