Monday, August 27, 2012

Fight Night


Here is some new spoken word. 

I start fights online late at night
Because I think that I’m right
But if I’m fighting with the wrong heart
I’m not in the right
So I’m writing songs
It’s my way of righting wrongs
Spreading light into the dark night
Only Christ can be our white knight
In shining armor
And I mean to alarm Her

Because the Church is the Bride
In a bona fide mess
A damsel in distress
Look for a blessing
But we do most the cursing
It's disturbing and
Here is the worst thing
Jesus isn’t our first thing
When did we stop thirsting?

Now we’re second guessing
So where is the blessing?
Why are we stressing?
Are we dressed in a white dress
Pure as snow, welcomed as a guest
Into the eternal heavenly rest?
Or just a hypocritical critic, a pest?
The body is malnourished
We’re starving to death

Skin and dry bones
We need to be fed
Only the bread of life
Can resurrect the dead
Grow up into Christ the head
We choose uniformity over unity
This divisiveness is lunacy
And it’s brutally clear to me
Jesus is saying “just draw near to me”

He didn’t say “go into culture and take over”
He said “go into the world and be my witnesses”
He didn’t say “legislate a morality makeover”
He said “go and make disciples”
If you are putting your hope in DC
Instead of helping the guy on the street
Loving the gal that you meet
Maybe you’re just shuffling your feet
Going through the motions
Evoking the  right emotions
But you’re empty and you’re broken

Maybe we should focus more on reconciliation
Have less debates and more conversations
Get off the internet and go into all nations
And I don’t mean to take a vacation
Have you read the great commission?
It reads like the orders for a rescue mission

I know it seems like a strange thing
But if we’re gonna change things
We gotta love our neighbors,
And loving our neighbors
Is gonna mean loving some strangers
It may come with some dangers
But God loves everyone
Regardless of backgrounds and behaviors
Suburban teenagers and gang bangers
Can receive the same savior
Jesus Christ was born in the manger
Threats came at him his whole life
Till it ended as he died on the cross
It’s good if you wanna count the cost
But are you gonna tell HIM about danger?

He started the Church movement with some orders
He said “Go and make disciples”
Don’t worry about borders
I don’t know if it matters where you go
But one thing I do know
He didn’t say “stay in your comfort zone and make disciples”
So we gotta get going
Follow the Holy Spirit
Like the wind that is blowing
Because our river of life is flowing
The Glory of God is our light
It should be showing showing?
If the Church is alive
She should be growing

So get your heart right
And fight, fight, fight
With all your might
Day and night
For what’s right

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Temptation, Sin, and Death (Allegories)


"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers." 
-James 1:14-16



These verses are the inspiration for two stories I wrote about sin and how it affects our lives.



So, you are at the club in your little town called Life, and you’re sitting at a table. It’s well lit, your friends and family are with you, supporting you. Temptation comes up to you. She says, “Hey, I love this song. Wanna dance?”. And you know her reputation, what she’s like. You look her over, her dress is skimpy, but not the most immodest thing ever. You think to yourself, “I can handle just one dance.” She leans in closer, “I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to.”

So you take Temptation by the hand, and lead her to the dance floor. Just as you get there, the song ends, and a slower one comes on. The lights dim way down. You still think you can handle it. You hold her close, and move to the music. She whispers in your ear, “You are so great. I know we’ve had our differences, but I am glad we can finally be friends.”
The song ends. You tell her, “I am gonna stay for one more song.” And one turns into 2, 2 into 3, and soon the club closes, and you all have to leave.

Your friends and family are gone. As you and Temptation leave, she invites you to her place. You are having fun, and you are strong. So you say, “Of course, I’d love to. But I should warn you, we are just going to talk. If you try anything, I’m out of there.”
She says, “Don’t worry, you’ll be safe. I have really changed.”

Soon, you are in her apartment watching a movie on the couch. You are talking and snuggling, but it’s just to stay warm. She massages your sore muscles and strokes your ego. She tells you everything you want to hear.

All of the sudden you wake up, and you are filled with regret. Because it is morning, and you know what you’ve done. Later you find out she is pregnant. The child’s name is Sin. So you feel responsible. You have to take care of this baby, provide for and nurture Sin. You raise Sin as something you love, but also as a secret because you are ashamed. Well, Sin grows up and eventually, she also has a child. It’s name is Death.

Now you have to take care of all three of them. They are draining you of everything good. Your time, your energy, your love. Your family and friends can tell something is wrong, but they can’t help you. The only way to survive, is to put them out.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You are a new Christian. Jesus has just moved into your heart. You give him the best  furniture, and all these lamps. It is bright and clean, except for one little place. It is your doghouse, in the back corner. You have a pet sin. You feed it and take care of it, but you keep it in the darkness of the doghouse. You tell Jesus the house is His, but that He can have it all as long as the pet can stay. So you instruct the sin to stay in the doghouse, and mostly he does, but sometimes he comes out and he poops on the carpet. And Jesus sees all this and says, “What is this doing here?”
And you tell Him, “Nothing, I will chain him up in there. He won’t do this again.” Jesus wants you to kick the sin out of your heart and close the door. But you feel confident that you can keep it bound up in the dark. Jesus has the majority of your heart in the light. Shouldn’t that be enough. You’ve had this pet for so long, it would be unthinkable to put him out. So you chain him up in the doghouse. And he stays there, maybe for a day, maybe a month, or a year. But eventually he breaks out and comes into the living room and poops on the carpet. There is only one way to deal with your pet sin. Destroy the doghouse, illuminate that darkness in your heart with Jesus’ light and throw the sin out of your heart and lock the door.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living on the lifeboat: part 2

This is the conclusion to a 2 part series I started a while back. If you missed part 1, here it is:
http://marvelusgod.blogspot.com/2012/07/living-on-lifeboat-part-1.html

“The fear of the Lord leads to life:
   Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” Proverbs 19:21

How incredible that we must fear God to find life. But when we fear God, there is nothing left to fear: not man, not sin, and not death. When we see the glory of God, we do not die; we finally live.


No matter what we get, it does not take us long to become complacent and entitled. I had a new phone, and for 2 days I took incredible care of it. I knew where it was. But it became part of my unconscious self. As though it was intrinsic to living, even though I did not have it most of my life. And soon thereafter I felt it was obsolete. It needed to be upgraded. I couldn't live without the new one.
This our generation. Consumers trained to accept nothing less than instant gratification and temporary pleasures. Nothing is built to last, it can all be replaced. Toys, tools and our relationships too. Like a morning mist or a flash in the pan, it all goes away.

To sustain and form Christian community, we must focus not on the community, but on the Gospel Word.. Human activity cannot create life which endures; we can never attain community by working for it. It is not something we can "do" but rather something we must "be"  something we receive through Christ's gift of grace. Only the Word of God can create an enduring community of life and love.

What if you ate only one meal a week but still went about your daily work? You would eventually grow weak and wither and die. The Church does this by allowing themselves to believe 2 hours on Sunday morning is enough spiritual nourishment to energize their week. This is foolish, un-biblical and ultimately a futile effort.


I am quite sure God wants some Christians to be Republican. And some to be Democrats. But not because he wants them to place their hope in politics. Rather he wants his people to be "all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved". To Republicans we can be Republicans. To Democrats we can be Democrats. As fellow Christians the only identity we should look for in each other is "Christ, and him crucified."

Theology is more romance than science. We do not study God just to know about him. The Bible is no mere textbook. We study him like a husband learns the minutia about his wife that wouldn't interest anyone but him. The Bible is a love letter, stories that God recorded throughout time to reflect his larger Story of grace. When we focus on the boiled down, bullet point Bible- not to say systematic theology has no merit- we miss out on the beautiful poetry, the artistry and love of the Story God is trying to tell us. The Gospel is not an intellectual proposition; it is an invitation to a very real relationship with a very real God.
We just run the danger of losing the essence of Scripture when we boil it down. If it can be effectively shared as bullet points or formulae, why did God take so much time with so many people to share His heart of love through stories, poetry, letters, dreams, songs, and other media? But it is at the very least both/and not either/or. I think theology is a great tool, as long as we do not become too busy studying God to love Him.

If we look and sound like the world, how can we offer an alternative? We are just more of the same. We can't remove ourselves from culture, but we can't compromise scripture for culture. We can't take over culture, and we can't ignore culture, but we can go into culture with all the tools we've got to bring light right into the dark world.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

On Grace and Tolerance

"When love is a theory, it's safe, it's free of risk. But love in the brain changes nothing... love is too beautiful a concept to keep locked up behind a forehead like a prisoner." -Bob Goff

“When the Truth is demoted to an opinion and grace is replaced by tolerance, society will call fools all who cling to such antiquated traditions as universal truth and morality. But there are those who will stand firm on the Truth, and cling to a hope that none can see. They will choose to embrace a cross which offends, to face mockery and ruined reputations. It is incredible how sure they must be of their Truth to suffer so much for it.” -Anonymous

Jesus did not preach or practice tolerance, but he preached and practiced something even more difficult and liberating: grace! You will inevitably be amazed when you experience his grace; any grace you experience which does not amaze you is a false grace. A God who has no tolerance for sin offers unending grace to sinners. So to be like Christ, we should not tolerate sin but offer grace to fellow sinners.

One of the most immoral things we can do is declare cultural war on immorality. Morality is not a banner under which we gather an army; rather, it is the result of a relationship with Christ. We should spend our efforts introducing Christ to those in culture, not condemning all culture in the name of Christ.

A person who holds homosexuality and abortion above all other sins then calls himself a "conservative Christian" is in reality a theological liberal; because they have taken a few sins and declared war on them but leave most others sins such as gluttony, divorce and drunkenness untouched. That is the worst sort of hypocrisy; it is the plank in our own eyes.

I understand that to some, this is a human rights issue.; if a human right is what a person is born deserving, the only human right is hell. All things beyond that are the grace of God. And as we have been shown mercy and been given favor by such a patient God, should we not show as many graces to as many of our fellow humans as we can. If we choose to condemn one another, we choose to condemn ourselves, for by the measure with which we judge, we will be judged by God. We should not quarrel any more over the rights of man, but humbly offer to all the divine graces we so undeservedly received.

To be Biblically conservative, one must generally be a socially and economically liberal person. Jesus came as a liberator, a freer of people, not to conserve the religious, political, economic status quo. And all who find hope in Washington instead of Christ may well have missed the Gospel's main point.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Searching For Eden

I had a dream. I was riding a motorcycle down the highway, in search of Eden, my one true love.
I came to a roadside diner, and I knew I was hungry. I sat down at the counter between some folks and the waitress, Judy, turned to me and asked, “What’ll you have, hun?”
“Coffee, and...”
I turned to my left and asked the lady next to me, “What do you recommend?”
She smiled sweetly, “Oh, try the apple pie.”
I turned to my right and asked the man there, “How about you?”
He looked at me and said, “What I like is expensive.”
“I guess I’ll have the pie.”
“A la mode? Need another? asked Judy.
I nodded as she put out a cup of joe and a fork on a napkin.
I sat waiting for my pie, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the guy next to me. It felt like he had something to say. “So what is this thing that costs so much?”  I asked.
“It is not expensive the way you think. I would pay for yours, but you would never be able to leave here; you’d want it for the rest of your life.” he told me.
The lady to my left tapped me on the shoulder, “Pay him no mind. He is old and confused. Just enjoy your pie.”
Judy placed the pie on the counter, and poured me more coffee.
I took the fork, cut a chunk off, and took my first bite.
It was an intense feeling. The lady next to me stood and took me by the hand. She walked me to the front of the diner, and we stood in the doorway. She said, “This is what I have to offer you.” She stretched her hand out before me, and I could see everything. “The world is yours. I will give you a great education, a job, a wife and kids, a nice house, a beautiful car. All the comforts of life can be yours. Just finish your pie. Liberty and prosperity await you.”
The man approached me, and he pointed to the things she had offered me.
“I have another offer for you. It may sound odd, but it truly is more satisfying. You will have to be willing to give up the education, the job, the family, the car and the house. All you have to do is follow me wherever I go, and I will give you so much more than you could even imagine. Don’t finish the pie. Eat my flesh and drink my blood, taste and see that I am good.”
I stood at the doorway, each had a hand on one of my shoulders. She pulled me toward the pie, and I followed, but I looked back and saw the man reaching out toward me. The passion in his eyes spoke to me, “I love you, and yet you walk away from me. You are headed toward a poisoned apple, a rotten fruit. Just reach out for me and you will be safe. I can take you to Eden.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
“How do you know about Eden? How can you know about my one true love? Eden is the joy and peace and love that I dream of; she is the comfort I seek. I would give anything to find myself in Eden’s embrace.” I demanded he tell me.
“I am Eden, child. I told you I am everything you’ve ever wanted. Don’t you see? Only I can satisfy you. I am who you seek.”
I wrested my hand from the woman’s grip, and even as I ran from her she showed her true form, a rotting corpse, seething with hatred. The things she promised me rusted and the whole world fell to pieces around us. All that was left was the man and I, and I knew I had found Eden.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fleeing From Nineveh


For over a year and a half now, I have been deeply convicted that I needed to obtain a passport in order to obey God’s will. It is hard to say, “Here am I, God. Send me” when you can’t travel outside of your own country. I put it off and put it off; procrastinating and rationalizing, I avoided the whole thing. My secret fear was that if I got my passport God would then automatically call me to an uncomfortable place like he called Jonah to Nineveh.
My simple ironic response to this fear was to disobey God “just a little bit” to avoid “really” running from Him. I didn’t want to head all the way to Tarshish, but I also didn’t want to go to my Nineveh. As I prayed and sought wise counsel, I began to voice this fear. And God showed me it was sinful, irrational and small. God is so much bigger, and His plans are so much better.
Because God is great and I don’t have to be in control, and because He is good and my satisfaction and comfort are in Him, I decided to relinquish my fears at the cross and trust Jesus to guide me through my life. This was my act of faith and repentance, today I went to the passport office and applied. I have been a Christian for the majority of my life, but I still need grace everyday. There is no way to avoid “big sins” by committing “little sins”, but when we let the Holy Spirit fill us and lead us, we can change. The Gospel will not ever stop shaping who I am.
How can God change you today?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Living on the lifeboat: part 1


There is this old question where you are with a bunch of people are on a lifeboat: a stay at home mom, a CEO of a big company, a lawyer, an old man, a pregnant woman, and a preacher; seven in total. There is only enough room for six on the lifeboat. Who should get thrown overboard?
We can argue for hours about who we think is the most valuable and who we think is the least valuable, but the only thing we all seem to agree on is that we should definitely get a spot.

"After the world ends, when God destroys all our buildings and our flags, we will wish we had seen everybody as equal, that we had eaten dinner with the "unlovely" and "undesirable", held them in our arms, opened up our spare rooms and loved them and learned from them."-Donald Miller

There is a human obsession with ranking things and rating people. We endlessly compare ourselves to others. Are we cool or uncool, better or worse than that person? I am richer, she is prettier, he is smarter, we have better taste than so and so.  We so want desperately to be loved and valued. We are wired to receive worth from something outside of ourselves and it deeply compels us to seek it. We can call it the pursuit of happiness or self-actualization, but the reality is that we desire to be validated.
And it was in a garden, many millennia ago, that God saw the lovely couple he had made and declared them good. They were beautiful, content and secure because God had spoken to them; "You are loved" he said. Our hearts were made for relationship. We were designed for community, specifically with God and family and friends.
We have fallen out of sync with that relationship. The friendship with God, when everything was good. Now things are bad and we are surrounded by a hurting, broken mess of a world. The very values and principles that keep our societies and economies afloat are killing us. Slowly deteriorating our soul, the essence of what makes us human. We were made in God's image to live intimately with him, and in his absence we have made a mess. No longer do we see ourselves as beautiful, content and secure; we constantly try to climb the fictitious social ladder clawing over those above us and kicking those below us. We feel it is somehow vital to fight for our identities. To make sure we are not the least valuable on the lifeboat.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Story of God

God is perfect, holy and good.
He created all things including the heavens, the earth, the angels, and mankind, and what he created was good.
He cast Satan and the demons to earth because of their rebellion.
God loved Adam, and provided him a beautiful garden, animals and a wife.
Adam and Eve rebelled against God because Satan deceived them, and God punished the rebellion by casting them out of the garden and cursing them and their descendants.
Any rebellion against God is called sin, and God cannot allow sin to be in his presence.
Sin must be punished by death and separation from God.
Man was fruitful and multiplied, and God promised hope for salvation from sin.
The people of Israel were God’s chosen people, to whom he offered his promise.
God’s holy Law was revealed to his people through Moses.
The Israelites were wicked and idolatrous and broke covenant with God.
God was always faithful and restored Israel to himself, time and time again.
Because he knew man would choose to do evil and disobey his Law, God offers a solution.
He sent Jesus Christ to be born in Bethlehem, as both God and Man.
Jesus lived perfectly; he never disobeyed God’s Law.
The Jews and Romans conspired to execute Jesus by crucifixion.
On the cross, Christ became sin even though he never sinned himself.
His death served as payment for sin, and salvation to any who believe in Jesus’ name.
When we accept grace, it will inevitably change our lives.
Christ wants us to live like he did, obeying God’s Law and showing mercy.
Salvation is a free gift, through grace which is the undeserved favor of God.
It is a great love with which Christ loved us.
While we were still God’s enemies, he sent Jesus to die for us.
If we believe in the story of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection, we will never die.
So would you like to live forever?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Already Dead



This is a clip from the HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers.
I think the spiritual implications are vast, but I will focus one just one.

 

As Christians, we can be paralyzed by fear. We do not believe that "to die is gain" and so we cannot accept that "to live is Christ." In order to be like Christ, we must be willing to live to bring glory to the Father and be willing to die to build his church. But we are not.
The lieutenant tells his solider, "The only way for a soldier to not be afraid of wars is to accept the fact that he is already dead… the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldiers supposed to function.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

By accepting Christ, we have died to this world. We are no longer citizens of earth. We are dead.
Our churches and leaders have taught us to not die, to avoid discomfort, to seek security, stay away from anything that is too risky.
The very reasons we don't do the crazy, impractical things God tells us to do. What is going to happen to me? What am I going to lose? What will people think of me? What will it cost me? Those are all avoidance of death.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

“Death has been swallowed up in victory..." Christ has conquered death. 

Jesus said, "In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

So let's not be afraid of dying. Fear God, not man; if God is with you, none can stand against you. We can be radical disciples, who live and die for the glory of God. But only if we accept that we are already dead. 

To live is Christ, to die is gain.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Bible: 66 books, 66 sentences; 66 summaries

God created everything and promised hope for man.
Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and revealed His law.
God revealed the priestly duties of the Levites.
Moses took a census of the the Israelites.
The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
God appointed Judges over the Israelites.
Ruth leaves her home and marries Boaz.
Samuel grows up in the temple and is prophet who anoints King Saul.
King Saul is replaced by David.
Solomon is King, Elijah is a prophet.
The kingdom of Israel is divided and the nation falls.
There are genealogies of kings.
The Israelites are exiled to Babylon and the Temple is destroyed.
Ezra was a prophet who led repentance, return and the rebuilding of the Temple.
Nehemiah was a prophet who led reconstruction, reestablished morality and revived true worship.
God used Esther who was the queen to save His people.
Job suffered righteously, questioned God, and learned about His sovereignty.
David and others praise God with poetry and music.
Wisdom takes center stage in the sayings of King Solomon.
Life is revealed to be temporary, devoid of truth and meaningless without God.
Poetry about  love, marriage and sex.
Prediction of salvation through a suffering Messiah.
Prophecy of judgement for Israel’s idolatry.
Jeremiah laments Israel’s exile and destruction.
Prophecies on the ruin and future restoration of the people of Israel.
The blessings of God are on an exiled Hebrew who interprets dreams and has apocalyptic visions.
A faithful man and an adulterous woman’s marriage serve as a metaphor for God’s faithful love of His idolatrous people.
Locusts and judgement precede physical, spiritual and national restoration of Israel.
Condemnation of Israel’s deep-rooted corruption, neglect of God's Word, idolatry, and greed; judgement is near.
God promises to deliver Zion in the last days.
Jonah runs from God, is swallowed by a fish for 3 days, and ends up doing what God said anyway.
Condemnation of false prophets, priests and leaders who are exploiting and misleading the people of Israel.
A call to Ninevites to once again repent, and encouragement to Judah not to despair.
A conversation with God about the reason for suffering.
A reminder that though God is patient and merciful he will righteously judge those who ignore His commands.
A warning to be courageous and act in accordance with God’s commands and His promises.
Salvation is available to all, but accepted only by some; God is sovereign over all things, including nature.
In spite of people’s sin, God’s love for His people does not end; tithe.
Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, resurrection, commission and ascension.
Jesus and the 12 disciples do ministry.
History of Jesus’s life and teachings.
Jesus as the incarnation of God’s word and the promise of Life through Jesus.
History of the Holy Spirit working in the early church, through the apostles and Paul’s missionary journeys.
Paul writes a letter to Rome about the basic theology of salvation.
Paul writes a letter to Corinth about how the church should conduct themselves, especially concerning the development of Christlike character.
Paul writes another letter to Corinth explaining that their time on earth is temporary and they must live with eternity in mind, giving generously to the poor.
Paul writes a letter to Galatia preaching against the perversion of the Gospel of grace by legalists, and encourages works of holiness through the Holy Spirit.
Paul writes a letter to Ephesus to explain Christ’s intentions for His church, especially unity, and prays that they would know the dimensions of God’s love and grace.
Paul writes a letter to Philippi to encourage them to stand firm in the face of persecution, to be joyful and humble, to have no anxiety and to know nothing is impossible with God.
Paul writes a letter to Colosse condemning false teaching, exhorting the Christians to model their households after the Gospel.
Paul writes a letter to Thessalonica to encourage new converts who faced persecution, to instruct them on godly living, and to give them assurance of salvation through Christ.
Paul writes another letter to Thessalonica to encourage the believers, to remind them of the Gospel implications for Christ’s return and how they should live.
Paul writes a letter to Timothy to warn him against false teachings, to instruct him on the administrative structure of the local church, and to elaborate Gospel implications for different groups of people.
Paul writes another letter to Timothy to exhort him to guard, persevere with, keep preaching, and suffer for the Gospel.
Paul writes a letter to Titus which summarizes Christian doctrine, lists qualifications for elders, and describes the obligations and motives of Christians.
Paul writes a letter to Philemon concerning Philemon’s slave named Onesimus who was who ran away and met Paul and converted to Christianity.
An anonymous letter concerning the sufficiency of grace through Christ who is supreme, and it serves as a warning not to ignore the offer of salvation.
James wrote a letter to Jewish Christians providing practical wisdom for how to live out their beliefs.
Peter writes a letter to the church, alluding to Old Testament events, calling the Christians exiles and foreigners, but he also exhorts them to suffer like Christ and to be holy and live in such a way as to exude an attractive hope.
Peter writes another letter to the church instructing them on how to deal with false teachers and evil men within the church by growing in Christ, recognizing the characteristics of the wolves in sheeps clothing, and being watchful for Christ’s return.
John writes a letter to believers, refuting Gnosticism by reminding them to love one another like God loves them, sacrificially and love God by obeying His law.
John writes another letter warning the believers to be discerning in whom they support, so as to not accidentally support a false teacher.
John writes another letter emphasizing the truth, love and peace of the Gospel; also it is a warning to do good rather than evil.
Jude writes a letter condemning licentiousness and calling true believers to persevere in doing good and living by the Holy Spirit.
John writes a letter prophesying about the apocalyptic events to come which include the rise of the Anti-Christ, the Armageddon war, the final judgement, and the two eternal outcomes for the souls of all people, Heaven and Hell.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Kingdom Values Project

Does the Gospel inform your beliefs?
Do your priorities reflect the values of God's Kingdom?

I am going to compile 2 lists:
The values of God's people and the values of American people.
There will probably be overlap, but it will be incredibly illuminating how stark some values will contrast.
I will blog weekly about how some values from the lists connect and disconnect.


God calls us to do the impractical. America says do whatever is convenient.
God says invest in eternity. America says save up here on earth.
God calls us to take dangerous risks. America says pursue comfort and security at all costs.
God offers us peace and joy. America says pursue empty, temporary pleasures in the name of happiness.

If we are to be in the world, but not of the world, we must know what being of the world looks like.
We must recognize the patterns we will  not conform to.
We must be holy because God is holy.

If you are interested in this idea, help me by contributing to the lists as we build them.
This is so exciting.
I want to share this project with everybody I know.
Follow it on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/TheKingdomValuesProject

Friday, June 1, 2012

Woke up this morning with my mind on Jesus

During my last week in Chicago, I had some great quiet time reading some scripture and praying on the back porch overlooking the garden, and I wrote these poems as a reflection of God's beauty shown to me through nature.



Imago Dei
I am a tree rooted in grace
I will not wither
I am the morning sun, rising
Each day God renews me

He lifts me up
I am a lamb, feasting in the verdant fields
I am filled to abundance
I am the garden; God is in me
I am a bird who soars
My wings are hope
I am the soil in Spring
Seeds sprout and from me grows new life
I am the image of God
His creation, His very nature
I am a squirrel gathering
I am the ant laboring
My work is not in vain
I am a cloud, shaped and moved
By a fresh wind
None see where it goes
I will go for it
I am the toil, the workmanship of God
His eternal poem
He etched me into the universe
He formed me and breathes His life into me
I am the image of God
His Creation, His very nature



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A Psalm of Praise


Your Word shines forth like the sun
It is a lamp for my feet
Before me there is never darkness
Nothing illuminates my life like Your Truth
Nor does anything blaze brighter than Your Law
In me you draw out compassion and charity
For You are the wellspring of Life
My way is You, the narrow Way
You are a shepherd, you lie down at the gate
And none pass through to harm me
You call my name and lead me
I am nourished at the sound of Your voice
Wolves gather on our right
And thieves gather on our left
But You will protect me from those
Who would harm and deceive
Who would tear me to pieces or steal me away
When I wander, You seek me
When I stumble, You correct my path
When I fall, You carry me
Lord there is none like You
Worthy of all praise


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reflections from Missio Dei retreat

This is something I wrote during an amazing retreat with my Moody Crossroads folks.
God was definitely speaking to me, and I hope something from this can speak to you.




Today is the day of salvation
Missio Dei, hope for all nations

Like Midas, I have a gift
But instead of turning to gold
Everything I touch falls apart
I’m a walking disaster, entropy manifest
I’m the original sin, my flesh is death
Drink deeply, but I’m never refreshed
I’m out of breath; no rest
I try harder, but am never the best  
Striving to thrive, but I just make a mess
Do I survive? Yes, but
I want abundant life. I guess I am blessed
But I feel cursed. I get away from myself
Can’t keep myself under control
I feel my body perishing; takes a toll on my soul

But glory, that’s not the end of the story
My body’s a tent; I’m promised a mansion
My spirit is stagnant, but I’m promised expansion
I’m redeveloped, now I am growing
From the seeds Christ’s been sowing
The righteous harvest of peace is showing
And the best piece is knowing
I have been loved, redeemed and esteemed
Received when I was filthy, now I’ve been cleaned
Clothed in white robes; washed in the blood
Seated in the throne room in heaven above
As I wait for the Day, I know grace is enough.
I was under the curse, now I know that I’m loved



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The heart of worship is a humble heart. It is a heart that knows in the presence of God, we are nothing unless he says otherwise. And as he chooses to raise some and lower others, we hold to the fact: his favor is undeserved.
So bask in grace; savor mercy. Condemnation fades in the face of his awesome love. We are no more worthy to be spared than ants at a picnic, yet he pays the price, the infinitely high price, to purchase us. To save us from our own desires. He had caught us red-handed, lawbreakers all, and dead to rights could have sent us to execution. But the righteous judge steps down from the bench and takes our place. he dies and dies and dies until the full payment has been made. He climbs back to his rightful place, faces our accuser and with the swing of his gavel He proclaims, “Innocent!”

Monday, May 28, 2012

Homesick for Heaven

This is a song which I wrote which was heavily inspired by 2 Corinthians 5 and also Philippians 3:20.


Hope you enjoy


VERSE 1:
Homesick for heaven
Life is so momentary
We cry out for salvation
We are so temporary

CHORUS:
Broken people singing
We will be made whole
Broken people singing
Hallelujah to the Lord

VERSE 2:
While we're in these earthly bodies
Until we're with our God above
We'll walk by faith, not by sight
We will live our lives in love

CHORUS

VERSE 3:
This is not our home
This is not our resting place
We are citizens of Heaven
We are Ambassadors of grace

BRIDGE:
Our Savior's gone ahead of us
Died for our sins instead of us
Now He prepares a place for us
That no one can take from us

CHORUS (x3)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Prepare (From Luke 14)

You ever feel like your life has just been preparation until this moment?
Like, you have just been getting ready?
He prepares a place for us. The only job he’s left us is to get others to come with us.


Yeah, now you’re at the table, before you lies the feast
And Christ is not a fable, he is the High Priest
Born into a stable, for 3 days was deceased
The same Spirit that resurrected him and directed him
Lives inside of us
Have you accepted him, will you be kept in him?
He is a guide for us

He died for us
So are you reflecting him or have you rejected him

Take a minute, feel the weight that you carry
You can drop it at Cross, or keep it till you die
I know it’s kinda scary, but I know it’s not a lie
Cause the truth’ll set you free, that’s a guarantee
You and I were blind until He let us see



If your life is a story, he is the author
Give him the glory, that doesn’t mean throw a dollar in the coffer
He’s not the Great Barista, he is the All in All
So he’s not looking for a part of you
He wants you all, the soul and the heart of you
Your strength and your mind
Let yourself be lost in him and I’m sure you’ll find
Peace and joy like you’ve never known
Though we’re prone to stray
You’ll be blown away by his love

Take a minute, feel the weight that you carry
You can drop it at Cross, or keep it till you die
I know it’s kinda scary, but I know it’s not a lie
Cause the truth’ll set you free, that’s a guarantee
You and I were blind until He let us see


Now you are saved, you are ordained
With Christ, you were raised
So be unashamed of the Gospel
Some people will be hostile
But the here’s the good news
The hard part is over
The Kingdom is closer
Christ did the heavy lifting
Feel the weight shifting
Your value is in existing
A light burden and an easy yoke
We can’t be bridled until we are broken
Well, he was perfect in speech
Here are the words he has spoken:

Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”