Wednesday, October 21, 2009

love create share respond

a few weeks back i was planning a youth worship service on the theme of Community. while doing research and prep - i stumbled across Ian Adams' blog (thank you Jonny Baker)

this post inspired me greatly.
When combined with ‘the big idea’ [see the previous 'ways into... no 3'] a good spirit can produce something truly creative - a community that in small ways begins to reshape us and the world around us for good. So it can be really helpful in beginning a new community to identify what we hope the spirit will be, describe it, and begin to try to live it.
As i thought about our youth community (i am a youth pastor) and what we aim to be - i began to think about what i/we hoped the spirit of our 'community' would be.

and out of that, an ethos was born:

love God + people (matthew 22:38-40)

create + inspire others to connect with God. (made in the image of God - man can use creativity to inspire others and help others connect with God through interactive, out-of-the-box methods. because of creativity, we are made new.)

share your story + God's story. the Good news can be shared through words and actions. St. Francis said 'preach often. if necessary, use words.' whatever methods, we encourage people to be real and to share their stories with others and along the way to share God's story of love and redemption. the cool part is when people begin to see the connection between their story and God's story. may our stories inspire generosity + genuine community as we share the truth of Jesus. (matthew 10:7)

respond to the needs of others + to the call of Christ. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says 'pity a man who falls and has no one to help him up.' we want to be aware of the needs of others. remember that Jesus said 'whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me. and whatever you have not done to the least of these, you have not done to me.' we desire selfless, not selfish community.

now comes the challenge to 'live it out.'

below is the video that sums up our ethos.

love create share respond from Tim Beck on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


"Prayer makes us vulnerable to others. It's difficult to cling to our defenses, our prejudices, and even our anger at another person when we're praying for them. The more we pray for someone, even an enemy, the more God softens the heart toward that person -- the more that person changes from enemy to friend. Prayer makes it more likely that we can move from seeing someone as "garbage" to actually, seeing the person as a child of God."

~ Mark Yaconelli (from the book Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray)

Monday, October 19, 2009

religiosity. pt. 2

from an interview with the Boston Globe:

Boston Globe: I’m struck by the fact that I don’t hear a lot of explicitly religious language, or mentions of Jesus, from you.

Rob Bell: I think we have enough religious people who are going around trying to convert people. My guard is up when somebody is trying to convert me to their thing. Are you talking to me because you actually are interested in this subject, because you care about me as a human, or am I one more possible conversion that will make you feel good about your religiosity? I don’t have any embarrassment about my religion, and it’s not that I’m too cool, but I would hope that the Jesus message would come through, hopefully through a full humanity.

my thoughts:
Christianity can't fit into a cookie cutter mold. yet we try and try to make it fit, perhaps because it makes us feel successful. but perhaps its not about success. perhaps its truly about discipleship and truly following Jesus.

there is a ministry at the edge of town that has a sign out front that reads '652 Salvation's' or something like that. everytime i see it i am reminded of McDonalds and how it would say 'over 1 billion served'. I don't like to think of 'salvation' as a fast food product that is bought and sold.

i know that God can and will reach people and save people through various methods - but i would feel a little uncomfortable using the 'used car salesman' approach to advancing God's kingdom.

i think i would rather spread the Good news of Jesus through relationships and conversations and actions that are consistent with the teachings of Jesus. Loving God first and Living all people next. Treating people with respect while showing them an example of the hope that is within me.

Salvation is not a commodity - and getting people 'saved' is not something i do so that i can get another notch on my belt.

i guess i look at it this way: if a man were drowning in a lake - and he cried out to be saved, the lifeguard would throw him a life preserver and thus salvation would be at hand.
but once out of the water - drowning man must then learn to swim before jumping back in the lake. the learning to swim is discipleship. learning the art of being like Jesus. the lifeguard - presumably would show drowning man the Way to life. (John 10:10)

if said life guard 'saves' drowning man but then moves on, how genuine was the saving? he saved only because it was his job - not because it was his passion for the drowning man to have life.

as a follower of Jesus - i want people to understand the saving grace of Jesus. but i want them to understand that and to SEE that through my love and my actions.

it is my prayer that there would be a genuine, consistency within me and that God would give me the boldness to proclaim the gospel to one and all - through word and deed. i hope that is your prayer, too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Drops Like Stars review

Drops Like Stars: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering Drops Like Stars: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering by Rob Bell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Drops like Stars is not like many books on anyone's bookshelf. as a matter of fact - it's dimensions make it difficult to literally fit on my bookshelf. it's more of a coffee table type book.
filled with creative art and stunning photography with words sprinkled throughout, Drops Like Stars is author Rob Bell's attempt to connect creativity and suffering.

in fact, the tag line says that: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering.

that's just what it is... a few thoughts... stories... anecdotes... and what not that attempts (mildly successfully) to show the connection between man and God during difficult times and how that suffering can bring about a new perspective. the ability to see things that are often missed... those God moments, i'd call them.

in the end - we all suffer. and it is going to shape us.

as he writes: we'll be bitter or better...closed or open... more ignorant or more aware. etc.

in the midst of it all, Bell reminds us of how God connects through us - through our suffering - because his son suffered once and for all, so that we may live... a life to the full.

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

religiosity. pt. 1

Rob Bell has his share of fans. he also has his share of enemies.
recently he was interviewed by the Boston Globe. you can read part of the article HERE. the 2nd page of the article from the BG website is from another BG article and so, sadly, the completed article is missing.

some people, like this guy have gone bananas over quotes from Bell from the BG article. based on the comments left on that guys page you'll see some very loving christian responses, too. sweet! Jesus must be so proud! i find it interesting that none who commented on their disdain for Bell seemed to have bothered to check the facts. "He doesn't mention the name of Jesus enough" they say. (kinda sounds like how Contemporary Christian Music used to keep track of JPM's in its music... JPM's = Jesus' Per Minute. The more JPM's the more likely your song would get made.) But alas, apparently Bell was largely misquoted or taken out of context in the BG article. this guys big stink is about Bell's quote on the word 'evangelism. others here are a little perturbed, too.

Bell's quote: "I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing."
He didn't mention Jesus which got people upset.
from Christianity Today: Rob Bell has responded to the Globe interview on his Twitter account. He says that most of what he said was left out of the interview, and calls it "maddening." He also goes on to clarify the historical roots of the word "evangelical."

from Bell's twitter page: A bit of history: the word evangelical comes from the Roman Empire propaganda machine- it was an announcement proclaiming Caesar is Lord...The first Christians took the phrase and tweaked it, saying "Jesus is Lord." That, of course, could get you killed. No one challenges Caesar...To confess Jesus is Lord was to insist that peace does not come to earth through coercive violence but through sacrificial love...That is still the question, is it not? Whose way? Jesus or Caesar? Power and might and domination - or bloody, thirsty, hanging on a cross?
And so things were left out of the Boston Globe article.

it bothers me that some christians seem reluctant to give the benefit of the doubt. it is too easy to point the finger, i guess.

Jesus seemed to say something about that, though...
How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. ~Luke 6:42

maybe there are more important things for us to be focusing on right now. like giving up our inner pride, perhaps? or maybe taking care of our own business? Loving God and loving people? practicing empathy and humility?