Eclipse 2017 — A Pivotal Moment

solar-eclipse-9Today we sit in anticipation of a full solar eclipse. A total eclipse that will be seen across the Unites States and beyond. The likes of which have not been seen in the US in nearly 100 years. It will likely be a once in a lifetime event for us all.

The sun, moon and stars represent three of the most stable things in creation. The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar based on the predictability of the moon’s movement. The rest of the world is based on a solar calendar or the predictability of the sun’s movement. We chart our direction in the earth by the stars. Think pre GPS days when you were in the Scouts with your compass. But when a total solar eclipse like the one we are anticipating today takes place predictable movement of the sun, moon and stars becomes obscured.

When the most stable of created things becomes obscured, the very things we use to tell us the day, time and direction — it is not a sign that the Lord will return that day or the earth is ending. It is not a sign of pending judgement. Even without such a phenomena the Lord’s return, and judgement are imminent for humanity and all of creation. While many end-time prophets will find deeper and more specific truth revealed in today’s eclipse, it will be speculative at best and blatant error at worst.

Today should not be a day for debating over the end time significance of this rare eclipse, getting lost in minutiae or speculative arguments. No, today should be a reminder that even the most stable and predictable things in creation are subject to the God of creation.

During this eclipse we should reflect on our lives. We should prayerfully examine where we’ve chosen to walk in darkness rather than the light of God’s revealed truth. The eclipse should be a reminder that one day creation as we know it will end and God will fully usher in His eternal Kingdom. Our works in the earth will be judged and we will stand before Him without excuse. The most significant question on that day will be, “do you have faith in the Son?” “Have you received and followed Jesus?” Do the works of our lives demonstrate a love for the stranger, remembering the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, and clothing the naked? Or have our lives become consumed by vain pursuits, petty divisiveness and triumphalism? Do we walk past those living in the margins and dehumanize those who don’t look, live and vote like us?

This eclipse, although temporary, can serve as a pivotal moment that accomplishes eternal good. Let’s repent of the darkness that is within us and turn to the brightness of Christ. As the sky darkens let us view it as a call to repentance and cry out to the Son.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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We’re All Worshippers

Unknown-2We are all worshippers! Every single person you’ve ever met is a worshipper. We often see only those who go to church on Sunday, Temple on Saturday or a Mosque on Friday as worshippers. But all of mankind is reverencing, pursuing and serving, something or someone — a person, an idea, a spirit or God through Christ Jesus.

No one you’ve ever seen or encountered is exempt from this truth. We are all in daily, constant pursuit — desiring, pursuing and serving, something or someone. Every human being is made in God’s image and after His likeness and we are all in constant pursuit of peacefreedom from anxiety and a sense that everything essential is in place; we are all in constant pursuit of purposea deep sense of fulfillment in and from our daily activities; and we’re all in pursuit of praiseworthinessa deep sense of identity and worth. It is these basic and shared needs that make us all worshippers.

God is our greatest need and our only true supply. He wants our worship. He doesn’t want our empty, repetitious acts, performed in an attempt to get some other object of affection. God needs to be the one we crave and are unwilling to do without. Nothing drives us, shapes us and ultimately defines us more than what we worship. John 4 — “The Woman at the Well” is an account entirely about worship. Jacob’s well represented much more than the essential need of water for the Samaritans. Jacob dug this well on his own purchased plot. The well this woman was drawing from was sacred and believed to be the very spot where their asserted ancestor had dug his well and built his altar. The history of the place and their proclaimed patriarch meant peace with God, purpose in His plan and gave praiseworthiness — value and identity to these people. The Samaritans worshipped this well and the place it sat upon. They came to it to meet their basic needs but they also looked to it to meet their deepest needs. We all share the same basic needs and the same deeper need. Our lives are shaped by our worship — how we seek to meet our basic and deeper needs.

This woman had likely been coming to this well all of her life. She had been coming to Jacob’s well on this sacred mountain but she was still thirsty and her needs were still unmet. She’d been worshipping at the wrong well. Jesus — the well of living water — points out her six illicit relationships to prove to her who He is and how inadequate Jacob’s well is as an object of worship. It has shaped her life.
She has no peace, she has no sense of purpose and she is known as anything but praiseworthy. She is the least among her people (Samaritan, Woman, Unwed, Been in 5 illicit relationships, Living unmarried with a man now). She worships at the wrong well. Her being there at high noon (the worst time to go for water in that region) by herself, is proof enough of just how far she has fallen and just how futile her worship there is. She hides from others out of shame. Even though she is with a man, she is really alone.

God is man’s greatest need — But my God shall supply all of your need. We will worship the Creator seeking Him and living in His truth or we will worship the creation seeking life in a well with stagnant water. To worship in spirit and truth is to go to God as the source for our most basic and our deepest needs. Where we go shapes us, our hearts and our lives. The Father is seeking worshippers. The Father made us to be worshippers. May we all seek and drink from the Right Well — Jesus.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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Disruptors

It’s time toUnknown move beyond the hatred, divisiveness, labels and polarization that became the norm during the US election cycle. We were never destined to find our identity or a savior in a candidate or political party and we’re not called to find those things in our president or this current administration now. Some are still mourning, while others are continuing to defend and gloat.

We must move on and get to the work we’ve been called to.  Our work and calling is not building an empire or personal kingdom in this world by alining with a political party or worldly ideology, neither is it to condemn and curse this world and hide until Jesus returns.  We are here to be a disruptive agent, a refuge and a relevant hope.

As a disruptive agent we should be decisively and glaringly counter-culture. To be counter culture at its roots means to love and care where our culture hates and demonizes; It means running towards those who the majority says to reject; It means drawing attention to unjust laws, practices and systems that advantage some while disenfranchising others; It means giving voice and value to those who have been silenced and dehumanized; It also means confronting and speaking to power on behalf of those who lack the know how and access to do so. In doing these things we begin to look and act like a 21st century Jesus.

As a refuge and relevant hope, we’re embracing the reality we’re not here for ourselves but we are here for others.  Jesus said the greatest among us must be a servant (Matthew 23:11). We have to embrace a world-view that says, I am here at this point in time to have my gifts and passions employed by the King of Kings not a natural king.  For the entrepreneur that means moving towards social entrepreneurship where sustainable enterprise is imagined and created not simply to make money but to reach and transform lives and communities. One example is Becca Stevens and Thistle Farms, who among other things make natural bath and body products while training, employing and providing housing for a staff which is comprised of women who are former inmates, drug addicts and sex-trafficking victims.  For the executive, social-worker, dentist, medical professional, teacher, chef etc. being a refuge and relevant hope means no longer seeing our skills and professions solely and simply as a way to make money but seeing them as a way to serve others and meet needs through volunteerism and community service.

Being a disruptive agent, refuge and relevant hope means churches must be reimagined.  The Church can no longer exist simply as the place to gather a couple of times a week for the purpose of helping us get through the week.  The Church must become the missionary.  The Church can no longer be the place that exists primarily or exclusively to gather in community and celebration of Christ’s work in “us” but we must be the place where people are trained, equipped and mobilized to engage the culture and society in which they live. The Church must realize its role as the agent and ambassador existing to embrace the most vulnerable and challenge the most powerful on behalf of the King. The Church must release disciples into society rather than existing as a place to hide from society. Throughout history the church has not primarily been just a different kind of place but a different kind of people. May we realize that call and mission now more than ever.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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