One Little Word

What a difference a word can make. In. Take these two statements as an example.

"I believe in God."

"I believe God."

How about you. Do you simply believe in God, or do you believe him? There's a world of a difference. Don't you think? I should point out that I am thinking of the phrase "believe in" in the typical American English sort of connotation that people use when they say, "Oh yeah, I believe in God." Not the true essence of the phrase "believe in", which would probably be better stated as, "Oh yeah, I am staking my life on God." So what does it mean for you and for me to actually believe God? God has made a lot of statements. His Word is filled with his promises and his truth. In fact, his Word (logos) became flesh and blood and lived here on the earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and he made a heckuva statement about God's views on life, statements that literally turned the Jews world upside down. Love your enemies...what?! Do we believe him when he says that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that no one comes to the Father except through him? Do we believe him that he will love us with an everlasting love, a love that we cannot be separated from? Do we believe him that when we seek, we will find him?

Just some food for thought today.

Into the World

Here's a guy who's doing something right.

Damian Williams had a vision for what it means to be the church in an urban setting and today that vision has spawned the Steel City Church in Pittsburgh, PA. See http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06256/721297-51.stm for more about how this unique urban church is trying to live as followers of Jesus Christ in a very real way, right where they should be: where hurts, pain, emptiness and needs are, right on the main Strip of downtown Pittsburgh.

Here are a few thoughts that I grabbed out of the article that really spoke to me about how he envisions what it means to be the church--to live out the gospel.

"If the sermon's about loving one's neighbor as oneself, we might ask 'What does that look like?' 'How am I living that I can make that happen?' "

"The real church is what we do through the week."

"We want to build a community in which none of us can do it on our own."

"[Damian] spent the day after the church debut sitting in Market Square with people who smell bad, who ask for handouts, who sell drugs and sex -- people he said a traditional church would consider 'the unwanted harvest.' "

Jesus did not call us to withdraw from the world, but to be a light in the world. Light shines brightly in the darkness. So, one of the reasons this article really jumped out at me is because I love seeing men and women who are seeking to truly go into the world and be bearers of Christ's love and truth, evidences of His coming kingdom, when all will be restored to the way things should be.

"I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one...As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." -Jesus

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." -Jesus

-------------------------

Here's the Steel City Church website if you are curious about more http://www.steelcitychurch.com/who_mission.aspx

Too Good to Pass Up

Even though I link to JR's blog, I wanted to specifically point you to his post, Who Touched Jesus?, from a couple days ago. It was too good to pass up sharing with you.

Inspire Me

Three little critters. Snapped this one on Labor Day.

Derek Webb is Cool.

Well, I always knew I liked this guy. Derek Webb is giving away his latest album, Mockingbird, for free. Yes free. For download at least. Go to freederekwebb.com and be amazed.

Testing the Message

Either to my detriment or to my benefit (depending on whether you think it would be good or bad for me to watch TV and movies desensitized to the messages being given), I've noticed that over the past several months I've been watching the tube a bit more closely. Not more frequently. Definitely not that. Just more closely. To see what messages are really being given.

This morning, while doing some stretching after a short bike ride, I turned on Today, clearly the best morning show even w/o Katie. A minute in, the commercials started, this one for Botox Cosmetics:

"I did it just for me."

"It's time. I've waited long enough."

After the commercials, the first segment investigated a woman's midlife crisis and its difference from the traditional man's midlife crisis (does this happen all over the world or just in the West?). They called it an awakening for women as opposed to a midlife crisis for men, because they do more introspection through the process or something like that. Matt was interviewing some "expert" on midlife crises:

"It's a good time in your life to allow for spiritual growth."

So, what do you think? Do these message affect us? Do we test them?