Thursday, August 29, 2013


Everyone wants to be cool. Okay, maybe not everyone. But, to look at TV commercials and Facebook posts, “I am the coolest,” “I dress the coolest,” “My child is the coolest,” and “My crowd is the coolest. Even, “My church is the coolest.” Cool rules.

Paul spoke of fruit rather than coolness. He said that you know God is afoot in a person’s life when you see these things. 

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

Further, the following are signs that we have turned our backs on God and a change is in order.

Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these

I hope you are cool and have cool surroundings. But I hope more that we live a life with God in such a way that we can be excited enough to post that we have demonstrated (as have our friends, family, & church) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 
                                                                                          Galatians 5:19-22 (NRSV)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Last night, MTV hosted the Video Awards. I admit, I did not watch them. This morning, social media was abuzz about Miley Cyrus’ performance. I Googled it. (You can, too.) It was vulgar. That did not surprise me. I did see a number of people, including young women, eating it up. Yes, all speech is free but not all is wholesome.

I am no prude. I, in fact, like “sexy.”  God made sexy. I see sexy as engaging the brain as much as the body. What I saw was the actions of an immature person desperately seeking attention, no matter what the cost. I wondered how many parents had their kids there in front of the TV soaking this in.

Here’s the deal. A Christian needs to find some line where she or he will not cross because of the relationship she or he has with Christ. And Christians need to move from the showy but crude life of an immature follower (I am right, you are wrong/I have all the answers/one political party is on God’s side) to something better. Seeking wholesome speech and actions should be our vocation. What we wear, view and say should be aimed at building up others and helping others not to fall.

How are your speech, your actions, and what occupies your attention today? Where is your line?
I pray for Miley and those who are influenced by her. I pray for maturity.

The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 (NRSV)

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 1 Peter 22 (NTL)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:9 (NRSV)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It's All About Me

Recently, scholars have strived to put together a Bible for the 21 st century. In the spirit of wikileaks, we have obtained some of the scripture and will be releasing it to the public. This translation, entitled the ME (for Modern Edition) Edition , strives to blend modern scholarship with the best self-referencing material available to create a less fussy Bible that is less prone to upset the modern reader.
Old Psalm 128:1
Happy are they all who fear the LORD, and who follow in his ways!

New ME Edition Psalm 128:1
Happy are they all who have warm feelings towards the LORD, and who tell others to follow in his ways!

Old Proverbs 14:23
Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor.

New ME Edition Proverbs 14:23
Hard work is, well, hard; but empty talk is, like, fun.

Yes, this is tongue-in-cheek. But is it far from the truth? We embrace the thought of being Christian but Christ calls us to be faith, too follow him.
Ask yourself...
"Do I think enough of scripture to actually read it?"
"Do I modify my actions to coincide more with Christ?"
"Do I cherry-pick the scriptures I like and jettison the rest?"
As Christians, our motto should be, "Aim high, be forgiven when short."
What can you do differently today to bring yourself more in line with your Lord and Savior?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Get over it

Get over it. Sunday is gone. No, there is not a weekday missing. But Sunday is fair game and the church's monopoly is over. It was a good (mostly) run. Truth is, we may have gotten stale. Sundays were to be used to form radical., creative, fearless people who loved no matter what the cost. We may have turned Sunday into a shadow of itself. We were to leave worship with so much life that it spilled over on everyone and we didn't miss a drop. Sometimes, all I can do is drop. 

Today, the coach wants Sunday. Special events want Sunday. The overworked parent who does not see the kids wants Sunday.  The single who wants to explore leisure wants Sunday. Volunteers use Sunday. Business demands Sunday. 

The Church shines best when she leads the way and is most forgettable when whining. Let's lead. Let's create a "no whine" zone (btw, tawny port is okay.) Let's turn Sunday lose and see where it goes. 

What new forms and times and venues is God drawing us to for worship and rest? There will always be a place for Sunday communal worship. But I suspect there's more.  

How are you going to truly worship without excuses? Together, we can discern what's next and actually DO IT.

Either God's calling or I ate too many jalapeƱos. I am betting it's God. I'm betting on us as well.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I can live with that

I don't find the Bible easy to understand nor prayer always clear.  Faith is challenging that way. I don't believe anyone who has it all figured out. Honestly, they scare me. 

The best I can do is to look to Jesus. Jesus is my gateway to God. He is what God smells like. I can't help but notice that he does embrace all of scripture but does not dwell on or get upset by all the carnage. He doesn't seem to channel the fussiness yet claims not to alter or omit a letter of the Law. Jesus does not dwell on "underwear (sex) issues" but does have a keen eye for hypocrisy. Jesus owns the past without condoning it all. He loves. He forgives. He leads by serving. He dies to live.

My faith challenges me but Jesus helps me not to get caught up in dead ends and minutiae. He frees me to get it wrong rather than waiting till I have it all right. He asks me to bend but will crush me.  

I can live with that.