Monday, January 26, 2009

Definition #2: Trinity

The Trinity is a theological, not biblical, word, which sums up Scripture’s various teachings on the relationship of the Godhead in community. It describes God’s unity in diversity, his separateness and oneness simultaneously. The three persons (the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) of the Trinity are all “God,” sharing the same essence, substance and nature, without losing their individuality. The Bible does not reveal God to be three gods entirely unconnected from each other (polytheism), nor does it reveal a singular god who shows up playing different roles throughout history (modalism). All three members of the Trinity, together and separately, are revealed to be active through the biblical narrative.

Definition #1: Scripture

Next to the person of Jesus, the Bible is the best and most reliable witness to the character and will of God the Father. It is the final arbiter of faith and practice. It is also without error in its original revelation, yet translations still faithfully convey the words of God today. Scripture is not a textbook of any sort, but the storybook of God’s redemptive activity throughout time. In it is contained the forgiveness of sin, the promises of mercy, the realty of transformation and hope for the future through Jesus the Christ and his teachings.

Missed anything?

Overstated anything?

Do I needed to be burned at the stake?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Preacher as Guide

Eugene Peterson has compared the task of pastoring to the being a guide. When I read this I instantly loved the analogy! As I thought more about it I began to apply it my ministerial interest, the preacher as a guide. What would like this look like? What kind of guide? So, I began to wonder:

A docent? No. A good preacher does not simply show people around a vacuum-sealed, hands off exhibit of ancient, lifeless artifacts someone has collected.

A tour guide? No. The job of the preacher is more than taking people to places where historic or interesting events happened.

A map? No. Although a map points people in the “right” direction, it is passive and offers no active guidance to those who are lost. A map does no good if you don’t know where you are or where you need to go.

I think the analogy of a river guide works well and here’s why:

1. The preacher is in the same boat as the people and not standing on the shore shouting orders or directions.

2. The preacher is in the same environment as the people and not immune to its shifts and fluctuations. Everyone gets soaked!

3. The preachers is able to show and point out critical concerns and interests that otherwise might have been miss by those in the boat.

4. The preacher works in partnership with the people and is not able to function alone. He cannot steer and row at the same time.

5. The preacher and the people are both being carried along in a constantly progressing forward motion.

6. The preacher is hopefully passing on his passion for guiding to those who would become enthusiasts and not just tourists.

A "guide." I like this idea. Not a Chief Cultural Architect or Evangelism Champion or even a Pastor/Cultivator. Simply a guide. One called out of the common community to hold the peoples attention on the God.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

This is an historic day.

I am proud to be an American.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nothing New Under The Sun

If you look quickly (before they post again) to your left under the header "Blog-a-sphere" you will notice three of my friends (Dustin, Dan and Bob) have all blogged about the same article.

And here I am blogging about it much for originality.

I guess I should read it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Preaching at the Mission

Tonight I had the chance to preach at the Portland Rescue Mission again. The whole evening went great. The Evergreen Community had about 12 people show up to serve dinner and Aaron was playful with his worship. Good on’ya mate!

This week as I was thinking about what to say tonight, I truly wanted to relate to the people at the Mission (I fear irrelevance) while making something in the Bible very accessible to them. But what do you say to people who probably don’t want to hear you “preach” and are just looking for a meal and warm, dry place to sleep.

At times like this I try to think through what I have in common with the people I'm speaking with. But, I also wanted to give them something by speaking with them and not to or about them. Right from the start I knew I had to tear down the emotional, sociological and stereotypical barriers that separated us. We had to be one group of people seeking Jesus. Tonight I wanted us to be part of the Jesus story told in the Scriptures.

Here I was, speaking with a room full of homeless, marginalized, poor men and women whom life has dealt a 2-7 off suit (the worst hand in Poker) trying to establish a bond. The commonality I found tonight that everyone in the room could agree on was that life sucks! Interestingly enough, there were some people I had to convince of the suckiness of life because they disagreed with me. This of course was not a hard task.

I explained life sucks because we experience tragedy everyday. Sometimes we lose our keys, we lose our glasses, we lose our jobs, we lose our homes and occasionally we lose our friends. “Sh*t happens everyday,” I said (wow, sh*t and Jesus in the same sermon! That was a first). From this point everyone agreed, “life sucks.” They were buying what I was sellin'.

But, I went on to explain, this was not the way it was supposed to be. Jesus said he came to give us life and life to the fullest (John 10:10). For a few moments I told how we have been sold a shadow of "life to the fullest" by the kingdom of man, the world at large. The things it says are important and will make us happy will never allow us to experience life to the fullest. We have been duped.

I continued. Only when we trust Jesus, only when we hope in his words of love and forgiveness are we able to see past the hollow emptiness of this world and experience the kind of life we were created to enjoy. Jesus gives us hope (no matter who we are: black, brown, white, short, tall, rich or poor) that at his side life can be different! Life can be peaceful, secure and filled with genuine love, maybe not on this rotating mud ball, but for the rest of eternity.

Hope for the future is what I wanted to serve tonight with the rice and beans.

The night was good. God showed up and loved on his people.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Wonder B*ner

You just have to wonder what people are thinking when they make this stuff up!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wife, Mother and now, Author

1. Clink here.

2. "Turn" to page 14.

3. Read the article.

4. Look at the bottom, left hand corner and notice the author.

5. Click here to learn more.

She is truly amazing!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

May I have this prayer?

I have been thinking about prayer lately. What it is, what it entails and how it works. I have also been reading a little on the subject. Specifically, I have been reading Working the Angles by E.H. Peterson. I have only read one other Peterson book and didn’t get it. But I hear lots of people love his writing, so I thought I would give him another go'round.

Peterson says, “Pastors who imitate the preaching and moral action of the prophets without also imitating the prophets deep praying and worship so evident in the Psalms are an embarrassment to the faith and an encumbrance to the church.”

Wow, that is a full tilt, in your face, don’t-screw-around-with-prayer-warning. This is important stuff!

I have to admit, I have struggle with prayer. Not so much with doing it, but more in making it "work." I hate the ritualistic prayers I pray at dinner . Unfortunately, I am very conscience of what I say because others are listening. My devotional prayers are anemic at best.

While thinking about prayer in general, and my prayers in specifics, I found the perfect way to describe my prayers. I see prayer as a dance. It involves intimacy, trust and connection. When dancing, like prayer, is done well it is emotive, fluid and powerful.

So, if prayer is a dance, than I am the geeky Jr. Higher in the corner dancing with myself (or worse yet, only with my buddies) trying to be M.C. Hammer, a New Kid on the Block or Justin Timberlake, but failing miserably.

Prayer, like dancing, can be painful to watch from the outside and even more pain to realize from the inside.

I want to go from Jr. Higher to Swayze. I want to connect with the Almighty Creator of my soul on deep and meaningful level through which prayer is the only access. Beside, it is an amazing and fearful reality that access to God is possible and simple.

Prayer is an art, a beautiful expression of commitment and love.

Prayers are much easier said than meant.