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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Of Divine Worth

I began working with “The Open Table: An Invitation To Walk With God” today, which we will be doing here at Mulberry Street UMC on Monday and Wednesday nights during Lent. This series was inspired and created with one of my favorite authors Donald Miller (twitter @donmilleris).

The first session in this series is called “The Love of God” and is a session trying to wrap our heads around the magnitude of the Love of God. One of the people in this video talked about how because of her self-image problems she hurt herself including cutting herself, pulling out her hair, and beating herself. It was her realization that God in fact did create her, and that he loves her that she realized her worth.

The Bible tells us all that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and we are “made in the image of God.” I think this is a very powerful statement for us to really think about. God, who created the universe, who has made every thing in the world, who “knitted us together while we in our mother’s womb.” But how often do we not live our lives this way? How often do we actually look ourselves and see only our sinful ways or see what we believe is our unlovable selves?

How can we all live into the divine image that we were all imprinted with? It is like we all have a watermark in our souls, that watermark proves the authenticity that God loves us. Often watermarks are pictures, sometimes words, sometimes numbers, and the incredible thing is that each of watermarks says something different. God created each of us uniquely, and therefore no two people have the same deep mark on their soul.

What does your watermark tell you about your life, your loves, your passions? How does my personal watermark speak to the places where I have fear, hurt, or indecision in my life? If we truly believe that we are all created by God and have divine worth, how do we live out our mark. In a meeting yesterday we were talking about pottery, and the idea of God being the potter of us is incredibly meaningful for me.

If you have even watched a potter work you know that what begins as a meaningless block or lump of clay can become with the skilled hands of a potter a beautiful piece of art. How much more skilled is the Lord, Our God, Our Creator, the One who ordered the chaos of our universe. How can we not trust the Lord who ordered the chaos of creation, to order the chaos and craziness of our lives. If we truly trust God then we will know in our heart of hearts that God has a passion for us, and is loving us into His will all of the time.

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Technology Addictions

We live in a society that is addicted. We are addicted to information, we are addicted to getting our information and interaction fix through as many avenues as possible. I recently visited Jon Acuff’s website called “Stuff Christians Like” and his post on e-mealz (Dinner Unplugged) and how he has an addiction to technology.

Now I have to add a disclaimer here, I have witnessed myself doing the same thing at the dinner table, texting, tweeting, of facebook-ing while needing to be interacting with my family. Amber will curse to the day she dies the amount of technology contained in my left pants pocket. But it being Valentines day among everything else, it really hit me how much technology closes us off.

I have written before about the fact that I think we are in an increasingly interconnected world, but that many of us have increasingly become less connected to our fellow humans. We eschew picking up the phone for sending an email or a quick text, and I am the chief of sinners on this one. I think my addiction to technology probably stems for the idolizing of the iPhone or similar smartphone, with increasing connectedness comes increasing long work days and weeks  that never end.

I heard a program a while back where it was seen acceptable in business to take 5 days to get back to someone, and now it is expected that a message will be returned in under 24 hours. I see it myself, when I send an email that I expect to hear back from I expect to do so within 24 hours. I often respond to emails within minutes, and this often takes me away from my family and other things I should be doing.

I wonder how different my life would look right now if I did not have a smart phone. Now I’m not naive enough to believe that I’ll be going back to a regular old phone. My Droid (or previously my Blackberry) has indeed saved me a few times and for that I’m thankful. How do we break the addiction? How do I train myself to only answer while at home if it is indeed a call on my phone? (After all I tell my students I’m available 24/7.)

How do we make sure that our daily addiction to technology and it’s strangle hold on our lives does not keep us from living? How do we return to human interaction and the truly meaningful relationships that are formed through this interaction. We need to return to our relationships and interactions with our fellow humans as an example of how we love our Lord. Maybe that is a new and worthy social experiment for us to try?

 

 

The Super Bowl?

So this afternoon after finishing up one project here in my office I took a little time to catch a laugh and watch some of the funny ads from the Super Bowl. I think the Groupon commercial may have been my favorite, but is challenged by Doritos and Snickers. But it really got my mind thinking about what this media event has become in our nation.

Most of us do not have a team we truly care to see play in the Super Bowl, unless of course our hometown, home state, or another team that we have an attachment to is playing in the game. Most of us honestly do not have a dog in the fight of the Super Bowl, it’s just not that important to me personally. The true focus for most folks is on the advertising, and I must admit I look forward to the ads too. But I think many of us give undue precedence to the ads in how we truly watch the Super Bowl.

For instance, last night I literally went to change into my pajamas during the game, something that would be almost sinful for me during a Georgia game. Indeed the ads are the true stars of the game, unless of course you were a Packers or Steelers fan. What does this say about our culture in general though too. I think this might be, as I talked about during Advent Conspiracy a time where we show where true worship is.

We worship things and stuff, we give importance in our lives to the advertisements, not the actual game itself. There are so many things that put in front of God in our lines of importance in lives. How do we truly we orient ourselves, so that we can be a player on the field of God’s Super Bowl instead of waiting for the breaks for ads? I am not sure how it happened, but when the commercials are more important than the competition we are indeed suffering something broken.

 

God of THIS City

It is no secret if you are a regular reader of this blog that I am inspired and often driven by music. I often find the lyrics to songs floating through my head hours, days or even weeks later, it just connects for me. Those of you who may have known me for a while know that I am not the biggest Chris Tomlin fan, although his album “Hello Love” has found regular play for me for a quite a while.

But the song “God of This City” did not initially strike me, I thought it was pretty much the same as most of his music, then one day I thought about the words more deeply. “Your the God of this city/ Your the King of these people/ Your the Lord of this nation/ You are.” Basically the two verse just name God, they just put him to the forefront of what is being sung. If you are not familiar with this song you can watch it here:

I was also reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, a book that has won great acclaim and excitement by many. The first chapter talks about the fact that we often lose sight of who God is. We get comfortable, we get overly relaxed, and we live into our comfort zones. How often is our God not really that big, how often do we attempt (whether consciously or not) to put God in a box and say, “now you stay in there and be NICE!”

I am often reminded by so many people of how immense, big, loving, and powerful our God truly is.  Francis Chan mentions that there are an estimated 350 billion galaxies that have been created. Not many of us can really conceive of the number 350,000,000,000, but God created every one of those galaxies. God created the entire world, just that in itself should leave us in awe.  But that big God is also the God of THIS city. God is the God of Macon (or insert your particular place) and what does that mean for how we live?

Tomlin sings, “For greater things are yet to come/And greater things are still to be done” think about that for a second. If he created all the galaxies, the beauty of this earth, and knit each and every person together, what is next? What thing are we to be working for so that we can give God the credit for the work he is doing, and the work he is done. Maybe our lives are the greatest thing we’ve seen yet, but I have a challenge for you, maybe he’s pushing us all for something more (insert “Chariots of Fire” music here…)

This week I am striving to remember that God, the big God that I worship is also the God of all the tiny things in my life. Maybe that is the greatest miracle that God not only created huge mountain ranges, but created the tiny atoms and cells that make up our bodies. From the big picture to the tiniest minutiae God created, redeemed, and is sustaining it all. Maybe our challenge should be to live like it…