A Much Needed Reminder For Those In Ministry

I just read an article over at Christianity Today that is really excellent and makes a fantastic that applies to everyone in the Ministry or who has been trained for it. Here’s the quote:

We as trained exegetes and theologians can and should also have this posture, but honest self-reflection reveals that for most of us, our learning often creates layers of distance between us and hearing the Bible as God’s Word to us. Although it was obtained for the supposed goal of bridging the gap between us and the biblical text, our training in fact often creates in our hearts and minds an elaborate structure of paper walls and divisions that create a maze of distance between us and Scripture. Relegating meaning to the sensus historicus, obtained through the employment of an elaborate skill set, and making understanding and application secondary steps only opens the door for this deferral more widely. Instead, we can learn from our faithful mothers-in-law that to read Scripture is to seek to hear and obey God now in very practical ways. Anything less is not reading Holy Scripture according to its purpose.

His point is that over focusing on the historical, historical, language side of things we under focus on what a passage means to us right here and right now.

That’s a real issue for many of us and I find it happening to myself all too often. It’s something to be very aware of so we can make sure it isn’t happening to us. You can read the whole thing here and I hope you do.

A Much Needed Reminder For Those In Ministry

Tales From the Scrypt!

Tales Logo

I cut the first promo today for a new short form radio show that I’ve been asked to do on our local station KLPZ, 1380 AM. Here’s a bit about it:

In the Arabian Nights Tahir Shah said, “Stories are a communal currency of humanity,” and he was right of course.  In “Tales From the Scrypt.” starting on September 22nd I’ll be sharing stories taken directly from the Bible, the source of the greatest true stories ever told, every week. They’ll be dramatized yet remain true to the Scriptures so you’ll be drawn into these stories that illustrate the truth about life, humanity and eternity itself. You’ll hear stories from both Testaments, stories that Jesus, the Master Teacher told, and maybe some stories that you didn’t know were in there.  So please join me every Thursday morning on KLPZ at 9:30 AM for Tales From the Scrypt, “Stories You Can Believe In.”

You can listen online if you’d like too at www.klpz1380.com at 9:30 AM Arizona time. Just remember Arizona Time is like unto God in one way – it doesn’t change. No jumping forward or falling back around here!

I’d like to thank my friend Meredith for the title and my friend Keith for an idea that helped me come up with the tag line. These will be short (& hopefully sweet) little bits of truth and wisdom from the Scriptures, hopefully everyone will benefit from them.

So, what are you favorite Bible Stories? Do you have some that you’d like to hear adapted and presented on Tale From the Scrypt? If so let me know ok?

God bless and I’ll see you on the radio soon!

 

 

 

Tales From the Scrypt!

What A Weekend!

I’ve just finishing up one of the busiest weekends I’ve had a in a while. More important than that it was also one of the most significant as we begin breaking new ground for CCR and developing a clearer idea of who Jesus wants us to be.

It started for me on Saturday morning with the 5 K walk against Domestic violence I participated in. I ended up walking 8.5 miles because after walking to the starting point – The Bar I then walked up to La Paz County Park and then turned around and walked back home.

I got home at noon and after a short break was back at the church building for our first Fall Festival. Attendance wasn’t all that great, but we did touch a few people and I was home around 8:30 or so.

CCR's Positioning Statement
CCR’s Positioning Statement

Sunday dawned early for me as I woke up around 4:30. too stoked to sleep perhaps? After a long week of hard work the day arrived for not just a new sermon series, but an entire series of new things to roll out. Including in this was our new logo, new purpose statement and positioning statement (motto, tag line), new T-Shirts and best of all, our motto on one wall in the sanctuary that just looks fantastic!

Then I preached my first ever “tag-team” sermon. If you’ve never heard or seen that, it’s more than one person preaching one unified message. In this case Amy (my Associate Pastor) and I had all week on a message. I started it out, she did the middle and I wrapped it up.

It was pretty nerve wracking for me, but I think it went very well and Amy did a fantastic job as always.

Then after a quick lunch and change of clothes it was off to town for the wrap up of Red

CCR Positioning Statement
CCR Positioning Statement

Ribbon Week with Family Fun Day! We gave away a bike, had games set up etc.  and were part of a huge event with other church’s and community groups, schools, etc.

Got home from that around 5 PM, updated the church website and had one call to make. Now I’m writing this up and then I’ll be done!!!

Whew!

Now tomorrow it all starts again as we get ready for CCR Refocus week two and more big changes and new stuff coming your way. Including one (here’s the only hint you get) that’ll be evident to all of you on the internet.

New CCR T-Shirt
New CCR T-Shirt
Amy running one of our games at the Park
Amy running one of our games at the Park

With that I wish you all a good night and I’ll see you later.

What A Weekend!

Remember!

A few weeks ago I did a Communion Meditation and thought I’d write it out for the blog. By the way, this blog was not inspired by Spock’s mind meld with McCoy in Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan, but it might have been!

On the night he was betrayed Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, here’s part of what he told us about it: In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. 11:25 (ESV)

We are to partake of this supper in remembrance of Jesus and all he did for us on the cross. If you look through Scripture you’ll find many commands about us remembering what God has said to us. Remember the Sabbath Day for one, and there are lots of others.

Remember-the-MaineThrough out history we are called upon to remember. From remember the Alamo to in a generation or two remember the Maine then another generation or two later it was remember Pearl Harbor. Today we are encouraged to remember what happened 14 years ago on 9/11.

Remember, we are always being encouraged and commanded to remember. Why?

Not because it’s likely we’ll actually the fact that our country was attacked on 9/11; or that Christians would forget what Jesus has done for us on the cross. As bad as our memories may be they aren’t that bad!

We are commanded to remember because we functionally forget about these things. Sure Christians believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We believe we are saved by grace and are in constant need of the grace, love and power of Jesus. But in the stress of all we do everyday and because of our ever present human ego, instead of turning to Christ we turn to ourselves. Instead of listening to the unchanging wisdom of God’s Word instead we are seduced to rely upon the ephemeral and fickle wisdom of the world.

So, to use the old phrase, I believe in God but I live like an atheist. That’s what I call functional forgetfulness. We know the facts but we fail to apply them. Instead of putting our faith into action we fall back upon our old nature and all the sin and failure that awaits us there.

Historically people and states do exactly the same thing. We know what has happened yet somehow to set that aside and follow the same old rhetoric that leads us to the same old failure.

So today, let us remember Jesus, walk with him every moment, and always seek to remember.

Remember!

The Dual Nature of Sin

I just read a great article at Christianity Today and wanted to share it with you. It’s called, My Dad the Sinner and Saint and I recommend everyone read it carefully. Pay special attention to the end where the author says this…

…a young man sat on stage with his wife sharing about an affair he had had early in their marriage. He talked about being “disgusted” with himself, even as it was happening. Oprah rolled her eyes: “You were disgusted while you were having sex with this neighbor?” Her scorn was palpable. And I thought, Of course he was! That’s how sin works! As Augustine, the premiere Christian theologian on sin, wrote, “For these two can coexist in one person: both the hating it because one knows it is evil and the doing it because one decided to do it.”

As he so often was, Augustine is right on this one and every single one of us has experienced. The Apostle Paul said it before Augustine did however:

15  For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…18  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…21  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23  but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Romans 7:15, 18-18, 21-23 (ESV) 

That’s the reality of sin in our lives. There is almost always that duality of loving it and hating it and what it does to us and other parsimoniously. I hate what being drunk does to me and my family but I take the drink. I hate what cheating on my spouse does to my kids but I do it anyway.

One of my personal biggies is junk food of course. I hate being fat, hate how it makes me look and feel and hate what it does to my health. But without relying on God’s power I will eat that crap anyway.

Every single time.

And I’ll hate myself for it as well. Which shows us just how brilliant Satan really is. Because it’s that shame that drives us to try and hide our sin, which cuts us off from the help and support we need. It also drives us to relieve the pain it brings and the way we usually do that is by returning to the booze, sex, food, lying, etc.

Physics tells us that a vacuum is filled by whatever is closest to it – thus your drink shoots up the straw as you draw the air out of it. What could be closer to me than my habitat sin? Just like the ice tea I had yesterday at lunch, it shoots right back into my life unless I have a power beyond myself to stop it.

The real answer to the shame and guilt of sin isn’t to rename it or to claim it’s not sinful any longer. The real answer to confess that it is a sin – it’s my sin – and to find the forgiveness and inner healing that only Jesus Christ can provide. 

I pray we’ll all remember this in whatever struggles with sin we’ll experience today.

The Dual Nature of Sin

Can We Get Any Sillier? Probably.

Years ago, back when people actually read things called magazines, I subscribed to several of them. One that I loved was called The Wittenberg Door. It was a Christian satire magazine and was great.

I remember they once ran a humor story about society banning the use of the word man or anything mascline in any word. So instead of person the term was perpeople.  They then went on to talk about people from Gerperpeopleland. Mailperpeople. Etc.

Hilarious and I thought it really made the point.

Obviously I was wrong because look at what the nimrods at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill have done. They have issued a “writing guide” advising students to avoid the use of the term “man” or “men.”  Here’s a short quote:

As you review your writing, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you used “man” or “men” or words containing them to refer to people who may not be men?
  2. Have you used “he,” “him,” “his,” or “himself” to refer to people who may not be men?
  3. If you have mentioned someone’s sex or gender, was it necessary to do so?
  4. Do you use any occupational (or other) stereotypes?

Thus another new low in stupidity is reached. I’m sorry but what else can you say to this kind of nonsense? This PC mania is reaching new lows in absolute craziness. Pretty soon no one will be able to write or say anything at all.

Let’s just be honest and admit the goal of this nonsense isn’t just to change what we write. It’s obviously aimed at how we talk and more importantly, how we think.

If you can’t say things in certain ways that changes how you think about them. Whether written or spoken words are the way we organize and express our thoughts. All this so called “gender inclusiveness” we see so much of today is not about gender at all.

It’s about controlling and changing how we think. It’s just a tactic to bind everyone up in so many rules that they’ll have no choice but to conform to whatever the PC gods want them to conform too.

Can you imagine having to pay for them to brainwash you child like this? Don’t worry, it’s coming to all of us sooner or later. Unless, as I fervently hope, it collapses under it’s own weight of stupidity.

As a Christ follower I’m reminded of the words of Paul, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” ( 1 Cor. 2:16 ESV) Personally I’m sticking with seeking the Lordship of Jesus over my thoughts and rejecting the whimsy of people who while claiming to wise have become fools (Romans 1:22).

At least that’s what this perpeople who’s descended from people in Gerperpeopleland thinks. 

Can We Get Any Sillier? Probably.

Sacrifice & the Atomic Bomb & Jesus

[This is a recap of my communion meditation, 8-9-2015]

This past week was a week of history. Last Monday Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only man who survived both the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki died. He did so just before the 70th anniversary of both events.

Mr. Yamaguchi fled Hiroshima after surviving the first A-Bomb and went to stay with family in an out of the way place he was sure would be safe; Nagasaki. Didn’t work out quite the way he thought it would now did it?

The amazing thing is that he not only survived both attacks, but lived for 70 years afterwards. He was either one of the luckiest men who’ve ever lived or one of the unluckiest depending on how you look at it.

While Mr. Yamaguchi was dealing with the impact of all this my Father was in the Pacific on the island of Guam. As part of the 6th Marine Division he was training and preparing for the invasion of Japan. An event neither he nor his buddies expected to survive.

According to Dad they had been told they’d lose one Marine for every square foot of ground taken in the initial invasion of Japan. Historians can argue all they want about it, but that’s what the men who’d be on the sharp end expected to happen.

Like everyone they wanted to live but fully expected to die. Yet everyone of them was willing to make that sacrifice for their country. They didn’t have too because of the two bombs that were dropped on Japan 70 years ago. Dad, and all the men I’ve talked with who where there at the time, could not believe they were actually going to survive the war. (For more info on Dad’s experience check out his book.)

There was plenty of sacrifice on all sides of the war, as there is in all wars.

When I think of sacrifice I always think of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us. No one commanded him to do it. He was completely free to walk away from it, yet he went to the cross and suffered in full so that forgiveness, freedom and eternal life would be available to any and all who believe.

That is sacrifice, that is love. Jesus loved the world even though the world rebelled against God’s will and knowing that rebellion would continue even to today, over two thousand years later.

That didn’t stop him though, because he wasn’t driven by results he was driven by love. Love always leads to sacrifice for the good of the beloved. Let’s give thanks for all who make sacrifices for us. May we let the Holy Spirit of God transform us into the image of Christ so that we will sacrifice for the good of others. Above all, let us never forget the sacrifice of Jesus, and continually submit our lives to him.

Sacrifice & the Atomic Bomb & Jesus