Wednesday, July 19, 2006

From rules to something beyond

yesterday Garret and I were talking about the difference between Christianity that is all about morality and "being good" verses Christianity that is centered on Christ and his love and letting that love become a reality in our lives. then last night I just happened to read this passage by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

"I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at the first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, our of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one's eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people's eyes can see further than mine."

We see plenty of examples in the ministry of Christ where the so-called religious and upright people of the day completely missed the point, failed to see the big picture. When Christ healed the lame man at the pool in Bethesda the Jews were ticked because it was on the Sabbath. Later Jesus gives sight to a man born blind and the Pharisees spend a whole chapter arguing with the man, hung up on the Sabbath issue again.

For much of my life I too am guilty of this, caught up in outward appearances, rules and guilt, instead of focusing on the healing Christ has brought to the my life and the people around me. I've missed the source for too many years, been too worried about meaningless details and the petty perceptions of my peers. Meanwhile oblivious the countless instances of Jesus' power intersecting with the world's pain all around me.

Things have begun to shift for me, and for many others, in the way I view this world, my faith, and Christianity as a whole. More about Christ, less about appearance; more like Jesus, less like this fleshly shell. Help us Lord become more like your Son.
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headed to Colorado for Trek (and cool mountain weather!) tomorrow. keep our travel and our kids in your prayers please. thanks.
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pic of the day:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ambassadors for Christ

Sorry for the long breaks in between blogs. I look forward to getting back to posting regularly soon.

Here's a segment of a sermon I preached two weeks ago at Grapevine in Lyle's absence. My thoughts were taken out of 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5:

Paul makes a beautiful comparison here between earthly things and heavenly things; between the temporary and the eternal. However his words hit me hard, because if I asked a show of hands of how many in this room want to go to heaven, without a doubt every hand would be raised. But if I asked you for an honest answer to the question how many of you want to go right this very moment…how many of us, myself included, would hesitate, because we got something "really important" to take care of first.

Scripture tells us that God has place eternity in the hearts of man, that He himself dwells in the temple of our hearts,. And yet it seems to me that we’ve put Jesus on air mattress and shoved him in the back guest room, like we do that cousin at Christmas who annoys us. We push him aside instead of ushering him to the front door of our lives and, recognizing that this world is just temporary, a tent we live in. Anyone ever went camping before. I don’t care who you are living in a tent is fun for like a day, maybe a weekend, but after that you want to go home. You want indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Paul says that should be our attitude with the world we are living in, though so many of our lives don’t reflect that.

He pleads with us not to focus on all the junk and possessions and worries that crowd our lives. He says as an ambassador we groan, not out of complaint, but out of an eager expectation, for our future home. We should be longing for heaven, craving the glory of an eternal dwelling. When God created Adam and Eve he created them to live in a perfect place of paradise, in Eden. Now sin messed all that up, but it is important we understand that too is where we were created to live and we should be hungry and yearning to get there, back to the constant presence of God. An ambassador carries this lifestyle, this mindset with them wherever they go, for all to see.

When you view this world as temporary, when you fix your eyes on the unseen, everything else starts to fade into the margins and the world can’t help but notice a difference about you. And we get so focused, almost obsessed, with heaven that we make it our life’s work to bring everyone we can along to their true home. We invite them to join in the triumphal procession that Christ is leading us in.
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pic of the day:

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Photo Recap

some photos from the last 30 days, 24 of which I was away from Grapevine (check out my facebook albums for more pics).

Brent and Linds' Rehersal Dinner

The guys at the wedding

Braving the tropical storm in Florida with our nifty panchos


Emily and I at Epcot

The slip n' slide at camp Zenith

GCOC kids at Zenith

waterball laceration from Camp MPulse...middle school kids are ruthless...

Grapevine kids at MPulse

Em and I on the swing at Windy Gap

Beautiful Camp Windy Gap in Weaverville, NC