Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Just Letters

This is pretty incredible.

Just Letters

I'm away from the phone right now...

For those of you who read this blog regularly, I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything this week. I'm up to my eyeballs in a class that I'm taking and probably won't have much to say until next week. Check back then. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Emergent Mystique - Christianity Today

Christianity Today weighs in on the "emerging church":

"Gentlemen, start your hair dryers-not since the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s has a Christian phenomenon been so closely entangled with the self-conscious cutting edge of U.S. culture. Frequently urban, disproportionately young, overwhelmingly white, and very new-few have been in existence for more than five years-a growing number of churches are joining the ranks of the 'emerging church.'

Like all labels, this one conceals as much as it reveals. But the phrase 'emerging church' captures several important features of a new generation of churches. They are works in progress, often startlingly improvisational in their approach to everything from worship to leadership to preaching to prayer. Like their own members, they live in the half-future tense of the young, oriented toward their promise rather than their past. But if their own focus is on what they are 'emerging' toward, perhaps most surprising are the places they are emerging from."

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Who is Church for?

Jordon Cooper quotes from The Present Future by Reggie McNeal

...You can build the perfect church--and they still won't come. People are not looking for a great church. They do not wake up every day wondering what church they can make successful. The age in which institutional religion holds appeal is passing away--and in a hurry.... Church leaders seem unable to grasp this simple implication of the new world--people outside the church think church is for church people, not for them.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

The futility of one metaphor...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the incomprehensibility of God. He is a God who is "light", who reveals Himself to us, but who also is mysterious and sometimes hidden. So I've been wondering what I know and what I do not know. How many of my thoughts about God are just assumptions or ideas that I've picked up from some other place? What started this line of thinking was Jesus constant use of the phrase, "The Kingdom of God is like...". It seems that everytime He used it he referred to some radically different analogy.

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.
The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.
The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Why did he use so many analogies? I tend to like people to say what they mean. Clarity please, and the less words the better. But I'm coming to realize that Jesus had to teach about the Kingdom this way. That's because it is so different from anything we have ever known. It's a radically counter-cultural, other-worldly way of life. It's almost as if the truth of the Kingdom of God is a multi-faceted gemstone. There is no way that you can take it all in at once. So as Jesus teaches, he focuses our attention on one aspect of the Kingdom, calling us to be captivated by its beauty. Then He backs us up and takes us for a run at the other side, allowing us to see a different aspect of the same beauty. The Kingdom is something that we can't put into words. So Jesus gives us picture after picture of what it looks like.

If this is true of the Kingdom, how much more is it true of the King Himself. God is "wholly other". We can't know all of Him. That would be beyond our human capability. So God gives us snapshots. Pictures of aspects of who He is. And as we see them we get a better understanding. That's why Jesus is so important. He is the ultimate picture, the one in whom lived "all the fullness of deity in bodily form". (Col. 2:9) Even with Jesus, though, it's hard for us to take the whole picture in at once. God, although knowable, is shrouded in mystery. We see him in little bits, as He chooses to reveal Himself to us. If we believe this to be true then it should shape the way we communicate God to others. Any talk of God should be done with the realization that there is much we do not know. Alvin Toffler said,

"No single world view can ever capture the whole truth. Only by applying mutliple and temporary metaphors can we gain a rounded (if still incomplete) picture of the world...I mistrust those who already think they have the answers when we are still trying to formulate the questions."

Our task is to humbly show people what we have seen to be true, and help them to begin to look for glimpses of God in the context of their own lives. We need to help them ask good questions. The focus is always on Jesus, but often the clarity comes as Jesus interacts with people in the context of their everyday life. I have often said of preaching that many times I am trying to get people to see and experience something that I haven't fully seen or experienced myself. I need the Holy Spirit to come and take people where they need to go. As we share the truths about Jesus with those around us, let's not limit ourselves to one or two metaphors. Let's not take our experience and determine that the way to growing in relationship with God is exactly the way we have seen it happen in our own life. I'm not saying that we need to throw out orthodoxy, just to be honest about how much we really know (and how much we really don't). Let's begin to allow God to show us all sides of Himself. In whatever way He chooses.

Interested in learning more about Brian McLaren?

Here's a good place to wrestle with some of the ideas that Brian is contributing to the discussion...


Saturday, October 16, 2004

A Conversation with Brian McLaren

"Right at the heart of Jesus' teaching is this radical idea that the kingdom of God doesn't come through human force. We're always tempted to use human force. In order to see the kingdom of God come without human force, we have to be willing to suffer. But with force we have to see others suffer.
It's taking a long time for followers of Jesus to believe he's right about the kingdom of God. I'm not saying there's no place for armies and weapons, I suppose there is in our world. I think I might have said in the book, Psalm 20 says that some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. But when you have a lot of horses and chariots as we do, it's easy to trust in them. "

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Friday, October 15, 2004

A new Confession of Christ in an election year.

Okay, I admit it. I'm struggling with the my thoughts surrounding the upcoming election. I don't appreciate the confusing of issues offered by either party. Jim Wallis gives voice to many of my concerns in an article from Sojourners Magazine:

"In a world wracked with violence and war, the words of Jesus, 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,' are not only challenging, they are daunting. The hardest saying of Jesus and perhaps the most controversial in our post 9-11 world must be: 'Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.' Let's be honest: how many churches in the United States have heard sermons preached from either of these Jesus texts in the years since America was viciously attacked on the world-changing morning of Sept. 11, 2001? Shouldn't we at least have a debate about what the words of Jesus mean in the new world of terrorist threats and pre-emptive wars?

The most important thing for the church in this time, or any time, is the confession of Christ. We see the confession of Christ itself under attack from three very dangerous developments. First, we see an emerging 'theology of war,' emanating from the highest circles of the U.S. government. Second, we hear, with growing frequency, the language 'righteous empire' being employed by those same political leaders. Third, we observe a presidential talk of 'mission' and even 'divine appointment' of the United States and its leaders to lead 'the war on terrorism' and 'rid the world of evil,' in ways that confuse the roles of God, church, and nation.
The issue here is not partisan politics, and there are no easy political solutions. The governing party has increasingly struck a religious tone in an aggressive foreign policy that is much more nationalist than Christian, while the opposition party has offered more confusion than clarity.

The issue here is the danger of political idolatry. The other issue is the use of the politics of fear, which is a dangerous basis for foreign policy. Such political idolatry at the highest levels of American political power, combined with effective campaigns of fear that too easily co-opt anxious people—believers and unbelievers alike—could together lead our nation and our world to decades of pre-emptive, unilateral, and virtually endless war, despite the clear warnings of Christian ethics. A biblical theology is being replaced by a nationalist religion. Presidential speeches are even misusing both scripture and hymnology by changing their meaning for the purposes of American power. Biblical references such as "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it," are changed from referring to the "light of Christ," from the gospel of John, to the "ideal of America" in the war on terrorism.

We need a new confession of Christ. For such a confession, there should be at least these affirmations:

1. Christ knows no national boundaries nor national preferences. The body of Christ in an international one, and the allegiance of Christians to the church must always supercede their national identities. Christianity has always been uneasy with empire, and American empire is no exception.

2. Christ pronounces, at least, a presumption against war. The words of Jesus stand as a virtual roadblock to any nation’s pretension to easily rationalize and religiously sanctify the preference for war. Jesus’ instruction to be "peacemakers" leads either to nonviolent alternatives to war or, at least, a rigorous application of the church principles of "just war." The threat of terrorism does not overturn Christian ethics.

3. Christ commands us to not only see the splinter in our adversary’s eye but also the beams in our own. To name the face of evil in the brutality of terrorist attacks is good theology, but to say "they are evil and we are good" is bad theology which can lead to dangerous foreign policy. Self-reflection should provide no excuses for terrorist violence, but it is crucial to defeating the terrorists’ agenda.

4. Christ instructs us to love our enemies, which does not mean a submission to their hostile agendas or domination, but does mean treating them as human beings also created in the image of God and respecting their human rights as adversaries and even as prisoners.

5. Christ calls us to confession and humility, which does not allow us to say that if persons and nations are not in support of all of our policies, they must be "with the evil-doers."

The words of Jesus are either authoritative for us, or they are not. They are not set aside by the very real threats of terrorism. They do not easily lend themselves to the missions of nation states that would usurp the prerogatives of God.

In an election year, Christians must assert their faith in ways that confess Christ as Lord, and confront any and every political idolatry. I believe the theology of war, the mission of righteous empire, and the divine appointment of the American nation in a "war on terrorism" are modern political idolatries that the churches must resist, in the name of both faithful discipleship and responsible citizenship.

In any election we choose between very imperfect choices. Yet it is always important to prayerfully and theologically examine what is at stake. And then, as best we can, we seek to confess Christ—even in our political lives. In this election, there is a great deal at stake and Christians, divided by political loyalties, are all responsible for asking the question, "What does it mean to confess Christ in the election of 2004?"

These are good thoughts. And ones that we must consider.

Read the entire article:

Re-defining Fruit

“We have been called to be fruitful--not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness.” (Henri Nouwen)

I have a great fear that we have missed the definition of fruit. We look to the mega-churches for models and definitions of a healthy successful church. (Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the Willow Creeks and the Saddlebacks. They are expanding the Kingdom in their respective contexts.) But what about the little guys? The churches that will probably never grow over 125 people. The missionary who is slugging out in a context that is at best unreceptive and at worst hostile to the message of Jesus? What does fruit look like there?

As a pastor this is a question that I wrestle with all the time. Our church's mission is "...helping people take one step closer to Jesus Christ." But how does this look? How do we know that it is happening?

I would love to hear some feedback from anyone out there as to what they think "fruit" looks like in the 21st century. Obviously it will line up with the "fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians, but what are some of the more concrete ways that we can tell that we are being fruitful?

Quit complaining about your job!

Thanks to my friend Mark Friesen who sent me the following pictures. He titled them, "Quit complaining about your job!"

It's not just a job, it's an adventure.

Momma never told me there'd be days like these.

Cubicle buddies

Thursday, October 14, 2004

God explodes!

I'm working on a text for a sermon this week that includes the following section.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12-14)

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree for not bearing figs. It wasn't even the season for figs. That's not very fair; not very "Christ-like". What were the thoughts of the disciples as they walked away from this scene? Was Jesus' behavior as shocking to them as it seems to us?

The reality is that God often acts in ways that we don't expect. Sometimes He moves in ways that we think are completely out of character for who He is. And yet that's the problem. Our conception of who He is can often be far from the truth. He wants to blow away our perceptions so that when the smoke clears we get to see the real Him. Buechner said it so well when he wrote,

"God doesn’t explain. He explodes. He asks Job who he thinks he is anyway. He says that to try to explain the kind of things Job wants explained would be like trying to explain Einstein to a little-neck clam...God doesn’t reveal his grand design. He reveals himself." (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking, p. 46)

God please explode for us. Break apart our boxes lined with pre-conceived notions. Wash away the "thoughts of men" and give us the "thoughts of God". Give us You - for that is all we really need.

“For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things. Now I ask for God. Supposing there is a tree full of fruits -- you will have to go and buy or beg the fruits from the owner of the tree. Every day you would have to go for one or two fruits. But if you can make the tree your own property, then all the fruits will be your own. In the same way, if God is your own, then all things in Heaven and on earth will be your own, because He is your Father and is everything to you; otherwise you will have to go and ask like a beggar for certain things. When they are used up, you will have to ask again. So ask not for gifts but for the Giver of Gifts: not for life but for the Giver of Life -- then life and the things needed for life will be added unto you.” (Sadhu Sundar Singh)

P.S. Just so you know, the fig tree makes alot more sense when you read about what Jesus did next.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Habits of a Child's Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines

New Book alert - Habits of a Child's Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines

I haven't read this but I think I want to. If anyone has then let me know what you think.


And if you want to see my wish list of books here it is.

Did Paul really mean it when he said...

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:14-21)

I took the time to read over this slowly and let the words sink in. It occured to me that if we really lived out what Paul is calling us to that we would have trouble living in society. We would be seen as strange. Radicals. Did Paul really mean it? And what does that mean for us?

An excellent article, worth the read...

Jordon Cooper, via Jonny Baker, led me to this article by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. I've just been reading their book, "The Shaping of Things to Come" and the article does a great job of summarizing some of their main ideas.

"The Christendom-era church has these three flaws in its DNA; it is attractional, dualistic and hierarchical."

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What's in my cup?

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11:37-41)

I've read this passage so many times, but until today I've never really seen the last verse. Jesus calls the Pharisees to deal with the filth inside their "dish", but His remedy is not what we might think. Instead of a sinner's prayer he calls them to give who they are ("what is inside the dish") to the poor. Far too often we make salvation and conversion out to be such personal, me-centered acts. But Jesus says that conversion comes as you give yourself away to the poor. No, I'm not saying we aren't saved "by grace, through faith". But I am saying that our conversion/salvation has to do with more than just us. It's not a cognitive act that is somehow separated from who we are and the context we live in. It's a matter of looking at what's inside, asking for it to be transformed and then giving ourselves away. Jesus gave Himself away, even to the point of death. And if I'm not mistaken He did say, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you."

These ideas remind me of something I linked to a few days ago - Todd Hunter's Theory of learning. Todd says that "A person's experience should always be greater than their education." As I have been reflecting on this I have been reminded that we don't tend to utliize this principle in the church. We over-educate. We pump people so full of Biblical knowledge that they are often too bloated to go and work our what they know. That's why churches have to make sure that they build themselves around mission. Doctrine is very important, but taken as an academic study, it will destroy our spiritual life. As we live out the mission of Jesus, giving away what is in our dish, we will become hungry for doctrine. Our experience will motivate our education.

Knowing Jesus is not something that we do in a classroom. He's not a laboratory specimen that we examine under a microscope. We meet Him as we interact with others in His mission. And from that we gain a knowing that is relational. That's why He said things like,

"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (Jn 7:17)


"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)

and that's why Paul wrote

"I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." (Philemon 6)

Jesus calls us to live out our faith as we work with Him in His mission. As we do that we are transformed, and we gain a deeper knowledge of who He is. As you "give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you."

Friday, October 08, 2004

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder what God is up to? I've had two conversations today with people who are in some of the most difficult and discouraging situations that I have ever encountered. What's unique about both of the situations is that these are people who are spiritually hungry. They are ready for some response from God to their hunger. They're not expecting fireworks, no over-night resolution to their problems, just a sense that there is some meaning in the midst of their misery. If I was God I think I'd try to give them the encouragement that they are thirsting for. But He seems to be "away from the office". Meanwhile, on the "other side of town" where I live, I encounter people with no spiritual hunger who have a life that others would give their right arm to have. I'm not talking about wealth and ease, just a "normal" life. What is God up to? I'm getting tired of saying, "I don't know".

Thursday, October 07, 2004

That mean Canadian Government is at it again...

"A flying squirrel named Sabrina is at the center of a fight between Canada, which wants to deport the rodent, and its owner who says the creature is harmless and has bonded to him. Ottawa wants to send the animal back to the United States, citing a 2003 ban on importing rodents into the country after a monkeypox outbreak south of the border last year. Naturalist Steve Patterson, who brought the squirrel across the border last June after filling out the necessary papers, said the government is simply being stubborn. 'The good the squirrel can do far outweighs the bad,' he said on Wednesday. 'If we could apply for refugee status, I would certainly put an application in for her, but I don't think the laws cover small, baby squirrels.' "

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Todd Hunter's Theory of Learning...

Let me tell you, this makes so much sense. And it has radical implications for the way that we help people learn to follow Jesus.

“Hunter’s Theory of Learning:" A person’s experience should always be greater than their education.

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An analogy that is making more sense to me everyday.

“When Jesus announced the kingdom, the stories he told functioned like dramatic plays in search of actors. His hearers were invited to audition for parts in the kingdom. They had been eager for God’s drama to be staged and were waiting to find out what they would have to do when he did so. Now they were to discover. They were to become kingdom-people themselves.” - N.T. Wright

Detoxing From Church

I have unsettling thoughts in my head. I'm wrestling with an overload of ideas and am not sure where to put all of them in order to bring some type of coherence to my thought life. My constant struggle is to differentiate between what I have grown accustomed to as church and what church really is. It's my desire to live as a part of a Christ-following community - surrendered to His leadership and allowing that to impact the culture all around me. However what I far too often find myself doing is living in a community shaped more by cultural baggage than by Christ. Maybe that's why the following words from The Off Ramp resonated so deeply with me.

"Imagine what you would have left after you remove from your life everything connected with the organizational church. I mean everything. I've discovered the hard way that living most of my adult life in cultural Christianity has formed my entire identity as a Christian. And when everything in my life connected with the church is gone, including sixteen years of professional ministry, I'm confronted with the true raw status my personal faith.
Now I'm going to say something harsh: In order to BE the Church, we need to leave the church. In other words, in order to truly become God's people as he intended, we must abandon our cultural version of organizational church. The application of this statement might vary, but it must happen. And as we abandon the church to become the Church, we will go through a detox period. Why such drastic measures? Involvement in an organizational consumer-driven church blinds us to the real state of our lives."

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Why we are used...

I've been seeing my own faults a lot lately. It's frustrating to have to acknowledge that you are not the you that you want to be. But the amazing thing is that with our acknowledgement of weakness and inability comes hope. Hope because God is not limited to how good we are. He is not limited to our abilities. In fact, when we are most useless, he often uses us the most. It reminds me of a story that Haddon Robinson once told,

“On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, outdistanced him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory.
That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: “What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?” The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby.
If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, “Men the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. the coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man’s tears.
“Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it to save my life. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined the University of California, I’ve ruined myself. I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.”
Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel’s shoulder and said to him: “Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.” And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half.”

Because of who we are we live with failure everyday. Yet the reality is that Jesus says to you and I, “…get up and go on back; the game is only half over.” We are used because we are His, not because we are good. That gives me hope.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the emerging church?

Dan Kimball says... (via ginkworld)

I think the biggest overall and subtle challenge right now that comes to my mind is consumerism. For those who have grown up in the church, we really have taught them to view church like they would if they were on the panel of 'American Idol'. The expectation of performance, the mindset of 'what does this church have to offer me?' the way they judge church by how good is the preacher, how good is the music etc. I think we would admit that this is the mentality of most Christians in evangelical churches if we were honest.

I don't blame them, because since they were children we taught them to view church as the place to have 'fun' with hyper-kids games and videos, and for youth to view church as the place to get emotionally charged and hyped from songs and energetic rallies and camps which teach Jesus etc. We have brought them to the Christian concerts, fed them into the consumerism of Christian commercialism of T-Shirts, CD's etc. and in many ways have based their Christian experience primarily around these things, with an occasional missions trip to Mexico thrown in. I hyper-exaggerate here, but I have a sinking suspicion if we really think about this, we leaders may be the very ones who had a lot to do with what we are now fighting in our churches in regards to consumerism."

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Friday, October 01, 2004

Words of wisdom for the American Church

Thanks to Darren at Thin Spaces for this quote...

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt


It really is a Journey...

I've always wanted to do great things for God. As I look back on some of the great things that I've attempted I have to admit that they were usually great things for me, done in God's name. It's interesting how we lose focus, we miss the true intentions and motivations of our own heart.

That's why I'm glad that this life of following Jesus is a journey. Times of ease and times of difficulty. Times to learn new things and times to reflect on the things you thought you had already learned. And at some point you begin to realize that anyone who tells you that you take quantum spiritual leaps is probably selling you something. The journey isn't flashy. (Jesus used "taking up your cross" as a metaphor.) But it's a journey of joy. It's the journey I was created for. And it progresses one small step at a time. "He must become greater, I must become less", said that camel skin wearing, locust eating prophet. That's a life long process, one that happens a little at a time. My friend Matt Auten wrote a song a long time ago that said something like this -

"What the wind cannot lift it will wear away
What they waves can't break they will shape a new way.
All I am and all I will be are buried in who You will be to me.
Rather than lose me to my worthless loves You gain me grain by grain."

Grain by grain. A journey. Small steps. Reminds me of a quote that I love.

"To give my life for Christ appears glorious, to pour myself out for others. . . to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom - I'll do it. I'm ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory. We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking $l,000 bill and laying it on the table - 'Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all'. But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $l,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid's troubles instead of saying, 'Get lost'. Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home. Usually giving our life to Christ isn't glorious. It's done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it's harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul." (Fred Craddock)

It really is a journey. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

One more plug for spiritual honesty...

The House Church Blog pointed me to Leighton Tebay who writes...

"Let us be honest, we don't know how to fix the church."

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