Posted on October 5, 2007 by matt
In his weekly NFL column Bill Simmons points out what Jesus is doing in what I call, “The Silverdome Revival”:
There’s a higher power working for these guys, and that’s not even a joke: David Fleming’s ESPN The Magazine feature about Jon Kitna contained the follow nugget: “Since (Kitna) signed a four-year, $11.5 million deal in March 2006, about 20 Lions have given their lives to
I thought that number seemed startlingly high, but just to make sure, I called my buddy House to see how many guesses he would make before he reached “20.” He started out by guessing three, then five, then seven. Then he yelled, “You’re lying!” Then he made four more guesses before getting to “15″ and giving up. When I told him the answer, he screamed, “Whaaaaaat??? Jon Kitna needs to be stopped!” I thought that was funny, especially because House was drinking a beer in a bar when I called him to play the game. (He’s definitely headed to hell, and not just because he’s naming his fantasy hoops team “TRUCK PARTY” after one of the N.Y. Post headlines about the Marbury/Knicks intern sexual escapade.) But clearly, SOMETHING is going on with the Lions here, right? Twenty teammates???? Don’t we need more information about this? Did any beat writers convert? What about ball boys and trainers? It’s the single most fascinating story of the 2007 season other than Moss’ comeback and Turner and Cottrell’s slowly turning Tomlinson into a serial killer.
Here’s how you know this is Jesus – THIS IS JON KITNA. This is not the first time that God has supernaturally blessed a quarterback for his glory.
Filed under: bill simmons, football, pop culture | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 5, 2007 by matt
Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
I am not sure about the cultural context of flies in perfume. I would only guess that whether these dead flies were in a barrel of perfume waiting to be bottled, or already bottled themselves, you would not smell the stench at first. All you would smell would be the lovely fragrance of perfume, only to inevitably end of up smelling like ass. This verse then, is quite a fitting analogy for Vicky and I moving back to Las Vegas.
Is it honorable to want to reach a city for Christ? Is it wise to move you and your wife to that city when you want to start your family, and the grandparents would be right there? Is it honorable to take a job serving someone else’s vision while allowing God to prepare you to be a church planter? Is it wise to rent a house with a large living room to facilitate hospitality, and allow for small group meetings? Yes. This is precisely how my wife and I oriented our life when we moved back to Vegas (er, North Las Vegas). I have no doubt that this was both a wise and honorable way to orient our lives.
Only there were flies at the bottom of the bottle. We’ll call these flies hubris and arrogance.
While we never would have admitted it, we thought we were God’s gift to Las Vegas. We though that God and Las Vegas were both lucky that God called us down here to clean-up the church culture and really reach the city. Most churches in Vegas were either too “seeker”, or just completely out of touch with the culture. We hardly knew of any that preached Jesus clearly and exclusively for getting right with God. Good thing we had it all figured out and had come. All we had to do was spend some time in a local body, which was lucky enough to have us mind you, and then we were ready to be the heroes of Las Vegas.
Mind you, that these thoughts were at the bottom of the bottle, and if we saw them, or were even aware of them, they would have been dealt with and removed. Only, like most of our sin, they were flies at the bottom of the perfume bottle. And while I smelled like a good pastor to the church I was going to at first, it would not be long until I smelled a bit funny, and not much longer until I didn’t smell good at all.
This, however, is all retrospection. In September 2006 we were struggling to keep our financial support, and both find jobs. Myself and part-time, and Vicky a full-time. Only Vicky was so burned out by our previous ministry endeavor that she needed about 2 months to recoup. Vicky became increasingly isolated, becuase, try as she may she could not connect well with the women at the new church, and even though she was in the same city as her family but at least an hour drive away. Plus, she was a type A personally that needed to rest. That’s never a good combination. At this time I was struggling to understand the philosophy of the church we were at. And with neither of us able to connect well outside of our home, we became isolated to ourselves, our thoughts of what church should look like, and an ever increases “us. v. them mentality”.
Did anything good happen in this season? Well, UNLV beat Reno in Basketball.
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Filed under: blogging, church planting, confessions of a young punk | 8 Comments »
Posted on October 5, 2007 by Ryan Kearns
These two encounters seem to be linked to one and other intentionally. They tell us much on their own, but possibly even more when we compare them to each other.
In both encounters we have characters who Jesus reveals to that he is the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. In both encounters Jesus ends up in theological conversations, one about baptism (Nicodemus) and place of worship (Samaritan woman). Both also seem intrigued by Jesus and are puzzled by many of the things that he says.
The contrasts are also many. Nicodemus meets with Jesus in the secrecy of night. This is because he has much at stake. He is an established religious figure in the community, and could lose much of his status by being associated with person such as Jesus. It is better for Nicodemus to visit with Jesus in the night, so he can explore and hear his ideas without facing judgment by his peers. The Samaritan woman also meets Jesus in isolation but it is during the day. She has nothing to lose because she has already lost it all. We come to discover that she has had multiple husbands and is probably at the well at this most inconvenient time because she has been shunned by the other women of the town. She has no religious status and even by the Samaritan belief system God would surely not be pleased with her or have room for her in the community. One must meet in secrecy the other as an outcast.
What is also interesting about the Samaritan woman encounter is that many social boundaries are crossed in this engagement. She is a woman, a Samaritan and sexually immoral three major strikes for why Jesus should not give her the time of day. Yet we also see that she is a learner. As Jesus gives her more and more information she acts on it. She is a great example of a disciple because as she moves from ignorance to knowledge she begins to act upon it. Even going into her town and telling all to come and meet Jesus. Some think that she is trying to divert Jesus after he confronts her sexual impurity by asking where to worship, but I think there is more there. In reality for a Samaritan or Jew the natural response one would have been to go to the temple to atone for sins. It could be that as she was confronted with her sins by Jesus she wanted to act and do what she believed one is supposed to do for repentance; go to temple.
By putting these two stories together we get a glimpse of Jesus’ forthcoming missional movement. As he will command his followers to go to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. It is like a sneak preview of the mission that is to come. It will know no bounds and be for everyone. For the ultra religious and for the outcasts, they all need to be told of the “living water” that Jesus offers.
Filed under: Ryan's Study, theology | 2 Comments »