Saturday, January 10, 2015

Renew Your Mind

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." 1 Cor 8:1 Our thought patterns are so incredibly important because before our heart directs our mind toward love, our mind must direct our heart toward love. That is, we must reprogram our mind; our thought patterns. We must destroy every thought that condemns and nurture every thought that cultivates love. Where this is difficult, we ask the Lord to give us his eyes of grace and compassion for another, knowing that God loves all his children, and understanding that it is their sense of hurt and brokenness which gives rise to any broken patterns in their lives.

This is the very reason which Christ entered the world as a human being, that he might redeem all creation, humanity foremost. Knowing the lengths to which God extended himself and the power which raised Christ from the dead, we know also that God is at work redeeming each life. We begin by loving others because we know God infinitely loves them and believes in their potential for restoration, knowing them as they truly are, which is unknown to us, and even to themselves. In time, we too will begin to love them with the Love of God himself, seeing only what God sees.

Our thought patterns are so incredibly vital because these patterns will lead us either toward a knowledge that will puff up, or a love that builds up. The defining factor in Christianity is love. Without love it matters not what religion or belief system we belong to, because we will be no different than we would be without Christianity. Without love we only have beliefs and even 'correct' belief is damaging if it is not animated by love. Without love we will have nothing more than anyone of any other faith, religion, or belief system.

And this is why the Scripture says, "And the Greatest of These is Love." And in another place, If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

The central message of the Cross is not that Jesus died for our sins, or that God's wrath was pacified. These are aspects of the truth, but not the central message of the Cross. The central message of the Cross is that God loves us with an infinite love and demonstrates that love through the most vivid act possible. 

"For God so Loved the World that he gave us his one and only son." 

Now some will want to move immediately to the next verses, as though the most important part has been left out: "...and whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." But the central message is the first part of the verse, without which no one could possibly want to believe. The desire to emphasize the second part of the verse is an attempt to skip to the part that glorifies ourselves and what we've done. Yet the central message of the Cross is not found in what we have done or can do, but in what God has done for us to demonstrate his infinite love toward us. 

The cross is first and foremost God's love revealed for all humanity to behold. Therefore, this is the message: "Love will make us whole". 

And so we are back at where we first began; 
Our thought patterns are so incredibly important because before our heart directs our mind toward love, our mind must direct our heart toward love. That is, we must reprogram our mind; our thought patterns. We must destroy every thought that condemns and nurture every thought that cultivates love.
              

Friday, January 09, 2015

Acrobat

And I'd join the movement 
If there was one I could believe in 
Yeah I'd break bread and wine 
If there was a church I could receive in 


U2 // ACROBAT from Alessio Ruta on Vimeo.

Don't believe what you hear 
Don't believe what you see 
If you just close your eyes 
You can feel the enemy 
When I first met you girl 
You had fire in your soul 
What happened your face of melting in snow? 
Now it looks like this 

And you can swallow 

Or you can spit 
You can throw it up 
Or choke on it 
And you can dream 
So dream out loud 
You know that your time is coming 'round 
So don't let the bastards grind you down 

No, nothing makes sense 

Nothing seems to fit 
I know you'd hit out 
If you only knew who to hit 
And I'd join the movement 
If there was one I could believe in 
Yeah I'd break bread and wine 
If there was a church I could receive in 
'Cause I need it now 

To take the cup 

To fill it up 
To drink it slow 
I can't let you go 
I must be an acrobat 
To talk like this 
And act like that 
And you can dream 
So dream out loud 
And don't let the bastards grind you down 

Oh, it hurts baby 

What are we going to do? Now it's all been said 
No new ideas in the house and every book has been read 

And I must be an acrobat 

To talk like this 
And act like that 
And you can dream 
So dream out loud 
And you can find 
Your own way out 
And you can build 
And I can will 
And you can call 
I can't wait until 
You can stash 
And you can seize 
Responsibilities 
And I can love 
And I can love 
And I know that the tide is turning 'round 
So don't let the bastards grind you down

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quoque Scriptura












"Also Scripture"

It is false to think that any of us truly adhere to "Scripture Alone". Even as we read Scripture our own interpretation mingles with it, and we get a conglomeration of text and additions.

There is no such thing as Scripture alone. Nor would we really want to exist or know God by Scripture alone. Even the Scriptures testify that God can be seen and known by what we see in creation. All of creation "testifies". And so we learn much about God and His goodness from creation itself. Nature testifies, as well as our own consciences which either accuse or defend us.

The Hebrew Scriptures foretell of a time when God's Law would no longer be something we read about on a piece of parchment, but would be inscribed upon our hearts. Jesus came teaching, never himself creating a written record. Instead, he declares that he is sending the Holy Spirit who will bring to our remembrance all he has taught and will convict the world of sin. But we've traded all these other guides for the one guide of the written Law which is misinterpreted again and again, ultimately leading us to follow the teachings of men rather than the direction of the Spirit and heart.

 It is not "Sola Scriptura" but "Quoque Scriptura" {Also Scripture}. Scripture is one of the ways God reveals Himself to us, but itself declares it is not the only way.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Learning a New Language

As i work through the first quarter of Genesis, a thought occurs to me. i see altars being made for sacrifices. Noah makes one and Abraham makes one. Yet there is no "Law" yet. The altars and the practice of sacrifices seems to come from other religions. Cain and Abel make offerings to God, but not on altars. Even this seems to be learned from somewhere else, as God does not seem to require it. Yet he receives it.

I love the way God meets us where we're at. We speak to him in ways we understand, even though it is not 'his' language. It is the language created and learned within our respective cultures. Yet he uses this language with us and allows us to communicate with him through it. He accepts altars and sacrifices and later he will use this language to communicate to us a New Language.

Yet he declares he does not need our sacrifices. They do not feed him. Still, he uses this language like an artist in order to paint a divine picture for us. The language of sacrifice will be used to speak to us of the Christ and to explain the meaning of his life and death.

i don't think sacrifices were ever needed. i tend to think they were our creation rather than God's. In fact, in one place God declares he would rather us practice mercy than make sacrifice. Yet, he adopts our language and uses it to give us direction:

He speaks our language, so that we can learn to speak His.


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Magic

Sandra's seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins' gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I've had to make myself.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Inherited

The fear that was in you... is now in me.