Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Reading...What Are You Reading?...

The purpose of this post will be to share what I'm reading, and to hear from my "readership" (which I am sure numbers in the hundreds:)) what they/you are reading. I am going to try and do this every couple of months or so in hopes of learning of new books. Let's just say this is a online book swap.

So here goes...right now I am reading three different books:

1) Jesus For President by Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw
I am not very far in to this one yet. About a year ago I read "Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne, and it challenged me as much as any book ever has. So I have been looking forward to this one. Shane always pushes me "out of the box" so to speak.

2) Parting The Waters: America In The King Years: 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch
This books is 700 plus pages, and I think I am about 200 pages in or so. It is a fascinating read. The focus of the books is the life of Martin Luther King Jr. However, I have never read a book on him that gives so much historical context to his life. I highly recommend this book.

3) With Christ In The School Of Prayer by Andrew Murray
I am reading this book along with the learning community (small group) that I am a part of. I have been reading a chapter each day to kick off my devotional time. Each chapter is a different lesson on prayer from the teachings on prayer of Christ. It is a very convicting read, as it has highlighted my lack of faith.

What are you reading?

What are you reading? Please share...

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Passion of The Christ (through the expression of hip hop)

The Passion of the Christ (through the expression of hip hop)

I am spending some time today looking at the Scriptures that take us to the account of the cross. It is a sobering read every time - and a cause for self-reflection, humility, fresh repentance, and gratefulness. Today I also revisited Hazakim's ( Passion video and listened to a few tracks off of shai linne's newest album "The Atonement" (

Here is the Link to the Hazakim video...

Here are the lyrics to "The Cross (3 Hours)" off of shai's album...

The Cross (3hours)
written by shai linne
Verse 1
There’s something you gotta see, journey with me
It’s approximately 30 A.D.
In the land of Israel- the city of Jerusalem
But on the outside there’s screams and loud cries
Through faith, this scene can be seen without eyes
The mean shout lies and seem to sound wise
As we inch through the crowd, we need to be cautious
A Roman execution, men on three crosses
But all the focus is on the one in the center
The gate closes behind you- no one can enter
The sight you behold is so odd, you’re stunned
The man hanging on the cross is God the Son
12 noon, it’s pitch-black because the sunshine’s lacking
Your minds can’t fathom this divine transaction
As slowly the sound becomes mostly drowned
You realize that you’re standing on holy ground

So forever will I tell
In three hours, Christ suffered more than any sinner ever will in hell (4x)
It’s where we see Your holiness- at the cross
We see that You’re controlling this- at the cross
We see how You feel about sin- at the cross
Your unfathomable love for men- at the cross
It’s where we see Your sovereignty- at the cross
We see our idolatry- at the cross
We know that there’s a judgment day- from the cross
May we never take our eyes away- from the cross
Verse 2
We’re now in the realm of the sublime and profound
With God at the helm it’s about to go down
The Father’s wrath precise will blast and slice
The priceless Master Christ as a sacrifice
Willingly, He’s under the curse
To be treated as if the Son was the worst scum of the earth
The scene is the craziest
Jesus being treated as if He is the shadiest atheist
How is it the Messiah is in the fiery pit
As if He was a wicked liar with twisted desires?
The One who’s sinless and just
Punished as if He was promiscuous and mischievous with vicious lust
The source of all godly pleasure
Tormented as if He was a foul investor or child molester
How could He be bruised like He was a goodie two-shoes
who doesn’t think that she needs the good news?
He’s perfect in love and wisdom
But He’s suffering as if He constructed the corrupt justice system
We should mourn at the backdrop
Jesus torn like He’s on the corner with crack rock with porn on His laptop
What is this, kid? His gifts are infinite
But He’s hit with licks for religious hypocrites
He’s the Light, but being treated like
He’s the seedy type who likes to beat His wife
He’s treated like a rapist, treated like a slanderer
Treated like a racist or maybe a philanderer
Jesus being penalized like He had sin inside
Filled with inner pride while committing genocide
I could write for a billion years and still can’t name
All of the sins placed on the Lamb slain
But know this: the main thing the cross demonstrated
The glory and the holiness of God vindicated

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama on Race in America

Many of you are aware of all of the media attention that Barack Obama's pastor's sermons have been getting lately. I think the media has blown things way out of proportion (that's a whole 'nother blog), and few have responded with honest race dialogue and understanding that Obama calls us all to in the speech he gave today. I am still digesting his words from earlier today. Here is a link to both a video of the speech, and a script of the speech.

Regardless of your political persuasion, I encourage you to read/listen/watch this speech.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

The How, What, Why, & Who of Wealth

Last Sunday, I was given the opportunity to preach at my home church, the Lawton Evangelical Mennonite Church. I was humbled by the opportunity, and challenged by the text I was given to preach. It didn't take long into my sermon preparation time to realize that God wanted me to internalize and be messed up by James 5:1-6 before I stepped into the pulpit and attempted to unpack it for others. You see I used to deflect "warnings to the rich" passages onto other people. After, I would read them I would think "so and so should read this." Or if I didn't deflect the passage onto someone else, I would use them as "spiritual pats on the back" for my commitment to incarnational ministry. Rich passages fueled righteous anger within me towards injustice. However, as I continue to read this passage and spend time in prayer over this passage I realized that this text was talking to me. I realized this text was a warning to me. I needed to do a self-check, I needed to repent, and I needed to change.

I wanted to share the outline, and in future blogs I will continue to unpack what God challenged me with over the last few weeks. Here is the outline...

The How, What, Why & Who of Wealth

James 5:1-6
1 Now listen you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.
2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.
3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Starting Points:
(1) We are all wealthy.
(2) It is all His.
(3) It’s not just the wealth.

“It is not the wealth itself that is condemned, but the greedy attitude toward it and the grisly actions with which it was obtained (W&Z).”

Opening Statement: Our wealth will bring judgment
(v. 1 & 3b)

We will be judged according to:
(1) HOW we have attained our wealth (v. 4)
Leviticus 19:13
Deuteronomy 24:14-15
Amos 8:4-6
Malachi 3:5
Proverbs 3:27-28

(2) WHAT we have done with our wealth (v. 2-3b, 5)
Luke 12:13-21

(3) WHAT our wealth has done to us (v. 6)

Questions to ponder…
(1) WHY do we have wealth?

“We have money to use it in such a way that we show that money is not our God, but God is our God. That money is not our treasure but Christ is our treasure. I have resources for one purpose to magnify the worth of God in the world.”
- John Piper

(2) WHO is our treasure?
Matthew 6:19-24

Recommended Reading:
“Rich Christians In An Age Of Hunger” by Ron Sider