Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Talent Show

I want to go to a church that is seeking to use their talents to glorify God by blessing their community, not by entertaining themselves.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Song of Hope

This is currently one of the most over played songs on Christian radio. When a song gets overplayed I dissect every word of it and normally end up getting frustrated with the message being present. But for once I am actually okay with this one. Robbie Seay Band has some really good stuff, and Song of Hope is no exception.

The song is theologically rich and reminds me of some concepts I have been wrestling through, and blogged about earlier in the post "Sent From Heaven".
All things bright and beautiful You are
All things wise and wonderful You are
In my darkest night, You brighten up the skies
A song will rise

I will sing a song of hope
Sing along
God of heaven come down
Heaven come down
Just to know that You are near is enough
God of heaven come down, heaven come down

All things new
I can start again
Creator, God
Calling me Your friend
Sing praise, my soul
To the Maker of the skies
A song will rise

I will sing a song of hope
Sing along
God of heaven come down
Heaven come down
Just to know You and be loved is enough
God of heaven come down, heaven come down

Hallelujah, sing
Hallelujah, sing
Hallelujah, sing
Now for my mandatory critiques.

It lacks the quintessential theme of grace. No matter what the melody is, if it speaks to God's grace I am all about it. Though grace is not completely absent. It is alluded to with the phrase "all things new, I can start again".

While not required, the song does fail to make a direct call to action. However, I would fight to say this is open to interpretation. I like to think the title and central line ("I will sing a song of hope)" of the song is a metaphorical reference to how we live our lives, not literally the singing of a song. The idea that we are singing a song of hope with our actions, in our decisions, how we invest our time, and through our interactions with others. Though, one could hear this song and never arrive to that conclusion.

For what it's worth, I approve Robbie Seay.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"The Incredibles" Book

If I thought we got a steal on the hand cranked mixer last week, I don't know what one would call this. After a sunny fun filled day loving on some children at B-Town Kids, Elena and I were rummaging through a box of books at a garage sale when she found a "The Incredibles" book for her younger brother. After an intense volley of haggling, Elena threw out "10 cents" to which the man quickly replied "I don't need 10 cents, you can have it for free".

Walking away with a free book in hand, Elena felt thoroughly guilty. This, combined with wrestling through uneasy feelings of my own in previous garage sale encounters, has sparked much thought in terms of value, worth, monetary exchange, and world views. Maybe one of these days soon I will flesh them out and do a blog post.

Elena and I are headed to The Well tomorrow morning, and are hopefully picking up a friend we made under the Burnside Bridge at Nightstrike on the way. Following this we will be serving at WellBeing in the afternoon. In the evening I will be speaking to a group of Russian Christian youth on Debt and the American Dream. I'm excited!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vintage Hand Cranked Oeckoo Mixer

Elena and I made our list of "ing's" to do this summer - ie. hiking, bike riding, Bible reading, camping, beaching, church hopping, fencing, swimming, dancing, praying, serving, and garage saleing. After today, we can very succesfully check the last one off the list.

We scored two awesome pieces of kitchenware for a total of 50 cents. Along with a powder sifter we got a vintage hand cranked Oeckoo mixer (for that not too distant future when we run out of power).

I figured I would do some research online and couldn't find anything on the brand, but I did stumble across this bid on ebay! Bid of $9.94 with 4 days left. Not too shabby.

I'm off to help lead a teen camp for a couple days and then back for a Bridgetown Mission trip. I pray this week that you catch a glimpse of God's vision for your life and for the world that so desperatly need's His love!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bacon Creations

One of my readers brought it to my attention that while he and many others know my heart when they read my blog (and even for that reason find things like bacon vodka and maple bacon bars quite hilarious), many readers who stumble across my blog may not. I will try and be more responsible in how I communicate.

For the sake of clarity, I do not drink Bacon Vodka. On the contrary, I am 21 and still have no desire to even consume alcohol. However, I do thoroughly enjoy the delicious genius of the Maple Bacon Bar, though I do not condone all the activities and content of Voodoo donuts.

Speaking of delicious breakfast foods, Elena and I tore up the kitchen this morning and made the most amazing breakfast: White Chocolate Crepes With Raspberry Sauce. Definitely a keeper - Elena for sure, but the recipe too.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Broken Car w/ Insurance?

"If I had to choose, I would rather have a car that runs than good insurance on one that doesn't."

-Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy
Do we as Christians continue the life of a broken car, simply adding a good insurance policy for the next, or are we being restored into finely tuned creations of God in this life?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sent From Heaven

I'm am still processing wisdom gleaned from Surprised by Hope. Much of the insight revolved around paradigm shifting views of heaven.

I just finished working with my second mission trip (a group of teenage leaders working with World Venture) of the summer for Bridgetown Ministries. An interesting story came up during debrief after an early morning "Coffee and Donuts" act of service. One of the small groups met a woman waking up on a park bench (and getting dressed) in the North Park Blocks. She repeatedly asked them if they were from heaven.

My initial response was, "that's a nice compliment, but silly". But I started to ponder the significance of this statement and wondered if this woman had one upped me in my theology. If Christians claim the presence of God (through the Holy Spirit), then it is within the lives of those in The Church that Heaven and Earth collide.

That group of high schoolers was up early (after a late hard night of service) on the streets of Portland, without food in their own stomachs, serving the best (Voodoo Donuts) to the least of these among us only because of Jesus. They have been sent by their Lord, from Heaven, to love and serve on earth.

On a similar note, I was really excited to see Scot McKnight (of Jesus Creed) doing a word study in Scripture revolving around "heaven". Here is the first in the series: Heaven 1. I previously enjoyed a similar 62 part series on "Keys to the Kingdom" and am consequently anticipating this one.

Ah, feels good to be blogging again.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Trials

I always enjoy Dan's posts over at Cerulean Sanctum. His posts are consistently thought provoking, enlightening, challenging, and point to Scripture. Even besides all that, I like his posts because of the single fact that he makes me feel a little less crazy.

Case in point:
"...If our lives are peaches and cream most of the time, if we’re poster children for the American Dream, then we’re not a threat. The demonic doesn’t take us seriously, because if it did we’d be feeling and seeing the attacks..."

"...Here’s the worst thing that anyone can say about you or me as Christians: 'You’re no threat to the Devil.'"

Sadly, I believe that large swaths of the American Church are just that. The Enemy distracts us with consumerism, entertainment, fads (even church-related ones), and an all-consuming loathing for anything that even remotely borders on boring. We know the entire storyline behind Lost, can name every contestant on the last American Idol, can’t wait to plop down a small fortune on the next iteration of Xbox or Playstation, spend more on movie theater tickets or DVDs than we drop in the offering plate, and generally run willy-nilly after umpteen thousand things that neutralize our threat on the grand cosmic battlefield. Without even breaking a sulfurous sweat, the dark principalities and powers have rendered millions of American Christians fat, lazy, double-minded, and utterly worthless for battle..."

Excerpts from: When The Devils Know Your Name
and:
"...Most of us wouldn’t last through two days of genuine tribulation. The closest we’ve been to tribulation is at family reunions when grandpa talks about the Depression. Oh, and pass the corn on the cob slathered in butter.

I don’t know if we’re headed into tribulation or not. It sure seems like it. Only God knows.

But here’s what I’m certain of: For Christians alive during that tribulation, it’s going to feel like defeat. I don’t say that blithely. We may look around and see nothing but utter chaos, even within our families..."

"...For Christians, it will feel as if God has abandoned us because all the benefits we’ve known as believers will be bitterly, and perhaps even successfully, opposed. Life and faith won’t work like they normally do. The foundation won’t feel secure. Madness may strike someone you love. Cruel people might take your children away from you. When the forces of hell fight that last battle, they will not go down without taking out as many of us as they can.

It will look like defeat, folks. It will smell, taste, sound, and feel like it, too.

You’ll hear pollyanna Christians talking about how it will all be better. But it won’t be. And those pollyannas will one by one reject the faith because they built their hope on rainbows and fluffy bunnies instead of the Rock. People you know, even people who pledged allegiance to Christ, will turn on you to save themselves. Your best friend may sell you for a loaf of bread..."

Excerpts from: Live From the Battlefield

The Prodigal God

Here's a brief interview with Tim Keller concerning his new book titled The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith.

This is the quote that really hooked me:
"I don't know why over the years our interpretation of the Luke 15:11ff parable has focused so much on the younger brother. Even if you just count the verses it is clear that his part is only about half the story. If you read the parable in its context--Luke 15:1-3--it is clear that Jesus was directing the parable at Pharisees, 'elder brothers', who hated Jesus warm reception of tax collectors and sinners, 'younger brothers.' So the fate and decision of the elder brother is the real climax of the story. (And it is a cliff-hanger--we never find out how the Pharisee/elder brother responds.)"
I enjoyed his last book, The Reason For God, and wrote a series of blog posts. I his latest book into my summer reading schedule. I'll let you know what I think.