A very interesting concept..
It is unfortunate for me and my blog that I am not able to discuss certain things that are taking up a great deal of my life right now. Suffice to say I am going through some rough times and trying to not only make the best of it but see God in all of it. Here is what I can tell:
Recently a lot of things have been going on with my family and how we relate to our church, rumors fly and things happen and it has been rough but not completely without a positive side. Two Sundays ago my wife and I stayed home from church for the first time in years, and no one was sick. We watched a vodcast from Mars Hill, it was about the story of Ruth, which is one of my wife’s favorite books, and it just so happens it was about “God’s hand in your suffering.” It isn’t a sermon a lot of people touch on because bad things in life are normally related to one of two things 1) You have sin in you life, and have brought it upon your self 2) The devil is attacking you.
Some people may have agreed with the first option in our case but I have been in contact with God a great deal as of late and I am sure he would have told me if that was the case and although the devil attacking is always a possibility I don’t think that is the case here either. I just think in an imperfect world where imperfect people are all attempting to reach a perfect God things get a little crappy.
I believe God is sovereign and he is good, which means he will do as he pleases to bring about good, by his terms and not ours. While I don’t go as far as some and profess that God brings calamity in your life in order to teach you a lesson, one must confess that if God is omnipotent and omniscient (all powerful and all knowing) then he does allow things to happen that we would consider bad. But the Bible does say “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” and that I believe.
I am past the point of berating God because of the evil of the world or the stupid parts of my life, I know that like a good Father he knows what is best and if nothing else, I can trust in that even when I can’t see it directly. He’s God and I am not, not that I would want the job I have seen “Bruce Almighty” and it didn’t turn out well.
So I was watching Gilmore Girls last night and this scene comes up that has me thinking. If you don’t watch Mrs Kim is the religious fanatic of the show, no secular music, no dancing or prom for her daughter, no unhealthy food, no fun and everyone is going to hell, very strict woman. So, in this episode her daughter is having a hard time so she demands she follow her as she closes all of the blinds and curtains and pushes a wardrobe in front of a window that doesn’t have blinds.
She then proceeded to pull a bottle of some very strong drink from her cabinet, in an attempt to help her daughter though her hard time. All I could say was “Mrs Kim’s Got Booze.” I was shocked because this is such a strange thing for her character, don’t get me wrong I don’t believe responsible consumption of alcohol is a sin but it was very outside of her nature.
But she closed the windows, she was hiding, was this because she felt guilty or because others would look down on her? If it was out of guilt then she shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place, but how about the second possible reason?
The other night I was out with the guys and I met up with one a little early so we could talk, we were at a place that is a bar/coffee shop, I asked him if he had any personal convictions about alcohol and he said no so I got by drink. If he would have said yes, then I would have had coffee. I don’t feel guilty about it because I was simply deferring to his conscious, I would not want to offend my brother if he had a weakness or conviction in an area. Similarly I don’t watch things with half naked women because I have a conviction about that and I would hope that someone would respect my conviction when choosing a movie for a night out.
This comes from an understanding of personal and general sin, what may be acceptable to one person may be a sin for someone else. There are sins that are clear from scripture to be a sin for all but other things aren’t so clear, and so as scary as it is we must allow people to hear God for themselves but I would advise in all cased to err on the side of caution.
Wow, if this isn’t going a bit to far I don’t know what is, and I bet Christians don’t say a word about it. Not that I think we should be as reactionary as some members of the body but if someone claimed he was the new Muhammad they would be forced to apologize in short order. And he has hardly been crucified for his beliefs, or sorry people made fun of him on SNL and maybe he isn’t making 40M per film anymore, but that isn’t because of his whacked out sci-fi beliefs, it is because his movies of late have stunk like a polecat, full of limburger, do I need to remind anyone of War of the Worlds or Vanilla Sky?
This one will be short and sweet because I have a ton of things going on behind the scenes. Most people are familiar with John 4, the woman at the well, but I had some one as one question that completely made me think differently about it.
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Please read the beginning of this passage if you are not totally familiar with it but here is the normal way of looking at this, this woman was some kind of dirty woman, she was coming to the well in the middle of the day because she was unwelcome by the rest of the women in town. (People drew water in the morning when it was cool). And of course Jesus dispenses with the social morays that would have prevented him from talking to her. My view there didn’t change but listening to a theology professor talk about our presuppositions was very interesting.
Who was allowed to ask for a divorce in this culture? This woman? No, only the husband was allowed to do such a thing. I still don’t know why this woman was divorced that many times but I do know she must have been hurting much deeper than I initially thought. She was now living with another man who is not her husband, why? Was it because he felt he couldn’t marry a woman who was damaged goods? Was that the only way she could find shelter? This woman represents brokenness on a level I never saw before because I only looked at it through my “Sunday School Eyes” as one Pastor put it. I only see what I have always seen.
It a grand moment when you can put your presuppositions about a passage aside and read it again for the first time, you never know what God will reveal to you.
I am a huge fan of Ron Paul and would love him to be elected as our president, unfortunately the masses won’t vote for him because he would end to many hand outs. But I think most people would agree with him if they knew more about him so I am doing my part.
Do I need God everyday?
At our small group this question came up: In what way does our culture hinder you in your relationship with God? I knew my answer but I was afraid to utter it, it isn’t good. My culture and my life hinder me because I don’t need God in my everyday life. Blasphemy you say? Maybe but I have a great job, a great marriage and I live in the most prosperous nation in the world. Day to day I don’t realize my need for God. Someone said on a mission trip to Russia some one said to her “I don’t know who you Americans do it with so many things to distract you.” While we are feeling pity for them because they have so little they are returning the favor because we have too much. I feel this pain; I am guilty of praying mostly in crisis because these times focus my attention on my Savior. I have even prayed that God keep me in trials for this reason, it seems to be the only time I pay enough attention to my God. I do not look to him for my daily bread; I have food in my cupboards. I do not seek him for new revelation because I have the internet, I am all set. And then she enters
I am a pretty laid back person; I get a long with everyone except her. Everyone has one and she is mine, my thorn in the flesh. Every email sounds nasty, every phone call sounds like a dentist drill. I get done with my interaction with her and I rant to my co-workers, some witness I am. I discover yet again my need for God to push me through the distractions and the crazy idea I am good enough. God help me be Christ like with people who annoy me.
One of the most controversial issues in the church today and forever is the subject of Hell. The Postmodern movement is just the most recent to deny the existence of hell, and quite frankly one of the greatest questions asked by non-Christians is “How can a loving God create Hell” This article is very thoughtful in answering that question.
I just really thought we could use these thoughts in a time when Jesus seems to be little more than a tame house cat and not the Lion of Judah.
Yesterday morning my Pastor touched on two of my favorite issues, that of men and their aversion to church and the difference between universal and particular sin. He announced yesterday to the chagrin of many in attendance, I am sure, that this year our men’s ministry is going to be stepping outside of the box in an effort to attract some men who do not already have a relationship with the Lord. He understands that, as a whole the Church, (all denominations and creeds) has been taken over by women. There are many speculations as to why this is but suffice to say it is easier to find a fundamentalist having fun that is it to find a church with a surplus of manly men under 50.
So, on February 10th we will be having our first Texas Hold ‘em tourney. However this is not meant to be simply a fundraiser, it is truly the heart of my Pastor to bring people, who normally would drive a different way to avoid church, into our community, and then into a relationship with Jesus. I guess that makes it three of my favorite topics, because he follows the St. Patrick model of evangelism people tend to belong before they believe, which is why churches that turn in upon themselves and react to the outside world like a vampire to garlic do God a disservice. We want men to realize that the church is more than a good ol’ boys club where you are told to come in, sit down, shut up, and be a good boy, but at the same time we are not attempting to be less of a church in order to reach them, or we could just pass out pot as service, that would attract a lot of people.
He preached from John 2:
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Now if you study out things said here you will discover a few things. First teetotalers will go to any length to convince themselves that this wasn’t wine, people have told me it was grape juice, or at least not alcohol like we know today, and maybe that last part is true we have worked for centuries to perfect the fermenting process. Regardless Jesus was accused of being a glutton, drunkard and a friend of sinners. I don’t think this accusation would have been made if there were no grounds for it.
The issue wasn’t that Jesus was breaking God’s law we know that never happened, but he was breaking the traditions of men. And here is the difference, there are sins that are universal; murder is a sin no matter the person, and there are particular sins, those particular to the person. I spoke to someone after the service and he said he would not be comfortable playing cards in church but would have no problem playing at someone’s home and I don’t begrudge him that, I commend him for being cognoscente of his limitations. I do not feel right watching movies with high sexual content and people who have trouble with alcohol shouldn’t go to bars, those are particular sins because although it is not wrong to have a drink or play cards or watch certain types of movies if your conscience convicts you; then listen to it.
This is tough but if we are to ever have and impact on our world it is something we must understand, if not we simply become another Pharisaical demanding things of people that are not specifically enumerated in the Bible, and I respect God’s word to much to try to change it.