Thursday, April 28, 2011

in christ's perfection he looked down to earth

if someone says, "i love god," but hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love god whom he has not seen. - 1 john 4:20

if, then, you will become perfect in love, strive to fulfill this duty, in loving to love the person one sees, to love him just as you see him, with all his imperfections and weaknesses, love him as you see him when he is utterly changed, when he no longer loves you, when he perhaps turns indifferently away or turns to love someone else, love him as you see him when he betrays and denies you.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

that is what you are going with?

after i read an article about a church leaderships new campaign to market church as "church sucks" i didn't know what to think. i did want to comment on the article but i didn't want to be "one of those guys" who comments on public places. i realize i have in the last few weeks and i am strongly fighting the urge to do it. those people will never see me nor understand what i am saying, supportive or discouraging through a website. i hate, above most things, communication breakdown's.

this perspective of promoting reverse psychology is not the enemy of faith but does not steer one clear of moralistic deism, of which the american church is steeped in. i found the approach rather frustrating. not the whole ability to come up with something witty and market an idea but just how this particular church felt a need to use a perspective of the world to draw attention to themselves and the church. my thoughts were simply...why not use the gospel of jesus christ, no?

the desire of attention is what seems to be the root of the issue. an alternative to wanting attention might be to teach the congregation of a real perception of the church from outsiders that is not true. instruct those who have been transformed by the power of the holy spirit to go be jesus to these outsiders. this would change the ideology that we feel and are tempted to shape our church based upon what goes on in popular culture. preach jesus and the gospel (romans 1:16). words, persuasion, and gimmicks don't transform individuals (galatians 1:12).

i can remember programs that would go on in the duration of the church week that were not very popular and therefore would need to be scratched from the church machine of services. they could be revamped, altered, or discarded altogether. however, new marketing doesn't transform the people. if this is done out of fear of low attendance then your issue may not be that you need to pump more life into your church or program. quite possibly something needs to die in order for god to use it, like when he called us to die to ourselves in order to be disciples of his.

so the issue is NOT the outsiders. the issues are with the insiders. and that is ok because we can try and make things popular and cool all we want but the transforming power of the spirit is what insiders and outsiders need regardless of what you or they are doing at 10 am on sunday morning. without it you have a gathering of people who are prone to love themselves without the revelation that god loves them so they can love others.

this opened my eyes

Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

i cannot get past this amazing gift and for the rest of my life i will pursue him who gives it

Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the god of the pacific

as i am able, i find that my reading base has grown. it now stretches over to the pacific rim and although the numbers are few i know that they are people with heart and personality. with that in mind, i would like to ask if they could give an account of what might actually be going on in their world. i hear and read news stories all day long but have realized that reuters, google, huffington post, yahoo news, and any other i have left out, all fail to give me an accurate description of the landscape that i long to hear. at the moment i have befriended a young south korean woman who is doing some translating at a korean company here in belgium. i think i might ask her once a week if there is anything new in developments on that side of the world in light of the tragic events that have taken place over the last 8 weeks because i am really wanting to know.

my heart goes out to those who are without on ANY level. i have an even deeper hurt for those who have witnessed first hand nature's capability and feel trapped in their minds as to whether or not there is an entity that actually cares for them outside of themselves. i am greatly curious and so comes with that curiosity many questions that i was hoping my japanese and korean audience could respond to.

i want to know the level of dependence upon god, and whether the feeling is growing or shrinking back? i want to know about how faith has helped and in what ways has it changed the mindset that god is good despite the circumstances? most of the news received from the popular outlets is reporting the political agendas, nuclear disposals, and such but i want to know more about the people and the face of the public.

i admit i am wanting to see hope in everything, despite what the circumstances may communicate to the japanese and the rest of the world. i know the experience of it all is a world apart from where i sit today and ask for thoughts. my faith has not been rocked by the events that may have challenged even the most faithful and devout on that side of the world. however, if i can communicate anything i want those trying to make sense out of everything to know that around the world there are those who are contending in prayer for the japanese and everyone who has been affected by the events of the earthquake.

you can respond through my facebook page. and i was hoping to gather many comments from readers and post a complete blog of comments and notes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

how can i do this

i guess you could say i am getting burned...

"in his (jesus) love there was no demand on any other man or on any other man's time, energy, assistance, service, love-in-return, for what christ demanded of him was only the other man's gain, and he demanded it only for the other man's sake; no one lived with himself as deeply as christ loved him."


Thursday, April 7, 2011

communal acquaintances

it is starting to become real. the other day as i walked around with titus in the stroller on a not to warm afternoon i came into contact with more than one individual whom i have met while going about getting settled into our home. i ran into the woman who helped with getting our internet set up while she was getting a sandwich on her lunch break, i also came across the lady who is helping with our integration and legal status here in waterloo, and while taking dutch to school on the bus there was a young woman who i have seen and talked to at the bus stop.

it is becoming even more real that english is not a barrier to knowing these people and becoming an influence. i have already begun my petitioning of the lord as to how i can impart something into their life. i owe this to the lord and his leading of us NOT living at the waterloo base, among many other reasons. i have felt troubled on some occasions because i cannot live there with my team and closest friends but the lord knows what he is doing for our influence in this city.

it has been wonderful and i hope that the light of god reveals his son thru our living in another part of the commune.