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God, world & humans.

February 6, 2009

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology course with Dan Wilt.

Who is God? Who are humans? Why are we here? What is the Kingdom of God? How is the Kingdom of God expressed in the world? Where is human history going?

Why all the questions?

Simply put, how you or I answer these questions impacts how we live.

Not easy questions to answer. Another person working through these questions (as a part of essentials*blue) called us God wrestlers. So below is what resulted from my wrestling with these questions.

God, the one true God, Creator. Ruler. Savior. Eternally existing in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (These three are co-equal and are one God.)
God created the universe.  God created humans in His image. [Genesis 1:26,27] Humans were made for spirituality, joy, relationship, justice and beauty. God created us to be worshippers and as such, humans are designed to receive and respond to God’s love. God entrusted humans with the task of caring for His creation. God saw all that He had created and it was good. [Genesis 1:31]

The Fall of man forever changed creation as sin entered the world. God’s beautiful creation was distorted. The relationship humans had with God was shattered. Humans, still worshippers began to worship other things.  The world still had power and beauty, but also sorrow and suffering.

God had a plan to rescue humans and to restore earth.

This finding, saving and giving of new life is found in Jesus.

Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. When Jesus rose again, the Kingdom of God arrived on earth. Through Jesus, his life, death and resurrection, God’s given humans a way to become a new creation – this is what we call ‘the gift of salvation’. The gift of salvation offers freedom: freedom to experience God’s rescue for ourselves.

Every person who accepts the gift of salvation becomes an agent of the Kingdom, and as such, a part of the Church.  Each a part of the whole and in some mysterious way resounding with the wonder and brilliance of God Himself. The Holy Spirit enabling and encouraging each to witness to all the world the promises fulfilled in the redemptive work of Christ.

The places where we see heaven meeting earth, where present meets future gives us a glimpse of what we are looking forward to – when Jesus returns and God finishes what He has started – completing His new creation.

Until then, we continue to work here on earth reflecting God, using creativity, force of will, moral nature, the capacity to love, the capacity to give as we tell and retell the story of creation, new creation and God’s pursuit to rescue us; seek justice for the weak and misused; care the earth and its inhabitants and love and give to those around us.

Set List for 2/1/09

February 2, 2009
tags:

You are Good (Israel Houghton)

Promises (Jared Anderson)

My Savior My God (Aaron Shust|Dora Greenwell)

200 Short* (Steve D. aka Serious)

*You can find lyrics here as well as a link to listen to the song.

200 Short by Serious

February 2, 2009

Lyrics to 200 Short. You can listen to the song here.

Two hundred dollars short from making unemployment
Two hundred dollars short from paying that rent
Two hundred dollars short for getting these bills paid
Two hundred dollars short is all we ever get

It’s a thousand for this
Yeah, a thousand for that
We ain’t got a thousand dollars, we can’t get on track
We can’t get that
We can’t backtrack you know
But if you’ve got a way to do that then ya it’s a go

Yeah it’s a show
Gotta do something to pay the bills
All these hills and valleys, work it out like Bally’s
And it’s on the way to Rally’s to waste a little money
Yeah it’s funny but we gotta get some food in our tummies
Trying so hard to survive, feels like we live and we try
Seems like we live and we die

Throw it in the oven and bake it
Still no slice of the pie
ring, ring go and pick up the phone
“Hi, I’d like to refinance your house loan”
‘My what?’
“House loan”
‘Yeah right, I don’t know if I’ll ever own a house in my life
If I had a good job, then yeah I might
But if your done wastin my time, then man good night’

Two hundred dollars short from making unemployment
Two hundred dollars short from paying that rent
Two hundred dollars short for getting these bills paid
Two hundred dollars short is all we ever get
Two hundred dollars
Still we be two hundred dollars short
Two hundred dollars short
Two hundred we missed it
Two hundred dollars
Said we two hundred dollars short
Two hundred dollars short
That’s the way it is man

Get off my case I ain’t got no money
All these money hungry people’s hands laced with honey
Sticky fingers turn off my ringers
I ain’t got time you can steal their money but you won’t get mine
Don’t like me? Fine.
I don’t like you neither
State of Michigan, T-Mobile, 150 for oil
Rich people way too spoiled they can’t feel this pain
Take back bottles for a gallon of gas
Yeah I feel that
A Nickels a penny, A quarters a dime
This minimum wage employment is a waste of my time
Hip hop is an expression it’s a reason I rhyme
If I have to give it up for my family then fine
Cause I don’t want to be 40 years old out on the street
Peddling cds, making the same mistakes over keep
Hittin repeat, if you feel it man kick it with me
Come on kick it

Two hundred dollars short from making unemployment
Two hundred dollars short from paying that rent
Two hundred dollars short for getting these bills paid
Two hundred dollars short is all we ever get
Two hundred dollars
Still we be two hundred dollars short
Two hundred dollars short
Two hundred we missed it
Two hundred dollars
Ya we be two hundred dollars short
Two hundred dollars short
That’s the way it is man

Fully alive

January 30, 2009

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology course with Dan Wilt.

We become like what we worship.¹

Let’s take a moment and consider this.

First, what are things that people worship?

Career, power, money, food, God, people, achievements, sex, clothes, tv, status, books, religion, beauty, peace…the list could go on & on & on.

Now think of what/who you worship.

Contrast the characteristics of what/who you say you worship to the characteristics of your life.  Does your life resemble what you say you worship or does it resemble something else? What are you giving most of your time, money, energy to? Answering these to questions should give us insight into what or who we are worshipping. We become like, we reflect, the characteristics of what we worship.

Here’s the thing, every human being is a worshipper.

It’s in the fabric of our being. Our Creator, God created us. He created us in His image. He created us to worship. God created us to worship Him.

In the beginning humans reflected God. What was once a brilliant reflection of God was shattered when sin entered the world. Humans’ relationship with God was changed forever.

Through Jesus, God’s given us a way to become a new creation – to reflect once again His image.

As NT Wright asks:

“So what happens when we worship the Creator God whose plan to rescue the world and put it to rights has been accomplished by the Lamb who was slain?”²

We gaze in love and gratitude at the God in whose image we were made. We grow and we discover more of what it means to be fully alive.“³

Fully alive what does that mean for you?

¹N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, Why Christianity Makes Sense (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006), p.148

²Ibid

³Ibid

Worship Set for 1/25/09

January 27, 2009

Kick off week for 40 Days of Community

Closer to Fine (Emily Saliers)

Our Love is Loud (David Crowder)

The New Song We Sing (Jason Ingram | Keith Smith | Meredith Andrews)

Indescribable (Laura Story)

God of This City (Andrew McCann | Boyd Aaron | Ian Jordan | Peter Comfort | Peter Kernaghan | Richard Bleakley)

Jaw-drop astounding

January 22, 2009

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology course with Dan Wilt

Last year I was driving our car and my daughters were with me. The trip was memorable. It was not the destination that made the trip memorable, it was the conversation we had on the way to our destination.

Olivia: Mom, do we worship 3 gods?
Me (trying to cover my surprise): No, why would you ask that?
Olivia (reciting a prayer she’s learned from preschool): God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit.
Me (thanking God that I knew the prayer): What comes after ‘God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit?’
Olivia: 3 in 1.
Me: That’s right Olivia. God is three – Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit and one. The three are God. We have a word for it – the Trinity.
Olivia: Oh.

Olivia shifted the conversation to another topic with the speed and agility that 5 year olds have when it comes to switching topics.  I have to admit, I was relieved to be done with the topic.


The Trinity.

It’s a difficult concept for us to grasp isn’t it? How can God be three, yet one?

I’m reading a book by N.T. Wright that has impacted my understanding not only of God as Trinity, but also my understanding of the Kingdom of God (heaven meeting earth).
In Simply Christian, Why Christianity Makes Sense Wright skillfully outlines the role God the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit have in reclaiming all of creation.
Wright’s explanation of how heaven meets earth has jolted my view of the Kingdom of God. More specifically, Jesus’ work bringing heaven to earth and joining them together forever ¹ along with explaining the Spirit’s role in our lives.

God offers us, through the Spirit, the gift of being at last what we know in our bones we were meant to be: creatures that live in both dimensions of his created order.² Right now the Holy Spirit is reclaiming me, my human self, so that I ‘can be both part of the new creation in advance and someone through whom it begins to happen here and now.’ ³

astoundingThat’s jaw-drop astounding to me!

God as Trinity lets us see how God relates to humankind⁴ and I’m not waiting for Olivia to bring up the topic for us to start talking about it again.  The conversation has already started in our house.

I want to understand and I want my girls to understand God as Trinity not for the sake of knowledge, but rather so we can know our Father, our Savior King and our Helper more and more as we live out our lives reflecting Him.

The Kingdom of God is here. The whole world is God’s holy land and we Christ followers are called to be part of that reclaiming.⁵

What are your thoughts?

Would you be comfortable talking with a 5 year old (or an adult) about the Trinity?

Interested in reading Simply Christian? You can find it here.

¹N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, Why Christianity Makes Sense (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006), p.102
²Ibid, p.136
³Ibid, p. 126
⁴Dan Wilt, Essentials in Worship Theology PDF, The Nature of God, p. 13
⁵N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, Why Christianity Makes Sense (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006), pp. 125-126

Set List for 1/18/09

January 19, 2009
tags:

Everybody Praise the Lord  Lincoln Brewster

Promises   Jared Anderson

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) Chris Tomlin | Edwin Othello Excell | John Newton | John P.  Rees | Louie Giglio