Friday, November 30, 2007

A Parable (The Gold Standard)

Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." this quote is extremely important to understand in these crucial times of our Western Culture. As the dollar is hemorrhaging, the market is dwindling, banking and housing industry bail outs are demanding, international entanglements are never-ending, and the threat of nuclear terrorism is ever looming; the responsibility for the future lies not in the hands of the presidency, the legislature, central bankers, industry leaders, or even our enemies; the future of freedom lies on the citizenry of the free.

This is not however a parable about that obligation. This is a story that must be told to the true citizenry of the free. Those citizen's of the Kingdom of God whose freedom has been muddled by their acceptance... Well, we'll get to that in a moment.

The Gold Standard:

The great king had a kingdom of wealth. The wealth of this kingdom was beyond the measure of other kingdoms. His store rooms were abounding with silver, gold, platinum, palladium, and numerous precious stones. The farthest corners in the vaults of His royal treasury had never been seen. The power, majesty and wealth of his kingdom were so inspiring that the love, joy, and peace of his people had become conjoined as the very specie of his kingdom. His kingdom's vast and endless resources, he had given to his citizenry to share as coheirs with him.

As the kingdom prospered, so did those who served as vassals to the great king. Their own dominions seemed to be filled with immeasurable wealth. The kings of the foreign nations marveled at the both the wealth and the joy of the citizenry of the king's feudal lords. The king's of the of nations inquired of their peers from the Great Kingdom into the successes of their provinces. Being honest votaries of their Lord, the vassal kings homaged their King for his power, wealth, and might.

Shortly however, after only a few generations the protégés became complacent in the pursuance of their duties and succumbed to entitlement of the power and their wealth. When the sons of the other kingdoms sought their insight to the majesty of their domain, they forsook the Great King and railed on about their own work and wisdom.

Shortly thereafter, when only a few generations had passed the once mighty kingdoms of the Great King had begun to deteriorate. Their fame of power, majesty, and wealth still lingered. Reports of love, joy, and peace were merely from the memories of the elderly and the legends preserved for bedtime stories. It seemed as though the Great King had forgotten his kingdom left to decay and atrophy. No longer did the foreign sons seek these leaders, instead these leaders sought out alliances with their neighboring peers. Promises of unified kingdoms, shared resources, and mutual benefit enticed the senses of both sides. The servants of the Great King, parceled his territories to the realms of other powers.

Shortly in time, where only a few generations had passed the regions of the Great Kingdom sat mostly ignored, populated by a faint miserable few who had not moved on. The land bore no crops, the waters polluted, the limited resources being rationed out to maintain the infrastructure. The great kingdom seemed a wasteland of emigration, barren from any sort of immigration other than transients and nomads hoping to find even a remnant of the legendary love, joy, and peace. The kingdom had become devoid of wealth, citizenry, and power.

Shortly a new idea emerged, after only a few generations leaders saw need to develop a new fiat currency for the nearly abandoned territories. Armed with their own desires to use the old kingdoms to build their own fortunes the old men forged a new empire with the vestiges of the old kingdom. Being devoid of the source of wealth that personified the old regime it was replaced with a system that unified and celebrated the individual accomplishments of it's citizens. Rules for success were codified and ratified. The leaders attracted strong, powerful, youthful orators to preach the merits of this new currency. Filled with the appearances of the old wealth Immigration once again filled the farms, cities, nooks, and crannies of the Great Kingdom.

Shortly after the initial boom, when only a few generations had passed, the new kings had built rebuilt the old lands. Superstructures towering to the heavens in name of progress, universities bearing the names of the leaders aged and laid to rest, institutions to promote the personal pursuit of all the kingdoms promised, these accomplished defined the kingdom as the sprawled across the provinces. Progress was the pulse of the new kingdom. However, inside the citizen's were tired and weighted. The towers, school, and programs were impressive to these exhausted, over taxed, over worked serfs. To the outsider the appearance of the Great Kingdom had been restored. To those laden with the mirage inside, the stress and fatigue were depressing and deadly. Though deeply entrenched in the system, most citizens had only burden and poverty. The image of the promise entrapped them to live enslaved to a dream, they could never attain. The freedom their kingdom illuminated was a special effect created by the classic obfuscation of smoke and mirrors.

Shortly in the midst of the wars, after the feuding and fighting of only a few generations had passed, the rouse was up. The inflation of the promise of the kingdom had made attainment an impossible labyrinth of disappointment. Victories had become more about a celebration of conquest against each other, than attainment of the promises. The new kingdom, with her new laws, her estranged entanglements with the foreign kings, and her paper currencies held relationship to the Great Kingdom in name only. It was at that time, as it had been in each time before, that some lost, broken, exhausted, stressed, depressed, lonely members of these feudal lords, became dispossessed and nomadic.

As the pilgrims journeyed forward toward the promise of love, joy, and peace they discovered their new world. The journey forward became easier, their loads became lighter, their dreams seemed more real. As a few individuals in each generation wrestled off the shackles of the systems and promises of their captors they traveled at great cost with greater vigilance toward the wealth, the peace, love, and joy; the moved in as citizens of freedom in the Land of the Great King. He ruled on his throne with his resources always giving them as coheirs to those who sought only Him as their king.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Davenport Youth Rally

The family and I traveled to Davenport Iowa this weekend to speak at the youth rally hosted by my old college friend Chris Merches. His event had about 50 kids and I spoke 3 times. That was twice on Saturday and then Sunday morning service.

The theme of the event was "More Than Meets the Eye" with Romans 12:2 as the theme verse.

I have included the outlines and audio of all three talks below.

Transformers 1From Exile to A Kingdom OutlineAudio
Transformers 2Do Not ConformOutline Audio
Transformers 3Sanctifying Grace Outline Audio
I did need to remark on talk 2, that the introduction was pilfered with permission from Mark Moore, with the conclusion adapted from his same message.

Additionally, I am so thankful for the organizations mentioned as making a difference in the poverty of this world. I would recommend the work of Mission Lazarus and also Children's Hope Chest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Intresting Quote from a Skeptic

I stumbled across this quote on a Google search gone bad.

Ah, I love this bit. NOG, you just brought up what believers everywhere love to bring up, the shady supreme being who might have started it all. Since it is impossible (as you point out) to completely reject this idea then of course the bible and everything therein must be completely true and Jesus died for our sins. Am I the only one who notices the rather big gap between the possibility of a supreme being who put the universe in motion and that same being speaking to one dude in one small tribe, on one tiny planet in one ittsy bittsy solarsystem in one insignificant galaxy about how the supreme being wanted this tribe to live their exceedingly short lives and said race would exist for the tiniest moment of the history of the universe (same with our planet and our solar system, compared to the grand scheme the possible supreme being has devised the existance of oru solarsystem is less than what a millisecond would be for us). Is this what believers mean with a leap of faith? Geez, that is one huge leap. - joacqin

The beauty of faith is that IT IS ONE BIG LEAP. The beauty of the faith lifestyle, is that leap changes everything. I do not get mediocrity in relationship with God. The skeptic answers the question of total commitment to the Christ follower. As I have stated many times before, I don't like apologetics. I instead think we should invest in radically living out the lifestyle of Jesus in the world. Only when our reality is radically altered by the "faith" we claim, will the validity of that claim make any sense to outsiders, and more to the point, even to ourselves.

This is well illustrated by the modern apologists C.S. Lewis own admission in Mere Christianity.

We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away? - C.S. Lewis

Our Lifestyle must be vitally altered by our primary allegiance to this chasmic vault otherwise the claim of faith is merely a passing fancy in intellectual puffery. The constant reminder of our faith story is our participation in self sacrifice and righteousness. These habits are the fruit of holiness, and only they will stand as reasonable proof to this faith.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Love Is Dangerous

I was listening to one of my favorite sermons again yesterday. It inspired me to create this shirt.

If I get 8 - 10 people who want it, I am going to do a print run, so comment to me. The cost will be $12 each and proceeds will go to Sevens.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

ENFP - Logical Interpersonal

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Convergence: What? (1 of 4)

Convergence is a technology buzzword that is thrown around regularly by marketing executives and yet seems to have no real meaning to most people other than that it sounds techie. Simply put, convergence is the uniting of two disparate technologies to automate, simplify, enhance or otherwise improve another task. Social Networking is an example of true convergence. The designers of these sites have united messaging and browsing to simplify and enhance the task of relationship maintenance. The goal of current technological innovation is to create convergence.

As I think about holiness and the separate disciplines it demands I relate this call to a sort of spiritual convergence. Christ called his followers to a path that demanded bridging two disparate religious pursuits to form a convergence he referred to as holiness.

In my life I have been taught by those who claim righteousness as the sole duty of the Christian. I had teachers who proudly recited the adage, “I don't drink, smoke, or chew and don't associate with those who do,” as an actual badge of honor earned through the tireless work of their own righteousness. Righteousness when placed as the spiritual center point results in the burden of insecurity and judgment. It's penalty is a teeter totter effect between self righteousness and self condemnation. The toll of this form of religion is a self obsessive,consumerist spirituality looking for the next quick fix. The adherents of “righteous religion” become crack heads to their appetite for a spiritual high that makes their righteousness feel safe.

Charity is a deceptive idol of false religion also. The obsession with serving others absent of relationship with God is a hollow exercise as well. It overwhelms the participant and leads to depression and despair. The charitable life absent of Godly motivation becomes a spur of bitterness to the participant. Eventually the “Christian Philanthropist” gives up cold and bitter that their passion was not shared and participated in by their peers. Eventually, they wander far away from the cold reality of their failure.

I have seen the righteous have no time and no place for servanthood. I have seen the charitable celebrate licentiousness in the name of freedom. The two ideas are not competing religious paths, instead they are disciplines that when mastered together are the lifestyle convergence that Christ called his followers to adhere to.

The convergence of righteousness and charity will both simplify and enhance the Christian's life. The abundant life promised by Christ to his followers is fully realized when this true holiness is lived out in our daily routine. The convergence that brings true joy to our life is this call to holiness.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

US Military Phasers Stuck In Stun Mode

After years of research the "Active Denial System" or Pain-Ray a non-lethal military weapon is not all that impressive. It seems it fails under inclement weather! So sorry Trekies of the world, we are still a few more years out on the succeful launch of a phaser!