Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Lord has given me a word, something heavy on my heart, that this generation needs to restore honor to The Church. For far too long people who call themselves Christians have been doing hateful and fear-fueled things. Francis Chan's teaching on Sunday could not have been anymore timely. I really didn't know what restoring honor to The Church could looked like. Especially in the micro, in the macro it is very broad strokes of severing and loving the world as Christ did, but I was kind of at a loss for the intricate brush work of our everyday day-to-day. I do not want to come off like, "Ohhhhhh! I get it now!" Because I don't, I understand very little, but that is something I have realized this past year and a half. That I only understand what I need to, and in most of the cases what I am ABLE to understand for this step of the journey. And to be 100% honest, do I need to know what is gonna happen 3 steps from now or do I just WANT to? Anywho I digress, back to things I am blessed with understanding in. The Church needs to rise the from the ashes of the idiots morons and selfish men and women who were Christians in name only. We will need to distinguish ourselves, and the ONLY was we can do that is through love! Sacrificial love. Intelligent love. Funny love. Gentle love. Bold love and so forth.
How to start this process? Look at your own hearts and ask the Lord to show you areas of pride and fear. Then ask Him to show you and how to replace those areas with trust, humility, and love. It won't be easy, but when has anything easy been memorable or powerful?
P.S. The drawing is supposed to represent coming out of ashes, and the Owl is something the Lord uses to speak to me, and they are cool, ANNNNND they are fun to draw. :D
Friday, July 1, 2011
First off a commentary on Circles, and for those of you who are on their game I thank you and apologize, but that is not me so here goes.
I love you guys so much! It’s pretty crazy, because last year I was very selfish with how and when I would use the word “love”. Thinking that my not using the word somehow kept its integrity intact. I realize now that what I thought was saving was actually strangling. To not use the word when its called for is it the exact opposite of what I was trying to do. I felt others used it out of context way too often. Something I realize now is that overcompensation doesn’t make things right, it just throws things even more off balance.
So yes I love you all. I love this program and group dynamic! These past two months for me in CIRCLES have been really bad. I have been really lame, this compromise of my commitments for CIRCLES is even reflecting into my own personal spiritual life. I started CIRCLES strong and excited! Blogging! Reading! Meeting! I want these last 2 months with you guys to be like the first four months with you guys! I want to finish this race set before me. I am not going to fizzle out. Both for me and for you! It’s exactly what I said above, I love you guys! When I read your stuff and have conversations with you on Saturdays I get so blessed! For me to back off and get lazy is really me hurting you. I know life can get in the way, it has for me these last two months. We are not perfect, we will struggle EVERYDAY! I hear what you are all going through, interestingly enough it seems that similar struggles are prowling around the group, like a roaring lion looking to devour. We are in this together and I want to finish this commitment strong! I want August to mean something! I won’t greet September with a shrug. So basically sorry AGAIN for being lame.
I am going to step up my game!
I WILL BLOG!
I WILL READ!
I WILL BE THERE ON SATURDAYS!
\(except July 14 when ill be in Florida nerding it up)
I WILL LOVE!
Friday, June 3, 2011
I was gonna write commentary on it, but he wrote it so wonderfully that there is not need for my opinion, well other than, "What he said!".
Six Ways to Engage Culture
In a recent interview, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright surprisingly remarked: "We're so obsessed about debunking Bush in this country that we don't spend time on any other subjects. That's a little depressing." Wainwright's point is that many Americans neglect a whole range of cultural issues, often neglecting political engagement for finger-pointing.
What's more depressing is that many Christians are just as guilty of this charge as non-Christians. As a result, there are few citizens who think through cultural issues critically, and even fewer who think them through redemptively. Here are six ways to promote critical and redemptive engagement with culture.
we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
We should approach culture just as we should approach all things: prayerfully.
What should we pray? We should thank God for the gift of culture, confessing that all cultures contain truth, beauty, and virtue, asking Him to help us recognize and rejoice in these good gifts, which come down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Alternatively, all cultures also disdain truth, beauty, and virtue. Thus, we are dependent upon God to enable us to recognize and reject those things that are harmfully false, ugly, and immoral. By asking God to give us the perspective of His Spirit, "the Spirit who searches out all things, even the depths of God" (1 Cor. 2:10), we can begin to discern between the things which are true, beautiful, and good and the things that are false, ugly, and evil.
2. Engage culture carefully. When approaching any given issue, from parenting to politics, we all have our biases. In order to engage culture well, we must strive to avoid the paths of both the sectarian and the secularist, of both blind rejection and uncritical acceptance. This will require careful investigation into the issues we face, taking the opposing view seriously and weighing its merits.
Make a habit of hearing both sides of an issue before you baptize your opinions. Be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19).
3. Engage culture biblically-theologically. Why hyphenate biblical and theological? Why not just say "think biblically"? Well, the plain fact is that the Bible does not explicitly address most cultural issues. It does not tell you who to vote for, which school to go to, what movies to watch, whether or not you should date, whether or not to abort your baby, or how to respond to cloning. Instead, the Bible offers theological principles which we can appropriate in order to form opinions and convictions about cultural issues. For instance, there is no verse in the Bible that reads: "Thou shalt not have an abortion." However, the Bible does inform us that God is the author of life and that to take human life is murder, which is prohibited by God. The circumstances surrounding abortion can be complex. A mother's life may be threatened if the life of the baby is not taken. The Bible does not say, "Preserve the mother's life." However, there are principles and practices in Scripture that can help us make wise decisions about cultural and ethical dilemmas.
The problem, however, is that we often start with cultural assumptions about what is right, beautiful, and good and go to the Bible to prove them. Instead, we need to bring cultural questions about what is true, good, and beautiful to the Bible, reflect on them theologically and then prayerfully, and carefully form our opinions. Don't begin with cultural convictions and end with biblical proof-texts; end with cultural wisdom by beginning with biblical-theological reflection. Start with the biblical text and reflect theologically on cultural issues. Move from Text to Theology to Culture, not the other way around.
3. Engage culture redemptively. Strive to connect your theological reflections regarding culture to redemption. We can redemptively engage culture in two ways: practically and positionally. To practically redeem, identify what is broken, what is in need of redemption, and take restorative action. Ask yourself questions like "How can I bring the gospel to bear on this issue?" or "How can I restore, forgive, or reconcile in this situation?" For example, if you come to the conviction that abortion is ugly and immoral, think about how you can help those who are suffering from the devastating affects of abortion.
Don't just debate others. Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Learn how to counsel mothers. Don't become self-righteous and inactive; practice your cultural convictions. Live them out redemptively. Our practice should flow from our position in Christ.
Our actions ought to reveal our redeemed identity, not form our identity. Consider the danger of mistaking your newly-formed habits for who you are. For instance, do you think of yourself now as an environmentalist or as a citizen of Zion with an environmental conscience? Do you draw significance from being a "pro-lifer" or from being new creation in Christ Jesus? Ask yourself, "Am I confusing my practice with my position?" or "Am I finding my significance in what I do instead of who I am in Christ?" Guard yourself from subtly allowing cultural convictions to take the place of your identity in Christ. Ground your identity in the gospel and your practice will be more redemptive and more honoring to the Lord.
4. Engage culture humbly. Recognize that you have much to learn from a given culture. Read, converse, and reflect on cultural issues with a teachable heart. Ask God to shape your convictions through whomever or whatever He wills. Avoid proud dogmatism and cultivate humble conviction. Don't put others down who believe differently from you.
Consider others more important than yourself without surrendering your convictions. Yet, be willing to revise your opinions through a process of Text-Theology-Culture.
5. Engage culture selectively. Realize and embrace the limitations of your own time, experience, and interests. Spend your time wisely. Don't sacrifice time with God, church, or family in order to become more culturally savvy.
Everyone has been created differently, to live a unique life. Make the most of your experience by redemptively engaging culture, but try to avoid making the experience of others your own.
There are too many issues in the world for you to become an overnight expert on Christ and culture. Be selective about what you engage.
Summarizing the Six Ways
When engaging culture prayerfully, we depend on the wisdom that comes from the Spirit who searches out all cultures, who can enable us to recognize and rejoice in what is true, beautiful, and good, and reject or redeem what is false, ugly, and immoral. As a result, engaging culture can become an act of communion with God. Relying on the wisdom of the Spirit will also mean careful investigation of cultural issues, being critical of our own biases while maintaining an open ear to the arguments of others. However, we're not left to navigate the turbulent waters of our culture with only prayer and reason. God has given us his Word, a divine and authoritative Text from which we can glean wisdom and theological principles to engage culture. When wrestling with issues, we must be careful to bring questions, not assumptions, from our culture to the Word, following a pattern of Text-Theology-Culture. This biblical-theological engagement with culture should always lead to redemptive action, restoring what is ugly and immoral from our position as accepted children of God, citizens of Zion. In turn, we can engage culture humbly and selectively, recognizing our limitations and rejoicing in our unique opportunities to engage the world around us. Finally, try to practice these six ways of engaging culture not just as an individual but in community. To put a spin on Rufus Wainwright's words: Only when the Church in this country becomes obsessed with glorifying God in all things will we critically and redemptively engage our culture on all kinds of subjects.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I just wanted to encourage you ALL to continue to walk towards the Lord and risk for Him! Use the spiritual gifts He has given you, develop them! If you are not sure what they are, I would encourage you to pray about them specifically. He will show you what they are, and 9 times out 10 you are using them without realizing it! As long as your concern is for His glory you are safe in the center of His will! During worship I looked across the circle of us slices and saw Kate praying and singing. I got an, for lack of a better term, "image". When I say "image" in this context it's more of a braiding of an image, inspiration, and insight. That sounds much move convoluted/complex than it needs to. Basically we all know how the Spirit speaks to us individually, He spoke to me in this. So during the study and I drew what I saw and felt, praying about it here and there and listened to Darin teach. I could have kept that to myself and that could have been the end of it, that would have been the comfortable thing to do. What if my silly drawing was way off, what if it wasn't any of my business to do that, what if? what if? what if? Instead i didn't mind risking and showing her. Thirty minutes and two smores later we had an awesome conversation! It was encouraging to her and me. When we willingly walk into what the Lord has for us Glory is generated.
So thank you again for all of your hearts and minds! The Lords is almighty and POWERFUL! WE WILL WALK IN THAT POWER!
Monday, May 23, 2011
I just want to thank each and everyone of you for your friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood, patience, encouragement, and leadership these past 4 months, especially the past month. These last 4 weeks have been a very difficult and dark month. I have withheld form blogging for many reasons; shame, frustration, apathy, guilt. Basically just death, but I am alive! And I must repent from death! So I ask you all to continue to forgive me, encourage me, rebuke me, and love me! If I want the Lord to be Glorified in and through me I need to leave room for him be glorified! I know I have in the past, but it's to march into the future He has for me!
There is such a powerful Spirit stirring up in CIRCLES, and I am so excited amd blessed to be amongst and a part of it! I love you all so so so so MUCH! And I long to be on the battlefields with you! MAY WE RUN OUT WITH CONFIDENCE AND POWER!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Every year for the last 4 years I make plans to watch the Super Bowl with six of my best friends. This year we went back up to Apple Valley, where our friends Matt and Amy live. I always look forward to the time I can spend with my friends up there, but I especially look forward to talking with Matt. He is such a wise man and it just spills into every conversation he has. With all that the Lord has taught me shown me this year I wanted to be able to bless him or speak some truth into his life. So I prayed about that specifically before I went up. All six of us were sitting around, drawing, knitting, putting kids to bed, playing video games etc when they realized they were out of dog food. Matt was going to go to PetsMart and asked if anyone wanted to join him, everyone else said no but I felt the Lord say go, so I did. It was a great time of fellowship over buying a bag dog food. I had just listened to that episode of the Orbiter where Darin shared how someone told him he should be a teacher and not a singer. And how that man told Darin that he was already teaching, he was just doing it through his songs and shows. I knew that truth would find a home in Matt. Matt works at High Desert Church as a Graphic Designer and he is a teacher by nature. It's just right now he teaches via his designs. Matt approaches design differently, its not about how good it looks its about how effective the message is. I know that is the point of a good designer, but for most designers it goes like this; great design that doesn't distract from the message. For Matt the design is there support the message, and since the message is beautiful, compelling, and challenging the design is then beautiful, compelling and challenging. He is selfless in it. Long story short I asked him about pastoring and teaching and shared that story about Darin. A couple of weeks later he shared with me that he spoke with the leadership at his church expressing a desire to go down that path and try his hand in teaching or administration or something like that. I don't know exactly what it looks like, but they were receptive of it, and he said thanks recognized Gods hand in our conversation. I thought that was pretty awesome. Kids the message of today's blog post is be intentional with what the Lord is doing in your life!
As for the drawing this is my friend Matt. I know he has the gift of wisdom, and that wisdom grips his heart and gives him vision. So that's what the drawing is of.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I have been meaning to write this blog all week, excited about that the Lord is going to show me as I write it. It's so stupid that it took me to Saturday to make time for this. I am sorry Lord. I need to be more intentional, and I can not afford to forget that truth. I live, we live! in such an overly busy and many times falsely "hectic" culture. False because very seldom do we stress out over things that merit such investment of our time, and emotional stress. Now that I am aware of this battle on the plains of my heart I need to fight it, and fight it with intentionality. If I know I am going to be busy tomorrow, then I need to go to bed early tonight so I can intentionally have time to spend with the Lord.
Any who my intentions for this post is not about intention. But about something else that the Lord has been showing me about my heart. Ever since 3 weeks ago when Darin had us read that print out about repentance and confession. At first while reading through it I didn't really sink in. The Lord has done A LOT in my heart this past year. I heard whispers of the enemy saying, "you have already learnt all of this... this offers you nothing you don't already know. This is probably for the others now you" That last statement was what made me realize these are thoughts were not my own, and definitely not from God. So I prayed what the Lord would humble me and help me see through the lies to the truth of the situation.
After Circles I hung out with some friends from church. A bunch of us met up out in LA to see the Groundlings perform (if you are unaware they are a sketch comedy club, a lot of SNL guys come from there). After we went to dinner at this really cool place with the best name EVER! It was called Frankie's Place! haha it was cool. In fact Frankie was there to greet everyone, and he was quite pleased to meet another Frankie, as was I. I though I was having fun, but on the drive home my friend texted me and basically told me in that I was an ass to her all evening. Sorry for the language, but that word communicates best on how I was acting. "Jerk" or "mean" just doesn't cut it. At first my ego flared up, an instant later I felt the Lord place his hand on my heart to quiet it. He was then able to tell me that it was pride.
From that moment the Lord has been showing me some of the deeper parts of my heart. The lesson I am learning now is how Vain I am. He is showing me how widespread this issue is in my heart, my ego, my art work, my weight, my perception of myself, my view of the world, and I am sure the list can go on. How it so goes against what the Lord is growing and developing in me. Both in my talents, with my artwork, and with my spiritual gifting, with discernment. Basically what I am learning is that Vanity is just a prettier form of pride. Pride gets in the way and take the Glory from God. So the less vanity there is the less pride there is, and the less pride there is the less of me there is, and the less of me there is the more of Him there is, and the more of him there is the more He can do. And that is just super cool.
And I have to be careful not to be VAIN enough to think this is an issue I face alone! ha ha the devil is so crafty, good thing God is smarter. :)
Please keep this issue in prayer for me. Thanks guys.
P.S. -I love you all.
Here and Now
-by Henri J. M. Nouwen
This book merits a second read. For two reason. One, it is just so filled with practical wisdom! Its dense and rich! I can honestly say I know I didn't get from it all that I could have. That brings me to reason number two, I rushed through it. That is my own fault and battle, reading is hard for me. I ended up getting the Audio book to help me finish it off so i wouldn't fall behind. I listen to audio books on a regular basis, I LOVE them. But there is an intimacy that reading the actual book offers that you just miss out on when listening to it while driving too and from work. This is definitely a book I will go back to.
What spoke to me the most while reading/listening to this was how much his advice, wisdom, and stories were directly rooted in scripture. You can only get such "casual" application and clear vision of the Bibles teaching by reading it. That has been a conviction in my heart for the past 2 months or so. That conviction to read more was spurred on by this book, and confirmed when a friend of mine just came right out and asked me how much I read my Bible. It has been a struggle, but I have been reading my Bible before I read other books to help prepare my heart and mind.
I think I am gonna get try and find and audio book of the Bible.
First of all sorry about the delay Slices. I dropped the ball these past two weeks on my blog. There aren't many reasons, mainly just excuses, it wont happen again.
Oh and my short term and long-term goal list is to come! I want your guys prayer and accountability. I kinda like you guys! :D
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
God spoke to me in some pretty significant and specific ways this week. Hiding little notes and doodles for me in various moments and encounters. Some may doubt it or think it's silly, but what are just scribbles to anyone else are detailed and intentional love letters to me, and vice versa. And it doesn't hurt that I know what the Lords hand writing looks like in my life. I found the first note on Monday, it was hidden in the last chapter of a book that I borrowed months ago. Some history on this book; this book was quite instrumental in what I now shall refer to as my "Spiritual Renaissance". This past summer was a really difficult for me, a lot was involved. Among other things it involved a fracture friendship/brotherhood (I won't get into any details on that, but any and all prayers on the subject would be awesome). This book, that I actually borrowed from that friend, kept me grounded, sober-minded, and my heart focused on the Lord while chunks of my life started to crack and be challenged. When I got to the last few chapters I started reading them slower and slower until I stopped altogether. I would read little bits here and there until I made it to the last chapter. But it was just was flat and lacking life. I knew it was a timing thing, so I waited. I now understand why. I would not have been ready to understand what was waiting for me in that last chapter. Other places that the Lord hid messages for me through out the week were in a few different PodCast's (some that wanted to listen to and others that I didn't), talking with friends, listening to a dream my friend had, reading during my lunch break, and I am sure there are a few I cant remember right now. Its pretty amazing how amazing He is. I love the Lord so much, and not just what He does for me but HOW He dose it. Its good to meditate on how the Lord ministers to us. It allows us to see past what He is doing to why He is doing it. And what better way to deepen our love and relationship with Christ than to better understand His Character.
The only thing these messages or notes had in common was the intentionality. Each time I felt the Lord's still small voice tell me to slow down, read, or listen. And with the obedience to that still small voice came these powerful little blessings. Lets all try and be more intentional.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Basically she is a star content with hanging in the night sky. Not needing to burn any brighter than her sisters. Content at playing her part in the symphony of lights in the sky. Resting in the balance of unity and uniqueness. We all need to strive to find our special place in the sky to burn brightly for the Lord.
I know I am cheesy, but I mean every syllable of it.
I know I mentioned in a previous blog that I love cats, and well its super true (not that there are degrees to truth, I am just being dramatic with a bit of whimsy for effect). This week I wasn't sure what to blog about. I even had another life drawing session at work and thought, "Maybe the Lord shall speaketh again!" No dice. Then my mind wondered back this video, my good friend Nick posted this on my Facebook wall earlier in the week. It made a good day even better! I don't know what it is about cats that bring me such unbridled joy, but they do. I am sure it's joy, not just happiness. Even on a bad day cats can claw their way right through that negative circumstance and bad mood and bring me a smile. Nothing changed other than the fact that I had a smile.
I could make some lame attempt to make this video more relevant by saying that I posted this as an illustration on how we need to slowdown and really look at things. While that is true, that isn't the reason this kitten is on my blog this week. I posted it b/c for some reason the Lord has put a deep appreciation for cats in me. Why? I don't know, and I am not even sure I care to know. But what I do know is that this is a path the Lord has used in the past to get me to smile when I didn't want to, and comfort when I didn't have any peace.
Long story short Cat's are one of my Joy Bringers. What is your Joy Bringer?
Monday, February 7, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
The other night at work they offered a life painting session form 6:00pm-9:00pm. Since I usually linger in Glendale anyways to miss traffic on my 47 mile commute I was all in! I was excited and nervous, I hadn't done thins kind of painting in ages! I was also excited for the quiet time this would provide. In a room filled with other people painting it is you are all alone together.
As I was painting I was praying that the Lord would speak to me. An hour or so goes by and nothing, so I rummage through my bag and get out my ear buds and plug them into my iPhone. I didn't know what to listen to, so I go to a playlist I made in the summer of 2009 called, "Songs I Like Right Now". Now for some back story on this particular playlist, this playlist in it's day was the "ish"! I was on tour that summer and had a LOT of down time driving from state to state to work on this sucker. All that to say that these were not just random songs. Back to painting! So I hit shuffle on that play list, "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol comes on. While listening to this I realized I liked this song a lot more back then. It was actually kind of annoying. I ask myself and God why is that? I used to love this song! Then the Lord spoke to me, He said, "You used to like this song because you had a similar wound as the men and women who created it. It spoke to you on an intimate level. Between now and then you have trusted me with that wound and I have healed it. Our intimacy eclipses shallow nature of what that song meant to you."
I was blessed and humbled by this revelation. Humbled in the since that I can now choose to be a little more patient when people tend to like songs, books, or movies that I find stupid.
I hope that made sense.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
As I said in my last blog I love listening to books on tape, or I guess they are called audio books now. Last month the Narnia series was on sale on iTunes for only $9.99! All 7 books unabridged!! I am sad to say that I haven't ever read the entire series. A few years ago I read, "Magicians Nephew"and "The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe". I have been meaning to read the rest but haven't made the time for it. So now I am listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on my iPhone while I drive.
I am up to, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, and after leaving circles yesterday I was driving out to the Long Beach area to meet some friends for dinner. I got to the part in the story where they meet Ramandu, the fallen star, and his daughter. When Ramandu tells them that he is a star Eustace says that in his world starts are balls of burning gas. The star responds to this by saying...
“that is what they are made of, not what they are.”
-C. S. Lewis “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
I don't know why that struck such a deep cord with me but it did! It stirs something very deep in my heart and mind.It's both thought provoking and beautiful. I guess it made me think of God's intent and purpose for things. How His intentional He is. I suppose that this is the best type of beauty, something that isn't just nice to look at. Something that needs you to dwell on it, something that stirs and challenges you.
So I guess you could say that that is the prettiest pretty there is.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Things about me...
I am always drawing, so please forgive me if you see me drawing in a meeting or at Church. It actually helps me listen better.
I love coffee.
I am dyslexic and cant spell to save my life.
A surefire way to cheer me up and put a huge grin on my face is to show me something cat related. I was obsessed with cats a child, and I kind of carried a lot of that into adulthood.
Huge comic nerd.
Been to J.K. Rowling's house.
Taught High School Art for a year.
I was in G.A.T.E. (smart kids) and R.S.P. (remedial class) at the same time as a child.
I love books on tape.
And I suppose we can get to know each other more over the next 8 months. I am stoked about that I LOVE meeting people. Expect this blog to be a peek into my head. The Lord speaks to me a lot through my thought life, so when he shares a bit of wisdom with me I will put it on here. Blogs make awesome sounding boards. And don't be surprised if I post drawing on here, I tend to do that. And when I get home I'll prolly decorate this blog.