Friday, March 15, 2019

from a mushy brain...

March 15th  (246 words)
I’ve been working on my sermon for this Sunday – but as I write I’ve hit a wall… and my mind is becoming mush… It is hard to think… That happens to me sometimes.  Here I go – because this is still important!  This week I’m preaching the passage: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

We work out the implications of our salvation.  What does it mean in the nitty gritty to be rescued.  Our salvation is a rescue.  We have been saved.  Now we stand at the cross-road to see how our new life needs to take root in daily reality.

I was talking with a guy this afternoon about how our life situation sometimes tries to write our story – and we are simply reacting to the situations around us.  God has a better way.
It isn’t the situation that determines how we’re feeling and what we do – It is God’s reality that we live out of.  God’s work directs the way we live out our salvation.

If you squeeze this mushy brain what comes out? 
We not only live for God – we live God’s work in God’s way.
We aren’t grumbling or complaining – we’re resting in God’s finished accomplishments – and responding to God’s continuing Spirit-work sanctifying us.  He gives us the heart to live and the strength to work. 

That’s all for now…

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

To live is ice cream?

Feb 27th, (265 words)
To live is ice cream?  That’s just a tease – Ice cream isn’t that important to me.  But what do you think of the phrase “To live is Christ”  How is that different from saying something like: Life is a beach? 
If you take the phrase “to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21) and unpack it’s meaning, what does it bring? 

First, you need to understand it along with the corresponding side: to live is Christ and to die is gain.  In this context, living is sitting next to dying.  To live is Christ and to die is gain – because you get to go see him! (verse 1:23).

Christ is that all-consuming passion, presence, reality whose person gives life to every other thing.

Jesus called himself the bread of life and the source of living water.  He is the nourishing reality that feeds all of life. 
To be living is Christ and to stop living in this world is great – because you get to be face to face with the one who is your life!

It is so easy to live for living – to go on living as if this is all there is – to get money for more food and food for more money – so you can get more food…

To live is Christ – and he feeds you.  You get to work for him and be fed by him – until the day we die and get to be with him!  It’s all good.  Where are you in this goodness?  How can you apply this goodness to the race of rats?  Go for him!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

3 for the price of 1 - mostly about Jesus

Feb 7th (373 words)
Talking about something other than the weather… let me ask a question.  What is happening in your life-world?  May-be I need to explain a little before you can answer this question.  I first heard the expression “life-world” in my reading of some German scholars.  A life world has been described as the social, living, active, thinking, responding, changing, developing part of society.  It involves the discussions that happen at coffee shops and libraries and bars.  It involves telephone calls and texts and (can I say it?) facebook posts.  It involves the living breathing people responding to life-events in the human story. 
What is happening in your life world?  How do you respond to the events and situations all around you?

Be careful, because there are systems that want to colonize the life-world – and subdue it for financial gain.  The same scholar (Jurgen Habermas) that has introduced me to the life-world gives a warning of corporations that want to manipulate the life-world in order to get money.  There are governments that want to do the same.  There are religions that want to do the same.  These are bullies who are smart enough to get you to give your lunch-money willingly – thinking you are saving the world in the process.

I was thinking today about climate change (sorry for bringing up the weather) – and corporations making you believe that by buying a different type of lightbulb you are saving the world from global warming… Key example of a system trying to colonize my life-world.

What about Jesus? 
This is always a key question in everything – life-worldly.

Jesus came and broke apart system after system – in order to bring the human life-world in touch with God’s living-world.  God can now dwell with humanity because of what Jesus did – and this breaks apart the power of the world systems. 
We have a new, heavenly citizenship.
We have a relationship instead of a religion.
Let’s also stop living as a consumer and start living as a steward of God’s resources.  Don’t let corporate control colonize your life-world.  Live free in Christ – in touch with life and loving.
Practically: don’t walk by your appetites – but walk by God’s Spirit – in control of how you feed your hunger.

Feb 13th (298 words)
In and out of this snowstorm, sit back and enjoy a cozy cup of coffee (best beverage to make a poetic post) as you experience Jesus – and expect to be surprised!  He says: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.  We can easily miss the brilliance of how he springs the trap set for him – and in one small line – along with the object-lesson of a coin – lays out an entire approach to the government and God! (Mat 22:21).  In a day and age when children were overlooked and worthless in society, Jesus invited them (Mat 19:13-14).  In a day and age when men didn’t talk to women and Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans, Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink (John 4:7). 

Expect to be invited into a loving relationship.  Look at how he responds to Martha when Mary M. is sitting at his feet with the other men instead of serving him in the kitchen – Jesus affirms that he loves what she is doing (Luke 10:40-41).  He forgives his enemies and brings a criminal on the cross with him into paradise (Luke 23:34, 43).  People saw how much he loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha as he was crying just before bringing Lazarus up from the dead (John 11:35). 

Expect to be in awe of Jesus.  Read descriptions of him in Revelation 1:12-18 – the Ancient of Days who is also the Son of Man.  Remember him walking on water (Mt 14:22-33) and calming the storms (Mk 4:35-41) – demonstrating authority over the oceans.  Colossians 1:15-20 describe the pre-eminence of Jesus – over everything!

Who is this man?  Who is this God?  The same one who loves you (who is in love with you – in a state of love for you).

Feb 20th (363 words)
Make way!  Make way!  Clear a space.  You’re taking up too much room – give way – slide your bum over so there is a place for another to sit. 
Why?  Who is coming? 
Who is important enough to inconvenience everyone around him?

Not gentle Jesus meek and mild.   Yes, actually it is he.
This is how the Gospel of Mark opens – a call to make room for the Messiah. 

Canadians don’t want to inconvenience anyone.  We don’t like causing a disturbance.  And we expect others to be like us – not wanting to disturb us – not wanting to inconvenience us. 

Is Jesus like us?

The answer isn’t as easy as it sounds.  If we want to respond appropriately to Jesus we need to give him the space of a king in our daily life.  You need to give him the space you would give a lover.  He deserves it.  All the space we can give him actually belongs to him.  If we have given our lives to Jesus – our lives belong to him. 

Here is the complication:  Jesus himself isn’t clamouring for attention like a 2 year old child.  Others are speaking for him.  His disciples tell us to make a way for him.  Isaiah says that a prophet will be sent to make a way – make a path for the Lord.  Then John the Baptist comes with his message of repentance.  He predicts Jesus’ arrival – the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit instead of water.   John says he’s unworthy to even stoop to unlatch the sandal of Jesus! 

Make way!  Make way!  Clear a space.  You’re taking up too much room – give way. 
Why?  Who is coming? 
Who is important enough to inconvenience everyone else?
It is Jesus - the tender creator of all creation.
It is Jesus - the omnipotent judge of all the world.
It is Jesus - the lover and friend of our souls. 
He will gladly and lovingly take all the space you give him!  But he isn’t clamouring for it – you need to listen to those who witness about him to catch the urgency of making space.
Why not find more space to give him?