Sunday, April 29, 2007

sold my truck!

I'm thankful to God that I sold my truck on Thursday and that he provided me a great car on Saturday. I go tomorrow to pick up the car from the individual I'm buying it from, but overall, I'm very pleased. I got a good price for my truck, and this car will get almost twice the gas mileage that my truck got. And with gas prices expected to continue to rise (even thought they never really know for sure), I think we made a good move. This has been a packed week making this happen on top of regular responsibilities, but I'm thankful we are almost finished with it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Interesting Story About Beauty & Culture

A story caught my eye in the Washington Post last week, and I wanted to pass it on to you for your thoughts. One of the writers for the Post thought up an experiment, executed it, and then wrote an article in response to what he found. Basically, he got one the best violinists in the world to play one of the most expensive violins in the world in a busy public place during rush hour. The premise was wondering if people who are busy with intense schedules would recognize the beauty right in front of them or run by without even noticing. You can read what happened in this very well-written article on the web. There is even some video of the guy playing. Amazing - what are your thoughts after checking it out?

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Very Heavy Heart

You all have heard and read and thought about the killings at Virginia Tech by now. I have a very heavy heart tonight as I process the sudden deaths of so many young college students. Why a heavy heart? Well, first, because like everyone else, my breath is stolen by the inexplicable tragedy of 32 college students doing regular life one moment and losing their life the next. The suddenness of the whole story simply captures our emotions and won't let go. We are reminded of how we walk through life daily like we are invincible, all the time being reminded that car accidents and cancer and all other kinds of tragedies take lives every suddenly every day. For whatever reason, we just always assume that those kinds of things will happen to other people and not to us. We are not ready for suffering or death, and most of the time simply try to deny that it exists. We don't like to go through it, so we simply don't talk about it. The headlines today are one of those short moments, like 9/11, when we are forced to confront the suddenness of death.

The other reason I have a heavy heart is because it reminds me again how urgent the task of evangelism really is - life is short, and unless Jesus returns, death is certain. Somehow we tend to lose the urgency of our mission because we fall into the trap of believing that everyone we meet and know will always be around. The killings today at VT remind me that not only is my life fragile, but the lives of people I meet are fragile as well. Young life taken prematurely devastates us emotionally, but eternal life separated from God should shake us even deeper. I have a heavy heart tonight because I can only imagine the pain and suffering of all those families who lost loved ones today. But I have a very heavy heart tonight praying and hoping that someone took the time to love those students and share with them eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Eternal Perspective

I've been going through a study with some leadership guys in our church plant core team called "Discipleship with a purpose." It is a great 20-week study that really challenges people to take a long look at the hard sayings of Jesus. One of the main points of the study is that the perspective of a follower of Jesus Christ must be eternal instead of temporal - not a new idea, but we've been challenged to continue to find more verses that demonstrate the eternal perspective of a follower of Christ. What a radical idea this truly is - that we would live for the reward in heaven and not for the temporary pleasure of this life. I saw a great quote this morning related to this idea that I thought I would share with you:

"All the loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itchings that this world contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all."
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Sunday, April 08, 2007

New Class / Discussion Group

We are starting a new class/discussion group at our church this morning called Q8: Christianity Uncensored. The pastor of our church got together some of his young staff guys and asked us to come up with the top 8 questions that we thought the unchurched/unbelieving community was asking about the church and the faith in today's cultural context. I'm teaching two of the eight weeks, and some of our other pastors are teaching the other 6. I have really enjoyed the work we have done on this class, and I'm praying that our people will use this class as an opportunity to invite the unchurched/unbelieving peers who are asking these questions. Our best stab at the top eight questions:

1) Is Jesus a white, middle-class Republican?
2) Why would I want to be a Christian when the church is so messed up?
3) Is Jesus really any different from Mohammad?
4) Why does God care about what happens in my bedroom?
5) Is God as judgmental as most Christians that I know?
6) If God is all-powerful, why doesn't he stop the spread of AIDS in Africa?
7) Why is the church so anti-science?
8) Why does the church suppress women?

I guess my question to you would be...what questions do you think we missed? OR, better said, what questions do you hear from those outside the church that you engage with in your sphere of influence? Thanks for your feedback.