Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cancelling Church and a Preachers Heart

You might think that if church is cancelled due to weather the preacher rejoices because he gets a suprise week off.

Not so with me.  I'll tell you why.

The messages that I bring to my congregation are no small matter for me.  In many cases i have been praying over the message and it's content for close to a year.  I've spent many hours in prayer and thoughtful study of the Bible in preperation.  I have sought to pay attention to the flock God has given me so i can bring a message that will challenge as well as confront with the truth and love of God.

By the time Sunday rolls around it's gameday for me.  I'm psyched!  I'm amped up!  I'm ready to go!  I have some fire burning in my bones!  I'm not juist doing my job.  I'm bring ing you life, real life, through God's Word!

So when church is cancelled I'm bummed!

But I'll be ready for next week.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Things You Won't Find in the Bible, Part 2

The Cross as a Peice of Art

Many churches are decorated with crosses.  There are paintings of Jesus hanging on a cross, or statues of Mary holding Jesus after Jesus was taken down from the cross, along with the familiar cross on the stage of the church.  Many people today decorate their bodies with a cross with tattoos, neckalces, t-shirts, and the like.  The cross has been morphed into some many different shapes that we have the lost the horror and the degrading humiliation that was the cross in Jesus day.

In Jesus day the cross was something that you covered your eyes from seeing.  It was outrageously bloody.  Bone and organs would be exposed after the beating most criminals took before being nailed on the beams.  Only the filthiest and worse people would hang on the cross.  It was shameful to be associated with someone on the cross. 

Mark Driscoll writes of the horror of the cross, "...victims labored to breathe, as they went into shock.  Naked and embarrassed, the victims would often use their remaing strength to seek revenge on the crowd of mockers who gathered to jeer them.  In a turn of events, the Gospels say the mockers spat on Jesus. (italics mine)  They would curse on their tormenters while urinating and spitting on them.  Some victims would be so overwhelmed with pain that they would become incontinent and a pool of sweat, blood, urine, and feces would gather at the base of the cross."

The cross was a grotesque scene.  The word excruciating finds it's roots in the pain experienced while one was nailed to a cross.  Who could turn that into a peice of art?  Something pleasent to look at? They didn't at first.

Churches using the cross as art didn't appear until 2-300 years after the cross fell out of use.  By that time, the horror, the shame, the grotesgue memories of the cross had faded. 

And then we have progrssed to the cross in our culture where Madonna has said that the cross was sexy.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Change.. here it comes...

I believe if Celebration is going to continue to grow and to reach out to others we are going to have to change... dramatically.  We are going to have to things that might be uncomfortable for us, but on the other hand, maybe not.

Have you considered how much we embrace change?  We'll remodel our hose, move, have children, change jobs, even change churches, all voluntarily.

So I believe we all can change.  The question is why do we resist some changes and accept others?

Think about that... because I believe God is going to really change Celebration this year.. no more the same ol same ol....

Just a thought... do you realize that if we kept up the current rate of growth we will not reach 300 people until  2023?  Chew on that too... ;)


Getting Old...

Has anyone ever asked you on your birthday what it felt like to be a year older?

I have.  I generally reply that I don't feel one way or the other.

Then this week came, excepts it's not my birthday.  This week I saw two markers of getting older.  One was I started liking coffee.  Now, I know Starbucks made coffee cool to drink and all but when i was a kid, coffee was just something old people drank.

Well, this week, out of the blue, I started liking coffee! Albeit with plenty of chocolate creamer.  I really like that mocha taste.  Have you ever had a Tiramusu dessert.  I like my coffee to taste like that.  Anyway, that's one marker of age for me.

Then the other is I started needing reading glasses.  Can you believe it.  I look so oold with the glasses on the tip of my nose.  Ughh!

But onthe other hand I can see things so clear up close now!  I was starting to read my books almost two feet away.  That's not good.  In case you didn't know, I use a large print Bible to preach from so I could see the words easier.

Getting older is interesting.  I just keep on changing.  So far it hasn't hurt too much, but my Dad says growing old hurts. 

I sure hope he is wrong!

Have yourself Committed!