Sunday, April 29, 2007

This means war! Are you a part of it or not?

Last night we watched Jesus Camp.

It was really uncomforable -- on so many levels. It made me so sad. If you have seen it you will know what I mean. It made me sad to see Ted Haggard talking about purity (In no means do I mean to trash him, it was sadness I felt, not condemnation). A short post today, mostly just quotes from the film (they make me sad to type them)

- If you don't open your mouth, the Holy Spirit can't talk.
- I don't need to tell you that we are in a war against culture. . . and we will win.
- Galileo made the right choice by giving up science for Christ.
- Whenever I meet a non-Christian, my soul feels yucky.
- We can't have phony sinners in the army of God.
- This means war! Are you a part of it or not?

The saddest thing about the movie is that maybe once or twice the Christians mentioned Jesus, instead repeatedly it said that Satan is after you, fight Satan, fight against the Godless, fight against the culture.

Now, I know the movie has an agenda, but if you have not seen it, you should -- especially if you are a follower of Jesus.

Virginia Tech Wound

I recieved this from my friend Lainie:

Our trip to Tech was very sobering... we felt such a
blanket as we turned off the highway and onto the
campus. Not of looming darkness, but of the severity
and sorrow of these senseless murders. My first
thought was, "This is the aftermath of a war zone." I
sensed it so strongly. I have never lived in a war zone,
but it must feel like this... beyond words...

The mood was as expected... still, like a blanket of
grief. It was moving to be on the very grounds of this
horror, see the memorial and walk right up to the
police barricade saying "Crime Scene... Do Not Pass."
There was overwhelming concern and intercession
that was so evident by the writings, flowers, candles,

And witnessing these expressions caused me to feel
so very proud of the immense care and solidarity we
as a "people" showed the Tech family. I sensed a true
oneness. We discretely poured a full bottle of olive oil
on the grounds there. We sat and cried and hung our
heads in disbelief. I believe we were truly "with" them,
and represented each of you and others who could not
be there in body.

Then we met up with four Tech students there and
had lunch in Owens dining hall. They seemed to want
to talk of light-hearted things. They talked of the
week a bit, but mostly wanted to keep the talk light.
We told them how much everyone loved them and how
helpless we all felt... wishing there was more we could

Daniel asked them what message could we bring back
to others not in the Tech family. They said that
prayers were the only thing they could use. Many of
the other "well-meaning" things people did and said
were really not useful to them.

We told them we could understand that, and that we
would pass on this message that they continue to
need prayer, desperately! It will be much later, after
the shock has worn off a bit, that many questions,
nightmares and struggles will begin. So please don't
let the time-lapse stop our prayers for them.

Families are just beginning to experience their loss.
One friend wrote me of a detail that deeply affected
her police friend at the Crime Scene. Please allow me
to share this "scene" so we can get another picture of
the terrible horror these loved ones have experienced
starting early Monday when they heard of the

"My hometown in VA is only 45 minutes from
Blacksburg. A high school friend of mine is on the VA
State Police. He was involved in photographing one of
the classroom crime scenes after the massacre. He
said it was horrible seeing those students, but the
worst part was that the entire time he was in that
room, all of their cell phones were ringing non-stop. It
broke his heart to know that they were calls from
loved ones desperate for them to answer. "

Those "unanswered calls" launched the horror that
began for these families. Please, let's keep these dear
people in our hearts and prayers this month and
weeks to come.

Monday, April 16, 2007

33 People Gunned Down

Today, a psycho gunned down more than thirty people at Virginia Tech University.

What to say? Nothing. Why does this type of thing happen? I heard President Bush pray that the families of those effected receive comfort "from a loving God." And I pray the same thing, because there is no hope of any sort of real comfort outside of God, because comfort in this situation is not natural.

But when I heard the quote, I thought how many people's first reaction will be, "loving God?" "How could a loving God allow this to happen in the first place." An age old question, a good question. And I think one that we in the western world who follow Jesus are less equipped to answer than others -- because of our comfortable Christianity. We live in a society where often the answer to the question, what does a Christian look like, is a person who drives a nice navy blue SUV with a fish on the back for each kid in the family, and goes to church.

What did a Christian look like in the early church? The bible tells us it looks like people who followed Jesus despite the fact that it meant their houses might be destroyed, their possessions taken, their livelihood jeopardized, and their life threatened or snuffed out. And so when tragedy happened, whether natural of man-made, it was the attitude of the Christians that made no sense. They were the first to care for the sick and jailed, filled with joy even as their stuff was being pillaged.

If the Church looked more like that today, if the church loved that way today -- even when the sky is falling, what different question might the people who the sky fell on ask?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Downtown Missional Communities

My buddy Rex and I drove down towards San Diego to meet a guy named Steve Denney. Steve is a church planter from Reno who moved to San Diego to gather communities of Jesus followers. His church is called CityWalk and it is currently three communities that meet in homes in Downtown San Diego.

As I listened to Steve's story, it had several points in common with others who I have seen God use to grow His church in areas where it does not really exist:

1. Humility
2. Holding form loosely
3. Developing relationship with no ulterior motives
4. A servant's attitude
5. A learner's attitude
6. Not outcome or time-frame driven

What has developed in these communities, like those of other friends who have done likewise, are gatherings of Jesus followers -- expressions of church -- comprised of people who to a large degree had previously never attended church.

In a day where most church growth is transfer growth resulting from people shopping for a "better fit," that is not only refreshing, but obedient to Jesus' charge to go and make disciples.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

God of Disorder

I got this great Jacques Ellul quote on the Church from Steve Addison's blog. He apparently got it from Alan Hirsch. Regardless it's origin, had to post it here, because its a great quote.

No doubt some will reply that God is not a God of disorder, incoherence, or arbitrariness, but a God of order. Of course he is.

Unfortunately the whole of the Old Testament shows us that God’s order is not that which we conceive and desire. God’s order is not organization and institution (cf. the difference between judges and kings). It is not the same in every time and place. It is not a matter of repetition and habit. On the contrary, it resides in the fact that it constantly posits something new, a new beginning. Our God is a God of beginnings. There is in him no redundancy or circularity.

Thus, if his church wants to be faithful to his revelation, it will be completely mobile, fluid, renascent, bubbling, creative, inventive, adventurous, and imaginative. It will never be perennial, and can never be organized or institutionalized. If the gates of death are not going to prevail against it, this is not because it is a good, solid, well organized fortress, but because it is alive; it is Life that is, as mobile, changing, and surprising as life. If it becomes a powerful fortified organization, it is because death has prevailed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He Was Dead - - - And Then He Wasn't

God came down to earth in the form of a man, and taught us with both his words and his deeds, taught us that he didn’t come to bring a religion, but a relationship. And the religious people didn’t want to hear that – they had their rules you know. The religious people had the power, they could control people’s actions and people’s money, but Jesus wasn’t so much interested in that, no he was not so much interested in their religious power structure and rules. Instead, he was interested in life, life to be filled to the fullest, overflowing, life that would be filled with joy even in hardship, life that was only found in following him, eternal life. And so they murdered him. They tortured him, they humiliated him and then they murdered him. And there he lay, dead; for 3 full days. A dead body, decaying;

Jesus was dead.

And then he wasn’t.

He was dead, and then he wasn’t.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Amazing Grace

The kids are on Easter break this week, so we had a family movie day -- and a trip to In-N-Out Burgers -- mmmmmmmmm.

Kelly and I choose the movie -- Amazing Grace. While it didn't have the pace of 300 (or 12.5 for that matter) it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that was visually pleasing and thought provoking. Some thoughts:

1. How often the right thing is considered out of the question because of the financial consequences.

2. How something as despicable as owning other human beings and the indiscriminate de-dehumanization and death inherit therein (and other heinous things) can become so ingrained in the culture that the opposition to the practice is the voice that is "unreasonable."

3. How the human heart is evil to the core, and each one of us has a blindness to the own evil within us.

The two best lines in the movie:

1. Equiano, the former slave shows the large brand on his chest and says, "They do this to let you know you no longer belong to God, but to a man."

2. The aged and now blind John Newton broken and repentant over the 20,0000 "ghosts" of slaves that haunt him says, "I know two things: one that I am a great sinner and two that Christ is a great Saviour."

Ain't that the truth!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An Interesting Switchfoot Night

In December, never figuring that I'd be on dialysis, I ordered 6 tickets to one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot. The concert was last night at SOMA -- a club in San Diego. The date of the concert coincided or maybe I should say collided with my dialysis schedule. So, I arranged early dialysis so I could come home and take a two hour nap before we left.

Wow, did I underestimate the draining effect that this stuff has on me. Despite the two hour nap, the concert (standing room only and ending at 11:30pm) was one of the hardest things I ever did. It was a great concert, but the pain and fatigue was almost impossible to take. Yet as I listened and watched from a great position, my weakness led me to repeated thanksgivings to God for his goodness. I was weak, almost passed out twice, but was there with the love of my life and best friend Kelly who kept me going -- and making what would have been a miserable night watching my favorite band, a good night. Ok, if you are interested, here is is the Switchfoot SOMA playlist from last night:

1. Stars
2. Oh Gravity!
3. Gone
4. We Are One Tonight
5. Chem 6A
6. This is Your Life
7. lonely Nation
8. Daisy
9. Learning To Breath
10. Ammunition
11. American Dream
12. 4:12
13. Sorrow (Bad Religion Cover)
14. A Song Made Up For San Diego
15. On Fire
16. Faust, Midas, and Myself
17. Dirty Second Hands
18. The Shadow Proves The Sunshine
19. Awakening
20. Meant To Live

And Two Encores:

1. Only Hope
2. Dare You To Move