Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I am a Pharisee. I wish it weren't so, but facts is facts. Weird way to start an Advent devotion, huh? Yeah, today's the first Sunday in Advent. And I'm trying something a little different this year. Normally, I would post the Lectionary Scripture from The Message Bible and devotional thoughts from the Bruderhof's Watch For The Light: Readings For Advent And Christmas, but this year I want to try to sort through my own feelings during this Advent season.
My wife and I lit our Advent candle this morning and had devotions together. We're using A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants as our guide because it uses the Lectionary readings for Sundays. We're in Year B, by the way.
As we read, talked, and prayed together, I couldn't help but think of how on the one hand, I really desperately want Jesus to come and save me from myself and on the other hand sometimes I feel like I only give "lip service" to this "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" stuff. Let's face it: I just don't live daily in the reality of His second coming. I just don't. It's neatly tucked away somewhere in the background of my consciousness, but it doesn't impact my daily reality one bit. And it should.
So why do I think I'm a Pharisee? I don't know. I just think there's something missing. I believe all the right things with my head. I'm all about the Kingdom of God, in theory anyway, but when I look at my life, I just don't feel like it reflects Kingdom realities.
Take work for instance: I work in a high-stress call center taking calls about technical problems from technically illiterate people. My non-Christian colleagues seem to be able to handle calls from these callers with a much higher level of "grace" than I am able to. Do you know how that makes me feel? I feel like I'm a lousy Christian!
Or my relationship with my wife: Just this morning we were watching TV and she tried to comment on something and I "shushed" her loudly. These are my gut-level knee-jerk responses and I have come to the conclusion that I am not a "nice" person.
I am bitter, cynical, and short-tempered. The fruit of the Spirit is nowhere to be found in my life. Perhaps I'm being a little hard on myself, but then again, could it be that I am being awakened once again to my fathomless need of a Savior?
If anything, what Advent means to me is this: that I don't just receive Christ once and my eternal destiny is etched in stone, but that I need to receive Him daily, and that my spiritual growth, or lack thereof, will be commensurate with my level of surrender.
How's that for Advent thoughts?
Monday, November 14, 2005
Whenever the gospel is invoked to diminish the dignity of any of God's children, then it is time to get rid of the so-called gospel in order that we may experience the gospel. Whenever God is invoked to justify prejudice, contempt, and hostility within the Body of Christ, then it is time to heed the words of Meister Eckhart: "I pray that I may be quit of God to find God." Our closed human concepts of gospel and God can prevent us from fully experiencing both.++I would be quit of both God and gospel today. Help me differentiate between the "so-called" and the Real that I might know You as You Truly Are. ++
Friday, November 11, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
- In either case, two years later we're in Virginia, my wife has accomplished the stellar goal of completing her Ph.D. and is now working for the University. Meanwhile, I am working a job I don't particularly like and hating nearly every moment of it.
- We don't go to church. Oh, we tried quite a few when we first arrived here, but it was more of the same programmatic Warrenesque "seeker-sensitive" pablum that has infected the Church like a plague epidemic.
- We meet for prayer with another couple semi-regularly and that is the only contact we have with other Christians.
- that God will lead us to other like-minded believers
- that my wife and I will find or start a spiritual home
- that we will both be transformed and become transformers of the society around us
Sunday, November 06, 2005
|[i]Another member of the 1/5, Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, rejected a $24,000 bonus to re-enlist. Corporal Starr believed strongly in the war, his father said, but was tired of the harsh life and nearness of death in Iraq. So he enrolled at Everett Community College near his parents' home in Snohomish, Wash., planning to study psychology after his enlistment ended in August. But he died in a firefight in Ramadi on April 30 during his third tour in Iraq. He was 22. Sifting through Corporal Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the marine's girlfriend. ''I kind of predicted this,E'' Corporal Starr wrote of his own death. ''A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances." [/i]|
|"Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."|
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
1. There is an incredible opportunity to see the justice system renovated to a more righteous standard. 2. We have the great responsibility to contend for the destiny of our youth with the recovery of prayer in school. 3. We also have the mandate to battle for the purity of our soil and reverse the position of our courts concerning abortion. Innocent blood continues to cry out from our soil as it did with righteous Abel. Even so, we can overcome this great tragedy. 4. Furthermore, we as the Church of Jesus Christ have the commission to lead society rather than bear the reproach of society. 5. When we begin to reflect the image of Christ and carry His virtue, then those in the world will turn their attention to us to discover life in God. During days of great outpouring, it was gifted Christians who lead culture and revolutionized the arts, literature, finance and other arenas of our existence. Even so, this deposit of grace needed in all of these areas will not be granted automatically; it is dependant upon the willingness of God's people to stand in the gap as a righteous agency. Moses did so for Israel and obtained God's mercy when it was least deserved.Check out this reference to "seeker sensitive Christianity". I love it!
Like Elijah, many have felt only a small remnant have not bowed their spiritual knees to compromise and seeker sensitive Christianity. However, the Lord is announcing that He has His "seven thousand" hidden warriors of righteousness. This is not a literal number but a symbolic portrayal of a body of people who have abandoned their hearts to God.I'm not a huge fan of seeker sensitive Christianity, but I had never thought of it as "compromise". What do you think? Here's another bit that hit home:
The Lord is presently speaking very pointedly about the Church's need to move into spiritual maturity. Many people living in this generation have a unique and holy attribute woven into their spiritual DNA. A predetermined virtue provokes us to move beyond the outer court and into a place of Kingdom expression. It is called divine destiny. Our adversary has worked diligently to release the "spirit of stupor" over the western church. This diabolical scenario blinds our eyes and shields our ears to spiritual truth. It promotes a sense of satisfaction to simply live in a justified state without being incited to greater deeps in God.I'm in agreement with this statement. I have spoken to way too many people in the last three years that have undergone a shift in their relationship with the Church and described it as being "disconnected from the Matrix". Is there a spiritual awakening of sorts occurring all around us at this very moment? Are people being called "onward and upward" in their relationship with God and to the Church? Is passion for "greater deeps in God" being awakened in many even as we speak? I don't know about you, but this sort of thing fascinates me! I have such a yearning to know the mind and the heart of God!