Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Millionaire Who Never Counted On Change

I'm not inclined to watch the newest fad in television docudramas, so called "Reality TV", but Episode 4 of "Secret Millionaire" was brought to my attention by a dear friend. As I tried to extract information about the content of the program, the only response I continued to get was, "you just have to see it for yourself ~ it's sooooo good"! That was good enough for me! Trusting the recommendation, I found the show and watched the recorded events unfold over the next 45 minutes.

It is difficult to put into words what I experienced as I listened to and watched the stories being told. Rather than share from my point of view, I thought I'd pass on the advice given to me ~ "you just have to see it for yourself ~ it's sooooo good"!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adopted...into God's Family

"...cuckoo birds end up in adopted families, like me. They might feel as out of place as a feather on a horse sometimes, but they end up where they belong."

Horse Whispers in the Air ~ Dandi Macall

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Followers, Not Admirers ~ Soren Kierkeguard

It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression "follower." He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, He calls disciples. It is not adherants of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for. Christ understood that being a "disciple" was in innermost and deepest harmony with what He said about Himself. Christ claimed to be the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6). For this reason, He could never be satisfied with adherents who accepted His teaching - especially with those who in their lives ignored it or let things take their usual course.

His whole life on earth, from beginning to end, was destined solely to have followers and to make admirers impossible. Christ came into the world with the purpose of saving, not instructing it. At the same time - as is implied in His saving work - He came to be the Pattern, to leave footprints for the person who would join Him, who would become a follower. This is why Christ was born and lived and died in lowliness. It is absolutely impossible for anyone to sneak away from the Pattern with excuse and evasion on the basis that it, after all, possessed earthly and worldly advantages that He did not have. In that sense, to admire Christ is the false invention of a later age, aided by the presumption of "loftiness." No, there is absolutely nothing to admire in Jesus, unless you want to admire poverty, misery, and contempt.

What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires. To want to admire instead of to follow Christ is not necessarily an invention by bad people. No, it is more an invention by those who spinelessly keep themselves detached, who keep themselves at a safe distance. Admirers are related to the admired only through the excitement of the imagination. To them He is like an actor on the stage except that, this being real life, the effect He produces is somewhat stronger. But for their part, admirers make the same demands that are made in the theater: to sit safe and calm.

Admirers are only too willing to serve Christ as long as proper caution is exercised, lest one personally come in contact with danger. They refuse to accept that Christ's life is a demand. In actual fact, they are offended by Him. His radical, bizarre character so offends them that when they honestly see Christ for who He is, they are no longer able to experience the tranquility they so much seek after. They know full well that to associate with Him too closely amounts to being up for examination. Even though He says nothing against them personally, they know that His life tacitly judges theirs. And Christ's life indeed makes it manifest, terrifyingly manifest, what dreadful untruth it is to admire the truth instead of following it. When there is no danger, when there is a dead calm, when everything is favorable to our Christianity, then it is all too easy to confuse an admirer with a follower. And this can happen very quietly. The admirer can be under the delusion that the position he takes is the true one, when all he is doing is playing it safe. Give heed, therefore, to the call of discipleship!

If you have any knowledge at all of human nature, who can doubt that Judas was an admirer of Christ! And we know that Christ at the beginning of his work had many admirers. Judas was precisely such an admirer and thus later became a traitor. It is not hard to imagine that those who only admire the truth will, when danger appears, become traitors. The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite, to hate, jealousy, and revenge...

...Now suppose that there is no longer any special danger, as it no doubt is in so many of our Christian countries, bound up with publicly confessing Christ. Suppose there is no longer need to journey in the night. The difference between following and admiring still remains. Forget about danger connected with confessing Christ and think rather of the real danger which is inescapably bound up with being a Christian. Does not the Way - Christ's requirement to die to the world and deny self - does this not contain enough danger?

The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in word he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.

Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a "Christian people," he incurs the same peril as he did when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ. And because of the follower's life, it will become evident who the admirers are, for the admirers will become agitated with him. Even these words will disturb many - but then they must likewise belong to the admirers.

Excerpt from Bread and Wine ~ Readings for Lent and Easter p 55-60

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Kingdom of God

The focus of the Spirit’s arrival was not intense, miraculous signs (new languages spoken, healings, etc.). Rather, it was the unleashing of the kingdom of God.
This is how we know God’s Spirit is active among us—when the kingdom of God is breaking free. Whenever hearts are awakening to God’s life and whenever transformation is happening, we know that the Spirit is bringing us God’s kingdom.

~ Excerpt from Our Daily Journey Mar 21, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As part of the Passion Movement, you know our desire to awaken a generation to live for what matters most — Jesus! More than songs and conferences, we believe worship is love in motion. And it's clear that the kind of worship God wants most requires more than words, calling us to love the world in Jesus' name.

Needs across the globe are endless, creating massive opportunity to bring hope to the broken and light in the darkest places. Do Something Now is a direct response to meet specific needs by opening the door as wide as we can, inviting everyone to join in the movement. And is now available online for anyone to give, from anywhere, at anytime.

So check out dosomethingnow.com. Five incredible causes, plus an opportunity to bring relief to Japan in these post quake/tsunami days. All of which have incredible needs that can be met easily as we each give a little to add to the 5 million already raised since 2007!

On our own, we each can make a difference, but together we are a force for good that exponentially surpasses what we can do alone. Small sacrifices can make a huge difference. Join the movement and invite others to follow.

Together we're a force for good. Follow your heart. Do Something Now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Matthew 25?

Basil of Caesarea, a fourth century bishop and monk, asked, “Are you not a robber, you who consider your own that which has been given you solely to distribute to others? This bread which you have set aside is the bread of the hungry; this garment you have locked away is the clothing of the naked; those shoes which you let rot are the shoes of him who is barefoot; those riches you have hoarded are the riches of the poor.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The God Jog

I believe everyone should have a God Jog. So what's a God Jog? It is an intentional appointment with a friend to spend time with one another, sharpen one another, laugh with one another, cry with one another, share our stories with one another, encourage one another, challenge one another, exhort one another, etc.

Mine started out as getting prepared (training, if you will) for a Half-Marathon last year. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday we get together an run and dialog. These have become sacred times for me, and I look forward to them. There may be exciting things I want to share in my life, or I may need to vent because I've had a crappy day. Either way, it is good times. I also get the grace of being there for my friend. Maybe he's had an exciting day. Maybe he's had a crappy day, and need to blow off some steam. That's when I get to operate the grace of listening, and of coming along side a brother; a fellow sojourner in this story.

Running is not everybody's thing. I understand that. But I would encourage all of you to find someone to come along side of on a regular interval to journey through this life with. If you are open and honest with one another, if you allow the Spirit to guide you, this will become a sacred time for you also. I don't care if you run, walk, fly, or skip. Do something, and Happy God Jogging!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Glimpse into Modern Day Slavery ~ from CNN.com

Uttar Pradesh, India - An army of workers, their faces encrusted with dust, toils beside a story-high pile of unfired bricks. They are helping build a new India that appears to be leaving them behind. From sunup to sundown they spend their time pouring wet mud into molds, lugging them to the kiln, firing them and then pulling them out. For their backbreaking work, they do not receive wages. They are working to pay off a debt.
In India they are known as bonded laborers, bound to those who gave them or their forefathers an advance or a loan. Human rights advocates call them modern day slaves.
 "I cannot leave here unless I pay my debt," said Durgawati, a mother of three.
A contractor had approached Durgawati and her husband, offering them work in a far-off village. He had said there were plenty of opportunities and offered to pay an advance to prove it. Desperate to make a living and with no work in sight where they lived, they leapt at the chance and took the 1000-rupee ($22) advance, she said. The contractor found them work, but now, the family said they were trapped.
"I have to make a thousand bricks per day," Durgawati said. "It's the most difficult thing. We are given big pieces of soil, then we have to break it. Then we make it into a dough. Then we knead the soil." She and her husband aren't the only ones in the family working. Their eldest daughter is nearly as fast as the adults at molding the earth into bricks. She is just five years old. The family said they have not received wages since arriving three months ago. None of them has any idea how much they are owed. They said they have never been shown a balance sheet and couldn't read it anyway. They are illiterate and desperate to make a living. They do get a small food allowance but say it barely feeds them. Still, the family wouldn't dare leave the worksite that doubles as their living quarters.
"They will beat me if I try to leave," Durgawati said.
Dozens of families are in the same predicament. They are all oblivious to the fact that bonded labor is illegal in India. The legislation has been in place for decades, but enforcement is lax.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Welcome to Angie Z's Neighborhood

Check out this 60 Minute report on an ever growing number homeless children in
Seminole county Florida.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tapping into The Kingdom

"We are a broken people who need each other and God, for we have come to recognize the mess that we have created of our world and how deeply we suffer from that mess. Now we are working together to give birth to a new society within the shell of the old. Another world is possible. Another world is necessary. Another world is already here."
~ Shane Claiborne

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thought Provoking Quotes

Heard these quotes this week, been thinking about them - "What if you awoke tomorrow with only what you thanked Him for today?" and then "If we say we love unconditionally, why do we not worship unconditionally?"


Praying is prying into and paying attention to God's business ~ it also gives Him opportunity to do the same with us, as we allow it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Giving up control

"Did Jesus have enemies? Did some people not like Him? Yes. People who used the ancient texts to lord over others with the tools of fear and shame and public humiliation and accusation were the enemies of Christ. To think those enemies of Christ do not still exist today in an evangelical context, even using Christ’s name and hiding behind His cause of the gospel, would be naieve. Jesus never controls anybody. He states truths, and is okay with the chaos it creates. Control is the enemy of relationship, and of love. The Gospel is about relationship and love, not force."
~ Donald Miller


"...love given without any other agenda is always relevant. Relevance comes from relationship - it means we matter to someone, he or she matters to us, and we both know it"
~ Rick McKinley This Beautiful Mess

Relational Tithe

Weird ?