Thursday, March 27, 2014

Defining Daily Bread

As we pray through what Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord's Prayer, I am finding that I need to redefine, "daily bread."  What got me started on this was beginning The Daniel Plan this past week to get healthier and make better choices about food.

I have always thought this request of daily bread was about having enough to eat.  How often is that really a problem for us in America?  I am seeing it now as a prayer of how to handle "to much" rather than not having enough. 

There was a reason that God only provided manna for that day (except for the day before the Sabbath).  Yes, it was a matter of daily dependence but it also avoided any over indulgence.  God is very wise.

I have also been struck by Rick Warren's words at the beginning of The Daniel Plan.  He talks of growing up in a Baptist pastor's home where there was never any alcohol, smoking was also forbidden but food of any kind and in any amount was ok.  That is how they celebrated everything - food.  It was that way where I grew up too.  It has been that way for my children.  Perhaps there are new places and new ways to pray for daily bread.

Come this Sunday as we explore what that means and we let God redefine things.

for the journey...


Friday, March 21, 2014

Kingdom Come

One of our members was at an ATM machine this week, as he walked away he spoke to the stranger waiting his turn at the machine.  They exchanged pleasantries then the man asked the Northsider, "I'm new in town, can you recommend a church for me to try?"

The Northsider happens to be one of our folks who has committed to the 4XFour Challenge to invite people to church in 2014.  He had been in prayer for those efforts.  Here a complete stranger basically does everything but sign his 4XFour commitment card for him.

Was this ATM encounter a coincidence?  Our member did not think so.  We read at the beginning of our 40 Days to Easter devotional Draw the Circle that, "If you pray to God regularly, irregular things will happen on a regular basis."  Jesus told us to be praying that his kingdom would come, should we be surprised if the opportunities for the Kingdom come and knock on our door?

But what does it mean for the kingdom to come?  How can we see it?  We will delve into that a little more thoroughly Sunday, but the signs of the kingdom coming are not always in the easy, instant opportunities. The signs are sometimes in the places of obedience where it is tough or in the places of gradual transformation over the long haul of a lifetime.

I have seen the kingdom coming recently in a group of couples working on their marriages together and being transformed by a single verse of scripture that seemed to speak to every one of us in a unique but profound way.

I have seen signs of the kingdom in the new homeless ministry that is at work through our church - planting a garden and sharing the gospel in one of the toughest neighborhoods in our city.

I have seen more evidence of the kingdom coming as our Search Team works to bring a new Worship and Music Pastor to our church. 

When Jesus taught us to pray, the first request he taught us to ask was that God's kingdom would come and his will would be done.  We should not be surprised when we see it.  We should be surprised if we don't see it.  Are you seeing it?  Come join us Sunday and we will pray and search it out together.

for the journey...


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Noah - Need to Know

It will not be long until another Biblical movie will be out - "Noah."  In what I have been reading though about the movie there are some things you need to know before you go, at least after I read them I felt like I should share this in some way.

So below is a link to what someone who has seen the movie wants us to know about it.  The post was written by Dr. Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters.  You will also see within this post,links to other places that give 5 pro and con points about the movie.

This is a big spoiler alert so don't read this if you want to go and be surprised.  If you have read the Bible, seen the previews, expect the biblical story and then go to see it, from what I understand here, you will really be surprised.  The movie is set to come out March 18.

for the journey....


Friday, March 7, 2014

The Word Worth a Thousand Pictures

The movie "Son of God" has far surpassed it box office predictions.  It has brought in $26.5 on its opening weekend when projections figured it would bring in $17.5 million.  On March 4, it was Fandango's number 1 rated movie.  It's popularity is not with out controversy and certainly not without discussion.  No movie about Jesus will ever be a non-controversy.

I was not able to make it to the opening weekend because of commitments so Judith and I went to see it on Monday night.  I was moved, I was impressed and I struggled at parts of it.  I sat there at times getting into the story then at other times thinking, "Ok, that event is not in the right place chronologically" or "That is not how that happened in the John's gospel."  I finally made my mind up to watch it as I would a church Easter Pageant; there is simply no way to portray every detail of every event in the gospels in a movie format.  If it were up to me I would have done it differently. 

In the end, I am glad Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett made the effort.  I don't believe they were trying to mess things up; they were trying to bring a message out of the life of Christ.  It had flaws, it had it's high points.  I commend their effort and I pray that they may not go the way of Mel Gibson after he made the movie, "The Passion of the Christ."  They will receive criticism and pressure and I pray that their faith and their lives will remain strong.  I commend their courage though I don't always agree with how things were presented.  I would have done it differently but then I am not a movie maker.  I am glad and thankful they are.

One of the realizations I had watching it and critiquing it was that there is no way to put the life of Christ into a movie and make it as dynamic, as realistic, as detailed and as accurate as the written word.  God knew what he was doing when he inspired the scriptures to be written.  He did not wait until there could be a movie about his son, he inspired people to write.  Hopefully, the movie will inspire people to read.

I left with a greater appreciation of the Bible and the people who did write accounts of the life of Jesus as they were inspired by God.  No one will ever top that.  Even our best efforts to portray it or represent it will fall short but the Word of God will not fail or pass away (Matthew 5:18).  And that is how it should be. And that is how it will be.

There were a group of ladies from our church there at the theater the night we saw "Son of God."  One of them asked me, "You have already seen this haven't you?"  I answered, "No, but I have read the book."  Now, for a while, I will read it and think back on the movie.  I will see details they caught and I had missed.  I will see details they did not portray.  Hopefully, I will see the Son of God more clearly.

for the journey...