Archive for April, 2010
Here’s a video of Ron DiCianni and his soon to be released painting of Jesus’ resurrection. It is worth your time to think about how much of Biblical history hinged on this one moment and Ron’s painting emphasizes this. Jesus emphasized this when He ate fish to show his doubting disciples that He had really been raised and was not ghost or a figment of their imagination. He then told them the following:
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44-47)
Hope you are inspired by the concepts and are reminded of how much of everything important to us hinges on Jesus’ resurrection!
Paul summarizes his ministry this way, and puts an exclamation mark on what is depicted here:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:1-4)
Sometimes cool stuff just comes along and falls in your lap and brings you a smile. More than just buyin’ time with a little rhyme, this verbal riff strikes the chord of truth and left me smiling while being convicted at the same time!
Worship gets forced fitted into a narrow slot on Sunday morning. It makes it feel like our spiritual lives can be managed and our worship can be segmented into small time slots. Deep inside us, however, we know that this is not true. In fact, part of us cries out that this is crazy and lazy and selfish. But, we fuss and worry about that that narrow slot. We fight about it and what goes in it and how long it needs to last and how it should make us feel and how we are to participate.
But if all of life is worship — and Romans 12:1-2 says that it is, then what we do in the gathering of Jesus’ followers together on Sunday is to prepare us for a week of worship in the real world. Since Jesus defined a sense of his powerful presence where two or three are gathered together and live in accountable relationships with genuine confession and forgiveness, then worship invades offices, schools (no matter what any government says), hospitals, homes, ballparks, and parking lots with flashes of worship, moments of prayer, and exclamations of praise.
So why are you here? Why do you feel a kinship with another believer in a place where faith is foreign? Because there is a call to worship that resonates in your soul with another. The Holy Spirit inside you calls out to you to join your melody with the harmony of others who know and love Jesus.
While the following video is targeted for a gathering of believers on Sunday morning, I want to challenge us to hear it as a call to worship where we live, work, commute, play, spectate, learn, read, have coffee … I want to challenge us, the 2 or 3 of us that feel a spiritual kinship in whatever place God has placed us, to know that this is why we are here!
At our Monday morning ministry meeting, one of my teammates, Jack, said the following:
I’ve got more stuff in my garage than most people in the world have in their entire lives.
Having been to Uganda and seen the tens of thousands of “houses” that the non-poor live in — 40-60 square foot houses shared by 7-12 family members of 2 or 3 generations — I know what he says is true. While I’ve been in poor neighborhoods in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and large U.S. cities, the folks in Kampala neighborhoods weren’t the truly poorest of the poor.
So today, I’m trying to take stock of my blessings. As our ministry teams has read through Good and Beautiful God, we have been taking time to thank God for the mundane, the everyday, the often overlooked blessings that are ours. Simply listing these — the touch of a loved one, the smile of baby, the laughter of a child, the humor of repeated stories in older family members (or maybe myself), the feeling of the soft breeze at sunrise, and … the junk in my garage, attic, closets, and pantry.
If you haven’t done it in awhile, pray like a three year old — with your eyes wide open, thanking God for everything you see, especially the stuff you hold as inconsequential. When you do, and if you let yourself get really carried away, I think you will be surprised at how many blessings our gracious Father has poured into your life everyday that you take for granted.
Many years ago, I had an closet in my office that had a small poster of a little boys eyes as they lit up with excitement. It said something like, “See as a child sees: the joy, the laughter, and the wonder!” Today, I would would urge us to thank God as a child does, and be caught up in the laughter and wonder of it all.
The last week at the Masters found two former champions on opposite ends of the media frenzy. Both had been away from the game four or five months the last year. Both were well known and accomplished. Both had concerns at home with their wives. But the difference came down to this: the one who got most of the attention was not the one who took off time to be with his wife because of health reasons, but the one who had well publicized indiscretions.
We can rant and rave about how unfair it was for the bad news husband to get the majority of attention while the one who stayed by his wife won and garnered less attention. The media is making up for that with unrealistic characterizations of both. But the real scandal here is not with the press or the players or the hated media.
The problem is with us!
We are a culture grown fat on the feeding frenzies over fallen celebrities. We have an appetite for “reality” news which is really the tripe and crud of others — their broken lives and reputations spewed out in tabloid, celebrity brief, and pseudo-news shows.
I guess we have forgotten that gossip and slander and lumped in the same batch of sins as adultery and sexual immorality — all sins that keep us out of the kingdom of God!
I guess we have forgotten that just because we say it on Facebook doesn’t make it any less gossip or sinful. High tech doesn’t dismiss the principles Jesus commanded us to use in Matthew 18 or alleviate the gravity of talking about someone without talking to them about our concerns.
I guess we have forgotten that reading malicious tidbits of gossip are just as destructive to our spirits whether they come from National Enquirer, Us, or People.
I guess we have forgotten that to take delight, or even passing interest, in the cruel details of someone’s life coming apart is to participate and perpetuate their sin, soiling our souls and killing something precious and redemptive inside us — the work of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 4:30 and the surrounding context Ephesians 4:29-5:5).
So how about tonight when we say our nightly prayers, we pray for Tiger and Elin and Phil and Amy, and few folks we know that have been on the gossip clothesline in our church or school. And when we pray, let’s pray for healing and hope, renewal and reconciliation, long life and loving marriages. And while we are on our knees, let’s also pray for our forgiveness for participating in the shredding of others lives through destructive talk or delighted listening and reading about someone’s misfortunes.
A friend finished a note to me with the following tag:
Duct Tape is the “Force” … it has a Light side and a Dark side, and it binds the universe together.
At first, I saw this statement as clever — it even gave me a bit of a chuckle. But then another realization set in. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need some of that duct tape for broken things that the world can’t see. I could put the dark side out to seal out the darkness and its painful effects, and I could put the light side in to hold together what is broken, stuff that needs a little light to keep hopes alive.
Down here in Texas, we fix everything with duct tape, superglue, and a sharpie. The first two are used to tape and mend, the sharpie is used to write our name on it so folks know who owns what’s broken. I don’t know why it is so hard for us to own what is broken about ourselves. All I do know is that I’m thankful that when I look at everything of mine that is broken that I signed with my name, given a few days, my signature is transformed into Jesus’ signature. If I let him, he will own my brokenness. He’s my duct tape. He’s faced the dark side and yet darkness could not claim his light and he really does hold the universe together.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:17-20 tniv)
So, Lord Jesus, please use a little duct tape on me!