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Showing posts from March, 2012

Us and Them [Mark 9:38-41]

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Have you ever noticed that we have a category for just about everything and everyone? Take a look around the lunch room or the office. You have your nerds, your jocks, your free spirits, your band geeks, your drama queens, your gamers, your potheads, your overachievers. We just tend to divide ourselves up by some arbitrary system of categorization. We call them cliques, and they're as old as the human race.

These cliques are a common and even expected part of school and work, but what about our churches. We have the conservatives, the liberals, the traditionalists, and the progressives. We have the one cuppers, the multi-cuppers, the hand raisers, and the amen shouters. There are the clappers, the non-clappers, the pre-millenials and the amillenials. The institutional, the non-institutional, the Saturday night instrumentals, and the absolutely 100% non-instrumental, period.

There is definitely an "us and them" mentality within the church...and it's been that way sin…

Help My Unbelief [Mark 9:14-29]

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So Jesus and his three disciples come down from the mountain having just caught a glimpse of the true glory and power of Jesus. The transfiguration was a key point in the life of Jesus and the faith journey of his disciples. Heaven and earth embraced for but a moment.

But then it was time to come down from the m     o        u            nt                  a                           i                                         n
And when they reach the bottom, what's the first thing they encounter? Chaos. Arguments. Demons. Confusion. Frustration. Hopelessness. Faithlessness.
A desperate father had brought his demon-possessed son to be released, but the disciples couldn't do it. We know that they had previously been able to cast out demons (6:13), but something was different this time. They couldn't do it.
Failure.
To make matters worse, the "teachers of the Law" had come up from Jerusalem to keep tabs on Jesus and his motley crew.
Epic failure.
Jesus' words of exasperation…

Transfigured [Mark 9:2-13]

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If I could just be a "fly on the wall" for just one event of Jesus' ministry, this would be it. Hands down.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain top and was "transfigured" before their very eyes. His clothes became bright white. Light radiated from his flesh. His truest, divine nature is revealed to these three guys.

Then Moses and Elijah appear on the mountain with Jesus and strike up a conversation. (I've always wondered how they knew it was Moses and Elijah. They didn't have pictures of them. I doubt they were wearing name tags. Hmm...)

Finally, after a *facepalm* comment by Peter, a cloud surrounds them and the very voice of God booms out, "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!"

Chills.

Anyway, I asked my teens what questions come to mind when reading this passage. The one question we kept coming back to was "Why?" Specifically, 1)Why was Jesus transfigured?, and 2)Why Moses and Elijah? Here's what we conc…

Beyond Sunday [Mark 8:34-9:1]

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Sure, I'm a Christian. I go to church. I listen to Christian radio sometimes. I sing when I feel like it. I even listen to the sermons sometimes. I where Christian t-shirts. I went to Six Flags with the youth group last summer. I try not to cuss. I guess I'm a pretty good Christian...

Is this where we've come as Christians? Have we watered down discipleship to church attendance and a list of dos and don'ts? Do we realize that the term "good Christian" isn't even in the Bible?

It's as if we think there are degrees of Christianity - I'm a better Christian as so-and-so, but I guess I should try to be more like that person. She's a great Christian.

Really? If only it were so simple.

Following Christ is much more than that. It's supposed to be a challenge. If it's easy to follow Jesus, you're probably doing it wrong...

In Mark 8, Jesus gives a wake-up call to his disciples and the crowds following him. It's gut check time.

According …

Listen to Yoda Peter Should [Mark 8:31-33]

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So Jesus is the Messiah. Period. Done. Pack it up and let's get going. We have a military to organize.

If Jesus is the Messiah, that means Israel is about to regain its power. God is going to overthrow Rome and the Herodian dynasty in order to establish the throne of David once again in Jerusalem. No more oppression, no more slavery, no more Gentiles telling God's people what to do.

This is it.

At least that's what the disciples thought. That's what everyone thought the Messiah was coming to do. He would be God's anointed one to lead Israel's armies into battle against their oppressors. He would be the one to become the great an final king of Israel whose throne would last forever. God's shalom would finally come to fruition.

They were ready for war.

And they would get war, but not for another 30 years and definitely not with Jesus as their general.

And that war did not turn out so well for them.

Just when the disciples had finally caught on to who Jesus w…

Don't Read This Post [Mark 8:27-30]

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I'm serious. Don't read it.

I don't want to be guilty of doing the very thing Jesus told his disciples not to do.

I don't want to make the mistake of telling people that Jesus is the Christ. I think that would probably get me in trouble. Not with the government or friends or family, but with Jesus. He didn't want his disciples to spread the word, so I'm not going to.

So stop reading this post.

....


....


Okay. Now that nobody is reading, here it goes.

I believe that Jesus, the Jewish teacher from Nazareth, is the Christ and that he is the Son of the Living God. I believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, the promised One who came to take away the sins of the world. I believe that Jesus lived a sinless and perfect life. I believe that he was killed on the cross anyway. I believe he was put there on that cross not by the Jews, not by the Romans, but by me. He came to save me, and I killed him.

I believe that if there is any hope for the world, it is Jesus. I believe…

Derp! [Mark 8:14-21]

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Right now I'm reading though Miracles by C.S. Lewis. I'm trying to read more as a goal for 2012, and in reading more I would like to read a wider variety of authors. I have read quite a bit of Lewis' stuff in the past, but it has been a while...and my brain can tell.

For being such a prolific and popular author and apologetic, I wonder how well-accepted his material would be if he were just beginning his writing career today. We've become so accustomed to the happy-go-lucky, feel-good material from the likes of Lucado and Osteen that we seem to have lost our desire and ability to think deeply and critically about the Faith.

Don't get me wrong. There are some authors out there who do present their material in a concise, simple way while still challenging their readers to think for themselves. But I can't help wonder what Lewis' reaction would be to the spiritual and intellectual depth of the current Western American church?

Walt Mueller, a leading youth minis…

This Takes Me Back

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A little switch up today. Here's one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands from my high school years.

The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows by Brand New