Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why does this disturb me?

I understand what this artist is doing, and I think in a way it is pretty cool... yet there is something just weird about these pictures.

I do believe Jesus is with us at all times. I know I have sensed His presence at times as if he literally was standing over my shoulder as I studied scripture.

Maybe it is the drawing of Jesus and that he looks like one of my "grunge friends" of the the 1990's.
Maybe this confronts a side of me that does not desire that much intimacy with Jesus. Maybe I think Jesus has more important things to do than help one with their golf swing....

I found this through ship of if one was wondering. Which brings me to something else.

I have gone to that site numerous times and have yet to be able to get on. I seem to download forever and that is as far as it gets. Has anyone tried ship of fools?


Friday, October 21, 2005

Life is Whacked!

It seems like i get these jobs that seem, well whacked!

This is a bit of a story here so hang a bit with me. I may even ramble a bit as i am trying to connect this with something that makes some sense.

I applied for a job with a local cell phone company, and it looked like I had the job. I mean they said I was starting it on Wednesday... this was Monday, so i had to quit my job delivering cars for the car dealership, which I did on Tuesday.

Are you with me so far?

Wednesday came and about 4:50 I called and left a message saying, "I quit my job yesterday... you said I was starting on Wednesday, so.... could you get back to me about when i am starting?"

You see in the course of doing interviews I could not deliver vehicles... so any money for about 3 weeks... and it was slow again in getting calls.

Backing up a bit, my wife came home on Tuesday, saying that there was a position open at the local paper... (Billings Gazette) and they were interested in my applying, which i did.I did an interview, and boy was it bad. I had a bit of a cold and was taking some nighttime cold medicine so my head was groggy. It was the worst interview i think I ever did. I had done 3 great interviews, which one was with the president of the company... which from what I was told did not happen that often... I was to be impressed.

I went dragging my tail back to the car dealer and begged for my job back....The GM said no problem, but he had to talk to one of the owners... which when she came in I asked and got, "I DON"T KNOW!" (I hate the little games they play) I went back to the GM and he said he would talk to her and call me to let me, know if i got the job back. I thought they would let me come back, but only after they punished me a bit. They are that petty.

The end of Friday I was pretty beat then I get this call. "Hey man, how're you doing? We decided to not hire you, as I don't think I could get you the hours you need. Also, you mentioned benefits and without the hours you won't get those, so bla, bla,bla,bla,bla,bla,bla... you are on the top of the list when something opens up."
Then the Gazette called again."We would like to do another interview with you on Monday."Now, I have yet to hear from the dealership, and really I need to move on from them, as I feel so often compromised ethically as I work there. I decide to go to the Gazette interview.

Monday I get the new job.

I am in charge of all the single copy delivery. Meaning, those paper vending machines, I work on those and manage the night delivery drivers to get the machines filled.

God has a sense of humor, often I don’t laugh at His playing. I will say as I was attending at my first meeting, I had this feeling my phone would ring… so I did the courteous thing and set it to vibrate. And sure enough it rang, a salesman needed a driver. I called him later and said I am no longer working there as no one bothered to call me to tell me I had my job back.

I was called 3 more time since then… I think they may understand I am seriously gone.

I know they would call me when they needed me. As now two drivers are on vacation, which leaves them with 3 on call. They are very short handed.

As I reflect, and again this is a bit lengthy and rambling so I apologize. I see many things. The most obvious is this.
I left a lifestyle I did not feel was ethical for me to live. My job often left me in personal conflict between doing my job the best I could and seeing people who have no business buying cars, getting deeper in debt. I was tired of seeing how sales and management seemed to often lie to banks and to the customer. I was tired of the games they played with people’s lives. The money was pretty good though when the runs came in.

The Hebrews often complained and wanted to turn back to Egypt. I went back, but was not welcome with open arms. So I wandered until God opened the doors.
I am not saying this new job is the promise land. But, it does set me free from living a compromised life.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Continuing Conversation on TSKW

A Continuing Conversation on TSKW

This is an offshoot conversation with Jason who entered into a thread concerning Fundamentalism as it may or may not fit into the Emergent thought. I will say upfront I do not think so.
I will not post Jason’s post here as one can read it in full at TSKW’s site.

His main points which I hope I have addressed in my response are, and Jason please correct me as I do the modern thing and reduce your thought to points.

  1. The main problem of PM and Fundamentalism is consistency in logic.

  2. Dealing with so called “paradoxes”

  3. Confronting the “Mystery” of Who God is. Is He truly unknowable?

  4. The issue of weird doctrine and interpretation.

  5. Biblical inspiration (I am not sure I have addressed this though I will make an attempt at it at a later time.

  6. Relativism

I will add Jason as many of my readers are seems well educated. I am always a little intimidated as my own knowledge is lacking in many regards.

Be blessed and feel free to enter the conversation.

It is good to discuss with respect isn’t it.

I agree that one of the characteristics of God is consistency. I see that with our own tainted worldview we often input our own Ideals about God into doctrines or miss the main point altogether. As in Isaiah 57, I see that God is saying His thoughts are on a level that only to know Him may we understand. To know Him is to forsake our evil, turn to God and then He will give us His Way.

This Way is a Person, or Jesus Himself. He has given us His mind, yet we still often work from the bottom up in logic to find His Way. When one comes to Christ we are exchanging our will for His Will and Purpose. A purpose is given at the inception of a Christian rebirth into Christ. We do not seek a purpose it seeks us as we live in Christ.

Too often, and I through myself into this camp as often I too fail, we do not look to Christ Jesus as The Truth Absolute. I agree to a point that we finite and fallen creatures cannot understand truth without tainting it in some way. Though we may grasp a part, it is corrupted as it passes through the filters of our mind. In that way I see the Relativists are right. We have had our eyes open to see the difference between good and evil, given statutes and laws that step by step give us all the mercy and grace and forgiveness and blessings of God, yet have not the moral consistency to live it out.

We need something more. That is Truth, or as John said, The Logos of God, came to us and showed us it was possible by a total dependant relationship with the Father, or as I say the Speaker. For the Word is dependant on the Speaker as Jesus was dependant on the Father. I am one with Christ as I am dependant for all things on Christ Jesus.

I do think doctrine is a good thing; the issue to me is that does the doctrine add too or hinder grace. Either way it takes away from the purity of Grace. Jesus’ Grace is sufficient. We can say the line is here cross it and one is saved; yet the true line is with in each person’s heart… and God only knows when that line is crossed.

I do believe God is a mystery… yet not as One that cannot ever be known. Rather One that is continually revealing Himself to us. That was the purpose of Jesus to reveal the Love and mercy and Grace of God in His desire of relationship with a fallen creature. There are levels of this great mystery we will have told to us later.

I agree that it is often a cop out to use “paradox” as a way of explaining what someone does not understand. Honesty is greatly needed these days and a genuine, “I don’t know”, can go so much farther than a lofty “paradoxical” explanation that really makes the person sound either of great knowledge or plain silly. Honesty is much needed in theology.

As far as evil that be stills man, I see in scripture that God will do some great and terrible things in line of judgment. Did He have His hand in Katrina, or the recent earthquakes in Pakistan? How quick we are to blame God, or Satan or Bush, or whoever. How slow we are to respond with compassion and aid and Love. The way I see God having a hand is in our response. What was our reaction? I look at the scripture and see in Luke 13 Jesus talking of those who died when the tower in Siloam as it fell on them. He asks are these men more guilty then any others in Jerusalem? I ask the same here… if this Katrina was God’s judgment, why were those people’s sin worse than anyone else’s in America?

We are quick to judge and slow to give mercy.

God tells us He is not a man that He would lie. To me meaning that He will not go back on His word as say the God of Islam may, or man himself who in one breath can smile then kill you as you turn your back. Though we may lack understanding God consistently desires for us to know Him. In that is a greater mystery than trying to fathom whether God is knowable. We serve that God of revelation, not an arbitrary god like Allah who can be good then bring calamity and have no reason other than he is god. That is what sets our Great God apart from the others.

I could go on…


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Prayer Please...

I don’t know about you, but I seem to have these times when all Hell breaks loose. This seems to be at very crucial times for me. Like becoming homeless and having to choose to move to Montana. Not finding work for a year as my wife gives birth to my first child, then having a major lull in my job where there is little income at the time of my second child’s birth.

In the last year I have worked very hard at developing a new fellowship. Since I am a bit out of the norm as regards to what many call “traditional instutionalized church” I have not been able to find a parent church to back me…. Now before you think I am whining here, I hope you realize that God has been there with me through all this. Sometimes I have not been able to pay some bills, yet, I have never been hungry, naked, or without shelter. God has given me a wife of wives who I see as a testimony of God’s love to me every day.

Hard times fall on us all. As I am entering into phase two of the fellowship I hope to develop in Billings, I have been feeling that breath of Satan on my neck. Though, I don’t enjoy the feeling, I realize that it is He who is nervous and scared, not me. I may have concerns as to how to pay rent, which is temporal, His concerns are eternal.

In the big scheme of things I see that God is moving in my life, I can be bogged down with the lies that God has forsaken me and that He no longer cares for me. If I just look at the superficial circumstances around me I would have to say it is so. Yet, as I dig deeper into that internal place of the heart, that Garden of Peace beyond understanding planted with the Seed of Jesus, I am a rest. My fears are exchanged with Truth, the Person of Jesus Himself.

One can fear shadows, yet as one faces the Sun, the shadows that fire imaginations darker side are squelched. I am not worried in the way someone without hope may worry, as I look forward to what God’s plan is and how He will be working out His purpose in me.

God has been so faithful as He has brought Fellow Fishermen to my side, David and Chad and their families. At a time where I could have felt so alone I have been given the gift of fellow servants who’s hope is the same as mine. Believe me that is a hard measure, and I see that these men are a great and wonderful gift from God.

I ask only for prayers at this crucial time. Not that the trials are taken away as I desire the growth they give me, but the protection over those we minister to. Prayer to be able to fill my worldly obligations. Prayer to become more sensitive to the needs of the lost sheep of Billings Montana. I desire prayer for David and Chad and their families as they are experiencing some attack also.

Romans 5

1.  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2.through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4. perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Pastor Carlos  

Sunday, October 09, 2005

God uses Broken Vessels

If you remember last March there was a man charged with murder in the Atlanta courthouse shootings. He held a woman hostage for a time and all the while she read him passages from the "Purpose Driven Life" by Pastor Rick Warren. She was able to witness to this man and was able to get him to turn himself in. She was lauded as a hero.

Now the rest of the story.

She was a Meth addict. You can read the story here.

Now, many are wondering how can this be. A Christian meth addict.

Let me tell you a story of a friend I had in California. Her name was Kathy. She was a prostitute for a while. She came to Christ because one of her johns broke down after she serviced him, and cried that what he did was so wrong. He explained how he was married and a Christian. He the preceded to witness to her and tell her of the love of Jesus... She accepted Christ and left that life and went on to lead women's Bible studies and teach of God's great love.

Rahab was a prostitute. She lived in a land inhabited by a people who hated the God of the Jews. In this story she lies to save the two spys sent my Joshua.
On one hand she did wrong, as she lied, yet the Bible tells us God took notice of her great faith. She is also a relative in the genealogy of Jesus.

God uses broken vessels. No matter what some self righteous Bible thumping fundamentalist church may say. God Uses us as broken as we are. He chose us, He died for us, He gave His life for us, to give His life to us, so He could live His life through us.

We are the body of Jesus... His body broken for us. We are placed in His broken body... And become part of it. Together we make it whole.

Don't hide in shame over your brokenness like Adam and Eve did. No one should live in shame. The worst kind of religion is a shame based faith. Embrace that broken part of you. Tenderly give it as a sacrifice to Jesus. He will understand. Confess to one another these weaknesses so to encourage and build each other up.

Realize that if you are struggling you are making progress. If Jesus did not live in you, you would not even care about this struggle. The fact you do is a sign of Christ working in you. So don't dispair.

Be Blessed,

Monday, October 03, 2005

Whos DNA

Who’s DNA?

If one does a little search of many of the Emergent Churches it won’t be long before you come across the little catch phrase “Our DNA”. This seems to be a way of explaining where they came from. They will sometimes go into a quasidenominational explanation or just say what is the bottom line of what this local church is about.

Some “good” examples would be Connection Church
Another example of this would be St Combs Community Church

Now the real question as I develop a new fellowship is Who’s DNA am I spreading?

I was told at one point by a pastor at a very large church here in Billings “IF we plant a church, it will have OUR DNA in it.” At first I thought, of course, that is how it should be. Now I think much differently.

Let me say this, there is only One who’s DNA we should be concerned with and that is the Holy Spirit. If we are concerned that our church model, or our understanding of what a church is, is what is most important then we are missing out on what the Holy Spirit is trying to accomplish. As an emergent thinker, I desire to keep pure the essence of God who I often refer to as The Real. I think we miss the boat to say that our model or our thinking is only what we will be part of and support. Granted I am not talking about heresy or abusive authoritarian thinking, but rather God planting a vision in a man to start a fellowship by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what Paul did in Acts. His vision was God’s vision and Paul let Jesus do His works through him to accomplish God’s will and purpose.

It seems, to say we will only spread our DNA is to fall into the trapping of modernism. To only think God can and should be expressed in the way WE see fit.

I was looking for people to support me in this new fellowship in Billings and was recommended to The Acts29 Network I checked them out and they seemed to be a fine organization… and I am sure they are. The issue came up, as I am not a Calvinist. I have some Calvinist leanings but as a system of theology I see it is too limiting of God. In fact I see it as too over simplified. I was told I needed to study it more as was told I could not hold both that man has free will and be elect. I thought that was a bit narrow thinking. I was then told, “ I don’t think you and your vision would be a right fit as we desire to spread our DNA.” That was one of the first times I heard that phrase. Again, who’s vision and works and ministry are we spreading… who's DNA is most important? Paul could have only reached out to the rich and powerful and to a degree in his travels and adventure to Rome he was attempting that very thing. Yet, at the same time many of the churches Paul started had the poorest people in them, and they are the ones who supported Paul and the other churches the most. So if we see only one “target group” that WE want to spread our DNA to, we miss out on the blessings of those who are different and can also bless us in ways we might not have realized.

The bottom line is this; we must be more concerned with God’s purpose, and will and vision then our own. We can be hurting the cause and find ourselves doing what we see the modern church is doing as we create environments of isolationism and exclusivism.
We must not set ourselves apart for our purpose, but for God’s purpose. We must not exclude those who think differently as they are as worthy of heaven as anyone of us is.

Doctrines and theology are great, yet let us not let those stand between someone and Jesus. I am not saying through them out, just be more flexible and try to see what God is doing. If you read scripture Jesus blew the religious leaders away often by breaking the pharisaical law. This is what enraged them in their self-righteousness. Beware that we do not fall into that.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

I am an illustrated sermon

I was going to call this post, “I am an idiot!” But I had a hard enough week already. My attitude was very bad this week. I was about to even delete some of my last few posts about the whole website issue. Yet, I believe I must live my life as real as I can. I am constantly telling people that I want to be real and reflect Jesus Who is The REAL. I don’t want to cover my warts. Though I don’t also want to go around and show all my warts to everyone, I am not going to present only the good side of myself. There is a little shame and embarrassment, yet as I lean into Christ I realize I am an illustrated sermon.

I want to say that I did not live up to 1 Corinthians 13:

1. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10. but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I do not want to make excuses for my actions and words they are what they are. I tend to pursue things with passion. I was falsely accused; yet I should not have lashed out at the people in the “abuse” dept… (A bit ironic there).

I know without Jesus living inside of me I would never have realized my shortcomings.

I confess this to all of you in hopes that in this weakness I am stronger in Christ.
I will add this, I realized that I was in the “Why” world for a while…. “why me?” “why is this happening?”, “why would someone do this to me?”

If you look at the end of the word “Why”, you notice that the letter Y is like one road going into two roads. The “Why” is like a choice. Which path should I take? I tend to go down the path were the squirrels run around in my head and drive me bonkers. As I was driving I realized that I had gone down that path. I realized also that the self-pity party that the why question led me down was not going to accomplish anything. So I began to think on What and How. What is God trying to teach me? And how can I apply this to my life in the future? The answer is not been given to me, but I believe it will come.

As I thought on this I remembered this scripture in James 1

1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
2. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3. because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8. he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 9. The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.
10. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
12. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
13. When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14. but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.
17. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
19. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20. for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24. and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
26. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 7. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.