Friday, January 26, 2007

Kingdom Come

For those of you who don't know Jay-Z came out of retirement late last year with a brand new album titled "Kingdom Come." In the title track he claims:

When kingdom come, you ready?
When kingdom come, uh huh
Not only N.Y.C. I'm hip hop's savior
So after this flow you might owe me a favor.

Just when they thought it was all over
I put the whole world on my back and broad shoulders...

The parallels to Jesus are very eerie; here a man is claiming that he not only came to save a certain select group (N.Y.C.) but all of hip hop. While we see that Jesus came not only to save Israel, but for the redemption of the entire world. Paul wrote in Romans 15:8-13:

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised [Israel] to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

"Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name."

And again it is said,

"Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people."

And again,

"Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him."

And again Isaiah says,

"The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope."
May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

For those that are celebrating Jay-Z's return and apparent saving of hip hop, look to the original savior. Look to the one that Jay-Z ripped off and came not only for Jews, but also gentiles. Celebrate the One that didn't merely save hip-hop but the entire the world. Look to the savior - Jesus.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

In all honesty I thought this book was going to be cheesy. I had judged this book long before I had even thought about reading it. Then one day I noticed that Ravi Zacharias recommend the book so I decided to read it.
And now I would recommend this book to any and everyone. Lee Strobel travels around interviewing leading scholars, doctors, and psychologists to present the facts of Jesus from Nazareth. At parts I was so stunned at the knowledge and certainty of facts that words cannot even express what joy it brought. After a presentation of all the facts he ended the book with this quote from C.S. Lewis:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Friday, January 19, 2007

This book gives a great overview and Biblical grounding for being missional. For those who are new to this concept of living missionally I encourage you to pick this book up and read it. Phil Strout has a great way of comunicating Biblical principles intermixed with his own stories. I loved how he grounded all missions in the local church, and showed that Paul operated in that way as well. I would recommend that 90% of American Christians read this book, here is a great quote from Phil:
God is the hero of this story-not people, not churches, not missionaries, not mission agencies. Since the beginning of time, God has been the one involved in making this mission a reality, not us. As God wins each of our hearts back and we discover the portion of community and intimacy that He has for us today, we become His people. However, when we become His people, we are invited to participate in His mission, His pursuit of the hearts of humanity. When God grips our hearts with His love and compassion, it is unavoidable-and we, too, become missional people.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Harbor Church 2006
Here is a video put together to highlight some of the things that we as Harbor Church have been apart of:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Have An Extra 2 1/2 Hours?

After reading Mitch Albom's For One More Day I realized that practically nothing was gained. Basically if you want to read a book instead of watching a movie you can pick this book up. For some I could see it pulling heart strings, because of the mother-son relationship explored, however it was a bit predictable and basic. Maybe some of Albom's other works are more captivating, but I found this one quite lacking. My general aversion to a lot of fiction probably didn't add any thing either. So, if you are looking for a quick read without much thought this is the book, for more meat try something else.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

An Addiction?

For those of you who don't know I am a reader...I actually might read too much, if that's possible. While the average American spends over FOUR HOURS a day watching TV I find myself reading, probably because I don't own one. (Actually that isn't true; I do own a television that is about 3600 miles away from me.) One of my goals this year is to read fifty-two books by December 31st, of course that has been a goal mine for several years running.

As you may have noticed I have put several lists on the right hand side of the blog that have links to various books. They are categorized under: "Currently Reading," "Books On the Horizon," and "Books I've Read This Year." As some may have noticed the "Currently Reading" section is quite long. You might ask, "How can anyone be reading that many books at once?" And the answer is, I don't know. Some of the books I only read once a week: The Passion of Jesus Christ or Systematic Theology while others I am reading for my church leadership training program called Trilogy. However, I do try to keep the top of the list the books I am actively trying to finish.

I will always try to have a post about each book I read or possibly a brief synopsis. My hope is that some of you will see a book I am currently reading or one on the horizion and pick it up to read with me. With that we could enter into a dialouge about the book, and learn from one another.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

James Joyce and Jesus
This morning as I was reading James Joyce's book, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I came across a very interesting passage. Joyce wrote, "He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how: but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his encounter him."

Reading that in conjunction with Colossians 1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God..." We get an awesome picture of the inner yearnings of man and the answer in Jesus. We all long for some thing greater then ourselves, the "unsubstantial image" and here we find that Jesus is the image, the image of the invisible God.

I pray that God will allow me to meet people who are in the same mindset of Joyce's character. People who are deeply longing for and expecting to meet Jesus.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Street Preacher

Today as I was walking to the local library so that I might get online I was handed a tract by one lady and then a football fields length down a man was declaring Jesus as Lord very openly and loudly. Unfortunately, no one crowded around him, nor did I see any one stop to ask questions or listen.

I felt a bond between him and I, yet I didn't know what to do. He boldly spoke truth and nothing that I heard was condemning. In fact he quoted John 3:17, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Still I questioned his methods. The tract was all right a generic one that a local church had bought then stamped their name and address on the back. It was a bit archaic, King James Version of the Bible and showed kids turning down cigarettes. As a tangent, smoking is not good, but as one guy I know said, "I am not interested in their cigarettes, but their souls." Unfortunately the entire process was very impersonal and no one even sought a conversation with me.

The question then is how do we do what this guy was doing, preach the gospel, but in a way that is effective? I am a VERY big proponent of preaching/speaking/sharing the gospel in more then just actions; words must be used to tell of Jesus. Yet, I can't quite see myself doing what he was doing. I want people to listen instead of just ignore me, some how we have to earn the right to be heard. How that is done I don't quite know, but I know that it is possible.