I was thinking about politics again this morning. Not to worry though, I’m not planning to announce my candidacy or anything like that. Rather, my political bemoaning really had more to do with a cultural concern than a particular platform. At the heart of my frustration was a feel that a whole lot of folks are more concerned about gold than good. Indeed, self-security, self-preservation, and self-glory have become the master.
Have you seen this clip? It was made a couple of years ago. But I came across it again the other day while researching a church planting organization. Though the clip is not new, I believe it’s worth checking out again. Jeff Maguire did a fun job describing the authentic Kingdom life which he refers to as Missional living. The point being that authentic Christ followers are all called to live out the Kingdom of God in their own daily lives. Sharing the message and love of Christ is the call of every Christian and not merely the domain of the decorated. Remember, the CHURCH is not a building; but the people. So whatever your niche in the Kingdom, be sure to be “missional” about it today. Enjoy and implement!
Are you ready for 2012? I sure am. This year New Year’s Day actually falls on a Sunday and we will indeed be meeting at The Crossings. The plan is to just have one service at 11:00. The main text that we will be looking at is Psalm 90:12 where Moses prayed; “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” That is a challenging text in many ways. When we take stock of our potential life span and realize we only have so many days allotted to us, we begin to rethink things more seriously. I suppose it’s kind of like when my kids were younger and a couple of older men told me to enjoy these years because they would be gone before I knew it. I didn’t believe it then, but I can really relate to that now because my oldest will be graduating from High School in 2 and a half years. Where did the time go? In truth, all of us have a short amount of time on this earth. The question is how are we going to spend that time. To help us get further along with that road, I’ve listed three challenges below. What else would you add?
My boys love this clip and have begged me to show it at The Crossings. Verdict is still out on that one. But it is kind of funny and I love its point. We live in a society today where saying “Merry Christmas” is becoming more and more “Politically Incorrect.” But as I’ve done the past two Sundays; I want to encourage everyone to step up and say it anyway no matter where you’re at. Could you offend someone? Maybe. But it also just might encourage someone. Who knows, you might even be able to plant a seed of the real reason for the season and thus open the door to the truth that “God so loved the world that he GAVE his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” So I suppose it’s kind of like the old Nike challenge . . . “Just Say it!”
Recently I spent some time with Malcolm X. Well, not really because he’s dead. But I did watch a movie about him which I found very interesting. In fact, I believe there are some pointers that Christ followers can learn from his life experience. Malcolm Little was an African American man who came to Islam while in prison from 1946 to 1952. Once leaving prison, Malcolm eventually rose to become a national speaker for the Nation of Islam. He eventually left that group in 1964 shortly before he was assassinated.
Now don’t get me wrong. Obviously I’m not supporting the Nation of Islam. I am in no way agreeing with Islam in general. Islam is a false religion and Mohamed was a false prophet. That statement does not mean that I hate Muslims, but is rather an assessment of the facts. I am not endorsing the methodology Malcolm advocated through most of his public life. But I am suggesting that we can learn a thing or two from the way the Nation of Islam influenced his life, and see an illustrative picture of how the true nature of the Kingdom of Heaven should be lived out today. These are principles which many Christians in the West desperately need to eternalize today. So I’ve listed five quick observations below to begin with. Anything you would add?
I just read a great article in the Wall Street Journal about how divorce in America has affected Generation X folks. It was a well written piece and thought provoking. But like most media today, it said little about God and His design. So I posted a comment to the article online and have pasted it below. Enjoy and feel free to chime in here or at the WSJ site itself.
Ouch! Sometimes when I think about the lives of the first disciples of Jesus I feel a big sense of conviction. By looking through the lens of history and observing those early Christians it’s easy to notice that there was something radically different about them. The truth is that they had a deliberate conversion from the old life which is often lacking in our day. I wonder at times if we haven’t gotten a bit soft and sleepy in the 21st century west and are no longer able to show any difference between us and the world around us. By this I don’t mean we need to act weird and pick up man made traditions like the Amish. But sometimes we forget that we as authentic followers of Christ are part of a greater Kingdom and therefore are called to a new way of life. The first followers of Christ seemed to get that.
I’m excited to be back with my friends at The Crossings this Sunday. In honor of Father’s Day, I’ll be teaching from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 which is a great and challenging text for dads. One of the illustrations of the study is a hymn written in 1911 by William P Merrill entitled, “Rise Up, O Men of God”. Enjoy!
Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.
Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
and end the night of wrong.
Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
her strength unequal to her task;
rise up, and make her great!
Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where his feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
rise up, O men of God!
Today is Memorial Day in the US and while Christ followers have to keep central the reality that they are part of a bigger kingdom, the Bible still teaches us to give honor where honor is due. Memorial Day is such an occasion for that. On one hand, I’m not a fan of taking a Sunday morning church gathering and turning it into an American Patriotic service. Yet, on the other hand I do believe we can still give honor and recognition to those who have given the greatest sacrifice. In addition to that, as Kingdom citizens I believe we can learn some things from fallen vets and I think this clip from the Movie Black Hawk Down is illustrative of that. Some of you may remember the actual events from 1993 in Somalia. But in short, SFC Randall Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon willingly and purposefully gave their lives to save Black Hawk pilot Michael Durant. Lesson? As Kingdom citizens, we are to put Christ and others first. If you’ve wondered why authentic Christianity can sometimes seem lacking in the west, I believe it’s because we have forgotten something that Shughart and Gordon understood to the very core of their being. They knew that it was not about them, but others. So this Memorial Day, remember those who have fallen to save others. Remember the Christian Martyrs who gave their lives for Christ over the past 2000 years. Above all, remember our call as Citizens of the Kingdom of God to “deny ourselves and take up our Cross daily and follow Him.” What can you learn and implement from the example of Shughart and Gordon?
Well I’m getting stoked about my sermon for this upcoming Sunday. We’re at the midpoint in a series at The Crossings called “The New Agenda” taken from Colossians 3:1-17. The whole crux of the series deals with living out the new life we have in Christ. The theme of this third installment in the series will be one of “Putting On” the new life of Christ. Toward the end of verse 14, Paul exhorts us to put on love which binds everything else together and that makes a lot sense. When you think about it, by purposefully loving others, we naturally cover all the facets of what it means to treat others from a Kingdom perspective. But how and who are we to love?