Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Well, the groundhog said we were going to have six more weeks of winter. The daffodils in our yard say, "Winter? What winter?" The temperatures are ranging from the mid 50s to around 70. Of course, March may change all that. Some folks are having some pretty bad weather issues right now and I hope things calm down soon.

On to the good stuff:

Shades of Jurassic Park?
Dominick Santore on forgiveness.
Searching for immortality.
This is bound to work!
Alternative faith.

Looks like a cool place to visit.
Decline narrative.
Good post from Daniel Jepsen.
Disease of being busy.
I didn't know this was a thing.

Good post from Frank Viola.
Walking around money.
Good post from Mike Erich.
Scot McKnight asks a question.
Good post from Keith Giles.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Following Jesus: Part 2-Loving God

If we follow Jesus, we will seek to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The problem is that we don't often really know what it is that we love. We may think that we love God, but our love actually belongs to something else. We pursue a different version of what the good life is, a different kingdom. In You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, James K. A. Smith makes the case that we are primarily loving beings and that our love is formed by habits and liturgies that we engage in. Many of the things that we do in our day-to-day shape us and present a vision of a life worth living that is antithetical to the kingdom of God.

Smith makes the point that our love for God is formed and strengthened by the liturgy of the church through the centuries. Coming from a background where we said that we didn't do liturgy (even though it really was a liturgy of sorts,), I have come to appreciate the parts of a worship service, from the greeting and call to worship where we are welcomed by God and called to come apart and lift him up, to the benediction where we receive one final blessing from God and are sent out to bring his Kingdom to bear in our day-to-day. In between, we sing praises to God, confess our sin and receive a reminder of his forgiveness. We give a portion of what God has given to us as an act of worship, and we hear the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus from the words of Scripture. We gather around the table and remember what Christ has done for us and receive a foretaste of the feast to come in the new heavens and earth.

All of these things have deepened my love for God, his Kingdom, and his people. I have found that they have begun to work in me to wean my heart from those things the culture says we need to flourish. I have a long way to go, but I am confident that God will continue to work in me and give me a heart for him.

May we all come to love our Father more and more.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

This weekend, the NFL season ends Many folks will be watching tonight, some for the game, some for the commercials, and even a few for the halftime show. Unfortunately, there is also a fair bit of  sex trafficking going on in Houston this weekend. Pray that law enforcement officials are able to find those doing the trafficking and bring them to justice.

On to the links:

The groundhog.
Becoming robots?
Saying, "I'm sorry."
The real problem with driving and texting.

Good post from Bruce Hillman.
Don't overthink.
We're stuck.
This is good.

Music for dogs.
So there is one!
Leaving on a jet plane.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Good post from John Frye.
Learning to get along.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Following Jesus: Part 1

When Jesus called people to follow him, they understood that he was calling them to spend time with him, to listen to him, and to learn to relate to God as he did. For Jesus, this meant seeing God as Father and following God's commands. Jesus did something a bit different than the other rabbis though. He went to the spirit of the Law rather than just the letter. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that the Law went beyond actions all the way to the heart. Jesus then took the entire Law and boiled it down to two commands; love God with every fiber of your being, and love others as you love yourself. And then, Jesus gave us the new command to love our brothers and sisters as he loved us.

I believe that these two things sum up what it means to follow Jesus. We love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength. We spend time with our Father, we learn what is important to him and those things become important to us. We seek his Kingdom above everything else. This involves far more than just reading and even studying the Bible, although that is an important part of it. It involves far more than just hearing sermons and Bible lessons, although that too is important.

We live in a world that asks us to love other things in place of God. There are a number of things that clamor for our affections and allegiance. These things all present a vision of the good life, a vision of a kingdom. Like the Sirens, these things try to draw us into the treacherous rocks where ships run aground and are destroyed. I want to look at that in a future post.

May God help us to love him and follow his Son as our King.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

We'll, we have a new President. No matter who you voted for, it is good to see the peaceful transfer of power continue as it has for over two hundred years. It's wet here this weekend. Hopefully it won't get too cold anytime soon.

Without further ado, here are the links:

Why we don't like hypocrites.
Interesting article.
This could be a problem.
Evidently this is  a big problem.
Making peace with stories.

Predictions that missed.
Is the gospel of success a good thing?
Human touch is important.
So, is globalism really the problem?
Food as medicine.

This is pretty cool.
Top questions about heaven.
Good post from Brad Gray.
Beauty in continuity.
Money in the heart.

All about the experience?
Is your gospel tiny?
A classic post from Michael Spencer.
Four things to watch for.
Idolizing power.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

This week is the last week of President Obama's terms in office. Some are sad he is leaving, while others are glad. At times like this, when the office changes hands, should remind us that no matter who is in the White House, Jesus is on the throne. We have a King that will never give up the rule.

On to the good stuff:

Where it's hardest to be a Christian.
Julie Roys reviews Silence.
Another review of Silence.
Remaining faith.

Lauren R.E. Larkin on a free gift.
This is a bit odd.
Now we know what the Pope thinks of "fake news."
Feel like God is silent?
3D gospel.

Scott Davis on the Lord's Supper.
Good words from Philip Yancey.
Jared C. Wilson on love and hate.
Chaplain Mike is dreaming.
David Fitch reviews You Are What You Love.

The end of Christmas.
Unexpected inheritance.
Bob Edwards on half truths.
Keith Giles on revival.
How to get along with others?

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Blast From the Past: Light

This was first posted on August 25, 2009.

Sunday morning we were talking about 1 John 1:5 , where John declares that God is light. That verse is one of the few times where Scripture says God is something. It's hard for me to imagine pure light with no darkness at all. God is light, and that light is so pure that it is impossible for one of us to see God and live. Maybe taking the idea of staring at the sun and multiplying it by infinity might approach the idea of God being light, but probably not.

Now think of Adam and Eve in the Garden before the Fall, spending their time in God's presence. They walked and talked with their Creator. Were they pure enough to be able to see the glory of God and still live? I think that they were, even though I can't wrap my tiny brain around that. Unfortunately, that purity and close relationship was broken by sin, and people could no longer stand to see God. Moses only saw the afterglow of God's presence and had to put a veil on because the people couldn't even stand to look on that reflection of God's glory.

Then along comes Jesus, the One called the Light of the world. He revealed the Father to us and abolished the barrier between us and God by his death, burial, and resurrection. Now we are the light of the world. Think about what that means. If people are to see the glory of God, they will see it in those of us who follow Jesus. Jesus said that people don't take a light and hide it, but rather allow it's light to shine. In the same way, we are not to hide the light of God that is in us, but we are to live our lives in such a way that people see God in us.

I believe that we let our light shine by taking it where the darkness is. If you light a candle outside on a sunny day, there is not much light seen from that candle. In the same way, if the only time we shine is when we are with other followers of Jesus, our light is not going to be as bright. We also can't sit behind walls and lob "truth grenades" at those outside and expect any light to be seen. We need to shine where those living in darkness can see God's light in us.