Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I was sitting in Sports Clips recently, and read an article about how smart companies make new rules. It was all about redefining markets and challenging the status quo.

What about our Christian life? You can either keep the rules, break the rules, or make the rules.

Some people associate Christianity with keeping the rules. Don't murder or commit adultery; do serve & give to the poor... etc. Of course, God's laws are perfect, and His principles should be honored. But Christianity is so much more than as et of rules to keep. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law. We live by grace, through faith. When you try to be a rule keeping kind of Christian, you always come up short, and will probably eventually burn out. You'll also miss the essence of the Gospel.

Some people choose to reject God's Word altogether and break the rules. We've all seen people who profess to be Christians drift off into rebellious, sinful, destructive behavior. Sometimes, they even justify their loose living by claiming that they're expressing their freedom in Christ. How can we, who died to sin, live in it any longer?

Jesus came to make the rules. New rules. To upgrade our paradigms and renovate our hearts in His image. Jesus redefined religion. And those who follow Him should be a part of creating and exemplifying this new standard to the world.

Some people keep the rules
Others end up breaking themselves against the rules.
True followers of jesus make the rules... set the standard, and change the world.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mondays 4 Men (2)

A man is dangerous... passionate... strong... etc. You probably wouldn't recognize it from what normally walks around in a pair of slacks. If a man is the image of the Lion of Judah, how come there are so many lonely women, so many kids with no dads, so few men around?

When you look in your heart, do you see something valiant and dangerous? Or do you see anger, lust, or fear? Most of the time, I feel more fearful than I do fierce. As the line from Braveheart has it, "All men die; few men ever really live." The real life of the average man seems to be miles away from his real desires.

Honestly, how do you see yourself? As a man, are words like strong, passionate, and dangerous words you would choose for yourself? Do you have the "man parts" to stand up and ask your people around you what they think of you as a man? What words are you scared they will use? Many men would love to be William Wallace, the dangerous warrior hero, but the problem is, most men see themselves as Robert the Bruce.

Which are you?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lecrae - Haiti Relief

Good stuff right here from Lecrae and Haiti Relief efforts.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mondays 4 Men

You remember Samson? he's got a pretty impressive masculine resume: killed a lion with his bare hands, pummeled and stripped thirty Philistines when they used his wife against him, and finally, after they burned her to death, he killed a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey. Not a guy to mess with. But if you notice, all of these events happened when "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him"? I am not advocating a a sort of "macho man" image. I'm not saying we all head off to the gym and then to kick dirt in the faces of wimpy Pharisees. I am wanting to rescue us from a very mistaken image we have of God - especially of Jesus - and therefore of men as his image-bearers.

What kind of God do you want to find in the bible? To Job - who has questioned God's strength, he says:

Do you give the horse his strength
or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make him leap like a locust,
striking terror with his proud snorting?
He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength,
and charges into the fray.
He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
he does not shy away from the sword.
he quiver rattles against his side,
along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground,
he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, "Aha!"
He catches the scent of battle from afar,
the shout of commanders and the battle cry. (Job 39:19-25)

In the Garden of Gesthemane, in the dead of night, a mob of thugs "carrying torches, lanterns and weapons" comes to take Christ away. Note the cowardice of it - why didn't they take him during the light of day, down in the town? Does Jesus shrink back in fear? No, he goes to face them head-on.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"
"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.
"I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
"I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." (John 18:4-8)

Talk about strength. The sheer force of Jesus' bold presence knocks the whole posse over. Jesus was not a pale-faced altar boy with his hair parted in the middle, speaking softly, avoiding confrontation, who at last gets himself killed because he has no way out. He works with wood, commands the loyalty of his friends. He is the Lord of hosts, captain of angel armies. And when Christ returns, he is at the head of a dreadful company, mounted on a white horse, with a double-edged sword, his robe dripped in blood (Revelations 19). Now does that sound more like Mother Teresa or William Wallace?

No question about it - there is something fierce in the heart of God. Therefore, shouldn't there be something fierce in the heart of a MAN after God's heart?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Feminine Heart

There are three desires that are essential to a woman's heart, which are not entirely different from a man's, but yet they remain distinctly feminine.

Not every woman wants a battle to fight (like men), BUT every woman yearns to be fought for. She wants to be more than noticed - she wants to be wanted. She wants to be pursued. Her childhood dreams of a knight in shining armor coming to rescue her are not girlish fantasies; they are the core of the feminine heart and the life she knows she was made for. In the film, True Lies, Harry fights back for Helen. In The Proposal, Andrew flies back to New York to fight for the love of Margaret. In Ocean's 11, Danny fights to win Tess back from the grasp of Terry Benedict.

Every woman also wants an adventure to share. So many men make the mistake of thinking that the woman is the adventure. But that is where the relationship immediately goes downhill. A woman doesn't want to be the adventure; she wants to be caught up into something greater than herself. A woman once said, "I know myself and I know I'm not the adventure. So when a man makes me the point, I grow bored immediately. I know that story. Take me into one I don't know."

Every woman also wants to have a beauty to unveil. Not to conjure, but to unveil. Most women feel the pressure to be beautiful from very young, but that is not what is being spoken of. There is also a deep desire to simply and truly be the beauty, and be delighted in. Most little girls will remember playing dress up, or wedding day. What she longs for is to capture her daddy's delight. A friend of mine has a little girl, and one time recently, she was standing on a chair, singing at the top of her lungs, a song she learned at school. Do you see me? asks the heart of every girl. And are you captivated by what you see?

The world kills a woman's heart when it tells her to be tough, efficient, and independent. Sadly, Christianity has missed her heart as well sometimes. Walk into some churches in America, have a look around, and ask yourself this question: What is a Christian women? Again, don't listen to what is said, look at what you find there. There is no doubt about it. You'd have to admit a Christian woman is... tired. A lot of the time, all we are offering the feminine soul is pressure to "be a good servant." No one is fighting for her heart; there is no grand adventure to be swept up into; and every woman doubts very much that she has any beauty to unveil.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Confirmation Retreat 2010

The Confirmands of Schweitzer UMC traveled to Eminence, MO and hung out at Discovery Ministries. We learned more about ourselves, teamwork, and what our lives might look like with Christ in every aspect of it. Good times were had!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

God Sized Questions

Here is a glimpse at questions the Confirmands of Schweitzer had about God. You might have some of the same questions as a 7th grade student.

- How old is God?
- Where did God come from?
- Why did God make hell?
- What does God look like?
- Is God a boy or a girl?
- How do you know when God is talking to you?
- Where was God when there was nothing?
- Does God eat?
- Does God have parents?
- What race is God?
- Does God sleep?
- Is God real?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Boys & Weapons

In our staff meeting yesterday morning, the group went on a tangent. Discussing the need for the Church to minister to Men more. And what would it look like if the church was 60% Men instead of the reality which is 40% now.

Capes and swords, bandanas, camouflage and six-shooters-- these are the uniforms of boyhood. Little boys yearn to know they are powerful, they are dangerous, they are someone to be reckoned with. How many parents have tried in vain to prevent little Timmy from playing with guns? Give it up. If you do not supply a boy with weapons, he will make them from whatever materials are at hand. Boys chew their graham crackers into the shape of hand guns at the the breakfast table. At least I did. Every stick or fallen branch is a spear, or better, a bazooka. Despite what many modern educators would say, this is not a psychological disturbance brought on by violent television or video games. Aggression is a part of the masculine design, we are hardwired for it. If we believe that man is made in the image of God, then we would do well to remember that "the LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name" (Ex. 15:3).

Little girls do not invent games where large numbers of people die, where bloodshed is a prerequisite for having fun. Hockey, for example, was not a feminine creation. A boyw ants to attack something -- and so does a man, even if it's only a little white ball on a tee.

"No one is hurt?" "No one wins? What's the point?" The boy is a warrior, the boy is his name. Life needs a man to be fierce -- and fiercely devoted. The wounds he will take throughout his life will cause him to lose heart if all he has been trained to be is soft.

Like it or not, there is something fierce in the heart of every man. We, as a church, should be careful not to burry a man's heart's desires.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Canadian's Faith

Mike Fisher, a 27 year old Forward for the Ottawa Senators, is one of a handful of faith-based players in the NHL. This is his testimony...

As a kid, I grew up going to church on Sundays. My parents always stressed this as a central part of my life and I grew up to understand the importance of having a balance in life and finding a purpose through our Creator. I believe we are all gifted in certain areas and it's our responsibility to use these gifts that God has given us for His glory.

Playing hockey in the NHL has been a dream of mine since I was young, and realizing this dream at the age of 19 was an unbelievable experience for me. Its hard for me to describe how lucky I feel to be playing the game I love. I am very fortunate to be able to make a living playing hockey, but I have come to realize that playing in the NHL is only a small part of who I am, and not the part that defines me. As I have grown in my faith, I have come to realize that it is not about religion but relationship. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is what I believe truly defines a person and how we find eternal significance. Everything else fades away and becomes wood, hay and straw. Sometimes its very humbling to realize that we are here today and gone tomorrow. I find true comfort in God's grace, knowing that I fall short in many ways, but He's always there for me through the good times and bad - no matter what.