Sunday, February 25, 2007

Compelled by Eternity

Today in the Assemblies of God is National Women's Ministries Day. In honor of all the women who are so very vital in Living Springs, the entire church service this morning was lead by the women in our church. They did everything from the worship service to the preaching. What an awesome job they did! It was good for me to simply sit down and be ministered to rather than being the one preaching. I'm proud of the rich ministry that our ladies bring to our church and for all that they do to share Jesus with our community! They're the best!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Feelings of Disconnect

These are the feelings I often get when I haven't been able to do what I love for any length of time. Blogging has become one of those things I love to do. However, over the past couple of weeks, it hasn't been one of those things I've been able to do. Immediately after my wife and I got back from our short getaway, I got sick with the flu. It was rough to say the least and I'm still not back to myself. The mens group of my church has planned a fishing trip for this weekend and I really want to go but I'm not sure my body is ready for it. I feel like they're really wanting me to be there which makes me feel good. I think I'm going to give it a shot. Everyone says that salty air is good for me right now. I guess we shall see. We'll be leaving bright and early tomorrow morning and coming back Saturday evening. Prayerfully next week I'll begin to reconnect with my regular life. :) I miss regular without medication to simply help you get through the day.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Where have I been?!?

Seems like an eternity has passed since my last post. My wife and I got away for a few days and came back refreshed. I was gearing up to go to Mexico on a missions trip this weekend. That's where I should be now but I got the flu!! Yuk! I have felt horrible for the last 4 days and it seems it is hanging on. Hopefully next week I'll get back to blogging more. I've missed it really.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Going, going, gone!

I'm taking my wife away for a few days. :) Cya!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Radical Optimism of the Cross

A few days ago I blogged about a video David produced from "In Rejection of Mediocrity". The video was titled, "It's about the Cross". I asked the question in my title, "Have we forgotten anything?" I've been thinking a lot about this and wanted to go a little deeper into this question. I think some of the deep spiritual significance of the Cross has been lost in our post-modern world. This is troubling to me and I hope to you. The Cross holds in it two very opposite truths and realities.
  1. The Cross demonstrates some of the most sinful actions of men.
  2. The Cross demonstrates that God can work through even the most sinful actions to accomplish his perfect plan.
There is a radical optimism found in the very ugly reality of the Cross. What is this radical optimism? Let's discuss this...

To begin with, we read in Hebrews
12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured thecross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

To the one who endured the Cross, the radical optimism was the joy awaiting him on the other side of it.
Jesus no more wanted to be nailed to this cross anymore than we would want to. He pleaded with His father in the garden of Gethsemane that he would allow the plan to be diverted. Let's take plan B as I don't think I can do this! We all know that God had no plan B. The way for all men to be reconciled to God was through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Because of the joy that was before Him, Christ found radical optimism in the Cross.

Another part of the radical optimism of the cross rests in the what Jesus said in
John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me."
Jesus knew He was the answer to man's sin problem. And He still is today. Remove from the Christian faith the Cross and we have no faith at all. It is foundational to our faith.

The radical optimism of the cross was that we would accept the
substitutionary death of Christ and pick up our own cross to carry.
Matthew 16:24 issues the challenge, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
, and follow me."

The radical optimism of the Cross beckons us to a life of service unto God. Paul writing to the Corinthians in his first letter to them writes in 2:2, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

I think what Paul was interested in knowing with this statement is, "Has the radical optimism of the cross changed your life? That was the important factor for Paul. Has the power and glory of the Cross, changed you?

Today some consider the Cross of Jesus Christ as something too gory to talk about at church. It's just too ugly of an event to spend much time on. Somehow the Cross has become offensive to many Christians. It's
ok if it's reduced to a piece of ornamental jewelry we showcase around our neckline but that's it.

What happened to telling the story of a Savior who died a horrible death for all of humanity? Why have many churches steered away from preaching the cross? Paul even said in 1Corinthians 1:18,
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Could this be true? Is the power of God held in whether or not the cross is preached? I think it is. The power of God is demonstrated in the Cross.
God took such horrible acts of sin and made it a wonderful gift to all humanity! Only God could do that and it demonstrates to us all the radical optimism God saw in the cross!

Do you see the radical optimism of the cross?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Does my REALITY match my THEOLOGY?

Over the last year I've been really doing some thinking on Reality Vs. Theology. It's been heavily on my mind for the last couple of days due to some posts I've made and those made by many others that I appreciate so very much in the blogosphere.

So, the question I raise today is this. Is my Reality and my Theology in sync? Does one affect the other and is one supposed to over power the other? I think this is true for all of us, that many times our reality is much lower than our theology. The reality, where we really live, isn't matching our theology.

Our theology says something like this (I think this is true for most of us anyway).
  • God loves everyone
  • Jesus was a fan of the marginalized
  • Jesus touched the filth of humanities worst people.
  • Jesus honored the small gifts of a humble widow woman and gave no honor to the riches of the proud
  • Jesus partied with sinners...religious people hate when the word Jesus and partied are used in the same sentence. It makes them feel dirty.
  • Jesus calls me his friend
  • Jesus died on the cross so I could live free from the law of sin and death
  • God's word says I can do all things through Christ Jesus
  • God heals
I could go on and on and on but I think you get the point.

If my theology is correct and I think it is, why is it hard so many times to get my reality to reflect my theology? Yeah I believe God loves everyone....BUT! Yes Jesus touched filthy people but I won't. In my life and in so many others that I see around me, I sense this great disconnect between what I believe and what I do; my reality isn't matching my theology. If I believe the Bible, why can't I simply live it. Why is my reality so much lower than my theology. I believe God is unlimited in power and might but my reality isn't reflecting that at all. I believe God loves the poor, marginalized, broken, deserted, hurting, busted and disgusted people of the world but my reality is too many times disconnected from that truth. Why?!? Would it be a gross misstatement to suggest that if my reality isn't matching my theology then I must really not believe too strongly in that theology? If my understanding of God's word to us is that he wants us to feed the hungry, clothe those that are naked, give water to those that are thirsty, visit those that are imprisoned, defend the fatherless, support the widow and I don't, my reality is far below my theology and doesn't that somehow cheapen the theology I hold so dear? I think it does. What are your thoughts on this? I think this is something I'm going to be wrestling with until I get a closer match between my reality and my theology. The truth of the matter, I think, is that if my reality isn't matching my theology then my theology is worthless.