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New Orleans, Fully Immersed August 31, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

It is almost impossible to avoid the pictures and the news reports of the city of New Orleans submerged in water. The phrase, “a watery grave,” came to mind as I, very heavy in heart, pondered the people in New Orleans. I didn’t even think about baptism when I though these words.

But then it hit me – the city has been baptized. I don’t take any great comfort in this, nor am I trying to make any hyper-spiritual application or apocalyptic connections between this catastrophe and God’s will.

I think that my point is this: after full immersion, there is no going back. New Orleans will never go back to what it was. It can only become something new. It is not that it doesn’t want to go back, but rather that it cannot. It is impossible to go back.

Furthermore, after full immersion, everyone is equal. Shacks and million dollar homes are equally as destroyed.

Old New Orleans (as strange as that sounds) is dead. Now we await the hoped for and anticipated resurrection of a new New Orleans.

Pray for the hurricane victims. Give from you heart (cash) here, or here.


Word of God Speak #6: Lectio Devina In Marriage August 30, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.
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Lectio Devina is a kind of prayerful meditation of scripture. It means “holy reading.” It is more than merely reading scripture; it is letting scripture read you. Here is one description of how it is done:

1. Lectio
The repeated reading of the text until certain words and phrases call for attention. Sometimes footnotes in a good study bible (for example, the Jerusalem Bible) as well as cross references help here. This stage has often been compared to taking in food, as the first “eating” of the word of scripture.
2. Meditatio
The further “chewing” or ruminating on key words and phrases. One stays as long as one is so attracted to a word or phrase. At this stage the heart of the text for the reader should begin to emerge.
3. Oratio
These key words and phrases of the text eventually lead the person to prayer inspired by the text and a growing awareness of God’s presence in Christ by the Spirit. This is the deep tasting of the text.
4. Contemplatio
Eventually the particular words of the text lead the reader beyond words to silent awareness of God’s presence—simply an abiding or communing with God. This is the savoring of the sweetness of the Lord.

Recently, my wife and I tried a version of this together, reading aloud to each other. It was a very good experience. Here is what I liked about it:

1. We read scripture together.
2. We pondered scrtipture together.
3. We learned something new from scripture together.
4. We shared that new learning with each other.
5. A bond was shared on the spiriutal realm.

This was good for us and we will do it again.

I really get stoked about learning a new truth or get exposed to truth in a new way. In fact, this entire series, “Word of God Speak,” was inspired by time spent with my wife doing Lectio Devina.

If you are married and you and your spouse are at least in the same ballpark spiritually, I reocmmend it.

Word of God – Down & Dirty August 29, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

The talk went well in Batesville. They did me so right. Dominos is always a winner with me.

For a review of my lesson click here.

I went further opn the three bad soils in the parable of the sower. The three bad soils are three different ways of being self-obsessed. I confess to taking some liberties, but I think that point makes a lot of sense and would be sanctioned by Jesus.

“Pathy” soil is the kind of soil that is walked on. Depressed, hopeless, helpless feeling people – people firmly commited to the idea that nothing is good and nothing ever will be. These people are typically overly self-focussed. They are too attached to their feelings of hopelessness that they find any hope in anything.

“Rocky” soil is hardened and robbed of all joy. Angry, bitter, jaded, bent on revenge, these people are obsessed with putting a feeling onto someone else in order to relieve them of the feeling they do not choose to release. In short, they are committed to feeling unforgiveness until someone else feels worse that they do.

“Thorny” soil is self-impressed and self-congratulating. It looks in the mirror and really just wants to keep looking, being so enamored with what it sees. Thorny people thrive on their talents and abilities. They are self-obsessed narcissists who have a real hard pondering the fact that anyone else has a feeling or that those feelings other people have are worth anything. THey tend to behave as if other people are as impressed by them as they are themselves.

Good soil is not impressed with itself. It just goes ahead and lives healthy. Kind, generous, forgivining, these people are not oppressed by depression, even when deprressing things happen. They are not bent on revenge, even when they get burned. They are not seduced by the rose, so they never get cut by the thorns.

Viktor Frankl said that “without self-transcendance there is no self-actualization.” Let me rephrase that – “You’ll never find yourself until you get over yourself.”

Finding yourself is a neat little side effect of finding God.

Katrina hits land – Pray August 29, 2005

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Keep praying a 200,000 people remined in New Orleans to ride out Katrina. The city can withstand only so much.

Larry James blogs about the impact the storm has on the poor.

Pray For People Threatened By Hurricane Katrina August 28, 2005

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Please pray for people threatened by Hurricane Katrina, especially people in New Orleans.

USA Today has the story for you here.

Razorkiss apparently blogging from inside the storm, while Curly Tales of War Pigs links to some Hurricane cams here, here, and here and also a blogger from the inside.

Speaking About Word of God Speak August 27, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Sunday evening I will have the real treat to speak to a bunch of teens about Jesus. Fell free to pray for me as I do this. Public speaking is not my normal gig, but I do just fine at it. Blogging has been good for me in my preparation for this talk. You, my wonderful blogging readership numbering in the tens of tens, are going to get a preview.

If anyone from the North Heights Church if Christ in Batesville, AR is reading this before 5:30 PM, the you’re cheating. Log off or follow this link and wait for me to tell these stories at that time.

I am going to lead off with asking if they have ever been busted. You know, ever tried being something you are not and then get found out? I’ll throw in a few self-depricating public farting stories and I should have an attentive audience.

Luke 8:4-15 tells about the parable of the sower. 4 soils. Farmer puts seed on all four soils. It grows only on the good soil.

Point #1: The seed, the Word of God, exposes you for who you are. If you are bad soil, when the Word of God comes into contact with you, then you will be exposed as bad soil.

Point #2: What kind of soil are you?
A. Pathy soil? Are you walked on a lot? Depressed, full of anxiety, beat the crap (I might actually say the word crap, still thinking about it) out of yourself all the time, no confidence? Then the word of God will expose you for that. If you are committed to nothing ever working out your way, you are committed to complete helplessness, then God’s word will show you for who you are.

B. Rocky soil? Are you angry, bitter, jaded, hardened? Have you lost you ability to be influenced by anyone or anything? Been hurt so much that you don’t trust anyone? Then the Word of God will expose you for being that way.

C. Thorny soil? Are you loaded, I mean real rich? Super popular or super great athlete? Are you hot? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. If you rely on these things, are afraid you might lose them – you need them, then the Word of God will expose you as a fake, a fraud, a poser.

D. Good soil? If you are humble, generous, kind, hopeful, peaceful, loving etc. Then the Word of God wil expose you as this kind of person.

Point #3: How to become good soil.
A. Pray to become good soil. “Show me what it is in my life that makes such lousy soil.”
B. Listen for an answer.Although this is praying as well, I think they will associate praying with talking and not listening.
C. Accept the answer. This is the big one. Lots of people who say that they do not hear God really just don’t like what He is saying and thus are merely unwilling, not being ignored.
D. Surrender to the answer of God and the God of the answer. This is the hardest part. It might require pain in order to accomplish good soilness.

I’ve got 30 minutes to pull this off.

Actionary Vision August 25, 2005

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John Alan Turner is sick and tired of church leaders praying for vision. So he has called for them to stop praying that way. He’d like to see them praying for spines. Although that comment kind of makes him sound like a blogger tough guy, his point is well taken.

I like what he is saying. There are tons of church leaders looking for and wanting change – positive and transformational change – but they (as my father is known to say) can’t find their butt with both hands. It is not that they don’t want it, but settling for praying for vision is reason enough not to disrupt the homeostasis of the congregation – something that is ultimately very costly.

So, rather than take risks with creative ministry experiments, they try to be creative within the narrow confines of a dying or stuck system.

Here is what I want to see: I want to see a congregation do a Capital Campaign for homeless people. Larry James thinks it can be done. Check this out. I want to hear about multimillion dollar campaigns for helthcare for people without health insurance. I want to see millions raised by churches for the people who need in their community and across the world.

I want to see actionary vision, not sedentary vision.

Word of God Speak#5: I am God’s Word August 25, 2005

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WOGS: Intro

“I am God’s Word.” What sounds so wrong about this statement?

For me it is the cult-like feel I get when I hear it. Or maybe the terroristic theology that could emerge from such a power statement. It is what I think people hear Pat Robertson saying, “I am God’s Word,” when he calls for the assassination of a nation’s president. And how well has that really gone over?

It is easy to look to the abuses of this kind of talk and be tempted to run from this statemnt like some infected hot zone. And I know for sure Christians should run from abuses as fast as possible. Christians in America should hold Pat Robertson accountable for this kind of terroristic threatening.

At the same tine, it is clear that God did not quit talking once the Bible was in print. He does not live in the book, He lives in the people.

You are Christ’s body–that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything. – I Corintians 12:27

If the incarnation of Christ was God’s most proufound communication to humanity that He loves them, then the church must be His second best communication.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12

Well now wait a minute! Did Jesus just say that the one who has faith in him and what he has done will do even greater things than he? Stop the press!!! Was the church God’s better communiucation than Christ?

I don’t really get it, but what I do know is that God has intentionally created the church, the collection of people who love Him, to be part of His communication plan to those who do not know of His love.

This is super important that we know this. If God stopped talking when the Bible was written, then we have only the responsibility of trying to be moral. But if God is talking though us, or desires to, then we have an obligation to live like Jesus. Jesus was the first of the church, so to speak. He is the example that we should follow of how to be a communicator of God, because God spoke through Jesus and desires to speak through us in the same way.

Do you get it? God’s word in the mouths of humans!!! This is insane. How mature do you have to be to do that any justice whatsoever? How responsible must one be to have this unbelievable privilege?

To say, “I am God’s Word,” should bring about great fear and trembling, not a some surge of power, control, and authority. It should not be weilded like a weapon, but rather it should be shared like a great treasure.

The Casting Crowns song, If We Are The Body, has something to say about this.

Harding University Board of Trustees August 24, 2005

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Below is a list of the Harding University’s Board of Trustees. You can conteact these people by mail or e-mail if you would like to comment on anything concerning Ann Coutler, Harding’s policy on speakers, or anything else.

This group of men and women (yes there are women on the board) need to hear your voice. Thanks to James Wiser for the list. He says: “To find their email addresses, just look them up in your most recent Alumni directory.”

Probably a good idea.

Next post will be more Word of God Speak. Teaser – “I am the Word of God” Yes, the storm clouds are gathering.

DONALD L. SHORES, Cave Springs, Ark., Chairman
WILLIAM R. CHISM, Springfield, Mo., Vice Chairman
JIM BILL MCINTEER, Nashville, Tenn., Secretary
GERALD G. MORGAN JR., Amarillo, Texas, Treasurer
JOHN D. BALDWIN, Holyoke, Colo.
PAT J. BELL, Little Rock, Ark.
ROBERT L. BRACKETT, Vero Beach, Fla.
JAMES R. BURCHAM JR., Kennett, Mo.
DAVID B. BURKS, Ex-Officio, Searcy, Ark.
PAUL R. CARTER, Bentonville, Ark.
STEVE CLARY, Little Rock, Ark.
JIMMY CONE, Little Rock, Ark.
ROBERT G. DILES, North Little Rock, Ark.
HENRY FARRAR, Lebanon, Tenn.
W. MELVIN GARDNER, Fort Worth, Texas
RICHARD H. GIBSON, Longview, Texas
ROOSEVELT HARRIS, Jacksonville, Fla.
JIM BOB HUMPHREY, Russellville, Ark.
HAROLD R. REDD, Memphis, Tenn.
HARRY B. RISINGER JR., Millington, Tenn.
ROY H. SAWYER JR., Sardis, Miss.
JOHN O. SIMMONS, Columbia, Tenn.
REBECCA L. TUBB, Sparta, Tenn.L.
MARK WALLIS, Littleton, Colo.

Osama Bin Robertson August 23, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

I read about Pat Robertson saying that America should assassinate a foreign leader, Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.

Since you probably didn’t link, here is an excerpt:

“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.”
“We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator,”

It is not that President Chavez is a really nice guy, or that he wears a beret well, or even that he has good friends. I think it fair to say that this guy is not so good.

But for crying out loud, Pat Robertson, please SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a Christian and people think that you are speaking for me. Stop it. Just, quit.

Worse yet, people think that you are speaking for Jesus. Come one! I don’t recall Jesus calling for the assisnation of King Herod or Caesar.

What is fruther problematic is that there is a dollar value attached to this statement. It is liek he’s saying, “Hey, let’s do war on the cheap and take out the big dog,” as if there were some moral high ground there.