Time is like a zipper. The past has been determined, while the future remains open. The present is that very interval of interaction between what is yet to be into becoming what has been. For our interaction with the eternal God to be at all meaningful, He must necessarily experience time sequentially as we do since its creation. This profoundly implies the openness of the future being guided by God, if we follow His will, or else a deviate from it. In this openness of the future, along with our free-will, it is therefore possible and even likely that what God wills for our life and what actually happens may be two different things altogether. The zipper-like nature of time and the gracious merciful nature of God continuously interact, so that even if we disobey and change routes God’s will is powerful enough to meet us in our current “fork in the road” to guide us again in His calling–or even create an entirely new calling.
The sovereignty of God, then, is shown as being even more powerful–He is after all omnipotent. To create an open system for a creature with a profound free-will, guiding the future requires not the stringing of a puppet, but the conviction onto the heart of that creature in and through relationship into a loving bond where the created creature relinquishes his own sovereignty, gifted by the Creator, into the hands of His master. This is what it means to be clay in the Potter’s hands.
“When all else fades one thing remains: Your love is still pursuing me.” – Daniel Gonzales, Celebration Church
Getting out of the car we smelled the scent of pine that enveloped the area. Dad and I enjoyed the tree hunt, and I of course picked out the fullest, greenest, and awesome-est tree for his budget. I would tell him the one I’d chosen, the lumber guy would take it to trim the trunk and nail the base, we’d strap it to the top of the car, my dad would hand the guy a $5 tip, and we’d proudly drive home listening for any movements on the roof. If, for some reason, my noble expertise wasn’t provided and, for some odd reason, Mom would assist Dad, then we would definitely get something less than par. One bare side would be missing a large portion of branches and most likely the tree was pitifully leaning to one side; we debated which side needed the wall’s cover the most. This tree would also probably be the cause of old childhood ornaments falling and breaking off of unstable branches. And, every now and then, it would likely be too small to stand proud on the ground and reach the ceiling, to which Mom would grab a side table, drape it with Christmas cloth, and attempt to fit presents around the legs. This tree would desperately need, as we learned to withhold our critiques and complaints, my mother’s unashamed and unconditional love. Continue reading →
“So, you still believe in a merciful God?” Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.
Yes, I do indeed.
Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.
Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil. God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.
In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.
Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.
I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark NightRises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort…
With a handful of reed, I stuffed the wire guide to contribute to the 9-year old boy’s remade house. Immediately after the church service, just two days after arriving in Mozambique, members of the Celebration Church campus in Xai Xai head out to Jose’s house upon finishing lunch. Ladies with babies strapped to their backs hold a huge bundle of reed on their heads, grasping them with their hands to hold it balanced. Franco, originally from South Africa and the white minority in the church, utilizes his construction talent to fix the roof on this rebuild. We all take turns doing various jobs, and no one stops until the house is complete. The next few days even have their own construction project of building a kitchen for the church with a similar construct as the reed house–manually manufacturing cement for the floor and an open flame oven, building walls from scratch–then later, fixing a broken wall of another campus. All components of each project took every person who helped work to do so. Everyone was tired, but no one was miserable. People helped each other, conversed, and when a hand was needed one or two pairs of hands were always right there contributing. Whereas ‘serving’ is something that Americans have to think about and praise themselves for, Mozambicans just considered it life–not one effort to a thought was even made on the manner. Though we saw this as part of our “mission trip”, they saw it as Monday through Wednesday–nothing out of the ordinary except for a few Americans with t-shirts that said “Celebration Church“. We made conversation and learned about the people who would later etch their names in our hearts, forming the beginnings to relationships more akin to family–working never seemed so joyful!
Perhaps my greatest lesson was the one I hadn’t expected–ministry begins, not preaching behind a pulpit, but with a shovel in your hand. Continue reading →
Thanks to the author of the article, Russ Jones, ReligionToday.com mentioned this blog post made last week–“What Should We Make of the ‘God Particle’ Discovery?”
Regarding the amazing find of the Higgs Boson particle, many people see it as a way of disproving God. The idea that any aspect of the physical universe we can’t explain naturally must by necessity be “God” explained has been the false presumption by many theists. Therefore, new discoveries such as this are yet backfiring to such theistic claims–furthering the idea that there must be no God. However, this situation simply expresses the flaw of many theists who argue God’s existence in the gaps of our scientific finds–only showing atheism to be the perspective for those who wait for a better natural answer, while theists are shown to be the anxious ignorants. The problem is that our idea of God is all wrong–completely even! If there is one unique aspect of the Gospel message, it is that God is not the cop-out answer for that which we don’t know, He is the God of revelation. He isn’t the God of the gaps, but the God of completion.
Christians shouldn’t be scared of anything that seems to prove God out of the picture. Continue reading →
If you steal a pack of gum from a supermarket, who are you stealing that gum from?
Is it the supermarket? Is it the gum company? Is it the packaging company? Is it the farmers who harvested the sugar for the gum?
I don’t know. I don’t know that it matters.
A lot of people point to the Ten Commandments as if they are easy to understand, but even the easy ones are difficult to understand.
Do not steal.
That seems pretty easy, but when the Israelites received that commandment, there wasn’t a real monetary system. When an Israelite stole something from his neighbor, he was stealing something that his neighbor needed to survive – food, cattle, tools. In America, that very rarely holds true.
When a gang member peddles stolen cars, who is he hurting? He is the victim. His community is the victim. The person he sells the…
I still have the sunburn as a trophy to remind me of the awesome Easter service we participated in this year. While my wife played a pivotal role in the sanctuary with the volunteers’ kids, I spent the entire morning and afternoon on the hill with 1,000 other volunteers. Easter on the Hill at Celebration Church was from start to finish a God-anointed event. From the moment Celebration Church got the call from Tim Tebow‘s representatives that he would be interested in speaking, the plans for Easter changed. No longer would they be deciding how to approach the upcoming celebration of Christ’s victory over death in their sanctuary, but reconsidered preparations by dropping to their knees in humble prayer. Perhaps this call was the response Celebration Church received after saturating their spirits in fasting and prayer at the beginning of the year. In January members of the church all had the same conviction–God was going to bring His power and transform the church in a new and mighty way–though the staff and pastors had yet to make specific plans.
Easter Sunday of 2012 has been the most unique and unorthodox service I have ever been a part of, or even attended. Various people dressed in costumes and had interacted with the people awaiting the service in a Woodstock-like fashion (of course, without the clouds of smoke). Recognizable characters such as Elmo (who “Tebowed” with some kids), Woody and Jesse (Toy Story), Football players, Snow White, Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles), and a few others all made the people feel comfortable and at home. Although they primarily served to bring a smile to everyone’s faces, what made them indirectly part of the ministry was the simple message that said, “Come as you are!” This was the entire thrust of Jesus’ ministry. He never established a building and “invited people to church”, but brought the Kingdom to them!Continue reading →