In our culture it is popular to try to make up your own religion. To take bits and pieces from this and that. Or to say that "all roads lead to God." Never mind that the different religions all have differing views of who God is which are not similar to each other. Never mind that it does not line up for God to be both multiple gods (as Hinduism teaches) and one God (as Christianity, Islam, and Jewism say) at the same moment. Then you have the "spiritual but not religious movement". That you choose what you want and faithfulness to a group is meaningless.
I am a big Dr. Who fan. I don't consider myself a Whovian because I haven't seen much of the older Dr. Who stuff, but I do enjoy the show.
In a recent episode titled "A Town Called Mercy" a character said the following (might be spoilers):
“In my culture, we believe that when you die, your spirit has to climb a mountain carrying the souls of everyone you wronged in your lifetime. Imagine the weight I will have to lift. The monsters I created, the people they killed. Isaac. He was my friend. Now his soul will be in my arms, too. Can you see now why I fear death? You want to hand me over, there’s no shame in that. But you won’t. We all carry our prisons with us. Mine is my past. Yours is your morality.”
The Doctor's then says he knows what Kahler-Jex is doing. He is trying to make up for his past with his present. "You don't get to choose when or how you pay your debts. Justice doesn't work like that."
What did Jesus say? "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6).
Mohammed (founder of Islam) said this:
"I am not the first of the messengers, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner." (al-Ahqaf 46:9)
Notice how sure Jesus is and how unsure Mohammed was?
Jesus told the guy on the cross next to Him "Today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43).
I have found hope and truth in Jesus. He walks with me and helps me. Life is not easy, especially following Jesus. Is your way really working?
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast."
"All roads lead to God" doesn't work because life with God isn't about me or you. It is about GOD. HIS WAYS. If you were convicted of a crime, the judge would never let you choose your own punishment. Why would the Ultimate Judge let us choose our own pusnishment?
Solitude is pretty important. During the last few days as I've been weeding regularly, it has given me thinking time. I have also been trying to get myself to have more of my late night time be less filled with television or the internet and more filled with time to think or read my Bible before going to bed. That doesn't happen every night, but I'm making it a more regular thing now.
Jesus went out on His own regularly. He spent full nights praying in solitary places or would get up early to go be alone. I wonder if we should get better at the Sabbath, or Sunday Observance if you prefer to call it that, having solitude as part of it.
My church used to have 3 service venues...one with rock and roll, one with a mixture of modern and traditional things, and one in the evening that was more quiet. The music was modern but acoustic and we included time in the service to connect with each other and talk about life or the sermon. The service that impacted me the most wasn't the rock n roll service, even though I enjoyed the roll of the lighting guy and doing fun things with moving lights. The service that impacted me the most was the evening service where I could connect with people better. I have a hard time mingling and so the organized opportunities to connect helped me a lot.
In this modern, western culture we tend to put a high value on a high speed of life. I wonder if this is really working out for us as well as we think it is. Time will tell. Maybe one day we'll look back at all this and feel like idiots for not doing more with solitude and connection.
Sorry it has been so long. I realize that i left on a weird note (being in Slovakia and all). I did not have time during my discipleship school to commit to this, and after I got back (over 2 years ago) I simply didn't pick it back up again.
I can't believe how long it has been!
I will give some details of the last 2 years later, but for now, my current thoughts.
I was reading in Galatians tonight. Galatians 5:16-6:10. Paul was talking about the difference between the life "by the Spirit" and life with the flesh. Some parts of this are hard to read because you have to be reminded of your weaknesses, both the active things you do that should not, and the passive things you should do but don't.
I read this aloud 2 or 3 times. Just letting it soak in. One of the verses that stands out is Gal. 6:4. Paul challenges us to test our own actions. This is not always fun. Do you like looking at what you have done wrong? Nobody does. But, he does point us toward something good that comes from this. "then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else." In other words, you don't have to base your view of yourself on other people. We shouldn't compare ourselves to those around us because it keeps us from seeing the truth of where we are. It keeps us from seeing how poorly we are doing, because we tend to focus on how we are "better" than others during comparisons. But it also keeps us from seeing how well we are doing because we also tend to see things others are good at that we are not.
So which of these is more of a temptation for you? Do you think you are "better" than others by looking at their sins? Or do you condemn yourself by focusing on where someone is better at something than you? Unfortunately, I have done both.
Father, please help us to have a correct view of ourselves, instead of condemning or puffing ourselves. In Jesus Name, Amen.
|This last couple of weeks have been interesting. |
We started our school by talking about the differences between catholics and protestants, about worship, and have been talking about intercession, listening to God, self image, etc.
I am one of 2 Americans in the group; we also have 2 Dutch girls, a Czech married couple, a Slovak girl, and then our staff consists of one American, a Slovak family, 2 Slovak girls, and a Dutch man.
Within this we have a mixture of protestant and catholic backgrounds, some including a mixture of both. This particular group includes a lot of charismatic focus/influence. The ideas/focus of the Charismatic Movement are not new to me, but being surrounded by it is new to me.
Thursday we are doing our first local outreach: a childrens program at a Gyspie settlement. We pretty much will just show up, use some songs and a story to get attention, play some games with the kids, and then be available for the families.
It is hard to explain the kind of growth/learning I am going through, but I think things will be more clear later on.
|Greetings from Slovakia!|
It was just beginning to be light as we took a shuttle from a terminal to a plane in Frankfort Airport, in Germany. We went past a huge hanger and a huge shipping center. The bus driver missed a turn (which I did not immediately know). This led us toward a cargo plane. That didn't seem right. I wondered if we were being kidnapped, but we weren't. Then someone's phone went off. It was the same ringtone as the one used in "Jurassic Park 3". I started looking for dinosaurs to attack me, especially Big Red. Next, someone whistled a short tune some of you would recognize as "Go, Go Power Rangers!". So brilliantly colored costumed do-gooders are gonna fight the dinosaurs off and keep us from being kidnapped? It was quite a shuttle ride.
Then, after landing in Vienna, I took a bus to Bratislava, but got an earlier one than I thought. This led to me being in Bratislava earlier than expected. So, I waited. And waited. And got contsantly asked to buy jewelry, and waited. The out of comfort zone thing was strong at this point. Finally, someone found me, showed me to the information booth, and then walked me to the bus to Banska Bystrica, where I now am. I waited for a while in Banksa Bystrica bus depot, found an information booth and called the home of my friend Steve Kilbry (full time missionary with YWAM here in Slovakia). A few minutes later he arrived to pick me up and take me to my new temporary home.
This weekend is the city festival here in Banska Bystrica. Food vendors and a stage with great lighting tech in the main square (short walk from our place), and carnival rides in at least 3 other locations here. Me thinks this is a good weekend to be beginning my time in Slovakia!