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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beauty


Beauty, all of mankind runs after it. People spend lifetimes trying to capture it on film. Breathe taking sunsets, gorgeous mountain, the heart rending face of a child, all of these things capture man’s heart. It drive people as a cruel master taking them anywhere, everywhere even places they wish they had never gone. Man is consumed with the search of beauty; physical, natural and super-natural.

When one sees a beautiful painting he searches the bottom for a signature; the mark of the artist. Beauty at some point came into existence thus it has a cause; a creator. The artist’s reasons for painting are twofold; to express their inner most being and to receive recognition for whom they are. Is the artist of beauty any different?

Men are made mad in search of a beautiful woman. A woman is held captive in the beautiful eyes of a child. And both alike will face nearing death while mounting mountains simply to behold the splendor that lies at its summit. But man has forgotten beauty is a signpost not a destination. We struggle to obtain that which cannot be had and are blind to the splendors of what will always be. Beauty is a manifestation of the glory and magnificence of God; nature part of His creativity, the human body created in His likeness. Yet man worships the created and seeks to no avail to consume it upon his lust, denying the creator of His due worship.        

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Only One World



One world; an ugly one, filled with war, disease, terrorism, sexual exploitation, hunger-I could fill the page, but that is the world. I have read my bible from cover to cover, and I have not found any mention of another one. In fact, the world in the bible seems to be basically the same as the one I live in.

The glorious news of the Gospel of course is that God came into this world in human flesh. He came in the person of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to create a little world within a world; He came straight from His father in heaven to bring love, mercy, healing and forgiveness into this world.

To do that, He lived in this world-you know, the ugly one, the only one we have, the one full of prostitutes, criminals, soldiers, lepers, and crazy maniacs. He lived in a world of people with wild eyes and smelly bandages, people who if they moved next door, would definitely bring down the property values.

The world Jesus came into is the same world that He sends us into as His followers. He prayed, “My prayer is not that you take me out of the world but that you protect me from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”(John 17:15-18)

  But instead of going into world as we have been sent, we have created our own little world within a world within a world. It’s a world where “Christian” things are true, where everyone lives happily ever after, and, most importantly, where we can be safe from the “other” world—that big, scary one out there. Furthermore, the in our own little world has less to do with Jesus Christ that with locks, fences, money, and the “right” neighborhood.

It’s important to note that the born-again culture has been born and bred in this selected world within-a-world, and that’s why it finds itself so limited and so out of touch with people Christ came to save. We have done just what He told us not to do. We have put our light under the bushel of a safe Christian subculture.

But the most distressing problem with this little world we have created is that, through it, we plan to escape the ugliness of the other world. We are glad to be insulated and prefer to watch Christian news, listen to Christian music, and have only Christian friends. We get more excited about the number of Christians who are in our office that we do about the number of non-Christian who are there for us to love. The truth is, we don’t love non-Christians; we don’t even like them. They swear, they have different values, and they wear smelly bandages.

We like our little world. We feel safe here. But our little world is a fantasy. If you look hard enough, you’ll find as many crimes here as you do in the real world, they’re just more carefully concealed. The safety of this little fantasy world is a fantasy, too. Why? Because we really live in only one world, and it’s an ugly one.

Sooner or later the world is going to come crashing in on our little fantasy world-within-the-world. Sooner or later the thief is going to break into our house, the riot is going to spill over into our street, or the bomb is going to go off under our car. It’s inevitable. There’s no way to escape the danger of life in this hostile world because, after all, the world is our address.

We have to get beyond being shocked and horrified by what we see in the world and get on with walking into it with the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

When we do, we will finally realize that safety has nothing to do with locks, that security has nothing to do with fences, that joy has nothing to do with the absence of pain, and that peace as nothing to do with comfort. We will no longer confuse the security of our subculture with the presence of Christ.

We will know the real Christ sustaining us in the real world, where He once sustained himself by doing the will of His Father. We will also hurt with the world, bleed for it, and cry over it just as Jesus did. We will be in danger and touch the unclean bandages.

The question is simple and straightforward: Are you in the world or are you escaping it? The issue is black and white. You are either walking into the world and into reality or you are walking away from it and into fantasy—because there is only one world and it’s an ugly one.



-          “Foundations of Christian Thought-

A hand out I received at Bible school

Monday, May 14, 2012

"The Anabaptists were conscious of being a people, the people of God; but the marks of that peoplehood came from their relationship with God. Ethnic lines never corresponded to nor reinforced lines of faith." 
"Because we are not first-generation people, we have neither the radical separateness of faith on the one hand nor the lack of ethnic separatness on the other hand which nurtured and made possible the Anabaptist vision and movement. This shift in the basis of our peoplehood, from being the people of God to becoming an ethnic group, is a problem for all Anabaptists both then and now."
"Part of our problem comes from a concern for the welfare and preservation of the church. No way can we be followers of Jesus Christ, at least as an Anabaptist understood what it means to be a follower, if our primary concern is for the welfare and preservation of any institution. If in the process of decision-making we qualify the radicalness of a step we might take by a concern for the survival of the church, we have left Jesus' way. Jesus' words about seeking to save our life and losing it apply just as much to the church as to the life of the individual disciple."

-Robert L. Ramseyer-
excerpts from: Anabaptism and Mission
                       by Wilbert Shenk.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Go ye therefore colonizing all nations making them to be just like you.



What is it about the church that it can’t preach the gospel without tying on all of its own trappings? It says it is presenting truth but in reality it is giving its application of the truth. There are missions that recruit girls to come and teach new national believers how to sew a cape dress and Mennonite covering. Whatever happened to the Holy Spirit? Can we not simply teach of a chaste spirit and modest heart? The church of today spends 80% of its time teaching the youth how to dress, what music to listen to and how to conduct themselves and the other 20% on salvation and the heart of God for mankind. The church sees today’s youth slipping away and so what do they do? They tighten the reins, they start pounding the standards harder. And completely miss the core of Christianity. Why do young people need to go to Bible school or instruction class to learn about justification and Christ’s call to the lost? Are not these to be taught from a little child up? The young people of today are being cheated out of real Christianity. Colonized into a culture or denomination rather than being set on fire with a passion for Christ. Church standards, catechisms and statements of faith are DEAD they do nothing for a lost soul. Only the living word of God can restore a broken life, grant freedom from sin and instill a passionate purpose for life. Jesus gave us three commands; Love God, Love others and teach HIS word. People talk about Buddhism and Hinduism but what about Mennonitism, Brethernism or German Baptistism? Where do you find your identity? Do you find it in your pious religious system? Or do you find it in the words of Jesus Christ?