Friday, September 16, 2011

Join us on a ride to work!

I thought it would be fun to get some video that would show how a typical day's commute to campus while living in Kampala. Here is what I got!

The first video is near our house and the roundabout you will see is at a place called Nakulabye.

This second video shows what it is like to get through a typical intersection, with no traffic lights!

This clip shows how efficient it is to use a Boda in Kampala. Take note of all the cars we pass on the left. If I were to take a taxi or drive a car, it would take a long time to get accross town. Also, towards the end of this video you will see the main gate to Makerere University (Main Campus). Since the profs are on strike there, we were traveling to Makerere Business School, which is open.

This next video is great because it shows a mom with here two young children on a Boda, as well as us going onto the "sidewalk" to get by the traffic.

This video shows one of my favourite parts of this journey. We are all stopped at a roundabout as the traffic officer allows the people entering Kampala from the north to enter. As soon as he signals them to stop, all of the about 20 or so Boda's along with some cars start at the same time. It is like the start of the Boston Marathon! And their off!

This last video shows some of the landscape of Kampala. Kampala is said to be built on seven hills. It is quite amazing to see all the houses on the hills.

And there you have it. A typical commute to work in Kampala!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflections on 3 weeks in Africa

As of today, we have been in Kampala for 3 weeks.

  • Riding around town on a boda boda
  • Watching Manchester United on the TV in my living room
  • Getting a power inverter so that when the main power goes out, we have a backup
  • Having "househelp" who cleans. She makes our bed so well that it is like living in a hotel... but it is your own house
  • Vanessa's amazing cooking. I had low expectations for food because of all the rice and skimpy chicken I have eaten in Africa in the past. But Vanessa has made amazing food that it has felt like we are still at home in Canada.
  • The way Noah and Jude have adapted to life in Africa so well
  • Praying, singing, and fellowshiping with the local Life Ministry (Campus for Christ) staff. 

  • The loud music from the nearby Guest house every once in a while at night.
  • Having people call out "Mzungu" at least once every time we go out in the town or nearby market
  • Generally feeling like an outsider in the culture as people stare at you because of your skin colour
  • Having to try to barter for a fair price for taxi or boda because people try to take advantage of you because you are white
  • Trying to balance between wanting to get a fair price in bartering, but also keeping in mind that I have so much more than the person I am bartering with, and so getting overcharged isn't the end of the world.
General Observations on Money and Comfort
  • Living in Africa is very good for my soul. It is clear to me daily that I have a lot of wealth compared to most people. I do not have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from. This has made me very grateful to God for all that He has given me. In Canada, I am often coveting other people because they have more than me, but it is plain to me here that in comparison to the average person on planet earth, I am stinkin' rich. 
  • I often want to complain because things are harder for me here. I only have cold water for my shower. I don't have a car. I have to worry more about my safety. There are no proper sidewalks where I want to walk. Chairs are less comfortable. And so on. But then I remember that this is how most people in the world live. Canada's comforts are more the exception than Africa's discomforts are, as far as the majority of the world is concerned. 
I know that I will go through ups and downs emotionally as I engage with a new culture. In general I am fairly even-keeled, and I expect that to be challenged this year. But overall I would not trade my spot in life for anything else. To know that you are right where God wants you is worth any price. God is going to teach me so many things being here. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do we really believe what we are saying?

As many of us discuss Universalism, and what Rob Bell has been up to, this video asks a question that is of utmost importance. If we really believe in Hell, do we act like it?

Do We Really Believe What We're Saying? from The Church at Brook Hills on Vimeo.

Remind me when I get nervous about going to Africa to take 4 minutes to watch this video for perspective.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Summary of the Bible in Two Verses

This morning I was reading in 1 Samuel. In Chapter 12, Samuel is giving his farewell speech. In that speech, he gives, in my opinion, two key verses as to what everything is all about. One has to do with God's motives, and one has to do with our responsibility.

God's Motives
For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. (1 Samuel 12:22)
The reason God acts for us, is because he has decided not to forsake his people, not for our sake, but for his great name's sake. God will always be faithful to his people, because he is committed to his glory. Since he will never abandon his glory, he will always be committed to us. The best news for us is that he is faithful to his glory!

(For more on this idea, please check out John Piper's message called, "The Pleasure of God in His Name". The text from this message is from 1 Samuel 12:22)

Our Responsibility
Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24)
Since we are assured of God's favour because of his commitment to His own glory, we can now respond in faithful service to our God. We need to remember the great things he has done for us. For us who know Christ, we have much to consider. God has done good things for us. Now let is fear him and serve Him faithfully with all our hearts.

I call this post a Summary of the Bible in Two verses because I think if you now look at the rest of the Bible through these lenses: God's commitment to his own glory, and our response to his goodness in obedience, it will help make sense of things, and give you a good framework for living the Christian life.

For myself personally, it would not be an overstatement to say that understanding these two things has changed my life.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Blind Bartimaeus

In Mark 10:46-52 it shares the story of Jesus healing Blind Bartimaeus. As I was reading this passage, a few things stood out to me.

1. Why does Mark record his name? In other passages where healing is recorded, the people being healed are just called "a blind man" or something like that. So as I read this, I wondered why Mark records his name, and his fathers name. This seems strange to me.

2. Why does it say that Bartimaeus threw off his cloak, when he ran to Jesus? If he is blind and sitting by the side of the road, he probably doesn't own much, so why does he lose the cloak? Is this a sign that he gave up all he had to follow Jesus?

3. After healing Bartimaeus, Jesus does not tell him to follow him. In fact, he told him to "go your way".

4. Even though Jesus told him to "go his way", Bartimaeus decides to follow Jesus. This links to point 2. He threw off his cloak and jumped up to Jesus, Jesus heals him, and he follows Jesus.

When I put this all together, this is what I get. Jesus heals Bartimaeus, and although Jesus tells him to go his own way, Bartimaeus follows Jesus. As a result, the disciples, and particularily Peter, got to know Bartimaeus, such that he even got to learn a bit about his family (Bartimaeus was the son of Timaeus according to v. 46). Peter, when recounting this story to Mark some time later mentions this event, and told Mark that Bartimaeus even ditched his cloak, his only cloak to follow Jesus! This impressed Peter! 

What thoughts or answers spring to mind when you think of this story?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Idols bow to the One True God

Today I was reading in 1 Samuel and read about the Ark of the Covenant getting captured by the Philistines. After stealing it, they take it they put it in "the house of Dagon". (Dagon was a pagan God). 

The next morning, the people found that Dagon had fallen on the ground and bowed before the Ark. 

So the attendants set Dagon back up....

But then the next morning, the same thing happened, and this time Dagon's head and hands had fallen off. 

What should we learn from this? 

1. Don't mess with the One True God!
2. Your idols suck, so stop going to them for what you should be going to God with. 

You can read the story on the ESV Study Bible website!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Leadership Thoughts #3 - Who is really leading?

I have been getting a lot out of the book,  Leadership as an Identity, by Crawford Loritts. Today as I read a few quotes struck me. Here is the first:
When a leader gets to a point at which he or she trusts more in skills, abilities, or experiences to accomplish God's assignments, then he has just walked away from the place of God's blessing and His enabling power.
This quote is frightening, because it is just so easy to rely on past experience to fulfill today's challenges. Most often, things in leadership can become urgent, and so the easy and quick thing to do is to just do it, instead of rely on God through prayer and giving your life over to the Spirit's guidance.

Related to this, Joseph Stowell, former President of Moody Bible Institute says that "leaders fall when they stop following". Loritts, the author of the book I am reading comments on this and says:
Think about that. When a leader shifts his focus from dependably following Christ and begins to think that it is his vision, his idea, his mission that must be advanced, then he has ceased to be God's leader. And, frankly, it's dangerous to follow such a person. At this point there is nothing supernatural about what he does; he is merely a strong personality who can get things done by the force of his will. He may try to camouflage it with a few Bible verses and Christian clichés, but pride and self determination are what drive him.
That last line that is in bold (my emphasis) is a killer! I see myself in that line. It is easy to throw in a verse or cliché, but that does not mean it is from God. I want to be a man that leads people only as I am following Jesus.

For you Christian leaders out there, is this something that you struggle with?

How can we grow in making sure we are only leading as we are following Jesus?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Leadership thoughts #2 - I am inadequate

I was reminded from the book that I am reading that I need to feel a sense of inadequacy in leadership. In order for me to be successful, I need to rely on God to lead me. I can have strengths and gifts, but it will always be God that causes the growth.

It seems the longer a person is in leadership, the easier it can get to rely on self, rather than God. "After all, look how long I have done this? I have experience and have seen it all before. I can take care of it." I desire to be a leader for the long haul, and it is important for me to be reminded that the more leadership I get, the more I need to feel inadequate, and rely on God, who is adequate for all things. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Leadership thoughts - I can't do it

I am starting to read a book today called Leadership as an Identity, by Crawford Loritts. I was given this book by my boss as a gift.

A quote from the first chapter stood out to me. The author is talking about the Great Commission, and then comments:
Have you ever considered that you don't have the power to make even one disciple, let alone disciples in all the nations? Have you considered that you can teach someone al the Scripture, help him grow in his faith, and model what it's like to walk with Christ, but you don't have the ability to make that person follow God?
This is critical for me to ask as my whole job revolves around making disciples of Christ. But I have no ability to do that. I cannot do my job. It is a strange thought that causes a few reactions from me:

Scary - I have no ability to cause someone to follow Christ
Relief - God has the ability to do this, and wants to use me to help people follow Christ

What I desire is that God would use me to help change the world by helping students discover Jesus. Because of my inability to do this, I need to rely on God, and constantly ask him to change the hearts of the people I work with. And I need God to work on me, so that daily I become more and more a faithful disciple of Christ.

How do you trust God to help you make disciples?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What I learned from reading Ruth

Ruth seems to have two main themes, Kindness and Redemption.

  • Ruth is faithful to her mother-in-law even when she does not need to be.
  • Boaz is kind to Ruth, by allowing her to glean from his field, in places where she would be safe
  • Boaz redeems Ruth by purchasing the land that belonged to Ruth's deceased husband. 
Another indirect theme is that the gospel is for all mankind:
  • The author keeps mentioning that Ruth is not from Israel. She is "Ruth the Moabite” as if to emphasis that God is being gracious to her even though she is not an Israelite. 
  • The book of Ruth illustrates that God used people who were not physical descendants of Abraham to be in the line of David, which lead to the messiah.
  • Ruth is the Great-Grandmother of David

Monday, January 31, 2011

What I learned from reading Judges

I really enjoyed reading Judges. Often I would sit down to read a big chunk of it (like 8-10 chapters), but I couldn't because I was getting so much out of it, that I wanted to think about it and blog.

Judges shows how the nation of Israel went through a common pattern:

Often when I read about the history of Israel, I get really shocked at how dumb they could be to keep leaving God for the idols of Baal. But then I think about how commonly we in the post-incarnation period leave God for our own idols.

Israel would leave God for years upon years, and then God would send a Judge to help bring them back. For us, we make small decisions daily that either move us closer, or further from God. And this must have been how it was for Israel. Slowly over time they must have made decisions that lead them to Baal, such that one day the tent of God was gone, and the idols were everywhere. I am sure that did not happen overnight.

And so when I get judgemental about Israels unfaithfulness, I should look at myself. Everyday I choose things besides God, and it is only by his grace that I have not strayed far enough to the point that I would be serving other gods.

So I have learned that God is faithful: to Israel then, and now to us as the church. We don't deserve his grace any more than they did. We have all departed from him, and it is only him that keeps us.

As the famous hymn says:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What I learned from reading about Gideon

The life of Gideon (Judges 6:11-8:35, Hebrews 11:32)
  • God calls Gideon a mighty man of valor
  • Gideon complains that God isn’t acting in the same way for Israel now, as he has done in the past
  • Gideon gives God excuses
  • God promises to be with Him
  • Gideon demands a sign
  • Gideon gets a sign
  • God tells Gideon to destroy the altar of Baal in his fathers house
  • Gideon does it, but does so at night because he is afraid of what family and others will think
  • Gideon demands another sign from God (the famous fleece)
  • God gives the sign
  • Gideon demands God do it again
  • God gives the sign again
  • God wants to prove the victory in Battle is His, so he pares down the army of Israel from 32,000 to 300. (see below - Great Story 1)
  • The 300 men defeat the army of Midian
  • God gives Gideon further victories over Succoth, Penuel. (Great Story 2
  • Isreal wants Gideon to rule over them, but he says that only the LORD will rule over Israel
  • Shortly after that he asks for some gold from the people of Israel, and he uses it to make an ephod. It says that all Israel whored after it, and it became a snare to Gideon. 
  • Gideon dies
  • Israel returns to worshiping Baal.
The story of Gideon ends in Hebrews 11 when he is listed with the other great heroes of the faith. It is interesting to note that Gideon was not perfect. He demanded sign after sign from God. At the end of his life he creates this golden ephod which becomes an idol for God's people. He also did many great things. And in the end he is listed as a man of faith.

Two quick observations:
  1. God called Gideon a mighty man of valor before Gideon had done anything. God sees in us our potential, and uses us before we are ready. He then causes us to succeed despite our shortcomings. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called.
  2. Even the heroes in the Bible are not perfect. God uses imperfect people to accomplish his goal of declaring his glory among the nations. The only perfect one is Jesus, and we should see him high above anyone else. Jesus is a greater Gideon, who perfectly leads his people into battle, and is our perfect Judge!

Great Story 1
In one of the great scenes of the Bible, God chooses the men for battle by how they drink water from the water. The ones who lap up the water like a dog are now the army, and the ones who kneel down to drink go home

Great Story 2
Gideon and his guys are tired and hungry from battle and ask for bread. The officials in Succoth wouldn’t give Gideon bread, so Gideon says that when he gets back from his current battle he will, “flail their flesh with the thorns of the wilderness, and with briers”. After all was said and done, he came back to Succoth and did it! He is a man of his word!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Looking back to redemption

Today in my time in the Word I was reading Judges 6. In verses 7-9 it reads:
When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage. And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. (Judges 6:7-9 ESV)
What came to my mind when reading this, was that when Israel cried out to God, God reminds them of when he redeemed them from Egypt. He points them back to the time that he saved them so that they would remember God's saving power.

Now, in the post-incarnation era, when we are in trouble and need to cry out to God, we should always look back to God's saving power at the cross. It was at the cross that Jesus redeemed us from our sin.

God has always been about saving his people. For Israel, it was from Egypt, and they were to look back and take solace in that saving power. For us, we are to look back to Jesus, and his saving power.

The whole Bible is about Jesus...

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 ESV)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Defence of the Participation and Enjoyment of MMA.

One of the things that I have enjoyed most over the past 5 years has been watching and following the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). As a quick point of clarification, MMA is the sport, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), is a type of “league” (and most popular) so to speak for MMA.  

Earlier today a dear friend posted on Facebook questioning whether or not Christians can fight in the UFC, and I suppose by extension, whether believers in Christ should watch it. 
I have thought about these things before, but I thought this may give me a good opportunity to bring some of these thoughts together. They are by no means exhaustive, but just a few quick thoughts that came to mind. 

1. Context makes it allowable
One of the questions by friend asked was “With numerous Biblical commands on us to love our neighbour (Matt. 22:39), be kind and compassionate (Col 3:12), be gentle (Gal. 5:23), how does fighting square with that?” Based solely on these commands, and without any context, it seems to me that body checking someone in hockey, shooting someone in paintball, and maybe even stealing a base in baseball may be prohibited. 

It is the context of the action that affects whether it is allowable or not. If GSP and Josh Koscheck went outside the octagon two days after their UFC fight and fought for no good reason, then I would say that is wrong. But, when they enter the octagon, there are rules, regulations, and agreements that make their fighting allowable. The same police officer will break up the fight outside will pay $500 to watch the fight in the octagon.

In the same way in the NHL, when the Leafs play the Sens, and Colton Orr fights Matt Carkner, it is okay, because it is a recognized part of the sport. If they fought on the streets it would not be okay. Context would also allow me to fight someone who came into my house to steal my possessions or harm my family. If I saw the same guy on the sidewalk walking his dog (a different context), it would not be allowable. 

2. Paul’s experience with Boxing
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)
Paul used this boxing analogy to illustrate a point. He is saying that when we compete, we need to do it compete in a way that will allow you to win. When Paul boxes, he doesn’t do it by swinging at the air aimlessly. I think it is fair to infer from this that he would box by swinging at the opponent, to win the fight.   

As a side note, he even says, “I do not box as one beating the air.” Does this mean that Paul personally boxed? I am not sure. 

The question that remains is, “Why would he use something for an analogy if the example in the analogy is something wrong in itself?” If we are supposed to follow Paul, as he follows Christ, then why would he use an analogy of something that is by nature sinful? In my interpretation, when he talks about boxing as not to beat the air, he means I box to hit the other guy and win, because that is the goal of boxing. Just like I don’t run aimlessly, I run with the purpose of winning the race. 

3. Fight analogies
In addition to the boxing analogy, Paul gives us a command to fight, and said he did it himself:
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12 ESV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
In both of these verses he qualifies his fight by saying it is a “good” fight”. I think this means there is fighting that is good, and fighting that is bad. His spiritual battle is a “good” fight. We would all agree that someone fighting someone weaker than they are to steal their money would be a “bad” fight. Where does MMA come in? This is where I would argue that it maybe wrong for some, but not wrong for others. For some it is “good” fighting, and for others it would be “bad” fighting.

4. MMA is not illegal
It is legal according to our government. This does not make it right, necessarily, as the government allows things that I do not think Christians should engage in (sex outside of marriage, abortion, etc.) But it does say something that you are not breaking the law of the land by participating in MMA. 

5. What is the point or MMA?
My friend, in his Facebook post also said, “But the point of UFC is to hurt your opponent.” 
I would disagree with this point and argue that the point of MMA is not to hurt your opponent, but to defeat your opponent. It is obvious that you are going to hurt you opponent if you defeat them, but I still think the distinction is important. 

I could also use the analogy of disciplining your child by spanking. The goal is not that they get hurt, but to correct their behavior. But it is obvious that in the action of spanking, the child is going to get hurt. As a parent, the goal is not to cause lasting damage, but temporary pain for the purpose of future correction.

In MMA, the goal is not that they get hurt, but that you win the fight. It is obvious that in the action of fighting your opponent will get hurt. As a MMA fighter, the goal is not to cause lasting damage, but temporary pain for the purpose of winning the fight, and for sport, competition, entertainment, earning a living, etc.

6. Mutual respect among MMA fighters
Mutual respect amongst opponents is some of the greatest honour you will see in competitive sports. When hockey players shake hands after the playoffs, it is usually not with true joy (on occasion it is), but mostly ritual. When MMA fighters embrace after knocking each other around, it shows that the heart behind the battle is to see who is best, and to compete for the prize. Rarely is their a fight held and there is hatred towards the opponent. The vast majority of the time (95% and up in my estimation) are two guys competing like Paul instructs us to compete. To gain the prize. 

7. It is okay that it is not everyone’s cup of tea
I am arguing that participating in, and watching MMA fighting can be a wrong for some, and not others. God has made us all different, and so let us embrace that some will enjoy it, and glorify God with it (yes I just said that), and for some it will be sin. 

I would love to hear your thoughts and interact more on this!

"balanced life with a little bit of God" = Matthew 7:21-23?

This quote from Francis Chan in Forgotten God makes me angry. It makes me angry because it is true. It also makes me angry because I see a lot of it in myself:
Nowhere in scripture do I see a "balanced life with a little bit of God added in" as an ideal for us to emulate. Yet when I look at our churches, this is exactly what I see: a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives. People who have, in a sense, asked Him to join then on their life journey, to follow them wherever they feel they should go, rather than follow Him as we are commanded. 
We have our own plans to live like everyone else in the world, and add Jesus in as fire insurance. This is an insult to his Kingship, and we live in danger of Matthew 7:21-23

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forget about God's Will for your Life!

From Francis Chan's book, Forgotten God:
It is easy to use the phrase "God's will for my life" as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It's much less demanding to think about God's will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It's safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day
In working with students, I often hear talk of wanting to know "God's will for my life". I also often feel like it is a cop out for not wanting to commit to something that they probably know they should do. But, they haven't seen it written out in their alphabet soup, so God's will is still hazy.

I just wish that people would be obedient to what God has revealed, and then concern themselves with what God has not yet revealed. God has revealed so much to us in his Word, and yet we often spend more time thinking about the things he has not revealed!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shamgar !!!

Judges 3:31
After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

Shamgar with his Oxgoad!
He slays 600 Philistines!
Almost looks like a Jedi!

One interesting note about Shamgar is that he was a Judge of Israel, but most likely not even an Israelite. According the notes in the ESV Study Bible, "Shamgar's name is apparently Hurrian, not Israelite, and his designation as “son of Anath” probably refers to the Canaanite warrior goddess Anath. If so, it is ironic that God used a non-Israelite warrior to deliver Israel from its enemies."

I think this guy is just about as cool as Ehud. And with these two dudes combined, Judges 3 could be the best chapter in the OT.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I learned from reading Joshua

Central Theme - Promise Fulfilled

Summary Verse: Joshua 21:45
Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. 
God is faithful to his promise to give them the land
  • Quite often God says, with regard to an upcoming battle, “and I will give them into your hand”
  • God is going to make sure that they get the land that he promised
  • Moses promised each tribe their land in Deut 3, and Numbers 32, and now it is being given in Joshua 13-21
God protects and cares for his people 
  • throughout many battles in the first section of the book, God keeps his people safe.
Joshua is a ‘type’ of Christ'
  • God has a purpose to give Israel victory in battle, and Joshua is God's chosen agent to bring victory. 
  • One day Christ will battle sin once and for all and achieve a final victory, with us, his people at his side.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Baptism is not the Gospel and legitimacy for Parachurch

Just reading again in the Word, and this verse in 1 Corinthians 1 stood out to me.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV)
1. Baptism is not required for salvation. Paul here distinguishes the gospel (which is the power for of God for salvation -Rom 1:16), and baptism. They are not one in his mind. In fact, Paul prioritizes the preaching of the gospel. If baptism was necessary to be saved, it would be quite mean for Paul to give them the gospel, but leave them short of being saved, by leaving baptizing to someone else.

2. This verse also seems to give credibility to Parachurch organizations. If one of the ways we distinguish the church and the parachurch is that the parachurch does not administer the Ordinances, then Paul here seems to be acting more as a parachurch guy, in the process of church planting.

These are not developed thoughts, but just some fresh, initial reactions.

I would be curious for comments from you on your thoughts on one or both of my thoughts on the text. I am open for push back!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Significant Cultural trends of the past decade

I read this article today on the Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Past Decade. I would recommend reading the article for an insight into our culture. Here is the list:

  1. Connection
  2. Place
  3. Cities
  4. The End of the Majority
  5. Polarity
  6. The Self Shot
  7. Pornography
  8. Informality
  9. Liquidity
  10. Complexity
I was particularly intrige by #4, The End of the Majority. It is true that there are fewer and fewer categories in which there is a clear majority anymore. This line was interesting to me: "Barack Obama is a minority, but so is Sarah Palin. Republicans are a minority—so are Democrats, and so are independents." 

We all feel like we are the persecuted ones, but in reality, in increasing ways, everyone is persecuted and no one has the support of the majority of people anymore.

What stands out as interesting to you?

Biblical deception

Today I was reading in Joshua and read about Rahab. In this account, she lies to her people in order to save the Israelite spies.

This account describes what happens, and so does not necessarily comment on whether it was ethically okay to do this. According to the events, God does bless Rahab by allowing her to be spared, while the rest of Jericho was destroyed a few chapters later.

In my opinion, Rahab was justified in her actions to do a greater good by lying. I think there are times where it is okay to do something that is normally sinful in order to do a greater good. To clarify, I don't think is is always okay to commit a sin for a greater good. In this case however, I think she was justified.

Other accounts of deception are in Exodus 1 (the midwives), 1 Samuel 16 (Samuel deceives Saul about his true reason for going to Bethlehem).

What are your thoughts on this issue:

1. With reference to Rahab?
2. In general?