Sometimes I just get tired. If anything, the word journey better describes the walk with Christ more than a happy walk in the park. It gets hard at times. It gets fatiguing at times. A marathon, or maybe a triathlon, is more descriptive of what authentic Christianity is like, rather than a Caribbean cruise. Yes, I get tired sometimes. It is tiring to continue to pray for years and not see the results my heart longs for. It is just downright oppressive at times trying to calmly and lovingly speak toward Biblical righteousness in a culture that wholly embraces abortion, homosexual lifestyles, and philosophical relativity. It gets disheartening to see more and more people who wear the name of Christ in Western Europe and America drop Biblical morality like a bad losing streak in favor of liberal cultural and political correctness.
This past weekend I participated in a great men’s retreat north of Philadelphia. I’ve only been on the east coast a handful of times so it was great to make new friends with a common bond of Christ. We drew closer to Christ, grew in our walk, and shared stories from our own pilgrimages. With the coming of Memorial Day this weekend I was struck with the power of some stories from older guys who lived through the Viet Nam War. I was born in 1969 so I have no real memory of that tragic chapter in the history of the United States. But these men know quite a bit about that season and still carry scars today. It was in one of our final discussions of the weekend that part of their pain became very clear to me. Like the vets from the Korean War; these Viet Nam survivors were and are forgotten along with so many who died there.
I’ve been reminded by some friends that I’m falling behind in my Kingdomology posts and they’re right. Why the delay? Well it’s partially because I’ve had a ton of irons in the fire. But I have to admit that it’s also because I’ve just been meditating a lot on the present spiritual environment of the American culture since the presidential election last month. The root of my observation is not centered on the victory of Obama over Romney, but rather something deeper. The simple truth is that the American culture we know today is light years away from what the writers of the Mayflower Compact envisioned for this new land. Obviously America still enjoys more religious freedom than most countries on the globe especially when you think of places like China or the Middle East. But the American culture at large appears to be mirroring the Roman Empire of the first century much more than the philosophy of the Pilgrims.
Now I’m not saying that the Pilgrims were perfect nor am I suggesting that we should go back to their religious dress code or imitate their legalism. Indeed they got off track in many areas like we all do. But there was something different in their core nature that is missing today in so many camps.
If you’re like me you’ve probably heard people quote or refer to Jesus in backing up their conversations. You know; “Jesus said this which agrees with what I’m thinking so I must be right.” The funny thing, though, is that I have friends from all over the theological, social, and political spectrum who throw out the “Jesus said” card when they think He helps their case. But I often wonder how much we really read the words of Christ or simply refer to cliff notes prepared by someone else in our own camp of thought. On the other hand, if we value His truth as much as we let on, then wouldn’t it seem that we ought to be willing to go to His words first without preconceived ideas? This is of course true for Kingdom citizens who have already stepped out in the journey of being a Christ follower. But for all of us, skeptics included, my challenge this week is for everyone to take in a heavy helping of Jesus directly from His own words. The challenge is for everyone, me included, to simply read the words of Christ with fresh eyes and then readjust our world view to His teaching rather than forcing Him into our own paradigm.
After our break for Mother’s Day we’re jumping back into our study on “Discovering Authentic Church” this Sunday at the Crossings. Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking at the two major Churches highlighted in the book of Acts. The first one is the original Church in Jerusalem that is described primarily in chapters 2:42-47 and 4:32-37. The second Church in consideration is the Antioch fellowship found in Acts 11:19-30 and 13:1-4. Both of these Churches leave a lot that we can learn from today. However, the goal is not to legalistically or mindlessly follow each point in detail, but rather to look and learn from the overall picture of what God did and how they responded to Him in the first century. As we begin to wind down this series, I really believe that the authenticity of the first century Church really can be a reality in the 21st century today. So for everyone who lives in the Northwest Houston area, be sure to grab a friend and come by one of our services. For everyone; how are you going to “BE CHURCH” this week? In the mean time, check out this guy whose life was changed by “Discovering Authentic Church.”
“Lighten up; it’s only a book!” Have you ever heard that about the Bible? Have you ever thought that about the Bible? For me, I’ve actually based my whole world view on the Bible. Why? Because I have an assurance that “All scripture is God- breathed” and therefore I set eternity and all that I do and teach on that truth. I know that everyone doesn’t agree with this. A lot of folks question the validity of scripture and speculate whether it can be trusted or not. Many people suggest that “because the Bible was written such a long time ago and was translated so many times” that it just can’t be reliable for us today. If that is true, then the Bible rightly should be questioned. But there are many good reasons to trust the authenticity of the Bible and its inspiration by God. Below I’ve posted a summary list a friend and I put together which offers 8 major proofs for the authenticity of the Bible. What else would you add? How does this affect your view of scripture? How does this affect your view of God and His Kingdom? How does it affect the way you do life today?
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.