Monday, December 26, 2005

Back to Basics...

Christmas Day has past, and the Sunday routines have died down. I ended the day by watching "Bruce Almighty," a very thought provoking movie discuised as a typical Jim Carrey comedy. I went to sleep shortly after it ended, and I awoke about five hours later, thinking about the question, "What does it mean to truly serve God?"

I'm a Pentecostal by revelation and choice. I have dialogued recently with a devout Roman Catholic, but just couldn't get myself to view Church history, culture, and function the way that he does. If I could believe that the Christian movement started out the way he believes, I would be the first to go grab a rosary and get to doing it. I would walk away from my Pentecostal churchin' Gospel music lovin' lifestyle, and learn Latin.

I just can't picture Paul in a cassock, or Peter with scarlet or purple. I find it difficult to see 1st century Jews who believed that the messiah had come as incipient Roman Catholics. Perhaps it's a cultural thingfor me, or perhaps I can't fit what I read in the Book of Acts with what I read later on in the writings of the Latin church leaders.

The important thing is, I want to serve God, and I want to do it well. I don't feel this way because of fear, but because I am so grateful for all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me, and, through the Holy Spirit, is doing in me and will continue to do with me until the Day. I want to serve God because salvation is such a glorious gift, and I want to have a walk worthy of Him who called me. My problem is, with so many people saying that theirs is the way, how am I to know-I mean, really know, how to please God.

I welcome any ideas that anyone else has out there, regardless of your theological persuasion. I'd just like to hear/read what you think about this.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Is this a Cain moment?

Well, we are coming into the third of the big holidays of the last quarter. Hallowe'en was interesting this year, since Delwyn 2 has figured out that Hallowe'en is a synonym for "free candy!!!" Thanksgiving was the setting for some major drama in the family(which I'm not yet sure how to share), but D2 did not quite understand why McDonalds should be closed before the sun went down just because momma cooked a bunch of food.

Now Christmas approaches. Everyone in the house knows that presents come with the day, from the youngest Delwyn to the oldest one. Since it also happens to be me and Theresa's 9th anniversary, we were hoping to head somewhere for a nice dinner. If I would have known the impact, I definitely would have picked a different day for a wedding.

I know that Christmas is supposed to be all about Jesus, so I'm trying to put the day in a broader perspective. Perhaps the fact that this year December 25 is on a Sunday will help. We recently closed our Bible Cafe, after spending a month fighting with the neighboring businesses and complaining about lack of support from the property manager. To be honest, Theresa and I are kind of bummed out about that, but she is more bummed because she feeels like God had rejected her desire to serve Him through the ministry.

Have any of you ever felt like that, I mean, like your offering was rejected and you weren't quite sure why? As I type this, I find myself thinking about Cain and his reaction to God's response to his offering as compared to his brother, Abel. Not that I'm looking to take anyone out, but I wonder, what was it that drew Cain down the path that lead to his moment of notoriety? Was it possibly frusttration over having his best be rejected? The text doesn't go into that isssue, but right about now, I think that I can kind of relate to Cain, after all, I gave my best at the Cafe, but now we're closed, and we're wondering "what comes now?"

Saturday, October 29, 2005

How much do you need?

Tonight I asked the young ladies in attendance at our Bible Cafe what would it take for life to go smooth. Bearing in mind that most of them were young teens, the first thing they said was, of course, "money." My daughter estimated that about 1 billion trillion would do the trick. This could create a bit of a problem, for the total U.S. budget for 2005 is 2.4 trillion, so either the U.S. Mint had better get to printing, or someone is guaranteed to have an unhappy life.

After that chuckle moment, we talked about other things that people think will bring satisfaction; relationships, public acclaim, fame, whatever. I then told them that whatever it was, was God to them, to which most of us "spiritually mature " folk would say, "duh!"

But then I got to thinking, am I selling God short if my strongest bit of good news is that the Creator is better at bringing satisfaction than the Creation? I mean, is that really all that God is good for? I can't believe that the "Herbrews 11 Heroes" did it because "Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to [them]; sorry Clark Sisters!

The Kingdom of God is more than meat and drink, Paul wrote. I'm pretty sure that it's more than personal fulfillment and having "your best life now." In consumer-driven America of the 21st Century, the Church often seems to be offering little more than a better way to get ahold of the temporal things that we will end up losing anyway, according to the common experience of those who die. AS the old saying goes, "you can't take it with you," so why are so many Christian books, tapes, and DVD's offering the very thing that Jesus said would only come to those who let those things go?!!

I caught myself just in time, and directed the girls to look at Christianity, not as the best way to get personal fulfillment, but as the world-view that best fit with reality, if we were honest about it. But how do I know? I haven't exactly test driven all of the alternatives, like Buddhism, Islam, or even a robust Atheism.

Then I remembered the way my life was before I met Christ, it ran kind of like a four cylinder motor on three cylinders, not totally off, but really working hard. Now, while the road might be rough sometimes, I know that I have enough power under the hood to handle the course.

That is what I want my daughter, her friends, and anyone else who graces the NU View Cafe to know-not that God is the best way to have your best life now, at least not as most Americans would picture it. Rather, the Lord Jesus Christ really is the One in whom all things are held together (Col 1:17).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What is Truth?

I stand at a moment of a major shift in Western Christianity, and after reading the various thoughts and absorbing the zest or anguish coming from the various writers, I find myself wondering a few things.

For starters, are the Dalits in India Modernists or Postmoderns? What about the Christians in the Middle East?

My hunch is that our relative lack of persecution here in America gives us the liberty to argue about postmodernism, etc, while in places under persecution, they are so busy trying to be faithful to Jesus Christ, that they are not interested in Neo, McClaren, or emerging from anything but the Kingdom of Darkness, and for them, the darkness is not metaphorical, and it is not objective truth.

I understand that there are some who have become disillusioned with the seeming distance between the Bible and Reality as they were taught in their secular humanistic high schools. I don't think that the Persecuted Church is wrestling with those demons.

So, as I stand on the precipice, I find myself asking Pilate's question, "what is truth?"

Monday, October 17, 2005

The first shot...

Grace2U, much Peace:

I am Panoplia Soljah-sitting on the Western Front (southern CA). There is a lot to say about life here; it's laid-back, weather's nice, everybody's mellow.

Behind the scenes, though, I think that we are living in a time when people are so much lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God that taking up the cross is the last thing many of us saved, sanctified, and Holy Ghost filled folk are thinking of doing. When I go to worship, sometimes I can't tell the difference between Sunday morning, and the Saturday nights that I used to dedicate to "the world, the flesh, and the devil."

What can we do, what are we doing, either to change the situation, or to help it spread?

Are you part of the solution, or the problem? Are you a Soljah, or sitting on the sidelines?