Saturday, February 28, 2009

Luke 1 - Young and Old

Be careful what you ask for. Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, puts God to the test, asking Him for a sign (it wasn’t enough that he was talking to an angel, I guess). God is faithful and he gives Zech what he asked for - he makes him mute until after John is born and then named. Ha! Now, Mary asks a similar question when Gabriel comes to talk to her. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Looks like she had a little doubt right there, but she isn’t struck mute or any such thing. Why the dichotomy, did God want to make sure nothing got in the way of hyperveneration?

Zechariah was a priest, Mary was a young girl.
Zechariah was mature, Mary was naive.
Zechariah should have known better, Mary was clueless.
Where am I? I’ve been on this journey a while, should it come as any surprise when I act Mary’s age that I am treated like Zechariah?

Luke 1 - Clearing things Up, Once and for a while

Luke starts out on an interesting note. He says that many people had “undertaken” to write out an account of Jesus, but he was going to do a better, more thorough job than they had in order to clear up any doubts that his man Theophilus may have had. This means that there were doubts in those days about what really went on in Jesus’ life. The old telephone game was at work before there were even telephones. It should come as no surprise that today we have other erroneous books popping up (the Gospels of Thomas and Judas to name 2) now and again in the mainstream media. This isn’t a new game or a remarkable discovery, just the same old that Luke was writing to clear up. He wanted to Reset some incorrect thinking that was out there.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Idaho Time

I heard that Jamie was really tired, but still awake.
Maybe he was even sleeping with his eyes open.

It's true. Here's proof.

The Me Report (pt. 2)

(This is part 2, if you haven't read yet, you should read Part 1)

It’s funny how God can align things to serve his purposes. Once I was on His plan, things just started to fall into place. It was as if God had been preparing me for this my whole life. Things from my past that seemed like just random bits and pieces suddenly provided me an opportunity to find jobs, meet people and quickly get connected in a place where I was virtually all alone.

In the midst of this I started my first seminary classes where I learned some things and made some friendships that were unlike anything I had ever experienced. I made the first steps toward understanding what is really important: really, truly loving God and loving others without false fronts or imaginary perfection.

I also quickly found and fell in love with the East End Christian Church - the people who attended and the neighborhood that they shared. Here I found a group of people who knew who they were and treated each other like family (or at least like families are supposed to). I got plenty of experience preaching, teaching and dealing with the impact of sin - other people’s sins and mine too.

Inevitably, things change and things come to an end. As I approached the completion of my degree, it became apparent that things were soon to change at EECC. The little appalachian church found itself in an area that was becoming less and less appalachian and less and less little. The neighborhood was passing by and the church was standing still. Also passing was the career of its founder and leader. After much deliberation, we decided that the best course of action was to get some help. So, we looked to those at Parkside who had helped us in the past and maintained a vested interest in the area.

If I was alone during this time, chances are I would have packed my bags and headed back home to Pennsylvania with my friends and family. But, thankfully I wasn’t alone. Cassi had stolen my heart several months earlier and there was not a doubt in my mind that no matter what plan God had hatched for me, she would be a part of it. She still had a semester of school left, so that meant I would be in Cincinnati for at least that long.

It turns out that a lot can change in a semester. I found another one of those part-time jobs that God had laid the groundwork for in past years and started to make some new friends. The more I got to know some of these people, the more I realized that God wanted me here in Cincinnati. He still had things for me to do here and I could once again make the decision to follow Him or do what I wanted. The only question left was whether the hiring folks at Parkside knew what God and I had already figured out.

Ideally, starting a new campus for an existing church is as simple as taking what happens at that church and doing it somewhere else. If you look at Anderson Township and look at the East End, it doesn’t take long to realize that this is not anything like those ideal situations. If you talk to those resident who have spent their entire lives there and mention the new, more well-to-do people who were moving you really start to see how non-ideal this situation is.

I find myself at the beginning of another adventure with God. Let me ask you, what could be any better?