Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blips on the radar...

So, Donald Miller has been set aside for awhile.
He's at home.
And I am not.

However, I've had the great pleasure of reading "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell.
And although I'm not a convert
I like that he gets me thinking
and asking questions
and really
doing what it takes to learn
and to grow.
Being challenged
and disagreeing
and agreeing for that matter
but being reminded of what it is to not only read and think,
but to do.
To be.

"'Your job is the relentless pursuit of who God made you to be...'" (114).

"God doesn't just want to reclaim things; God wants to see them move forward" (161).

"[The first Christians] saw it as their responsibility to put Jesus' message on was less about proving and more about inviting people to experience this community of Jesus' followers" (164).

And lastly, perhaps my favourite at this point:
"Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn't as bright as it could be" (166).

So what are we doing?
What am I doing?

I recently saw "The Pursuit of Happyness".
Great movie, for the record,
but I like the "relentless pursuit of who God wants me to be" even better.
It's not over.
It's relentless.
And it's not about "happiness"
(or "happyness" as it were)
But it's about that nudge that God places in your heart.
And it's about joy.
Joy that sticks when happiness isn't a reality.
And it's about becoming
rather than arriving.
Something I've mentioned before.

Rob Bell talks a lot about how it's a journey
not a destination.
And I like that.
It means I'm not there yet.
And I won't be.
It means others aren't there yet either.
We're in this together.
And living.
And stumbling along the way.

Invite people to really, truly experience this community of Jesus' followers.
And hear their excitement at discovering Jesus.

Perhaps you'll hear your own excitement at discovering Him, too.
I'm anticipating a little of my own.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So I may get kicked out...

...but I think it's worth a thought anyway.

Yeah, it's Miller again.
Really, I do still know how to think for myself.
I think.
I'm pretty sure.

So he's writing about the gospel of Jesus.
And how sometimes, we tell the whole story --
all the facts
the "five steps"
and what it all means,
but we leave Jesus out.
We forget the part about Jesus being alive and at work in our lives.
We forget that even though the facts are important,
it's the stories the deliver the heart of the message.

The stories of a Miracle Worker.
The stories of hurting people
who found grace and solace in a Saviour.
The tales of lost who were found.
Of real people,
with real experiences
who have come to know God
by being in a relationship with Him.

Miller talks about how our experience of Communion -
"sitting quietly in a large building that look[s] like a schoolroom or movie theater, to take Communion" -is so different from how the early church celebrated this same meal -
"sitting around somebody's living room table, grabbing a hunk of bread and holding their own glass of wine, exchanging stories about Christ, perhaps laughing, perhaps crying, consoling each other, telling one another that the Person who had exploded into their hearts was indeed the Son of God, their Bridegroom, come to tell them who they were, come to mend the broken relationship, come to marry them in a spiritual union more beautiful, more intimate than anything they could know on earth."

And I think to myself,
(see, I do still think!)
I know it's different.
And I know there are reasons for all the formality,
but there is something unique and sacred
about really sharing Christ in a way that actually feels like sharing.
Really being an active and alive part of a body of believers.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Friend" of sinners...

I've had a page bookmarked in my latest Donald Miller read for the last 6 days and decided it's finally time for me to sit down and share this fine thought with the rest of you.

The chapter I'm reading is looking a little bit more deeply into some of the characteristics of Jesus that are evident as we read the gospels. One of the characteristics that has meant a little more to me is that Jesus liked to be with people.
Don't get me wrong.
He also went up on the mountainside to pray on His own
and to have that down time/quiet time/ time with His Father.
But there's a little piece of what Miller said that got me to thinking.

"Jesus built our faith system entirely on relationships, forgoing marketing efforts and spin.

Not only that, but one of the criticisms of Christ was that He was a friend of pagans. Not that He hung out with pagans, but that He was their friend."

And I think to myself,
It's all about people.
He has called us to love one another.
And that's it.
That's the clincher.

Someone did a solo of "O Holy Night" tonight.
And it struck me again.

"Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace."

His law is love.
A good friend and I were discussing this a few years ago
and our conversation still sticks out in my mind.
He kept going on about how complicated we make it and how simple it's supposed to be.
Not that really, truly loving someone is simple.
But that the concept is so straight forward.
And in that we are answering God's intense call for obedience.
Loving Him means loving others.
It means living a life that's not about me.

He didn't just hang out.
He befriended them.

He befriended me.