Friday, April 27, 2007

Does It Look Like I Want Your Junk?

With the coming of the beautiful weather lately, has come a whole new season with it: Rummage Sale Season! In Sioux Falls this time of the year means that the Kingswood Rummage Sale is in full force. For those non-Sioux Falls natives, the Kingswood Rummage Sale is the largest grouping of rummage sales in the nation, with literally thousands of garages open to the public.

Now for those who hate the feeling of finding a parking space at Walmart on a Saturday afternoon, this event is not for you. I happen to enjoy rummage saling, however. I have nothing against buying used, cheap stuff, plus you get the added bonus of watching crazy stay-at-home moms from Iowa fill small horse trailers full of there recent purchases. It's great!!

This morning I drove around with a friend casually perusing the Kingswood Extravaganza. I found nothing worth my hard-earned dollar, but did witness a number of very funny things. The first hilarious siting was an elementary school girl riding a scooter wearing a very funny rabbit costume, ears and all. So Funny!! So Weird!!

It always amazes me the things people try to get rid of, and the fact that others are willing to buy. We came across a sign announcing that just down the street we had the opportunity to buy "Beer Signs", as if we needed to add to our collection. It is also funny to see all the exercise equipment for sale, knowing full well that each one was purchased as a New Year's Resolution after watching a Bowflex commercial and was only used for a week or so.

The pinnacle of our shopping excursion came when we came across a house that was actually advertising that they had an "ATM Inside." Can you believe that? An ATM at a rummage sale. Has American materialism really stooped this low? If you need to take out a second mortgage on your house to go rummage saling, you may have a problem.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quotes from "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus

"Even then Jesus understood His purpose was to save us not from pain and suffering, but from meaninglessness." (pg. 31)

"Instead of finding confidence to live as we should regardless of our circumstances, we have used it as justification to choose the path of least resistance, least difficulty, least sacrifice. Instead of concluding it is best to be wherever God wants us to be, we have decided that wherever it is best for us to be is where God wants us. Actually, God's will for us is less about our comfort than it is about our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance." (pg. 44-45)

"People who are fully alive look out of their minds to those who simply exist." (pg. 69)

"Barbarians wake to live and live life fully awake. To be filled with the Spirit of God is to be filled with dreams and visions that are too compelling to ignore." (pg. 100)

Speaking about the names given to different groups of animals:
"I was surprised to learn that a group of buzzards waiting around together to feast on leftover carnage is called a committee. Just this one insight is worth the price of the whole book. This explains so much of what's going on in churches--a lot of committees waiting around to live off human carnage." (pg. 136-137)

A Quote from Dan Kimball

Here is a thought from Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith in Santa Cruz, CA. His thoughts have always challenged me and I am sure would challenge you as well. He has just recently come out with a new book called "They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations." I have not read this book yet, but it is one of my next on my list of must reads. His thoughts can be found at his blog site:

"...are we in the Christian bubble and not taking the words of Jesus seriously where He specifically prayed we aren't removed from the world and the people (John 17:15-18). It seems we can slip into being salt and light to each other in our bubbles, but not to those living in our own communities all around us outside the church." -- Dan Kimball

What a great thought. We can get so immersed in our Christian communities that we don't even know ONE non-Christian. There are probably a ton of pastors in this country that do not have an ongoing relationship with anyone who is not a Christian, the very people we are called (and payed) to serve and witness to.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is It Christian??

Okay, the secret is out: my wife, Mandy, and I are huge American Idol fans. We watch it religiously (no pun intended; but now as I think about it, maybe we are religious about it-we sit on our butts once a week and never care enough to take time to affect the outcome of what we are watching-that about sounds like American Christianity). On Tuesday nights we are glued to the TV awaiting the drama.

This week the guest was Martina McBride, an incredible country artist and my wife's favorite singer. Now most people would not classify Martina as a "Christian" singer, but tonight she sang a song about her faith in God. This got me thinking about the classifications we place on inanimate objects such as music, art, writing, etc., and how we fail to realize that 'all truth is God's truth.' We would say that the songs that Martina sings about God are "Christian" and the songs about life aren't, but I don't think I agree with this.

Maybe the fact that she is singing makes the song spiritual because we worship a God of creativity who values the efforts of the artist in expressing their thoughts and feelings. Now by no means am I saying that all songs contain the same value, but maybe just that we need to rethink the camps that we force people into. Why does a band have to be a "Christian band" and can't simply be a "band made up of Christians?" Is there a difference? Are we right in this sort of classification? Let me know what you think. I'm up in the air about this too, as you can tell by the random thoughts throughout this entry.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Finally Did It...

I have been talking about getting a tattoo, the same tattoo, now for almost 6 years, and this past week finally went through with it. This was done after much prayer and thought for a long time and I am so pleased with the outcome.

The tattoo is a cross with a sun behind it that is on my right ankle. I sketched the cross based on a different tattoo I saw as a freshman in college. Coming out from the crossbar of the cross and going all the way around my ankle is the Greek for John 10:10, "...I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

I have wanted this tattoo for a while for both personal and evangelistic reasons. It is exciting to me to take this radical step of showing my faith, of taking up my cross. It has also been amazing to get so many questions about what the tattoo means. I love the conversations about Jesus I have been able to have with people I would never expect to be able to talk about my faith with.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Thoughts on Easter...

What has Easter become? How has Easter become more about eggs and bunnies than death and resurrection? What do your Easter rituals look like? Would they look any different than your non-Christian neighbor? Would anyone be able to tell that you were Christian by the things you do and the words you say?

Let’s not forget the real story of Easter. Easter is the confirmation that the Messiah has come, that we worship a risen Savior. Easter is a time for new beginnings. Easter is a time for radical life transformation. Rather than New Year’s Resolutions, we should be making Easter Resolutions, that because we serve a risen God, we want to completely change the way we live our lives.

Look at the life of Peter. Just two days ago he was denying that he even knew Jesus. Now, less than a week later, Jesus is tracking him down to offer him grace three times over (John 21).

Where are you in need of radical transformation? Where have you strayed from God this past year? We worship a risen King who called us to lives of faith, hope, and love. Let’s start acting like it.