In John 1:35-51, we find Jesus calling his very first disciples. When meeting one disciple in particular – Nathanael – Jesus makes a surprising and bold declaration. He says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Wow! What a statement. Jesus hasn’t even met Nathanael yet. But he knows him. He says that Nathanael is a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” kind of Continue reading
I don’t know if you have noticed (of course you have), but our country continues to be in a pretty serious economic recession. This financial crisis has affected every area of American society and culture. Over the past several months, I have talked with a number of families and individuals who are feeling the impact – retired couples who have lost more than half of their retirement nest egg, craftsmen who have nothing left to build, real estate agents who have no buyers or sellers, and small business owners who have gone belly up. There are a good number who are facing the reality of losing their home, losing their automobiles, and to be sure, some are even having a difficult time putting food on the table.
In the midst of these challenges, we approach Christmas – the season of buying and selling and giving gifts. I think it is safe to assume that this is not good news for most of us. In fact, instead of a time of celebration and cheer, the Christmas Season may feel like a swift kick to the head of a guy who is already down. If you identify with what I’m saying, allow me to offer a word of spiritual encouragement.
I’m feeling pretty pensive today. I thought it might be a good day to repost my poem – I Descend into the Beauty. This time, I have included effects and music in the recording. If I had to put a scripture reference underneath this poem it would be “Matthew 16:25 – For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” I am finding that spiritual maturity in the Christian life is gained through learning how to die – dying to selfishness, dying to anger, dying to idolatrous dreams, dying to sin – that we might gain Christ. In the poem, I am the yellow maple leaf, weak with fear, dying to the blows that life delivers. Until I finally release my grip, I cannot know the joy of Christ’s Song nor dance in his arms. How thankful I am that the Autumn Daystar reveals himself to me and pries my fingers away from my idolatrous life.
The music in the background is from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth – which by the way, is also about dying, overcoming fear, and selfless love. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel. But that’s another blog entry. Enjoy.
Click below to hear the poem.
Click “Read the rest of this entry” to read the lyrics to the poem.
.The Log and The Speck – Matthew 7:1-5
FYI – At one point during the sermon, I took a long 7ft. dowel rod and held it up to my eye. That’s what’s going on when you hear me interacting with people in the congregation.
Click “Read More” to see Power Point Slides
Somehow we seem to have lost touch with the fact that we’re dying. I don’t know how this happens. It is the one thing in life that is absolutely guaranteed: we will die. Yet, we tend to live as if our days will last forever. We make money, buy big houses, buy new cars, watch our big screen televisions and whisper to ourselves that death is long way off…that we should eat, drink, and be merry, and pretend that life will continue on forever. That we are able to trick ourselves like this – to blind ourselves to our impending demise – is one of our strangest capacities. For death is all around us. Our friends and loved ones pass away. The evening news is filled with the reality. And if we’re still and quiet, we can feel ourselves getting older…heading toward death. How is it that we are able hide our eyes from this?
In this podcast Justin and Tim draw comparison’s between the Gospel of Corporate Culture v. the Gospel of Jesus. Corporate Culture practices a gospel of exclusion that only allows those who are able to measure up to company standards. Meanwhile, the Gospel of Jesus calls precisely those who cannot possibly begin to measure up.