Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
- In about 25 words each, answer the following five questions.
- Tag five presbyterian bloggers and send them a note to let them know they were tagged.
- Be sure to link to this original post.
- Leave a comment or send a trackback to this post so others can find you.
1) What is your favorite faith-based hymn, song or chorus?
Come thou Fount - we sang it last week and in our worship gathering and i just so identify with the lines that follow for they are my day to day story - indebted to grace b/c my heart is oh so prone to wander...
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it..
check out Sufjan Stevens rendition on Youtube
2) What was the context, content and/or topic of the last sermon that truly touched, convicted, inspired, challenged, comforted and/or otherwise moved you?
I recently went to Mexico with a mission partner church or ours and on Thursday night we had a worship service in three different languages, English, Spanish and Nauat. A pastor of a nondenominational church (Cesar) and he was preaching from Chronicles 19. And i cannot tell you the full content of the sermon but there was a reference in the sermon to the amount of tie that Jesus spent in prayer as a Jewish man -up to 5 hours a day. Cesar said Jesus spent 5 hours in prayer and with one touch power went out from him. The average Christians spend i minute and prayer and 5 hours trying to bring healing to the world. As an activist is challenged me to spend more time in prayer.
3) If you could have all Presbyterians read just one of your previous posts, what would it be and why?
4) What are three PC(USA) flavored blogs you read on a regular basis?
5) If the PC(USA) were a movie, what would it be and why?
Field of dreams - we still believe if we build it they will come
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Despite others' thoughts and concerns I do not feel as though I have slipped outside of orthodoxy. I still believe in the authority of scripture and in the 2 foundational Creeds of our faith (the Apostles and Nicaean). My orthodoxy is perhaps a bit more generous and open than others but I am still a Bible believing orthodox follower of Jesus - the way the truth and the life.
As for the concern that Rob Bell is declaring God not to be Father, he does not say that God is not Father. Bell says, "God is not male or female rather Spirit" - quoting Jesus in John 4:24. god being Spirit is as orthodox as you get. this is an historic and orthodox theological statement. Also Rob's emphasis on God's motherly characteristics are take right from scripture, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isa.(49:15) And in fact he says that these references are metaphor and cannot be taken literally. So Rob is therefore NOT saying God is female. He is saying that God is beyond male and female - again, that God is Spirit.
If you someone who thinks God is male that is not orthodox!!!!! Yes the primary image given to us in scripture is Father and ought not be discarded for the sake of political correctness or personal discomfort with the metaphor. I call God Father regularly and believe it to be true. But I cannot deny the motherly images in scripture that enhance, deepen and further enlighten my understanding of who God is as understood through scripture. It is a mysterious both/and, an orthoparadoxy. I want to allow the dual images of God to stand in tension with one another and not disregard one or the other just b/c it seems "liberal" or on the other hand "conservative" or makes me uncomfortable. It drives me to worship, honor and serve God all the more.
Now a caution to all of us who tend to critique the theology of others with whom we disagree . It is one thing to disagree with someone's theology it is another thing to slander a person whom you do not know personally- which the Bible clearly says is a sin. Many people's assessment of Rob is uninformed and not at all accurate. Particularly the claim that he has disregarded the Bible and it's authority. I have sat under Rob's teaching virtually and personally and in my assessment Rob bases everything he does on the Bible. He may not interpret it the same way some would but he is searching the scripture nonetheless. We must be careful not to make broad sweeping assumptions about people and their theology. Many believe that Rob has a moral influence theory of the work and ministry of Christ yet his entire tour "the gods aren't angry" was a presentation in defense of justification through faith and not works. I saw it heard it with my own ears. Yes there was new stuff but still within orthodoxy! The God's aren't angry because Jesus has taken the punishment we deserve.
In our enthusiasm for the truth we must speak it in LOVE; be careful to not alienate and dis-unify the body of Christ which is the primary way that the world will know God (John 17). May we be filled with grace in our fervor to preserve the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I felt like i was a part of the life of Jesus/story of the church in Acts. We gathered together to eat pray, worship, sit under the Word and fellowship and then like the 70 sent out by Jesus we we went out to proclaim: good news to the poor; freedom for the prisoners; recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19). As we gathered in the center of the village with teachers, doctors, pastors, nurses, children from Pittsburgh, Mexico City and Ahuatitla, speaking English, Spanish and Nauat. Some sorted medicine, preparing to see patients others dispersed into the village while I stayed behind to preach from Mark 2, in English, and then translated into Spanish and then into Nauat. After that our tri-lingual team offered pray for the sick and broken-hearted. We listened to stories of incredible physical and spiritual pain and oppression. We prayed together in the unity of the Spirit even though we never spoke in the same language. We saw God's power and authority in very tangible ways - people were healed, principalities and powers were battled, tears were shed, hearts were mended and the kingdom of God was advanced all through PRAYER in the Spirit. Not the normal way I do ministry. I saw and felt the power of God go out through me and the others in our prayer team. I saw hands used to bring healing to other people's bodies and spirits. I heard discernment and insight into the lives of people that could have only been given by God. By mid-day I was completely depleted, exhausted and amazed. I experientially understood why Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place and connect with his Father - replenishing power, strength and wisdom. There were people waiting in line to meet with the doctors and nurses and to be prayed for. My spirit was weak and in need of renewal. The work that God had prepared me to do I had never done before (praying for people for 4 hours straight) and after lunch we headed back for more miraculous work of God healing peoples bodies, minds and spirits through us, his wounded healers on their knees.
How am I translating this back into the USAmerican world that, to quote Nacho Libre, "has it's faith in science?" I believe that we need to learn about the power of prayer and the reality of the spiritual world. We modernistic USAmerican Christians tend to live in our minds, depend on rationality, human ingenuity, the scientific method, technological development, medicine, and what we can explain. I certainly believe that God is in the technological advances of science and medicine to heal can be used for his glory. I do not want to create a dualism of body and spirit, mind and emotion or prayer and science - God is in all and sovereign over all. But it seems to me that more faith in humanity's ability to progressively heal through technological advancement than in God himself. God is pushing me and prodding me to trust him more, to ask more boldly in prayer and believe that God can and will break in through his Spirit to bring healing to his world.
- If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
- ...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
- And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.
- Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make them well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.