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Showing posts from August, 2013

Sky Links, 8-31

When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming.
-Psalm 126:1


God is a Dreamer

We tend to think linearly, logically; like a + b = c.  Our imaginations push the boundaries of our logical thinking, and dreaming expands our imaginations.  God's dreams for us are beyond our thinking and even imagining.  A part of ministry, whether discipling, teaching, or preaching; is to encourage or fund God's dream in people that is beyond what we can see, hear, smell, and taste today.  We only have a hint of it in our imaginations, and can clearly see it in dreams.  The minister's job, and everyone in Christ is a minister, is to encourage each one into their destiny or dream in God.

One of the primary roles of the preacher/teacher prophet/poet in exilic times is to fund imagination, where we have so compromised our imaginations with the vision of Empire. God’s people need to relearn God’s dreams.. dreams of peace and justice.. and we need to l…

Have You Died Lately?

Jesus said to everyone, all who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.

But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him.  He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life.  In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.


I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.

-Luke 9:23, Romans 6:8-1, Galatians 2:20

I began hearing a tune with a lone trumpet, in my heart, over and over; especially as I prayed.  I got the impression that this tune was the music of death, farewell, and sunset.  "Who died?", I asked.

I thought about the call …

Towards A More Effective Sermon Time

We pray, we study, we reflect, we craft a sermon, we illustrate it with stories, we deliver it with passion and integrity – but it has very little impact on those who listen to it.
-Anonymous preacher

I love sermons.  I love preaching.  I am very interested in preaching and preachers.  My preaching teacher at Fuller was William Pannel, who was very kind to me.  He and I went to dinner once after I preached on Galatians 3:28.  He was one of my favorite teachers.

I have listened to many thousands of sermons, in person, on cassette, on CD, DVD, TV, podcasts, vodcasts, and in print. Sermons and sermonizing must be a passion of mine, and has been since 1987.

I have been wondering if there is something wrong though and if something is missing.  While I absorbed sermons, like a dry sponge, I saw Christians around me who also listened to those same sermons, but were not growing.  I always noticed the crowds of people who dress up for church, then file in, listen, and file out; but don't …

The Way

This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.-Isaiah 43:16-19 

Did you know that God makes a way where there is no way?  You don't see a way.  See God who makes a way where there is no way.  See God in your heart, with your eyes of faith.

If you are God's child, God will take care of you.  He makes a way, like a good father or mother makes a way for their own child.  

God loves to surprise his children.  The way he makes and the gifts he gives are surprises for you.  He knows you and what you will be thrilled by.  God makes a way for you.  See God and see the new way with your eyes of…

Hidden Treasure In the Other Tribe

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
-Matthew 13:44, 52(ESV)

Diversity or Division?

There are many differences in in all the peoples of the earth.  Sometimes we call other people who are different than us names.  We name them and those names are often derogatory or negative, disrespectful, degrading, pejorative, or humiliating.  People like to call other people names who are different.  In case you needed to be told, doing this is sinful

Tree Eaters

Sometimes people nick-name other people who are different, purely out of  a need to describe them.  Many things that the Europeans brought to America were probably very peculiar to the Native Americans, for example

Many Native American …

Jesus is Outrageous, Scandalous, and Shocking

They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.
And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
And they took offense at him.
They were offended by Him (by His teachings, by who He was).
-Matthew 13:57 CEB, NLT, ESV, VOICE

Why would anyone get offended at Jesus?  Why would someone flip out in a bad way, after hearing Jesus teach and seeing Jesus minister to people in miraculous power?  Why would people reject someone who is good and who is teaching good things and doing good?

The one word answer is: prejudice.  Antisemitism is not what I am talking about, nor racism.  Prejudice is when we judge before we have the relevant facts.  Prejudice is when we have things figured out in boxes and when someone comes along that challenges our judgements, we focus our ire on the person rather than humbling ourselves and taking in new information and changing our minds.

The last thing the people did before taking offense at Jesus was to say, "Where did this man get all this?”  The i…

Sky Link 8-18

When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me.  I will be present for you, declares the Lord, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will restore you to the place from which I exiled you. declares the Lord.
-Jeremiah 29:13-14


Love Me Where You're At 

Some day, we will be judged on how we loved.  Many people feel guilty about not doing enough, but God is looking at the love.  When we love, we do the do.  Francis Frangipane posted this excerpt from his book, I Will be Found By You, this past week.


One day, as I stood in the kitchen pantry, I repeated again my abiding prayer: "Lord, what do You want of me?" In a sudden flash of illumination, the Lord answered. Speaking directly to my heart, He said, "Love Me where you're at."

In this time and season, remember, I was not a pastor or minister. I was a television repairman doing odd jobs on the side to …

Walking

Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through!
They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.-Lamentations 3:22-3 

God is not finished with us yet.  We have not exhausted God's faithfulness either.  There is more and more, every day.  You might feel hopeless.  You might feel exhausted.  You might be running out of hope.  You might be so identified with those feelings that you begin thinking that God is through with you.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He is faithful.  You can take that to the bank (as they say).

My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy.
-James 1:22

Whatever the tough time you find yourself in, look for the grace package to go through it and look for the up-grade into deeper Christlikeness that God wants to form in you.  You have to choose how you think.  Wisdom says, look at it, think of it this way.  God isn't trying to give us a fun, easy, e…

Sky Links, 8-11-13

Say hello to Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners. They are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
-Romans 16:7 (CEB)

Junia

Leonard Hjalmarson posted Scot McKnight's introduction to his book, Junia Is Not Alone. Junia was a female apostle, that Paul mentions in Romans 16:7. I was thrilled to dig into this text in a paper one time. It is interesting that some translations do not agree with Scot McKnight's, NT Wright's, nor Eldon J. Epp's conclusions; that Junia was a woman and she was an apostle.

Epp's conclusions, from his book, Junia, The First Woman Apostle:
1. Junia was a woman.
2. There is no evidence that any man had the name “Junias.”
3. Junia is not, as some have argued, a contracted name of Junianus.
4. “Among the apostles” means means Junia herself was an apostle and not simply that the apostles thought she was a good egg. Translators and commentators seem to bring a bias to their work, that carries a…

Christian Leader as Impresario

Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
-Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)

I got this idea that leaders in the church are to be impresarios.

Impresario is an Italian word that was first used in 1746, to mean "operatic manager". The impresario was the person who hired the composer, the singers, rented the hall, and sold tickets; to put on an opera.

The literal meaning of impresario is to be an undertaker of business. In a word, impresarios are 'connectors'. Impresarios pull people together, they connect people into their place. They pull people and ideas together. That is what "equipping" means. It means to 'set in place", as in when a bone needs to be re-set.

The impresario is a showman or showwoman.

People will say, "who is responsible for pulling this all together?" The impresario was. But the church is not a show, as in an entertainment, that gets your mind off your troubl…

Sky Links, 8-2

More Salt and Light Needed
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet.  You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.
-Matt. 5:13-16

Gay marriage has been an issue lately.  The voices in our culture say there are two groups of Christians in regards to this issue.  The first are the tolerant, compassionate ones who love and say, "gay is ok, marry the one you love".  The other group is full of hate, and they are hypocrites and want to oppress and suppress anyone not like them.

The truth is that the second group is a small percentage or a fri…