Saturday, June 23, 2007

Why Do The Nations Rage?

1 Why do the nations rage?
Why do the people waste their time with futile plans?
2 The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
the rulers plot together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.
3 “Let us break their chains,” they cry,
“and free ourselves from this slavery.”

4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then in anger he rebukes them,
terrifying them with his fierce fury.
6 For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
in Jerusalem, my holy city.”

7 The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
Today I have become your Father.
8 Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
the ends of the earth as your possession.
9 You will break them with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.’”

10 Now then, you kings, act wisely!
Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
11 Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
and you will be destroyed in the midst of your pursuits—
for his anger can flare up in an instant.

But what joy for all who find protection in him!

~ Psalm 2 (NLT)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where God & Culture Meet

When the Cascade Hills coffee shop ministry Summit was closed for retooling over a year ago, the blog was left to collect dust as well. It was the digital version of the ministry created for people to come and join in a discussion about God and how He can be seen in cultural artistic forms such as movies and music, and was a place where no question was off limits, especially for those who had no relationship with God. I liked the online form so much and the idea of looking for God within our cultural forms that I decided to resurrect the blog. Call it Summit 2.0 if you like, but I like to think of it as a place where God & culture meet.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A New Blogger

She finally gave in.

I think I like her header better than mine. She took the picture. I made it fancy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Standing Out As Living Sacrifices

Jason gave me some things to think about as he read from Paul's letter to the Ephesians this morning at our Cascade Hills worship encounter. The sermon series is about being at the forefront in the storm in our lives as we follow Jesus throughout our lives, taking on challenges with Him at our sides, not hiding from the rest of the world. (To listen to the sermons, including this morning's, you can download them here.) Today, we looked at being a united body of imperfect followers of Jesus, united but each having different gifts useful for living a life as a witness to the love of God.

A few months ago I read a few books that all seemed to be talking about discipleship, and I wrote about them. I relayed some thoughts about giving up to God everything we have and following Christ, letting the world see by how we live our lives. You may be thinking to yourself, "What does that mean?" I've been thinking the same thing, and while reading a Leonard Sweet book called SoulSalsa I came across some insights into what it means for me as I go about my life, and they came back to me as I heard this message this morning.

"The challenge of discipleship is to make one's own life a sacramental, a sign of love and grace, a sacred gesture inserted in a world flaunting other gestures."
When we are practicing discipleship to Jesus Christ effectively, we stand out from the rest of the world. It is something that is inevitable, and this is what it means when people talk about living a life of worship. Our worship is not exclusive to Sunday morning, but our true worship is in how we live our lives. I couldn't help but think about Paul's words for the church in Rome.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
~ Romans 12:1-2
If you go on reading from there, you will hear the similar message from Ephesians 4 about unity and talents given to individuals, and continuing through Romans 13 about how we should live in the world. Paul wrote to a specific audience in the first century, but it is amazing how we continue to face the same struggles, which is why the Gospel of Jesus means as much today as it did then. As we live according to the Scriptures we proclaim to the world what God has done and at the same time worship Him in spirit and truth.