Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What does Evangelical mean?

I just read Rob Bell's explanation to the roots of the word Evangelical.
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?

Unfortunately I failed at confirming this original meaning with a google search.

Urban Dictionary confirms that most people don't know what the word means. It is used in a wide range of meanings, ranging from political to denominational groupings. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=evangelical

I understand Evangelical comes from the greek evangelion, which means good news, or gospel.

And what did Jesus mean when He preached the good news of the kingdom of God? That He was King, and we could live under His reign now and into eternity.

Which I guess is very similar to saying "Jesus is Lord".

So everyone who professes that "Jesus is Lord" or "Jesus Reigns" (not just in words, but in actions) is 'evangelical'?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rob Bell - Sunday

What's more important to God? Us following some rituals? Or Our hearts?

Doing rituals can be OK, but let's not confuse religion with having a heart relationship with God.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Playdough Scripture Isaiah 66:22-24

"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD. "And they will go out and look upon the dead eternally tormented bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind."

Isaiah 66:22-24 (Playdough Version)

The Hour The Shack

I enjoy The Hour show - one of Canada's best, and enjoyed The Shack Book... so have to post this video here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don't follow me

If you want, you can follow this blog by clicking the 'follow' button near the bottom of the left menu.

However please don't follow me.

One thing I'm almost certain of is that nobody has it all figured out. I'm pretty sure every great theologian, every denomination, and every influential speaker even gets it wrong quite frequently.

Or maybe I'm wrong and it's just me not being able to recognize which of the 1000's of voices is 100% true.

Well... actually I think I am starting to recognize that one voice that is 100% truth, but I'm not always listening, and not capable of understanding it all yet.

Anyways, of the earthly voices, I don't think any of them speak 100% truth.

And neither am I... I don't have it all figured out.

In summary:
  • "follow my blog" - Jon
  • "Please don't follow me, maybe nothing I say here is true (even this?) :)" - Jon
  • "Follow me" - Jesus

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Playdough Scripture James 2:17-18

"In the same way, faith by itself, is all you need - justification by faith alone! if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."

James 2:17-18 (Playdough Version)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why did Jesus Come?

I figure this is an important question to consider. Why did Jesus come to earth 2000 years ago? Understanding His purpose and mission should give us a better understanding of our Lord.

So I tried to collect the different verses where Jesus describes why he came.

To preach the good news of the kingdom of God
But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." Luke 4:43 (NIV)
To speak the truth - that he is king.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"

"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
John 18:33-37 (NIV)
Seek and save the lost
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10 (NIV)
To save the world
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)
To give life
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
Do His father's will - give eternal life
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:38-40 (NIV)
To be a light
"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46 (NIV)
Jesus is King. That is the truth. God rules in our lives, and in our world, now and for eternity. He came to let us know about His Kingdom, and that we can be part of it. He came to be a light, so we can see the truth and believe the truth. Those who believe and submit to God's rule instead of their selfish sin, will not perish, but have eternal life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Learning Triangle

Came across this learning triangle at a blog post titled "It's Better to Preach to your Pet than Sit through Sermons". It triggered a distant memory from the Faculty of Education... I think I saw some triangle that looked like this before... but I don't remember much about that lecture... ironically likely because it was a lecture. I do remember seeing a graphic though. :)

The point of this triangle is that more information is retained in learning environments where you are more involved. If your ears, eyes, brain, and mouth are involved you will retain the information much better than if it's just your ears and brain.

I think the link above has some interesting points and suggestions as we attempt to do the teaching or instructing one another part of body life - whether in large groups or smaller group settings.

This also got me thinking of a possible value to blogging. At times I've wondered about the value of blogging this journey... but I have recognized that blogging about these things forces me to organize my thoughts and beliefs, and search for answers that I have never searched out before. More than simply listening to, or reading someone else's positions, I have to internalize the ideas before I can attempt to put my thoughts together here.

I'm not sure if this blog counts as being in the "Teach Others" bottom layer of the triangle. I'm not sure if anyone is reading or learning.... but I do attempt to express what I'm learning in a way that may make some sense. :) And I do find that I remember most of what I have blogged about.

Monday, September 14, 2009

playdough Scripture Rom 5:8

"God hates sinners, and will torment them in hell for eternity, But God Jesus demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (Playdough Version)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Another

I just wanted to compile a list of the "one another" verses from the NT. I know there are other verses that describe how we are to relate to our other brothers and sisters in Christ, but there's enough here to chew on for awhile.

John 13:34-35 (NIV)
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Love - 7 more references with "one another" and love

Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:16 (NIV)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 14:13 (NIV)
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Romans 15:7 (NIV)
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:14 (NIV)
I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 16:16 (NIV)
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
Kiss - 3 more references with "one another" and "kiss"

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Encourage 2 more references with "one another" and "encourage"

Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
James 4:11 (NIV)
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
So how am I doing regarding all this? Am I relating to the body of Christ the way I am requested? OK, the 4 references to kissing one another... ??? Not sure about that one... and agree with one another...? not sure if that's possible either. I think we can strive to agree on the essentials of our faith, but there will likely be other things we'll need to agree to disagree about... I'll continue to pray about this one.

The list goes on, hospitality, humility, harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, admonishing (giving advice), forgiving, submitting, singing together, kindness, compassion, bearing with, serving, accepting, and the repeated call to love one another.

We all should be relating to one another in these ways. If I am part of Christ's body, a priority of mine will be to relate to anyone else who is part of Christ's body in these ways.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Playdough Scripture Matt 16:18

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church start a religion which will in time divide over and over again creating over 30,000 denominations, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it some of the better denominations."

Matthew 16:18 (Playdough Version)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Smarter than average 5th grader

How smart do you have to be to be a full fledged, badge wearing, gospel sharing, disciple making follower of Christ?

Do you need to be smarter than the average 5th grader?

Consider the volumes of Christian books available today, the many Bible college and seminary courses and degrees, all the Bible study resources, videos, and seminars on every topic remotely related to the Bible.

The average person may feel smarter than the average 5th grader, but do they have the confidence that they are smart enough to be a disciple of Christ? Does the average person assume that since they aren't smart enough to figure it all out, it would be best if they followed someone else who looks like they are smarter and have it all figured out? Do they end up following other followers instead of following Jesus Himself?

I wonder why Jesus chose mostly uneducated and illiterate people to be His first disciples?

Why would he chose them with such an important message that needed to be shared with the whole world? There were scholars around, wouldn't they have been better suited for this task?

I suspect you don't have to be smarter than the average 5th grader to understand and live in the reality of the good news that Christ is king. The good news was simple enough that anyone Jesus interacted with could be restored by it and spread the message along.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Leave time in your schedule to feast

Luke 14:16 - 23 (NIV)
Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'

"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'

"Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'

"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'

"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'

" 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'

"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' "
What kind of feast was Jesus talking about?

I don't think we're just talking about a future feast in heaven. I'm not sure if the excuses make sense for that time frame. Once we're dead I think our days of excuse making will end. I think we're talking about something in our present lives that we are invited to partake in.

I think Jesus is talking about feasting with Him now in His kingdom. I think he's calling us to spend some quality time resting in His presence, partaking of His goodness, and seeking His will.

What kind of excuses do we have today?

OK, it looks like I won't be using any of the excuses listed... I'm already married, and don't plan on buying any oxen or fields in the foreseeable future.

But are there other things in our lives that we use as an excuse from spending quality time feasting and fellowshipping with our Lord and friend. It is very common, and easy to be busy with all sorts of things in our culture. Many of the things we get busy with are good things, there was nothing wrong with the excuses Jesus listed either... but feasting with Jesus is way better than anything else.

Summer schedules are often different than the rest of the year. As we head into our 'regular season' game plan, I pray we don't get too busy to feast with Jesus.