March 31, 2009

Don't Play Soccer on Sundays

In Nehemiah 13 the Israelites were marrying pagan women and adopting their worship practices. So in Nehemiah 13: 24 God describes the problem this way... "As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah..."

God has commanded us this - "Remember the sabbath to keep it holy"...or don't trade the sabbath for a soccer game.

I disagree with the Seventh Day Adventist on the subject of the sabbath. I admire them in principle but disagree with them in particulars. Oh that we would honor the principle of the sabbath the way they honor the law of the sabbath.

Because we don't honor God enough to give him our attention for a day or at least a morning, we are teaching a pagan language to our children. They don't speak the language of Judah...the language of worship, the language of the church, the language of scripture.

Instead they speak the language of soccer, softball, water polo, and other club sports that flagrantly, unabashedly and shamelessly lay claim to Sunday morning.

When I was growing up no sport team dared to practice or play on Sunday morning....That belonged to God whether you believed in God or not; whether you were waking up early for church or waking up late from a hang over...Sunday was OPEN SPACE.

There is no OPEN SPACE in our lives anymore. No quiet time to pull up to the stop sign and just sit there for a couple of hours and let LIFE get quiet again. And because there is not this time, the language of Judah is becoming extinct.

Parents want their kids to grow up and love God and the church, but then they make gods of sports and activities and academics, then they wonder why their kids are growing up without an appetite for God or his church. Wake up and smell the spiritual learn what they SEE not what they HEAR!

We must stop marrying the pagan practices of the world and carve out a weekly time of modeling "God attention time" and then prioritize that in a way that our children learn again the language of Judah!

March 27, 2009

Living Forever in Weird Houses?

As Resurrection Sunday (Easter) approaches  I could not resist quoting in full Albert Mohler's blog: 

Transhumanism Trips on a Ponzi Scheme?

If this article had appeared in a newspaper less illustrious and authoritative than The Wall Street Journal, I would have assumed it to be a hoax.  Evidently not.  It seems that a couple of intrepid transhumanist artists have lost their funding, thanks to the fact that their investments had been managed by Bernard Madoff, the investor who just admitted to running what may well be the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Transhumanism, you may recall, is the movement that is determined to reverse aging and to extend the human life span indefinitely.  What does that have to do with art?  Funny you should ask.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Arakawa and Madeline Gins are artists who have committed their energies and art to the quest to make human beings immortal.  Arakawa (his entire name) and Madeline Gin base their artistic quest for immortality "on the idea that people degenerate and die in part because they live in spaces that are too comfortable."  Seriously.  Their answer is to "construct abodes that leave people disoriented, challenged, and feeling anything but comfortable."

Arakawa insists that living in these disorienting spaces can make one "become like a baby."  As the Journal reports, "They build buildings with no doors inside. They place rooms far apart. They put windows near the ceiling or near the floor. Between rooms are sloping, bumpy moonscape-like floors designed to throw occupants off balance."

The whole idea throws me off balance.  The world of modern "art" is littered with nonsense of limitless variety.  These artists have built nine "reversible destiny" lofts in Japan at a cost of $6 million.  The lofts are shaped like spheres, tubes, or cubes and are marked by odd features, misshapen floors and walls, and uneven floors.

One Japanese loft tenant, Nobutaka Yamaoka, claims to have lost both weight and his hay fever after a couple years of living in the loft with his family.  He admits that he isn't sure that the loft had anything to do with these achievements.  He can't buy furniture for his loft because of the uneven floors and his wife complains that she hits her head trying to crawl to the outdoors through a window, but Mr. Yamaoka is undeterred.  Ms. Gins told the Journal that crawling out of the low window in order to hang up the laundry is "one of the exercises."  Obviously.

Here is my favorite part of the article:

"Their research is a milestone in the history of conceptual art," says Alexandra Munroe, senior curator at the main Guggenheim Museum, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where the couple's work is currently on display. She says many of their supporters don't literally accept the couple's message on immortality but appreciate it in a "metaphorical" way.

To the artists, eternal life is a real possibility. "This is a great chance for the human race," says Ms. Gins.

Well, this "great chance for the human race" is endangered by a lack of funding, given the fact that these artists lost their funding to Bernard Madoff's scheme. "Here was someone we thought was a supporter of ours, and he pulled the rug out from under us," said Ms. Gins.

Other transhumanists were quick to distance themselves from the odd theory of age reversal advocated by this artistic couple.  Ray Kurzweil, identified as "a leading transhumanist figure in the U.S.," dismissed the theory of Arakawa and Ms. Gins and offered his own, presumably less odd theory of age reversal.  Kurzweil told theJournal that future human beings will have small cell-regenerating robots in their bodies.  He evidently thinks that robots inside our bodies would seem less odd than the idea that we are dying because our living spaces are too comfortable.

Just last week TIME magazine reported that "amortality" is one of the "Ten Ideas Changing the World Right Now."  Meanwhile, the Journal cites a professor of aging who called the promotion of longevity "the second-oldest profession."

The great quest of transhumanism is to defy death and to redefine what it means to be human.  But death will not forever be defied and those who live in uncomfortable houses are not likely to live much longer than those who reside in (apparently) deadly comfort.  God is not mocked.

This is an idea that ran out of sense long before it ran out of money.

March 13, 2009


The following words from Jim Liebelt deeply trouble me:

The image was blurred and the voice distorted, but the words spoken by a young Ohio woman are haunting. She had sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent them to other high school girls. The girls were harassing her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school.

And now Jesse Logan was going on a Cincinnati television station to tell her story. Her purpose was simple: “I just want to make sure no one else will have to go through this again.”

The interview was in May 2008. Two months later, Jessica Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.


Our sex crazed society is paying for its sin in increasing measure. If the church does not raise the banner of the pleasures of purity and the destructiveness of porn, we will be living in a unstoppable cesspool of anguish and addiction. Sexual addiction is destroying lives...teens, marriages, men, families, leaders, women...lives are being impaled on the strippers pole that promises pleasure but ends up peircing the heart with death.

Church arise with grace, love, truth and the REAL alternative lifestyle that brings the greatest joys and pleasures!

March 12, 2009

Rethinking Money - Rich Dad, Poor Dad?

Rich Dad, Poor Dad...the book by Robert Kiyosaki has some wisdom and foolishness in it. The veracity of the author has been questioned. But the idea of two dads dispensing divergent advice is an accurate metaphor for the theological scene in America.

Is God helping us be healthy, wealthy, and wise? If we are deeply plugged into the Holy Spirit will our coffers fill and our possessions increase? Is he Rich Dad?
Is God helping us be sacrificial to the point of poverty, generous to the point of simplicity, amassing our treasures on the other side instead of this one? Is he freeing us from the corrupting influence of the American dollar?

I recently had a conversation with a man in our church who wanted to tell me how rich Jesus really was. He listed a litany of reasons that Jesus was wealthy. The same week I read the blog of one of my church members who had just returned from the slums of Haiti and was seeking to awaken American Christians to the deception of consumerism.

Some bottom lines for me:
1. Money is far more deceptive and destructive than we realize.

2. Money is not a neutral medium. There is a "god of mammon" at work.

3. Money's power can only be controlled through radical generosity to the kingdom and the poor.

4. Scriptural principles of hard work, disciplined spending, simplicity of desires, wise investing, savings, tithing and alms giving, prayer for divine favor, and clean living all lead to overall prosperity and financial blessing!

5. Jesus is not a communist. His desire is NOT that all people have the same amount. Even in heaven this won't be true. His desire is that people have plenty for all their NEEDS.

6. Jesus does not deal the same with every person...some he calls to voluntary poverty, others to great wealth with great generosity.

7. We must be led by the Holy Spirit in our financial journey.

8. Our hearts must break with what breaks God's increase our lifestyle dramatically without increasing our generosity more more dramatically is deception. To put it more bluntly: The wealthier you become the higher percentage you must give away.

Our RICH DAD above wants to bless us BUT he is wise enough to know what a SMALL part of true blessing MONEY really is. He doesn't want us to "have" money if money is going to "have" us.
He calls us to HIMSELF, to know Him, and to share His heart for the hurting, and to walk free of the "love of money".

March 09, 2009

Cars , Crowbars, and Calling

Due to the significant repairs needed on our 8 year old car, I bought a new car...slightly used but a 2008 car, same color and make as my last one. I picked it up on Friday evening and drove it to Men's Breakfast on Saturday morning. While I was praying for some men over breakfast, some angry person was taking a crow bar to my new car's trunk.

When I found it, I was obviously upset but two other reactions quickly shoved the anger out of the way.
First, stuff is just stuff, even when it's new stuff. I think I heard the Spirit whisper, "it's only a car, it's only a car".

The second thought was, "I can't imagine how broken an angry that person is who attacked my car simply because it was shiny and new." My car with the dented trunk was probably ten times nicer than anything they had ever owned.

Third, "how safe is the neighborhood I minister in?" Not all that safe. In the past 18 months robberies, multiple murders, and various other crimes have occurred within a small radius of our church. Which simple means this...we are at the right place. We are where the gospel is needed. We are called to reach, teach and mend a broken neighborhood because that's what Jesus would do.

Events like this can make me pine for a nicer suburban church, such as the ones I have turned down on multiple occassions. But these events can also make me more resolved to remain where I am "for the good of the hood". Amen! "For the good of the hood"

March 05, 2009

Know it All or a Wise Guy?

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is never putting a tomato in a fruit salad.

Knowledge is knowing what's up.
Wisdom is living life looking up.

Knowledge is knowing if you say something stupid to your wife she is going to get ticked.
Wisdom is not saying it.

Knowledge is knowing that the road to Jericho from Jerusalem is 17 miles long.
Wisdom is stopping to help the man in the ditch on the Jericho road. (Good Samaritan)

Knowledge is the ACQUISITION of knowledge.
Wisdom is the APPLICATION of knowledge.
Lord I want Wisdom!

March 02, 2009

Jesus, Mac and Cheese

The white guy with the Ferrari and 5 million dollar golf house was sitting next to the African American woman with the four kids who lives in a one bedroom apartment.

But they both walked forward and signed their box and mac and cheese and put it in the wall.

Yesterday as I taught on Nehemiah 2, 3 I called people to grab a brick and make a difference in our church and community by doing their part to build the wall. Hundreds of folks came forward and committed to do their part.

At the end there was a wall of mac and cheese boxes stacked 10 boxes high. Next week we will give it all away to the hungry or hurting of our urban neighborhood.

Now what struck me was that 2 people as different as the two mentioned above could both make a significant difference in building the kingdom. Where else but the church of Jesus could such miracles take place?

It was a beautiful picture to see people from many different cultures, ethnic groups, and income groups say they wanted their lives to count. I pray that it wasn't just the emotion of the moment or the group think going on, but that people will remember "the walls of Jerusalem!".

Every one has a section. May all of us "put our shoulder to the work" - Nehemiah 3:5.