Saturday, December 31, 2011

Changing the World With Your Backyard



     I thought this video was incredibly motivating.  I personally think it is high time we take the control we have given back from monstrous corporations who obviously have no concern for our health or  our lives! What do you think?  What do you think God would want us to do?  How could this movement relate to the missional movement in the American church? Post up my friends!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finding God in Skyrim

  I hope those who are reading this article had a wonderful Christmas with their family and loved ones. I had an extraordinary holiday with my family this year and to my surprise I received an undeserved but extremely entertaining gift this Christmas ...Skyrim for the PS3

Yes, I know I am a dork but please don't hate...appreciate!!!

   The reader who does not know what Skyrim is should be grateful that they still maintain some hope for a social life.  However,  readers who are a fan of Skyrim should know that it is probably too late for them to be rescued. However these readers should be comforted in knowing that I am with them in being a proud and noble member of the Order of Nerds.

     Before playing Skyrim I too was utterly perplexed as to how a video game could attract so many people to spend countless  hours motionless and hypnotized on a couch. I continued to be baffled until I played Skyrim for the first time four weeks ago. Since then I can clearly grasp why this game has created such a gigantic following.

      The world of Skyrim is massive and your options are virtually limitless. This game is formatted to give the player absolute independence as he/she forges their destiny as the "dragonborn"(a predestined dragon slayer  who protects the citizens of Skyrim).  Although this game possesses many attractive features, I believe the gift of total freedom is what's causing such an explosive following for this video game.

     The player can choose to be a savior or a villain at any point in the storyline.  The choice to steal or to unjustly slaughter an entire village is only a button away, but how is my experience with Skyrim spiritually significant for myself or my readers?

      The spiritual significance of Skyrim came when I reflected upon the choices I made once I reached a certain point in the game's story. The dragonborn (your players character) slays a dragon and is rewarded diplomatic immunity by a king. I being the enlightened peacemaker I am, decided to take this honored position seriously and proceeded to lay waste to the city. This act of destruction involved the onslaught of annoying citizens as well as committing multiple accounts of theft that would typically manifest a hefty sentence or bounty. However, since my character was immunized to such punishments I avoided imprisonment by simply mentioning my political status in the city.

     My decisions although humorous, reflected something dark buried within my soul.  I know that my choices while playing Skyrim were merely for personal amusement, but I have to ask myself what part of my personality was amused?

     I took this question deeper by subjecting it to my own reality. I began to wonder how my past might have been different If my actions had no consequence? The state of my depravity was evident as I realized that the hypothetical scenarios that emerged in my mind were quite disturbing. I then began to question why I constantly use my liberation from sins power as an excuse to act on my sinful nature.  Was Jesus trying to give instruction about this dilemma in the book of Matthew?

     In Matthew Jesus clearly teaches that anger is the equivalent to murder and lust is parallel to adultery.  At first this seems like a major leap in logic, but in the context of our decision making process this philosophy is perfectly sensible.  Every offense we conjure was initially conceived as a thought or desire.  I personally have never heard of an affair that didn't begin in someones mind or progress from an emotional state. Also I have never witnessed an act of violence that was not fueled by some sort of trauma or frustration.

    In Matthew 23 Jesus addresses our lack of internal focus again by telling the pharisees that if they would clean the inside of their cup then the outside of the cup would be clean also.

    This scripture speaks to me on multiple levels.  In truth I have done things as a Christian that I had previously thought impossible or beneath my level of "spiritual maturity".   Was it because I was not a true believer? On the contrary,  I was absolutely a believer, but I did not guard my heart,  thoughts, desires, and emotions as scripture instructs me too daily?  Meaning, I didn't wake up one morning and decide to offend anyone but over a period of time I had allowed my thoughts and ambitions to go unchecked and considered them harmless as long as they remained internal. In other words the contents of my cup were disgusting, but I considered them acceptable since no other person could observe my thoughts or my heart.

     I believe this is a reason why our community sees little difference in the behavior of "Christians" in comparison to the rest of society. We ignore and eventually act upon our desires/emotions as easily as the rest of our culture. Sure we might use more acceptable language during our conversations or practice a more subtle approach to our actions, but at our core we are just as selfish, corrupt, and cruel as any criminal or offender.

   Transforming this disturbing reality in The Church will take more than putting more butts in chairs on Sunday mornings (which seems to be our typical answer). It will take God's  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long suffering, faith and self control deepening its root in our minds and passions. This is the only solution that will ultimately bare fruit in our decisions that we make every day.

     This evolution has to begin in the heart of every believer. What inevitably flows from our personal spiritual development will assist in conquering our sin and act as a beacon of hope to those we encounter in our day to day routine.


    P.S. Skyrim is AWESOME!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Would Jesus Occupy? My Thoughts This Season.


Stephen Colbert captures my thoughts entirely. This video is from 2010 but it is still powerful. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Did the Broncos Get Tebowed by the Patriots? Does God Care?

     It is no debate that God loves the Broncos, because God loves everyone who plays in the NFL (even when they lose to the Patriots and the Bills).  There is no question that God loves Tim Tebow, because God loves the world. However, in recent conversation concerning Tim Tebow the realm between frustration and education is becoming incredibly difficult for me to seperate. This is not a personal vendetta against Tim Tebow. Truthfully I respect Tim Tebow's character especially when his values are maintained in a career that is virtually devoid of moral integrity. So you should know this post has absolutely nothing to do with Tim personally but rather what some of his fans and many pastors are forging by Tebow's legacy and integrating into God's story.

       I for one have a serious problem when a Pastor teaches that God is blessing The Broncos because Tim Tebow practices the formula (A+B= God annointing your career and/or bank account). This understanding of scripture concerns me because there is a gigantic flaw in this equation. This theological error has always lead me to the following question. What about the followers of Christ who include this exact theorem daily and have a negative outcome? These disciples of Jesus may be in poverty, ridicule, or even imminent danger. I mean does God really care more about the NFL than genocide? 

      It is a sign of our country's spiritual depravity when God's divine will is subject to the confines of success. God cares about professional athletes and their fans but his heart beats for the outcast and the poor in our community. God is comforting those who are suffering persecution in the middle east, and God cares about the starving children in South America. He longs for justice and mercy around the globe and He weeps with the broken and diseased in our society. This post was simply intended to communicate one point in our understanding of God's will. I believe God is angered that we are more concerned with professional football than being an answer to a fallen world and He is devastated that we falsely assimilate His desire and presence into our indifference.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Methodology

I believe methodology is something The Church is struggling with. We are afraid to do anything unique, even when originality is urgently needed. Now I am not stating the misconception of being“relevant with culture”. American Culture has a sickness that can only be fixed by instilling a new belief system into communities that transcends our current population’s lifestyles. What I am saying is that we should be relevant to our communities needs.

Methods (style of music, dress code, age demographic, meeting times, small group curriculum, and community services) can and should adapt differently. Unfortunately these methods differ for every city. So we have to stop depending on books, conferences, and larger churches to create our techniques for us. We have to find God’s systems for our church individually. God cultivates as an artist not as mass replicator. So in other words God has a unique God sized purpose for your ministry and it simply has to be discovered.

As your reading this you are probably waiting for a solution. The fact is I do not possess a blueprint for success... God does. Finding your answers is found in prayer and intentional observations. For example there is a GREAT ministry for single moms in my city. You see, there is a high percentage of single moms in my county, and in order to minister to them a local church designed a free oil change program every 4 months. At this event there is free food, games, and an onsite mechanic that inspects every vehicle for potential mechanical problems. It is a legitimate need, it is simple, it’s effective and this service day is making a lasting impact on my city. This concept of being organic and missional is emerging within cities across America (Bar ministries, homeless ministries, and motorcycle clubs) with unprecidented success.  The key is not copying but rather cultivating. The methods are only the means and like my friend Steve said to me once "It's about The Master...not the method."

Now it’s your turn. There is already an answer… knock…seek…ask.