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November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

Second blog post I'll have written tonight - it is a good night! But, with all that being said, today is Thanksgiving and I want to sit back and reflect and give thanks. I want to look back on the past year and my life and be able to give thanks to God and establish some "Missional Monuments" (cheap plug coming. see my other blog to know what I mean. haha :p ) to point people to Jesus. So, I'm just gonna start and see how I do...

Before I go into my process I need to start off with this. I'm not going to be "thankful" for Jesus. Why? Because, I'm not called to be "thankful" for Jesus. I'm called to give my life to Jesus. I'm called to pick up my cross and follow the way of Jesus. I'm called to live my life in the same way that Jesus lived his incarnational life. Honestly, me being thankful for Jesus is mere peanuts compared to what He has called me to do for Him. With that being said though, I'm humbled, encouraged, motivated, and exceedingly grateful that my God chose to humble Himself, live as a man and incarnate Himself all because He loves me despite the fact that I'm not worthy of being loved. Despite the fact that I have no business serving Him, or being a part of His kingdom, because I'm a sinner the size of Texas, the size of the great wall of China. I could never do anything to earn my ticket to heaven or earn my right to carry my cross - but Jesus, despite knowing all of what I just mentioned, ushered way too much grace on me. In fact, not only did he "punch" my "ticket" to heaven. He also, gave me the Holy Spirit - which is all about allowing me to carry my cross and help other encounter Jesus by bringing the kingdom to earth one little bit at a time. So, for that I'm thankful and all things that I'm thankful fall under this overarching theme. Hope that helps.

1) Family: I have no idea where I'd be without them right now. We are a tight group and have learned what it means to say that blood is thicker then water. This year, along with the past 4 have been some increasingly hard ones - but yet, Jesus keeps showing up and I don't know if we have ever been as close or as fulfilled as we are now. Jesus is good.
A) Mom and Dad: Thanks for allowing me to live under your roof, save some money, and not be even more in debt while I go to college and devote my life and time to ministry on campus and in the local church. You rule. Dad, also, thank you for being the biggest mentor and teacher in my life. There's something Biblical about that and it just feels good! Mom, thanks for always being there to share stories and facts with me, helping me keep my brain sharp. Thank you for always having the ability to be willing to explore whatever journey God is taking me down, even though you may be a few steps behind me I know you always support me!
B) Brother: We've seen quite a bit together. And here, 5 years later we are both alive. Jesus is good. Even, if we both might not be at 100% right now. He saved our lives so what is a little physical pain gonna do to us?
C) Sister: I can't believe we used to hate each other. What a sad time that must have been. Now all I know is that you are one of my best friends and closest confidants. I know things might not always go according to plan or how we hope for it to go, but yet, somehow, we are there to keep each other calm and sane and will always fearlessly support and push each other to the limits know by man. We make a good team.

2) My brotherhood: It would take far too long to name you all and why I'm so grateful for each and everyone of you. But, just know, that I get to live life with some great men who love Jesus and are constantly reaching for a little bit more of the Kingdom. I'm glad we get to refine each other as "Iron sharpens Iron"... We've been through a lot, and sure that there is even more to come.

3) My community: Living life in community is the only way possible. I'm so excited for how God is placing community in my life. After the horrid ending, where I thought I was done with the local church, God stepped up in big ways and placed me inside the community that is known as RockHarbor. It feels like I've been here all my life. And, I love that the deeper I go, the more it feels like home. Thus, by doing that it has placed in my life and community some pretty great people to do life with and have at my side. Thanks.

4) My Mentors: There are several men that God has placed in my life who have a prominent role in my life to shape and mold my life and character. I'm so thankful for these, wise older men who are farther along on the journey then myself. Some of them I've known for longer then others, but everyone is extremely valued. I'm excited to see how God uses you in the coming year to shape my life and character and to get the chance to use all that you've taught me to pass down to someone else.

5) Middle School Ministry: I know I'm there to teach them and help them encounter Jesus, but these students are constantly teaching me and reminding me that my relationship with God is not some formulas or theology or list of facts - but a living, breathing relationships that is not predicated by age. It has been amazing to get the chance to be able to speak into their lives and I look forward to seeing them continue to Encounter Jesus. On top of that, I'm thankful for the other leaders inside this ministry who battle for these students with the same passion and zeal that I do. It is so encouraging to know that it is not my sole responsibility for thse students. You guys and gals rule!

6) CSUF: The past 2 years here have taught me so much about myself and my unique calling. Without these two years and the friendships I've made here, I don't know where I would be. Its also funny, because these two years have taught me the importance of living life open handed and how to hold your life loosely.

7) Orange County: Yeah, I'm thankful for the epitome of consumerism and the American Dream. Not because I like it, but because it is a constant reminder of how much work there still is to be completed here. This county needs Jesus and I'm so grateful to have been born here and spend my time here doing ministry to people who do not think they need Jesus. Sure, its tough soil, but I wouldn't choose anything else.

8) Fullerton: I love you. I want to move inside your city walls. I want to live missionally in your city 24/7/365. Can you help make that possible?

9) RockHarbor: Thanks for giving me hope again in the local church. You have no idea how much I needed you.

10) Relative Good Health: Sure, I might be a 22 year old with arthritis in every joint on my body - but I'm alive and my left ACL is healed. Jesus is good and if he has saved my life once, then a little arthritis is a minor flesh wound compared to where I have been.

11) Singleness: The past 9 months have allowed me to sell myself out and devote myself to the Gospel and ministry. What a blessing that has been. Thank you for showing me that a relationship is about finding a gospel partner, and yes, I'm willing to wait as long as that takes to find one. I'm so thankful for how I've been able to encounter Jesus and learn more about my calling these past 9 months. It's just what a man needed.

12) Friends: While, I think brotherhood and community sums this up, I wanted to make sure no one was hurt. My friends rule. Sorry I'm so busy to be able to see you/talk to you more often. :(

13) Job: I have a job. Its a relatively good job. Good co-workers. Thanks so much!

That's it guys and gals! I might have more, but that's all i can think of - so I ask, what are you Thankful for? Let me know, I look forward to hearing it!

October 20, 2009

Sometimes I want to Go "HULK SMASH"

So, I was perusing the internet tonight and found an article on an insensitive, no grace, no loving, example of Jesus pastor who lashed out at Tom Brady and others for having sex outside of marriage - claiming because of that they were bound to Hell (http://backporch.fanhouse.com/2009/10/19/good-news-pats-haters-tom-brady-is-going-to-hell/?icid=main|aim|dl4|link5|http%3A%2F%2Fbackporch.fanhouse.com%2F2009%2F10%2F19%2Fgood-news-pats-haters-tom-brady-is-going-to-hell%2F).

So, I post this on Facebook and a bud of mine posts another link on Facebook from the same church holding a Bible burning night on Halloween. Here's the link: (http://amazinggracebaptistchurchkjv.com/Download99.html). Read it - it's classic. Not only are they burning any version of the Bible in English that is not the KJV but also books by heretics such as: Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Charles Swindoll, John Piper, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, Mark Driscoll, Mother Teresea, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, Brennan Manning, and my favorite "etc". So in other words, any pastor or church that does a better job then his is a heretic, therefore they all should be burned.

Oh, and books are not the only things to get burned. They are also burning music. The genres included are: country , rap , rock , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel , contemporary Christian , jazz, soul, oldies but goodies, and of course, again my favorite "etc". So, what can I listen to? Just say what you truly feel - all music is evil, or as they call it "Satan's music".

Oh, it get's better - THEY BACK THIS UP SCRIPTURALLY!!!!! "The Scriptural bases for what we are doing each year is found in Acts 19:18-20 'And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.'

Oh, and did you catch it - THEY DO IT EVERY YEAR!!!!!! This is a quality place for sure - and if you look at the link, you can see that its a hip place - just look at their "amazing" web page, I'm sure this attracts a lot of normal, missional, Jesus loving, not hateful, people and set's a great example to the world of what Jesus is all about... NOT!

This just makes me angry - why?!?!?!?!?!?! Why are there so many bad churches who do not live incarnationally like Jesus? If I'm every driving through North Carolina, I know a church that I won't be checking out. I better stop typing before I go "HULK SMASH" on my laptop...

P.S. On the plus side, they will be serving Fried Chicken... Maybe we should have a book burning of all their material?

October 19, 2009

The CA Budget Crisis - CSUF's Furlough Week!

So, the week has come - its week 9 of the semester. Mid terms have finished and we have hit furlough week. God Bless Budget Cut's in the CSU's. In fact, I'd take paying double for half the amount of classes to attend. But on to my point...

This week, i get the privilege of not having class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So I'm really going to take advantage of it. Here's how:

1) Hang with friends and just relax - take a sabbath rest.
2) Work, sadly even that doesn't go away, but its cash and it's mission so I'm cool with that - after all, I am an achiever according to stregnthfinders 2.o and I have to achieve things.
3) Intern at RH this week still, while doing my College Life Group and Middle School Life Group.
4) Most importantly I get time to read and pray, to listen and seek. So, on Tuesday before I intern I plan on just going to my favorite spot in the world - the beach to pray, study, reflect and listen to God. I'll probably even end my night there too after my MS Life Group. On Wednesday, before I work, I plan on exploring Fullerton - driving, praying, walking, studying and planning and learning about the great city of Fullerton. Thursday, before I work as well, I plan on finding a spot and just sitting there. Praying for the city. Praying for guidance, praying for wisdom, and seeking the Kingdom. I'm pretty stoked. I'm ready to see the kingdom invade and I'm ready for some quality Jesus time!

October 5, 2009

Detoxing

So it has been a while since my last post and I have a lot I need to blog about, but tonight, err, this morning I'm going to keep it short and simple.

Over the past several months, there have been two things becoming more and more crystallized in my mind as the Holy Spirit leads me and Jesus prepares me for ministry. Heck, these two things that I'm learning are actually one thing, or two sides of the same coin.

Here is the first one: All of life must be living out the Gospel.
That is a big statement, I know. What does that mean? It means that Jesus came to establish a people that were to be about the business of the Father (just like Jesus was), aka, establish His Kingdom on earth. It means that in all we do in our lives, we must be embodying the gospel - not just to those who do not know Jesus - but to those who do know Jesus. Our lives must be gospel led, gospel business, kingdom lives.

Point two which ties directly into this, is that we must live these gospel lives in community. Why? Because God lives in community as the Trinity present in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Not only that, God has always been about creating a people. First through Adam, then Noah, then Abraham, then the Isrealites and now the Church (with the capital C, not the lower case c). He's always about blessing a people to be a blessing to the world. In our world today that is the Church.

But in this gospel life lived in community it is an enormus task with lots of variables from scenario to scenario - the common linkage is that we are supposed to live life in such a way that as individuals participating in community we live such lives that the world demands an explanation, and the only explanation is the Gospel.

Jesus has been teaching me a lot about that recently. The Holy Spirit is growing that passion in me continually. Today, tonight, God gave me an oppurtunity to put this into practice. Before I share my story, I must preface it by saying that I'm not perfect at this. By no means. I fail, and fail a lot. This is one of the times I feel I have gotten it right.

Today, a brother of mine gave me a phone call. We help each other do life together and are developing a stronger bond all the time. He called, while I was in RH Student Ministries @ South County. Sent him a text and found out it was important. Snuck out and gave him a call. Where he shared with me the news that his girl friends dad had died on Thursday.

I'll admit, not the phone call I expected. Don't know what I was expecting, just not that. So we talk and find out the details, I'm heart broken, say goodbye and go back to the students. For the rest of the day it was hanging over me, I was broken and sad for two people I love. All I wanted to do was be with them, and grieve with them, and pray over them.

Then, the 9pm @ RockHarbor Central Campus begins. We sit through it and I realize that the response time is the ideal time to pray for him and her. So, after the message when response time hits - I pull him aside and ask him to come with me to the prayer room. Again, a note, I'm by no means perfect. But it is here, where I get to pray with him, pray over him, and lift him up. It is here, where community happened. Where life was done together, where it was all laid bare and made sure that for the sake of the Gospel whatever was needed from me he had as I'm there to keep him upright.

After that I asked if I could pray over them both. So he brought her in. It was sad, she's a beautiful, energetic woman who loves Jesus and I could feel and see the heaviness in her soul. I hug her and spend time grieving. It is after this that I look at them both, and do life, and live community of the Gospel out with them and share my heart, how I'm here for her, for him, for them. And then, prayed for these two amazing people who love Jesus and each other, that model a Godly relationship to the world, through the Gospel in their community.

The Gospel embodied in community. It hurts. Its tough. Its worth it. We just model ourselves after our perfect example, Jesus, till he returns and takes away things such as death. Remember, after all, even "Jesus wept".

September 6, 2009

Journeys from Living Life through Missional Eyes

This idea of living missionally is one that I discovered and began the journey of living out the mission about 5 years ago when I started college. Now, it may sound like I have it together and really know what I'm doing - but if there is anything that I've learned the past five years of being a young missional leader it is that I'm always continually learning what exactly it means to live on mission. Jesus is slowly, thankfully redeeming me and showing me what it means even more to live it out. He does it in two ways: 1) me asking Him to open my eyes and heart to His mission and to constantly put me on it and 2) by just wanting to put me on mission and He pulls me to it like a magnet, where it is not my choice but He just knows what I need to learn, see, hear, observe or be a part of to understand how to live it out just a little more at a time.

With all that being said, being missional, living missionally, learning what it means to be missional - it never takes a day off. It is a discipline that I'm trying to intentionally develop - so that means that I'm constantly learning things, being reminded of things, seeing things, and being broken for my county, my city, my campus to know Jesus.

On Friday night it happened again and I've been meditating on something and soaking it in. While prayer driving Fullerton after work, I discovered there were a lot of run down style motels that people live in from week to week because they can't afford anything else. This broke me and I want to see this redeemed by Jesus - but what it also did was teach me a missional insight and a view into Orange County culture as we know it.

See, as someone born and raised in the OC - when I travel somewhere I typically will hit freeways for most of my travel. This is something that is unique (as far as I know) really to California and So Cal. And when we hit these freeways we get taken high above our cities, surrounded by cement barriers that block the city from us so we cannot see our city until we get off our freeway and hit our destination - enabling us to go from point a to point b without ever blinking an eye. As I was driving home from Fullerton after seeing a different part of Fullerton after prayer driving - I hit the 57 freeway like I always do. When Jesus decided to show up, break me and teach me something about being on mission.

See, when I drive on freeways I get into my own little bubble and can ignore the outside world - all I have to deal with is the cars around me. I don't see the city or the people. But when I drive surface streets, I get to see the city, I get to see the people, and see what the city looks like - see it's culture. So, what He showed me, tried to illustrate to me was the importance, for the sake of living out the mission, to drive on surface streets as much as possible.

By doing this, it will enable me, us to see the brokeness of our cities and the places that Jesus needs to come in and radically reform. Because, it is far too easy for me to just go from point a to point b. Now, I know that for an Orange County person that is tough because it might take us longer. I'm not saying this is something we must do all the time - as we do have to go from point a to point be sometimes.

But what if, what if we get some spare time and instead of hurrying home we drive surface streets home? What if we drive past those places, communities that we normally drive past and see the city as Jesus sees it? What if we take the time to drive our cities and ask Jesus to give us missional eyes for our cities? To ask Him while we are driving to open our eyes, show us how He sees the cities and how He wants us to be involved in changing our cities, in reaching our cities?

That is my what if? That is just one of my journeys through living life in missional eyes - what are yours?

September 1, 2009

The Fall Semester has Begun - 1 Week Ago

Hello world. My name is Jonathon and I have something to confess to you.

I am a college student, and what that means is my life is way too busy for my own good. But that is not what I have to confess, what I'm here to confess and get off my chest is that I'm an "achiever" (according to stregnthfinders 2.0), therefore if I enjoy being busy, putting a lot on my giant metaphorical plate and seeing the way that God will move through me just showing up and being on mission with all that He has given me to do. I really do not know what life or college would be like without being so busy. Sometimes I wonder and dream about not having to work - but then I remember how much I enjoy working, because working is mission; working is ministry.

So, for the next 15 weeks I will be taking 12 units, working about 20 hours a week, interning about 10 hours a week @ RockHarbor with Campus Life Groups, leading a CSUF Campus Life Group, being a RockHarbor Middle School Leader, RockHarbor Middle School Life Group Leader, and being able to be on the ground floor of one of RockHarbor's new campuses that will be launching shortly. By the way I still have homework too.

This is the way I roll, I really do not know any other way then to be crazy busy - and somehow this is how I function and this is the way God has wired me. Gotta work with the size plate one has been dealt and it just so happens that my plate is really big and deep and able to handle incredible amounts. Pray for me though, because firstly it is never about me but always about Jesus; and secondly, occasionally I do get tired - haha.

P.S. Coming shortly will be my reflections on this summer and what I learned and what I'm looking forward to happening this fall!!!

August 17, 2009

Matt Chandler the Man - A Preacher with a Great Influence on Me...

"Ladies, single women, I know your not going to believe me, I know this is climbing Everest naked. Impossible, but let me just say it for my own peace of mind. It is better to be single at 40 then to love God and marry a man who has no intention of leading." Matt Chandler

“When I preach, I preach to men. That’s what I do. And if you are a woman in here and that angers you, I apologize. The scriptures very clearly say that men are the glory of god and what that means is that if men will do what God has commanded them to do, if men will be who God has commanded them to be, then everything else will work well, and when they fail everything begins to unravel. Which is why we need grace, and is why I preach to men.” Matt Chandler

I love this man, he preaches it strong and hard. He calls men to stop being stupid, to man up, and start doing our jobs. I don't think that is too much to ask.

For those of you don't know, Matt Chandler is the Lead/Preaching Pastor of a church in Texas called The Village Church, a member of Acts 29...

August 13, 2009

What a Day; What a Summer; What an Amazing Fall is Coming!!

So, I can't disclose too much info. But, I'm super stoked. I'm on the ground floor of exciting things and opportunities. My final year @ CSUF is going to be filled of surprises and adventures that are God planned and God ordained. Let's put it this way, I could have never ever chosen a better time to go deep @ RockHarbor. God is moving, God is pushing me farther and farther along his path for my life and it is way exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing what God does with me, in me and through me my final year and beyond at CSUF!!!! Trust me, you'll be hearing more about this as I go down the hole! This was just the first step in a long staircase!

August 12, 2009

Tommorow!

Okay, so here is just a one paragraph update on my summer. So for those who don't know, I have had the privilege and continue to have the pleasure of interning with RockHarbor until sometime next year. This summer has been amazing - but I can sum up my initial experience in one snapshot. Tomorrow, i get to have a meeting with Steve Carter one of RockHarbor's two teaching pastors to talk vision and plans. I'm uber stoked and excited - because I love this church but more importantly I love the Church and I can't wait to see where God continues to guide and lead. This is just one of the many things that has popped out of my summer. God is good. Jesus is good. I love being able to do ministry and equip others for it - so amazing...

Here's the deal

I've been a bad blogger - life has been busy, but I really, really want to start blogging. I want to get better at story telling while remembering and celebrating what God has done. So, once the semester starts I'm really gonna kick this into high gear. But this is a good first step - just putting my thoughts onto the internet. Next step, I really want to write about my summer because it truly has been one heck of a spectacular summer... Jesus and Ministry is way too much fun!

April 12, 2009

"Unique" or "How One Can Even Learn About Jesus During Jury Duty: Lessons Learned from a Wasted Day of Serving 'My' Country"

So last Thursday (4/2), at the end of Spring Break – I had the honor, no, the privilege, no, the duty of serving my country by going to Jury Duty. Now here is the thing, I’m 21 and this was my first experience of ever going to Jury Duty, and it was definitely the last thing I wanted to do on my Spring Break. But alas, just like with a draft card when you turn 18, when the government calls, you must go.

Let’s just start it out this way, the odds of me getting on a jury, with my family background were pretty slim. So therefore, I knew going into it that it was going to be an entire waste of my day, and 8 hours of my life, my Spring Break that I would never get back. But I went faithfully, because that is what an American does. It is the price of our freedom (This line hit me huge during this day) or so they say. So, even though I knew it was a wasted day – I went.

By going, it turns out I learned something. Now here’s the deal. I did not learn anything about our government. What I learned was about Jesus and the American Church. It’s funny how God likes to teach me things – through Jury Duty. Now, one of my favorite songs ever is by the “OC Supertones” and is called “Jury Duty” and my experience was nothing like that. But, it opened my eyes and allowed God to teach me, show me, and illustrate to me ways of understanding the teachings of Jesus and American churches.

My day started out like all the others as I was sitting in the big room, with my Bible reading Jeremiah and a great book by Jim Wallis, listening to my I-Pod and they start with their orientation – and this is when teachable moment number one started. A judge came up and gave a welcome to jury duty speech. This made me chuckle because we had no choice to not show up, if we didn’t show up we would get fined or arrested. And on top of that he thanked us for being there, telling us what a great public service we were doing for our country and how this is the only way we actively get to participate in the Judicial Branch (or any branch) of our government and we should be happy for that.

This is when I knew Jesus was up to something for my Jury Duty experience. Through this opening speech – I learned and filtered several things out of it.

Firstly, it was all about showing up – kind of like old school, traditional, institutional churches. One must show up, and while you are there, you get thanked by a pastor for showing up, but you pretty much don’t do anything worthwhile. You waste your day, because the Pastor’s claim that all that matters is that we not stop meeting together as some have done (a miss quote of Hebrews 10:25).

Secondly, this was used to illustrate the point to me about how much we have simplified and watered down the Gospel. A judge thanked us for showing up – even though none of us wanted to be there – like we had a choice in the matter, even though the only reason any of us were there was to not get fined or arrested for not showing up. Not only that, I’m pretty sure that everyone that was there did not want to get stuck on a jury. So this lesson builds off of the first lesson learned. Churches have turned the Gospel of Jesus into, convert, be perfect, shut up, come, sit down and wait for Jesus to come back or you to die and go to heaven. They have also used the ultimate scare tactic that is “Do you wanna go to hell?” Really? Who really wants to go to hell, except maybe a sadist! And you know what Churches do after this? After someone “converts” – they say God is pleased and is happy, they essentially do what the Judge did and thanks us – even though we don’t wanna be there! Even though we are just sitting there biding our time, not wanting to be there and only there to escape a punishment! If that is not a good picture of the watered down gospel of Western/American/Institutional/contemporary church I don’t know what is.

Thirdly, even though we were all there, even though we were “guilted” there, no one wanted to do anything. When we go there, there still was no change of “Yes put me on a jury for my country”!!!! Just like American churches. People show up, to get their Salvation Credits, there Holy Spirit Merit Crosses, their Gold Stars for “doing their duty” – or they go to make sure that one day a week for 80 years is enough to save them from hell, because they don’t wanna be there. It is obligation, and to save your own skin. Plsu, the whole time you are in church, you are thinking how quickly is it over and I can go back to my life of ignoring Jesus until you can get points for going to church to make up for not living like Jesus has changed anything. This is how we all were in jury duty, we just wanted to get out of there as soon as we could. Grab our slip of getting out of jury duty for a year, and going back to normal. Regardless of how big the privilege it is of serving our country crap.

This is the western church. This is the American Church. This is the church that are forefathers have left us by watering down the Gospel and turning it into a solely personal, individual, get yourself a Merit Badge and save your after life from hell by showing up once a week, giving 10%, and baptizing their babies.
We have lost grasp on the fact that the Gospel of Jesus is about here and now – otherwise we would not need four gospels of his teachings, the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, or Him to live as a human for 33 years. Heck we would not even need the New Testament teaching us about Jesus if it was just about showing up, putting in our time, and getting to see Jesus when we die.

Why do we not understand, that its not about going to church – but being the church. That following Jesus, is not about “conversion” but repenting and becoming a disciple? Why is it that we just go to church, and think God is pleased with that? Has the American church never read the book of Isaiah before? Let me tell you, if God was pissed off at the Israelites and their worthless sacrifices – I don’t wanna know the words He has about the way the American church has completely mis represented Jesus.

Church is about being, not going. Church is about the “then” but also the “here and now”. Jesus is alive today and working in the world today – to dwell among us – he wants to bring his kingdom to earth? Do we believe this? Is it also about the future and salvation? Yes and praises Jesus for that – because if it was just about that, it would already be more then we deserve. Now, I’m not talking a utopic Jesus society on earth right now. But what I’m saying is that as the church we have certain values (Jesus) to embody and that by doing that, we lead people into the revolution of Jesus, and institute the Kingdom of God on earth. When we stop going to church, and start being the Church. We truly are going to the church, because church is everywhere.

This lesson was just in the first hour of being at jury duty and God was not done with me yet. After the introduction is over, I go back to reading for about an hour, and I was actually called into a courtroom at 10am. I was impressed and began to get hope that it would mean I would get dismissed and be able to go home. Phat chance of that one. I was in that courtroom until 430 pm. And in the midst of this boredom, in the midst of being stuffed into this courtroom and just hoping I could go home – God taught me again. This time, in less subtle ways.

I’ve never felt this before, but for the first time in my life, when I was told to take an oath to my country promising to be a good juror (or whatever it was) – I felt bad. I shuddered. I did not feel right. I felt bad, because of the fact I was making an oath to my country and not to JEsus. I’m not saying jury duty is un-biblical, because we are supposed to be part of the world but not of the world. We are supposed to give to Caesar what is Caesars. But what made me shutter was the fact, that so many American Christians probably have no problem giving anything for their country, sure – I’ll pledge my allegiance to a flag – but what do you mean I have to give all of my life to Jesus; sure I’ll promise to not lie and be a good honest juror – but Jesus does not care how I run my business, or treat those he puts in my life; sure, I’ll go serve in the military and sacrifice my life for my country – but Jesus, you are getting nothing more than 10% (if it is a good month) and I must have a house, two cars, and if I go on a missions trip, I better not have to sacrifice anything for it; sure, I’ll give my time and energy to researching politicians and issues – but not to Jesus, the church, or how to influence the world. This lesson hit me when I was in the courtroom for a whole five minutes.
After this God got a little gentler with me, and he opened my eyes to how real divorce is in our country. Of all the people that got interviewed by the judge, about 23 out of 30 had been divorced, 2 had never been married, 4 are still married to spouse #1, and 1 was widowed. How sad is that? Of thirty people and only 7 had not been divorced? Sure it is just a small number and 30 other people did not get interviewed so maybe that batch would even it out – but still. It reiterated to me, how if the Church wants to be revolutionary and show Jesus to the world, one of the best ways we can do this is by chosing our mates carefully, by not getting caught up in lust or passion or loneliness, and only getting married once, and when we do get married – making sure divorce is not in our vocabulary – which can only be done by making Jesus the center of your marriages.

The final thing, I learned from Jury Duty – actually it is more of a funny story. I was sitting next to a guy how started sharing his story with me. He and his wife got to a Episcopalian church he said, and to get it more right, he added “Well she goes, I maybe go once a month. Church is her thing.” Let’s pause there before I go on, what a sad commentary on that right there, his wife is in it alone. He then added “I do the soup kitchen thing.” Aw, what a can of worms. If this wasn’t jury duty – I woulda thrown Jesus all over him (but we did not have a relationship and he was just sharing his story, don’t wanna scare him). So I decided to ask him about the church. He started saying how he liked it because it wasn’t the “high” church (he used the term wrong, but that’s okay). What he meant by this, I see now, was morally. Not high morals, or other words – not based on Jesus. He liked it because it was more “low”, more accepting. I asked him how and why? When he shared this beauty with me. Well, our woman senior pastor left (not here to debate this, because this is not the point of the story, wait for it…) and we recently got a new one. He’s a good guy he said. And me and my wife know something not a lot of people know about him. I asked what? He said well, people know he is gay, but what they don’t know is that he is currently dating and living with the organ player (worship leader) who is on staff… That’s all I have to say to that. I responded back not wanting to open a dangerous can of worms without a relationship with him and only having seconds before our break was over with a hesitant, and shaky – “That’s unique…”

So in the end, I ended up learning a lot about how the freedom of America has influenced the church. Instead of the other way around. How, o how the church should look so much different then the way it does, and how it should never emulate any government of the world. This is what it taught me. That was my day. It was “Unique”…

March 4, 2009

WHAT THE?!?! Buddha...

So, as a Religious Studies major I get to study some pretty fun things. One of them is Buddhism. But, after 5 weeks and countless times pulling my hair out of my head - I have given up... It frustrates me.

Here is the main reason why - THE BUDDHA RAN OUT ON HIS WIFE AND NEW BORN CHILD when he began to question life and discovered the "Middle Path"! And yet, this man is supposed to be some spiritually great person we should listen to? All I know is if Jesus did that people would never not bring it up - but no one even blinks an eye because the Buddha did this. I just don't understand how he can be heralded as such a great man for running out on his wife and kid when he suffered his own version of a mid-life crisis!

If any of us were to do that today, regardless of whether we would come up with a cure for cancer - we would be the lowest of the lows in society and not be remembered for curing cancer, but for being a horrible, despicable person! Yet, the Buddha, gets a free pass.

As you can tell, this annoys me... If the middle path and the way to end suffering is to leave your wife and new born kid - then maybe Americans are a lot more righteous and holy then we all think... And well, if that's the case then we should start applauding all the men who do that - because after all, they truly have reached enlightenment and are the examples of how us men should live our lives. Or maybe, secretly, many American men have quietly become Buddhist and have decided to start saying "WWBD?" (What would Buddha do?).

All I know is that any religion that is based upon a man who RAN OUT ON HIS WIFE AND NEW BORN CHILD, probably should not be held up with such esteem - or at the very least, don't hold the Buddha up as the supreme example for humans to follow... O, and just a side note... You never see Jesus running anywhere - not from the cross, not from temptation, not from his friends, not from his mother - no where...

So I guess my point is this: when Jesus and the Buddha get into a debate about the right path, Jesus has a trump card. Mind you, I'm sure that even Jesus would show the Buddha love. And that even the Buddha is worth saving. Heck, he'd show the Buddha that He died for him on the Cross...

Just a thought from "The Wonderful World of Chubbs"...
Until Next Time