My neighbors, Brandon and Viv, are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. They have raised three wonderful children together and also are foster parents to at-risk children. Brandon is a dentist and has gone on mission trips to Mexico ten times to help people with their oral health. One time he gave me and my sister about two hundred dollars worth of teeth cleanings free of charge because our parents were out of work. He never asked to be paid back -- though my mother insisted on it once she got a job again. You can always be sure of seeing Brandon and Viv in church every Sunday. They are those sorts of people.
Last year Brandon was in a bad car accident. The other guy only got a broken wrist but Brandon suffered massive internal injuries. He didn't have a pulse when the EMTs arrived on the scene so they had to shock him back into sinus rhythm. They got Brandon's heart working again but he still didn't regain consciousness. Once Brandon arrived at the hospital he was hooked up to a respirator and monitored. He had minimal brain activity but his gag reflex and pain responsiveness were still present so the doctors said "We're going to wait and see."
Everybody at our church was praying hard for weeks. There was absolutely no response for the longest time, and then finally one day the doctors noticed a slight uptick in Brandon's brain activity. It stayed like that for a few more days and finally one day, while Viv was praying by his bedside, Brandon opened his eyes. It was amazing! More Here...
There are so many things I can ask here to you all at Revelife.
But my most burning question is, why is God such an unappetizing conversation topic outside of church? Even at church or faith communities, conversations more readily and often turn to routine schedule, the next most exciting event we look forward to, gossip, or stuff about our families.
Obviously with that comes a host of other things that aren't talked about with gusto that much, related to the Bible and leading a Christian walk while living in a lost world, but that's my question for you all today.
How much do we really know?It is easy to take hearsay about some other person, or nation, culture or religion at face value, often without feeling the need to check up on it.I know that I am guilty of it, more often than I would care to admit -- but here I am admitting it.
In this day and age, I would think that most of us, at least those who post and write on the internet, have been attacked, pigeonholed, and discarded as not worth being listened to.It is so easy to do.Christians do it to each other all of the time.It is a scandal to many non-believers to see how those who believe in the same Lord Jesus Christ can turn on each other, condemn each other to hell and to feel justified by it.
The problem is that we are each pointed at; with scripture being used to back up the condemnation, it comes full circle as the saying goes.We can at times be a non-reflective lot, who seem to have forgotten not only the commandment to Love God, self and our neighbor, but can relegate it to almost nonexistence.We are told not to judge, yet it comes so easily, without effort, a way of life that is hard to die to. I have struggled with it all of my life.More Here...
I recently had a discussion with a friend in which he said he felt nonviolence was merely a "classroom discussion" in the United States because there is a lack of extreme and violent persecution against Christians here. I responded by telling him why I disagreed, arguing around the nature of what threatens our convictions and what gives value to our commitments. But then I got to thinking more about the issue and wrote this:
Nonviolence is more than a classroom discussion in the U.S. It’s a very needed and very real revolt against the violent culture in which it dwells and seeks to see transformed. Of course, such nonviolence must be a result of the Gospel and not a stand-alone hope or strategy for it is God alone who changes hearts. Man can not do what God can and must do (though God uses man). Nonviolence is merely a small part of the upside down kingdom of Christ which is meant to permeate our world like a mustard seed or yeast in the flour.
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I tend to think that most preaching and Bible quoting is a waste of time, if the person doing the deed does not bring his or her own humanity into the mix. Pounding on the Bible, quotation jumping and the pointing of fingers can often be a diversion that is shared by one click speaking against another.
My sister Jane -- who is a very caring Christian and does a great deal of work with addicts, as well as with women who have been abused -- once asked me this question:
"Mark do you think Jesus is coming soon?"
It is a good question. I said, "No, because the Gospel has yet to be preached." By that I don't mean it literally of course, but I am not sure the Gospel is as yet understood by Christians, and of course I am smack in the middle of that statement, for not only do I not live the message, I am still seeking to understand it. More Here...
Portland Oregon hosted the 2nd annual Justice Conference a few months ago. One of the key speakers was an American hero named Dr. John M. Perkins. He's been a civil rights leader as well as a community transformer. He's been a great voice for justice in the United States in the last several decades and it was my great privilege to drive him around during his time here.
During some of our spare time we had a short conversation in which I asked Dr. Perkins "In this time of twitter, texting, blogs, iphones, and instant information, what can my generation and the genrations after mine be doing to make sure we don't waste our potential? What must we do to not lose a grip on being as effective as we need to be?" His answer was incredibly simple.
"Listen. Make sure you hear what people tell you" He said.
My friend Ed Underwood asked this question via social media. “When you are going through hard times what song comforts you?” I have been thinking about that recently as we are going through some valleys in our lives. A song by Steven Curtis Chapman is one of my favorites at times like this. It is possible to write powerful lyrics without actually experiencing deep sadness and loss. But it is more impactful when you know the writer has experienced devastating trials and still remained faithful.
In May of 2008 Chapman’s five year old daughter Maria was run over and killed on the family property. Her teen-aged brother did not see her playing in the driveway before she was struck. It was a tragedy of unspeakable sadness. I remember that my first thought was how could God allow this to happen to a couple who have done so much for the body of Christ? The answer is found in God’s Word and it is not one that we generally put in the brochure. All of us who follow Jesus are going to suffer. More Here...
What does the Incarnation say about God's relation to the world? Perhaps it is a truth that has always been at work.
What does that mean? On the cross we see our souls, Christ bears our pains, feels what we feel; our despair he knows, from each one of us.
Is this what the Incarnation means or again is it only the surface leading us into the mystery of the immanence and love of God? Christ, is he showing the relationship that the Father has always had with us? Christ also calls God our Father?
So even though God is beyond all concepts, yet in revealing himself he uses metaphors we can understand. Fatherhood is one of them and he shows us the father archetype in its most sterling attributes. Perhaps motherhood and fatherhood are one of the most powerful indicators pointing to how God relates to the world, times infinity. More Here...
Good morning, readers! We here at Revelife hope you have had a great week, and with today being Sunday, we hope you will be taking time to visit your local church to receive teaching and to spend time in your community.
But we also know that there are people in our online community here who will not be able to or who don't want to attend a church service today. We don't think you should be without access to the teaching and singing that comes from these Sunday services, so we feature the online services at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Today at North Point, we will be wrapping up the series Red Letter Prayers. If prayer is something that doesn't come easily to you, this is a great message for you, as we focus on the prayers of Jesus, the one who knows God best.