To mortals death is a paradox. It is both awaited and postponed. It is completely contrary to life, but it is intimately involved in the complete living process. “Though man’s nature is mortal, God had destined man not to die,” says the Roman Catholic Catechism. It is not that man does not know how to die; he does not know how to do it well. Scharz reminds us that “there is no good death, as the term ‘euthanasis’ (meaning ‘good death’ in Greek) intimates. Death is always ambiguous; it can be a release from suffering, but it is always the loss of life.” We do not know how to die well because we do not know how to preserve life (not speaking merely biologically)—that which we have always striven to maintain. Jean-Paul Sarte saw death as a loss of meaning, but it is only so if life already lacked meaning. If we see life only being healthy vital signs then death is simply a period marking the end of life. But that would fail to acknowledge any meaning in the actions that have been lived. It would be the same as saying that there is no difference between breathing and laughing or that a runner has no more meaning because the course was is completed. The Apostle Paul speaks in the same metaphor revealing the only way to actually die well: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
'via Blog this'
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
"We shall not cease, dear brethren, in our ministry, most definitely and decidedly to preach the atoning sacrifice; and I will tell you why I shall be sure to do so. I have not personally a shadow of a hope of salvation from any other quarter: I am lost if Jesus be not my Substitute. I have been driven up into a corner by a pressing sense of my own personal sin, and have been made to despair of ever doing or being such that God can accept me in myself. I must have a righteousness, perfect and Divine; yet it is beyond my own power to create. I find it in Christ: I read that it will become mine by faith, and by faith I take it. My conscience tells me that I must render to God’s justice a recompense for the dishonor that I have done to His law, and I cannot find anything which bears the semblance of such a recompense till I look to Christ Jesus. Do I not remember when I first looked to Him, and was lightened? Do I not remember how often I have gone as a sinner to my Savior’s feet, and looked anew at His wounds, and believed over again unto eternal life, feeling the old joy repeated by the deed?
- C.H. Spurgeon
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
'via Blog this'
Monday, October 10, 2011
|Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,|
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home --
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, -- one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Should'st lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Here was a poem written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during his days of confinement under the Nazi's during WWII. He would be be hanged a few short weeks before the war ended:Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.
Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?
Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
In the book in the book of Song of Solomon 8:4 it says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” But what will we do when it awakens? If you are at all familiar with children stories you will now that there are certain consequences for waking up things that have long been sleeping. There is a fearful awe that comes with not knowing exactly what form something will take when it wakes up. What will love look like when it is awakened?
Today you have the opportunity to see the form of love. For you witnessing the wedding you might respond, “I know, aren’t they such a cute couple!” But let me tell you this, if the form of love is just the way your wife or your husband looks, love will look very different in the morning with disheveled hair and morning breath! And yes, they are cute, but cuteness is not the true reality of awakened love. Consider this illustration: imagine you gone to listen to the Seattle symphony. The whole time one particular violin player has caught your attention. At the end of the performance you approach this violinist and complement them on their playing. Without hesitation the violinist points you to the conductor of the orchestra and says, “Thank you for your complement, but it was work of that man that allowed me to perform my best alongside other great musicians.” Walking over to the conductor you praise him for the evening’s performance. Humbly the conductor of the whole orchestra bows and says, “I only carried out what the composer wrote in the original music.”
This is the deep reality of marriage. In marriage we hear the melody of the original music composed by the Creator of the world. From the beginning Mike and Amy have known that a marriage is not defined by dresses and limousines. Whenever things became stressful for the wedding Amy would remind us that she was absolutely content to get married in shorts. The reason we dress up and celebrate is not to keep up with fashion. It is that we are learning to sing the song written by the original composer and learning to express in both word and in action how special that, as Genesis 2 says, “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” In marriage we find a relationship in which two separate people—stubborn, selfish and silly people—submit to each other, out of love for each other, from the love they have been given by God. It is in this act of commitment to faithfully love each other that Mike and Amy strike the tune that first overcame Adam as he watched God walk the first bride, Eve, down the aisle; much like God the Father walked Amy down the aisle today. When you love each other your best you are playing the music of God, the Grand Composer, well.
For Mike to receive Amy in marriage today is to claim with conviction that Amy is a gift from God. And that all the things that God has in store for you, Mike, He also has in store for her. Likewise, Amy today you are declaring God has joined you inseparably to Mike through both the summers and winters of life. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God is helping each of you complete the good work that he has intended for the other person.
What this practically means is that Mike, you are a gift from God to Amy to help her raise Raven and Christina, to love them and father them as your own. For Amy this means supporting Mike as he learns to be the father and husband in an already busy home. Together you are facing unique challenges entering the first year of marriage; however, today you are taking in the faith the promise that God has given you a unique gift in each other.
Now as part of Mike and Amy’s desire to express their absolute faith in Jesus Christ and His love expressed to them on the cross enabling them to love one another, they are going to share the pour unity sand and take communion together. As you will see, there are three sands being poured together—one symbolizing Mike, one symbolizing Amy, and the third symbolizing Jesus Christ. This shows that though these three lives were once separate they are now united inseparably. Just as it would be impossible to separate the granules of sand from each other, we pray that this marriage, united in Christ, will be inseparable. Likewise, during the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples before He died, Jesus said to them, “This bread represents my body which is for you, this cup represents my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of your sins”. Mike and Amy will take communion together to remember and hold in their hearts Christ’s love for them. As often as we take may you always say, when you have loved well and lived long, “I have only sung the song that the creator first wrote!”
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.
This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
I came into this town,
With the world upon My shoulders
And promises passed down.
When I went into the water,
My Father, He was pleased.
I built it and I’ll tear it down
So you will be set free.
Yes, and I found thieves and salesmen
Living in My Father’s house.
And I know how they got in here,
And I know how to get ‘em out.
Well, I’m turning this place over
From floor to balcony.
Then, just like these doves and sheep
Oh, you will be set free.
‘Cause I have always been a lover
From before I drew a breath
Oh, and somethings I love easy
And some I love to death.
You see, love’s no politician
‘Cause it listens carefully
So from those who come,
I can’t lose one,
So you will be set free,
Oh, you will be set free.
Go on and take My picture
Go on and make Me up
Oh, I’ll still be your Defender
And you’ll be My missing son
And I’ll send out an army
Just to bring you back to Me.
‘Cause regardless of your brothers’ lies,
Oh, you will be set free.
Because I am My beloved’s
And My beloved’s Mine;
So, you bring all your history,
I’ll bring the bread and wine.
Then we’ll have us a party
Where all the drinks are on Me
And as surely as the rising sun
Oh, you will be set free,
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Victor Frankl, a survivor of the Nazi Death camps wrote in the preface to the 1984 edition of his bestseller Man’s Search for Meaning: “I do not at all see in the bestseller status of my book so much an achievement and accomplishment on my part [but rather] an expression of the misery of our time: if hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails.... One day, a few days after the liberation, I walked through the country past flowering meadows, for miles and miles, toward the market town near the camp. Larks rose to the sky and I could hear their joyous song. There was not one to be seen for miles around; there was nothing but the wide earth and sky and the larks’ jubilation and the freedom of space. I stopped, looked around, and up to the sky—and then I went down on my knees. At that moment there was very little I knew of myself or of the world—I had but one sentence in mind—always the same: ‘I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and He answered me in the freedom of space.’ How long I knelt there and repeated this sentence memory can no longer recall. But I know that on that day, in that hour, my new life started. Step for step I progressed, until I again became human."
Friday, April 1, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I believe in the Son
Equal and coeternal with the Father and Spirit—One God
Without beginning and without end
Through whom the world was created
Humbled Himself to enter limited time
This being accomplished through the means of a lowly birth in a manger to a faithful virgin
Relating with broken humanity in every way
Declaring a coming kingdom and Himself as the King
This being accomplished through the means of being cursed and dying upon a cross
The result of the cross was true physical death
The shame of the world was nailed there
However, death could make no claim on the perfect Son of God
On the third day He rose from the dead
Conquering death and the fear it had imposed on mortals
To ransom, save, and declare sinless once lost humanity
In his death and subsequent resurrection Jesus fulfilled the eternal plan of the Godhead
He was without sin, but took upon Himself the sin of the world
Healing the world by His own wounding
Of His own fullness we have receive grace upon grace
Now He intercedes on behalf of the church, His chosen Bride
Awaiting the time of His coming again
To judge the quick and the dead
To bring his children into the eternal glory shared within the Triune godhead.
And to be worshiped forever and ever…Amen.
Equal and coeternal with the Father and Son—One God
Who dwelt within the council of God creating the world
Breathing life into all the living
Always present in the power of God and the communication of true holiness
Inspiring the saints of old, speaking by prophets, and enabling godly kings
Showing humanity in diverse ways their need of a Savior
Present in the conviction of sin and longing for coming kingdom
Working miraculously in the virgin to bring the promised Messiah into the world of flesh
A reliable guide for Jesus throughout His mortal life
Instrumental in raising the Son in power
Introducing the world to salvation
Through conviction of sin and righteousness and judgment
Completing the work of Christ in the life of the all those who believe
Filling the saints with correct understanding of Jesus
And uniting them around this common confession
Declaring the work of redemption through powerful witness
Overflowing life onto all who would believe the Gospel message
Now guiding the believer as He once guided Christ
Bringing peace, conquering fear, and healing relationship
Freely giving gifts to the Church
Interpreting the believing prayer
Groaning in creation
Authoring all true worship
And bringing sad consequence to those who grieve him
But to those who obey a distinguishable and increasing growth in holiness
—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—
Even now cultivating the soul for eternal communion with the Triune Godhead.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Karl Barth wrote in his famous essay The Humanity of God:
“What is culture in itself except the attempt of man to be man and thus to hold the good gift of his humanity in honor and to put it to work?...Above all, the fact remains that man who, either as the creator or as the beneficiary, somehow participates in this attempt is the being who interests God.” (54)
What!!! We have caught the “interest of God”? I think this is correct wording, but how it makes me tremble! There is a fear that is talked of when you finally discover you are loved. And I feel something of that sort of emotion. The questions come: am I worthy? Can I love in return? What part do I play? He is very good at loving and he is so pure, will he continue loving me when he sees that I do not always keep my word? For some reason I do not know what to say and am strangely afraid when I hear that God is interested in me.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Check out the trailer for a new movie coming out in 2012. We have worked a little with Steve Keller, who is both filming and producing the movie. The stories are true and give an accurate account of what life looks through the eyes of a homeless child.