White

Every now and then people come into our office at the church that need help. Today, I got to put $5 of gas into a couple’s vehicle. They seemed on the level and tried to set up a way to pay us back, which we refused, of course.

Then I went out to their vehicle -I accopmanied them accross the street to the local gas station to put the gas into their car. On the back of their car are stickers about a particular viewpoint on the world that I tend to disagree with. You’d think that’d be a whatever for me, but it was one that came a little close to home for me.

I decided Jesus probably does love people who live hate-filled lifestyles and I decided to allow myself to be used in that way. I spoke with them, they asked about our Christmas eve service – I invited them to come with their kids and tried to give them to opportunity to start having a friendship with me…

We can only imagine the peace that Jesus could give these people…May He do what only He can…

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Christmas is all aout RECEIVING

I am posting this in its entirety because it is awesome. It runs against the cliche with the sandpaper of truth…you can click the title link to see it in its original blog.

Christmas is all about receiving !

Christmas is all about giving!!
The lord loves a cheerful giver!!
Giving is better then receiving – or so they say
But what about being a good receiver…
It seems to me that receiving is much harder
And when we think about it isn’t receiving what Christmas is actually all about
Giving is relatively easy – it may challenge our selfishness or priorities
But giving doesn’t expose our needs

I don’t like surprises, why? Because I’m not in control..
What if I get something I didn’t like or want – what do I say?
Do I lie and say how much I like it, do I have to be grateful?
Knowing that I will either give it to someone else or give it to a charity shop.
Have you ever received a Christmas gift from someone you hadn’t expected one from?
What do you do? Do you feel guilty and rush out and buy them a token gift?
What happens if that gift is perfect, something you really appreciate and yet you had no idea that you would like it.

Mary was open to receiving an unexpected gift,
She welcomed and wondered at the gift given and created space within her to receive it.
This unexpected gift radically changed her life
She ultimately gave over her whole world to this gift.

Giving can make us feel powerful, competent, self-sufficient and capable sort of people, giving doesn’t expose our needs.
Learning the art of receiving calls us to intimacy, honesty, openness and evaluation.
To receive the love of another, calls me to intimacy, I have to expose something of my inner world, of who I am. To receive another’s love I have to allow my innermost self to be touched.
To receive I have to open my hands, ( I love the Eucharist in this sense, this childlike openness to receive the body and blood).
Inner growth comes from opening ourselves up to receive from others
Christmas is about receiving the love that Jesus offers to us.
To be loved means that I must bring myself with all my insecurities, pain and needs to be embraced by another.

To be on the receiving end of love requires that we see our lives not as our possessions, but as gifts. Emptiness is a gift, to have enough room, to not be too full. To be needy, poor, weak, can be a gift.
Ultimately the gospel is about receiving a precious unbelievable gift, the gift of God being born in us.
When Mary offered space, love and belief in her life, her life changed forever.
Learning the art of receiving is a powerful call to change.
In receiving I need to welcome the other
In receiving I need to make room and space to accept that which I frequently fail to realise I need.
In receiving – I change.

I do believe this will be used on Wednesday’s Driven

Top 10 Bible Moments

with props to Json – here’s my top ten wish I was there bible moments…

10. The Great Flood – except I want to be in Georgia when this happens. Then I would know if it was really the whole world or just the whole world.

9. In prison with Paul – just to hang out and talk and pray together.

8. David and Goliath – for two parts, really – I want to know what posesses a jr. high age boy to hack off someone’s head and then I want to chase down the Philistines and play braveheart with them.

7. In the Garden – with Adam and Eve. What was that like?

6. The Parting of the Red Sea – I wonder if there were like walls of water on either side, or if the water just tidal’d away? If there were walls, then I wonder if any fish were just swimming along and just flew out?

5. Genesis 1:3,4 – What was light and dark like before god separated them?

4. Acts 5 – Annanias and Saphira – are people like giving hand signals and stuff to Saphira? no, no, no…don’t say that!!

3. At Jesus’ tomb – what did the resurection looks like? Was it bright and stuff?

2. Peter walks on the water…why did no one else get out? Would I get out?

1. At the writing of Hebrews. I want to know who she was…

what’s yours?

Dancing

Let’s get together and get rid of the metaphor of a Christian walk. Walking is boring.

Let’s make it a dance. Instead of asking people how their walk is going, we can ask how they are dancing? Can they feel the beat? Is the music moving them? What music are they listening too.

Why you ask? Two reasons:

1. I hate the way the word walk feels in my mouth (and group, pants, and shoulder too! ); it is just a yucky feeling word.

2. It’s biblical. Luke 1, Psalm 150, I Thessalonians 4 – it’s my teaching for tonight at Driven. We are going to have a dance. I know – it’s crazy…

So – what do you say? Want to join the Dancing Revolution?

Rain

A rain has settled in today. Here in Oregon there’s either on and off again rain or there’s rain that has settled in. When it settles in it means we are getting 10 plus days straight of rain. Hopefully it won’t rain the entire time the rents are here – yep – the rents are coming for Christmas, it’s very exciting around our house because Christmas is only 20 chocolates away and Gramma Grandpa Jim are coming even sooner!

I did the Jesus Freakend this past Friday night. Great time. The 9th graders get an assignment to find Jesus in the mall – it’s nearly impossible. Cara is on the upper level of the mall and sees me on the lower level and, excited because of her finding of Jesus, leans over the rail and yells, “JAMES! I FOUND JESUS!” She has no idea that all sorts of people are now looking at her and at me as if we are crazy…just one more reason why I love high schoolers – they don’t care if you think they are crazy! Great weekend overall – fantastic first urban exposure for new high schoolers…we’ll be looking for them to join God’s mission very well over the next few years….

NYWC – DAY 3 – SATURDAY

So, recapping these events is taking me forever, but I will continue for posterity sake…when I’m all done, I put links up to conflagarate things.

10am – we rolled out for the 10am general session…missed the early 8 am seminars…too bad…then we noticed the speaker was Matthew Barnett from something called the Dream Center – this was not enough motivation to keep us away from Downtown disney

11am-2pm – Downtown Disney – my kind of dream center.

2-4:30pm – Afternoon Seminars. The first one I attended was MarkO‘s “Leading Change” It was nice and helpful with some key ideas for me to apply.

  • He took some stuff from Collins’ Good to Great on Level 5 leadership and reconciled it with a gospel understanding.
  • he then talked about how most youth-pastors are classic self-promoters, which keeps them from level 5 leadership. This is mainly because youth pastors are always playing the martyr (see my notes on the late night future of youth ministry forum…)
  • had a great quote towards the middle:

Find the best person you can find and hire her/him; unless s/he’s a jerk, then hire the second best person. Because life’s too short too work with jerks.

About half way through I jetted (there were no more blanks, and the rest was referenced to books that I can pick up) and went over to the Marriot and picked up some starbucks and brought some too Heather. I got frustrated with the stupid Hilton lobby’s lack of cell phone service and the absolutely ridiculous elevators. I learned the hotel’s stair system.

We all went to disney again for dinner with everyone in our larger group – it didn’t work as well in practice as in theory. Good to touch base though. Heather and Lacy bailed early to get to the rock show, and shortly thereafter the boys did too.

7:30-10pm – Front row for Crowder again – is Jeremy losing his sanctification by getting us these seats? One of the opening singers was Shaun Groves who is no longer with a label and so said he would email whoever wanted his album for free. I love that Christian musicians are acting more and more like givers instead of celebrities!! Then there was comedy and then, I think it was tonight, there was an illusionist and Lacy got up on stage as his volunteer. She was shaking, there’s video!! I need to post in the you tube – right as soon as I feel like it. the Speaker was Mike Pilvachi – last time I heard him I was 7,000 people back – it’s amazing what proximity can do. His talk was personally the best for me – I really heartly appreciated him and his communication with us.

10-11pm – Late Night Theology Forum with Tony Jones – I said hi to Brock Morgan on my way up to this one, he taught Aaron, Lacy and I at the Core a while back. The talk was nice because it was YP’s talking theology with published authors in the room and professors at Princeton and students at Princeton there also. It ended up focused on prayer though, which I thought was an unusal choice…but the important thing is that a theological discussion is going on at a youth ministry convention – moving our vocation in a healthy direction. Also – I noticed there were basically two kinds of theological discussers: those who try to pin you to the wall and those to try to move forward with you…I hope to be the latter, I’ll have to watch for that in me.

11:45 – picked up our pizza in the lobby and had a little pizza, pop and heartburn party in our room with the whole sacc gang. Went to bed around 2 am.