Monday, December 31, 2007
As I study for each sermon each week I read a lot of translations and go back to the original greek to make sure I fully understand what is going on.
Then sometimes I will do the translation work myself to make sure I really understand it. Then...sometimes...I do a modern [or postmodern] paraphrase to help me GET it.
This is a paraphrase from this week's work on chpater 2 of 1st corinthians:
When I was in 2nd life with you, my spiritual Sims family, I did not have an avatar with cool flash-media or a superior graphic interface as I downloaded to you the files about God. For I made a preparatory choice to delete everything while I was with you except Jesus Christ and the story of his being uninstalled. I came to you outdated, recently rebooted and with a shaky and unstable virus massively effecting my CPU stability. My files and my folders were not with nifty PowerPoint’s and eye-candy multi-media, but with a real-player demonstration of the Spirit's satellite uplink, so that your faith might not be upgraded with men’s bootlegged culture-coding, but with God's spiritual supernatural mainframe. We do, however, encode a file of help patches installed in those with a large hardrive and technorati skill, but not the lying spy-ware media files of our era or of the hackers of this age, who are outdated files, out-of-date and broken links. No, we speak of God's zipped files, an operating system that has been hidden but is now being launched and that God designed for our beta-version upgrading before creation itself. None of the cultural software makers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have deleted God. However, as it is written: "No operating system has installed, no hardrive has opened, no media file has been imagined, what God has as a platform for those who merge with him— but God has opened this file to us by his Ghost in our machine. The Spirit’s search mode investigates and knows all things, even the protected files of God. For what IT manager among men knows the Trojan horse and imbedded files of a man except the spyware spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the files of God except the Spirit of God. We have not downloaded the files of the world in fact we are blocking them and uninstalling them; but we are downloading the Spirit who is from God, that we may navigate what God has share-wared us. This is what we copy and paste, not in links downloaded to us by human mainframes or the matrix but in code uplinked by the Spirit, installing spiritual programs in spiritual code. The man without the Spirit deletes the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are spam to him, and he cannot open or unzip them, because they are spiritually uplinked with access codes he doesn’t have. But the spiritual man makes download-now? choices about all things, but he himself has a firewall that rejects man's reviews about soul matters they can’t open and don’t know how to read. "For who has googled the full operating system of God that he may rewrite his programs?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I have now spent 25 years serving, leading, and attending churches. That said, there have been more than a few times as a follower and leader that I wanted to give up on the whole thing.
I read a book once called “how to quit church without giving up on God.” I secretly hoped it was true. But it was just silly and selfish. In all fairness it was then that I read a book called “church, why bother?” by Phillip Yancey. And then I just looked up every verse in the New Testament that had the word church in it. Then I came to some conclusions.
The reason this is important is that about 85% of Americans believe in God, but we are drifting towards 40% being in church. It’s not that people don’t believe in God so much as people don’t believe in church.
Some reasons for church:
1. Jesus imagined and built it. It is his family on earth. He nurtures it, loves it, and died for it. It matters to him a lot. It is not disposable, if you follow him.
2. Church brings us the teaching, love, fellowship, mentors, etc that we need to grow healthy. I meet people all the time that “don’t do church anymore” and the vast majority are slowly falling away from God.
3. The spiritual gifts we have and give to others often make or break the lives around us. Some people are literally starving for love, mercy, and teaching. These gifts are what God uses us to knit us together and teach us to lean on each other.
4. Together we can do things we could never do alone. Acts of social justice; altruism in people’s lives; sending missionaries to other lands only happen in the context of a committed community.
5. No other place on earth will teach us the servanthood, selflessness, deference, humility, and longsuffering that church does. Church is a melting pot of VERY different people who are united by the love of Christ. These vast differences are the very things we need most to learn how to give the unconditional love we have received.
6. Tertullian “The blood of the martyrs are the seeds of the church.” Saints have died for what we take for granted, their legacy calls us to hope in the church. Each generation must rebuild her anew.
7. Most of the New Testament was written to churches NOT individuals. That means something.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
mostly because of two things. Both are good.
1. The church is getting healthy and there is a lot to do. When I first got here it felt like the church was on the verge of disintegrating. While you might think that would mean there was lots to do, actually there wasn't. People had to get to know me, and I had to start casting vision and push the community to start the process of finding thier identity in Christ. This simply takes time, but it is a limited amount of time. Now a lot of people are getting excited and confidence is rising as they are sensing what the spirit wants to do through them and us. So now I am spending a lot of time bringing things togther so that all the energy is focused and on the same page. It's a good sort of busy.
2. The church is way ahead of schedule in terms of turning around. I thought I would be spending 9-18 months helping them heal...but they / we are amazingly resilient. The leadership core of the church is hungry for vision and I am now probably behind them and am trying to catch up! So I am trying to spend more time in focused prayer about what phase 2 looks like.
So I will be getting back into the swing of the blog...but right now my kids have a snow day, and I have to show the little texans how to sled, poggie, and throw a good snowball. As I look out the window they are playing in the snow...I'd love to blog more...but the snow is calling out to me