Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Here's my list:
1. Sleep in a lot more....... a lot more....definitely.
2. Go to church and be engaged and involved... not cause I have to (actually, this one sounds pretty good!) But because I really want to be there.
3. Seriously dig into the word - I want to study God's word for me more- not just cause I have to teach others.
4. Focus on becoming more physically healthy - I don't want to be obsessed with my weight or how I look - I just need to get more healthy, it's really sad...
5. Give 100% to whatever I am doing - this is a biggie for me. I tend to hold out and hold back - at work, in relationships, with my family.... it's pretty pathetic sometimes. I'm just really not all there lately.
6. Get my finances better under control & give more.
7. Use my camera more - carpe diem! My kids are growing up and I'm missing it! Aughghggh!
8. Take more quality time with my wife.
9. Write more worship songs! (How about "a" worship song for a change.....sheesh.)
10. Blog more often.
There, that wasn't so bad. Now it's your turn.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I don't know what to say. I guess I could just stick to Psalms 23 and Phil. 4:13 but that feels dishonest and immature. I need to figure out Hebrew 6:1-6 and Matthew 7:13-14.
Lately these hard scriptures have been haunting me. When I'm honest about how I steward areas of my life I don't see anything to be really proud of. This can come across in my countenance and I continually have people exhort me to start living like "the King's kid" and to cheer up. I appreciate that, but I don't want to live in that dillusion. I think that produces mediocrity. A lack of responsibility. Like those spoiled royals we see in the tabloids that don't have to answer for anything because of who their blood lines.
So what do you do? I know the gospel. I know that I will never be made righteous by my works and good looks, but I also know that when I read the word, there is an expectation that believers "shine like stars" (phil 2:15) and most of the time I feel like a black hole...
What do you do with hard scripture? Do we say they are there to point us to our unrighteousness and need for Christ? Or do they signal how far we are from an authentic and real relationship with God?
I don't know, just being honest...
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I am serious about utilizing this season to make the holidays more meaningful this year.
An song for the first week of Advent (Steve never played this song in youth group either...)
Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
Lo how a rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As seers of old have sung
It came a floweret bright
Amid the cold of winter
When half spent 'twas the night
Isaiah 'twas foretold it
This rose I have in mind
With Mary we behold it
The Virgins mother kind
To show His love so bright
She bore for us a Savior
In half spent was that night
O flower whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air
Dispel in Glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere
True man yet very God
From sin and death now save us
And share our human load
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
6 years ago, I woke up knowing something was wrong. It had been a picture perfect 9 months. No morning sickness, no problems what so ever. But on Nov. 26, 2002 Naomi woke up having one huge non-stop contraction. Pretty soon there were numerous doctors, nurses and others swarming into our hospital room fretting over the fetal heart monitor and shouting to get her into the Operation Room.
In a blur, family and medical personnel were all around us. Some were praying, some were trying to get us to sign release forms. A grouchy anesthesiologist didn't help matters with his attitude. Then in one of the most surreal moments of my life everyone disappeared. They took my wife into the OR and everyone else left the pre-op area to the waiting room. I was totally alone.
I'll never forget the question that was delivered into my heart from heaven. "Am I good even now?" "Yes Lord, even if it all ends up terrible for me today, and I lose everything, you are still good." I have never been so close to my Creator than I was at that moment. I can't describe it now and never will be able to. All of the sudden I was filled with fire to pray and intercede for my family.
Shortly thereafter, a nurse came and asked me to come into the Operating room with my wife. They were just pulling the baby out. I looked at my poor, scared wife and she asked my why the baby wasn't crying. I didn't know. Then I heard it again "Am I good?"... "Yes Lord, you are good and your love endures forever..." In what felt like an eternity, but was probably only 10-15 seconds, Noah finally yelped out a cry and the nurse brought him over to us in kind of a sitting up position. I remember my first though was "Where did he get that cleft chin?!?!"
Later on, people were asking what his middle name was. I had a hard time trying to figure it out actually. But it came to me when I realized the name Michael means "Who is like our God". It would be a memorial of meeting God in that place. Kind of like Jacob and Bethel. It was chosen so I would never forget that day. (It also helped that is his grand fathers name!)
So today, I remember God's goodness to us that day. His grace over our family. His sovereignty. I believe if things had been different, or if they become different and not as planned, He demonstrates His faithfulness to walk through the fire, pain and terror with us.
Happy birthday Son!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”
This passage once again opened my eyes to how I often use my obedience as a bargaining chip with God. I foolishly act and think in such a way that if I can just build up enough of my own righteousness that I will twist God's arm into blessing my desires. This is both foolish and wicked and sadly when I do this I do not experience the benefits and blessings promised to me in the gospel.
We sometimes sing a song in Church that is difficult and humbling for me to sing but helps counteract this harmful attitude. The second verse reads:
Take all my cravings for vain recognition
Fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed
I want to have a heart like this, and I know I do not get there by negotiating with God using my own works.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
So I ask those who read and participate here:
What influences, deepens or inspires you in your relationship with Abba Father?
Or as Matt puts it, "what stirs your affections for Christ?"
Please comment, as I think we could all use some fresh ideas and perspective on this.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
He touches on these topics...
1. Womanhood (the only one that I squirm a bit about...)
4. Prophetic perspective
5. Sovereignty of God
HT- Justin Taylor, Between two worlds blog
Posted by: Jason_73
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Not mocking, just observing...
Our Pentecostal friends:
"Fire baptized holiness church of the Americas"
"The house of God, which is the church of the Living God, the Pillar & the Ground of the Truth, inc."
"International church of the Foursquare gospel..." Just kidding Steve... Kind of...
"Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God "
"Praise All Day Church of the Redeemer Christ Our Everlasting King"
Their name says it all, kind of...
"True Jesus Church"
"The Exclusive Brethren"
Their site says "The Exclusive Brethren practice separation from evil, recognising this as God's principle of unity. They shun the conduits of evil communications: television, the radio, and the Internet. Their charter is 2 Timothy 2:19 "The Lord knows those that are his; and, Let every one who names the name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity."
And this is awesome! From a website dedicated to the Amish:
"Why is this site in black and white?
Boring United Methodist Church, Boring, MD
And we end with Cowboy churches
Cowboy Church On Fire; Iraan, TX
Friday, October 31, 2008
HT: Relevant Magazine
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Anyway, I've been thinking... I do want to get this blog back to it's original intent. A forum to post theological questions and have some discussion.
I really, really like a good, healthy back and forth chat around a topic. I hate bickering and finger pointing though. However, I would like to try and get back to that.
To help accomplish that, I think I'll go back and delete some more of my personal posts and move them over to a personal blog I want to get up and running.
Then I'd like to come up with some ideas for creating discussions. It may work, it may not. But it's still something that interests me.
To bad I'm not sleeping though and thinking about this nonsense!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
2. This funny link that Steve sent me Go Obama/Palin 08!
3. Luke 14. It's amazing how Jesus had no problem making a big crowd smaller.
4. The movie Iron Man. It was good. For some reason my wife and I are suddenly into purchasing DVD's. Not sure why. But we are.
5. Why gas prices are not falling in Canada at the rate they are in the states. That and Canadians pay the highest cell phone rates in the industrialized world, AND we're taxed like nuts too.
6. About the tussle over whether or not to allow homosexual couples to marry in California. California is definitely a post-Christian, non new testament following society. What do people expect? Seriously though, like Dan Kimball is talking about, if it's just about love why not allow polygamy? But then again, the sanctity of marriage was lost a long time ago. How many marriages occur totally outside the Judeo-Christian spectrum already by allowing Elvis impersonators to marry drugged out celebrities for 20 day marriages. Nobody was up in arms over that... Who knows?
7. Thinking about how my wife says I've been too negative on the old blog lately... I guess that's what happens when your in the down cycle of ones bi-polar lifestyle... ;)
8. Also thinking about heading back to my old blog. I know, I know. This has become kind of like my blog, but that wasn't the point when I started and I still feel weird posting personal stuff here... What do you think...?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
- Matt Chandler has a blog. That may not excite many of, if any of, you. But to me, he is my favorite person in the world outside my wife and son (and a few others too). He is the pastor at the Village church in Texas. His sermons blow me away and challenge me whenever I listen to them. I'm not kidding. Not even a little bit. If you have a second, download "the great gospel" or any of his recent sermons from the Luke series. You will not be sorry.
- The world series is happening. The Dodgers are not involved. Therefore I do not care.
- I watched a really interesting documentary on public TV about William Tyndale last night. I was just flipping through the channels when I came across it. I don't really think I've fully appreciated his enormous impact on western Christianity. The shame is he was kidnapped from Belgium and returned to England where he was burned at the stake only a few months short of King Henry the 8th creating the church of England so he could divorce his wives. That's crazy too, Protestant Christianity and the freedom to read the bible in English came about largely because a guy wanted a boy child.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Tired. Drained. Restless.
I lead the musical form of worship this morning with my acoustic guitar and friend Jessisca singing with me. It was strange. We have been without accompanying musicians for awhile now, and I really thought I was used to it but it was kind of missing an element today. Not sure. It might have been my choice of songs, and their order... Hmmm. There was some other weird distractions before we started. Must be a trend. I've now gone like 3 out of the last 4 weeks with a something going a-miss at church, some sort of scuffle or confrontation.
I need a break. But there isn't really anyone else to step in, so I carry on. I don't necessarily need a break from the music. Just the drama that is associated with it.
Then at the end of the time I kind went all stream of conscience on everyone and blabbed and cried about the persecuted church and my own short comings. Not sure if it was appropriate. People are used to me being transparent and stuff, but the weird thing is I don't have a normal relationship with anyone where I can share this stuff so I do it in public, from the stage or from the blog. I'm not really sure that is the healthiest way.
Then after church we had a pot-blessing, (or whatever we're calling them these days...) and then we came home as my wife had to work this evening. After she left I was tempted to veg on the couch for the rest of the day but felt like I should head over to our Lifeline feeding ministry in town where we hand out groceries and soup and stuff from a converted blue school bus. So Noah and I headed over there and it was a big crowd. Really big. Noah seemed to fit in with the crowd of mostly homeless and recovery folks. He was a bit of a spaz though and I had to kind of chase him around. He'd help for a second, then try to climb all over everything. In the middle of it, I kind of misplaced him for a second to find that he had cut into the food lineup and went to window so he could get a cup of juice. It was kind of cute, he could have just asked one of the volunteers but he just assumed you had to get in line like everyone else.
Another touching moment that I will probably remember for the rest of my life made our trip there totally worth it. It's hard to explain but put it this way, Noah is active. I spend most my time wrangling the kid like a steer. He kind of invades folks space so I have to watch him. Well, I noticed he was sitting at the rear of the bus and a lot of the people we were serving try to cut back there as to bypass the line up. This one lady was doing that, and I saw Noah start to talk to her and kind of start his "space invading". I started over there and he was suddenly giving this lady a huge hug. I picked up my pace thinking this person may not want this attention. As I got there I noticed he was trying to touch her face, I looked and saw she was wearing sunglasses with a big bandage beneath them. Then he did something I've never have seen him do, he asked if he could pray for her, and as she kind of started to object, my 5 year old ignored her and prayed "Jesus, please make this ladies eye feel better, amen". Then he got all spazzy did a flying leap off the back of the bus and I had to chase after him again. It all happened so quick, and he prayed like it was the most natural thing he's ever done. It was a precious and bizarre moment all wrapped up into one. We pray for him when he's hurt so I guess he thinks that's what you do!
Hmmm. Who knows? Long day. I'm happy to report that I was able to veg on the couch for awhile this evening after returning home. Now I'm off to bed!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
To my safe and consuming friends all over the world.
To those who are broken and those who are well.
To those who dream of heaven and those who fear hell.
To every age, under every sky,
who know all the songs and verses.
To those who think they are righteous, and those who think they are worthless.
There is only one who is worthy of praise,
only one to whom all the earth bows low
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Today's bible reading (well last weeks, but I'm behind.) Honestly one of the saddest I've ever read. And the hardest. So, so, so hard. And I'm not even exaggerating.
There are times when the scriptures are crushing to me and nearly suffocate any hope I have out of me. Just being honest. God is so great, just and full of holy terror. I can't even whisper beneath the weight of his righteousness. It's good to be a casual Calvinist in times like these and hold on to the assurance of my salvation. Or it's better to look to Christ, the Hope of Salvation.
Then there is the ongoing struggles around the world. The persecution of believers in India and Iraq. And a lot of other places. There is the apathy most have towards it, the apathy I battle to maintain. So much of me want to ignore and insulate all over again. What do I do to maintain?
There is a mother of little ones in our church who was just transferred to hospice care. Horrible and sad.
In our little church over the last two years we've had way too many battles with cancer. The odds are not fair.
I miss being on vacation. That seems trite amidst everything else. The sun, the family, the beach. Being with my family all the time and not driving back and forth to work and hour each way. Not getting home after 6 each night. Wondering who we're going to find to babysit my kid each day after school since the original plan fell through.
I hate sucking. I have sucked at life this week. Embarrassingly poorly. Ashamed at my laziness and futile attempts at following Jesus. I don't know how else to put it. I suck.
I hate that I'm struggling even though none of this directly affects me or my family in any serious manner like it does so many others.
Just all together it's too heavy to bear.
Posted by Jason_73
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As I survey the landscape of current evangelicalism and the depths of my own heart, I am convinced that I want the crown without the cross. You see the church and I are often plagued with wanting the blessings of glory, while not understanding the fellowship of His suffering. We have a over-realized eschatology. We want to live in the fullness of his kingdom right now, and we are not so interested in the not yet. Instead of being a witness through daily suffering for the glory of Christ we want our best life now.
Yes I want to experience the miraculous, healings, the tangible presence of God, and lives radically transformed. But, that stuff is becoming increasingly dull to me. I don't know how to put it any other way. I am becoming more and more disinterested in what we might narrowly call "the supernatural" and am finding real excitement in watching others make Christ look great in the midst of their suffering. I am encouraged and provoked when Christians live in what Eugene Peterson called "a long obedience in the same direction."
Besides the financial crisis bringing clarity to this a new book by John Piper has helped me with this. It is not your typical Piper book, but it is a poetic and illustrated book based on the life of Job. This book has pierced me with many uncomfortable questions: Could I suffer like Job and still not curse God? Do I love God more than my wealth and health? If I want to follow Jesus do I realize that he was crucified? .....and many more similar questions. Anyway, I if you are interested in previewing the book you can watch the trailer below. Also I would love to hear your thoughts....
Last night Canada elected it's second conservative government, and at the same time the U.S. is about to elect it's most liberal government in history. Our we losing our stereotypical identities? Are Canada and the U.S. trading places?
Monday, October 13, 2008
This is the last time I comment about the election. Probably for the rest of my life.
How 'bout them Dodgers!
Or how 'bout that persecution of believers in India!
posted by: Jason
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
"What will my son remember me doing (or how I spent my downtime)?"
a. Sitting behind a lap-top.
b. Sprawled out on the couch for hours watching meaningless TV.
c. Always clutching a sports magazine.
d. Always reading some book *
e. In God's word.
I really want to make it the latter.
* There is nothing wrong with any of these morally neutral activities. My point is how I want my son to remember what I spent my time doing.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Pass it on!
Also, I found this clean, theme for the blog and like it. Just one thing I noticed is that it doesn't say who posted the blog. So I think for the sake of anyone reading it that doesn't know us, just write in the title or in the post somewhere who posted it.
Also, had a lazy weekend. More on that in another post. But for now, check out the Orissa site and inform your other brethren and sistren to do the same.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My how things have changed. Dave's new favorite book is probably, "Why we're not emergent" and his favorite conference is "together for the gospel"...
Me, I'm a flaming liberal, emerging neo-orthodox whose favorite tape series is "highlights from the Jesus Seminar vol.1-15".
But one of the good things that came the conference (besides prayer labrynths!) was connecting with the ministry of Dan Kimball. I think he is a guy that really gets it.
I've followed his blog for years now and have been impressed with his heart and ministry non-stop.
The guy actually wrote the book "the emerging church". He's been through all the issues, de-construction, burn out, trouble with church leadership, blah blah blah... and has kept his head on straight. You would think that a guy who helped coin the term "emerging church" would have some stock in trying to defend it. But it looks like he's actually disconnecting from it.
Wow. Good for you Dan.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
So Condeleeza Rice is in Libya meeting with Moammar Gadafi, and I read this quote in the article,
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
One of the funny little different idiom's between Canada and the U.S. that you notice. Here is it's grade 1, grade 2, where in the states your starting the 1rst grade or the second grade.
Noah started grade 1. He's not in class number__, he's in division 8... ??? Whatever. The other weird thing, which I think might be chocked up to organization is that he won't know what class he's in till probably Thursday afternoon. They spend this week registering new kids and other stuff and in the mean time he's in a temp class with kids that probably won't end up being his class mates. Weird.
It's amazing to watch him grow up though. My little guy.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
This picture makes me happy. I don't know how to describe it to folks who don't have kids but sometimes you love them so much for no real reason. Noah came to work with me last Friday when the baby sitter called in sick at the last second. He really thought he was helping me do my job when in reality it was a bit tougher :)
As is his custom, he likes to crawl up on my lap and demand that I stop what I'm doing on my computer and go on youtube to watch Marvin the Martian videos. I'm still not sure how that tradition started btw... A few hours later he drew this picture. As I was tidying up my office I came across it and my heart just filled up with happiness and pride. I started thinking about him and how much I love him. Not for what he can do, just for who he is. Weird and generic sounding but true.
Not sure why, but I woke up this morning embarrassed and feeling kind of weak. I sat there recounting my message/sermon/spiel from yesterday word of word, phrase by phrase and I was practically paralyzed in bed. I wanted to pull the covers over my face and hide. Not sure why. Nobody said anything to me. No negative feedback. But all these peoples faces from the crowd, the congregation staring at me. Wierd. Not sure why it happens like that.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
1-0. I am retiring. Undefeated.
Also preached sermon 2 of sermons 1 and 2. I was unbelievably nervous this week for some reason. Got up there and spilled my guts again. I think it was received well.
Phew. Now I just have to do a wedding this weekend and then I can retire from this gig as well.
I couldn't find the "word" until I started to focus on THE WORD.
It's here. Early on Sunday morning.
It's going to be ok.
Took me 20 minutes to put all the info together and type out my notes after I finally got it.
It's a wonder what a couple hours of sleep will do for you.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It's times like these I remember that I'm glad I don't have to struggle like this all week every week anymore. Then I kind of feel like a wuss for thinking that way. Oh well, after tomorrow it's back to the low-down for awhile. What was I thinking of telling Paul that I would take both weeks...?
Paul: Jason, I was wondering if you'ld take the pulpit for one of the two Sundays while I"m gone...
Me: Sure Paul, mind if I take them both...?
Paul: Uh... sure...that would be great!
Me: No problem-o...
Me: (Two weeks later...) @^%&#%#!!!!
Oh well. I had this funny thought of just preaching out of the most random book in the bible, like Nahum or Obadiah. Just to keep folks on their toes. Then I did some research on Nahum and found it interesting. Just haven't got the "word" yet...
Thursday, August 21, 2008
And what a time to do this in, right when the controversy breaks.
I'm not into divulging secrets or stirring up controversy, really. What I have seen here and there is how the church is pulling together in this mess, and how people are pressing in and not giving up, the church wants to see people saved and healed in spite of what has happened with Todd.
Revival, outpouring, renewal, whatever you want to call it, is going to continue. We charismatics would be lost without a good meetin', ya hear. There will be other outpourings, other revivals and lots of good kingdom stuff to occur very soon.
I was interviewing a really cool worship leader the other night, and she said something that really surprised me:
"I miss Todd. Todd should be back here."
This was different from the dozen or so interviews I've conducted since the reports. I've heard one too many times that "this is not about Todd, it's about God" and yeah that is true, but still.. I mean, how many healing evangelists are out there that appeal to such a wide variety of people?
I looked back at all the early youtube films that were so exciting: raw, real, powerful and most of all hopeful: the Gift of Healing had returned, and the guy leading us into it was just as raw and powerful as the Gift itself. It wasn't religious, it wasn't controlled, and there was a high entertainment value that went along with the miracles, signs, wonders.
And I'm not saying that Todd should be back when there are unresolved issues in his life to the extent that has been revealed, but when one very prominent and radical leader is taken out, it stings.
Yes we need to pray for Todd, yes hopefully he will be back, restored and well once again. But in the meantime the Todd-shaped hole needs to be filled with believers who can stir up the pot just as much. I think we need to be the ones taking the torch on and generating tangible healing radicalness, causing the world to see God is real.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Me: Well, God wants us to be thankful for everything... He still has control in hard times and can make them good.
Noah: So he's a controlling God?
Me: uh... I guess... Kind of...
Noah: and it's like my car I got for Christmas... God has a remote control...a controller, you know?
Me (thinking): Only if your a hard-core Calvinist...
So know that I'm not a total nut job and that I really never come to many firm conclusions on much in spite of what my tone in a post on here might suggest. I have a few disorders, and one of them is that I have to get stuff off my chest. It can make for a some boring one-sided conversations/lectures for a few of my friends. But they are generally gracious in listening which I appreciate. I've almost got this theology thing nailed down. A few more months and I'll write a book about it.
So thanks for grace...
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I remember participating in similar issues and contoversy (doctrinal) regarding Benny Hinn. Hinn is very likable, God has done some miraculous stuff in and around his ministry - and it is true, the guy has preached some VERY wacky stuff. So what can you do?
Paul in I Cor. talks about how some believers said, "I follow Paul..." others said, "I follow Apollos" - to which Paul said, "I follow Christ!"
As for Bentley? I personally don't know what to do with the guy. I have chosen to remain on the sidelines throughout this whole thing. I have been neutral.
I am the same way with Benny Hinn- neutral. I used to vehemently argue against his doctrine. Then, I went to a crusade (I was literally forced to go by my former Pastor - and boss). He (Hinn) spent a few minutes teaching some pretty basic innocous stuff. Then he led worship. It was an AWESOME time of worship. Then people started popping up shouting and dancing all around the room - made their way up front and starting giving testimonies of what God had just done. My mind changed instantly about his ministry. He was no longer trying to be a revolutionary Bible teacher digging for "hidden" truths. He was just up there leading worship and hearing from the Lord. Awesome! Do I "follow" the guy? NO. But I am now much less critical.
As for Todd Bentley, I am grieved. I am grieved in the same way I am with anybody who "falls" or whose mistakes, miss-steps or sin are revealed in the public eye (heck, even John Edwards for that matter). I still haven't read that much about any of the details - though it doesn't matter much. The fact is, we can all fall prey to the same kinds of things, especially in ministry. It is too easy to get our lives out of balance in the name of ministry.
King David was able to say of his former enemy -"Oh, how the mighty have fallen!" He could have rejoiced that he had been vindicated through Saul's death - and now he was out of danger and able to ascend the throne of Israel. Instead, he mourned the loss of someone "great" - WOW! I hope the story is still being written with Todd Bentley. I will admit, I was personally a bit turned off (as I usually am) by all the hype and hoopla. But I chose to remain neutral. I pray that he submits to authority, that he is teachable, humble - that his wife and kids are o.k. and that he is restored. We'll have to wait and see. I do believe we should be grieved. How the mighty have fallen!
Friday, August 15, 2008
And I've been kind of rocked by the whole Bentley thing.
I don't know what it is, but at some point I've taken it on as my mandate to stick up for the guy. I'm not really sure why... Maybe it's the local boy made good thing as he is from our town. Not that he is a favorite son. There have been a spat or two around here over the years due to his ministry and such. I once wrote a post about him (fairly positive) that received tons of traffic (fairly negative) on the old blog. That kind of provoked me to stick up for him even when I wasn't sure why. I've been to a few of his conferences, and really could have taken or left it (meant as harmless as possible). The funny thing is God always spoke deeply to my heart through another speaker or I met someone while there. Most fondly was my friend Peter Moyo from Zimbabwe.
Over time I've gone about my own business and such and Todd has grown in some renown I suppose. The folks that stuck around our church after the "troubles of 06-7" tended to be the lot that appreciate Todd and Freshfire. We still have a bunch that either came from the church they planted, Global Harvest or attended his ministry school. They are honestly fantastic, wonderful people. One had a word for me a few weeks ago that was right on the money and very affirming. That's the part that gets me. I have a tough, real tough time with some of the stuff Todd teaches, the hype, certain experiences and so forth. Some of it makes me cringe in fact. But I know a lot of people that are very connected to those guys and they are golden, salt of the earth. People that I love and trust deeply. Therein lies the rub. And I've chosen to concentrate more on what I know through them than what I don't understand in the way of the theological stuff. God is good, and if these good people who know him and love him a lot more that I can stand up for him, then I just believe the best and pray the rest as Francis always said.
And then this whole mess that has come up in the last few days. The first thing my fleshly heart thought was "oh great, I've been sticking up for the guy and now I have egg on my face". Awesome heh? My heart=selfish. But then I thought, "oh man... it is going to hit the fan", and sure enough it is.
I think that's why I've kind of found myself defending the guy. I can't stand the other team. Almost why I'll vote for any team playing against the San Fransisco Giants, I don't like them. I've never really stood up for Todd's doctrine as much as I've stood up against these blind, ignorant, vicious attacks on people. Man, some of the stuff that is out there is sickening. I don't understand what they think they are going to accomplish. Are they going to succeed in keeping people from believing God might want to heal people, save people, deliver people...?
I mean it's always been there I guess... but if people want to travel and listen to a guy, and they are coming away blessed and transformed, encouraged, hopeful, pumped-up, inspired to minister, and have a greater heart for lost people then whats the deal? These same people leaving church and going to the park just to find people to pray for, going onto the streets feeling empowered to bless and encourage and looking to bring the kingdom. Moving to Africa to start orphanages. Good stuff. Yet, there are these critics who have this sloppy, lazy caricature of these same people as mindless zombies who just open up their wallets and heads and dump the contents in the offering basket.
Do I have concerns around some issues? Sure. Some who were not healed when they might have thought they were, some who are immature and put too much hope and stock in a man other than Jesus, some who aren't connected with a local body. Their are certainly many things within the Charismatic realm that need an overhaul. I'm praying it'll happen. That God may use this latest news to propel some of that. But I believe that God is able and interested in keeping people and protecting them. Just like the baby believers Paul left behind every time he was kicked out of a town, just like the believers who were flirting with bad doctrine and bad character that he would write his letters to, God kept and protected them. He also challenged and rebuked them too. But a loving father chastises those he loves.
I'll be praying for these guys. I have a way that I hope it will go. It might not. But I'll pray none the less. I wish my first response would have been grief and a challenge to pray for the kids and the family... the important stuff.
Most of all in this craziness remember to pray for the marriage of Todd and his wife and hopefully their reconciliation.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
One clarification. I'm speaking to myself here BTW... (And to anyone reading that I might be confusing) (I should just write in a stinking journal!)
I don't care what my community thinks about a lot of things that I used to think were important but no longer do. And things that I can't control. The end-all/be-all isn't whether or not my church goes out of business tomorrow. It's just a building and a bunch of statements, and some traditions. I do care about the people within it, how we love one another. How people can know and see God from that. I do care. 99.99999999% of people have it wrong anyway. Why do we get so worked up about that? What they think? I don't understand.
When God opens up doors for real, meaningful relationship that His Spirit is working in, then all our fleshly wrong stuff starts to get worked through... That is what we should care about... Those kind of relationships, and everything else will work itself out.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I do care about my community.
I do care about being a fragrant aroma to the world.
I do care about contextualizing my faith in a way that brings clarity to the gospel for someone and doesn't allow man-made traditions to be worshiped.
I do care about truth.
I do care that God's people have a reputation that honors and brings glory to His name.
I do care about reaching marginalized people with the saving freedom of the new covenant God has made with His creation.
I do care about God's beautiful order, and how that looks a lot different than most North Americans perception of order.
I do care about people not being abused in, or by the church or people pretending to be God's church.
I do care about being an ambassador of reconciliation for Christ.
I do care about breaking down facades in my life and heart.
I do care about blessing and not cursing.
I do care about cutting through the garbage of self-deception and hearing hard truth.
I do care about a lot of things.
I do care about faith, hope and love.
I do care about a lot.
I am a parodox.
I don't really care what my community would think.
How dare I say that... I am treading in sacrosanct territory here for some people.
I don't care what you think about our church sign, our church's mission statement, the color of our pews, the fact we have pews, that we're a small church, that some Sundays all we have is a guy leading with an acoustic guitar. That sometimes our projector isn't working. I don't care what you think about our church's logo, whether there are ugly people or beautiful people that go here, what you think about my pastor's message or his delivery. Whether you think we are unusual and "Charis-maniacs". I don't care what you think about our church.
I don't really kind-of care if the "World" (you know, non-Christians) think my building is cool, or our programs are relevant, Or that we don't really have programs... or if they think I'm an intellectual midget, or if the people in my church are unusual and make them feel uneasy. We are unusual. And weird.
The reality is we have a reputation out there that we can't control anyway. Sinners gossip to one another and spread half-truths and lies, and un-informed information. Or they spread the actual truth about us. It may not be flattering. But it's true. We're sinners too in the process of redemption and sanctification. If you want to keep me in that box that's your problem. God's sanctifying us that's all I care about.
I don't care if people know that I am reformed in some regards and free-will in others. I don't really care if you know that I am intrigued by Obama. That I shop at Wal-mart and eat bacon. I don't despise Joel Osteen. Or Todd Bentley. Or John Piper. Or hardly anyone else any more. Who cares?
I also like the New Living Translation.
I used to think all that stuff was so important. I worried so much about how others saw me and what they thought.
And you know what? Now that I don't care and invest all my emotional energy into it, I'm free. It's all going to burn someday. Only a few things will remain. Faith, Hope and Love. If I trust in that, and find my satisfaction in God, everything else will work itself out.
When I left pastoring I thought I failed in a lot of these regards. That we were doomed cause we didn't finish up the logo.
And you know what? People are still coming. Broken people who don't care as well. And they are great and wonderful and sent by God. He is re-building it and I'm sitting on the side-lines watching with wonder. It's awesome.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Today my company finally finished that review that I had kind of mentioned. It's kind of weird, having prepared for it for a year and it being over with. Not that that is bad... I am quite pleased we don't have to deal with it for awhile, just weird that I'm not having to getting ready for something big so to speak.
In other news like I mentioned, I am preaching this weekend for the first time in over a year. I will actually preach this Sunday and the next one too while Paul is out of town. I honestly wasn't sure I ever would again but I got the invite and said "yes". It feels kind of natural and I'm not nervous yet. Who knows if I will be? To complete the "brief return to pastor-type" trifecta I will be marrying my friends in a couple of weeks. What do you know... maybe I was just on sabbatical and didn't realize it! I am preaching (at least I plan to) on paths to idolotry. The subject has fascinated me for years and I happen to be reading through 2 Chronicles right now so I thought I'd take a shot at it. Then week two I want to explore Idolotry vs. a culture of honor. We'll see though... Maybe I'll over prepare like always and have a 15 week series out of it.
Any thoughts on idolatry? Quotes, revelation on it that you may have had and want to share? I picked up some good reference books from Dave's today. Brought back memories of lugging around tons of commentaries back in the day. I love that part. I just need to remember where to turn it off and rely on the word, and the Word.
Pray for me if you think about it. That I will deliver God's appropriate word for the congregation, whatever that may be in a spirit of humility and grace. Dealing with topics around sin, I don't want to manipulative and condemning, yet filled with the redeeming gospel.
I'm babbling. I just so excited to be done with this test at work I'm losing all sense of what I should be blogging.
And I'm blogging from bed. That is pretty exciting too..
Seriously though, I want your thoughts of the stuff I mentioned!
Friday, August 08, 2008
So I thought... "Hey, it's Friday, nothing is happening at the office, no one is around, I will be in my office behind my computer all day anyway... I will wear shorts and sneakers."
Then I got to the office and the first message was from someone reminding me of a very important meeting at 10 around an important employee issue that involves people from other "formal" type agencies. So, I guess I will be rocking the "business Reeeee-ally casual" look for it. Oh well!
Other than that going through Romans 14 today has convinced me that there is no spiritual ministry of criticism. I was convinced before, and now I'm really really convinced. I like this... (via "the message"):
"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently."
"None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It's God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren't going to improve your position there one bit."
I guess what someone will resort to is "Well, they aren't my brother, they're a) heretic b) unbeliever c) false prophet d) of the Devil e) __________" Which leads to a bunch of other stuff... but I wont get into that now... That's another post.