today is a snow day. i tried to drive christina to her placement this morning and gave-up because the car could barely make it up the street. then the pastor called me to say that no one was going to make it in to the office today. then came the WHOOP!
snow days are great.
even greater when you’re a kid. i looked out in the backyard today and saw the jones’ kids playing in the snow, so i asked them what they were doing.
“playing in the snow,” they said.
of course. what else do you do on a snow day?
anyways, today i shaved which i hadn’t done in almost two weeks.
then i read some of tom wright’s ‘simply christian.’ every time i read some of this book i get really excited. it’s kind of weird really. chapter six is all about israel.
“it is fundamental to the christian worldview in its truest form that what happened in Jesus of Nazareth was the very climax of the long story of Israel. trying to understand Jesus without understanding what that story was, how it worked, and what it meant is like trying to understand why someone is hitting a ball with a stick without knowing what baseball, or indeed cricket, is all about,” (wright, 71).
and so, with that, i’ve decided to read through the old testament. not as if i’m reading a history textbook (for that would be rather boring), but as if i’m reading a story (an exciting one at that, like ‘james and the giant peach’, or like ‘matilda’), a true one at that, and one that reveals God.
i’ll let you know how it goes, or rather, how far i make it.
a couple of days ago i was cleaning out some stuff in my office and i came across a piece of paper from about a year ago. it had scribbled writing on it and was from a meeting i had with a friend. during our hour or so together he was trying to help me figure out what i wanted to accomplish in the youth ministry that i’m a part of. here are some of the things that i had wanted to see happen:
ultimately, i want the youth and the people we come in contact with to experience God. church kid’s have loads of knowledge about God. they have it coming out the ying-yang. i mean, come on, they were raised memorizing scripture and doing sword drills and spending time in sunday school. they know lot’s about God. yet many still don’t know God. they haven’t yet experienced God. i want this to happen.
i want to see unity amongst the group. i want to see real relationships develop amongst people, not just superficial ones. which leads me to the next point…
i want to see acceptance of others. acceptance of the new, the hurt, the broken, the different. i want people to feel like this is a place where they can come and be accepted despite their shortcomings, because God accepts us. i want people to feel safe enough to stop pretending like they’ve got it all together. i want people to feel safe enough to admit they are struggling and to know that they are accepted. because Jesus never turned an honest searcher away, no matter how stained they may have been. and it was in his acceptance of them, and them of him, that they are made clean.
i want to see holistic growth. growth in all area’s of their life as a result of experiencing God and being nurtured in community.
i want to see youth reaching out in love to others. i want to see servanthood with no agenda. i don’t want our church to serve the community just so they can add people to the pew, rather, i want to see them serve the community because they love the community. and because this is what Jesus has commanded us to do.
but ultimately, i think that none of this can truly happen until people experience God. i think that when we experience God, i mean REALLY experience and know him, this will lead us into unity. it will lead us into acceptance and growth. and it will lead us to go low in humility and serve the least of these.
which brings me to the question: can i make this happen? can i ‘make’ young people experience God?
how can i foster this kind of experience?
hey all. here is an interesting article from ‘wired’ magazine about an astronomer who is challenging the big bang theory. this stuff is kind of over my head but it’s interesting to think that scientists that are so sure of themselves could potentially have misinterpreted the data.
so i came across this website, quite by accident. what you do, is input your blog URL and it spits out the level of education needed to understand your blog. the following is what i saw when i entered my blog:
apparently anyone who can eat their own food can understand my blog. i’m pretty sure ‘elementary school’ is the lowest level, unless there’s a ‘comatose’ category that i’m unaware of.
i don’t know what the criteria are for upping your level, but from now on i will periodically throw in big, complicated, words in the hopes that i will climb the ranks to ‘genius’.
i wonder if Jesus had a blog, what his level would be. he talked about kids a lot, so maybe he’d have an ‘elementary school’ blog too. but then again, he told stories that no one really understood, so maybe he’d have a ‘genius’ blog.
…is that it’s often hard to understand or come to grips with if you demand to read it through the lens of your preconceptions and presuppositions. a couple of weeks ago i wrote about some scripture that i didn’t quite understand. well as it turns out, i’m challenged again by what paul writes in romans. romans 3:1-4a says the following:
“what advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? much in every way! first of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. what if some did not have faith? will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? not at all! let God be true, and every man a liar…”
it’s hard for me to understand God’s relationship with, and commitment to, his people Israel. some light was shed on my beliefs recently. i was, albeit unknowingly, of the ‘replacement theology’ variety. this theology has been influenced by the likes of justin martyr, origen and augustine. it basically says that God’s relationship with Christians superceeds His relationship with ethnic Jews. in other words, God’s people are now defined in spiritual terms rather than nationalistic terms. this always kind of made sense to me, until i started to read more of paul.
all of this sort of begs the question, if God made a covenant with Israel (ethnic Jews) can he break it?
in romans 3 paul mentions Jews who do not have faith (presumably in Jesus) and says that their lack of faith will not nullify God’s faithfulness.
so, because of God’s covenant with his people, he cannot show favourtism when it comes to his faithfulness (i.e. only showing faithfulness to those that are faithful). in this sense, God really is faithful even when we are faithless.
what are your thoughts here? does this kind of thinking lead towards universalism (God will save everyone)? if you’re like me, and you know what it’s like to be in church, then you were probably taught to think that you can only be saved if you have faith in Jesus. but maybe, in a sense, it’s harder to understand than that.
there is mystery in God.
this past thursday evening i got a chance to see the weakerthans live for the first time. my friend jevan called me up about 2 months ago saying that he had an extra ticket, so, i got to take in the catchy, melodic sounds of one of canada’s finest bands with jevan and the man know as kyle vance (of vance refrigeration).
friday to sunday was our youth retreat up at camp medeba. we teamed up with dave and the hillside bible chapel youth for this one. our theme for the weekend was one (one way, people, life, voice). as well, joel and carrie, will and sarah, and alex came up to join with us in music! all in all it was a great weekend. one of my favourite things was seeing everyone bond together and establish new friendships. such an awesome time together.
last night (sunday) extreme makeover home edition built a brand new house for a family of 6 in camden, new jersey. the family consisted of a single father and 5 young men between the ages of 14-19. what was significant about this program for me was that urban promise was involved in it. back in may 2003 i visited urban promise camden for a week and served in the very area where the program was filmed. in fact, urban promise donated some office space for the extreme makeover crew to renovate for the fathers support group he started (single fathers of camden), and the office space which they donated happened to be the exact room which i slept in with a couple of other guys back in 2003. it was pretty cool to see extreme makeover doing that in camden!
this morning i was able to sleep in and get some much needed rest after a great but draining weekend and Christina did the same so we were able to spend some time together which was great!
whelp, i’m putting together a video from the weekend so i’ll put it up when it’s finished.