I’m excited to report that “The Christ Proposal” is going public this weekend at the “First Friday Art Walk” in Amarillo, Texas. We’ll also begin offering the book here at Kingdomology starting this Saturday along with some other outlets. What is The Christ Proposal? Well I’m glad you asked. It all really began as somewhat of an academic discussion just over a year ago when we were in a transitional period of our ministry. We had finished up a church plant in Nor. Cal. and having passed off the baton to the leadership team there we were basing in Amarillo while we waited for clarity on the next move. During this time I was doing some manual labor for a friend when he brought up a discussion he had heard on the radio while traveling. The focal point was a minister’s comment about Jesus Christ making a proposal to his Bride; or the Church. It was a fascinating thought as scripture does refer to the Church as the Bride of Christ. Out of these discussions, a book was born. The Proposal is a devotional book using direct scripture references and scriptural allusions woven into a first person narrative as though Jesus Christ were speaking directly to His Bride; the Church. But the greater implication is the personal impact of how Christ is also speaking to us as God’s children.
I wasn’t planning to weigh in on Terry Jones and his plans to burn a boat load of Qurans this Saturday; September 11th. But when I saw a number of folks commenting about it on Face Book this morning I changed my mind. I hardly ever dive into politics anymore and may actually blog about that decision in the future. But I do want to discuss current issues of the day and relevant ways citizens of the Kingdom of God can respond to them and process them. On this issue, it would seem that “Pastor” Terry is a bit misguided here in interpreting exactly how Jesus would have handled the situation and what the spiritual ramifications are.
To begin with, I find the whole thing humorous if not sad on at least three points.
Recently I watched ‘The Book of Eli’ with my brother and I give it two thumbs up. I probably liked it partially just because I’m a guy with a healthy hunger for adventure and sci-fi flicks, especially when there’s at least a little bit of a story to it. I thought the cinematography and visuals in the movie were wonderful. But the big draw to this story was the focus on the Bible. I’m always intrigued when Hollywood tries to honestly step into the spiritual and with Denzel Washington leading this project I knew there just might be something of substance in it. One review of the movie suggested that it was something of a “Sunday sermon wrapped in a Mad Max adventure” and that’s about right.
But it does raise questions among some Christ followers. Is it good to see and pay money for shows like this? I mean there were scenes with graphic violence, some really hard language, and at the end the Bible is meticulously placed between the Torah and the Quran. How do you even interpret that last one? Were the writers showing that the Bible was superior to the other two or more than likely just implying there was no difference between them? Yes, there were some real issues in the movie and if they are a conviction on your conscience, then you need to pass it by. But on the other hand no one should judge someone else who did watch it. For while I would not want little kids to see this show, I believe that Christ followers ought to give this sort of thing another look. Here are some reasons why.
I’m getting ready for my yearly prayer and study break which I usually take during the summer. While doing the church plant in CA I had the privilege to spend that time each year on Lake Tahoe which is one of my favorite places in the world. That was a HUGE blessing thanks to the ministry of the Barnabas Factor which offsets the cost for full-time ministers. I love the mountains. This year I will be headed to the Rockies around Denver and I’m looking forward to checking out and spending some serious solo time with God, His Word, and whatever else He has in mind. In preparation for this I got an email last week from a great guy who directs church planting in the Northern Plains of America named Mike Sojka. The link for his site is at: NPEA. Attached to his note he included a doc entitled “Reasons for Unanswered Prayers” which I’ve included below. I thought that was a great resource to help people get focused for such ventures. From my observation, we all need to take a moment from time to time to weigh our motives and this tool seemed like a good start. What would you add as a discipline or exercise in preparation for a spiritual retreat?
Well we finished up Kid’s Kamp last night at The Crossings and it was GREAT. The Kamp was an excellent opportunity to plant the loving seeds of Christ in the hearts of our young people in our community. Jesus loved and loves Children and in fact taught that unless we change and become like these little children we will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Wow, what’s that all about? While there are many reasons, it seems like the biggest one is just the fact that these children don’t front any arguments and simply accept Christ through faith. They hear and believe. I think that is one of the reasons why every church that is truly fruitful in Kingdom advancement has a powerful children’s ministry. So I’m thankful for our efforts at Cypress Crossing to reach and minister to the kidos.
But I’m also thankful for a guy most of you won’t know named Morris. I met Morris for the first time on a college inner city trip in Atlanta back in the spring of 89. Then I ended up going to school with him when I transferred to Ozark Christian College that fall. But Morris went home to be with Christ this past month after faithfully serving Christ for a number of years in Honduras.
I’ve always said that I could eat Tex-Mex food two or three times a week and I think that’s probably true. But tonight was a dinner full of memories as we got together with some friends in North Houston for Borscht and Blinchiki. Our chef, Oksana, is from Uzbekistan which used to be part of the Soviet Union. So it was a lot of fun trying to remember our Russian and the names of the great dishes we had while living in Moscow back in the mid 90s. I love trying foods from all over the world. Probably the worst thing I’ve ever eaten was on a college internship in Chile back in 88 and I’d say that the best food I’ve ever had was in Nagaland, India. But I think one of the greatest parts of these fun food festivities is not just the palate, but the friendships, culture, and Kingdom experiences that come along with them. Cultural because we are all different and I love that. But from the Kingdom standpoint, it is a reminder that the Kingdom of Heaven is not an American thing, but a God thing. The real Kingdom of God, or Heaven, is something that Jesus said is within us. It stretches all over the world and across time. It will continue to expand in the hearts and minds of God’s children until Christ comes back. So in a very real sense, the Kingdom is all over the world and transcends all cultures. Having grown up in Texas, you could say that Tex-Mex really is a “national” or cultural reality for me. But because the Kingdom of God is so big, there is really no one “national food” for Kingdom citizens. But rather, it’s kind of a multi course banquet. Now THAT smells good. Fish Tacos anyone?
Like a number of Christian ministers I know, it seems like a part of my spiritual mentorship actually comes from dead guys from the past. Yes I know; that sounds exciting doesn’t it? But by that I mean being able to glean from the writings of Christ followers in times gone by who really walked with God. Some of the men that I still read from and about are Spurgeon, Moody, Finney, Taylor, Muller and Bonhoeffer. There are other guys who I don’t read as much from, but still have a profound influence on my kingdom thinking. One of those guys is Oswald Chambers of whom I read this morning before really hitting the day. In a devotional book I got from a friend back in CA he gives a commentary over 1 Peter 2:21 which really applies to people who are engaged in serious ministry projects. The gist of the text deals with the issue of suffering for Christ, which is a reality in authentic Kingdom living. I’ve pasted the text and commentary below. I hope it’s helpful and challenging.
Well it’s obvious that I’m nuts about following Jesus and wouldn’t have it any other way. As for me, I arrived at my convictions about Jesus not because I simply grew up that way kind of like a cultural thing, but because of a point in time where I was presented with the clear evidence of Christ, and then chose to accept it and follow him. But that does not mean that I think I’m any better than anyone else or even those who have chosen not to accept Christ or his teaching. In fact, there are times when I prefer to hang out with those who would consider themselves “outside” of the Church and even joke about themselves as being “pagans” or something like that. They’re at least honest in the sense that they’re not trying to fool anyone by being more spiritual than the rest of humanity. This is one of the many things I liked about living in CA.
I got an email earlier today that I wanted to pass along to everyone regarding the disaster in Haiti. The author is a long time evangelist by the name of Reggie Thomas who has planted scores of churches all over the world. Reggie is the founder of WHITE FIELDS OVERSEAS EVANGELISM and we had the opportunity to serve with Reggie once when we lived in Russia. Below is the email that Reggie sent out this morning. Please take a moment to read it over and see if there is anything you can do to help.
Dear Family and Christian Friends:
You have heard the tragic news from Haiti. You know as much as we know. We have tried desperately to telephone some of our Christian friends in Haiti and we have emailed all whom have email. Up to this moment we have heard from only one preacher in Gonaives. Brother Solonique said that Gonaives felt the earthquake but it did not damage anything and all are okay in Gonaives. So at least we know the JESUS LOVES ME ORPHANGE home is okay. You know that we have worked in Haiti since 1971 and that we have made well over 100 trips to that nation.
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.