Does anyone remember the movie, 2010, The Year We Make Contact? The original flick, 2001, came out the year before I was born but I remember seeing it when I was in kindergarten. I think I was a freshman in High School when 2010 came out. Well 2010 is just around the corner and we haven’t reached Jupiter yet or encountered any black Monoliths on the moon. At least I don’t think NASA is holding out on us. But we are indeed on the verge of a new year and I’m looking forward to what God has in store for us as the Kingdom of Heaven plays out in our lives.
I recently watched the second half of Return of the King with my kids and enjoyed every minute of it. I love that movie and really anything from Tolkien and CS Lewis. I’ll be honest; I can even be somewhat of a cry baby at times when it comes to this kind of genre. Once I even held back the tears when I saw The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in the theater back in Nor. Cal. The whole imagery of Aslan representing Jesus and going to the Stone Table for Edmond just floored me because I knew the deeper meaning of what was going on. So it is with the rest of Lewis’ writing and that of the Lord of the Rings. Yes, it’s all fiction, but it conveys something deep, something that each of us secretly cries out for way down in the catacombs of our inmost being.
Well I’m happy to report that that my boys have not fallen into all the hoopla surrounding the Michael Jackson movie and all his music. But it was funny this evening when they said, “hey dad, check out this video about a guy who is blue with a blue car, or something like that.” Then I remembered it; yes I remember that cold January driving from Northern Indiana down to Cincinnati for Jack Cottrell’s “Doctrine of Grace” class with my good friend Leo and listening to the Blue Song on the car radio. Its funny how our kids will bring back memories we have whether good or bad, deep or just fun. I do remember “I’m Blue” and chuckle how Leo and I laughed about it all week while having our heads crammed with theology. Well at least I was cramming; Leo was just there for the audit. When I think about it, there are a lot of songs that come to mind from different phases of my life. During the Dark Ages of my life I was a real Pink Floyd head, ok, we won’t go there. I remember some catchy tune in High School about hard working guys complaining about all their hard work while the rock stars got “their chicks for free.” I remember discovering the deep and ministering tunes of Rich Mullins when I finally got off my rear and went to Bible College. I think the biggest maestro influence for me was Keith Green who had a HUGE love for Christ. But I suppose the best parts of these memories are the people we made them with. I’m thankful for Leo and I’m thankful for the new memories with my boys who I know are going to grow up and do a lot more for the Kingdom than I ever will. So what are some songs from the past that bring memories for you?
I got a link this morning from a friend to a video clip about a new flick that has just come out called, We Live in Public. Feel free to check it out, but you might want to make sure you don’t have any kidos nearby. Though the intent its creator, Josh Harris, was to make a “cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives”, the video actually illustrated something else I’ve been saying for years. I see one of two futures for America. Either a Christ following revival and awakening or a socialist dictatorship. When “Free” information and complete “Freedom” rule and are the prime objectives in life, then chaos is the ultimate result. The only way you can be free from Chaos and its natural consequences is by some form of order and “rightness”. That will happen either by a changed, self willed choice to honor Christ in the lives of everyday folks, or because the State forces them to obey the rules it sets. Just some Free thought to chew on.
I’ve been doing a lot of different things during our interim season and one of those is just picking up odd jobs to help pay the bills. Today and one day last week I spend a lot of back breaking time digging holes around old fence pole so that we could reinforce them with more concrete. In the process, I thought about the Shrewd Manager in one of Jesus’ parables. The guy was about to lose his job and didn’t know what to do because he felt like he was “not strong enough to dig, and was ashamed to beg.” So in the turning of earth, I thought, “man I really know how that old boy must have felt.” He came to mind not because I’ve lost a job or have been dishonest, but just because I can relate to not really being built for a life of ditch digging. But I did put my back into it and was grateful for the work. I also thought about all the other jobs that I’ve had in life not including full-time Christian service. I think the best job I’ve ever had was working in the electronics department at Sears during my last year of college. I think my worst job, next to digging ditches, was working at Godfather’s Pizza between my 9th and 10th grade years in High School. I think the big issue there was that the manager was always negative toward everyone and talking behind people’s backs. It really got heated when we were all accused of taking money from the till, especially when we knew it was the assistant manager’s boy friend. What about you? What are some of your best and worst job experiences and why?
I got an interesting email from one of our readers a few days ago that I wanted to throw out for discussion. Stan, who works through his own site at Atheism-Analyzed posed the question of how we as Kingdom Citizens are to engage in the political systems that we live in here on this side of eternity. I’ll paste his question below, give a couple of responses myself, and then turn it over to you to think about and then respond back to if you like. Here you go . . .
Well things are rolling right along in our transition time between the church plant and the next Kingdom Adventure God has for us. The kids are in good schools. Deb is working in a school library; which she loves. I’m picking up odd jobs, interim opportunities, and some other ministry projects as we wait on God’s timing and move. Still looking for clarification as to whether we need to move into another plant or take an established preaching position and focus on sending others out. But during this time I’m also taking in things around my boyhood home here in Amarillo. Like Paul, I’ve looked around at the city’s Objects of Worship and have come across a number of signs like the one shown here. While I do agree with the scripture on the sign, I’m not sure that’s the best way to win people to the love of Christ. Might as well just get a bull horn and tell everyone on Polk Street that they’re going to Hell. While there is a time and place for truth and clearly articulating the gravity of sin, I don’t think that sticking a sign like this in my yard is actually going to awaken my neighbors need for Christ’s love. More than likely, whoever owns that placard is going to just be set aside on the mantel as another “religious nut” from the mid-west. Seems like a better approach is to get involved in people’s lives, love on them, and then get some healthy dialogue going. How do you go about talking about issues like sin with people who don’t use that kind of vocabulary much?
I had a great time meeting Don Novack this morning. Don is a church planter in Amarillo and is heavily involved with Christmas in Action. We talked a lot about faith, churches, and some of the spiritual make up of the area. I always knew that there was a higher percentage of folks who attend Sunday morning worship services here than in other parts of the US and Europe. But it was also interesting to see that no matter where you go, you’ll still find folks who claim the name of Christ, but only attend worship gatherings once or twice a year. Is the whole “going to church” thing just a personal preference, or is there something more to it?
Yesterday while driving back from a preaching assignment I spent some time running the dial and came across a talk show detailing some of the big headlined Town Hall meetings across the US. If you haven’t picked up a newspaper or watched any of the media coverage recently, you might not know about the stories of the rebellious town hall meetings that have been erupting over President Obama’s health care reform. Some of the meetings were calm and orderly. But for others there was yelling, speaking out of turn, and even some evictions.
As for my opinion of the health reform, I tend to lean towards less government as I lived in the former Soviet Union for a while and have seen the “ills” entailed within an atheist socialistic system. But I wasn’t present at any of the town hall meetings. I didn’t watch any of the CNN stories, nor did I follow my elected leader’s websites for the latest on Obama’s strategy. Instead, I listened to it for the first time on talk radio and after a few minutes I actually CHANGED THE DIAL.