Wednesday, September 13, 2006
So I'm working in Edina-not too far from the Northwestern Bookstore! The house is a renovation this time, and my foreman Todd was nervous about it because he's never done a remodel/renovation before. The big bosses told him twice this morning that the power was disconnected, so as we're all tearing out the siding he tells Shem to cut the cable running up the house with a sawsall. As Shem got started cutting, the thing exploded in a shower of sparks. Todd wasn't convinced that it was electrical so he tried his hand at cutting it and tZzZzZt!- the same thing happened. The blade of the sawsall was all fried up, it was pretty funny, in a deadly kind of way...
That kind of thing never happened in the office.
And my shoulders are sore from lugging around greentreat 6x4s and plywood sheets all day. My hammer swings in my toolbelt whenever I walk fast, and has a way of bashing my kneecaps about every half hour. My hands are covered in blisters and broken skin, my toes have been pulverized by heavy objects and my shins are banged up as well. I also get to see the sky, work outdoors, sing worship songs, build stuff, talk about Jesus without any PC atmosphere to persecute me...
On another note, been reading and re-reading Hebrews 1. I'll let you know what I've been given on that next post most likely.
Friday, August 11, 2006
A soul that's fed on more than theory - not just the ashes of the lie.The bread which feeds our dwelling places will not feed the inner life. Communication from the maker trickle down to fall on paper Through the hands of fallen men The breath that filled the lungs of Adam bringing consciousness to clay, breathed the words that fill these pages with the food that fills the soulA life that burns with holy fuel begotten of belief in Christ Jesus-Savior from the separation, that slavery to sin.To reach to wake and run for Eden Break out the cells of ignorance and concrete walls of apathy . The wider road has greater mass and monstrous gravity-Will you reach escape velocity?a dead and fallen star of satansucks the life out of the worldBright the Morning Star is warming frozen tenants of the tombto greet the Crowned and Coming Dawn. The Voice that testifies to Truth has cut the worm out of my soul To wash that sticky scum of sinning from the feet of a citizen.Oh Great God A Fire burning Write a song on my lipsand give it soundso I can do what I was made for.
You had a dream, I tried to color it in, I had your permission, but then you said with a frown; "no that's not how it goes, it's a sky blue here and the grass is all wrong - why can't the ocean be bigger and the waves go running wild?" I shrugged handing over the brush and the colors to your impatient hands that strain to drip with heaven. But it wouldn't come out, no it won't come out, no not like that when you're throwing the brush to the ground to wash it clean with our tears and a scowl on our faces while our eyes start raining sorrows that fill up our hand with seas of distance as we sit wishing in the mud not caring as the clouds fill the room with a gathering gloom and we sigh as we pray for the dream to come back -Oh God can you make the dream come back? The dream that you lit in our ribs when we wished for a home with a wide angle view and a fire of longing was raging for you! Please make the dream come down - give it back, make us ready, make it real.
And I say with you again, make it real, in the name of Jesus, make it real!
"Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ, but we do not know ourselves except through Him. Without Jesus Christ, we do not know what our life is, or our death, or what God is, or ourselves. Thus, without the scriptures, the sole purpose of which is Jesus Christ, we know nothing, and see nothing but darkness and confusion in God's nature and in our own.
God through Jesus Christ. We know God only through Jesus Christ. Without the mediator all communication with God is broken; through Jesus Christ we know God. All those who have claimed to know God and to prove Him without Jesus Christ have only invalid proofs. But to prove Jesus Christ we have the prophecies, which are solid and palpable proofs. And these prophecies, being fulfilled and verified by the event, point to the certainty of these truths, and so prove the divinity of Christ. In Him and by Him, then, we know God. Apart from Him, without scripture, without original sin, without the needful mediator who was promised and came, we have no absolute proof of God, and can neither teach good doctrine nor good morals. But by Jesus Christ and in Him we prove God and teach good doctrine and morals. Jesus Christ is therefore the true God of men. But at the same time we know our wretched state, for this God is none other than the Redeemer of our wretchedness. So we can scarcely know God unless we recognize our iniquities. Those therefore who have known God without knowing their wretchedness have not glorified Him but themselves. 'For since the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe'" (1 Cor 1:21)
Just when you thought that France had nothing to contribute to the world...
More by Pascal, our longhaired brother in christ of four 1/2 centuries ago. (he proved the existence of a vacuum-not the hoover variety-, but he didn't think that was as important as knowing God):
Pensee (it means "thought", in French)#367 Ecclesiastes 8:17 shows that man without God is ignorant of all things and inevitably miserable. For it is miserable to have the wish but not the power. Now man wishes to be happy and to be certain of some truth; and yet he can neither know, nor desire not to know. He cannot even doubt.
Pensee #368 Its true nature being lost, everything becomes a nature to itself; as, the true good once lost, everything becomes its own good.
Pensee #370 What then do our desires and weakness proclaim to us? Only that man once possessed a true happiness, of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty shell, which he tries in vain to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain from things present. Some seek good in authority, others in research and scientific knowledge, and others in pleasure. But these are all inadequate, because this boundless abyss can only be filled by a boundless and unchanging object, that is to say, God Himself.
He is man's true good, and since man has forsaken him, there has been nothing in nature, strange to say, that has not served to take His placeL stars, heavens, earth, the elements, plants, cabbages, leeks, animals, insects, calves, serpents, fever, plague, war, famine, vices, adultery, and incest. And since man has lost his true good, all things alike can appear good to him, even self-destruction, though this is so contrary to God, to reason, and to the whole course of nature.
Resurrected holy god of heaven, - Holy means different, higher, more - You fill and wash and while so high you reach down to pull up. You raised me, you raised us from the cruddy sewer when we knew of no way out. You touch mud and make it men who sing, you make friends out of soil and sons out of men, you pour love like water into wrinkled hearts and make the wastelands bright with lily blooms I raise my face til tanned with grace - the sunlight of your love for me. For all the hurdles of what is right I've stumbled over spilling blood-you handed me your medal gold and pulled me past the finish line-Victory to the Conqueror! and me your spoils of war - It sings triumphant in His blood as we kneel and receive. Christ Jesus Lord and God - I believe. Fill me.
the girls @ my work are griping about pictures that are hanging up in the hall here in the basement level of Coffman Union (at the University of MN) outside our office. It's a bunch of pictures of students bowling and eating and doing cheesy fun things. Jess just walked in and went off about how annoyed she is at the girl in all the pictures showing off her huge diamond ring, even switching the hand the ring is on when the picture wouldn't capture it otherwise. Then Jennifer joined in (apparently she noticed this phenomenon right away as well) and both of them continued to harp on this poor girl in the photos (whose diamond I've never noticed, and I look at those pictures every day!) to the point that Jennifer said "I wonder if she's even still getting married, or even married." Then I piped in and asked why they were picking on this poor girl rather than wishing her some sort of happiness, and they quieted down to a low grumble. Why do ppl want to stomp on the happiness of others? There's that sin nature again
These kingdoms built on styrofoam and swiftly passing visions, blueprints brought on blackened wings to sleeping souls of men
fads and philosophies drip like used motor oil from the spirit of the age - a carcinogen essential for the vehicle of rebellion to run on and on away from the light that tears the corners of the horizon back, blazing heraldic on the earth like a lion tearing through a tent to reveal the burning sun, reflects in the faces of clocks towards twelve and all believing men.
Wake up, wake up Oh Sleeper, and Christ will shine on you!
the world will burn like styrofoam and melt with fumes that stain the air but even the fumes will be consumed when Messiah anchors there.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Brandy & I watched Lady In The Water and we liked it very much (the opening scene was hilarious, I liked the movie already after the first 2 minutes). I don't know why ppl don't appreciate movies like this, I thought it was hilarious and fun and imaginative-a lot like The Village in feel but not as dark. It's very much like one of the classic 80's movies (Goonies, Batteries not Included, Farris Bueller's Day Off) in that it has a lot of undeveloped plot lines, I don' think that's a bad thing, it just leaves room for the imagination. It is very "fairy taleish" which makes sense since it's based on a bedtime story M. Knight Shyamalan tells to his daughters. It was also very clean. I liked it enough to buy it once it comes out on DVD.
And I share Mr. Shyamalan's opinion of movie critics - which comes out in the film in a very funny way.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Just watched the Passion last night, it reminded me more than anything why Jesus died (yes, yes, "for our sins" - but how often do we really stop and wonder what that means, how it affects us every day, even this very moment?), I gives us no room to hold anything against our fellow man/woman, no matter how cruel, when we hear "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" coming from the Innocent One covered in His own blood referring to men responsible for his cruel torture and death-who by every appearance knew exactly what they were doing. But then also, it is why we need no longer to be afraid of anything, including death and torture. Fear should be foreign to a disciple of Jesus, one who has received the sonship through faith in Jesus - Jesus has gone through the worst there is, Death and suffering and all the unnatural dark happenings of our twisted and broken universe resulting from Satan's work and our complicity is no longer the unknown.
Jesus as both a Jewish thirty-something-year old tradesman-turned-rabbi, and at the same time as the Logos IAM God who created and upholds the universe has assured us that we will be hated by the world inasmuch as we align and ally ourselves with Him...it's no longer a question - it's a certainty (which is in a way comforting. when it's unsure, we spend so much time trying to avoid suffering and death, but knowing that it's a certainty frees us from struggling to avoid it). Best of all, He's given us life, bought us back into unbreakable connection with God - He will protect us from the spiritual forces of darkness, and will not let his holy one see decay. Death isn't the end, it's the veil that we as His children and those connected by death with Him pass through-to the presence of Jesus the Crucified and now the Victor and LORD who sits at the right hand of the Father. And in his Humanity, (for in Jesus now God is human as well as God) He sympathizes with our weaknesses as a Brother, a Friend, and oversees the details of our lives as an all-seeing Father. He (as Kurios/LORD over the universe from the galactic scale to the quantum scale) is neither ignorant nor passive in our sufferings. We face nothing to be really afraid of anymore. We have the constant assurances of God that all will be well come the conclusion, and all will be concluded soon. Without Jesus, we would have every reason for every fear - vulnerable on every side and in every way. But now we have a very present help in trouble and a reason behind what was once the dark unknown, and a Spirit not of fear, but of Love, and of Power, and of a sound mind.
It's good to know that it's not just a "religious story" - but a real historical event, one that is backed with reasons.
There was a reason for everything that Jesus went through for us. I watched "The Passion" with a friend and we had communion together afterwards, just staring at the grape juice in the cup and thinking: "one day, Jesus' real blood came dripping in pain through His broken skin, it wasn't a happy thing, it wasn't an effortless thing - God in Jesus didn't fall back on His omnipotence but was in all ways as we are when that happened. When I sin, and I do sin, I can remember as I look at that red liquid we all drink, and remember that many days past He told us that we didn't start this relationship. We aren't the initiators. He's the one who started it, and His commitment to our rescue is that serious. Anytime I question if God could really want to forgive my sins, willful and disgusting and persistent, You, Jesus, point to that cup and that bread and say that you take it that seriously, and it is for such a vile one as I that You died, to provide the spiritual nourishment necessary for me to be joined to You, and blood to wash away my many, many, sins, removing them. As we drink in the red vehicle of His life, and take in the bread that He declared His body, God counts it as us truly receiving the life of His Son, Jesus said "My body is real food, and my blood is real drink - unless you eat the body of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." - without His life streaming in at His initiative and our acceptance, we are lifeless. As much as a baby in its mother's womb relies on its mother's blood to stay alive and grow (we don't think of that as "cannibalism") Jesus has washed away the stains of our sin in His blood. The life everlasting, creative, pure and passionate that courses in the Godhead is ours inasmuch as we have received the free gift of God. It's free, but it's costly. God help me to examine myself before your cup and before your body, to remember what you did and why you did it and that it is just as much for this moment as it was for then. Not so I could flippantly go on sinning, but that I could be joined to you in love and grow up to be like You.
And you, reader, if you have turned to God in repentance and Faith in Jesus Christ, you also are in fellowship with me in this. We both get our life from the same Father-greater than any allegiance we owe to any earthly family, we are His, you and I. We experience the same forgiveness from the same sin through the same blood, the same rescue from the same Dominion of darkness and deliverance from the same slavery to sin. We share a homeland and a first love. We have the same Spirit now at this moment working in us to both will and do the Will of God. We are brothers and sisters in the same Lord. Jesus, who unites us in Love.
So when we see each other, we can really know each other, in a way the world never can.
All because of You Jesus, what you did and what you continue to do.
The end draws near, psalm 83 and the rest of the prophecies of the scripture forecasting a coalition of mostly middle eastern nations surrounding Israel to destroy it is happening. One would have to be willfully ignorant to ignore this obvious literal fulfillment in favor of a "less offensive and crude" allegorical reinterpretation.
If Israel in Jesus' time had interpreted the messianic prophecies in the same way as some "sophisticated" theologians, then they would have recognized Jesus even less than the jews who expected a warlord messiah (which for some odd reason, they always get slammed for, when their real fault was in exclusively looking for the conquering messiah's coming, to the EXCLUSION of the rest of the suffering servant prophecies) One can imagine what a liberal and "Well Educated" rabbi might have said in the first century about the prophecy concerning the virgin birth:
"The prophecy of the coming messiah's being born of a virgin is not to be taken literally-however such a crude and preposterous idea may provide comfort to the incendiary and exitable elements of jewdom. Obviously "virginity", -a symbol of purity in the tanachic narratives, as everyone acknowledges- is a reference to the undefiled state of the nation that we must bring about through social reform in order that we, as a society, might "give birth", so to speak, to the messiah, who may indeed in my opinion be more of an Idea or State than an actual literal person"
Boooooo, I say. Why go for the acrobatic interpretation when the simplest and most common sense interpretation has taken place before one's eyes???The Kingdom of God is always spoken of as being brought about in a cataclysmic change preceded by an outpouring of judgement (and I believe after reading Matthew 24 and the Thessalonian epistles, the catching up into the air of the saints)Hey guys, I'm not one for hype, I'm one for caution. But we're definitely seeing the curtains closing on the present age.
on another cool note:::
A man in Ireland just found a copy of the psalms a thousand+ years old, when he found it in the bog, it was opened to Psalm 83, petitioning God about the nations gathering together to destroy Israel.Wow, that seems like a kind of eerie coincidence, doesn't it?check it out:
I've set the sails of a one-man ship
to slit the wicked sea
My astrolabe set to the Son
and a home I've never seen-
though I carry its stories and photographs
in all my waking dreams.
to come and die, to cut the ties
that bound me to that shore of lies
For a dream born solid, a world made new
I turned my back to all I knew
Begging now His deathless wind
to fill my inmost sails
and tear me towards my Fatherland
and hope that never fails.
Friday, July 28, 2006
One can't talk of "good" without talking of God. The real god who revealed himself throughout the ages in the scriptural communications to men, provides the onlly real reference point by which to measure and define all things (their value, worth, and against the unchanging character of God to define an actions moral significance) Christianity therefore has a solid base for real discernment when it comes to Good. One can't talk about "good" without referencing God, and when one talks about God one is simultaneously talking about Good, since God-likeness (the extent at which something conforms to the nature and being of God's person) is the definition of goodness- exemplified for us once for all in the person of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Humanist ethical systems are akin to a virus-along with any sort of pseudomoral system (aside from the more consistently satanic varieties that follow the maxim "do what thou wilt"). A virus doesn't have reproductive capability (and some-myself included-would say is not even validly considered a life form because of this deficiency)- just the DNA strand information to reproduce itself, which it must inject into a valid organism/cell which IS capable of reproducing itself and hijack that cell's reproductive system in order to force it to manufacture more virii.
Hence the connection. Humanist and Agnostic moral systems constantly borrow moral principals cut from their theistic (and usually Christian) roots in order to remain viable options for God-rejecting-yet-innately-moral mankind. They borrow the idea that human life is special and should be protected, but without a valid basis for this assumption (they've cut it from it's biblical roots, man is valuable according to Scripture because he is created in the image of God) Any sexual ethics are also an excellent example. Most ppl in our society wouldn't be able to give a sufficient reason why pedophilia is wrong, because in distaste for God's plan of sexual relations, they have reduced the ethics of sex to a matter of "consent".
Another parallel: A virus is either rendered inactive or killed, or in turn kills its host (in turn destroying its ability to reproduce itself). The same is true for the relationship between Christian God-based ethics and the modern and postmodern attempts at ethical systems.
In the End, the Creator of All will once more rule all things in totality-reconforming all that will remain to His character . I yearn for that Day!
You YHWH are my Father, Jesus, my kurios, my Lord.
I find it more and more likely the more attacks I hear on it. It seems to have the weight of scriptural support plainly read, and those detractors of it seem to have a view of the bible and eschatology that tends towards oversimplification and unnecessary metaphoric interpretations - and overall seem to be without confidence in the inerrancy of Scripture.
Friday, June 30, 2006
I'm reading Hosea, the story/illustration from thousands of years ago that reveals Your heart, my God.
"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son..."
I can see you, God, smiling down on a son, feeling love well up in Your heart at this life that has come from yourself, watching it even in its feebleness with joy because of what it is, it's your son, Your own son! -You called his son out of Egypt, rescuing him from suffering, like a father calling his lost son out of a busy crowd.
Then, something happened:
"The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols..."
What was the matter? Didn't Israel recognize his father? if he did, then why didn't he love You and run to Your side when You called? God is calling: "Israel! come here! -Israel ignores and begins strolling away- "Come here to me! Please come! why won't you come...?" and Israel drifts, father and farther with each call into the crowd and away from his Father, doesn't he hear? Or doesn't he care? With every sacrifice, every animal burned in honor of the non-gods they took one more step away from their real father, and again, and again, and again...
And You remember how things used to be-
"Yet it was I that taught Ephraim how to walk; I took them up by their arms-"
He thinks of the beginnings, when his son was tiny, not even able to walk, how He took those little hands in his and lifted his son to his feet, waiting for his legs to find ground and strengthen, supporting him with every step, hours and hours of time go by, and God is engrossed in every moment, exulting in every new step and holding the arms of his son to keep him from crumpling to the ground, encouraging and slowly pushing him to step out more and more...
"But they did not know that I healed them."
Oh, God, your son didn't realise, they were sick, about to die, they were infirm, unable, crippled, sore. You were the one who picked him up and held him, you were the one who drove out the sickness, who strengthened them and nursed them to health. Why? Couldn't they remember?
"I led them with cords of humane kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws"
You led them out of their sickness, your kindness and love for them wrapped them to you, would not allow you to leave their side and kept them with you, with them you walked, leading them from their slavery and oppression. You gave them relief, the kind of relief an animal would get when for the first time in its life, the heavy harness and yoke were taken off, the muzzle taken off of its mouth, and someone so much greater and bigger and more beautiful with sparkling compassionate eyes stoops down to one knee and with a smile, holds out two cupped hands full of good food, the kind they'd never had before, the kind of food that makes you strong and full and satisfied - it tastes good too! That kind of thing you don't forget. You can't forget someone who loved you that much...can you?
"They shall not return to Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me."
No, you would never send them back to the horror you saved them from, that would be too cruel. You instead allow them to be taken by what they are already so taken with, Assyria, the chic, foreign ways. They would not come back, so they must go somewhere. You are kind, you wouldn't see them go back, you provided something just as painful, but less horrifying.
"The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels."
Because of their own counsels, not because of your desire. You were simply letting happen to them what would naturally follow from their own choices. You let them face without protection their own consequences. And it would be dreadful.
"How can I give you up...? How can I hand you over...? My heart recoils inside me, my compassion grows warm and tender."
That's the kind of God you are. Your heart can't bear to turn away your own, even when it's necessary you flinch and turn back in horror at the thought. You can punish, but you won't desert those you've chosen! "when we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself." That's who You are, and I love You for it!
"I will not execute my burning anger...for I am God, and not a man, the Holy one in your midst-and I will not come in wrath"
Why do we always complain about your alleged cruelty, God? Why do men ask those questions? You see that we are the cruel ones, given to wrath and destruction, taking out our tempers on those we say we love. You're not like that, you're different. You're compassionate.
"They shall go after YHWH, he will roar like a lion; when He roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; like birds from egypt, like doves from assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares YHWH."
You'll show us enough of your power and potential to punish that we'll come back to you. Come out of the places that we fell back into slavery in, our Egypts, our Assyrias, all the things that have taken us willingly captive - you shock us with your power enough to wake us up, like the prodigal son coming to his senses, and going back to his Father, and without any further punishment, you return them to the places you've made for them.
You are merciful, God, and loving towards all you've made. I trust that your heart is no different towards individuals a it is towards nations. Thank you for your love and dedication to us!