Sunday, June 29, 2008

A perspective on Worship

Through an email exchange, I was introduced to the work of N T Wright, the Bishop of Durham.  He has written a book called "Simply Christian" which attempts to address what Christianity is to the post-modern world of today in the same way C S Lewis addressed "Mere Christianity" to the modern world of the 1940s.

When speaking at Calvin College's "January Series" in 2007, he states:
One of the basic laws of spiritual life is that you become like what you worship. When you worship an idol, whatever it is, part of you dies as you take on the lifeless image of that idol.  But if you worship the God in whose image you are made, you are renewed in that image.
-- Bishop N T Wight

You can download the whole speach here.  There is quite a bit of introduction (musical and speaking at the front, after that....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It's firing up again. Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions are within site.... Not much drama there, both candidates have been chosen.

Last night, I answered the first of (I suspect) many political polls.  I love (NOT) the way they engineer the questions to get the results they want.

On top of that, James Dobson hits the news with a claim that Obama distorts the Bible.   Obama fires back that Dobson distorts Obama.

I think, as a matter of course, both are right, both are wrong.  Again, I see Christians wanting to put too much faith in the President and not enough in the King (of Glory).

McCain is not any better (Dobson doesn't support him either) as he recently made a politically loaded statement that his allegiance is first, last and always to America.

I think I am feeling very Mennonite lately.  That may not be a bad stance to take.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Quick Update.

So... I was going to post this last Saturday but didn't want to interfere with the post on Fathers Day.

Here are some things that are happening.

Kevin & I finished laying down bass and drum tracks for zOE'S iMAGINARY fRIEND.  Glad it is over with and looking forward to hearing the finished product.  All involved are great musicians and lend their particular flavor to the soup that is "zif".  You can hear some of the work in progress on the site or on the MySpace page.  We are looking forward to a "release" in July or so...

As I walked out the door last night, I warned everyone that I may not be at work today.  Since I didn't need an excuse, this is that much more enjoyable (not real... but fun).

Wasp invasion. The pest control people are coming over as they are places I don't feel comfortable getting to.  Why did God create wasps and mosquitoes?

Lawn work. The real reason I am not going to work today.  Due to lots of activity on the weekends with "zif" and church, not much time to fix the back which looks pretty bad after last winter.  Also have a spot to patch in the front.

30 down 20 to go.  Pounds that is.

Marj is tutoring Algebra this summer.  She has 5 students including Kyle.  Things seem to be going well.

I was impressed by the insitefulness of this post... The opening line to Prodigal Jon's post on "Genesis 13 - Good meaning bad" is
"For me, using drugs wasn't the real problem..."

To top it off... I think our dog learned to spell.... I mentioned to Kyle that "Rocky had to go O-U-T" and he headed toward the door.... hmmm.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A fun fathers day present

It was a fun fathers day present.  I got it on Friday rather than Sunday but it was fun.

Kyle and Marj plotted to get me flight.

Do you remember those dreams where you are flying with no assistance?  Soaring over the landscape?  I am sure dream interpreters have some sort of meaning for that.  To me it nothing more than wanting to fly!

Several times, when we visited Orlando, I wanted to try the indoor skydiving but never got around to it.  This year, however, we found out that there is one in the Denver Area called SkyVentures.

Friday afternoon Marj picked me up from the bus stop and we headed out.  After a short class, we suited up.  Marj, Kyle and I split 10 minutes of flight time.  Videos are below...

Joel's Second Flight

Marj's Second Flight

Kyle's Second Flight

You can see more of the videos here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Readers Digest and Acts?

I found myself looking forward to this passage in Acts this week!  It is essentially the "Readers Digest" version of the Old Testament... Acts 7:2-50 reads:

Stephen replied, "Friends, fathers, and brothers, the God of glory

appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before the move to Haran, and told him, 'Leave your country and family and go to the land I'll show you.' "So he left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran. After the death of his father, he immigrated to this country where you now live, but God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time. God let him know that his offspring would move to an alien country where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. 'But,' God said, 'I will step in and take care of those slaveholders and bring my people out so they can worship me in this place.'

"Then he made a covenant with him and signed it in Abraham's flesh by circumcision. When Abraham had his son Isaac, within eight days he reproduced the sign of circumcision in him. Isaac became father of Jacob, and Jacob father of twelve 'fathers,' each faithfully passing on the covenant sign.

"But then those 'fathers,' burning up with jealousy, sent Joseph off to Egypt as a slave. God was right there with him, though—he not only rescued him from all his troubles but brought him to the attention of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He was so impressed with Joseph that he put him in charge of the whole country, including his own personal affairs.

"Later a famine descended on that entire region, stretching from Egypt to Canaan, bringing terrific hardship. Our hungry fathers looked high and low for food, but the cupboard was bare. Jacob heard there was food in Egypt and sent our fathers to scout it out. Having confirmed the report, they went back to Egypt a second time to get food. On that visit, Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers and introduced the Jacob family to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and everyone else in the family, seventy-five in all. That's how the Jacob family got to Egypt.

"Jacob died, and our fathers after him. They were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb for which Abraham paid a good price to the sons of Hamor.

"When the four hundred years were nearly up, the time God promised Abraham for deliverance, the population of our people in Egypt had become very large. And there was now a king over Egypt who had never heard of Joseph. He exploited our race mercilessly. He went so far as forcing us to abandon our newborn infants, exposing them to the elements to die a cruel death.

"In just such a time Moses was born, a most beautiful baby. He was hidden at home for three months. When he could be hidden no longer, he was put outside—and immediately rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, who mothered him as her own son. Moses was educated in the best schools in Egypt. He was equally impressive as a thinker and an athlete.

"When he was forty years old, he wondered how everything was going with his Hebrew kin and went out to look things over. He saw an Egyptian abusing one of them and stepped in, avenging his underdog brother by knocking the Egyptian flat. He thought his brothers would be glad that he was on their side, and even see him as an instrument of God to deliver them. But they didn't see it that way. The next day two of them were fighting and he tried to break it up, told them to shake hands and get along with each other: 'Friends, you are brothers, why are you beating up on each other?'

"The one who had started the fight said, 'Who put you in charge of us? Are you going to kill me like you killed that Egyptian yesterday?' When Moses heard that, realizing that the word was out, he ran for his life and lived in exile over in Midian. During the years of exile, two sons were born to him.

"Forty years later, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to him in the guise of flames of a burning bush. Moses, not believing his eyes, went up to take a closer look. He heard God's voice: 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Frightened nearly out of his skin, Moses shut his eyes and turned away.

"God said, 'Kneel and pray. You are in a holy place, on holy ground. I've seen the agony of my people in Egypt. I've heard their groans. I've come to help them. So get yourself ready; I'm sending you back to Egypt.'

"This is the same Moses whom they earlier rejected, saying, 'Who put you in charge of us?' This is the Moses that God, using the angel flaming in the burning bush, sent back as ruler and redeemer. He led them out of their slavery. He did wonderful things, setting up God-signs all through Egypt, down at the Red Sea, and out in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to his congregation, 'God will raise up a prophet just like me from your descendants.' This is the Moses who stood between the angel speaking at Sinai and your fathers assembled in the wilderness and took the life-giving words given to him and handed them over to us, words our fathers would have nothing to do with.

"They craved the old Egyptian ways, whining to Aaron, 'Make us gods we can see and follow. This Moses who got us out here miles from nowhere—who knows what's happened to him!' That was the time when they made a calf-idol, brought sacrifices to it, and congratulated each other on the wonderful religious program they had put together.

"God wasn't at all pleased; but he let them do it their way, worship every new god that came down the pike—and live with the consequences, consequences described by the prophet Amos:

Did you bring me offerings of animals and grains
those forty wilderness years, O Israel?
Hardly. You were too busy building shrines
to war gods, to sex goddesses,
Worshiping them with all your might.
That's why I put you in exile in Babylon.

"And all this time our ancestors had a tent shrine for true worship, made to the exact specifications God provided Moses. They had it with them as they followed Joshua, when God cleared the land of pagans, and still had it right down to the time of David. David asked God for a permanent place for worship. But Solomon built it.

"Yet that doesn't mean that Most High God lives in a building made by carpenters and masons. The prophet Isaiah put it well when he wrote,

"Heaven is my throne room;
I rest my feet on earth.
So what kind of house
will you build me?" says God.
"Where I can get away and relax?
It's already built, and I built it."

What follows is Stephan being killed by the clergy and people at that time. Why? Because he "spoke against the "Holy Temple". Saul, who we know mostly as Paul, was among those that stoned Stephan.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tongues of fire!

I was stuck when I listened to Acts 2 yesterday.

If you have never heard it read, click the link above, then the audio button (the speaker) at the top of the page.  Or, ask someone to read it to you.  Sit back, close your eyes and concentrate on what God did that day!