Civility

I love the response from Rick Warren to the current deluge from the mediaheader about his speaking at the inaugauration of President-elect Barack Obama.   (Watch Rick here) In case you’ve been living under  a rock, it seems pretty much everyone is angry about it.

The thing I love the most about Rick and that I love about what he has to say here is the emphasis on civility.  It’s another way of showing Christ’s love.

We are are guilty of hiding behind our words, our blogs, the talkbacks in the newspaper, etc.

It’s beyond “agreeing to disagree.”  It’s about showing respect for others and not defining who they are by what they do or say.  It’s about remembering they people are defined by the image they bear-the image of God.

Watch the video and tell me what you think.

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Pray Backwards


An awesome initiative tonight from Carlos Whittaker. At 9:30 we all have a chance to pray for our leadership the way we are supposed to. Not tearing down but building up.

He’s calling it “Praying Backwards” and the big idea is for McCain fans to pray for Obama, and Obama fans to pray for McCain. Simple but great.

Participate. Let’s clear up some of this divisive junk and remember that as Christians we are to lift up everyone in prayer. No matter who you plan to vote for they are someone created by and loved by God. Being a politician doesn’t change that. Let’s do this together.

MySpace Blog “Best Of” 2: Grace

I believe the church is the hope of the world. I think the only thing that can change people, fix relationships, and build true community is the church. That means I need to do everything I can to do what Jesus taught to help people. There’s something I think you should think about-in the Bible, Jesus didn’t spend all this time railing against the government. He never passed judgment on those who were considered the worst society had to offer. He saved his harshest criticism for those who probably lived the best and who were the “holiest” around him. When he saw what the world had to offer, such as homosexuals, prostitutes, backstabbers, etc, he didn’t turn away. He leaned in. He loved and he forgave over and over. And people ran to him. This is unlike many Christians today, who most people would trust last with their deepest darkest secrets. This is a quote I pulled up:

Eugene Peterson probably answers this question better than anyone else:

Imagine yourself moving into a house with a huge picture window overlooking a lake with a grand view of mountains beyond. Snow capped mountains, beautiful mountains. You have a ringside seat, before all of this beauty, the cloud formations, the wild storms, the entire spectrum of sun-illuminated colors, and the rocks and the trees and the wildflowers and the water. At first you’re just captivated by this view. You sit and you stand and you look and admire; you catch your breath. Several times a day you interrupt your work and stand before this window to take in the majesty and the beauty. And then one day you notice some bird droppings on the glass, and you get a bucket of water and a towel and you clean it. A couple of days later, a rainstorm leaves the window streaked and the bucket comes out again. One day some visitors with a tribe of small dirty-fingered children come, and the moment they leave you notice there are smudge marks all over the window. They’re hardly out of the door before you have the bucket out again. You’re so proud of that window, and it’s such a large window. But it’s incredible how many different ways foreign objects can attach themselves to that window, obscuring the vision, distracting from the vision. Keeping that window clean now becomes compulsive neurosis. You accumulate ladders and buckets and squeegees. You construct scaffolding outside and one inside; you have to get to all the difficult corners and heights. You end up having the cleanest window in North America, but it’s now been years since you’ve looked through it. You’ve become a Pharisee.

The Pharisees became obsessed with the Old Testament Law. But they missed the point of the Law. It wasn’t the means of earning a relationship with God or even earning God’s blessing. Rather, the Law was the tangible framework by which one saw God’s heart, understood God’s character, discerned God’s will, and then lived out one’s relationship with God.

Nothing has changed for us. The rules are still important, whether the Ten commandments or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. But when we focus only on the rules, we miss the point of the rules. And ultimately, we miss God himself.

What if people forgave over and over, no matter what the offense? What if ruined families were healed? What if the first place the unwanted in society:  a prostitute, drug dealer, unwed mother, AIDS patient, suicidal teenager, homeless person, homosexual went to when they were hurting was to the church or to a Christian friend?  What if every time we saw one of those groups, we didn’t judge, comment to our friend, or hustle our children away, but we loved, gave, helped, and leaned in instead of away?

I think that’s how we should filter our world. Let’s not wait for the government to do something, or even care. Let’s not worry about our power as Christians. Throughout history, Christians have been the marginilized and the underground. Whenever they got power, the church became corrupt. So let’s spend less time worrying about Ten Commandments in buildings, or Under God, or Happy Holdays, and more time worrying about those people we know who God is painfully waiting to return to him.

Matthew Journey Chapter 7

This is the final chapter in the famed Sermon on the Mount.  After taking time to set up God’s holiness and our unworthiness, Jesus discusses how that plays out in our relationship with others and with God.

 Matthew 7

  • Do not judge others, or you too will be judged.  Man, this is a divisive verse.
  • God is the decider and judge.  Jesus doesn’t say he we are stupid and can’t know wrong from right.  We are just not the ones who can make a final decision about a person based on actions, including judging ourselves.
  • I never really thought of it this way, but one implication of this is the fact that we can not pass judgment on our failures or triumphs.  God is the one who defines who we are.
  • I heard a great comment on this recently.  We are to see others failures and faults as a chance for restoration, not for condemnation.
  • I love Jesus exaggeration here.  Take the log out of your eye before you try to check out the speck in someone else’s.  He shows our foolishness here.
  • More exaggeration:  will you give your kid a rock when he’s hungry?
  • We are messed up yet we still give good things to our children.  God loves us, and no matter what we do, he still has the best prepared for us if we accept it.
  • Just because everyone is on a path doesn’t mean it is our path.
  • It’s so cool after showing how worthless we can be, Jesus wraps things up in this chapter by telling us how loved we are by God.
  • Telling us not to judge others is like taking up for your kid.  NO matter how messed up they are, only Dad gets to get in their face and tell them to straighten up.
  • Jesus wraps it up nicely with a great picture showing how all this is to our benefit.
  • It may seem strange or difficult at times, but the rewards are huge for perseverance
  • Even when we don’t persevere, even we we get off the path, even when we are confused by those around us, God is still to set us straight and to love us.