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.

THE SONG OF THE MORAVIANS

The Lamb is worthy

The reward of His suffering

Sing He is worthy

Toward the One True God-King!

Jesus! Jesus! You are worthy!

Our hands be raised to You!

Jesus! Jesus! My Lord and King

We extol our praise alone to You!

To sail in faith the oceans blue

Forsaking all to follow You

Bondservant and Love-slave I will be

Declaring in me Your present glory!

The Holy Lamb for me was slain

Where His death to life is for our gain

For there is indeed hope in a tree

Through Calvary’s cross of victory!

To sing a hundred years for You

Our praise immersed in tears for You

As children laugh and play while seas do part

Teach us Lord to pray and touch Your heart!

Oh love of mine that will not die

Explore the depths, the riches, and the heights

As we give our all and all to thee

Most Holy Lamb of God’s glory!

Hear the children cry…

Hear the children cry…

Hear the children cry…

History: The Moravian Brethren were the first to send out missionaries, thus fathering the modern missions movement!  Two young men sold themselves into slavery, as they sailed off over the horizon, they lifted hands up high and exclaimed, “May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”

These same Moravians sparked a 100 year prayer meeting in Germany!  Their children were playing near the church and eventually went inside.  Someone decided it would be good to play church. However, what was play became real!  Hours later their parents found them caught up in His glory.

Thus, The Song of the Moravians!

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.

Rallies, Strategies, & the Holy Spirit

So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom, and they marched on that roundabout route seven days; and there was no water for the army, nor for the animals that followed them. -2Kings 3:9

King Jehoram knew how to rally the troops. As a matter of fact he managed to land King Jehoshaphat and the King of Edom to fight on his behalf. King Jehoram even had a fail-proof strategy – to march his three-kingdom army through the badlands of Edom and stage a surprise attack. But King Jehoram forgot the water. In the middle of a desert land – he forgot the water.

Scripturally, “water” is emblematic of blessing, baptism, salvation, prosperity, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. For the Christian to forget the water – is a serious thing. The other two (rallies and strategies) are a necessary part of the spiritual battle to which we are called – but we must not forget the water.

When you have no more faith to muster up

Communal faith. Communal strength. Communal prayer. When one is down – another is up. When I feel beaten down from every enemy known to man – then man (my brothers and sisters) stands in for me.Yes, the church may be flawed – but when it comes right down to it – it’s still nice to belong!

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. -I John 5:4