Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jars of Clay Dead Man Mobile Mash-Up Video

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David Letterman @ Taco Bell

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Bare butts over your church? What would you do?

Pastor Neil Rhodes in New York does not like big butts (no, this doesn't have anything to do with Sir Mix-a-Lot).

On July 1st, bathroom fixture manufacturer Toto planned to begin advertising their Washlet bidet-toilet seat via billboards on two sides of the building at 51st Street and Broadway. The ads feature bare butts with smiley faces on them (see pic).

The problem however is that this building houses the Times Square Church where Pastor Rhodes ministers. He complained about the booty billboards, and on Monday a judge ordered a temporary restraining order keeping them from going up. What's more, the Times Square Church had to post a $90,000 bond that will be paid to Toto for damages if it's found that the church is not entitled to an injunction.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

This is really awesome!

A Magna Carta

for Restoring the Supremacy of

Jesus Christ


A Jesus Manifesto

for the 21st Century Church

by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

Christians have made the gospel about so many things … things other than Christ.

Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives them significance, reality, and meaning. Without him, all things lose their value. Without him, all things are but detached pieces floating around in space.

It is possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ . . . who is the embodiment and incarnation of all spiritual truth, values, virtues, and gifts.

Seek a truth, a value, a virtue, or a spiritual gift, and you have obtained something dead.

Seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you have touched him who is Life. And in him resides all Truth, Values, Virtues and Gifts in living color. Beauty has its meaning in the beauty of Christ, in whom is found all that makes us lovely and loveable.

What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is not a philosophy. Christianity is the “good news” that Beauty, Truth and Goodness are found in a person. Biblical community is founded and found on the connection to that person. Conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection. Jesus’ use of the ancient Hebrew word shubh, or its Aramaic equivalent, to call for “repentance” implies not viewing God from a distance, but entering into a relationship where God is command central of the human connection.

In that regard, we feel a massive disconnection in the church today. Thus this manifesto.

We believe that the major disease of the church today is JDD: Jesus Deficit Disorder. The person of Jesus is increasingly politically incorrect, and is being replaced by the language of “justice,” “the kingdom of God,” “values,” and “leadership principles.”

In this hour, the testimony that we feel God has called us to bear centers on the primacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Specifically . . .

1. The center and circumference of the Christian life is none other than the person of Christ. All other things, including things related to him and about him, are eclipsed by the sight of his peerless worth. Knowing Christ is Eternal Life. And knowing him profoundly, deeply, and in reality, as well as experiencing his unsearchable riches, is the chief pursuit of our lives, as it was for the first Christians. God is not so much about fixing things that have gone wrong in our lives as finding us in our brokenness and giving us Christ.

2. Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his teachings. Aristotle says to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.” Socrates says to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.” Buddha says to his disciples, “Follow my meditations.” Confucius says to his disciples, “Follow my sayings.” Muhammad says to his disciples, “Follow my noble pillars.” Jesus says to his disciples, “Follow me.” In all other religions, a follower can follow the teachings of its founder without having a relationship with that founder. Not so with Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus himself. Jesus Christ is still alive and he embodies his teachings. It is a profound mistake, therefore, to treat Christ as simply the founder of a set of moral, ethical, or social teaching. The Lord Jesus and his teaching are one. The Medium and the Message are One. Christ is the incarnation of the Kingdom of God and the Sermon on the Mount.

3. God’s grand mission and eternal purpose in the earth and in heaven centers in Christ . . . both the individual Christ (the Head) and the corporate Christ (the Body). This universe is moving towards one final goal – the fullness of Christ where He shall fill all things with himself. To be truly missional, then, means constructing one’s life and ministry on Christ. He is both the heart and bloodstream of God’s plan. To miss this is to miss the plot; indeed, it is to miss everything.

4. Being a follower of Jesus does not involve imitation so much as it does implantation and impartation. Incarnation–the notion that God connects to us in baby form and human touch—is the most shocking doctrine of the Christian religion. The incarnation is both once-and-for-all and ongoing, as the One “who was and is to come” now is and lives his resurrection life in and through us. Incarnation doesn’t just apply to Jesus; it applies to every one of us. Of course, not in the same sacramental way. But close. We have been given God’s “Spirit” which makes Christ “real” in our lives. We have been made, as Peter puts it, “partakers of the divine nature.” How, then, in the face of so great a truth can we ask for toys and trinkets? How can we lust after lesser gifts and itch for religious and spiritual thingys? We’ve been touched from on high by the fires of the Almighty and given divine life. A life that has passed through death – the very resurrection life of the Son of God himself. How can we not be fired up?

To put it in a question: What was the engine, or the accelerator, of the Lord’s amazing life? What was the taproot or the headwaters of his outward behavior? It was this: Jesus lived by an indwelling Father. After his resurrection, the passage has now moved. What God the Father was to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is to you and to me. He’s our indwelling Presence, and we share in the life of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father. There is a vast ocean of difference between trying to compel Christians to imitate Jesus and learning how to impart an implanted Christ. The former only ends up in failure and frustration. The latter is the gateway to life and joy in our daying and our dying. We stand with Paul: “Christ lives in me.” Our life is Christ. In him do we live, breathe, and have our being. “What would Jesus do?” is not Christianity. Christianity asks: “What is Christ doing through me … through us? And how is Jesus doing it?” Following Jesus means “trust and obey” (respond), and living by his indwelling life through the power of the Spirit.

5. The “Jesus of history” cannot be disconnected from the “Christ of faith.” The Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee is the same person who indwells the church today. There is no disconnect between the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel and the incredible, all-inclusive, cosmic Christ of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The Christ who lived in the first century has a pre-existence before time. He also has a post-existence after time. He is Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, A and Z, all at the same time. He stands in the future and at the end of time at the same moment that He indwells every child of God. Failure to embrace these paradoxical truths has created monumental problems and has diminished the greatness of Christ in the eyes of God’s people.

6. It’s possible to confuse “the cause” of Christ with the person of Christ. When the early church said “Jesus is Lord,” they did not mean “Jesus is my core value.” Jesus isn’t a cause; he is a real and living person who can be known, loved, experienced, enthroned and embodied. Focusing on his cause or mission doesn’t equate focusing on or following him. It’s all too possible to serve “the god” of serving Jesus as opposed to serving him out of an enraptured heart that’s been captivated by his irresistible beauty and unfathomable love. Jesus led us to think of God differently, as relationship, as the God of all relationship.

7. Jesus Christ was not a social activist nor a moral philosopher. To pitch him that way is to drain his glory and dilute his excellence. Justice apart from Christ is a dead thing. The only battering ram that can storm the gates of hell is not the cry of Justice, but the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of Justice, Peace, Holiness, Righteousness. He is the sum of all spiritual things, the “strange attractor” of the cosmos. When Jesus becomes an abstraction, faith loses its reproductive power. Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.

8. It is possible to confuse an academic knowledge or theology about Jesus with a personal knowledge of the living Christ himself. These two stand as far apart as do the hundred thousand million galaxies. The fullness of Christ can never be accessed through the frontal lobe alone. Christian faith claims to be rational, but also to reach out to touch ultimate mysteries. The cure for a big head is a big heart.

Jesus does not leave his disciples with CliffsNotes for a systematic theology. He leaves his disciples with breath and body.

Jesus does not leave his disciples with a coherent and clear belief system by which to love God and others. Jesus gives his disciples wounds to touch and hands to heal.

Jesus does not leave his disciples with intellectual belief or a “Christian worldview.” He leaves his disciples with a relational faith.

Christians don’t follow a book. Christians follow a person, and this library of divinely inspired books we call “The Holy Bible” best help us follow that person. The Written Word is a map that leads us to The Living Word. Or as Jesus himself put it, “All Scripture testifies of me.” The Bible is not the destination; it’s a compass that points to Christ, heaven’s North Star.

The Bible does not offer a plan or a blueprint for living. The “good news” was not a new set of laws, or a new set of ethical injunctions, or a new and better PLAN. The “good news” was the story of a person’s life, as reflected in The Apostle’s Creed. The Mystery of Faith proclaims this narrative: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success . . . not wealth or health or anything else: but love. And God is love.

9. Only Jesus can transfix and then transfigure the void at the heart of the church. Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his church. While Jesus is distinct from his Bride, he is not separate from her. She is in fact his very own Body in the earth. God has chosen to vest all of power, authority, and life in the living Christ. And God in Christ is only known fully in and through his church. (As Paul said, “The manifold wisdom of God – which is Christ – is known through the ekklesia.”)

The Christian life, therefore, is not an individual pursuit. It’s a corporate journey. Knowing Christ and making him known is not an individual prospect. Those who insist on flying life solo will be brought to earth, with a crash. Thus Christ and his church are intimately joined and connected. What God has joined together, let no person put asunder. We were made for life with God; our only happiness is found in life with God. And God’s own pleasure and delight is found therein as well.

10. In a world which sings, “Oh, who is this Jesus?” and a church which sings, “Oh, let’s all be like Jesus,” who will sing with lungs of leather, “Oh, how we love Jesus!”

If Jesus could rise from the dead, we can at least rise from our bed, get off our couches and pews, and respond to the Lord’s resurrection life within us, joining Jesus in what he’s up to in the world. We call on others to join us—not in removing ourselves from planet Earth, but to plant our feet more firmly on the Earth while our spirits soar in the heavens of God’s pleasure and purpose. We are not of this world, but we live in this world for the Lord’s rights and interests. We, collectively, as the ekklesia of God, are Christ in and to this world.

May God have a people on this earth who are a people of Christ, through Christ, and for Christ. A people of the cross. A people who are consumed with God’s eternal passion, which is to make his Son preeminent, supreme, and the head over all things visible and invisible. A people who have discovered the touch of the Almighty in the face of his glorious Son. A people who wish to know only Christ and him crucified, and to let everything else fall by the wayside. A people who are laying hold of his depths, discovering his riches, touching his life, and receiving his love, and making HIM in all of his unfathomable glory known to others.

The two of us may disagree about many things—be they ecclesiology, eschatology, soteriology, not to mention economics, globalism and politics.

But in our two most recent books—From Eternity to Here and So Beautiful—we have sounded forth a united trumpet. These books are the Manifests to this Manifesto. They each present the vision that has captured our hearts and that we wish to impart to the Body of Christ— “This ONE THING I know” (Jn.9:25) that is the ONE THING that unites us all:

Jesus the Christ.

Christians don’t follow Christianity; Christians follow Christ.

Christians don’t preach themselves; Christians proclaim Christ.

Christians don’t point people to core values; Christians point people to the cross.

Christians don’t preach about Christ: Christians preach Christ.

Over 300 years ago a German pastor wrote a hymn that built around the Name above all names:

Ask ye what great thing I know, that delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win? Whose the name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

This is that great thing I know; this delights and stirs me so:
faith in him who died to save, His who triumphed o’er the grave:
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

Jesus Christ – the crucified, resurrected, enthroned, triumphant, living Lord.

He is our Pursuit, our Passion, and our Life.


Click here to download this manifesto as a PDF file

Also check out this site.

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FIRST LOOK: Andrew Marin - Loving Your Gay Neighbor Pt 1

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Selene's last picture before it's crash and more

movie taken by the Terrain Camera (TC) of KAGUYA (SELENE) during its maneuvered falling to the Moon. (C)JAXA/SELENE

This movie was taken by the Terrain Camera (TC) of KAGUYA (SELENE) during its maneuvered falling to the Moon. (C)JAXA/SELENE

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Modern Parables: The Samaritan

To see the whole video click here.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

What's your favorite Bible verse?

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Book of Revelation: Intro

The Book of Revelation: Intro

The Book of Revelation has inspired many with its mysteries. Many cults as well as mainline Christian groups have been caught up in trying to explain the symbolisms. Some attempt to make it fit modern times while others see it as a specific time in history. Because of this Book, many have tried to set dates as to the return of Jesus and so far have failed. I am not supposing I know all the mysteries of the Book of Revelation, yet as I talk many seem to wonder where I get some of my views. Though, to be brutally honest, many of my views are still in flux and have yet to solidify. I will though attempt in this series to walk with the reader through Revelation as a single Book. Yet, before I do that I see that I may need to point out some things that made me rethink my previous views.

One area that is of great interest is that of the Rapture. Some are quick to point out certain passages and state they prove the Rapture to be true, some also point to these same passages to show the Rapture to not be true. I will only show you what I see and let you decide. I do not seek to convince the reader to my view; only give some points to consider. Though I will start out my journey with you the reader in other books, when I start the series we will read it as it is written. I have found that most often when a book of the Bible is taken as written and was intended to be read, those find that it speaks more clearly than if I jump from book to book as if the Bible was some huge jig-saw puzzle that needs to be interpreted.

I will start in Luke 21:20 -35

20. "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.
23. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25. "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
27. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 29. He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32. "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34. "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.

I am offering a 3'rd alternative. I do not agree with the Rapture view, nor do I yet see the time of the gentiles has come to its end. Also, I consider myself a partial preterist as I have a hard time seeing that death and Hades have been tossed into the Lake of Fire yet, as... people and things still die. In the day we are clothed in the imperishable and incorruptible I see that death will be gone. My point is that when one looks at the passage in Luke, it plays out as the death, resurrection and ascension then the destruction of the temple. The point were the "Left Behind" folks get confused is that the passage is most often translated as "comes in the clouds" as opposed to the alternative "appears in the clouds"...All I am saying is that if one looks at it as appears and thinks of Jesus at His ascension... this all fits well in what Scripture teaches. Also realize that Jesus had not gone to the Cross yet... so most often He would reference things to come to include His death.I think that this is a good alternative view and the weakest point is whether one can prove it is "comes" or "appears"...We agree that the Kingdom is ever expanding, yet I see that started with Jesus, and was poured out on all flesh at Pentecost. I see this was the time and not 70ad that the Kingdom true was on earth.70ad is still important as it was the sign that ushered in the time of the gentiles as I stated.Again... look at it and it all fits.The very generation that Jesus spoke to saw the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, destruction of the temple and then the ushering of the time of the gentile. So to me to hang it all on 70ad misses out that this passage.Even in Matt 24 if one looks at it in light of Jesus talking about the signs of the Cross and Resurrection and such... the word "coming" can mean "presence". Even if it is still "coming" the Cross, Resurrection et al were still to come. To me the idea of lightening does not have to mean the second coming, but still can reference the first coming. Jesus spoke of the time that He was there as the "last days"... Admittedly Matt 24 is harder to see what is going on, yet, here Jesus is not pointing to the cross, resurrection and all. Rather he is talking directly of the destruction in 70ad. Yet if one takes note that Jesus was talking to mainly a Jewish audience He would stress what was of importance to them… being the destruction of the Temple in 70ad. Luke which was written mainly to Gentile audiences, would emphasize the age of the Gentile.

I think this is where I part ways with the full preterist view. I see that though 70ad fulfilled the prophecy that Jesus made... it did not mean that all the end times had come to fulfillment.I see the groans as still in the pains of giving birth. Yet, there is still the birth to come. 70ad was the sign that the birthing pains started. I see that the resurrection of Jesus was the conception of the new creation… that Jesus was the first fruit of it. I see that 70ad was the beginning of the birthing pains… as the destruction of Jerusalem was surely a “pain”… and now I see that God is still gathering those that will come to faith. 70ad was the end and judgment of Israel for their rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Though the gentiles started coming to Jesus before 70ad I see that after 70ad is the time of the gentiles. Isaiah 9 and Matt 4 speak of this time that the Gentiles who were living in darkness now have seen a great Light… being Jesus.
Luke 21 speaks of Jerusalem being trampled underfoot until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. Note that I see 70ad as the coming of the time of the Gentiles until Israel became a nation again… though it is still being trampled underfoot by Gentile even now as a nation. I see that Jesus was stating not that it was totally fulfilled, rather that the generation he was talking to would see this destruction and trampling… and would continue to see it until the time of the Gentiles was ended.Paul speaks of this more in Roman 11:25
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”
I do not see that the full number of the Gentiles has yet been gathered as Jesus stated would begin in his prophecy concerning the destruction in 70ad. If that was so, people would not be still coming to Jesus as the “full number” would be done…
So again, we part ways in that I see that 70ad fulfilled the destruction and judgment part of Israel… ending the sacrificial system and ushering in the time of the Gentiles which will continue until the full number of Gentiles is gathered.
Take a bit and read Luke 21:20-33 and see what I am saying.
20. "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25. "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 29. He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32. "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Now part of this prophecy I believe is concerning the Cross, resurrection and ascension. I see that the phrase “coming in a cloud” is a bit misleading as I see that it actually refers to the ascension. So at the time of Jesus death on the cross, there were signs in the sun as it was darkened and the moon and stars as well. I see that Jesus is stating that when you see the shaking it happened on the Cross and at the time of the resurrection… as both events had earthquakes happen… or as the bible states... The ground shook. I do not see that this is all sequential… I see Jesus warning of judgment and then stating the sign will be the cross, resurrection and ascension and after that, “redemption is drawing near.” The sign precede the judgment… The fig tree is a direct reference to the Cross as the fig tree represents the Tree of Life. So I also see that Jesus is not necessarily referring to his return when he is stating that “this generation will certainly not pass away” as there is a break between the first series of events Jesus talks about and when he then gives the parable. Jesus then states that when you see the fig tree sprout leaves you will see summer is near so also that the generation will see these things happen… and that after these events the Kingdom comes. but what still needed to happen was the destruction of the temple and the end of the Gentiles.
So that generation did see Jesus die on a cross, resurrect and then rise into heaven. Then that generation saw the Holy Spirit come down on Pentecost and usher in the Kingdom on earth… later they saw the destruction of the temple… and the beginning of the time of the Gentiles… which we are still in.Now granted this may not be the most common view of this passage, but then I seem to not see many things the same as other see them.Again though it comes down to verses:

"30. "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." If read with the understanding that as John wrote what was happening in heaven (even if it is symbolic and whether it is an early date or later date as the dates would not matter) When Jesus was revealed in Heaven as the Lamb of God by the opening of the scroll, the temple was destroyed. Now again I admit I cannot show proof-text of this, yet if you read the verse this way as it can also be translated:30. "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the Heaven, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man appearing on the clouds of the heaven, with power and great glory."
This does not mean that it is the second coming, but what was going on in "heaven". So it is not the "return" but the Coronation of Jesus as the Lamb who sits on the Throne that John talks about in Revelation 5.Again, I see that a mistranslation exists which causes confusion by using "coming" and "sky" instead of "appear" and "heaven".
Again, I also admit I have never heard anyone else teach this. This is what I see as I look at the scripture. To me there is not much twisting or contortion needed to get this view and that it seems to hold up.

Now admittedly what puts a kink in this scenario is that last verse in this passage:

35. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.

Though I do not see the Rapture in these versus as some claim, I keep in mind I see that there may be more than to the prophecies of Revelation. I see that in the whole of scripture there is often a near/far aspect to prophecy. Sometimes there will be a prophecy given that is fulfilled in the age it is given and then later fulfilled in its fullness. For example the virgin birth which is prophesied in Isaiah. Please, let’s not get into the argument over “virgin versus young girl” as I think we would agree that most young girls, and especially in the Jewish religion would be a virgin so whether the girl in Isaiah was or not, does not mean that Mother Mary was not.

Yet in the example King Ahaz heard of the enemies of Israel were coming from the north. Isaiah was sent by God to calm King Ahaz by giving a promised sign to Israel. Now think about that, as God does not do things without greater reasons. If He sends a prophet to speak, this may mean more than what is happening in the immediate.

Isaiah 7: 14. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Most will state that Isaiah was talking not of a child born in his time but of a future time:

Isaiah 9: 6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I agree that this is true which is part of my point, yet many do not know that it was also fulfilled in Isaiah’s time.

Isaiah had two wives and two sons.

Shear-Jashub which means "A remnant shall return".
Mahershalalhashbaz which means “The spoil speeds and the prey hastens”.

Now here is the interesting point. Ahaz has this great fear and asks for a sign to be given. Again I am not going to quivel over “virgin versus young woman”. I see that Isaiah was originally told to name his son from his second wife, Immanuel as a sign God was with Ahaz if he trusted Him. Yet Ahaz did not trust God but went and formed an alliance with the Assyrians. Then, God later told Isaiah to name the son that was to be Immanuel Mahershalalhashbaz. Piecing this together takes a little time and I am not going into all the details of this, as I am making another point. Because of Ahaz’s lack of faith, he did not get to see the sign fulfilled but was given what would happen to him for his disobedience which was his destruction. Yet the point that many miss is not about “virgin” but about the Name Immanuel which means “God with us.” Matthew later emphasizes that Jesus would be referred to “God with us.” Matthew did not mean that Jesus’ literal Name would be Immanuel for there is no record outside of Matthews account that Mary referred Jesus by Immanuel. The point of the earlier fulfilled prophecy (though not in it’s original intent) was that God was for Israel and if Ahaz obeyed God, He would protect them. In a sense this prophecy speaks to us today. If we do not turn to Jesus who is sign of “God with us” we will become spoiled seeds (Matthew 13) and become the prey of God who will return to judge and set all things right.

The near/far view does not need the near prophecy to be perfect as often these are messed up by man such as in the case of Moses striking the Rock once to signify that the messiah would come twice, once as a Suffering Servant, then again as King… Moses messed up the second time as he was to speak to the second Rock but struck it. These Rocks as I stated were prophetic signs of Jesus. First the Rock that was struck in Exodus 17 was the Suffering Servant the second Rock again was Jesus and a sign that we must confess to the Rock for the waters of salvation… Yet, Moses struck the second Rock in anger and forfeited he opportunity to go into the Promised Land. Again, we have a choice to choose Jesus now and speak (confess) to Him now, or in a sense strike him again and make a mockery of the Cross which will forfeit out opportunity to enter into the New Creation.

I see this pattern in The Book of Revelation as even in the opening passage:

Rev 1: 19. "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Barefoot Sunday

Last Sunday we held Barefoot Sunday to help collect shoes and funds for Afayo Foundation Uganda. We collected enough shoes and also some clothing that will be sent and also some funds that will be needed to ship. Yet, we still will need a few more funds to help with shipping. Prayerfully consider if you can be a part in this. If there is any extra funds that we receive we will send that to the Afayo Foundation. The picture above is a young man who I understand to have never owned shoes before. If you look closely the sandals he is wearing do not even match.

The next picture is another young man who did not even know how to put on socks, yet was proud of his new socks and shoe and was excited to wear them to church. An Afrikaan friend of mine that goes to my church made a statement to me that sort of startled me. She stated, "In some parts of Africa, shoes are not an option."

The last picture is a shoe that I understand many do wear. Please help us give these children an option.

Contact me if you want to be part of this outreach.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tony and Doug let loose on those who are disappointed in "Emergent Village"

Personally the this all sounds like the old "I am not getting fed" statement I hear at some churches... to that I would reply, "Are you still a baby that needs to still be fed? Have you thought that maybe it is your turn to feed someone else?" Now I agree, maybe the failure is not the "so-called" leaders, but those who are out there sitting on their butts not doing anything!

OK, the other side of the coin is this. If emerging is a movement, then it WILL pass... if it is not just a movement, then it will continue and even grow into something else... but still leaving the seeds to continue. My personal view is that emerging itself (which is different from Emergent) is the ongoing conversation that God started in Genesis with... "Let there be..." so it will not fade, it was always there in some fashion (whether called emerging or not) and will always be as long as Jesus is.

To a point I agree with Doug and Tony... yet in a way I think they are missing the boat. How? Some think that that Doug jumped ship and is off doing his radio show and thinking of politics (to some that may be boring Doug... sorry) and some think maybe that Tony has sort of gone off the reservation... (Sorry Tony, I still want to discuss some of your views with you.) Maybe that is a little harsh, but if I feel that way I imagine others do also.

Really I don't suppose I will hear from either of these guys... (which may be part of the issue again) Do they have the right to feel as they do... of course, but all I ask is that they also try to step back and look at it from an outsider perspective... to take a look that others feelings may be a little hurt also.

Now, to me I saw Emergent Village as a great resource for ideas. I loved the podcasts and thought they gave some thought provoking insights... I think the issue is that instead of sticking with the strong points of being what they were good at they tried to become a community... sorry we already have communities going yet, to lose Emergent Village as a resource does sting a bit. The Podcast is still going yet, if Emergent Village would look to being a resource and think of ways to help the communities that are going, then they may find their strong point again.

The bummer thing is that no one wants to publish "emerging" books as they stated as they did not sell well... so... how about starting a emerging publishing company? I mean Brian Mclaren alone could probably get it going... and make it a ground roots type thing where people can get books published and sell them as part of the resource help. (Hmmm dang good idea to me!)

My greatest advice is that Tony and Doug try not to get defensive and go on the offensive... you are leaders of sorts... whether you want to be or not... and whether people want you to be or not... but if you have your finger on the pulse as some of us think you once really did... then help us make things happen.

I hope I am not coming across to cranky... I am not meaning to say I am not thankful for all Doug and Tony have done. I just pray that they can focus or refocus on helping others grow.

Tony's response to the "Death of Emergent" voices.

Tony has a post that gives others views of what is happening to Emergent Village

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40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes


William Wallace: “Will you fight?!” Man: “No, we will run. And we will live.”
Muppets from Space
Shame on you.
Animal House:
This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're going to let it be the worst.
And I guarantee a week won't go by in your life you won't regret walking out, letting them get the best of you.
Street Fighter:
Well, I'm not going home.
Old School:
We've come too far!
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington:
And I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:
A day may come when the courage of men fails... but it is not THIS day.
Star Trek: First Contact:
The line must be drawn HERE. This far, no further!
Bring It On:
I'm not saying it's going to be easy.
Stand and Deliver:
You're going to work harder than you ever worked before.
But that's fine, we'll just get tougher with it!
Charlie Brown
“If a person grits his teeth and shows real determination”
Apollo 13
“Failure is not an option.”
Rocky Balboa
“That's how winning is done!”
The Matrix Reloaded
“Believe me when I say…”
Kingdom of Heaven:
“We can break this army here”
Knute Rockne: All American
And win just one for the Gipper.
But I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time:
You've got to get mad.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
I mean plum mad dog mean.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
If you would be free men, then you must…
The Great Dictator
…fight to fulfill that promise! Let us…
…cut out their living guts…
Any Given Sunday:
One inch at a time…
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
And they will know what we can do!
Let no man forget how menacing we are. We are lions!
You're like a big bear, man!
This is YOUR time!
Dead Poets' Society
Seize the day…
Galaxy Quest
Never surrender…
victory or death...
The Untouchables:
that's the Chicago Way!
Army of Darkness
Who's with me?
Peter Pan
Clap! Clap! Don't let Tink die! Clap!
Mighty Ducks
Let's fly!
Henry IV
And gentlemen in England now abed…
Pulp Fiction
shall know my name is the Lord when I
tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take…
Independence Day:
…our Independence Day!

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Where angels and serpent dance ~ P.O.D.

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Sinners in the hands of a Gracious God

Glenn R. Keider at Dallas Seminary 01-01 2003 Does a sermon on the Jonathan Edwards sermon "Sinners in the hands of an angry God". You can download it for free on iTunes. The original Jonathan Edwards sermon can be downloaded for free here.

iMonk also has some interesting things to say
at his site.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola

From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola

Once again I get the privilege to review a book. This book was originally published as God’s Ultimate Passion but has been revamped into a very readable book. I really enjoyed the original so it was interesting to see the updated version.

The book is actually three volumes in one broken up into different themes. The first is the Bride of Christ which is a wonderful walk through creation and the relationship of Adam and Eve. Frank Viola brings out nuances that I believe many miss as they simply read though the narrative. Frank Viola points out how the original bride Eve is the prototype of another Bride, the Church.

Frank then begins the second section where the Homeless God is on a quest to make a new home for Himself. The narrative takes one from Genesis through Revelation where he shows God’s intention was to have a New Home in those who believe in Him through Jesus.

The Third Section brings us to The Family, or Body what we are becoming as believers in Jesus. God seeks to make each person who comes to Him in faith through Jesus a New Creation of His passion and expression of His Glory.

If you are in a book store and have a few minutes, I suggest reading the last bit which I think is one of the most important parts of the book, Frank Viola’s micro-biography. It is a short read yet in it one will find Frank Viola’s walk through various movements of the church and what he gained through them… and what he found was lacking in them. To me this gives the read understanding where Frank is coming from and in a sense where one will go as they read the book. It is a bit funny that I am saying to read the end of the book to get the rest of the book, yet if one does take the time I will guarantee they will be buying the book to see how Frank puts all this together.

On a personal note, I enjoyed that Frank quoted both Brian McLaren and Major Ian Thomas which was fascinating to see the two fit together as I have seen they do. This book was to me a wonderful read. In a sense I feel that where I am on my own journey is where many are going and Frank Viola is going. To me the core of both Brian McLaren and Major Ian Thomas as well as Frank Viola’s book is Grace. To gain more insight into the great and wonderful grace of God to me will aid anyone who believes in Jesus.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to dig deeper into who you are in Christ Jesus. This is one author I will be reading more from.
I am having the privilege to be part of a circuit of Blogger who are reviewing From Eternity to Here. If you want to read what others are saying here is a list. Many may even have interview questions.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Some reasons I do not believe in the Rapture

I opened a can of worms on Facebook so I thought I might add to the conversation why I do not believe in the Rapture. First here are a few resources to show I am not alone.

Note that the rapture (if true) and second coming are two separate events.

Note that in the article it raises the issue of “a coming” of Jesus verse “the coming” of Jesus. If the Rapture is true then there would be 3 times that Jesus returns. The bible teaches only a second coming and not three. Some teach that Jesus comes but does not touch down… and where is that in the bible… no where.

This is a great reference which also brings out some interesting points such as the points on the “hinderer”. If the hinderer is the Holy Spirit then no one can be saved after the Rapture. If it is the church, then again, since the church is the Body of Christ, no one can be part of the Body of Christ as it is taken away… thus again… no one can be saved after the Rapture. This causes many issues as almost all “rapture” believers claim people will be saved if:

1. They do not take the mark of the beast and are beheaded. Yet, that would be works salvation and we are saved by Grace through faith and not works.
2. Those left that are sub Christians (like those who do not believe in the Rapture) are to become martyrs. Though they believe in Jesus, they must now prove their faith. Again, if this is true, then no one else can come to faith in Jesus as there is no Holy Spirit and no church.

Though some try to claim the early church fathers taught the Rapture, there is no real text that proves this. The claim that imminent return means rapture again is not proof as they taught the second coming. There is no reference to a return of Jesus that would be like the Rapture. All talk of the Resurrection of the dead…

On that note the bible teaches that the dead shall rise first. So either the bible is wrong as it teaches the dead will rise and be judged first or the Rapture people who claim that the living will also be raised is right. I think I will trust the bible. Also, the references the Rapture believers use are mostly about the Resurrection. At that time all people dead and alive will be clothed in the imperishable and incorruptible. The other references took place in 70ad with the judgment and destruction of the Temple. The one is taken and one is left actually shows that those take are taken to judgment and not to new life.

Matthew 24 is clear about this if you simply read it:

36. "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
38. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39. and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

Note that Jesus states that “as it was in the days of Noah so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” then states that “the flood came and took them away”. These people were not saved but judged. Then Jesus states that two are standing and one is taken… where? To be judged… not saved. Reading it in context shows this is so… it takes a bit of twisting of the text to make it read that the one’s taken are saved… yet Jesus stated that just as those taken in the flood, (who all died) so will be those who are take at the Coming of the Son of Man. Note also as you read on this is supported:

43. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46. It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, `My master is staying away a long time,' 49. and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Note that Jesus states that when He returns He will come to judge and those found with hypocrisy will be cut to pieces and assigned to the place of hypocrites. These people are taken away to be judges… not saved.

There are many other inconsistencies such as that the 144,000 will be evangelists… yet if you look at Rev 14 you will not find this taught… in fact the only evangelist in the passage is an angel and not the 144,000.

The narrative of the Bible does not teach rapture but resurrection. The narrative I see is that Jesus will return the second time and not return to heaven with believers but sit in Jerusalem and begin the final judgment.

Now I am a partial preterist as I believe much of the prophecy that is used for the rapture took place in 70ad. Yet I am only a partial preterist and see that the book of Revelation prophesizes of “things that are and that will come.” (Rev 1:19)

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Rob Bell talks about Domitian and the book of Revelation

This is a re-post from a couple of years back. The topic of the Book of Revelation keeps coming up so I thought I would re-post this. I think it very informative and gives a historical perspective of the Book of Revelation in a creative way.

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The Rapture is Bull!

And now a deep theological discussion on the Rapture...

And her follow up!

And even through her crisis of faith she holds on...

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Three questions on evangelism

I was asked these questions today and thought I might share my answers here:

1) How do you model/do evangelism in your faith communities?

1) I model what Jesus did as far as evangelism. He did as the Father was already doing. So I keep my eyes open to what God may be doing in and with someone and just be their friend. Many people only see others as selling or wanting something from them, so developing the skill to love without agenda is crucial. Letting God work in the instead of pushing my own will for their salvation is core to this idea. Trusting that God wants them saved more than I ever would is hard to do at times. Yet, in the times God has allowed me to do this it has been very effective.

2) What ways of evangelism have you found to be least effective? Most?

2) The least effective is door to door and being pushy. Often people are inoculated with the gospel and think they already know all about it and often when pushed shutdown. Again, listening to them and hearing what God is doing with them is a skill to develop. As for me the most effective is #1

3) In what ways do you think/feel that evangelism methods should change for the future of the American church?

3) Often the focus is on me saving others. We may not say that out loud but in reality many times I have encountered "How many people have you saved today?" In the past I felt guilty for not doing enough, then one day I realized (maybe it was revealed to me?) that I could not save myself, so how could I ever save anyone else? It is God who saved me and God wants to save others also. This took the focus off of me "saving" and back on Jesus who can save people. If I am "me" focused then it is about "me" and not Jesus. Also, making the focus not on getting to Heaven but in becoming a New Creation has opened my eyes to being able to just be there and watch God do His work. I am not as concerned about Heaven or Hell as they will get to either place eventually... I focus on how they can have a new identity in Christ Jesus.

Each person is unique but the same. It really does take time to get to know that person and learn how to accept them and love them as Jesus would. I am not saying just be all "nice" as at times Grace is tougher than we think. I have told drunks they are drunks and other harsh sounding things yet, somehow Grace comes through. Often they have never heard directness with acceptance. They have only heard directness with condemnation.

The bottom line is everyone wants to be loved. The world's love is a sick and twisted thing that barely represents God's love. By being a conduit of God's love we can reach people His way and not create other ways that really in the end mean nothing and may work for a generation, yet will lose it's power over time... God's way will never lose it's power.

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