Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Old Man Smoking.

There I was, 36 years old to the day, waiting in the waiting room whilst Aimee was in the Operating Theater having her teeth looked at, reading Velvet Elvis when, on page 119, I came across that infamous line...

Are you smoking what you're selling?

A little part of my life was now complete. I had just read, in context, the quote that Melissa puts at the bottom of every single email she sends.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jacob's Ladder

And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!
Genesis 28:12

Prosperity Gospel?

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Genesis 32:26b

I'm not sure, but is this one of those scriptures that people quote to support the Prosperity Gospel?

It sure seems like it's giving us permission to demand a blessing from God.

And hey, who wouldn't like to be blessed?

The problem I have with people who insist that God wants to bless us, is that it always seems to be some sort of Western/Consumer Driven style blessing.

I wonder how some Christians would feel if they asked for God to bless them, only to hear a knock on the door, and find a needy person asking for help (it is better to give then to receive)?

But lets just assume that God does see blessings as purely the socially acceptable monetary value added type of thing... we'd still have to look at the scripture in context right?

During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
Genesis 32:24-26

Now I'm no Bible scholar, but it seems like Jacob was up all night, wrestling with God in the flesh. Now I'm not sure that that's gonna ever happen again, but using Jacob's blessing as a bench mark, if we want that brand new, 42" HiDef Widescreen, we've got a whole night of wrestling with God, presumably through full on prayer, and then when morning comes, right before God delivers us our new piece of home entertainment, wham!, we've just suffered a massive hip injury.

But scream in pain as we might want to, we can't, not if we want that TV, we've still got to hold on and demand it from God.

Finally God relents, we have our TV but will never play sports again, because, gosh-darn-it, we didn't ask God to pay for Hip replacement surgery.

Oh, and none of your friends will be able to come over and enjoy the TV with you, 'cause they can't find you in the WhitePages as you've had to go change your name to Kazakhstan or some other country's name (v.28).

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh

There's this paradox at the heart of what it means to be a human being. We're fragile and vulnerable, we come from the dust.

And yet at the same time we've been breathed into by the creator of the universe. And this divine breath is in every single human being.

In the Bible, the word for 'breath' is the same word as the word for 'spirit'. In the Hebrew language it's the word 'ruah,' in the Greek language, it's the word 'pneuma.'

One Scripture says that when God takes away the 'ruah,' the breath of all living creatures, they die and return to dust.

But when God sends the 'ruah,' the Spirit, they are created.

Breath, Spirit, same word.

- Rob Bell

Friday, February 23, 2007

Seeking God's Praise

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
Romans 2:29 NLT

Seeking God's praise. That sounds counter to most of what I've been taught. Shouldn't it be us who are praising God rather than seeking God's praise?

I guess it's how you look at it. A person who actively tries to gain the praise of their peers by wearing the latest fashion/having the latest gadgets/driving the right car, is more concerned with how others perceive them, whereas a child who does their best to follow their parents rules, who tries to go the extra mile, be on there best behavior is only looking for one thing:

Their parents praise.

But praise in this form is deeper, more permanent, it's love.

But what of a changed heart, how does that occur?

Is it by making the decision to follow what has been asked of us, to the best of our ability, going to achieve a changed heart?

Possibly not straight away, but if we adopt such an attitude, and stick to it with a cheerful existence, then surely our hearts will be changed, and in time we will receive God's praise.

But how does God praise us?

'This is my Son who I am pleased with' booming down from heaven seems a little unlikely for most people, but I believe God's praise can come from other sources.

My wife I believe received God's praise last night at Cell Group. She was complimented on how well she ran Kids Church last week by Vania. But it wasn't sought after praise, it was an honest compliment, not born out of conversation, but from the heart of one who loves God to another.

Rather than a booming voice from heaven, it was the quite voice of God through a human vessel that praise my wife.

We were all on Holy ground without realising it and God was there.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Left Behind Games leaves behind money...

According to Next-Gen, Left Behind Games posted a $4.1 million loss for its fiscal third quarter. This was on top of a last year's loss of $934,000. It really doesn't mean much given their first product, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, just debuted at the end of the last calendar year.

Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games, says the company will be profitable within the year, "We are expanding our sales channels beyond major retailers to include more Christian bookstores, ministry sponsorships, church outreaches, Christian conferences, LAN center licensing, viral online and Internet sales, music concerts and trial versions. We look forward to a very prosperous year."

Left Behind Games is already fixing previous mistakes by using Big Huge Games' (Rise of Nations) RTS engine and some of their staff to make a better sequel - it's not like the next game could be worse.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Refreshingly Frank #2

Even the best photoshop work won't create a believable image if you don't have the right components, but seeing as Brett was talking about mutants on Sunday night, I'm thinking this little beauty fits quite nicely...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I don't need you!

Brett was preachin' on mutants tonight, and he used the horror movie genre to illustrate 1 Corinthians 12, The Body of Christ.

Specifically mentioning verse 21:
And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you! (tniv)

Got me thinking of one movie in particular...

Biker Bree

Bree's first bike ride.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sex God, Out Now.

I've started reading Velvet Elvis, and I'm enjoying it. I think I can safely say I'd enjoy Sex God as well, but that will have to wait.

For all you other Rob Bell groupies out there, Sex God is in stores today. Buy one from Manna, go on, manna is good for you...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Valentine.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If you believe in eternity, then life is irrelevant.

Recently, a disheartening but uniquely honest discussion about abortion took place on Fox's House. On the Jan. 30 episode, Dr. Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie) advises a rape victim to "terminate" her pregnancy. She responds, "Abortion is murder!" "True, it's a life," he says, "and you should end it."

A few moments later she reiterates, "It's murder—I'm against it." Then she asks House, "You for it?" He concedes, "Not as a general rule." She presses him, "Just for unborn children?" "Yes," he says.

Later, to give context to House's assertions about life-and-death matters, the pair discusses God. "Either God doesn't exist, or He's unimaginably cruel," he insists. "I don't believe that," she replies. "What you believe doesn't make sense," he says. "If you believe in eternity, then life is irrelevant." The episode concludes with news that the woman has been discharged from the hospital—after having the abortion.

SOURCE | Plugged In (emphasis mine)

Monday, February 12, 2007

God & Jesus turned up...

Sunday night at Cession, God and Jesus turned up, it's true. How else could Aimee have drawn such wonderful pictures of them. Amazing.

Friday, February 09, 2007

They invent new ways of sinning...

Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.
Rom 1:30 AMP

Or in the New Living Translation; They invent new ways of sinning.

Imagine spending your day inventing new ways of sinning against God! Purposely thinking of ways to piss off the one who created you, loves and care for you.

It's like going to work and actively trying to get fired, only much, much worse.

It sounds ludicrous, but there it is in a letter from Paul.

So why am I choosing to focus on this verse in particular? I'm thinking what a better place it would be if everyone thought of a new way of pleasing God everyday. A new way of worshiping God.

And really it shouldn't be that hard, you just have to think outside the square; when you're walking down the street/in the mall/the park and there are people walking towards you, try actively smiling at them. Might not seem like an act of worship, but imagine if you've just placed a little sunshine in their day through your smile, if you've just made them realise that there is something more to life.

I'm sure it would be something that would make God smile. I'm sure God would receive it as a little bit of intentional worship.

And I'm sure there are many other ways we can think of to please God everyday in unusual ways.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

No Excuse?

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification]
Romans 1:20

So nobody, anywhere on earth or at any stage of history has a valid excuse for not acknowledging God? People are purposely ignoring the clear facts in the world around them that there is a God?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Refreshingly Frank!

Spotted in the Sunday Star Times, Sunday Magazine at Parachute Music Festival. Click on the image for a bigger, fresher version!

ADHD Enabled!

I've been a fan of Ashley Wood's illustrative style for about 6 months now, after I stumbled upon his blog by accident. I've recently purchased one of his comics and an art book. It's the first picture in his SPARROW number one art book that really tickled my fancy, entitled ADHD Enabled!

It's a simple drawing, but to me it speaks volumes. Not just because I know a couple of people who live with ADHD, but because of the hectic nature of modern life makes me wonder if our culture as a whole isn't suffering from some form of ADHD.

There's a period of calmness in this picture, but there is also the ever present fear of what is about to happen. It's this calmness that I have trouble finding in our hectic culture, where as the feeling of imminent loss of control is never far away.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Police Crash P-Party

I was a little hesitant when my 10 year old daughter wanted to go to a South Auckland P-Party. She had been invited by her best friend, and I was beginning to wonder just what kind of people my 10 year old was hanging with.

But when she explained that it was an 12 year olds fancy dress party and the theme was something beginning with P, I could see the merit in letting her go.

Although I did recommend that her friend's father take down the big roadside sign that said: P-Party Tonight!

I also thought it was quite topical that my wee little 10 year old dressed up as a Police Officer...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Clapping Game

Aimee wanted me to post this so she might get more views than Jacob's SingStar on YouTube...