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Review: Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the great Christian books of this era. Truly remarkable in scope and accessibility. You won’t think about eschatology the same again and maybe you’ll understand why it matters for the very first time.

View all my reviews

Prayers appreciated…

Watch the video above for some testimonials about the decision to invest in people who need clean water. I can’t imagine waking up each day wondering if my family will have clean water to drink. I am moved to partner with others on the front lines of saving lives. World Vision is a great organization seeking to share Christ’s compassion with those in need. The beauty of this opportunity is how it changes my life and the lives of my friends who share in the journey with me. As our lives are changed by this experience, others will receive access to clean water. Please pray for me and do what you can for those in need.
http://tinyurl.com/timstidhamTWV

A Journey Begins… Day 2 of World Vision Marathon Training

Good Friday

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/newhope-community-church/id554538404?mt=2

Follow the link above to a very simple Good Friday service of reflection on the Complete Passion Narrative found in John 18:1-19:42.

A blessed Holy Weekend to all…

A Commandment, A Commission, and Sandwiches

Matt. 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Right now it seems that we are surprising each other with how different our perspectives can be on political and spiritual/moral issues. It can be shocking and uncomfortable to realize how differently others view the same things. I fear it drives us apart because we crave commonality. But sometimes we’re mistaken if we assume that our faith is more genuine because we came to a conclusion with which we’re more culturally comfortable. Others may be diminished in our eyes if we find we don’t agree. We assume that the way we processed a question is “the Christian way”. Different conclusions must come from false or worldly methods. But is that really always true? I’m not suggesting there’s no right or wrong. But maybe the good news can’t fit into one political perspective. Maybe it’s bigger than that.
In the case of the Chicken controversy we’ve split things even more. It’s not your view on marriage, it’s whether you totally support or strongly oppose the political activities of a restaurant chain. This is now the litmus test for both “sides”. “Eat mor Chikin” vs boycott the chicken. As I said in an earlier post, I’m putting the chicken on probation. Ate there a few days ago, but not on the big chicken day. Probably gonna wait a bit now to see how they handle the new attention. Dan Cathy and I agree on the definition of marriage. I support what I’ve seen of his interview. But I don’t support absolutely everything about what he’s done. And I’m not going to be pressured into doing so.
Matt. 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I for one wish the Christian community was half as organized for the Great Commandment and Great Commission as we are for culture war responses. I’m glad we care about something. Do we care enough about the most important things? Have we reconsidered “who is our neighbor”, lately? How do we live truth before them? What’s the BEST way to show the world what we value? The goal is not a world with more fried sandwiches and fewer comfortable gays. The goal is more truly transformed Christ-followers serving up the good news to their neighbors. It may seem more fun to eat mor Chikin to make a statement. It takes a lot more than that to make a disciple. We have one commission. We are under one holy commandment to love. Truly, it’s not about the chicken. Let’s please not make it about the chicken. There’s so much more to be and to do.

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World Water Day

This link is worth checking out! Learn more about the problem and how to help. Thanks NCM! (Nazarene Compassionate Ministries)

The Reward of Sharing in the Gospel

Today’s Ashes to Fire reading continued in 1 Corinthians. Paul has established the value of the gospel and the honor due those who proclaim it. But now he gets more personal. He says his great privilege as an apostle is to forego his right to be compensated. He wants to offer the gospel free of charge. This is his reward! There is a secret among mature believers. It is better to give than to receive. Paul was blessed, probably through his Father’s tent-making trade, to supply his needs elsewhere. We don’t know for sure, but if Paul was single this is a little easier to comprehend. But either way it’s a beautiful way of being in the world.
Then he goes on to his larger point. For him, ministry isn’t a career, it’s a way of being in the world. And everyone he meets is someone for whom Christ was raised. He wants everyone, literally “all men”, to walk with Christ. And he’s willing to do anything moral to connect with them. He’s not even worried about the percentages! “That by all means I might save some.” (1 Cor 9:22b) it’s worth it to him to give his life to all that some might be saved. And he’s doing this as a believer, not as a clergyman. So it’s a way of living available to us all…
How precious is the gospel to you? How far would you go to see someone experience it? How far out of your comfort zone would you travel to help it be more real and relevant to someone who needs it? Do you see others who are going astray with compassion or judgment? Do you act with gospel compassion every time? Do you believe the same God could help you live that way? Since I do, I’m asking myself these same questions this Ashes to Fire season…
Paul goes on…

I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings

1 Corinthians 9:23 NRSV

Matt Redman and LZ7 – Twenty Seven Million (Official Music Video) – Music Videos

A song is not enough, but it can be a beginning…

Matt Redman and LZ7 – Twenty Seven Million (Official Music Video) from emimusic on GodTube.

Matt Redman and LZ7 – Twenty Seven Million (Official Music Video) – Music Videos.

Richard Dawkins: I can’t be sure God does not exist – Telegraph

Richard Dawkins: I can’t be sure God does not exist – Telegraph.

Well I’m definitely sick this evening, but that didn’t keep me from noticing this tidbit of intellectual honesty. Say what you will about Rowan Williams, I think his approach with this type of debate promotes better thinking in his opponents. I will say that he is taking Peter’s advice to heart…

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience

(1 Peter 3:15–16 NIV)

 

 

 

Recommended devotional guide

After Day 1 & 2 feedback from users I would encourage any Christian who wants to explore the Lenten and Easter seasons to pick up this daily devotional guide. It’s well-written. Takes you through the Daily Office plan for reading through the Bible, pulls highlights from these readings, and offers brief guides to prayer for each day. With your Bible in hand, you can go as deep as you want. On days you’re seriously pressed for time you can keep the discipline going by pulling from the highlights and praying. Along the way you have several opportunities to journal your progress and prayers. Inspirational Art. Prayers from past spiritual giants. A very complete portable guide to Spiritual Growth!
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Ashes to Fire Year B Devotional Guide

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