Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wrong direction?

Reading The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.  
Willard really challenges how we orientate our lives.

"Stand up for your rights" sounds so good.  How about "All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten?"  And "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty?"  And so forth.  Such saying contain a tiny element of truth.  But if you try to actually plan your life using them you are immediately in deep, deep trouble.  They will head you 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  You might as well model your life on Bart Simpson or Seinfeld.  But try instead "Stand up for your responsibilities  or "I don't know what I need to know and must now devote my full attention and strength to finding out" (consider Prov. 3:7 or 4:7) or "Practice routinely purposeful kindnesses and intelligent acts of beauty."  (page 9-10)  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flimsy walls

Ezekiel 13
The prophets are rebuked: "when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash".

What areas of my life am I "whitewashing"?

When do I minimize my sin?  Claiming that it is "not that big of deal" or "it is not really affecting anyone else" or "others are worse than me"...

When do I try and cover up for my brokenness?  Distract myself by pointing out the faults of others.  Work hard at maintaining my image.  Allow no one to come close and see what I am truly thinking or feeling.

Perhaps Jesus and I need to work on the foundations of my life a bit more.
Character development not just painting over flimsy walls.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trespasses or Debts

The Lord's prayer:

"forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who trespass against us"
"forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors"

Trespasses or debts.

To trespass means that we have violated the rights of another person.
The most common use of this term is to go on to someone's land without permission, to violate their private property.
To ask for forgiveness for our trespasses is to ask to be forgiven for the way that we have wronged others.  To forgive people for their trespasses is to forgive people for how they have violated our rights.
This is very important, extremely important.

To be in debt means that you owe someone something. 
We could be in debt to someone because we have been bad.  Throwing a brick through someone's window for example.
Of course we can also be in debt for a neutral reason.  I am in debt to the bank, not because I am bad but because they hold the mortgage to my house.
Or we can be in debt to someone because they are good.  When someone helps us we feel that we are in their debt.  Someone helps you move and you feel like you need to pay them back some how.  We become indebted to others because of their goodness.

"forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors"

Stop trying to pay God back for his goodness.  Just accept that he is good and he loves you.  
Bless and encourage people without expecting them to pay you back.  Just bless because you are filled with love.

** Interesting side note: I cannot find an English translation that has trespasses, they all say debts.  As far as I can tell trespasses comes for the book of common prayer put out by the Anglican Church.  I have no idea why it says trespass.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Does God speak?

Hearing God is sometimes difficult.
Why does God not speak more?
These are common feelings and questions.


In the book of Jeremiah (25:3-7, 35:14-15) God asks again and again
Why do people not listen to me?  
He speaks - persistently - but people do not listen.

The problem may not be that God is not speaking, it may be that I just do not want to really hear what he is saying.  

Friday, October 05, 2012


Being thankful changes how I approach the world.
I see more beauty
I have deeper sense of wonder and amazement
I am happier
I treat others with more respect
I pay attention to the details of my world
I am inspired by people
I guess being thankful helps me see God...

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, October 04, 2012


A topic we avoid, while at same time embrace.
We avoid because it is filled with pain.
We embrace because it has affected all of us.

On Sunday I preached on Matthew 19:1-12.  Jesus talks about divorce.
Here are a few things that I had in mind as I preached:
  1. Grace.  There is grace and forgiveness.  The story just before this one is a story of forgiveness.  A man who owns too much to pay back is forgiven.  He then is to forgive those around him.  We are forgiven by God based on the cross, this includes those who have been divorced.  All of us need to extend the same grace that we have received.  
  2. Hard hearts.  Jesus states that divorce (marriage breakdown) happens because of hard hearts.  Yes, there may be an innocent party in divorce (it takes two to make a marriage thrive).  But we need to realize that divorce is a result of sin.  Most of the time both individuals in a marriage breakdown have hard hearts.
  3. All of us have hard hearts.  
  4. Two shall become one.  The goal of marriage is greater than not getting divorced.  The purpose of marriage is to not suffer through life with some other person.  The goal is oneness.  To be one means that you stand together and face all of life together.  It is not about being roommates.  Divorce happens because we are not pursuing "oneness".  We do not want a spouse, we want cheerleader. 
  5. Change.  To be married means that we need to change.  Marriage changes everything.  Our hearts have to be open to allowing the other person to change us.
  6. Singleness.  Sometimes it is better to be single rather than being married.  Jesus holds up that a single life is blessed.  Married life is also blessed (in different ways).