Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Divine Authority

picture this: you buy a car and take out a bank loan to pay it off. you now owe the bank money. yet the car is used for selfish purposes. it drives you to parties and movie theatres, but not to work or anywhere that will generate income to pay back your loan. eventually you fall deeper into debt. you're not making money, and the interest is killing you.

will the bank give you another loan? no! similarily, we cannot ask for gifts and blessings from the Holy Spirit, unless we bear fruit with it. God will take it away otherwise.

salesmen make money: if we have gifts like holy boldness and peace beyond our understanding, we can preach the Gospel.

teachers make money: if we have discernment and wisdom, we can teach fellow christians how to seek God.

doctors make money: if we have divine healing annointing, we can lay hands on the sick.

Matthew 10:1 says that Jesus gave the disciples the authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness, before he sent them out with instructions.

in the Parable of the Talents, Jesus told a similar story of how the Master's gifts are not to go to waste. it also further demonstrates the repercussions of disobedience in v. 30.

that said, obedience stems from initial love for the Father. Jesus said those who love Me will obey My commandments. what is love without obedience? how can i say i love my parents if i do not obey them? how is my love demonstrated otherwise? i am called to honor my parents. obedience is one aspect of honor. that is also applicable to our Heavenly Father. a man gives flowers to his wife to display affection, or apologies. but when this becomes routine, love is removed and flowers mean nothing. if he continues to disrespect her and lose her trust, apologies mean nothing. husbands are not called to obey their wives. but they are called to love and serve them via the constitution of marriage. wives are called to respect and follow their husbands. this was instituted by God. who are we as society to redefine gender roles or marriage vows?

however, God's Word stands alone. it defends itself. i do not need to change the government's opinion, and pastors nation-wide have already made aware to them the consequences for their actions. they did not pray and receive the ability to change God's law, as this would never happen. the constitution of marriage has not changed as far as God is concerned.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cross-Cultural Etiquette

change is vulnerable. can i ask you what it is instead of tell you how it is? so many questions yet i don't know what to ask. becoming weak is such a foreign concept. to ask for help. to learn how to give love rather than earn respect.

unconditional. the way you give to charity.

i hold the door for someone and pretend to not hear the "thank-you." yet when someone returns the favour i proceed to speak those words onto deaf ears. as if hearing my own voice acknowledges my effortless gift of brotherly kindness. but i am selfish.

is it a sin to think that a way of life could be perfect? anything dreamed up by man? is there such a thing as heaven on earth? are we to achieve that here? so many places i can see myself. happy. spontaneous. yet i think of heaven as some form of reality. with nothing desirable in sight. because nothing of this world could exist in eternal heaven. what should i accomplish in my earthly body that i cannot do in the afterlife? are there any limits? i cannot begin to imagine something that is so undefined to be so desirable.

the best-selling book of all time has always been the Bible. unmatched by any author in the world; poetically, historically, prophetically, and inspirationally. is it true that no-one will ever have anything to say that is contiguous to its magnitude? the gospels were written by those, and those observing those who were closest to Jesus. that is, God-incarnated.

we are told that the Bible, in essence, is complete. in fact, Revelation 22:18-19 forbids us from adding or removing from this book.

somehow we over-complicate things. cross-cultural etiquette is something that 99% of the world's population will likely never learn. i barely understand North American culture. even this concept of "cool" is here today, gone tomorrow.

but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever Hebrews 13:7-9.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Drinking, Smoking, Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

there. i did it. grouped them all together.

i have a new pet-peeve. instigating. basically, i want to find out what is so "taboo" yet "sinfully" permissible about these topics. i can see them as choice topics for debate, but i find a lot of this happening: "i could really use a smoke right now" or "i'm itchin' for a heineken"

it's as if these are unrightfully frowned upon and the relevant thing to do is set ourselves apart from any pious pharisees that we come in contact with, and spite them from a distance, waving a lighter and a finger.

are these things wrong? for anyone? i never thought a recovering alcoholic should be given alcohol. or a smoke-intolerant person should be smoked around. i know some new christians who are trying to quit smoking. yet i see christians craving cigars from time to time. and inviting others to join. okay, maybe i'm pointing fingers. but i fail to see a need to be liberated to do these things rather than encouraged not to.

okay, i haven't even talked about sex, drugs, or rock and roll. basically i threw these things into my title to set a tone. rock and roll is considered evil by some people, i, myself do not want to get into this argument. sex i think is understood to be a closed door until marriage, and drugs are just plain bad. i could get into why, but i'll leave it for now.

is smoking wrong? well, we've all seen the gingevitis ads (shivers), but i don't think this is what is arguable. i know a guy who gets angry with himself because he smokes. he says he hates it because it's "just a front." people hide behind it. it's an escape from emotional stress.

"did Jesus tell us to light one up when we are weary and burdened?" i bet lots of smokers get that one... is smoking a burden?

"Jesus turned water into wine, but He didn't drink any" personally, i don't believe this, secondly, was Jesus encouraging drinking or getting drunk?

my beef is not whether or not we should damage our bodies, that's between us and God. conviction comes from the Holy Spirit. not fellow believers. that's judgment. where my beef is is telling others that it's okay. or doing it simply to get a rise out of some legalist. as if relevance is set apart from holiness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Haunted Wedding

this made the front cover of today's newspaper. i have written the caption here in case you can't read it on your computer

This corpse bride (alias Kim Kitchen) and her treacherous groom (alias Holly Bates) were among the numerous frightening sights at the "Haunted Hill on the Grand" Halloween display presented by Caledonia's Grace United Church at the Oelkuch property north of York on the weekend. Proceeds went toward the church's building and restoration fund, and the Haldimand Norfolk Children's Aid Society.
 I am so glad that christians are willing to do anything to glorify God.

Guerrilla Jesus

while reading the subsequent post, do not lose focus. this is but one of the many sides of Jesus. not to discredit anything i am about to say, but please take note.

the genealogy of Jesus is interesting to note, because it it goes through Joseph's (husband of Mary) line. and we know, from reading of His birth, that Jesus did not have a "father" in a mortal human sense, but that Mary was impregnated by God Himself (this is why Joseph questioned Mary's loyalty to him). so i began to question the credibility of the account for Jesus' genealogy. in Matthew 1:16, it includes Mary as the wife of Joseph... as if to hilight the importance of marriage as a binding contract and addition to family. becoming "one"... also, Matthew's inclusion of women in the earlier ancestry accounts for the shadiness of His ancestors. people put Mary on a pedestal. but not Joseph, or any of his ancestors. how come? can we not bear the idea of Jesus having prostitutes and adulterers and pagans for relatives?

i think this really adds to the incredibility of Jesus and His claims. you have to take His word at face value. and the doubt goes with it. taking all this into account, trusting Jesus becomes a little less fuzzy, and a little more provocative.

who was Jesus? when interrogated, He confirmed their accusation against His claim, being the Son of God.

Jesus spoke with authority. the disciples noted this. Jesus would go around casting demons out of people, calming storms, and teaching with humble conviction. and besides all of this, He was perfect. He could wander in the desert for 40 days without food, and be tempted by the devil, yet He would not falter.

He challenged their understanding of the law! He rewrote it for them! He raised the bar. comparing us not to other men, but to God Himself. even as a child, Jesus would sit in the Nazarene temple and debate with their highest teachers. Later, He trashed the temple in Jerusalem, overturning tables of money changers, telling them they had made it into a den of theives Matthew 21:12-13. He called the pharisees and teachers hypocrites! snakes and vipers! blind and unclean! then he accused them of murdering righteous blood between the temple and the alter Matthew 23. And when the priests questioned His authority, He answered them in riddles Matthew 21:23-27.

Yet in His perfection, He remained humble. He was a servant-leader. He washed the disciples' feet.

Read Luke 23:11-12. wow. through Jesus' innocence, two rulers are befriended. yet Jesus said that He did not come down to earth to bring peace, but to fulfill God's law through atonement for our sins. but it just seems to radiate off of Him. He wore it on His sleeve, only to give it away by saying "peace be with you." George Lucas applied this as a bidding farewell: "may the force be with you." though there are also an array of other pagan and spiritual religions behind his "force" concept. it reminds me of wiccan and spiritual feminist ideas of a god that can be influenced for good or evil uses.
Jesus predicted His own death and resurrection. then He did it. and while He did it, He made sure to take one final slap in the sanhedrin's face by ripping the temple curtain in two (the one hiding the ark of the covenant from the priests' eyes upon entering the Holy of Holies, so that they would not be struck dead by the radiant presence of God) Luke 23:45.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

So Cliche

You have heard, "hold on"
But I say, "let go" Psalm 55:22

You have heard, "be strong"
But I say, "be weak so that I may be strong" 2 Corinthians 12:10

You have heard, "get it together"
But I say, "become broken" Psalm 51:17

You have heard, "figure it out"
But I say, "I will confound the wise" 1 Corinthians 1:27
and "lean not on your own understanding" Proverbs 3:5

You have heard, "assess the situation"
But I say, "look to me" Colossians 3:1-2

You have heard "you know yourself better than anyone"
But I say, "the hairs on your head have been counted" Matthew 10:29-31

I suppose this is all very cliche, but it goes to show how relevant the Bible is in our culture. It shows that God's ways are still not our ways. Even the best advice we can offer is still challenged by a book published 2000 years ago.

Matthew 5 outlines interpretations of the law, challenged by Jesus.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Candid Camera

remenis with me:

my brother's highschool graduation ceremony.

mother and i are in attendance.

my job: to videotape isaac receiving his diploma.

so i turn on my camera.

but i can't see anything through the lens.

cap is off, just to double-check.

but i suspect a busted CCD chip.

i take it to the shop a week later.

it's a busted CCD chip.

$300 and 4 months later, it's fixed.

today i am excited. today is the day i get my camera back. it has been in the shop for too long! finally my baby is coming back to me. my Canon ZR-65. my companion. my love. my treasure. my weapon...

it occurred to me just how deadly a videocamera can be, when in the hands of a warrior for Christ!

check it out: i can be a witness, disguised as a documentary filmmaker. a camera not only gives purpose for interviewing random people to get opinions about our small town issues, but also poses a means to an end: Jesus Christ. it opens a window for candid conversations about topics chosen by the interviewer (me). while earning a reputable profile as a videographer, i'm doing undercover work for the kingdom of God.

there's something sexy about the potential of this project. this would make a cool youth event. i can just picture a bunch of teens running through the streets of downtown Simcoe with videocameras... with a *new mission: soulharvest

* i say new mission as a correction. originally i said "primary focus," but that is incorrect. it should be secondary to a primary focus of God. how could i slip that up! ha. as soon as i posted this blog entry, my mom told me that she couldn't pick my camera up today and that it would have to wait until tomorrow night. and i had made plans of using it tomorrow. then i had a shower and thought about this for a little while. then God kicked me in the head. why would i challenge people to do anything before time with Him? before prayer? so i made up my mind. i would change this post. because i needed to be corrected. because i am still flawed. then i got a phone call. it was my mom, telling me that she could try to pick it up tonight after all. honestly, this is interesting. it's like the thoughts that go through my head manipulate reality. the conversations with God, at least.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Second Definition

Philippians 4:12-13 Paul says I have learned the secret to being content in any situation. being content... having joy. i found this during worship on sunday morning. because we were singing a song that had a verse about joy. God has been teaching me how to find joy in all circumstances. which, i can only describe the way that Paul did. being content. not over zealously thrilled, but content. is it possible to have joy in mourning? in suffering? in depression? only if you draw strength from Christ Jesus. does that make sense? Paul thought so. we celebrate joy at christmas time. joy to the world. somehow we've attached it to a seasonal holiday.

i'm reading a book called "Provocative Faith" right now. in it, the author recalls an experience during a mission trip to romania. there he visited an orphanage where they were greeted by a youg boy who asked the mission team to join him in singing "Jesus Loves Me". the author couldn't help but think about this kid's evidently broken past, his present circumstance, and his bleak future. how could he want nothing more than to sing this song? where was his inspiring joy coming from?

presently, i am unemployed. not to embelish on this struggle in my life, i mean, what is this? a blog?? ...but at times i wonder how God could know this and have my best interest in mind. another month like this and my credit history is at stake. debt will soon arise. debt is not good. student loans are not good when you can't pay them back. but God knows this. and still He is telling me to be content? if i go a day dwelling on my circumstances, i face a battle of depression. yet if i keep my eyes on God, the battle is won.

last week i attended a jobconnect workshop to help me with interview skills, resume writing and all the fun stuff that comes with job searching. there were two of us in that workshop. during our break, i had a conversation with the guy beside me. he was fresh out of highschool who described himself as an "entrepreneur"... his mother signed him up to take this workshop in hopes that he might get a real job and earn an honest living. he was a dealer. as much as i could not relate to him, i told him that the path he was on had a dark future. and the longer he stayed on that path, the harder it would be to get off. he acknowledged this, telling me how much he was making, which was immensely more than if he were to work for a legal company.

perhaps joy is not an emotion. perhaps joy does not come in an ecstacy pill. perhaps joy does not come in the magical time of christmas. the analogy here is pretty straight forward: there is no quick fix solution to inner turmoil. from happypills to a permasmile.
i'm sure that joy can be a warm fuzzy feeling at times. i believe it is intended to. but joy has a second definition: contentment in any situation. joy as a virtue.