Featured

Ponder. . .  What is a Church?

“Dynamic” is one response.

This may seem an elementary question, but the views people carry about the cares in their life, in no particular order — faith, family, jobs, friends, hobbies — matter.  We invest in the things we care about with our time, efforts, and money.  We bring energy and ideas to projects.

Obviously, there is more than one answer to this question, “What is a Church . . .?.”  Feel free to elaborate if you desire.  I thoroughly believe Christians should share their ideas and beliefs with one another.  Through my eyes this is what fellowship is mainly about:  Spiritual enlightenment.  Sharing with the faithful creates an environment for exchanging the concepts of our faith that help us to learn new views about our faith and, in so doing, sharpen our ability to share the faith to those who need to know more of God.  What better way to expand your own knowledge of God than to share with those made in God’s own image.  In Genesis, God makes humans in, “Our own image,” — which means you and each of those you worship with are somehow an “image of (the plurality of) God.”

“…this is what fellowship is mainly about: Spiritual enlightenment.”

We receive back in measure to how much we give, or in New Testament terms, “Reap what we sow.”  And as our knowledge increases about a subject we understand it better and tend to be more supportive towards it.  In this instance we are talking about ‘church’ and any of its aspects.  If the question seems awkward, rethink it a little.  Maybe “At church we…”  or “What I like is …”  So write us something…

Jeff

 

Using Your Heart to make Music to Jesus

Ephesians 5:19

The true meaning behind this passage has eluded me, and thus, is one of many questions I have for Paul to give more detail on what he really meant.

Creating, making, yes, using your heart to sing to Jesus. . .  I get it.  Sorta.

So, as I am standing in a service singing a praise song and I kinda start my own little harmony, singing in the Spirit (as Paul brings up in 1 Corinthians 14:15) and it sounds pretty good.  (Even the idea of doing this sounds good).  Singing a personal melody for God.  Is this what Paul meant?

What if my lips and vocal cords do not move, thus, literally my heart is making the melody between the Lord and myself — an inaudible personal song.  Is this what Paul was talking about?

Or is it a group thing, like communion, we all participate together at the same time.  As a group we begin to Spiritually sing.  ?

Maybe in the writing process the Spirit would lead those writing the song.  As the theme modulates in weaving melody and words which will one day move worshipers during a service — those words and melody flowing from the heart.  Is this it?  This is the what I strive for as I write a song.

Maybe you have some more ideas?

I am fond of each of these ideas.  I believe in the Spirit leading us as a group or as individuals in ways that show God in His True Light; perpetuating His story, His interactions with human beings.  His way with ALL humans. His way with EACH human.  His way with __________(insert your name here).  His caring for each one of us.  Even if we are not all musicians.

I believe it’s amazing!  Could the answer be a pleasant mix of them all?  Sometimes one way, sometimes another way?

I do wish Paul could clarify a few things.

Maranatha

On Guarding the Intellect 1

Saint Isaiah the Solitary

The First of 27 Texts

“There is among the passions an anger of the intellect, and this anger is in accordance with nature.
Without anger a man cannot attain purity: he has to feel angry with all that is sown in him by the enemy.
When Job felt this anger he reviled his enemies, calling them ‘dishonorable men of no repute, lacking everything good, whom I would not consider fit to live with the dogs that guard my flocks’ (Job 30:1-4).
He who wishes to acquire the anger that is in accordance with nature must uproot all self-will, until he establishes within himself the state natural to the intellect.” Continue reading “On Guarding the Intellect 1”

Christians as “One”

Jesus, at the close of ministry, chose to tell His Disciples to be “One”.

The Gospel of John chronicles this, starting with John 13:34, when telling the Disciples to love each other, and continuing to the end of Chapter 17.  Jesus builds His case for Believers to be “One”.  This is possibly the biggest care on Jesus’ mind and heart before his arrest.

In the prayer following teaching the Disciples to be “One”, He emphatically drove His point home (my own description), and petitioned God to undergird His followers to be “One”.

He could have stressed power or knowledge,
love or understanding,
but His chosen emphasis was unity:
That WE = ONE.

But do we give up our individual identities to the ideology of the community?  Do you give up God’s essence within you when you come to the community?  Do I? Continue reading “Christians as “One””

Summer of the Monarchs — Butterfly

Monarch Butterflies has been a theme for us this summer!

These creatures are only one creature in a sea of creatures on this amazing planet.  Spending their Summers eating, growing, cocooning (is that an actual word?), then flying as winged insects resembling something that could not possibly be worthy of flight.  At the end of the Summer their instincts prod them to fly to Mexico and hangout for the winter; to return in the spring and start the process over again!

Yahoo!!!

The details of the close ups reveal some amazing qualities!  Look at the proboscis, hairs on the body behind the head, the silk-like threads on the top of the cocoon.  Cocoon shots are of the same cocoon.

 

For years, I have intentionally let grow some of the Milkweed poking through the Spring grass in the yard, mowing around it because Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs, and the minuscule young caterpillars — they need an immediate, nearby food source — greedily begin eating and growing.  Monarchs are having a difficulties in today’s world and any help contributes to their well-being.  They spend the Summers: hatching, growing, reproducing; repeat.

The 4-stages of growth: egg,  caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa), adult (emerge from chrysalis).

By the way, these great people were at our great county fair with butterflies, plants, butterfly house, and some great information.

http://thebutterflyexperience.net/lifecycle-of-the-butterfly.html

Appreciate a creature God wants us to enjoy. Help out a Monarch Butterfly if you can!

 -Jeff

Unless a Seed Falls to the Ground. . .

. . .and dies

Disintegrating Puffball - IMG_0832

Found this puffball near our house and immediately thought of John 12:24.  Before the insides of a puffball turn to spores, the insides are spongy like a marshmallow and the outside’s color is creamy brown.  But a transformation takes place, the insides become spores that spread in the wind — especially when you encounter one this size with the lawn mower!

The wording of John 12:24 is awkward.  Dying is referenced twice — maybe to simply draw our attention to it?

First, in existing “alone”, as the seed falls to the ground and dies; but then, it will bear much fruit should it die.  Jesus was preparing the Disciples of His own death: that His dying would grow fruit.  What a great symbol for the Disciples to connect to later on when Jesus would be “absent in body” from them.  Jesus gave purpose to the next stage for the Disciples to work to bear fruit.

Also there’s a nice symbolism within the imagery of a “seed”.  Seeds are edible, beneficial, very healthy foods.  The Word of God is edible, sustaining, tasting good.

Maybe you have some thoughts?

-Jeff

 

God Loves

No matter — God Loves

There is nothing anyone could say to me that would convince me God does not Love.

No matter who you are: God Loves you.

The highest ruler
the couch potato
a CEO
a clerk

an old person
an infant

in a boat
walking on land
driving a car
eating green eggs with ham

You
Them
Me
Us

sit and meditate
throng of a violent storm
in the calm
things working out different

playing hard
working late
takin’ it easy
or what you have done

God Loves