Archive for September, 2012

Back to Church!

Even though the date is past, this is certainly a fun video!

Sooooo, are you going?

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Luke 6:20-38

This passage practically jumped off the page at me this morning. During the highly-charged political times we have right now, it doesn’t hurt to re-read this.

 

20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Jesus Pronounces Woes

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunict either.30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

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Remembering 9/11

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Every year on 9/11 I remember…

  • all the lives that were taken in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, PA,
  • the horror of seeing the first tower burning, then watching the second plane hit the second tower,
  • the incredible horror of watching those towers crumble, the debris clouds unfurl and blanket the earth for block upon block,
  • the people running for their lives, trying to outrun the debris, but succumbing…
  • the gaping, burning section of the pentagon…
  • the smoke tower rising above the hole in Shanksville.
  • that for at least two years after that, 9/11 was still raw on my mind and in my heart every day,
  • that one day I realized that I hadn’t thought once about 9/11, until that moment of recognition,
  • that the pain still returns.

I hurt

  • for what those poor people went through,
  • especially for their families
  • for the ones who survived death, but were injured and  incapacitated, mentally, spiritually, and physically,
  • and for their families.

I am grateful to those men and women who answered the call to arms against our enemies. I grieve for all of those who have given so much of their lives, their bodies, their families….to answer the horrific and unjust actions of heartless human beings against other bearers of God’s Image in the Family of Man.

And I bend my knees to The God of All Things Created…and cry, “Holy Father, God Almighty! I don’t understand why things like this have to happen–but I acknowledge that You were there in the middle of them because You are always with us. You, Lord God, gathered Your children into Your bosom that day, as you do every day. You, Lord God, heal the broken hearts of their loved ones, and the rest of us. You, Lord God, take on our yoke…and You, Lord God, make our burdens so much lighter.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come soon!

Amen.

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“Why You Think The Way You Do”…From Rome to Home

I didn’t forget! It’s been a long day, but I can finally put this up…

A week ago I said that I would let you know about Dr. Glenn Sunshine’s book, “Why You Think The Way You Do.” The reasons for this are:

  1. it was one of the books that we had to read for The Centurions Program,
  2. it was one of the easier books we had to read,
  3. it starts with a look at what a worldview is, and why it’s important to understand what one’s worldview is, and
  4. it gives a framework—gives us historical context–on which we can “hang” everything else.

Because understanding what a worldview is, and why it’s so important that Christians develop a Biblical worldview, Dr. Glenn’s book starts with a chapter that deals with “worldview.” What is it, and why should I care about it?

In the rest of his book, Dr. Glenn deals specifically with how the worldviews we see in our culture today were formed, and what “informed” them. He chooses several worldviews and shows how they were expressed in each age.

He chose to start his book with the worldviews/philosophies of the Roman world into which Jesus entered history, and moves forward to today’s worldviews. This is why the subtitle of his book is, “From Rome to Home.”

Christianity played a huge role in the formation of Western thought, and the people and the events that The Lord has used to spread His Word and Thoughts. Sadly, we don’t hear as much as we could/should about this in our culture today, but that doesn’t mean the facts and histories aren’t out there. People like Dr. Glenn are devoted to bringing these things to light today!

In Dr. Glenn’s book, you will read about how the rich Romans aborted or killed their unwanted babies by “flushing” them down their toilets. You will also read that those practices were not limited to the upper class, and the evidence for this.

You will see how Rome was propped up by foreigners, who did the majority of the work in their hey-day. And you will get a good idea as to why the Roman Empire collapsed. You will see Constantine go from the greatest persecutor of Christians, to making Christianity the law of the land. The Medieval times were incredible, and each region had it’s own characteristics…i.e., the Italian Medieval times in comparison the English. You will see some of the problems Christianity faced when the “New World” was discovered, and it put to the test a lot of the core beliefs of Christianity.

There’s a whole lot more, but I suggest you read it yourself. This is one of my all-time favorite books!

Enjoy!

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What Is Murder?

Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” ESV (Red letter Jesus words.)

I know I said my next post would be on this coming Sunday, and that it would be about the book, “Why You Think The Way You Do,” but I’m making a change here. I will post on the book on Sunday.

However, I’ve been praying about the political noise which we hear and in which we participate. It is easy, for me at least, to get angry at those who so vigorously boo at God and who treat Christians as though we couldn’t possibly have a brain. It’s easy, for me again, to want to call them “fools” and “idiots” and wish we could all just have our own separate countries and governments so that we wouldn’t get on each others’ nerves.

But that’s not what The Lord wants from, or for, us. And it isn’t realistic, of course.
But I ask you to consider what God really wants from us. Think about it. God put us IN the world. Why? Well, I firmly believe that He wants us here, in part, to rescue as many as we can from the flames of hell. God loves “fools” and “idiots,” and He does not want any to perish. We are here to redeem others, this culture, and this world, for HIM.

This morning as I read Mark 5, the words above grabbed me. God lets us see The Truth, He gives us discernment, He takes away the scales from our eyes, and He wants others to have those gifts, too. We might want to bring coals on their heads, but we see that as punishing them. God sees the coals as purifying those we see as our “enemy.”

Think about it. When we look at current political things with an eye that is a little more God-centered, can we see the great love He has for the Lost? Can we see that the answer is not to want to separate from the unpleasantness…but rather to submit to The Lord’s Call to engage our culture and the people in it, to redeem and restore as many as possible before He returns.

Even if we are persecuted?

“They will know we are Christians by our love.”

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On the Topic of Centurions…

Between January and December, 2010, I was immersed in The Centurions Program. This program was started by the late Chuck Colson to train leaders in Biblical Worldview, with the intent of returning them to their spheres of influence where they would “redeem” the culture for Christ.

That year became the best year of my life! I have not experienced that kind of intellectual and spiritual growth since I was born again. We were loaded with philosophy, Church history, Spiritual Disciplines, transformation of the spirit and Conformation to His Spirit, and so on, and so on. At this writing, there are well over 1,000 commissioned Centurions out there, all around the world!

Now, I have to confess something. It’s with great chagrin that I confess that I steered clear of philosophy in college. I considered it akin to “basket weaving.” How in the world could “philosophy” make a difference in MY life? Right? Well, thank God, I am a whole lot smarter now than when I was a stupid 18-year-old. It turns out that a little knowledge of philosophy and the history of Western thought would have helped me deal with a lot of unexpected issues in my life. Seriously.

Well, I would like to share the books I read that year with you, as well as many of the ones I’ve been reading since. Starting with my next post on this blog, I will bring, “Why You Think The Way You Do,” by Dr. Glenn Sunshine, to you. Feel free to check it in advance, and even buy it, if you can.

Dr. Glenn is one of the many instructors in the Centurions Program, and he is the only real-live research historian that I personally know. He is a brilliant, brilliant brainiac! But most importantly (at least to me, anyway), I am so grateful to The Lord that I can actually call him my favorite mentor! And if you read his book, I’m sure you’ll notice that he has a way of saying things in such a way that most people can understand. And his engaging humor makes his books a joy to read.

Yes, I said books. He has several, and I will probably address each of them at some point on this blog.

And now, I look forward to “seeing” you next week! God bless you!

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