Friday, July 31, 2009

the effect of God's word

I generally notice a difference in myself when I'm meditating on God's word, and when I'm not. It's true that we're normally pondering something. I can easily get enmeshed and lost in my own thoughts, which sometimes go down a pathway that is not helpful or good.

As I take up a portion or passage in Scripture, I find over time as I ponder that grace begins to set in. God's love by the Spirit comes to the fore, and the old, doomed thoughts and attitudes are gone.

This is why I like to be in God's word all day as much as possible. God's word has a power all its own, and a wildness which can't be tamed, except by our systematic theologies, which can take the potency and power, yes what it really is as God's word, right out of it- and by themselves they do, as this excellent book which I'm rereading once again is reminding me.

How does God's word impact you? Or what would you like to share here?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

your kingdom come

I am never comfortable when I see Christians ardently devoted to America, or to any government of this world in which they are in allegiance to. Of course I have to remember I was raised Anabaptist, and in recent years have returned largely to those roots.

While C.S. Lewis defends a kind of nationalism to be embraced by Christians, I'm more on board with Dietrich Bonhoeffer who seemed to resound against such a nationalism, at least the kind he saw Christians accept and even embrace in Germany during the Nazi rule. Bonhoeffer's critique was based on Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount. Bonhoeffer's understanding of the application of those words was in large part the basis for his critique.

It's not just about Christian pacifism, or nonresistance. It's -more to the point- to what and to whom we belong. God is our King. And we in Jesus are part of the kingdom of God made known and spelled out in the good news/gospel of Jesus.

So it's an identity issue. And then the question comes just how much, or to what extent we can be identified with our various nations, as the new Israel scattered throughout the earth. That is not an easy question, and both individual Christians, as well as churches will vary on their answers, or practice, even within the peace churches.

I for one think Christians can participate in any area of government, unless, obviously, such participation is in violation of God's will. So this makes it hard for me to envision a Christian being Commander in Chief of the United States military, or president. Of course Christians will not agree exactly on where to draw the lines on this.

This view is not a popular one in the world, or among Christians, and I rather doubt it will ever be. It's not without its problems and perplexities. But neither is the alternative.

Any thoughts any would like to share here?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the Lord's help

It's always good to have a sense of the Lord's help. This has often happened to me before an unanticipated time when I would be asked to do something in the way of ministry, and just happened again for me.

It does leave one asking though why it is that often that sense of help beforehand is lacking. However at the end of many such times I can look back and sense that the Lord was present even if I did not know it then. Other times I just have to go on by faith, reminded often by my wife that God was indeed in it.

We don't always understand nor do we know exactly what is going on around us, though we can take by faith all that God has promised us in Jesus. We can be assured that God's good work will be completed in and even through us, as we endeavor to truly be both servants and friends of Jesus.

Simple, yet profound and powerful. Beyond us, but given to us in Jesus by the Spirit and in community for the world.

What might you like to share from your own life on this, or any thoughts?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

coming home

"There's no place like home." Maybe a trite saying, but there's truth in it. It's good to get away, and that's part of most people's summers. But there's no place we're at home at quite like home! :)

We as people are likened in Scripture to sheep. We easily lose our way and go astray. But Jesus is the good Shepherd who brings his sheep through the gate (which Jesus is likened to), finding that lost sheep and bringing it home, into safe pasture. And Jesus keeps his sheep in his care.

We as humans are really only at home when we find that home where God is in the center through Jesus by the Spirit- and as human beings living on earth.

Are we coming home? Are we more and more at home with Jesus, and is he by the Spirit more and more at home in our hearts by faith? Are we finding all of this in the midst of our daily existence, even in this world where there is no escape from trouble?

The beginning of this now in Jesus, in anticipation of our future home when heaven and earth become one, is here for us now. Are we learning to live in it?

What would you like to share here?

Monday, July 27, 2009

keeping our footing

One of Deb and my favorite pastimes together is to hike on trails in scenic areas. Even simply walking down our sidewalks is something we enjoy.

Scripture likens the Christian life to a walk. There are a numerous settings for this.

We learn early on that we can easily lose our footing, and stumble and fall. And that sometimes it's hard to get up and get going again.

It is interesting that the Christian life is likened to a walk; it's something we do. But it's done with our eyes on God's revelation given to us from Scripture and in Jesus, and with an ongoing, interactive dependence on God: Father, Son and Spirit.

It's also a walk with others in Jesus. We are not meant to do it alone, even though there are those lonely places. We need each other, part of God's design, and will continue to be true though in a different way, someday, when God is "all in all."

A walk.

How do you picture your life as a walk? What would you like to share here?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

quote of the week: Frederick Buechner on "God is love"

To say that God is love is either the last straw or the ultimate truth.
Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words, 231, quoted by Scot McKnight, 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, 134

prayer for the week: for keepng what is eternal

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
from Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, July 25, 2009

an attentive, sustained silence

I've blogged on silence before, something I need, and so often lack. It is normal for me to be occupied with something. Rarely really am I completely quiet.

But I'm realizing again I need to make times for such quiet. Such quiet times are always blessed in one way or another, but they seem so contrary to nature, at least to my nature. Even during "quiet times" I want to be speaking words to God, or to have words from God's word pouring over me. But sometimes we need one thing: a kind of attentive, sustained silence.

We endeavor to be quiet so we can hear God speak. So that we can listen. We develop a habit of disciplined silence. I must say I'm not there. And it most certainly is a personal discipline for me to keep silent. And if it's hard for me to do, then perhaps that's an indicator that I need to do it. An itch to be silent amidst the clutter and clatter of all the "noise" can be an indicator that one needs it.

I wonder if anyone might want to share how being quiet and remaining in silence has helped you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

a new start

Of course we don't want our car's gas tank to get on empty, but if it does, then we're stopped dead in our tracks. Sometimes in our lives we can find ourselves seeming to be on empty. Yes, we carry on, but something seems either wrong, or that we're lacking something.

Inadequate rest, or diet might be the problem. Or some needed change in one's life. I'm thinking in terms of getting back to basics, and this book is as good as any I know to help us do that.

I have to think that often the Apostle Paul felt this way. Paradoxically Christ's strength came to the fore in his life in the midst of his weaknesses. Paul was definitely not full of himself. It was a "not I, but Christ" kind of existence for Paul.

Whatever the reason may be, I just sense the need for a fresh and new start. But one not done on my own, but from God. This is what I will be endeavoring to do as I can during the next few days.

Any thoughts you'd like to share on this?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

meeting Lois Tverberg

Last evening, Deb and I had the privilege of meeting the author, Lois Tverberg, in a coffee place in Holland. It was fun, and it was nice to get to know Lois a little. She indeed has an infectious enthusiasm for learning from the gospels what it means to follow Jesus. A very human enthusiasm surely not unlike the people who knew Jesus personally when he lived here on earth, not just on some academic level.

Her framing of this in its Jewish context is quite helpful both in understanding it, and for our lives today. I plan to start an interactive weekly study, based on her latest book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, probably in September if not before. And it's good to know she's working on another book to be published by Zondervan, with more, hopefully, to come.

To read the book by her and Ann Spangler from cover to cover will likely clear up any questions one might have. I really appreciated hearing her perspective of the book. She was really the mind, in her scholarship behind it, while Ann was perhaps the writer, though Lois can most certainly write. But Ann was helping it connect with readers, not unlike a Sunday morning message from a pastor might connect to his or her church.

What I picked up the most from Lois was joy. Joy expressed in seeking to share and be a true follower of our Rabbi Jesus. Jesus is our Rabbi as we read and glean God's truth from him, from the gospels (Matthew through John).

To be a true follower of Jesus in this life is difficult on many fronts, not least of all the home front. We are "naturally" (but not really natural in what is intended in being truly human) turned in on ourselves, so that we see everything in relation to ourselves. Rather we need to learn to see God as the center, and we and all else in relationship to him. That involves conversion in and to Jesus, to be sure, and a lifelong process in seeking to be a true follower of Jesus.

So I highly recommend that you get and read the book! You won't be disappointed, I can assure you. And I look forward to our interactivity on it.

What might you like to add here?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

our part now in the new creation

God in Jesus brings in the new creation, and this new creation is a remaking of the old creation in its entirety. Of course humans are at the pinnacle of creation, made in God's image, and in the Incarnation, God becoming human in the unique person of Jesus.

We humans in Jesus are both recipients and agents of this new creation in the world. God uses us in living out and proclaiming Jesus and the kingdom, in the good news that is brought, that Jesus in his death and resurrection is declared to be Lord over all, to begin to impact all things now. All enemies will by and by be put under Jesus' feet, ending with the last enemy, death.

I often wonder how this is worked out, and certainly at the heart of it is the conversion of others to Jesus. But all the works we in Jesus do, are meant by the Spirit to have God's stamp on them, the stamp and act of new creation. A work of God, yet we are involved in that work.

Any thoughts here that might help us?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the dark night of the soul

There are times that for us are dry and barren, seemingly empty times. In the Christian tradition they have been called "the desert," "the wilderness", or "the dark night of the soul."

This is likely referring, not to God's chastening hand on someone due to some sin they have fallen into (as seen here). It is more referring to God's hand on a life in Jesus, for change.

Most change in the Christian life is gradual, like the growth of an oak tree. There are times, however, when God knows there needs to be some serious change. Not unlike the pruning Jesus refers to of all who as branches are in him, the true vine. And during those times there may indeed be growth spurts.

In our evangelical Christian tradition, it is indeed hard for us to understand and accept the notion of any "dark night of the soul." We tend to think all should be light, and blessed as in happy.

But if we are willing to really go on into the deepest depths with our Lord and Savior, Jesus, then we'll submit to God's dealing in our lives in ways we cannot understand. And we'll endeavor to be faithful by God's grace and with the wise support of others, through those times. Otherwise we will simply choose to bail out, and live as we did before. A life of knowing God by faith in Jesus, but one that does not mature into the Christ-likeness God has for us in this life.

What would you like to add to this?

Monday, July 20, 2009

trust me

Cherie's testimony, Pastor Jack's message, and Pastor Sharon's prayers were all powerful to me yesterday in speaking to me words I needed to hear: "Trust me." From the question, "Who/what do you trust?"

Faith in God through Jesus involves trust. We trust nothing less than our entire lives into God's hands. This means we seek to obey God in all things, which means seeking to live by the Spirit and thus fulfilling the requirements of God's law, of which love is at the heart.

We believe God is trustworthy, in our heads. But do we really believe it? Are we really ready to let go of whatever it is that puts us in control? That gives us what we think we must have, or want? Or instead, are we willing to give ourselves by faith, over completely to God? And begin to walk the new way in him. A way that is not easy, us living in the new creation yet both in the midst and as a part of the old. As well as a life of participation with Christ and his Body in sufferings and groans with the Spirit for the completion of the new creation.

Faith is based on God's revelation to us in Jesus, and particularly grounded in Jesus' death and resurrection for us and all things. But on this side we don't see all things made right and new, as of yet. And we see all around us much to the contrary.

But now in Jesus we are part of God's solution through the new creation, something which beginning now, and someday completed, will be impacted by God even through our lives now. So that our lives will indeed matter. As we learn to really trust God, and entrust ourselves to him.

What might you like to add to this, or any thoughts.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

quote of the week: N.T. Wright- an aside related to the "dark night of the soul"

...all the loose talk in some Christian circles about "my relationship with God" as the center of everything, which then of course becomes problematic when one encounters depression, or enters a "dark night of the soul"...
N.T. Wright, Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision, 149

prayer for the week: help for the helpless

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
from Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, July 18, 2009

when lost

When unsettled for any reason at all, what do we do? What we do is important, because becoming unsettled in some way can result in a downward spiral which can have some undesirable or even disastrous results.

Yes, what we do I say, not what we believe, though it is true that what we really have faith in should determine what we do.

Why do I say that? Because often we can't see our way out of the fog and darkness we're in. Yes, sometimes believers do get lost (as a recent Michael Card song tells us), and we can find ourselves groping with the sense that what we've relied on before seems to be gone. Maybe akin to Jesus on the cross crying out, "My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?"

For me it means I need to pray to God, beginning with the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. And then I get into God's word. Maybe a passage will come to mind, or a book to work through. And I always ask my wife, Deb to pray for me during such times.

Usually in time, and in time is important by the way, that takes care of it. But if not, I may want to get together with my pastor or a good friend to share my struggle. Usually for me in recent years that has involved Deb, and sometimes friends by email.

Again it's important that when unsettled for any reason we both act, and that what we do is turned toward God in faith. Through prayer, the word, the fellowship of believers- all through Jesus by the Spirit. God will help us through, as we endeavor to walk through those dark times with him.

What would you like to share on this?

Friday, July 17, 2009


Sometimes we are taken up with something that might be harmful, or more likely for many of us is just not all that profitable. And we find ourselves wanting to get out of it, but it has become a habit, and even way of life nearly, with us. How do we get out of it?

One important way is replacement. We need to replace the one activity with another. Of course that should involve prayer to know what we should do.

This matter can come up in many ways, big and small. Just the same we need to better understand from God what we should do, and what is not really good for us to do, knowing where to draw the lines. Otherwise quite subtly the matter can become a sin issue to us, and can involve sin.

Part of what got David in trouble when he should have been doing, I would think, what kings did.

Anyone have anything you'd like to add to this?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

taking in others

Some people are hard to take in, and it's almost like a step of faith, certainly one requiring a fresh enduement of grace from God, to do so. But God in Jesus seeks to bring all people into communion with him, and if with him then with each other, as well.

It's not something we can put on and just do. It is something that requires the work of God. Yet we at the same time must be endeavoring in that work, to do our part. It's a work that while of God, involves us. If we don't do our part, then this work of God can fail. Or maybe better put, simply not come to fruition through our lives.

I was glad to see something like this take place yesterday, and I certainly had to be a part of it, for it to happen.

Anyone with an added thought to this?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

God's help

Yesterday at work I received God's help in a much needed time. I found that it was incremental. First of all I had to get over my fears that my job might be in jeopardy, or more likely move toward that, because of an error -though understandable to some degree under the circumstances and soon caught- I made. Then I had to accept whatever might happen, and see God's good hand and will as involved in it, and in everything, so that I knew God would see me through. At the same time I took action, to do what I could. It was hard, but with the help of another brother we were able to get done what had to be done. I take that as God's strength and help given to me, in answer to prayer, certainly in the midst of great need.

I was reminded of this account in David's life. We do need to encourage ourselves in the Lord, finding our strength and help in him, during those most difficult times and trials.

What would you like to add to this?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I'm reading an interesting book on feelings, which has raised my eyebrows at times so far, but still leaves me intrigued. More to come on it!

While emotions are a powerful indicator of where we might be, our own perception and understanding of them is fallible. At the same time emotions are a part of our humanity, and no part of our humanity is to be despised. We are, after all, made in the image of God.

While I think feelings are important, I still insist that I don't live on them. Maybe the author will help me tweak or refine my thinking on this. I do live with emotions, and they do impact my life daily.

When I feel especially low or troubled, this for me is a good indicator that I need to pray. Of course we enjoy the times when we're genuinely happy.

I do think growing up in regard to our feelings has its place. And feelings come along in that maturity into Christ-likeness, as we begin to feel something of what God feels. That is what I want to feel. Something of the sharings in Christ's sufferings, something in the pull in the Father's heart for the prodigals, something of the groan of and in the Spirit for the redemption of all things.

What would you like to share on feelings?

Monday, July 13, 2009

the cross

Here is a good example of Paul’s ministry to the intellectual elite of his day. And note these words of Paul:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
Where are the wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
It’s the cross, which of course is shorthand for Jesus’ death and resurrection- God's work in Christ, to which we Christians go and from which we live, and on which is our hope for the world. Nothing more and nothing less.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

quote for the week: N.T. Wright on Paul's summary of the gospel

Paul has various ways of summarizing his "gospel." In Romans itself, he does it in 1:3-5, where it is the proclamation that Jesus, the Messiah, is the risen Lord of the world, summoning the whole world to believing allegiance. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 he does it in terms of the Messiah dying for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and being raised again also in accordance with the Scriptures. But the important point to note is that "the gospel" is a message primarily about Jesus, and about what the one true God has done and is doing through him.
N.T. Wright, Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision, 181.

prayer for the week: for understanding what to do

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and may also have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
from Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, July 11, 2009

we're all needed

In the new heaven and new earth, I read somewhere* that while we will see more fully, that sight will come in significant part through each other. We're all needed.

Of course this is according to the revelation and truth God makes available to us.

This begins now in the new creation in Jesus, something even rooted in the old creation. Yes, we need each other, true around the world now, true in the fellowship of believers now all around the world, and someday true in a marked sense in the love of God lived out in the new creation in Jesus in the new heaven and earth.

What thought might you like to share on this?

(*Actually from C.S. Lewis, though doesn't seem to be in a book of his I'm reading now. But if I can find it, I'll share the quote tomorrow.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

the essence of humility

Yesterday's post on proud Christians is not one of saying I am not proud and they are. How subtle pride can be! When we think we're not proud, that can be, and most normally, or readily is for us, nothing more than a proud thought. We are often blind to our own pride.

At the same time, Jesus not only epitomized humility, but he calls us as his followers to humilty. All indeed is a gift from God, and we all are in this together. God lets no one out of the mix, and loves to show his blessing through the most humble of his servants. When we think we have a leg up on others, we'd best beware. We're treading on dangerous ground.

As we look to Jesus, as recorded in the gospels, we find one who shows us the way a life of humility. It is one essentially of love. Love for God, love for others. A love which is by God's grace and in the Spirit. A love from which true humility flows. The love of God in Jesus by the Spirit.

What would you like to share on this?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

proud Christians

I am blessed to be part of a church and fellowship in which our differences don't matter. Our fellowship is in God through Jesus Christ by the Spirit. Our foundation is God himself. Our guide and what is central in our endeavors is God's word, and the desire to walk in the light it gives.

I am tired of Christians who regularly make it a point to point out where they differ with other Chrisians. Or how other Christians or churches fall short. Of course some of this is inevitable in that we do have differences we can discuss, and sometimes there are teachings, and practices that need to be confronted among professing Christians.

But I am thinking of Christians who regularly voice their differences with other Christians, looking down on them. We must resist this, while still willing to be held accountable by each other on the basis of God's word.

A proud Christian is an oxymoron. Not that nasty, ugly pride never flairs up in me, or that I don't have to battle it. But it is something to be abhorred.

Paul was regularly right, and his opponents wrong, but his only boast was in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will help us all in Jesus for that more and more to be our own testimony as well, as we follow on.

What thoughts would you like to share on this?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

when we lose heart

I have been struggling lately not to do more than just go through the motions of what I'm supposed to do, and really have to do, day after day. Of course there are notable exceptions, such as when Deb and I celebrated our granddaughter's first birthday, just recently.

When I lose heart, then I know I need to pray. Jesus taught his disciples that they should always pray, rather than lose heart, or give up. Sometimes that's all I feel I can do, simply pray. And keep praying.

In the ebb and flow of life, this does seem like a kind of low time for me. One that carries with it plenty of sadness and some numbness with it.

But such a time can be a special time to come before God in his word and in prayer. That is what I want to do.

What about you? How do you go through such times?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

it's not about us

Too often as God's people we fall into the same mistake as Israel of old. They turned all of God's promises in on themselves. It was all about God blessing them, when God was blessing them, according to the promise made to Abraham, in order that he might bless the world. They were actually to be a blessing to the world!

We are blessed by God in Christ, to be a blessing to others. It's not about us, or what we get out of it. Yes, we do receive salvation through Jesus Christ, but it's a salvation that is meant to save us from ourselves. For God, and for others.

That is surely where we find life, true and abundant life. And no where else! I have to keep being reminded of that, reminding myself. I forget easily, as I'm naturally attuned to looking out for myself, and seeing everything in terms of my own interests, rather than my Father's interests. And God's interests ends up being the true, lasting good for everyone.

What might you add here?

Monday, July 06, 2009

sin's problem

Isn't sin essentially self-centered, and idolatrous- at its core? Sin is turning all of God's gifts, and life in on one's self. It's all about me and what I want. Sounds idolatrous, doesn't it?

But God is in charge and God is the One to be worshiped and in Whose Love we are to live. And we are poor gods. Besides we can't order the world as God can. So sin ends up being self-destructive, at least God's image in us is further defaced.

If we refuse this Life God offers to us in Christ, a life that begins to turn us right side out, and ends up rescuing the world from its being upside down, beginning now in Jesus- then we simply end up not being a part of God's good kingdom that eventually is to take over the earth, setting all things right, and making all things new- in Jesus.

A helpful book on this is C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. The divorce is between heaven and hell, but really the book has more to do with this life than the life to come. Another "must read" from him: Mere Christianity.

Any thoughts on this you'd like to share?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

quote of the week: Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the prevailing unity of the Church

The spiritual unity of the Church is a primal synthesis willed by God. It is not a relationship that has to be established, but one that is already posited (iustitia passiva), and remains invisible. It is not made possible by concord, similarity or affinity between souls, nor should it be confused with unity of mood. Instead it is real just where seemingly the most intractable outward oppositions prevail, where each man leads his quite individual life, and it is perhaps absent where it seems to prevail most. It can shine more brightly in the conflict between wills than in concord.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Communion of Saints, 137 from Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart, 186.

prayer for the week: for grace to love God and our neighbor

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
from Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, July 04, 2009

America and God's kingdom

I am thankful for my country, America, because of the religious freedom that is ours, here. A book that has recently awakened me to a new thankfulness, is Os Guinness' excellent book, The Case for Civility. And The Williamsburg Charter he was involved in, is worth the read.

I tend to agree with N.T. Wright that America is a case of empire, and is most certainly a kingdom of this world. The kingdom of God in Jesus alone deserves our full allegiance. The "kingdoms" of this world are destined to fall in judgment before the kingdom of God in Jesus, to which we in Jesus belong now.

However as the salt and light in Jesus that we are, we must not withdraw, but seek to bring God's kingdom in Jesus everywhere and on everything. A good place to start is to be praying the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. And to pray as we are taught by Paul in God's word.

How do you see it?

Friday, July 03, 2009

a beautiful weekend

In my area weatherwise, we are enjoying a most beautiful weekend. When a post is late, that usually means I'm home, and away from my normal, workaday world.

This weekend here in the United States, we celebrate the birthday of our country. Tomorrow of course is July the 4th, which is the one date for all Americans- that is understood. Plenty of fireworks in store, along with parades and fun times.

For me, I like to read with my wife somewhere, probably over sodas or coffee, for my wife water or tea- outdoors, preferably under a nice shade tree and on or near a beach. That is relaxing to me. We can talk back and forth on what we're reading, and about life in general.

That for me is about as good a day as any I can think of.

(Of course Sundays in worship with others, are special.)

What is your ideal of a good day, one that you especially can enjoy?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

letting go

To help others at times, we simply need to let them go in the seeming, or obvious folly of their own way. For me this is hard, especially at first. But when one sees they are intractable, it is actually to their benefit if we let go, in love, and let them experience something of the consequences of their behavior, while we pray.

Sometimes when witnessing another's folly, whether they are simply a person we have close contact with for whatever reason, or if they're a close relative, we are drawn in ourselves to have attitudes toward them which are not Christ-like. I'm thinking of anger, contempt, frustration, attitudes which easily amount to descending to their level. Letting go can then be for our benefit, as well as theirs. We need time to pray for them especially, and seek to be present for them in a way that can be helpful and truly for their good. Love is not to be mushy, because true love wants God's best for the other.

What would you like to share on this?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

blogging and community

A good post on blogging. Definitely worth your read, and see the comments.

Blogging has me in a kind of quandary. I like it, and I dislike it (love and hate, too strong).

Real community is both what we all need in Jesus, and what the world needs to see from us. It's to be a community not turned in on itself, a missional community, like Jesus welcoming all the outsiders in. Allowing for the fact that conversion normally (and probably always, even if we can't see it) involves a process.

Back to blogging. I guess I'm in kind of a mini-identity crisis, and naturally that involves everything, including my blogging. I'm just not sure what I'm going to do, or how it matters. Having my own blog benefits me in thinking through some thoughts, sharing with others from what God is teaching me, and in having an outlet for writing. If there are any readers, and among them some commenters, that's a bonus. I am thankful for each of you. I do have at least a couple commitments, so I will fulfill them through this blog.

But I'm wondering if I haven't been too taken up with friendships online, to the neglect of friendships in my face to face, everyday world.

But go to the link, above. A most interesting read.