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Showing posts from November, 2013

Male and Female: Eve vs. Artemis

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The discussion so far: 1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 6) Creation 2.0 7) Rockstar Women of the Early Church 8) Was Paul Sexist? 9) 99 Problems, the church in Corinth .......
I think after nine parts to this series a little recap is in order. I’ll try to make it quick. If you’re one of those “SKIP RECAP” people on Netflix, feel free to scroll down a bit. But if you haven't read parts 1, 2, and 3 yet - do that now before continuing. Those posts will be referenced quite a bit.
In the beginning God created male and female in his image as equals. They were partners in bearing his image to the rest of creation. The relationship between man and woman was to reflect the divine, loving community within God’s own being. In Genesis 2, it was not good for the man to be alone, so woman was created as the man’s “helper,” a word which was nearly exclusively used for God himself. In other words, man w…

The Gospel According to Doctor Who

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Yep. It's here.

Anyone who knows me is probably not surprised by this post and is probably surprised it hadn't come sooner.

For anyone who doesn't know me, let me confess something. I am a Whovian. I belong to the Doctor Who fan nation. I have a t-shirt, two mugs, a Sonic Screwdriver, an iPhone case, and more. In other words, I really enjoy watching the longest running sci-fi show in the world brought to us by BBC featuring a time-traveling alien guy who always seems to find trouble and always seems to kick trouble's teeth in.

The 50th anniversary special was the largest simulcast screening of any show ever. It was shown in over 90 countries and viewed by countless millions around the world. So what is it that makes the Doctor so popular? Is it the concept of time travel? The scary aliens and monsters? The historical figures? The witty writing? The cool companions? The quirky, lovable, fearsome Doctor?

I'm sure it's all of the above. But there's something m…

Hot Topic: Greek Mythology

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[Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on the origins of religions. The following is my humble attempt to shed some light on how human beings attempt to reach out for God/the gods as considered through the eyes of Scripture.]
Ecclesiastes 3:10-11
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Acts 17:27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
Romans 1:19-20 ...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. __________________
One tidbit of historical evidence that confirms for me that there is a God is…

Is Your Water Living or Dead?

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You are hiking along. The day is warm, the sun is shining, the wind is rustling through the leaves. You lose yourself in nature, and before you know it minutes turn to hours. You have been gone much longer than you planned to be. Your water bottle is empty and your mouth is dry. It’s the hottest part of the day; you haven’t had a drink of water in about two hours. You’re beginning to feel weak and light-headed.

Suddenly you come across two sources of water. To the right of the trail you see an ankle-deep puddle of water, a remnant of the heavy rains two days back. The water seems clear, all the mud and sediment has settled on the bottom. The water appears clear and undisturbed.

To the left of the trail you hear what sounds like the trickling of a spring. Sure enough you spot a small spring of cool, clear water emerging a crack in the rocks just off the trail.

Where do you fill your water bottle?

To me, the answer is simple: the spring. Even the bottled water you buy at a convenient store …

God's Economy

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Last Sunday night at our evening worship service, the sermon from Proverbs ended with a passage that has really stuck with me. The reason it stood out is because it's one of those verses that is so counter-cultural it borders of blasphemous (against society, not God). It's something you would never hear on a TV show or during commercials. It won't be on billboards. It's so outrageous that it's best left well within the recesses of that dusty old Bible on the shelf next to Chicken Soup for the Soul. In fact it's so radical that I dare say if all of God's people would put this verse into action, the entire US economy would be flipped on its head.
Here it is. Give me neither poverty nor riches,
   but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
   and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
   and so dishonor the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)Utter madness. Hogwash. Apparently Agur son of Jakeh has forgotten that Am…

Do you have what it takes?

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I Hear You, but I'm Not Listening

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HOT TOPIC: How to talk to someone who isn't religious
Evangelism.

That is one of the scariest words in the Christian dictionary. Evangelism is kind of like diet and exercise. We know we should be doing it. We have every intention of doing it more. But it's just so hard to find the motivation and the time.

But it doesn't have to be that daunting of a task. Telling others about Jesus should be as natural as telling people about that new restaurant that opened up down the street. Being a witness for Christ shouldn't be any more difficult than telling about that AWESOME trip you took during Spring Break.

Shouldn't be, but it is. I think it's because we have stopped relying on and listening to the Holy Spirit's guidance. Witnessing the resurrection wasn't enough to really turn the disciples around. Even 50 days after the resurrection the disciples are still in hiding, keeping to themselves. They don't break out and begin winning the world for Jesus unti…

I Am Nicodemus

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John chapter 3 tell two stories about two men. One is Nicodemus - a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Rabbi of Israel, living in Jerusalem. The other one is John the Baptist - a charismatic prophet living in the wilderness.

I wish I were more like John the Baptist. But I am Nicodemus.

Nicodemus knew the Scriptures. He would have them memorized, beginning to end. Genesis through Malachi, always on the tip of his tongue and the front of his mind. Nicodemus had it all figured out. He knew what God wanted, how God wanted it, when God wanted it. He ate right, prayed right, worshiped right, and lived right. He knew the system. He worked the system. He loved the system.

John the Baptist didn't simply know God's word, he knew God. He knew what a relationship with God was all about and that God couldn't be manipulated into owing us anything for our good behavior. John came to let God out of the box.

Nicodemus had a curiosity about Jesus. But he was about as curious of Jesus …

What Is Dead May Never Die

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There are two kinds of people in the world. Okay, there are WAY more than two kinds of people, but I'm only going to focus on two kinds right now. In order to explain the two kinds of people, I am going to turn to the 1980s cult classic Better Off Dead and the popular SciFi/Fantasy book series A Game of Thrones.

THE FIRST TYPE
In Better Off Dead, starring a young John Cusack, there is a scene where Cusack's character, Lane, is practicing to make the ski team. He and his buddy, Charles, head to the top of a very difficult ski course full of trees, jumps, twists, and turns. Charles is pessimistic and warns Lane, "Dying when you're not really sick is really sick, you know. Really!"

THE SECOND TYPE
In the George R.R. Martin series, A Song of Ice and Fire (AKA Game of Thrones) there is a religious order in the sea region of the Iron Islands. This religion is centered on whom they call "The Drowned God." The priest and his closest followers are known as "d…

Where Does God Feel at Home?

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Have you ever really paid attention to the people and places that Jesus considered important during his ministry? Have you really noticed the kind of folks Jesus felt most comfortable with, the ones he called his family, the men and women he spent most of his time with? Has it occurred to you the places Jesus felt most welcomed, most received? The places Jesus could be himself? The places he called home?

We get a glaring contrast in John 2 between two places, two groups of people, and Jesus' reaction to both. One is the Temple, the seat of all Jewish religion, the hub of worship, the house of prayer, the epicenter of God's presence on earth. The other is a wedding party in a Podunk town where there is *gasp* wine, merriment, and celebration.

We would think Jesus, you know - the Son of God, would feel more at home in...the Temple. But we would be wrong. Check out the brilliant comparison and contrast between these two locales in John 2.

2:1-2 -------------------------------2:1…

STD Awareness

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We have a serious epidemic on our hands. STDs are spreading like wildfire. Fewer and fewer people are making the choice to keep themselves pure and untainted. That means more and more people will be suffering life-long consequences, issues that will haunt them and plague them until they die.

There is treatment for most of these STDs, but few are willing to accept it. Most victims don't even want to admit they have one for fear of appearing weak or unfaithful. They don't want to be labeled or judged. They do everything they can to avoid the stigma of these STDs. The shame, the embarrassment, the humiliation - it's too much for them to handle. So they suffer silently trying to live their lives as "normal" people.
But the problems never really go away. Not unless they are willing to confront their STD head on and accept the necessary treatment.
And the sad thing is, all of us, to some extent, live with at least one STD.
You and I both have Spiritually Transmitted Di…

Hot Topic: Is it ever too late to turn back to God?

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It's a sad reality that we even have to ask about this question.

The teenager who submitted this question isn't wondering about someone who has never heard about God. The question is about turning BACK to God once someone has turned AWAY from God. The not-so-hypothetical person was once a believer, was once a follower of Christ, may have been baptized and called himself a Christian. Now he has turned his back on all of this as if God is some ex-girlfriend he's trying to "get over."

I don't know if this teenager had someone specific in mind, but I know I've seen the story unfold time and time again. And I wonder if these people will ever find their way back into the fold. Some will; many, sadly, will not.

But is it ever too late for them? Can someone wander TOO far away to ever return to salvation?

WHO'S YOUR MASTER?
If we start in the beginning, we see the first humans being cut off from the intimate relationship they once shared with their Creator. T…