Moved…

•February 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I have moved to http://blog.dallaspetersdesign.com I wanted to host my own blog and try some design stuff. Same blog different spot. Come check it out.

Advertisements

The chicken or the egg?

•February 12, 2007 • 3 Comments

On the topic of church again. I was thinking the other night about why the church is. Here are the two scenarios that seem to materialize when we talk about church.

  • Church exists and so people come. Granted, lives are changed (sometimes) and people do church stuff. We sing, we learn, we reach out to the community and to the world.
  • Then there is this thing that happens when people love each other, do things in the community that reveal God and his kingdom, study the scriptures, give their money, and just pursue God. Then they find that they need a place to meet.
  • I know that is a real simplified way of explaining what happens but I think that my question is this: Does church exist so all of the good things that we want to happen can, (like people coming to know God, personal transformation, etc) or should church be a result of those things already happening? Church then becoming a venue for further more connected change?

    Let me try to give a practical scenario to explain what I am talking about.

    “Every morning Johnny goes to the same coffee shop. He orders the same drink. Reads the same paper. During this routine he meets Timmy. Timmy seems open to conversation and willing to share. Johnny invites Timmy to church thinking that the church (or someone at the church) can solve Timmy’s problems or that it provide an opportunity for Timmy to hear something that would change his life. Timmy never comes and the relationship fizzles out because Johnny is too busy.”

    Does this sound familiar? It does to me. Why do we think that the it is the churches job to do the work of a citizen of the Kingdom of God? I think that we think that since the church exists it should be the one to do the work. Hence my first point from above. “The church exists and so people come.” But is that how it should be?


    I think that the scenario could have gone something like this instead.

    “Every morning Johnny goes to the same coffee shop. He orders the same drink. Reads the same paper. During this routine he meets Timmy. Timmy seems open to conversation and willing to share. Johnny begins to share his life with Timmy. He invites him to dinner with his family. He asks if he would like to shoot a round of golf. They go to movies, and concerts, and begin a genuine dialogue about life. Timmy wonders what it is about Johnny that is so inviting. He wants to be involved in more meaningful dialogue and begins to see things in his life that are inconsistent. Timmy comes to church because of the relationship that he has with Johnny.”

    The chicken or the egg. Does the church exist so we can invite people to it? Or does it exist because God’ people are really shedding light and wisdom into the world?

    What do you think??

    What is this church thing?

    •February 2, 2007 • 3 Comments

    boxme1.jpg

    A friend of mine and I were talking over some coffee the other morning and we began discussing why it is that Christians feel the need to go to church. Now hold on, before you think that I am suggesting that no one go to church, we were talking about specifically what people go to church for. Is it singing songs? Is it hearing about the bible? Some great teaching? Social activity?

    All of which are good. But we came to the conclusion that much of the time we go to church for selfish reasons. “I want to grow, I want to be closer to God, I want to hear more about Him.” All with self being the motivator. It seems to me that we rarely go to church for others. And even most church ‘services’ (which I think is a horrible word for what the church does anyway) are set up to deliver something. They deliver information, they deliver emotion, great songs. Whatever it is that we go to get, something seems wrong with the whole way of thinking.

    What if we went to church to give. To connect. To let the life and goodness of Christ be transfered to others? What if that was what drove us to church? I think there would be less church shopping, and less criticism. I have had to audacity to visit a church and then tell other people what I thought they were doing wrong. Hear me repent. I repent.

    We have to dig in a be connected to people who are connected to God who connects us through the gathering of his people. It really isn’t about the building or service (seriously we have to quit calling it that). It is about people loving each other, meeting physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Does that need a building or service? Maybe. But the guts of kingdom life has to happen when people live out the gospel (good news that Christ has overcome sin and death) in a real and tangible way.

    Going to church just won’t cut it. I would even go as far to say that systematic teaching of the bible and singing great songs are not going to change people. Transfer of information won’t change people, (something about ‘doers and not hearers.’) Singing neat songs won’t change people. Living missionally with others in a community of fatih will.

    …or so it seems to me.

    Tangible

    •January 25, 2007 • Leave a Comment

    I have been reading tons of books about the kingdom of God. Which can somehow put you in a get out there and do something for God state of mind. Or at least it can for me. I begin to think that some how something needs to be built and things need to be accomplished. Build a ministry, tell someone the gospel, give more money, recycle your trash, or buy Product Red stuff. While all of these things are in and of themselves good I think we are still missing the point. I think that the kingdom speaks the loudest in more subtle ways. Less noticed ways. Jesus said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed. The smallest of all seeds. Yet when it was grown was the largest. What does that mean? I think the kingdom of God is pushing back the darkness. It is an opportunity to care. To love. To say a kind word to someone you work with. I think this is the now of the kingdom. Those things often go unnoticed much like a mustard seed would.

    I think that if the kingdom was not present all hell would break loose. And maybe it is the grace of God through the present kingdom that any good is seen or felt at all. Is that what the kingdom is? Can we plan and work for that? Can we orchestrate it or make opportunities for that? I suppose so. But somehow I get lost in the doing and forget about what it is that I am doing it for. I think Jesus gives a good example of how the kingdom breaks through when he is washing his disciples feet. The kingdom comes through when dirty, filthy things are made new through love and humility.

    I want to look for those opportunities to build the kingdom. To restore someone or something through humility and love.

    Why do the birds snatch that away so quickly?

    Contributing to the Project

    •January 14, 2007 • 6 Comments

    A while back a dear friend of mine introduced this idea to me. I was really busy with school and life at the time and had little time to think about it. Well it is back. And it is haunting me. It is calling me to take action. It is calling me to a new understanding of something that I have skimmed over and never really given a second glance. Like a lot of things that I talk about I never let them permeate the busyness of my life.

    This concept is the reality kingdom of God. Of course the kingdom of God is not a new concept. But for me the reality of such a kingdom is a new concept or at least an old concept with a fresh perspective. What is this kingdom that we hear Jesus talking about so often in the Gospels, (over 100 times). What does it look like. Can we even see it. Is it now? Is it coming? Who can see it?

    Jesus says things like “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” And in another place he says that “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” So does that means that the kingdom is here, now? Or is it a place that is yet to come? For the longest time I operated as if it was a place that was ensuing but had no practical purpose for today. I suppose I could have replaced kingdom with heaven. They meant the same thing to me. But I am learning to see the kingdom now. Beginning to understand that it is coexisting in this material world.

    And even more the scriptures tell me that I am a citizen of this kingdom. And I can participate in the building of it, today. Then I begin to wonder how that happens. It is like the kingdom is always there, but we have to uncover it. To reveal it. Is that our job as citizens? To expose the beauty and goodness and reality of this kingdom. I think that maybe it is. Love, compassion, mercy, grace, beauty, meaning, purpose, joy, pleasure, healing, redemption, forgiveness. I think that these are the building blocks of this kingdom. And I get to help build. If I would only look for it.

    I think this was Christ’s intention from the beginning. This glorious place where we could be with our creator and enjoy with Him the things that he made. And it just got all messed up. But He is rebuilding, rescuing, and reclaiming that which was lost. That is the Project. He loves it and wants to enjoy it. And I think He wants us to enjoy it as well. It is good. He is good. And we can be apart of it now. But I think that first we have to recognize Him. Then we have to want Him. Then we have to recognize the kingdom and its reality. Then we have to want to contribute.

    Any thoughts?

    New Years Resolutions

    •January 3, 2007 • 1 Comment

    Most of the time I think that New Years Resolutions are sorta cheesy and no one sticks to them so why make them. Are they just something that we talk about arbitrarily and serve no useful purpose. I have been spending some time thinking about the way that I live and how that affects myself and the world at large. What can I do to improve the way that I live and the way that others live because of the way that I live. This year I want to believe that my Resolutions have a deeper more eternal meaning. And that the things that I decide to do today really matter in the grand scheme of things. So here they are…

    Diet
    In case you did not know Tandra and I are expecting a new little one. So eating well and making it part of our lifestyle is really at the forefront right now. Here is a list of things that we are attempting to accomplish in the near future.

      Cut way down in gluten consumption.
      Drink at least 3 glasses of Red Wine per week. Is this what Paul was talking about.
      Eat Breakfast
      Considering buying a juicer.
      Three servings of rich greens per day.

    Exercise
    Simple. Going to try to put in 30 minutes 5 times a week.

    Consumption
    This one is really complex and not really fully developed as I suppose with a changing environment it never really will be. But I am beginning to think about the ways that I am using up more than my share of the earths resources. (cause I know that I am) I am not on a Green soapboc here just want to be conscious of the decisions that I make everyday that will affect future generations. Have some good leads? I’d love to know what you are finding out about your consumption. So the research begins…

    Let me know what yours are. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe you think mine are ridiculous. Either way.

    Christmas.

    •December 17, 2006 • 1 Comment

    I’ve been asking people lately if they are Christmas people. Me? I am. All the way. I love everything about Christmas. I was driving around the other day and I saw several “He’s the reason for the season” banners and signs. You know the ones that I am talking about. Then it hit me. For all of the things that I like about Christmas very few of them actually have anything to do with Christ. So I began to pick apart all of the things that I love about Christmas. I am sure that if you are a Christmas person then your list will be much like the one that I came up with. Anyways here is what I came up with.

    Family
    Togetherness
    Gifts
    Lights
    Snow
    Tradition
    Peace
    Things just feel ‘right’
    Starbucks “Holiday Drinks”
    Christmas Movies/Stories
    Late nights, talking
    Fire
    Warmth

    Then it hit me that all of these things (possibly excluding Starbucks, although I think that coffee is directly from the throne of heaven) are either elements of the kingdom of God or they are somehow reflective of His nature.

    I think that I have long tried to over-“spiritualize” Christmas. Thinking that it should be about prayer and worship and reading something out of one of Gospels on Christmas Eve. Making motions to strike Santa from the Christmas line up along with the tree and the lights . Suggesting that everyone skip the spiced cider and find some candle lit vigil to meditate on the materialzation of heaven with earth that we call the Christ Child, (which I absolutely love by the way). When maybe what Jesus wanted was for us to celebrate and enjoy the good things that he has made possible by his advent. And to love Him for those things. To realize that He is the source for all the good things that Christmas brings about. I think that I have segmented my life with Christ so much when he is really a more holistic saviour. He wants to redeem all of us. Every part of what we do, say, think, and feel. Maybe that means that it is really a spiritual thing to love eggnog by the fire long into the wee hours of Christmas Eve night.

    Mabye I am way off. Or maybe none of this makes any sense to anyone else. I am just trying to make sense of this American social phenomenon that we call CHRISTMAS. I know what I think it is. And I know what most people think that I am supposed to think it is. But what is it??

    Any thoughts?