Archive for the ‘Living in the End’ Category

Depth and Joy

I find it telling that the church has come to believe that depth in spirituality and authentic human joy equals the quintessential oxymoron. It seems that the beckoning call of many is, “Come and dine at the table of new thoughts and new ideas, for it is a new age we live in.” The thought being, that, Christianity must be rethought, relived, reviewed and realigned with the post modern world in which we live – that is, if we are to reach them. We must “dress up” the antiquated doctrines of the past – we must abolish systematic theologies and migrate (yes, I said migrate) to the greener pastures (and yes, I mean “going green”) of uncertainty in our faith that we might be more sure of who we are. Emergent thought at it’s best. Joy unspeakable and full of glory is the person who sees Jesus as He really is – and He really is as we see Him. We create our own Jesus – a Jesus to our liking. True joy is found in a certain deception or folly in the mind of creativity and imagination, as we thus, create a “new and improved Jesus”. True joy is self-deception. That is the thinking of many Emergents today.

However, I would submit, that, true joy in salvation is a friend in Christ. True happiness is staked in the ground of biblical truth that has been passed on from generation to generation. True joy is found in belonging to a local body of believers who “do life together” – who live the faith life together. I find that my joy is complete in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
I can truly say, “Since I came to know Jesus, my life has never been the same since!” I mine the depths of the riches of the glory of His inspired Word – I strike gold – it’s a vein – and I follow to see where it will lead. My heart dances at His Word. My heart rejoices at His Presence. My spirit communes with his Spirit. All that said – I believe God would have us to rethink our rethinking – and return to biblical Christianity – where we quote Scripture more than some musical icon of America’s past.

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What I See…

As we head into the summer months of 2010, I look at what is happening in the world and see the promise of calamity and human chaos.  I also see the prospects of a God Who is very much alive and “on the move”.  I look at the expectation of a world gone wrong and see opportunity for the advancement of the gospel.  I look at a reserved church that will die off and disappear into the night.  I see a church alive that arises to the task and takes up the battle cry as they prepare, preach, and live out the life-giving message of their King!  I see a “falling away” and a “calling unto”.  I see the lukewarm going completely cold and the unchurched along with a present remnant of Christ-Followers taking up the torch and becoming the church that raises high the banner of the everyday Jesus!

The WAY to Live!

“And yet the early church grew and grew and grew, even without intentional evangelistic strategy or ministry. How? By being the most attractive community in the Roman Empire. The early Christians rescued abandoned babies and raised them as their own. They gave dignified burials to all, regardless of economic status. They cared for the sick; instead of abandoning the cities in times of plague, they stayed and cared for the sick and dying, even if it meant their own deaths. It was said of the early Christians that ‘they alone know the right way to live.’ ”  -Alan Kreider

Billy Hornsby, president of ARC (Association of Related Churches), had this up on his blog. I found these words quite inspiring. Here was a church that stood unapologetically upon its principles. The early church was the church that represented light in the darkness. They lived what they preached. They refused to back down. They did not attack, but were attacked. They refused to judge or condemn, and yet, their lives stood as live ink (a living testimony) to the truth of God’s Word. They were “power” submitted to the Omnipotent God of all!

The early church sought out the hurting, the rejected, the despised. They took in widows and orphans. They valued the sanctity of life and they did something about it. They gave all and received more than any of us could possibly imagine in return. They died to self and came alive to Christ and to the world He died to reach. They inspired and they lived. The early church stood tall and in the trenches. They exemplified grace and mercy – Immanuel… God with/in us!

The early church didn’t have all “the stuff” we in the 21st Century Church have. These folks didn’t have ball teams. They didn’t have the best music. Their preachers were not all that polished. The Gospel was not mass-produced. There were not endless titles of Christian books/ cd’s/ dvd’s made to enhance their spiritual walks made readily available to them at their corner Christian bookstore. They lacked so many of the resources we have made available to us today. They endured endless persecutions and ridicule. They died daily. And Yet, it was said of them, “they alone know the right way to live.”

No wonder they were called, “the WAY”!

Once An Arafat Man: A Book Review

Taysir Abu Saada, or Tass, as he is commonly known in the states today, is a a twenty-first
century Apostle Paul. In his excellent book,“Once An Arafat Man”, Tass recounts the true story
of an angry Palestinian who hated Jews and Christians. He felt it his personal destiny to be the
“butcher” that cut these infidels out of the human story. With a radical passion for the eradication
of Christians and Jews and a sincere desire to win back Palestine for his people, Tass believed Allah
smiled approvingly as he relentlessly hunted down the enemies of the Palestinian people. Tass was
anall-or-nothing kind of guy – just like the Saul of the Bible who “breathed murderous threats”
toward a people he hated.
Through an incredible series of events, Tass, finds Jesus in Kansas City – a bright light, a voice,
and a change of heart (sounds an awful lot like the Apostle Paul to me). In the same manner as
his Arafat days – Tass approaches his new found relationship with Christ with a reckless abandon.
He finds himself on an assortment of dangerous missionary journeys – and watches in awe as his
God made a way when there was no way.
Incredibly, Tass then becomes an adamant supporter of Israel, while at the same time, having a
heart for his own people’s devastation in the Gaza Strip. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
Tass and his wife, Karen, founded an adventurous ministry, “Hope for Ishmael”.In the First
Century, the Apostle Paul had to convince the church that Jesus loved the Gentiles, and now,
2000 years later, Tass reminds the Gentiles that God still loves Isaac and Ishmael too!

“Once an Arafat Man” is action-packed, compassionately generous, and ever insightful.
Tass captures the essence of personal change – that only Jesus can pull off – and, the best
part is, you are invited to go along for the ride with him. I would highly recommend this book
to all – to followers of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam; this book was written for you – and
you might just find that it changes your life.

The Master, The King, & The People

The Master wasn’t hated as much as there was just an air of distrust, or perhaps, distaste for his imminent reign in the village of Quandrum.  The folks liked the Master as long as he was uninvolved and they were left to themselves.  Then again, they would grow angry at him in those times when he wasn’t as involved as they felt he should be.  Truth is, they wanted a new king!

There was a deep desire that had been brewing inside of them for quite some time – the desire to be like the other villages and peoples they had heard grand and glorious things about from faraway lands.  They wanted a prince.  A superstar elite that was, at the same time, one of them.  Sure the Master had lived among them.  Sure the Master had provided for them in miraculous ways.  Sure the Master had heaped upon them a prosperity such as the world had never known.  But, now.  Now was the time for change – it was time to bring in a new king with a new idea to help usher in a new age!

He was tall, good looking, and he spoke well.  His smile flashed at them and the people of Quandrum were awestruck.  He could do no wrong.  The King would solve all of their problems.  The King would take care of them, meet their every need, be their one provision in all things pertaining to life.  Health, peace, and prosperity – leave it to the King!

Indeed, there was no need for the Master anymore.

Nehemiah 9:13-17