It’s been too long…

 Sitting here kind of Reading some Kimball and keeping my eye on a pretty pathetic football game… It’s been a while since i last posted and have to admit that sheer laziness and desire to write is what has kept me from posting! But tonight my mind is on the morning service in 13 hours or so…

It’s my turn to speak and I plan on sharing some thoughts on talent and what that means for those inside the church. I’ve spoken on this a couple of times before and both times were to a youth audience and the message was met with positive responses… I sort of encouraged them to use their talents that they had been given… That God had given each of us some amount of talent and that we need to invest and not rob this world of our gifts and of that which God has given us to serve others… Our world seems obsessed with talent… We celebrate it through TV shows, sports, etc… But in the Church we seem to neglect people’s talent… aside from good voices, musicians, or speakers… because this really covers everything right?… Hopefully, you sense my joking…

I’ve been noticing lately how many people have the idea that church is more of a show than it is something that everyone shares in. Where did we ever get the idea that the only people who contribute in the church are the people on the platform? It seems to me that a read through the New Testament shows that all of believers are to contribute and serve in the Church and more importantly as the Church (Eph. 4:11-12). I fear that for too long i’ve held the mind-set that the Pastor’s do the work… As a young pastor i’ve always felt giving work or duties to others was me just trying to be lazy and put everything on others… Now i’ve began to see it as doing church the way it is meant to be done… Everybody contributing and playing a role! Discipleship is far more than just reading or learnin the scriptures…

I guess going into tomorrow i’m going to teach on the Kingdom parable of Matthew 25, The Parable of the Talents… In which Jesus tells of the servants who were entrusted with talent (money, a God given thing) and how they handled the responsibility… I’m probably going to challenge and more so encourage those who aren’t presently involved in ministry in or out of the Church to get involved… and to start using the talents and gifts that God has given them as important parts of the body… It seems odd that this isn’t basic understanding from the bible, but i guess i’ve missed it before and so have many others… Anyways those are some thoughts i’m having this evening… Hopefully I communicate better in the morning…

Wide Awake.

“Faith is the determination to create with our lives what only our hearts can conceive. We pursue what we do not have as if we cannot live without it. I wonder if that’s why dating is sometimes more exciting than marriage. Maybe our marriages would get better if we kept pursuing our spouses.”

I thought this was interesting. It’s taken from Erwin’s latest book ‘Wide Awake.’ Not only does he encourage us to live life by faith (In trust), but he gives some good marriage counsel in the process… Which the ‘charasmatic with a seatbelt’, part of me, would amen! I wonder though, if this is just as true about becoming a Christian and being ‘new’ to the whole following God thing. I know it’s easy to get instituionalized and just become comfortable and accepting of what a contemporary Christian should look like. Do we get so comfortable that we quit pursuing God, like we first did upon knowing Him? Does Revelation 2 need to be read again and again, so that we never forsake our first love? This makes sense… The truth is, Heaven forbid I become content with just being a ‘good Christian/pastor’, in the sense of attending church, preaching and having the odd awkward social get together. Come to think of it, Heaven forbid I ever just become another ‘good Pentecostal’ also! May I continually pursue God with more passion and live with a holy discontent all of my days!

Music.

One of my favorite things to do when i was in elementary/high school was to make compilations of my favorite music of the moment. Although technology has advanced and i no longer use cassettes, i still love bunching together a bunch of songs to listen to! To anyone who likes music, this is what’s been on my ipod the last little while:

1. Superstar by Sonic Youth: There is just something so peaceful and relaxing about this great remake of a classic tune by the Carpenters! It was recently featured in the movie ‘Juno’ and was also on the soundtrack… On Itunes you cannot buy it off the soundtrack unless you download the whole album, thankfully though, it is available as a single download on itunes from The Carpenters tribute disc, entiled, ‘If I were a carpenter.’ This song which is probably more famous now for a great scene in the movie ‘Tommy Boy’, nonetheless, is a great song and Sonic Youth made it listenable without having to question one’s gender while doing so…Check it out!

2. The Resolution by Jack’s Mannequin: Just discovered these guys recently. And have also found out that he was one of the founding members of former band ‘Something Corporate.’ Although, the former band was never one that I would call a favorite, I enjoyed the odd tune and am glad i didn’t judge this new music based on the former. Jack’s new album releases September 30 and this is the first single! I can’t wait!

3. Come all you weary by Thrice: Yes, this song is based right out of the scriptures! I picked up the new Thrice disc while I was at YC and was a little skeptical as i bought their last disc (a companion piece to this) and was a little let-down by it! This song is just what you need if you’re having a tough day/week… I think it works because the guy actually sounds sincere… and believable!

4. Them Kids by Sam Roberts: What else can i say… He’s Canadian and makes great music! I thought for sure he would lose a step with this new album, but thankfully I am proved wrong! I think this is right up there with his top singles and love the opening guitar part! Good job Sam!

5. You are Mine by Mute Math: Probably my favorite song by the band! I was never really interested in this tune i admit, until i read on John Mayer’s blog last September how they were quickly becoming one of his favorite bands and that this was among his faves… I checked it out, gave it a chance and for literally the last 8 months, it’s been a constant play on the ipod! peaceful!

6. Vultures by John Mayer: Speaking of Mayer, if you haven’t checked out his new DVD you must, it’s amazing and gives a new respect for his music! Vultures was and is my favorite song from his last album, but even more on this new live album… He’s recorded the song 3 times on cd and each time it sounds better!

7. Maybe Tomorrow by Stereophonics: Had to mention this one… It has literally been on my ipod list for 3-4 years now, not sure as to the exact time, but i never get sick of this song. My bud Kris introduced me to stereophonics then and am yet to find another song that sticks in my head like this one! It was featured on movies such as ‘Crash’ and ‘Wicker park’ and was played in such appropriate scenes, that only made me like the tune more!

8. Love’s not a competion (But I’m Winning) by Kaiser Chiefs: When I was living in Toon, I was sitting around the house one night watching Conan O’brien with my bud Travis and these guys performed. They didn’t perform this tune, however their live performance of their single ‘ruby’ was enough to encourage me to go out and by their disc the next day! Such catchy music! Love this tune for some reason, lyrically it’s fun and is the kind of song that makes me wish i was talented enough to play at an open mic show! If only?

9. I will Possess your heart by death Cab for Cutie: Lyrically, this could qualify as the “Stalker’s National Anthem.’ Once you get pass that and the once-annoying, now great 4 minute bass intro, you’ve got a great tune that’ll definately remind me of the summer!

That’s it for now, hopefully some people check out some of the tunes… Now my question for you is, what have you been listening to lately? What are your favorite tracks right now?

Say It Ain’t so?

Being a New York Jets fan since i started watching NFL Football, I am very pleased by the announcing of the legendary Brett Favre as our new QB! Although I will miss Chad Pennington who I have always supported and still will, things look to get interesting! This is the sports highlight of 2008 thus far! Doesn’t Brett look good on that sideline?

Waiting.

“We keep on waiting… waiting on the world to change.”

One of my favorite songs of the last couple years was John Mayer’s “Waiting on the world to change.” I love the melody and sound of the song, but more than anything i am really intrigued by his lyrics! It seems that it’s human nature to wait on the world to change, rather than trying to do something within our very small existence that would bring good change to our world and maybe the world of a few others! In the last couple of days i have found myself being impatient while waiting on my upcoming vacation and it has caused to think about others area’s of my life, i may be just waiting on, when in truth… I could be engaging them!

Life isn’t just about breathing, it’s about living! I think it’s about being passionate about something that is so much bigger that just self, that it literally guides all of our decisions and how we choose to live! Jesus said that He came to bring us abundant life (John 10:10) and unfortunately too many t.v preachers (did I mention these guys make my job very difficult) have taken His words to mean nothing less than having a lot of money, stuff, great health and no problems! Which sounds nice and desirable… but of course most of scripture will show us that Christians can expect trials (James 1:2), Trouble (John 16:33), and have to guard ourselves from all the stuff and power that the world holds so dear (James 1:26; Romans 12:1-2). I don’t think Jesus was saying we were all going to be rich because we follow Him. I think what He was trying to say was that once we engage Him and come to know Him, we will become more alive that we ever were before! Than we can ever be. We will actually begin to live this amazing life that Jesus lived and unfortunately that life doesn’t look too ideal when compared to a life of western prosperity! Don’t get me wrong this isn’t about bring on the pain because that is not where I am at and no one should be… But I want something much more real!

Even right now in my life, I am very disatisfied in many area’s of life and I find myself waiting on these things to just all of a sudden change and be made right! I wonder if any of us are really truly honest with ourselves about where we are at in our journey? Or is that too scary of a place to enter? Perhaps, it would cause us to give up so much that is meaningless and embrace the real! Just to say, that to be in a place of waiting is both good and bad. Jesus often instructed the disciples to wait and they would be given direction within time! At the same time, waiting can be a great form of spiritual rebellion, to the point that we wait but never step out and begin to engage with God those area’s of our lives that need to be in the right place and fully alive. I guess to say today my thought and prayer is: Jesus breathe more life into me, that I may not hide but truly live out those passions deep within your heart!

But for now we wait?

Camp

Well it’s been a while since i’ve posted anything! Let’s recap… This past Sunday Nic and I went to The Pas to visit her parents for a few days. It was great to see the family, but a less than great experience. Let me explain. As soon as we got there I came down with a sick feeling. To make a long story short, that sick feeling quickly turned into me throwing up (about 20 times) and feeling terrible. I ended up going to the hospital and they told me i had a 104 degree fever and some sort of stomach viral infection! They hooked up me to the IV, which was awesome by the way, pumped me full of fluids and after a little debate, let me go home. 3 days later i started feeling better, but still don’t feel 100%…. watch out for that virus people… it hurts!

Sitting in the hospital was interesting. I thought about how busy waiting rooms and hospitals have become. I remember a couple of years ago when my favorite football team the New York Jets made the play-offs and their starting quarterback (Chad Pennington), came down with the flu, 2 days before the big game! The Jets fans went into shock and panic and i remember the team assuring the fans that the doctors were with him 24/7, pumping him full of fluids all day and making sure that he will be ready and healthy to play in the game on Sunday. It’s amazing how quick and easy that kind of treatment is when you have millions of dollars… I guess that’s also a difference between Canadian and American health care. I’m glad I didn’t have to be rich to get the treatment i got in the hospital that night. It was actually a decent experience (and I know this may be the exception) and that’s tough to say especially with how lousy i was feeling. But really the doctor actually seemed to care and the nurses/staff were great! Jesus always talks about loving people and not being partial in the scriptures… That’s a difficult thing to live out. Especially when our society is built around the notion of how the rich and powerful get what they want, while the rest of us either wait in line, or get left out completely. Being shown impartiality was something i took note of laying in that hospital bed! I guess when it is shown to you, it’s easy to take notice of.

This week I’m off to my churches family camp! It should be a great week to hang out with some friends, and do a lot of reading… On tap for this week are the books: The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll, The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and The Year I got everything I wanted (Memoir) by Cameron Conant! Here’s to some good reading, fishing, hanging out and getting to know God a little better! Hope everyone who reads this is doing well, leave me a note and let me know how summer is for you! Peace!

Book Review: This Beautiful Mess!

Over the last week I’ve read Rick Mckinley’s latest book, entitled “This Beautiful mess.” This book focuses on the truth that Christians and the Church should and need to be practicing the Presence of God’s Kingdom here on earth! Having just finished reading N.T Wright’s brilliant book “Simply Christian,” I found this to be a refreshing and quick read on a topic that many misunderstand in the church and one in which Wright is also passionate about!

Up until the last couple of years, I confess that everytime I read the words of Jesus and heard Him talking about the Kingdom of God or The Kingdom of Heaven, I always recieved it in the sense that it was futuristic and that he was talking about a place where we would spend our lives forever! Seeing Jesus’ words through these lenses not only narrowed my perception of what Jesus came to bring on the earth, but it limited my ability to be effective living in the Kingdom, right here, now, Today! I’ve come to see, very clearly, that the Kingdom of Heaven is a present reality (yet still a believers future residence) and that Jesus is telling those who will follow Him that they can and should live in it right now, as He continues to move on the earth!

I think a main reason why we have trouble grasping this whole idea of the Kingdom of Heaven in the West is because we have no concept of Kingdom Authority, living in a democratic society! This whole idea of living in a Kingdom, means that we need to come under the reign of the King of the Kingdom! This call to submission was evident in some of the first words that Jesus stressed in the gospels (Matthew 5:3). Mckinley echoes a western difficulty with understanding kingdom living in saying, “We take the ‘Jesus is Saviour’ message home like a really good story, but Jesus as king has no place in our lives.” Even worse he says, “When I became a Christ follower, the sad truth is that I transfered Christ into my kingdom, into the context of MY life.”

It’s very difficult to live in the Kingdom of God, when it’s so much easier (and natural) to keep our little kingdoms of what we want and how we see things working out, and asking Jesus to just reign over that! This convicts me! Jesus invites us into His Kingdom here and now and also forever… He will never stoop down to manage ours! Mckinley also got me thinking about how often we let our culture, rather than the Gospel of the kingdom, to have influence over our decision making! My friend Brandon, has been talking a lot lately about how once you become a Christian, there is no longer any National Lines that divide or seperate you, but that your national lines are now those of the Kingdom of God and all who live in it and need it! We don’t pledge our allegiance to a government party or to a country anymore, but rather to a King and a kingdom! This causes me to wonder why so many of our political decisions are based upon worldly standards, rather than Kingdom standards… Jesus, who had concern for the poor and down trodden, gets represeneted so often in our world, as someone who has more concern that the rich get richer and that the middle class get their breaks… I fear something with this picture is wrong…

Needless to say, this is a good, quick Read! I recommend you read it if you’re interested in some discussion about the Kingdom of heaven and our role in it! It’s not mind-blowing, but is a good read and calls us to evaluate our lives! If you’re not a reader, you can check out his sermons!  The one main thing this book did was convict me that I can’t be King of my Kingdom anymore (or worse invite Jesus to be), but that the gospel is about submiting to our King and living in His kingdom… and if we do this, our priorites and concerns will be radically altered!