Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What does this have to do with Easter?

Jurassic Park: The Ride (Spoiler Alert if you've never been on the ride before... it shows the whole thing).

Listen to my Easter sermon coming up this Sunday...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sharing the Good News

As I write this, I'm sitting in the office of one of my friends in ministry.  He's not here right now, so I figured I'd commendeer his computer and do my job (with his permission... apparently his "eye health" is more important than our friendship).

One of the things that strikes me, however, is how he and I have grown to trust each other in the eight short months that I've been here.  We share stories and victories and pains.  We're confidants and ministers and encouragers.  We're friends.  When I do good things, I expect to hear from him.  But flip it around.  When I do bad things, I expect to hear from him.  When there's an issue in my life, when I'm discouraged, when I'm angry, he's able to call me on it.  I'd do the same for him as well.

It's a very simple concept really... we put our trust in the people we know best.  We share our hearts, our dreams, our desires, our weaknesses, our struggles, our depressions with those that we know and love the most.  It's the natural human condition.

I suppose that's why pictures like this confuse me so much:

Ok, perfect picture for my purposes.  First off, don't you really want to meet the ONE drunkard and the ONE general heathen from that sign?  There are potentially millions of of the other categories, but only one of those two.  Poor two people on the face of the planet who struggle alone with drunkeness and... general heatheness?  Huh, that didn't come up on spell check, guess it is a word.

Now, let me ask you, if you were one who actually would identify as a drunkard, fornicator, masturbator, atheist, abortionist, adutlerer, witch, reveler, sodomite, hypocrite, blashphemer, liar, or general heathen, would you be inclined to talk to this man?  To listen to anything he had to say?  I'm a Christian and I don't think I'd really have anything kind to say to him.  There's no relationship there... no trust... nothing but judgement and damnation.

Now look at his sleeve.  The mega-irony would be if that last word was "LOVE" but I think it's "LORD" which would make a lot of sense since a message of love and peace doesn't seem to be portrayed.  Now, it should be noted that Christianity is NOT simply a religion about love and peace, and he's right in that there WILL be judgement, but that judgement is God's, not ours.  The reason that God gets to make those calls is because He *IS* Lord and we are not.  As Lord He called us to live lives holy and pleasing to him and to make disciples for Him.

But He did not call us to hold signs scolding people, unless discipleship looks entirely different than I imagine it to be.  Ok, time to look at that Bible verse.  Hebrews 9:27--

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Ah!  There we go all questions answered!  People are destined to die and then to face judgement.  Period.

What?  There was no period?  It was a comma?  Well I guess it would be pretty important to read the whole sentence, but surely it's just going to talk about how judgement is the only option awaiting sinners.  Let's see:

27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Oh.  So wait... there's hope?  That seems rather important.  Maybe someone should share that with people instead of just telling them that only Hell awaits them.  Form a relationship... share in life... teach the Good News.

Maybe someone should.  Maybe you should.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I'm sorry if I've been letting anyone down in the last few weeks... I think God is doing some amazing things in Culpeper and I'm looking forward to those, but it's been requiring a lot of time reflecting and praying on my part.  Add that to the fact that my computer's power connection is very finicky now (update: dead) so I haven't really been able to spend much time on my computer to write a blog.  The church has purchased a new one however, so things should be able to move forward as usual.  The last two weeks of sermons have been uploaded to as well.

You see, until it gets fixed, the power cord for my computer has to be tilted in a very specific way just so it can make an electric connection and charge the battery.  If it moves at all, I have to spend about 5 minutes getting it back into the proper place... it's annoying to say the least.  There should be a solid connection from the electricity flowing from the cord to the power adapter inside the computer which leads to my battery and allows it to charge.  When any of that is out of sync or alignment, the whole machine loses power until finally, it won't turn on anymore.

It's amazing to me how vastly important connections are in my every day life.  If I have a bad phone, TV, or internet connection, I become very disgruntled and want it fixed immediately.  When I have friends and we just aren't on the same page, it's very frustrating.  When God and I aren't sharing a solid connection, all of those feelings come rise again.  In each one of those instances, I blame something else... Comcast or Verizon or AT&T, my friends.  And yes, even God.

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The writer of Hebrews knew that it was important for man to maintain a connection with God.  Even though the Bible is filled with numerous instances where God seeks after man, it's clear that God wants the connection to be a voluntary one.  We must do our part to seek after him and maintain the connection.

To often, we neglect the connection with God as one that is important to our lives, yet when we experience the negative feelings that go along with the bad connection, we're so quick to blame God for our troubles.  "God's not listening, God's not answering my prayers." Not nearly often enough do I turn the tables and say "I need to do a better job of maintaining this connection."  But that's what we need to do.  The best part is, God's always waiting for us to turn back to Him, offering that strong connection through his Son Jesus Christ.