Wednesday, September 28, 2005

La Nueva Orleans

If you haven't read this read it... Link

This makes me Mad and Sick

Where does acountability for the media come from? - Us the people? This is a story from troubled LATimes... "Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong...." Cont.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Holy Baby

“but what we must recognize is at the heart of our inner being, Christ lives, and we are complete in Him, holy, and acceptable to God.”

The Holy Baby by Ron Block We’ve heard it hundreds of times - the Bible story of the Redeemer’s birth. The Baby in a manger, Silent Night, the angels and the shepherds, the wise men following the star. As a boy I grew up knowing Jesus came to save me from the consequences due my sins, that He came to shed His blood for me so that I could go to heaven. I didn’t learn until 30 that that was only half the reason. In the Messiah’s birth, God struck a tent of human flesh and entered our human situation. He set aside his omnipotence and took on the feebleness of an infant; He laid down his omniscience and accepted the absorbent, blank consciousness of a baby; He gave up his omnipresence and localized himself in a human body. Why? Adam and Eve had taken the wrong road, the way of self-effort, the path of false independence from God; Eve, rather than believing God, believed the lie of the Serpent that the human itself could be like God, knowing good and evil, and not die; the implication was that she could choose good and gain eternal life apart from God. Instead of eating of the tree of Life, which is Christ, they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and so became infected with “..the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” (Eph 2:2). This spirit of independence, of self-effort, self-actualization and self-improvement, is at the heart of the world system; performance-based acceptance is the fuel the Matrix runs on. Every world religion is steeped in it, and even much of Christendom is tainted by what Jesus called “the leaven of the Pharisees.” But there’s a major problem with human effort - it doesn’t work. The end result of it is either self-condemnation or self-righteousness, both springing from the same source - false independence from God. The entire history of humanity is one of fallen dreams, dashed hopes, unreachable utopias. We’re not meant to run on our own effort, our own vision, our own ways and means of coping, because really there is no such thing as human independence from God. “He that is not with Me is against Me.” This is an either-or situation. We are either in union with Christ through dying with Him on the Cross, or we are still powered by the mindset of the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” Self-effort or inner reliance on Christ are the only two options available to us. Jesus said, “Only God is good.” The perfect Man said of His humanity, “I can do nothing of Myself,” and “The Father in Me does the works.” He claimed that the only source of righteousness in the entire universe was God Himself, that at the heart of His humanity was the God who had created humans to be expressions of Himself. God in the flesh He was, and is - yet He set aside everything to become a human being indwelt, directed, and empowered only by the Spirit. “I do as I see My Father doing.” Though He was God, He lived as an ordinary man who had to trust the indwelling Spirit. The holy Baby was born to become what we are meant to be - a vessel, a cup, indwelt by the Wine of Spirit. He “learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” As our representative He came to take our place in life, and having done that He traded places with us in death as if He were the sinner. The angel told Joseph in Mt 1:21 “ shall call His name JESUS; for He shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus came to save us from being a sin people - not merely saving us from the consequences due our sins, but from being the kind of people who commit them. I came to the point in my Christian life where I realized I didn’t want God’s forgiveness anymore if He didn’t change my behavior; the hamster wheel of self-effort, of try-sin-repent-try-sin-repent ad nauseum had done its holy work. I was utterly spun out on self-effort, and came to the place in my consciousness where I began to agree with God, in spite of appearances, that I was ‘dead with Christ’ and ‘raised with Him to walk in newness of life’; it was at that point I began to see real life change. The old “I”, the old union with the prince of the power of the air, had long ago died in Christ, and the new union with Him became operational the moment I put my faith in Him. It took years for me to see that fact, and I’m just now beginning to appropriate it. The Baby of Bethlehem was born so I could become right with God - and not only right with Him, but indwelt, directed, and empowered by Him. That infinite inheritance is available in the here and now - Christ is now our peace, our patience, our holiness, our love, our life. He is our all in all. But in order to access that inheritance, we have to let go of the mindset of self-effort, of self-improvement, of self-actualization. I don’t at all mean our actions shouldn’t be good actions - but what we must recognize is at the heart of our inner being, Christ lives, and we are complete in Him, holy, and acceptable to God. We don't start at the bottom of the mountain of holiness and start the climb; God has put us at the top in Christ. All that remains is to rely on the indwelling Overcomer. That is why Paul could say both, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” and “I press forward to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” “When I am weak, then I am strong,’” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We are to trust violently in the indwelling Spirit, always reaching to trust more fully. We “cease from our own works” but “labor to enter His rest.” We move over from self-effort to putting our concentration on inner reliance, from trying to be good to living from His indwelling righteousness. He was born in a common stable filled with the dirt, manure, and junk of animality. God is still striking tents in the dirt and grit of human flesh; He is still entering the messy human situation. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, but through Him by grace we become His brothers and sisters; the Spirit of Jesus Christ washes, enters, indwells, directs, and empowers His people. Eze 36:27 says, “...I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” That’s why the holy Baby was born.

Andrew Peterson

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Keep alert and pray

"Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak! -Jesus Christ of Nazareth "Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don't enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don't be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire." -Jesus Christ of Nazareth Matthew 26:41 New Living Translation (NLT) Mark 14:38 The Message (MSG)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Two different views on what justice is.

They're trying to set up the notion that this guy (John Roberts) is too slick. So Turban, [Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)], says, "I said at the outset that I thought one of the real measures as to whether or not you should be on a court goes back to a point Senator Simon had made: 'Would you restrict freedom in America or would you expand it?'" Now, you people on the left -- well, everybody -- I want you to listen to this question; I want you to listen to this answer, because this is the best education on what the role of a judge and the court is that you will ever hear, outside of from me, because here's Durbin saying, "Would you restrict freedom in America or would you expand it? When you are defending gays and lesbians who are being restricted in their rights by the Colorado amendment, you were trying from my point of view to expand freedom. That to me is a positive thing. That's my personal philosophy and point of view. But then, when you say if the state would have walked in the door first to restrict freedoms, I would have taken them as a client, too, I wonder, where are you? Beyond loyalty to the process of law, how do you view this law when it comes to expanding our personal freedom? It is important enough for you to say in some instances, 'I won't use my skills as a lawyer because I don't believe that that's a cause consistent with my values and beliefs.' That's what I'm asking." So he's asking, "Will you punt? Will you punt on your view of the law and stand up for the downtrodden and the minorities in this country who don't have a chance because the way this country is put together? Will you put aside what you think the law says, and give those people a break?" And here's the answer.

ROBERTS: I had someone ask me in this process, I don't remember who it was, but somebody asked me, you know, "Are you going to be on the side of the little guy," and you obviously want to give an immediate answer, but as you reflect on it, if the Constitution says that the little guy should win, the little guy is going to win in court before me. But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well, then the big guy is going to win because my obligation is to the Constitution. That's the oath. The oath that a judge takes is not that I'll look out for particular interests; I'll be on the side of particular interests. The oath is to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that's what I would do.

This is an excerpt from Rush Transcript: Judge John G. Roberts Jr. hearing, Day Four Friday, September 16, 2005

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and "What more?"

A Call to Repentance
About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem. "Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than other people from Galilee?" he asked. "Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will also perish unless you turn from your evil ways and turn to God. And what about the eighteen men who died when the Tower of Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will also perish." Luke 13:1-5

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lifestyle Liturgy

By: Alan Creech Relevant Magazine .... We are asking base questions like "How do we most effectively cultivate the transformation of people into the image of Christ?" We are coming to see discipleship as less of an individual "me and Jesus" deal, and more as something that happens in the context of community—a community of those traveling this common journey together, for a long time. [...]

A New Kind of Hipster

By: Brett McCracken Relevant Magazine ... Throughout history the movements and revivals of the Church have been rooted in theology. Now it seems we’ve become more concerned with image. What does a Christian look like to the outside world? How can we be more palatable to the hedonist seeker? We’ve jazzed up our worship repertoire, modernized our wardrobe and opened our arms to the masses. All good, except for the fact that we’ve thrown theology to the wind. Many hipsters have veered to the liturgical side of things in recent years, avoiding the warehouse-worship style of exploding nondenominational congregations. One would think such a change would require deep thinking about theology and Christian identity, but I fear a majority of newly liturgical hipsters are so because it—dare I say—is the cool new thing, or at least less corny than the alternative. How tradition, liturgy and hymns have become a fad baffles me, but I think the Christian hipster is partly to blame. ... OK, so I concede this: Evangelical culture needed to be rebelled against, and the result is at least a step in the right direction. But our generation must be careful to remember that we were never called to be a cool subset of the larger culture. We are to be a[....]

Even dogs are permitted to eat crumbs that fall beneath their master's table

Jesus then left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter has a demon in her, and it is severely tormenting her."

But Jesus gave her no reply--not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. "Tell her to leave," they said. "She is bothering us with all her begging."

Then he said to the woman, "I was sent only to help the people of Israel--God's lost sheep--not the Gentiles."

But she came and worshiped him and pleaded again, "Lord, help me!"

"It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs," he said.

"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even dogs are permitted to eat crumbs that fall beneath their master's table."

"Woman," Jesus said to her, "your faith is great. Your request is granted." And her daughter was instantly healed. [...]

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Confessions Of A Sinner

Saint Augustine Can any praise be worthy of the Lord's majesty? How magnificent his strength! How inscrutable his wisdom! Man is one of your creatures. Lord, and his instinct is to praise you. He bears about him the mark of death, the sign of his own sin, to remind him that you thwart the proud. But still, since he is a part of your creation, he wishes to praise you. The thought of you stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you. ... Those who look for the Lord will cry out in praise of him, because all who look for him shall find him, and when they find him they will praise him. I shall look for you, Lord, by praying to you and as I pray I shall believe in you, because we have had preachers to tell us about you. It is my faith that calls to you. Lord, the faith which you gave me and made to live in me through the merits of your Son, who became man, and through the ministry of your preacher. .... Read this book