Tuesday, September 20, 2011

4 cups of coffee later.

My next coffee cup!

That's right, I have had 4 cups of coffee today. Perhaps I am trying to make up for the exhaustion I feel from our whirlwind trip last weekend to Seattle or perhaps I just love coffee. This week is going to be a busy week filled with a ton of reading, beginning a 16 page paper, and trying to memorize Greek vocabulary. Hopefully I can find some time to throw up a quick blog post tomorrow or Thursday, but know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Our need for a Sabbath

On the Sabbath-
we learn that efficiency is
not God’s highest goal for
our life.
-Rob Bell
Hate him or love him, I believe that Rob Bell has correctly described both what our Sabbath should be as well as why we need a Sabbath. Far too often in our lives we buy into the worlds message that the most important aspect of our life is our efficiency. We run around 7 days a weeks trying to cram as much into the 168 hours we are given in a week. We find ourselves complaining about not having enough time in our days or wishing that God would just give us a 26 hour day so we could accomplish more. Rarely do we stop and think about if we are trying to do too much or if we are scheduling God right out of our busy lives.
In the fall of 2010 I was finishing up my job as a youth director after being let go due to budget cuts. My wife and I were packing up our apartment, Amy was graduating college, and we were preparing to move from Portland,OR to Littleton, CO. Needless to say life was chaotic and I felt as though we were constantly busy. It was during this same time that I listened to a lecture Rob Bell had given to graduate level counseling students at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle(there is no relation to the church). Bell was explaining to the students that we all have ingrained in us a need from our Creator for rest in our lives, The Bible is very clear that we are commanded to take a day of rest, a Sabbath every week. As Christians we try hard to follow the instructions we are given in the Bible, however, too often we ignore God's call in our lives for a Sabbath. We come up with excuses time and time again that prevent us from carving out intentional times of rest. One of the things that stuck with me from Bell's lecture was when he challenged the students to take a Sabbath. He informed these students that if they don' t begin taking a Sabbath know, when will they? If you can't find time this week to set everything aside and rest in the Lord then when will be a good time.
I was greatly challenged by this and felt convicted of the fact that I have never taken a Sabbath on a regular basis. As I began seminary a year ago I committed to taking Sunday as a Sabbath. The Sabbath for me would mean a day of rest, a day without the stresses of homework or work. Some Sundays this means that Amy and I go to church and then come home and take a long Sunday naps. Other Sundays I take time to talk with family or catch up on reading. Really there is nothing that I must do except be with the Lord and rest in Him. My Sabbaths have become a time of remembering that I can not do it all, that I need God to help me and am dependent on Him. While taking a Sabbath has at times been difficult, like when I have a huge paper due Tuesday, I have grown to love this day more than any other. God has used my commitment of the Sabbath to refresh me when I am week and amazingly there is always enough time to get everything done.
I want to challenge you this week to take a Sabbath. This may mean that you have to skip watching your favorite show in order to finish everything you need to so you can rest on the Sabbath. Your Sabbath doesn't have to be on Sunday, it can be any day of the week. I believe if you commit to giving this time to the Lord you will find that He will give you all the time you need and your time resting in him will become invaluable. May we all rest at some point this week in our Lord and Savior, and in doing so recognize that it is not all about us. Blessings, Jason

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Do you tailor Christianity to fit your needs?

Tailored Jesus?

I read this interesting article a few days ago titled "More Americans tailoring religion to fit their needs". I have been thinking about the concept of tailoring Christianity to our needs, and have been wrestling with the question of how much do we ignore difficult parts of the gospels because they don't fit our version of Christianity. My OT professor, Dr. Danny Carroll, challenged us in class yesterday that far too often in westernized Christianity we often cling to our theology too tightly. He suggested that even when we hit verses that disagree with our theology, we allow our logic to trump the scripture. We twists the scripture to support our own theology rather than allowing scripture to reshape our logic. I was challenged to continually try to allow the scripture to be the basis for my life rather than my own ideas. If you want to check out the article I have posted the link below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the question of how much do we tailor Christianity to fit our needs.




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thoughts for the Morning

King Solomon

For one of my classes this semester, Kingdom of Israel & it's Prophets, we are reading very large chunks of the Old Testament. It has been a blessing to be able to read the Bible for my homework, and I have really enjoyed diving into the OT. This morning I was finishing up our assigned reading of 1 Kings 1-11. It is in this section that we see David's son Solomon become King, rule with wisdom, construct the temple for the Lord, build a massive palace for himself(I checked and his house was almost 7,000 sq. feet), and eventually turn away from the Lord. While Solomon was a very wise man as he got older he became distracted by temptations of the world. The Bible tells us that Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (11:3) and that as he grew old "his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God."

I believe that far too often we allow things of the world to distract us from whole heartedly seeking after God in our lives. This passage has got me thinking about what things in my life turn my heart away from the Lord? Is it the shows I watch on TV, the desire to have "enough" money, a pursuit of education, trying to make friends and family happy? I believe that as Christians we must constantly be reevaluating our lives to ensure that we stay focused on God and serving him. This passage has challenged me to think about what areas of my life distract me from God and what areas bring me closer to the Lord. It is my hope that I will focus more on the latter in order to continue drawing nearer to the Lord. May you take the time to examine your own life this week and weed out those things that draw you away from the Lord and focus on drawing nearer to the Lord every day.

God bless

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This morning I once again had the opportunity to preach at 1st Reformed Church here in Denver, CO. I was a little nervous about preaching on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, especially when the lectionary text I chose was focused on forgiving those who have wronged us. Thankfully, God is gracious and gave me the right words to say! I spent most of this week reading commentaries, reading Bibles, writing out ideas, praying, and writing my sermon. I spent the better part of Friday and Saturday holed up in coffee shops trying to finish my sermon. I experienced writers block Friday and thus ended up not finishing the sermon until Saturday at about 12:30p.m. This left me with a lot less time to practice than I had wanted, but God is good and everything went well.

I preached on Matthew 18:21-35, the parable of the unmerciful servant. I challenged the congregation that there are three things we can learn from this parable.

(1) We are sinners,
(2) God gives us grace,
(3) By extending forgiveness to those around us, we can truly experience the grace of God in our own    lives.

I had a blast preaching, and I am really beginning to enjoy the routine of preparing and delivering a sermon. If anyone is interested in seeing my manuscript please just let me know, and I can e-mail you a copy. I tried to video my sermon but the battery on my flip camera died.

I want to end this post by sharing a funny story that happened while I was getting dressed this morning for church. Sometimes our ability to laugh at ourselves can be just what we need to release some tension and calm our nerves. I had put on my slacks and dress shirt and decided that I should wear a tie. Now I only know how to tie one tie knot, and I have been using this exact one since the 9th grade. The only knot I know how to tie is the half windsor knot, it goes something like this,

Well this morning I decided that I wanted to use a different tie knot since you know, I am preaching and should be well dressed and have the perfect knot for my tie. I decided I should google how to tie a full windsor knot, as they project power and confidence. I read a step by step instructional online and even watched a video. I knew that now I was ready to tie my tie. I tied it while watching the video and when I was done I just laughed. There was no way my tie knot projected confidence or power! I showed Amy and we both laughed pretty hard. I know you are dying to see what my knot looked like, good thing I took a picture.
Needless to say, I don't think I have mastered the full windsor knot. I ended up just trying my good old half windsor knot, and I don't think anyone at church noticed or cared. Hope you all had a great weekend, God bless!!

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