Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rumors Of God

In the opening chapter of Rumors Of God the authors quote from the C.S Lewis Classic Mere Christianity. "The world is a great sculptor's shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life." In this excellent book John Tyson and Darren Whitehead remind us that the rumors about God are true. The faith and life God speaks of is for real. Through biblical exploration and their own authentic experiences the authors reveal a God worthy of our worship and our lives.

If you are longing for a deeper authentic relationship with God and the people around you this book is for you. If you have heard of God's fame and want more read and you will be challenged and encouraged.

I received this book through Thomas Nelson BookSneeze...I received this book for free in exchange for my review of it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lesson's from the Sneetches

Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

If you have ever read the Sneetches by Dr Seuss you'll find that the Sneetches are not too different than people. One group of Sneetches looked down upon the other. That was until one day when the crafty Sylvester McMonkey McBean offered a solution to their problem. For a small fee he offered to put stars on the bellies of Sneetches without. When the original star bellied Sneetches saw this they were upset. They were the superior Sneetches, but now no one would know. McBean, being the kind soul that he was had another machine that could take stars off for another small fee. Sneetches shuffled in and out machines until they ran out of money and no one knew who was who.

In James 2:1-4 we are told, "My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' and you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,' have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?"

James' audience had the same problem as the Sneetches. They made superficial distinctions among themselves. McBean offered an external solution to an internal problem of the heart. People, governments, and organizations do the same thing today. The Sneetches were fortunate to learn a hard lesson when they came to the end of their resources. The story tells us, That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day. The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches. And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.

How did the Sneetches get to the place where some were thought of as better than others? It certainly wasn't because stars were better than none. The thoughts of superiority were still there when the stars were gone. This probably started years and years ago. For centuries the stories have been passed down the reminded Sneetches who and what was best.

We have our stories too. They shape what we believe about each other, God, and ourselves. God has a better story. It is a story that tells of our common beginning and problem of all humanity. The story introduces a common Savior and a shared family identity and destination for those that follow this Savior. In this story we have been told there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.(Galatians 3:28) What story are you living from?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fullness of Joy

There are things that all of us long for. We were created to experience real and lasting pleasure and joy. Many times we seek this in destructive ways. I understand and have experienced the pain from those decisions. I suppose my real struggle is when I don't understand the difficulties that come into my life and those around me. Loved ones die too soon. The good things in our lives seem to give less than what we thought they would. People we love and respect fail us. Is there something more? Is there hope?

I have been contemplating this verse all week. Psalms 16:11 "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." The Psalmist, David tells us that in God's presence is fullness of joy and in His right hand there are pleasures forever. It is important to note that David isn't some guy that is out of touch with the difficulties of life. He is not some guy whose life is perfect and writes about some mystical joy we will never experience because we live in a real world of pain, disappointment, and suffering. No, David is for real. He knows death, suffering and loss. He knows his own depravity as well as the brokenness of those around him. He knows hunger, homelessness, and humiliation. But, David also knows the secret to real joy. Real joy is found in the presence of the living God.

To be honest, I can't quite wrap my mind around what pleasures forever would be like. I do know that if this is a promise from a holy and loving God, it has to be incredible. Can you imagine pure, holy, and unending pleasure? What an awesome loving God we serve. I can not think of a better deal anywhere. Today, in spite of my questions and struggles I chose to enter His Joy. I will seek to come into the presences of our loving God.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Praying Mantis

I left my house yesterday with a lot on my mind. While driving to work I thought of the world economy and the ongoing turbulent political situation in our country. As I got out of the car I started thinking about the things I needed to accomplish. The list is unending. What was I going to do first? As I reached for the door I noticed a praying mantis right at my eye level. I thought "this is funny." A praying mantis came to church to pray. In that moment, I could hear the voice of a good friend. If Bill were here he would say something like, "What do think God want us to do this morning?" Thanks Lord for sending a praying mantis and a good friend.

The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-12 "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'" The Lord has good plans. He wants us to call upon Him. He wants us to talk to Him about our worries, concerns, and agenda. He wants to hear from us and us to hear from Him.

What our your concerns today? Are you calling upon the Lord?