Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Story of Love

This is the dramatic reading that I will be painting to at the lock down this friday

In the beginning there was nothing.
It was black then with the words of
God's voice there was light.
Love created sky, earth, the seas,
Life was created in the image of God
made by his Love.
Then one day life betrayed Love.
This is how sin entered into the world
God and Love, did not abandon life though
He sent signs for life to find him.
There will be a star in the sky,
and a baby in swaddling clothing.
His name will be Jesus!
He will wash away all our sins.
Jesus came to give the truth.
Even though he knew that we would not listen.
Love cried out to us,
and we chained him down.
We pierced the hands that healed the sick,
then we pulled his broken, scarred, body up to the cross
In his final hours,
Love cried out to his father.
Though we were killing him, he still forgave us
with his final breath.
He...Forgave... me.
But the story doesn't end there,
Jesus did not stay in the grave.
Love does not die!
Jesus rose from the dead and all who believe in him no longer have to fear death,
they are no longer a victim of sin.
All those who believe in Jesus now have their name written in the Lambs Book of Life.
This is the story of Love.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Five Years Gone

Life is a strange thing.  Thats part of the fun of things.  Quite frequently when I'm bored, which tends to happen a good deal at work, I play a little game I call '5 years gone'.  This is just a little self evaluation exercise I guess. The game basically works think back 5 years what were you doing? who were you then? what were your ambitions then?  and finally what would that you from 5 years ago think of you?
So of these questions can be just a little sobering.  I don't think there are a lot of us that are close to where we thought we would be five years ago.  For example: I didn't think I would still be living in Sussex, or really Canada for that matter.  I thought I would be a pastor in a church or at least working with a church plant.  I thought I would be married (honestly though back then it was wishful thinking/ God shows grace in the coolest things).  Depending on the week I though I would be in the middle of my masters work.  And there were probably a few other things in there.
In all honesty other than getting married I am no where near where I thought I would be.  Here's the thing though the only thing that was in that list that I really left in God's hands was the marriage; which by far is why it is so blessed I've never taken a hold of it, it is totally God's.  Everything else though was my plan.  FYI for anyone that doesn't know my plans tend to suck.  They might be fun sometimes but in the end they are short lived.
The other thing is God's plan doesn't sense.  Right now God is leading me on a path of poverty.  Most of my friends would say this is an easy task, were poor college students/ post college people, we don't have money.  No we might not but we have stuff.  So I've been selling my stuff.  It's weird because all this stuff I've been hoarding that I put such an attachment value to just feels like its taking up space.  I'm filled with the conviction that I don't need stuff and this stuff has a monetary value that can go to some one else that needs it.  Or how about the fact God has placed a clear call on my life to plant a church in SLC yet he is taking me to Africa soon (check out for more info) and then possibly Korea.  In his omnipotence i'm sure God can read a map so I'm not sure why he's leading me the long route .  And right now God has me working in a church with a youth group that I thought I had quit.  But instead he has me being a servant doing what needs to be done, and honestly being more full filled than I was  when I was being a pastor.
I don't understand a lot, but what little I do have know this God is in control.  Or at least he is supposed to be.  I don't think in a million years I would be able to figure out where it is exactly God will lead me the next five years. I don't know if want to know what happens to make that person, because as much as the joy excites me the pain scares me (even the little sample that we've had this year was heart breaking). Honestly I think I would have trouble recognizing that person, just as I have trouble remembering who it was I was five years ago.  But God knows that person.
Like I said at the beginning life is weird.  It doesn't always go where you want, but it can be some thing beautiful and rewarding when your done.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaNo and the other blog

I am now full swing into NaNoWriMo for my first time.  Hopefully I will write a novel out of this.  Though I am constantly wondering if I have enough for 50 pages let alone the 50,000 word goal.  Because I saw some one else do this and thought it was kewl I will be posting one page a day in another blog.  If you go to than you can read this as I write it.  For those who read my blogs on facebook I will not be linking this blog (I think, it might just do that any ways despite my intentions).  Anyways have fun reading.

Monday, August 31, 2009


There are so many concepts that we say Christianity hinges on. This may just be because it sounds good to say something hinges on one idea, though on the other side maybe it is because God, Christ, is the center. That is why his name is in Christianity. And Christ being God is so encompassing that choosing one thing as what he wants to communicate to us a little impossible because he is all of that. Jesus is love. Jesus is truth. Jesus is compassion. Jesus was a healer, he did evangelize, he was full of wisdom. And his life was a testimony of grace.
All of these things are true about Jesus, and should be true about his followers. There are so many other things that could be listed with those just listed because Jesus crammed so much into three years that in over two millenia we are still scratching our heads and leaving our jaws gaped open saying "what?". We don't get it, well we kind of do but not really. One of the ones i think we miss the most out of all of them, which maybe is why we have trouble with some of the other ones is grace.
Christians and Atheists alike and all persuasions in between seem able to quote John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten son. That is grace. In all of history humans have sucked. God made us good, but then we went and did something that wasn't cool. We took control away from God. So God justly had to punish us. We had to work now, God still loved us, but we had to work to live. Our relationship with God was different now, but instead of us trying to restore it, we decided to carnally dive inward and take more control and force God away.
This is like the teenager that does something wrong, is then grounded, but instead of apologizing and admitting their err, sneaks out the window running away. The father would be heart broken over their child running away. Equally so God wept for us leaving him. Over time we wouldn't just leave him thinking we new better but we would join together and form new gods in our rebellion. The bible describes us as prostituting ourselves to these fake gods. Imagine being this father again desperately wanting to have your child back, then you get word that they are in the city and someone saw them on that street corner. As soon as you hear them say that you know what they mean. Your child is giving themselves away, again and again. Slowly being destroyed by one abusive stranger after another, being whittled away into despair as they try to desperately try and regain the love they used to freely have. What is a father to do what was our father to do?
God being God though new exactly what was going to happen. It is part of who he is to know yet to love us through everything. He formed us with his hands, and as he carved each intricate detail of who we are knew what we would do, yet he breathed life into us and loved. He could have decided that everything was perfect before Adam. But he loved us so, he made us.
As our father, God had to do something for us. He loved us so he had to rescue us. By no means did we deserve this kind of love. Most of us if we were betrayed at even a fraction of the level that we betrayed God would stop loving, yet he continued. From the moment God decided that he would love us he knew what that would cost him. Jesus was the price for love.
If God being the loving father that he is, wanted to restore full relationship with us than a sacrifice had to be made. One that could be given without question. God's love for us spurned grace.
God in love could have chosen to give us only what we deserve. Which as time passed for many of us was less and less. The majority of us right now if not all of us only deserve hell. But God is so full of love that he gave us grace, what we did not deserve, and made a way for us to come home.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Conviction, Sin, and a Tree full of tasty fruit

For the last few years I have had the interesting opportunity for hosting a guys accountability night. This is done to address the issue of guys falling prey to pornography. With this well in mind it always takes me by surprise that this is really a problem. I'm not sure why it takes me by so much surprise though as for the longest time I was in the same boat. How did this become such a huge issue?
In the letters to the Corinthians, Paul had to deal with a church that just came from the problem of sexual perversion. The city of Corinth was a mix of Las Vegas and Vatican City (if Catholics were about sex and not the Pope). So all the people in the church of Corinth were tempted by that world around them and what they all used to be doing. Religion to many of them just a few months before was sleeping with the temple prostitute. Now religion has some rules for them, and it is very hard to understand that these rules are meant to give them freedom. They kept doing things really to us that don't make sense. Paul hears about all of their highly in appropriate actions and writes them back a list of things that clearly this is what you can not do. He listed that you can not sleep with any of your relatives. That you aren't to join yourselves with prostitutes. That you can not sleep with animals. You can not sleep with people of the same sex. That if you can not quell your sexual urges that you need to get married to satisfy them. Then at the very end of the list he uses a greek word pornea. Pornea roughly translates to anything else you can think of. It is the junk drawer term for sexual deviancy. This is also where we get our word pornography from. Essentially pornography is whatever other sexual sin you can think of.
It seems so foolish that Paul had to write this church and tell them to cut it out. It seems so self evident what you should and should not do. Yet here is the thing that we as humans do. We look at what we know we can do and we think what can I do to get that. We have a bar set and we find what ever we can to get that bar to be lowered so that we can cross it. We impulsively feel the need to squirm under the thumb of rules as we feel they are so heavy, yet fail to realize that it is the thumb of sin that is actually pressed against us. This is how we were 2000 years ago thats how we are now. But we have now spent 2000 years lowering the bar. So much more is acceptable, and almost nothing is taboo. How long though before we have completely gotten rid of the bar and are allowed to go with every perversion that our heart desires. That there will be no difference between our practices and those of the animals. This is where we are at almost complete sexual depravity and we seem to be slowly becoming okay with it. Why are we okay with this?
There is a point where we are supposed to realize what we are doing and stop. That we turn away from our wickedness and do what we are supposed to do. Humanist believe that we just decide this in the face of injustice to turn around. Somehow a good deal of Christianity is expressing the same. Everything has become a one sided act that is all our doing and none of God's. We have tried to add righteousness to our control along with the sin that is already there. We could easily stop lowering the bar and live the life of freedom, if we would put God back in to the equation. You see God in our lives has the power to convict us, short of God the next best thing is guilt. Conviction is what it will take for us to live in purity, and conviction is from God. Despite having free and open access to listen to God we have denied ourselves his voice and move freely with our own desires. We have no care for what he has to say, mainly because we think he is just going to tell us no. We think God is out to ruin our fun. In our week and frail humanity we can not envision God telling us something that can be more enjoyable than the hedonistic world that we have made for ourselves. If we would be open to the conviction that God lovingly wants to bestow we would understand that he is not saying "no", but that he is saying "not now" or "not that". There is no bar in God's plan, there is only unity and peace, a new life. We need to listen for it though.
Way back at the beginning of time we were given one rule. Do not eat of this one tree, if we do that we die. This tree contained the knowledge of good and evil. All we had to do was stay away from the fruit of that tree. But we moved closer and closer and let the bar go lower. Until Eve stood under the tree with the fruit in her hand and Adam stood right next to her the same. The bar was now so low that they could just walk right over, and they did. These two walked with God and when they stopped for a second to listen to another voice, they lowered the bar and went with their own depravity. To them the fruit was pleasing, so is our fruit today. There is plenty that is great for sex, but there is a reason that we are told to wait to eat that fruit. If we eat we will die, but if we listen we will live. Let God convict you, and sin no more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Uncertain Church

I love the postmodern news show 'The Hour'. It is my Oprah, and George Stomplopogous is my boyfriend (if you watch the show its not as weird as it sounds). Almost on every episode they tend to have an author on with a new book. These are either books for dynamic life stories or analysis on culture. On tonight's episode they had the author of 'The Age of the Unthinkable' on. Now I haven't read the book so I do not know all of the in's and out's about what is in the book, but in the interview they were able to communicate the thesis of the book. We are entering into an age where we can no longer think in simple answers. That the big picture needs to be the focus, and we need be ready to live in a world where disruption works.
The author of the book figured out these things by gaining understanding from modern revolutionaries. Revolutionaries such as the inventor of the Wii, Google, and even Hezbolah. Completely non box thinkers. I couldn't help but thinking how does the church learn from these people, and adapt to this new culture?
The church every few generations reinvents itself. This comes from a response to new technology, or revolutions in how we think about theology (i.e. Luther). We are easily at a time when both will come into play. There are plenty of new thoughts on theology coming out, mainly focusing on ecclesiology, and christology. While I may not agree with all ideas that are coming out, there is a reason why we are reexamining ourselves and rewriting ourselves. Not in the sense that our theology is fundamentally different, but the communication of it is. 'The Shack' is a recent example of this. Theologically there are fundamental flaws overall, but the point to communicate the love of God in a suffering world is done in a way that is turning countless people back to a personal intimate faith in Jesus. Infinitely more complex answers are needed in this new generation, yet they will need to be communicated in a way that will be universal. This generation of preachers and teachers will have to be story tellers over preachers. Not only will we need to pierce the congregations hearts with the truth, but their souls with a story. We need move forward by reverting from the argumentative speech and back to the parable style done by Jesus and the Rabbi's of the day.
Technology and culture are the other big changers of the church. We changed the church based on the pew, than the loud system, than to power point projection. What is the next step? Satellite churches are taking advantage of podcast, and video technologies. Are smart phones part of the churches next evolution. Is the future of the church decentralization? Are we to move from one massive group to a collection of smaller interconnected worshipers? In a big picture culture a church will have to be both global and local at the same time. We will be ending aids in Africa while stopping the prostitution on the street corner. This will also have to be age of action for the church over talk and platitudes. In the modern era the solution was simple, send money at the problem, let the big organization handle it. Instead now it will be to smaller groups of people to burden themselves passionately with private causes that will change the world. Imagine a thousand bodies of believers all taking on a different cause to change the world, and fully pouring themselves in doing it.
We will also have to learn to be a culture of distraction. The author illustrated this by people who talk on one cell phone while texting on another. The church has a tendency to react negatively to distractions. We are irritated by a crying baby in church, and we are left stupid by counter cultural movements (gay marriage). New thoughts on how we communicate gospel truth will be a necessary. Instead of protesting gay marriage, maybe we should be finding a way to show those in that lifestyle grace. What does this look like I am hard pressed to say, it is a very fine line to show them love, yet at the same time stand firm on our belief about their lifestyle. But it is clear that motions that are construe as hate are not the way. The church being interrupted would be highly organic, and would have to shed its modern age corporate structure in exchange for actually being a body that can move and adapt to the world. There will be a new level of spiritual depth that will be scene in this body of Christ, that will make many uncomfortable. Many will place it on the level with the likes of Benny Hinn and other eccentric pentecostals, and cry heresy. Yet that is fear and the enemy talking. People will be woken up and shake from this world as miracles will move from the fingers of those accepting the innocence to believe that their God is big enough to flood this world with miracles. They will talk with the confidence of the Christ himself and tell the storms to stop. We will walk up to heroin addict poisoned by their sin, and like Jesus turing the water into the best wine, change their blood to the purest in their veins. We will pull trash from dumpsters and by the Spirits blessing will feed a feast of kings to all those who are hungry. No miracle is to small in this age where we allow God to distract us to the world broken and crying around us. In this new age we will follow Christ not with just the burden of carrying the cross, but we will daily get up on it with him and suffer with the entirety of the Trinity in knowing how far gone the world really is. We will die, and the world will know love. We will die, and we will know life.
With a hammer and a nail God commanded Noah, and a revolution of the chosen began. With a hammer and a nail the ark then temple were built and a revolution of the Holy began. With a hammer and a nail Jesus flesh was pierced and a revolution of freedom began. With a hammer and a nail Peter hung upside down and a revolution of martyrs began. With a hammer and a nail Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses and revolution of truth began. With a fist that pounded like a hammer and a voice that pierced like nails George Whitfield, John Wesley, Orange Scott, and countless others began a revolution of hearts seeking holiness with God. With a nation hammers and nails today the body of Christ begins a revolution where we move forward and do not stop; a revolution of Love made real.
An uncertain world brings forth an uncertain church. We do not yet have all the answers. Yet we have guides and insights. Innovation and originality will move us, yet tradition and heritage will ground us. When David went to slay Goliath he wore no armor, it was to heavy. To slay this age the church will be exposed with out its armor. But with God it is written that we will prevail against this and every other age. The author named his book aptly as the Church can, and will make this age unthinkable. Where the church used to say of its beliefs this is the hill where we will die, the body will say of these beliefs we move forward. Be not uncertain your faith, move strong as the uncertain church. It will be the world that can not see where we are going as we head straight for Christ.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tis the season

Despite the title and time of the year this isn't a blog about Christmas.  I do for the most part enjoy the holiday and wish everyone a blessed Merry CHRISTmas (yes I was trying to be as obnoxious as possible).  This is more about the change of life.
I have built a habit for myself that I never live in any one place overly long.  I am a little bit of a drifter I find life a little more interesting that way.  Unfortunately this comes with a downside, I tend to be moving every 7 months or so.  Sometimes I'm lucky and I can pack up a bag and just go other times things are a little bit more strenuous.  This move will be a little harder.  It will take three days in total.  We could do it in less but I don't think I will ever want to do a shotgun drive in 26 hours (at least not with just 2 drivers).
In other changes I am no longer an intern.  Come Thursday my last assignment will be submitted. In all honesty I'm somewhat killing time here, but it helps to keep the church a head of the game.
When we get back to NB, Kim will be back in school and I will be working more hours than are in the day.  50 hours between to jobs and school.  It should be fun, I kind of already feel exhausted from it.  But this what seems right, and it feels like where God is pulling things.  I'm not sure what I'm more excited about my masters program or serving at Sussex Wesleyan.  
It's weird looking around and seeing that I'm now the grown up.  I still feel like I should be the kid on wild adventures,  it's weird that I'm now the responsible one... I don't think I am quite the mature one yet.
In a couple weeks I will be starting a second blog.  A scary thought given I barely keep up this blog.  This new blog will be following the team that I'm taking to Salt Lake in the spring.  It will build from there as the beginnings of a new church plant.  So look out for the Jericho Blogs