Thursday, March 30, 2006

I love it....


So I am off to Vancouver to play hockey for the weekend...with a buddy from Caronport...ahhh the good old days...Well the pic is of me when I played for the Clippers....man I miss the mullet... Gil, make sure you get my team toque at the banquet...that is all I played for...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Exposure

Pretending...there is so much pretending in our lives. While pretending we have the right answers, that all our ducks are in a row. That Grace, Mercy, the Love of God makes clear sense in the face of hell, heaven, disasters, tragedies, terrorist acts, sickness, corruption, etc. In religious circles there seems to be an easy answer for many difficult questions. Having breakfast with a dear friend today who I haven't seen in a while, was good. My friend is also in a working enviroment where he is surrounded with "easy" answers to difficult life questions...I think pretending is much easier then getting greasy and dirty with people, I mean if we are "real" and actually have to dive into the chaos of someone else's life, that would be lots of work, commitment, effort, sleepless nights, busy days, lots of sweat, tears....I mean then we actually would have a real friendship...and we would have to say: I don't know...who needs that when we can just say " Everything is FINE....

Monday, March 27, 2006

Brian McLaren...

As some of you know about my continuing reading of the Brian McLaren's trilogy of A New Kind of Christian, The Story we find Ourselves in and now I am on the third book, The Last word and the Word after that...I have enjoyed the reading of these books, but must say that the third has been the most interesting so far. Brian's whole focus of the book is on Hell...What is it, what is it's doctrine and how did it come about? It has been very interesting as the main character Dan a pastor; has been struggling with the hell doctrine and its theology. I have just began the third book so I'm only on chapter 4 but the book raises some good questions and some thought provoking ideas. One that I would like to focus on today is the other side of the hell coin, heaven so my questions are: Is our whole pursuit of living a "Christian" life done with a goal that we will be rewarded? What I mean is do we live this way do we "care" for people only with the goal that we will be rewarded? Are our lives oriented on the prize only?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Following Jesus to the Cross - Sermon

Today we are in the season of Lent, the theme of Lent is a wonderful journey to Easter, and we begin our journey through careful disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We do these disciplines not out of mechanical routine or out of dieting reasons but rather in intentional obedience to following Jesus. The spiritual preparation of Lent has a special aim; its purpose is to entering into the death of Jesus so that the resurrection to new life may be a truly physical experience, not just an intellectual meditation.
Through self denial we enter into the suffering and prepare for the resurrection. This season of Lent allows us to physically connect with Jesus by denying self and preparing to follow Jesus himself on the journey to the Cross.
Similarly today our sermon is the beginning of a series entitled: Following Jesus to the Cross! Jeff has asked me to begin this series, and as those of you that were at the annual meeting in February you heard me talk about the Synergy Jeff and I have, and after hearing this Jeff decide for me to begin his series to perhaps test this synergy. Today’s Passage is found in Mark 8:27-30 A lot of my reading and preparing for this sermon has come from Tim Geddert’s Commentary on Mark so I will be using a lot of his language if you permit me, and if you don’t I suppose you don’t really have a choice. but before we begin reading let us have a bit of a back ground. So a bit of back ground: Prior to our passage Mark introduces us to Jesus’ public ministry, his teachings and miracles. In chapter 7 and 8 we are given a collection of diverse incidents. Jesus begins to perform an unusual healing, he also repeats a great feeding miracle by feeding four thousand people as he fed five thousand in chapter 6, Next after doing these miracles he rebuffs the Pharisees for desiring to see some miracles and then confuses and embarrasses the disciple, who cannot understand what this all means, they are clearly missing the point as Jesus sternly asks them: “Do you not yet understand?”. And finally prior to our passage Jesus restores sight to a blind man The blind man needs two touches, after one the blind man sees fuzzy and after the second he sees clearer. It is important to understand that these five occurrences are not randomly placed side by side in Marks writings these are part of the preparation and teaching that Jesus wants to convey to the disciples about who he is. We begin on the way to Caesarea Philippi in our passage today in Mark 8:27-30.
Jesus begins the dialogue by asking the disciples, who do people say that I am? I think this was an easy question I imagine the disciples being very quick announcing to Jesus, well some say that you’re John the Baptist, others that you’re Elijah, and some yet that you are a prophet… It’s always easy to answer on someone else’s behalf. It is clear from their answer that there were mixed reviews, people knew that Jesus was important that He was special, but the reviews were mixed, its clear that although Jesus preached and taught, rebuked Pharisees and performed miracles some people still did not understand who he was. So the disciples easily answer Jesus. But then Jesus sharply turns the table and asks BUT who do you say that I am? I believe there must have been a bit of a hush, as the disciples have earlier given indications that they have not understood who Jesus is, and so they probably don’t want to get it wrong, and Peter answers and an amazing thing occurs Peter gets it right he says: You are the Christ! Meaning you are the Messiah. Peters answer exclaims a lot, Peter’s answer here draws us to understand that He sees Jesus as their savior, he understands that this is the Christ that was promised and although he doesn’t understand what that fully means, and we know by reading ahead that he doesn’t, as he rebukes Jesus for wanting to suffer. . and so although he doesn’t fully understand what kind of Savior Jesus is, he does understand that Jesus is the Savior.
The reason the healing of the blind man is so important in the prior passage, is that is the way it was with Peter and the disciples. At first their understanding, their insight, was not clear. It was fuzzy. They had some idea of what Jesus was up to, but they weren’t quite sure. Jesus had to impress upon them again and again who he was and what he was up to. Jesus wanted to open their eyes and make them see. Our passage today is a hinge on which the second part of the gospel begins. It is here that the disciples and reader begin a journey with Jesus from the North and the popularity of Jesus to the South to Jerusalem and ultimately to the cross, just as the season of Lent that we are in now the disciples begin the journey with Jesus following him… now Caesarea Philippi is the most northern city that Jesus visits and it is in the height of his popularity. And it is from this height that Jesus begins to go against what we normally would consider the right action, after all the people are following Jesus, they are intrigued by him they are willing to travel distances to hear him, this is great, right? The disciples would have thought so everything is going right, right according to plan they would thought, what I mean by that is that we must remember that the dominant Jewish understanding and hope was that a Messiah would come as a conqueror, as a liberator, as one that will establish his earthly kingdom who will dethrone Caesar and his Roman Empire, and would slay his enemies. Although Isaiah does present a suffering servant, it was the conquering hero that had the grip of their hearts. Throughout their existence the Jews never lost sight of the fact that they were God’s chosen people. They always regarded the greatest days in their history as the days of King David, and they dreamed of a day when there would arise another king of David’s line, a king who would once again make them great in righteousness and in power. As time went on, it became clear that this dreamed-of greatness would never come about naturally through the passage of time, for they came under Assyrian rule and Babylonian rule and Persian rule and Greek rule and Roman rule. They began to believe that it wasn’t likely that someone would simply emerge politically. More and more they began to dream of a day when God would intervene in history and unveil the Messiah. They had dreams of a Messiah being ushered in by God in a nationalistic, conquering style, in which the perfect reign of God would come about through a great military struggle. And as Jesus’ popularity rises, and with miracles performed Jesus must have been perceived by some and his disciples as THIS kind of Savior, the one that they wanted, a political hero that has arrived to dethrone Caesar and the Roman regime.
The idea that Jesus would be a suffering Messiah was still complete opposite of what they expected. Peter gets the right answer but his motivation is unclear. In Matthew’s parallel to this passage Jesus congratulates Peter for knowing this because it was revealed to him by the Father. But I would like us to stay on the Mark account where Mark omits recording the congratulation to Peter. Peter gets the name right, but his idea of what that name means is distorted, he is looking for a liberator, for a conqueror, he is not looking for a suffering king, who is willing to die on a cross. SO Mark may simply omit this part because Peter just doesn’t get it.
But although the disciples may not fully get it, Peter’s confession on the behalf of the other disciples and him self, that Jesus is the Christ represents a major step forward, as they seek to understand who Jesus is and what motives this Jesus really has? Jesus though understands that he has to give up the popularity, and prepare to go on a journey where divine mysterious Son of God has to die. I wonder if we can truly fathom what that looks like that God creator of all and all becomes man and dies a horrible death. You can see how hard and perplexing this may have been for the disciples to understand, Jesus that calmed the storm and was able to control nature, who healed the lame and the blind, who spoke with authority, was going to die. Peter’s confession in the word Messiah captures the focus on the Jewish expectations. Like the disciples I think we also often have a murky vision of who Jesus is or where He is leading us. It is here with this passage that Jesus draws out that although many have mixed idea of who he is, the disciples are beginning to understand who he is, although not what he si going to do. Jesus begins the journey from what seems like to us, where he has finally made it, he has reached adoration and popularity, and yet Jesus again acts like a radical and goes against all that we would expect. Jesus begins to go against all that the people desired. He tells the Disciples not to tell any one about this, perhaps because of their confusion of who he is.
For Peter though it is here, at Caesarea Philippi, outside of Galilee in the shadow of Ancient Palestine, where Caesar was a God, that Peter discovered that a wandering teacher from Nazareth, whom he followed during his public ministry, is the Christ. Although Peter as we have said doesn’t fully get it, he is beginning to. I think we must be honest with ourselves that we often don’t get what Jesus is about, we too have special expectations of Jesus, as Peter and the disciples did; they were living in a time of occupation. They needed and wanted a liberator. How many of us have had the same experience, where at some point during our faith journey our faith walk, we didn’t meet the Messiah we expected? I wonder how many of us have said: “This is not what I signed up for. This is not what I expected from my Lord and Savior.”
It is amazing how truly free we really are; how completely and unashamedly God leaves it up to us, never manipulating us. We are to follow the Christ, Messiah, begin a journey with him. But as we follow we learn that one of the problems in deciding whom someone is to us and what that person means to us is that we have a habit of expecting them to fulfill our desires and wishes. We tend to see people the way we want to see them, and then expect them to live up to our picture of them. As Peter believes that Jesus is Christ, he also has an expectation of what this Christ will do. So the question I want to ask and I want us to struggle with is: who do you believe that Jesus is? Who do you say Jesus is? and what do you expect of him?. Are we following Jesus with expectations of greatness for us? Are we following Jesus with some internal motives as the disciples did hoping in a conquering hero? Who is this Jesus, the Messiah, who is this Jesus that leaves popularity and begins a journey to the south.
The passage we are focusing on today, introduces us to the second half of the gospel of Mark as the journey begins, although the disciples don’t know it yet, Jesus begins the journey to the cross, we have the luxury to read ahead and know this. But what is also critical is knowing, that this journey is a journey of discipleship. We begin to follow Jesus, learning and following, sticking to Him as he goes ahead of us, even when we are not sure where He is leading us. As Jesus is confessed to be the Messiah by Peter this confession is the beginning of the journey, the beginning of our discipleship, as we confess that He truly is our savior, and we begin a journey that does leads to the cross… Billy Graham has said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have” Tim Geddert adds that “A true confession of Jesus as Christ and Son of God requires a recognition of and an acceptance of the way of the cross”…the acceptance of the way of the cross…So today we find our selves in the season of Lent, we are in a spiritual preparation, in prayer and fasting we are in a journey with Jesus to the cross and beyond. What kind of expectations are we outlining for Jesus? Or are we allowing him to lead, so we can follow? Today I want us to focus on a few things, First that proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ is the beginning, second is that once we proclaim this we begin a journey, a journey of discipleship. As we go through our sermon series of Following Jesus to the cross and learning what that means, let us today examine what it means for us to say that Jesus is the Christ? Do we know what we proclaim when we say that? And are we willing to follow Him, not on a journey of our own desires but following Him, in a journey of discipleship, a journey of learning and sticking close to Jesus…. are we willing to follow Jesus even to the cross?…

Friday, March 17, 2006

Busy Week!


Well on the week, where I lead missions trip training, teach baptismal classes, Sr. Youth and Jr. Youth Programs and Preach on Sunday, I can't wait for Monday!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Video about the MAN him self...CHUCK NORRIS

Ok...i realize that my last post was a video..but with all the Chuck Norris rage in our community here is an excellent music video specifically about HIM...wow...thanks Jessica for getting this to me the youth will LOVE it!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Late Youth Run to McDonald's and Hermeneutics


So after another Sr. Youth night the boys and I head for a late McDonald's run...now this usually consists of us driving while listening to some Romanian Techno...or worse yet Aqua...ohh the humanity....anyways once we arrive at the location we begin to cruse around as the boys want to wait till midnight to get their 2 cheeseburger deal meal that starts on Thursday's... at midnight we get our meal's, with a million extra 'McChicken sauces' to cover our already grease infested food...after finishing our meal's we sit there in our car just to give our heart a moment to restart...and then we go...well yesterday something interesting happened... one of the youth (who will remain nameless) began to roll down his window and 'tried' throwing his litter out the window...it was at this point that I gave the mother earth speech and our responsibility for being good stewards of this planet that we have been given...It was at this time that the youth gave me his exegesis on why he does it...he reads from the McDonald's bag the following: "please place litter in its place" his rational: "Litter is not litter till it hits the ground when it hits the ground then it's in it's place since that is when it becomes litter, so thus it belongs there"... after giving him a sternum press...and telling him he is not going to throw that out...I thought about his logic...my conclusion: interpretation of any kind belongs in a community setting, other wise anyone can interpret anything as they see fit, to simply justify their actions...wow...who would have thought that a McDonald's Run would bring out such deep hermeneutical issues...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

If you are a Youth or a Youth worker you should read this!

Ok well here is a must for youth workers, I got this from Marco's Blog on Youth Specialties, it is a blog and video blog of a youth worker who went back to high-school for 2 weeks, the school worked with him and treated him like they would any student...what a great read... two weeks back

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Paul's Movie Award....


Those of you that know me know that I am a huge movie fan, I love watching movies and have seen my share of movies that are complete garbage and some that are thought provoking and yet some more that touch the soul. Now despite my love for the movies I do not watch Oscars, as it seems to me very pretentious time, where celebrities or as I call them people, put on a circus that could have fed a small country. Now without me ranting and that aside, I did check online to see which movies won...

I am extremely happy that Crash won best picture. It is a story which covers 36-hour period in LA as the lives of people of many races collide in a way that highlights bigotry, but I think it also does much more, Matt Dillon's character for example shows racist tendencies, but at the same time shows value for life, we see that that none of the characters are one dimensional, and cannot be simply dismissed as a racist which Matt Dillon's character was, but there is always much more behind what we first assume of the person, all the characters lives present to us an ability to be horrible and good almost at the same time...how human is that. I think Crash connected on many levels. I think it was very human...I am not sure if that is good or bad, but its real. It was a powerful film.

A disappointment that I felt that this movie did not win anything is Munich. Another powerful story of hate and the pursuit of justice...it was a moving movie when watching you see justice and law and evil and hate all blur in a cause, another very powerful story of evil, good, and the personal toll that the assassination mission takes on the people involved, another powerful film...

So I guess all that I am saying if you haven't seen Crash or Munich, I highly recommend it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hockey Video...

Well Dave Carey has found an amazing video about hockey and has posted it on his blog I would encourage all those fans who love seeing the show 'The Office' to watch the main character, Steve Carell in this hockey video its awesome...on the side note this video explains Gil (well and maybe me too)...

Lent - Spring...


Lent which means Spring and originates from the lengthening of days as spring approaches. The first part of Lent is ash Wednesday. The weeks following Ash Wednesday are dominated by the themes of Lent: repentance, renewal, discipline. Recommended reading for the first Sunday is Mark 1:9-13; Jesus preaches repentance. For next Sunday recommend reading Mark 8:31-38; Deny your self and take up your cross. These times in Scripture study and prayer are a pilgrims preparation as he/she is preparing for the resurrection.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Youth Find out what its like to be a youthpastor as they babysit Sasha...

One of the great joy's of being a youth pastor is you get your youth to watch your son, because youth have as much energy as a two year old so the results are great they (the youth) and Sasha are both tired...man he had soo much fun, here is some pictures of him before we left but when we got home, Sasha was way out of it...all tired...and I think the youth were a little tired as well... on the plus side our basement pink furniture is great for youth destruction and mayhem...


As you can see Sasha looks exhausted but so do the youth...Dallas start smiling NOW!


It's moment's liek these that make you love your job :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lent starts today...

Just a bit of background for those of you who are wondering what this is about:
"The theme of Lent is spiritual preparation for Easter symbolized by the three spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These are disciplines that are to be done with intentionality rather than in a perfunctory or ritualistic manner.
The spiritual preparation of Lent has a special aim-entering into the death of Jesus so that the resurrection to new life may be a truly physical experience, not just an intellectual meditation.
The three disciplines, which a Christian may engage in all year long, are to be intensified during Lent...Through self denial the Christian pilgrim enters into the suffering of Jesus and prepares for the resurrection." - Robert E. Webber

Ash Wednesday recommended readings: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Teaching on Charity, prayer and fasting

Vancouver Trip ~Part III~

Well here is the conclusion of the Vancouver trip... We found our selves at the game... The warm-up was sweet, watching all the usual suspects that I have gone accustom to watching on TV...the picture of 44 Bertuzzi was taken for his biggest fan FISH who talks about him all day...and actually has dreams about him...(maybe nightmares)




After the warm-ups the game began...

It was about 5 minutes into the game that usually happy and cheerful Clint looked like this:

Who can blame him the score was 6:0 in the first 13 minutes...and Montreal was on the loosing end...

On the brightside we got to meet Kelly Hrudey...who was more excited to see us then we were to see him. Look at his reaction of seeing us...

After which he promptly brought us down and had pictures taken with us...I have to admit that Kelly might be the nicest 'celebrity' that I have ever met. He was down to earth and was really excited that people wanted to talk to him. He even signed autographs for all those that stayed behind...he made sure that he did that for all the people...It was really cool....

So ends my adventure in Vancouver...it was great...