May 29, 2007

seasons for everything under heaven II


The first shall be last and the last shall be first. It is better to give then to recieve. These sum up a truly ground breaking philosophy. Opposite of what the world desires yet the nature of God's heart. It is an attitude that recognizes that everybody is equal and precious and that if we reach out beyond our own personal bubble the quality of life improves in and around us. These are sayings we should remind ourselves everyday for with it comes a fullness of life. This satisfaction is what those seeking to be in first place are actually trying to find.

I have mentioned in an earlier post that touched upon the concept of seasons and how important it is to recognize that despite of what looks like conflict between two seemingly different truths, opposites attract, compliment, complete and are interdependent to each other. To bring these truths together they need to take turns. This taking of turns can also be known as a changing of seasons. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

But for just a minute let me be the "devil's advocate". When I once heard a sermon on the topic of the first shall be last and the last shall be first my silly mind conjured up a scene in which there were about ten christians in line at the RMV. The first one in line remembered the first/last virtue mentioned in the bible so he decided to be nice and let the next person go as he proceeded to the end of the line. The next person followed suit as well as the next and the next and so on until the first person circled back to first place again.

Could it be that there is a time to be first and a time to be last? and could it be that there is a time to recieve as well as give? I just looked at the bible and it says "But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." (Matthew 19:30). Other verses leave out the word "many". This tells me that the season in which we recieve and are in first place should only be a very short season but it should still happen. It's okay to indulge every now and then but if that season goes for too long the quality of life decreases and God will seem distant.

May 23, 2007

Mr. Skywalker


You scored as Luke Skywalker, Eager to help the rebel alliance and begin Jedi training, but unwilling to sacrifice those you care about for your own goals. You have high ideals and believe you can achieve them by following your heart. Now if only you can get your ship out of the mud.

Padme Amidala

75%

Luke Skywalker

75%

Han Solo

69%

Leia Organa

69%

Obi-Wan Kenobi

69%

Yoda

63%

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader

63%

Darth Maul

56%

Palpatine

50%

Boba Fett

44%

Which Star Wars character would you be? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

May 21, 2007

Grace

Grace is what brought me to Jesus. Grace is what keeps me with Jesus. Even though I may pursue Jesus it's a pretty lame pursuit compared to others and infinitely lamer than God's pursuit of me. Thankfully He comes to me where I'm at.

I am a sinner. I am aware of certain sins that plague me. I am also sure that there is sin within me that I am not aware of but God is completely aware of but does He convict me of every wicked part of my heart? If He did I think I would literally shatter. I would explode and implode all at the same time. God is holy, infinite and way too much for me and He knows it. So He feeds me truth little by little coated in love so I can swallow it. There are times that I go through the painful process of receiving conviction from God. This is good. I am usually too chicken to ask God to convict me of sin that I do not know I have. It's kind of like praying for patience. Be carefull of what you ask for, right?

Truth and Love are useless without the other yet I have come to the conclusion that love trumps truth 51 to 49. So if I know that God is patient with me and convicts me with the truth about myself in a very slow manner who am I to dump truth carelessly on someone else?... I should also be weary of thinking of myself too highly because of the fact that I believe I have found/know truth. I have learned (and am in the process of learning) that when someone puts me on the spot and asks me a direct question that demands a direct answer concerning controversial topics this sometimes means there is a deeper question underneath what they are asking. A question that reveals their heart and it's doubts, frustrations, insecurities etc. An answer that tends to the heart is the correct answer. This takes a heart like Jesus to discern.


Lord, I do not deserve life with you yet I'm pursued by you. Thank you! Could I please have some of this grace of yours so I can live like you and with you and with others.
In Jesus' name, amen

Questions on Blessing

Why is that God blesses some and not others?

Why does God heal some and not others?

Would a perfect world really have everybody to have equal amount of material wealth? I don't think that's the answer.

Does God really reward those who seek His kingdom first with a definite financial blessing?
Perhaps sometimes He does but certainly not everytime.

Can a rich person be both righteous and rich at the same time? I think it's possible. Job was righteous and rich.

Why does God allow those who struggle with the basic needs of life remain in their struggle? This question leads to those who have enough to give I guess.

Now of course blessing does not just imply material wealth but money still talks and America speaks it's language all too well. I am still of the opinion that spiritual blessing is the best of all.

I will ponder these and other related questions for the rest of my life and trust that God alone is wise and good and that we may never fully understand.

May 16, 2007

Celebrity Time!

Supposedly this is who I look like on one of my more dapper days.



...and this is who I supposedly look like on one of my more dopey days.



Rudy Giuliani and John Ritter?! Since Hayden Christensen scores on both pictures I say he wins. Though I don't know what I think about that either.

May 14, 2007

Bugged Out


I've been acting stranger than normal, if you've noticed do not be alarmed. I have nothing to complain about because there is a bunch of great stuff about to happen. Sometimes it feels like too much at the same time. Does that make sense? The excitement can make one twitch. Praise God! my strength and joy.

Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
(Phillipians 2 something ~message)

May 10, 2007

Processing


These are the most significant virtues that I have taken from last weekend's conference. God: for people who hate church.

1. I have acquired a greater love for the church as in the body of believers in Christ not the building. This love extends to all traditions, expressions, methodologies, denominations, etc... everything.

2. I have come to a greater awareness that the Holy Spirit is working and moving amongst every human and community, whether they have been exposed to the Gospel or not and if they have, whether or not they accepted the Gospel or not. Everyone.

May 06, 2007

Gargoyles, Lava & New Wineskins

The conference "God: for people who hate church" kicked my butt, mentally, spiritually and even physically. Not that I was serving behind the scenes all that much (Credit and thanks go to all our friends from Streams Ministries, a HUGE support). During the duration of the conference my brain and spirit were being stretched in new ways. I would go to bed and I could not fall asleep because I needed to process my thoughts and emotions in a half-comotose prayer state.

The theme that stuck out the most for me was when the concept was brought up that all of humanity is longing to find something solid, something trustworthy. I find this is true but paradoxically can and cannot be found at the same time. Tony Jones said something like "once we find our "mission statement" we can look at it and realize it's not really the case. Some insights, visions and passions may still ring true but seasons pass and life can be very ambiguous at times." He compared the Gospel to lava. Lava is scary yet we are still attracted to it. It continually comes out of the earth in places and than dries to a crust. After the hardening, it then starts to come out elsewhere.

If this lava analogy describes a lot of what the emergent movement can be like I think the pentecostal analogy of new wineskins is very similar. This analogy uses wineskins which were in ancient times used to store wine. They would then be discarded as soon as the skin would harden & dry and a new one would take it's place in order to recieve new wine or in other words, a new movement of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Phil asked Tony Jones during the Q & A time basically how could the emergent and pentecostal movements can come together and find common ground. This question resonates with my heart because I, (for whatever reason) am most attracted towards emergent and pentecostal expressions of faith. I find this ironic because my personality and temperment differs from those personalities usually associated with emergent and pentecostal. I can have a kind of scandinavian stoicism that contrasts with the boisterous pentecostal and I am pretty simple minded(in a good way) when it comes to intellectual stuff. I have no degree other than a high school diploma. Intellectualism seems to be one of the main characteristics of the emergent movement. Still, I would consider myself pentecostal/emergent, go figure.

I am a firm believer that God comes to us where we're at. It's what grace is all about. So naturally that would look different when we compare individuals, congregations, denominations, cultures etc.... Despite the differences the Gospel remains the same.

The conference was opened with Phil's gargoyle song "Cum tacent Clament". He used the gargoyle as a kind of mascot for the church (quite a controversial mascot huh?). He could explain the significance better than I. The funny experience(I like to find humor in life, I think God has a great sense of humor) that I wanted share was during the singing of the this song. Gargoyles have their name because of the french word used for spit which sounds like "gargle". Gargoyles were placed on cathedrals to tell a story but also as a gutter that drips water hence the name "Gargoyle". I (Carl) was joining Carlos in singing a vocal part while Carly was drawing a picture of a gargoyle. Both in practicing and performing this song I was spitting a lot accidently. I even spit on Carlos once. Woops!. Another funny thing that happened was Tony Jones mentioned the People get ready song in describing one of the points he wanted to give. He said that all of us probably heard the Rod Stewart version. Sure enough, when I came home and walked inside, my mother in-law was listening to Rod Stewart's version of People get ready.

I will stop my ramble... and have a full night sleep tonight.

May 02, 2007

Perks of the Job


Who will join with me in trying to convince OSHA that these slides must be a mandatory feature for every exit out of the workplace?

May 01, 2007

A nervous look back

I was nervous about last night for awhile. It really wasn't that bad. Feelings of false guilt, insecurity and social anxiety became tiny pricklers of torture for a couple days preceding yesterday, so small I did not consciously know it.

My wife and I met up with a good number of people from our last congregation, some of whom we had not seen or talked to since we "suddenly" said goodbye one sunday. The meeting was for people to meet the new pastor who will start in a couple of months. Seeing everybody and talking and praying with them was big therapy for me. All those negative and false feelings are wiped away as far as I know. This was one of the hardest decisions that my wife and I have made. It also one of the best that we have made. That is not an insult but a recognition that following God's will is the best thing to do. I praise God for my past and my future.