Sick

How sick?

Well, when I woke up in a cold sweat around 10:00am I thought to myself:

“I bet if I get up and shower I will feel better.”

It was then I realized that I had already showered at 7:00am when I was trying to make it to work before my wife stopped me.

That’s how sick.

matt

Kanye West and Idolatry

My good friend Brad went to see Kanye West perform at the Pepsi Center this weekend and the stories he told me about were truly wild. I could tell he was truly stunned by the worship that Kanye called for, and the Messianic mentality that Kanye seemed to embrace throughout the performance. It was riveting for me to hear how the human heart has not changed at all since the days of Moses and the Golden Calf. Here is a little of what Brad wrote:

“He held the 12,000 people in attendance in his hand and seduced them into worshipping him. As I left the arena and thought about what I had just witnessed it took me awhile to realize what it was that made me feel so nauseated and unsettled. As a pastor to my own generation what do I do with the experience I just had? What is it going to take to wake people from this fall religion of money, sex power and fame?”

You can read his whole post on the experience here. All of this is just a reminder that the human heart is desperate to worship and praise something. And when we do not worship in Spirit and in Truth we turn our hearts toward worshiping the creation.

ryan

Stimulus Checks

John Piper has an excellent blog post about how Christians should think and act with the stimulus checks that are coming in the mail.  Of course President Bush wants you to go out and buy a flat screen to keep the economy from crashing further, but there might be something better we can do with it.  For many of us this means paying down debt, paying tuition (which is what I will probably end up doing with mine).  But if you find yourself in a financial setting in which you have food in the fridge and a roof over your head listen to the words of John Piper.

For a moment, forget the political puzzle of getting money back when the country is nine trillion dollars in debt. The more immediate question is: How will you make much of Christ with your “economic stimulus payment”? The president says it will be in the mail in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Clue: Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people.

But do we really need this money? Very few do. We would have gotten on fine without it. If we didn’t know it was coming, we wouldn’t even be feeling the desires we are feeling right now.

May I encourage you to be radically creative and hedonistic. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). And those crazy Macedonians in a “severe test of affliction” and in “extreme poverty” had an “abundance of joy” that overflowed in a “wealth of generosity.” They even begged Paul “for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:2-4). They really believed what Jesus said. Really.

Before the check comes dream of some person or ministry which might make much of Christ because you treasured him above your next home project.

The reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so that we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is. That’s why the checks are coming. So we can make Christ look great.

“Be content with what you have, for he has said,
‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Just something to think about…

HT: Justin Taylor

LOST – acting like a newly married man

And I am left as the overly unsatisfied wife.

What has made LOST so wonderful in past seasons is its willingness to engage in foreplay. Not getting to the big shabang too quickly, dancing around the main ideas, developing smaller scenarios while giving us tastes of what to expect. But this season, I feel like my wife must have felt for the first few months of marriage. Seriously, I am desperately missing the LOST that wanted to tease me and leave me wanting more. This season has just been episode after episode of pump and run, big reveal after big reveal.

We just found out Mr. Whitmore was behind the coup on the island a few episodes ago, and already we know he is in a figurative chess match with Ben over the Island. Really J.J. Abrahms, really? This kind of reveal would have been saved for a series finale. We know you finished the storyline and have a deadline for flushing it out, but the rate of reveal lately has been so out of character with the norm the show has previously established.

Here the possible reasons I have conceived to explain what’s going on:

– The storyline is really this bad. What made the show great before was the building of characters and the ambiguity of the unknown. So all you emerging folks interested in the overarching story over the smaller connecting points, that idea is only valid if the overarching story doesn’t suck.

– Lost was having budget cuts and and to use the same people who wrote season 6 of 24.

– They are speeding things up because they want to show us the “Oceanic Six” and Ben getting back to the Island. This would be incredibly captivating and still allow for ambiguity. I am really hoping for this one, but am not optimistic.

– The flow of the show started slow like a snowball falling, but such as it goes further downhill does the momentum picks up, so has the shows storyline. Under this scenario we should expect this pace to continue, if not speed up as we head towards the series finale.

Now I am not saying that I am not enjoying the show. I am. But like a newly married woman, I just thought there would be more.

So LOST, can we at least cuddle?

Early Candidate For Worst Christian Idea Of The Year

This my friends is the idea of a Christian lawmaker in Florida and other Christian interest groups.  They have reckoned that since someone can put their university or favorite sports team on their plates, they should be able to put their Christian faith on their’s.  Honestly I think putting a plate like this on your car would only invite persecution (such as having your car keyed or egged) that there is just no good reason to submit yourself to.   As if Christian sub-culture was not already annoying enough to the rest of the population at large, we now need to testify to the fame of Jesus by the way we drive and a tacky license plate. This is truly the unfolding of the Kingdom of God…

ryan

South Hills makes Jesus famous

Last December Ryan and I were on our way to meet his in-laws and my wife for lunch at In-N-Out in Las Vegas. On our way we stopped on the desert land that a church is getting ready to build on. We prayed for the church, the city and (becuase of the heartbeat of the church) the nations. Today, as I looked at one of the local newspapers, I was stunned to see parts of that prayer answered.

If you are reading this post on April 24 2008, then click here to check out the front page of the Las Vegas Sun. If it is a later date click here.

Image
(Shhh, don’t say anything, but I think Bret stole those chairs from Starbucks)

The thing I love about South Hills has been it’s mission statements/slogans. When I stepped into the church at Bob Miller Junior High the banner draped behind the stage read:

For Christ, Las Vegas, and the Nations

And even more refined now:

Making Jesus famous in Las Vegas

The idea of making Jesus famous is that his glory would shine in this dark place. God has used South Hills Church Community in the South end of Las Vegas to bring many people to faith in Christ since it launched early 2001. So congratulations on your faithfulness South Hills Church Community, may God continue to use you to make Jesus famous in Las Vegas.

matt

So “Where Amazing Happens” isn’t just a clever slogan

Anyone who loves basketball is salivating right now. The NBA is better, as far as talent and collective competitiveness are concerned, than it has ever been in my life. I mean, if I showed you a tape of the current Suns/Spurs series two years from now and you had no idea what round it was, you would be sure it was a conference finals. The competition, the skill players, the intensity; but no: FIRST ROUND. I told my Dad a few weeks ago that there were some sleepers even in the east. My sleepers: Orlando and Philly. And on top of this many young players are having playoff coming out parties leaving us with the hope that there is plenty more of where this came from in the coming years. Dwight Howard is going berserk, having two straight 20-20 games, and Chris Paul is averaging 34.5-13.5-3.5 (points-assists-steals), LeBron finally stepping up when called out. In the words of a 13 year old girl: OMG!!!

Last night I caught some of the 4th quarter of the Hornets/Mavs game (By the way, why has no one brought up the fact that the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Hornets should swap nicknames. Seriously. The Jazz originally came from New Orleans, and the Bee is Utah’s official state highway logo or something, or motto, or whatever. This makes perfect sense and that’s why it will never happen.)

Anyways, if you have never seen Chris Paul play then your life is incomplete. Ryan always laments that Chicago let Tyson Chandler get away, but I submit that Chandler, West, and the like wouldn’t be flourishing in other situations. I submit the following video. Now it just looks like a defensive mistake on video (which it is), but you need to understand the context. Paul has been scorching the Mav’s all game; breaking double teams, cutting out when they go under a screen, cutting in when they go on top of a screen, hitting guys at the absolute perfect times, nailing 19 foot runners, 12 foot pull ups, etc. It was ridiculous. So on this play he knows the defense is putty in his hands. He cuts towards the baseline, cuts back like he’s going to slow down get to the top of the key and run a play, and without hesitating, well you’ll see:

Amazing!!!

matt

HT: needforsheed.com, for the bracket