I confess I watch too much tv. Not necessarily sitting in front of it for hours upon hours a day, but following shows on Hulu and Netflix. Either way, there’s a few shows that i love. My top right now is Parenthood. It’s about an extended family that is dealing trying to be close with each other, but still live independent lives. There is a family with a child that has asbergers, a couple who cannot have kids anymore, a single mom who’s trying to figure her life out, and a single dad who is trying to maintain a relationship with his son and start a recording studio with his brother. I love this show because it is entirely based on relationships. They portray the ins and outs of marriage, divorce, parenting, siblings, and family. You constantly hear the phrase, family is the most important.
I began to think about other shows that I watch. How many of them portray a loving relationship between a husband and wife. Not just a shallow, they “still” love each other, but a real relationship. The only other one I could think of was Friday Night Lights. Every other show seems to highlight the single life, the uncommitted relationship, and sex without consequences. They are cynical towards committed love, and ruled by flippant passion, but wonder why they can’t maintain a relationship with anyone more than 2 weeks.
I wonder, how long before committed marriage becomes “out of style”. How long before a couple who is committed to each other for life becomes just too boring for pop-culture? How long before I love lucy, and the dick van dyke show become relics of the past? How long until we “evolve” out of biblical standards for marriage.
Or are we there now?
I have days where I feel the need to deconstruct and rebuild everything. Not physically, my car wouldn’t exist if that were true, but in my life. I wonder if I’m the only one who does this. I begin to think, what got me here? What choices did I make to get me where i am today? Some days i think about the church in that realm. How did the church get to be the way it is. It is usually on the heels of a comment by a outspoken Atheist I read on a news article or twitter that I begin to think, why does the world look at us this way? Even further, why do I look at us this way?
So I begin to peel back the layers. Usually when people think about the church, they open their Bibles to Acts 2:42. But that’s not far enough. The church didn’t begin at Acts 2:42. Then some go back to Matthew 28, to the great commission, and some even further to Jesus death on the cross. There are some who go to Matthew 16 where Jesus tells Peter that he will be the rock on which Jesus builds his Church.
But that’s not far enough…
I want to suggest that it goes all the way back to creation. That we were created for God’s glory. Isaiah 43:7 says, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. So a true understanding of Church goes all the way back to creation.
So if we are created for God’s glory, the most fulfilling thing we can do is to bring him Glory. There it is. The meaning of life in a sentence. But living that out is much more difficult.
So we ask the question, what does it mean to bring God glory. Well first of all we have to look at the narrative that God is telling through the Bible and essentially mankind. That story is that He created us to be in fellowship. That we were created without sin, to walk with God in the garden. But sin separated us from that. And because of that sin, we are eternally separated from God. So we try to build big buildings to get to God and he changes our language. Then God gives us a set of rules to live by to prove that no one is without sin. So we sacrifice animals and become so legalistic to the law that we become self righteous.
But God has a different plan. Even though our sin separated us from God, he was so loving, that he provided the way back to him. Even through our disobedience, sin, murder, hate, racism, pride, and blasphemy, God came down and provided the way back to him through Jesus Christ. And because of Jesus, we can have a eternal relationship with God. Not because of what we’ve do, but because of what he has done. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
But it doesn’t stop there. John 20 says, “As the father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And the Great commission says, “Go and make disciples.” So it seems that God’s plan for humanity involves the gospel transforming our lives and empowering us practice and proclaim it to others.
So the mission of God, is to bring him glory by demonstrating and declaring his story (the gospel) to everyone we know. And that’s good news.
I understand that may be the weirdest title of a blog that I’ve written yet.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working through a understanding of support raising, how prayer is involved and how important it is to my family that we have a 2nd full income. I have never done a great job of support raising. Like, never gotten more than like 1/3 of what I set out for. I don’t know if I am not good enough at it, don’t need the amount I set out to get, or just too lazy to follow up with it, but nonetheless, I’m under funded.
Now it’s a tricky thing. I am not raising support because my family is struggling to get by. God has blessed us and continues to bless us financially. However, I do believe that since I am working 40 to 60 hours a week, that I should be supported for the work that I am doing. Sometimes its difficult because I hear people say, “why should we pay pastors. All they do is get paid to do what they are supposed to do for free.” Not there are parts of that statement that may be true, but other parts that are not. I spend majority of my time investing in leaders, making contacts with non-profits that we can serve with, studying the theology behind what we are doing, and preparing messages and lesson for our groups to go through. True, I have the opportunity to go to coffee shops and meet people, share my faith and story, “during work hours.” But shouldn’t everyone who works, no matter where, be able to share their faith at work.
So, I am working on praying about all of this. I am spending time each day specifically praying for the people God wants to send to help support us. I think that there is a weird dichotomy between how much support raising I have to do and how much God has. I’ve heard guys say, “Just pray to God and wait, and he will fully support you.” Now that sounds amazing, mostly because I don’t want to put in the work and get the no’s, but I feel that God asks more.
Lastly, I heard recently that over 70% of pastors deal with depression. At first I was appalled about it, but then I began to realize how hard the work we do really is. Dealing with people’s faith is a stressful endeavor. It’s not their cable bill, or the food they eat, it’s eternity. It’s encouraging people to get rid of sin in their life. It’s walking with people through all the personal crap that they go through, and then them resent you, because you know their deepest darkest secrets.
So if you have some time over the next few weeks, would you pray for my support raising efforts, for Origins and our desire to see a city changed, and dealing with depression.
Last night was a rough night for me and NFL football. The Saints lost a heartbreaker to the 49rs, even though they dominated a lot of the game both offensively and defensively. Just some costly turnovers, and not being able to cover Vernon Davis. Anyway, there’s always next year.
Then we turned over to the fighting Tebows agains the Pats. I didn’t have high hopes for this game, but I at least wanted Denver to show up. I didn’t get my wish. Throughout the course of the game, I kept checking twitter to see what was trending. Tebow was getting a lot of both positive and negative comments. And then the Focus on the Family commercial came on. As I watched this, I first hoped it wasn’t a mormon commercial, and then hoped that nothing stupid was said at the end. Unfortunately I know Christian culture enough that they usually ruin good stuff like that with something dumb.
Twitter began to blow up. Everyone was tweeting #John316 and #focusonthefamily. I came across a few people who said, “Another example of Christians using children to push out their violent beliefs.” After my initial what an idiot thought, I began to wonder. What’s so violent about John 3:16. Set aside all other issues that you may have with God, the Bible, church, Christianity, Tim Tebow. There is nothing controversial about that. It’s like saying, here have a free sandwich. You don’t have to eat it. I’m just giving away sandwiches.
It reminds me of what Jeff Vanderstelt said the other day at a mini-conference I was at. He said, you have to be able to preach the gospel into a gospel narrative in their life. If they don’t see a gospel narrative in their life, the gospel won’t make sense to them. Unfortunately, our world no longer has a gospel narrative. We try to fit them into football players, horses, and other junk, but we lack it in our own lives. How much have you given up in your life for someone else? How much have you sacrificed for God and for the church? Until we begin showing the world that, John 3:16 will be a controversial issue.
Hey everyone! I just uploaded the video I’ve been working on for the past couple of months. Special thanks to Seth Kuhn, whose stuff can be found here. Also, to the supporting cast, who live out what were trying to do, Laura Hooton, Justin Czimskey, Deidre Haun, and Jamie Holley. You guys inspire us all to demonstrate and declare the gospel.
Without further adieu!
Recently there has been alot of buzz about this video. It’s really well done, and has a great gospel presentation at the end, but in the words of Amy, “this video is more about hating religion than Jesus.” I tend to agree. I guess I am realizing something about myself that I hate. And now when I see it elsewhere, I hate it too. I’ve realized that I’m a cynic. I can make fun of and dislike pretty much anything. Lately its been overplayed Christian music. And by lately I mean the past 8 years. And to be completely transparent, I think spoken word is lame and annoying.
Anyway back to the video. The premise of the video is spelled out in his one line, “That Jesus and Religion are on opposite spectrums.” Now I understand his desire to separate hypocrisy in the church and Jesus, but I wonder if he is swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. We cannot discount the fact that Jesus came save us and establish the church. The church is a response to communal salvation. His line, “Jesus had you on his mind” is very pretty and makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but he also had everyone else’s, God’s sovereignty, and a bunch of pain. So you weren’t alone on his mind.
The last part of my rant, is that the book of James talks about religion, and it doesn’t seem like it’s on a different spectrum than Jesus. 1:27 says this: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So the question is not abou getting rid of religion, but remember what the church was made to do. To glorify God by loving the least.
Now somebody make a lame video about how God loves religion, when it does these things, and we can all have something else to talk about.