Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jesus wins.

Can I just say that Jesus is AWESOME?

This is what happened when they came to arrest Him...

John 18:4-6: "Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, 'Who is it you want?' 'Jesus of Nazareth,' they replied. 'I am he,' Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, 'I am he,' THEY DREW BACK AND FELL TO THE GROUND." (Caps added for emphasis.)

Whoa. These soldiers, officials, chief priests and Pharisees FELL TO THE GROUND at Jesus' voice! These were some tough, high and mighty dudes and with three words they were knocked on their tails.

"I am he." There is no one but God who could say those words and make us fall to the ground. And of course Jesus' words wield unmatched power- "...out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword." (Rev. 1:16)

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

I'm in awe.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No shame about my iPod

As I said in my last post, I took a road trip to Cincinnati with a couple friends this weekend. One of those friends was continually saying "you have (insert song/artist which he found ridiculous) on your iPod?"

Yes, I have "Barbie Girl" on my iPod. I have some Backstreet Boys and N'Sync, some Brittney and Christina, Destiny's Child, Weird Al, Fergie, even Paris Hilton. My iPod is barely half full.

I have thousands of "more reputable" songs and artists on the iPod.

My question is this: If I have all of my music on my iPod and still have space to spare, is it a crime for me to have Fergalicious and the Captain Planet theme song in the bunch?

I think not. Having them on my iPod does not mean I listen to them. In fact, many of them are set to be skipped when shuffling so that I don't have to listen to them.

My point is that we shouldn't be shocked by what people have on their iPods because the devices were, in fact, created to hold mass amounts of any kind of music.

It's un-American to not use them to their full potential.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back to KD!

I was in Cincinnati this weekend for a wedding "pre-ception." It was awesome seeing my friends from school on Saturday night. Sunday morning I went to Antioch Church, the church we attended on Summer Project. I saw Wendel Deyo, the camp president and heard a great sermon from Dave Newman. After lunch I took my friends for a little drive to a place that's gotta be close to heaven, King's Domain. It was soooo good to be back there, even if it was just for a quick visit.

I only had my cell phone camera with me, but I took some pictures.

First, they got a brand spankin' new sign! It looks great! Much needed, as the old one was kinda rotting...

We stopped by the ridge and I reminisced about our late night chats on the benches.

I stopped by and saw Cletus...

They've done so much work on the obstacle course!

And what would our trip be without stopping at Valero?

I was so blessed in my time at King's Domain. I miss it there and I miss all of the amazing people who were there with me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ditch the mask and remain.

In John 15, Jesus tells us to remain in Him. He calls Himself the vine and refers to us as branches from the vine (or dee vine... divine... Get it? Oh boy...). Twice in this passage Jesus tells us to remain- in Him/in His love. We learn that being in Christ has wonderful rewards, while not remaining in Christ has serious, negative implications.

V. 4: "Remain in me and I will remain in you..." Jesus promises Himself to us if we remain in Him. That's good! "No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." If we aren't in Christ, we're not producing fruit. That's bad! There is a close parallel in v. 5. "...If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Branches that do not produce fruit are cut off to wither, die and be thrown into the brush pile to be burned. They are not doing what they are supposed to and are taking nutrients and water away from the rest of the branches. Of course those branches will be cut off so that the rest of the branches can thrive!

Certainly that makes a case for remaing in Christ, but there's more! In vv. 9-11, Jesus says "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." So that's how our joy is complete! Remaining in Christ!

To remain in Christ would mean that we're already in Christ. It makes sense then that if we are not in Christ at any moment, we are to immediately go back to Him. Remaining in Christ goes beyond putting on a Christian mask when we need to and then taking it right back off. To remain in Christ is to ditch the mask entirely and allow yourself to be seen as one who is imperfect, but is being made righteous as God helps us eliminate sin from our lives.

This idea that our joy is complete in Christ makes me think of the sermon series at Sevenoseven right now. You may have seen the "Advent Conspiracy" video on YouTube; 707 is doing a series with the same title. Our culture of hyper-consumerism is based on the idea that "stuff" makes you happy. The Best Buy ads that end with a slogan like "Your life, happier" or something like that and the car commercials urging us to "make this Christmas the best Christmas ever" are all saying the same thing- "to be happy, you need 'stuff'".

That's pretty contradictory to what Jesus tells us in John 15:9-11, huh? Isaiah 55:1,2 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you soul will delight in the richest of fare."

Best Buy and Lexus might make our flesh happy, but that's as good as gone because it won't last. But "our souls will delight" if we go to Jesus for our satisfaction- if we remain in Him.