Sunday, July 30, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
So, Matt and I ventured to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest this weekend. I’m not sure why, but it was interesting how much the movie focused on the immortal and how quickly individuals were willing to trade their eternity to gain something earthly. In fact, the eternal ends up being a currency that one could use in their favor because in the end you could always find a way to cheat your way out of eternal punishment. I wonder if that’s the modern view on the realm of the eternal?
I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the movie was when Jack predicts Miss. Swan will turn to piracy and forsake honor because she has a curiosity about it. Which proved more than accurate. You would think that with all that pirates did in history (not to mention how horribly disgusting they must have smelled), we wouldn’t think much of them. Yet they captivate our minds and have become our heroes. I never thought I would be a person who would go to the movies rooting for a pirate!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
I am currently reading a book by K.P. Yohannan, "Revolution in World Missions," and it has been perhaps the most challenging book I have ever read. Yohannan, an Indian pastor living in the United States, is quite frank as he evaluates the church in America from an outsider's perspective. He suggests that American Christians have lost touch with the great commission and that our attempts to follow it have been half best at most.
What if Americans individuals took the great commission seriously and poured everything they had into it? What if American church saw the great commission as the single most important goal and purpose of the church and focused everything into that? What if Christians in America actually grasped what it means to save a man's soul from eternal suffering rather than "make this temporary life a little more comfortable" with hand outs and gestures of good will? (pg.111) Would entire nations actually turn towards God rather than merely catch up to the living standards of the west?
Yohannan suggests that we have become experts at dishing out humanitarian aid, yet have forgotten our first call; to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. We have become experts at creating multi-million dollar buildings to glorify God, yet have forgotten that while here on earth "the Son of Man had no where to lay his head." We have become experts at storing up treasures as Christians so tightly here on earth that we fear releasing the very things that God has given.
We fear that God will not come through again. We fear being in want. We fear that without a great display of what we've accumulated, no one will ever be attracted to Christ. So we spend our time as the church hoarding, building great fortresses, and being "entertained and entertaining...as if [we] were trying to escape from a guilt [we] have not yet defined or even identified" (pg 41).
This past year as a staff worker with InterVarstiy, I met a homeless woman one night as we handed out sack lunches and prayed with the homeless in Santa Barbara. It was apparent this woman was not your typical homeless as she was sober, had no evidence of past drug use and sat calmly reading a well worn bible. She shared that she had felt God's call on her life so deeply to give up everything and follow him, that she did exactly that. As she travels around California, she's now able to offer freely the only thing she has left to give: Jesus. And her testimony to the faithfulness of God is turning many to him. But scared me the most about this woman was that as she spoke, there was an unnerving peace in her eyes and voice. She understood the call of Christ so completely and in following there was peace, not fear. It was unsettling to see someone actually living out the very call of leaving everything behind to follow Jesus. It's the same call I had been given. It's the same call you have been given. This woman however had the strength to do what I fear. Giving up my treasures on earth.
We have much to offer; wealth, knowledge and Jesus. We have been given everything! Yet we are afraid to share it...even Jesus.
I highly suggest reading this book. I myself am still trying to sort out what I think about Yohannan's assessment of the American church, and I might need to re-think some of my theology...but it is worth it. You can actually get a copy of the book at www.gfa.org for free. It's well worth it!