Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
2. Contact your local crisis pregnancy center and invite a pregnant woman to live with your family.
3. Ask your pastor if someone on your church’s sick list would like a visit.
4. Join an open AA meeting and befriend someone there.
5. Adopt a child.
6. Mow your neighbor’s grass.
7. Volunteer to tutor a kid at your local elementary school. (Try to get to know the kid’s family.)
8. Grow your own tomatoes – and share them.
9. Ask a small group in your community to meet regularly for intercessory prayer.
10. Build a wheel chair ramp for someone who is homebound.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thus, I am incredibly excited about attending his conference on preaching this summer (July 5-7). The conference is called "Prophets, Poets, & Preachers," and the website calls it a "seminar for those serious about reclaiming the art of the sermon." I believe that preaching has a unique way of instilling hope and calling forth change, and I am passionate about learning to become a better communicator of the gospel. I heard one lecture on preaching from Rob a few years ago and it radically altered the way I thinking about sermon preparation, so I am eagerly anticipating the incredible insight Rob will have to offer during the 3-day conference. Click HERE for more information.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The kingdom of God...seeks a third way: not exclusiveness and rejection on the one hand, and not foolish, self-sabotaging inclusion on the other hand, but rather purposeful inclusion. In other words, the kingdom of God seeks to include all who want to participate in and contribute to its purpose, but it cannot include those who oppose its purpose.
No wonder this third way seems paradoxical: to be truly inclusive, the kingdom must exclude exclusive people; to be truly reconciling, the kingdom must not reconcile with those who refuse reconciliation; to achieve its purpose of gathering people, it must not gather those who scatter.
On the one hand, if you start expanding the borders and working for a God-centered inclusive and reconciling network of relationships, you will quickly find that there are plenty of people willing to insult you, imprison you, torture you, and kill you.
On the other hand, if you try to include those people who oppose your inclusive purpose, then your kingdom is divided against itself, and it will be ruined. So what do you do? If you're Jesus, you take whatever space you are given and let God's kingdom be made visible and real there.
McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, 167-169
I will be spending my break in Sioux Falls at one of my best friend's wedding (Nate). It will be so great to see my friends, do some rock climbing with David and Joel, eat some Buffalo Wild Wings, and finally have a chance to breathe deeply again. Nate's bachelor party involves the rental of a sky box for a Minnesota Twins game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis...so fun. It will be such a blessing to get away and relax for a week. But for now...3 more papers.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Yet, we resist danger and uncomfort at all costs. We avoid the chaos of the cross like the plague. Even in a country that generally embraces the Christian faith, we find ourselves terrified at the thought of taking the message of Jesus seriously. It asks all of us. It asks for control of our words and our actions and our time and our money. It demands we re-think everything, that we take up our cross and embrace death as a path toward life. That's daunting.
But what if we did it? What if we caught a glimpse of the fullness of life that comes when the Kingdom of God crashes into this world, into our everyday lives? What if we willingly sacrificed everything, trusting God's word that we'll receive far more in our submission than our resistence, self-preservation, and greed? What if we truly lived into the beautiful paradox that the last will be first and the first will be last, that the greatest in the Kingdom of God are the least? What if we finally took God at God's word, trusting it is good and beautiful and just, capable of thwarting evil and pain and injustice?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
U2 just came out with a new CD (No Line on the Horizon) a few weeks ago, and now have begun selling tickets to their upcoming tour. I was initially upset that they were not coming anywhere near Seattle, but have now announced a concert in Vancouver, BC as an addition to the schedule. They just opened ticket sales yesterday and are almost sold out already, but I managed to get one of the last tickets. So, on a Wednesday night this coming October, I will have the fantastic opportunity of seeing one of my favorite bands live, and beginning the process of marking off my bucket list.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
She went on to ask me if I was a Christian. I responded "yes" but wish I would have creatively 'played with' that question a bit more. In hindsight, I would have said something to the effect of "That depends on what you mean by 'Christian'." We went on to have a few minutes of great conversation around the concept of why we are each interested in questions of a divine nature, and I look forward to the possibility of future discussions, but I am still quite aware of my instantaneous desire to 'have all the answers' when in conversation with another, especially around the theme of faith.
I wonder what it might look like to enter into dialogue without any solid answers, humbly committed to learning from the other in the encounter? I wonder what it might look like to trust the 'good news' enough to let it speak for itself, rather than needing to forcefully impose it upon others? I wonder how a spirit of creativity, imagination, and playfullness might transform my relationship with God and others, as we wonder together about how the Kingdom of God is already here, at work in this world, and how our stories might come to congruently mesh with the story God is already telling?