Monday, 6 June 2016

The Voices

Many of us hear voices in our head.  These voices accuse us of so many things.  Some condemn our previous bad choices, others pour contempt on our appearance and suggest that our friends are judging us.  All of these voices highlight our fear of exposure.  The fear that we will be found out and rejected.  When Joshua, one of the greatest leaders of Israel, was about to lead the Israelites into the promise land, God came to him and said, be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified or discouraged because I will be with you wherever you go.  The voices in our heads have sapped our courage, and we are sure that we are alone, but there was a time when this was not true.

In the beginning God created man and brought him to life by breathing into Him, and He placed man in the Garden of Eden.  At this point, I believe that Humanity had one single voice in their head, that voice was God’s.  But the Creator allowed a second voice into the Garden.  He let a dragon roam around, and with that Dragon he also gave Humanity strict instructions not to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Adam and Eve, the first humans, eventually disobeyed and ate from the tree.  The bible tells us that humanities’ first interaction with God after their disobedience produced fear, a fear that came from the realization that they were naked.  But what is most interesting to me is God’s reaction to Adam and Eve.  He ask – who told you that you were naked?  From this point on, the human race has had to wrestle with multiple voices that deplete our courage and send us scurrying into the darkness, afraid of being found out by a Holy God and judged by our peers.  

In the Gospel of John chapter 7, Jesus stands up sometime during the end of the celebration the Festival of Booths and says that if anyone is thirsty, they should come to him and drink.  The result of coming to Jesus is a promise that streams of living water will flow out of us.  The text goes on to explain that this living water is the Holy Spirit.  The writer Paul explains, in his second letter to the Corinthians, that the Holy Spirit is given to those who believe as a mark of ownership and a guarantee of what is to come.  What is to come, is a life in the Kingdom of God that has only one voice – God voice.  At the present time, all things have not been made new, but we are in the process of shedding the voices of fear and accusation that dominate our life.  We are on a journey back towards the Garden of Eden.  This journey is the path of the Disciple.   The Disciples job is to learn what the voice of truth, Jesus, is and how to silence the many other voices that crowd our mind and heart.

Later on in the Gospel of John, Jesus explains how the Holy Spirit will interact with us.  He says that through the Spirit the Father and Son will make their home with us, and He explains that the Holy Spirit will remind us of Jesus’ words and teach us what we need to know.  There is also an indication that the Spirit will offer us the peace of Christ, and with that peace, give us information about the future in order to encourage our hearts as we live out our lives in the way of Jesus.  As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we will find that the number of voices in our head is reduced, and our courage bolstered.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Dreams and Visions

On Sunday I suggested, to the village, that we don’t have dreams and visions from God (Joel 2) because we have filled our minds with other people’s dreams and visions.  We have crowded our thoughts with so many mindless stimulations that there is no room for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us (Now, before you get your panties in wad, I’m not talking about a second baptism).   This past weekend I offered a simple correction to the problem – unplug one day a week.  Below is a list of suggestions for the time you spend unplugged

1.       Read your bible
2.       Listen to Village Music
3.       Listen to Sermons
4.       Spend time talking about God with your family
5.       Journal
6.       Pray

The specific thing I asked everyone to do involved gathering family or friends together once a week for a short time of reading scripture, singing, and praying.  In that process, I urged people to ask God to pour out his Spirit in their dreams.  Last night, my family started that process.  We spent a little time listening to Andy Stanley (one of our family favorite preachers) - we discussed the sermon, prayed for each other, listened music, and then asked God to pour his Spirit out on us in our dreams.  This morning, Elliott woke up early and was ready to discuss his dreams.  We didn’t have any revelatory visions or prophesies of the future, but what God did do in our family was create an expectancy and hope that He will speak through our sleep and He will give us visions of His Kingdom. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Eric's Summer Parenting Thoughts

My desire as a parent is to develop my children into disciplined followers of Jesus.  Below I've written a few of my thoughts on the matter. 

1. Parents need to committed to this desire.  It is hard work and results do not come in the overnight variety
1a. Children should learn that they are not the number one priority 100% of the time. They cannot demand to have what they want - when they want it - how they want it.

2. Parents need to be clear: Lay out the expectations!
2a. Rules of being a child: Be proactive (Do what mom says before she says it.)  Scan for problems (Check your room, check the dishes, etc).  Figure it out: (Problem solve before you involve your parents.)

3. Parents should give their children important jobs and responsibilities: Cooking for company.  Caring for younger siblings.  Help plan vacations.
3a. Children need to learn to be faithful with little in order to receive much.

4. Parents - Jesus matters.  Jesus is connected to the why of the practical.  The "why" should be repeated over and over again.
4a. Children should learn that life is integrated.  What we do and says is directly connected to who Jesus is, and what did on the cross.

5. Parents, when you give your kids important things to do, they will make a mess and not meet your expectations.
5a. Children learn by making messes

6. Parents, let your children listen in on conversations about important family decisions.
6a. Children need to learn to listen and not interrupt.

7. Parents should know their values (the why we do it that way).  Values dictate the why of life.
7a Children need to learn to ask good "why" questions.

8. Parents should take time to allow for evaluation from their peers, pastors, and children.  It is a humbling experience that I tend to avoid, but it can be very helpful.
8a. Children should learn to be kind and gracious when discussing their parents weakness.

9. Parents should give their children specific feedback.  Good Job is not really helpful.
9a. Children need to learn to take feedback without arguing.

10. Your parenting style is not the only good/bad way out there.  Talk to parents who do it differently than you do.  Iron sharpens iron.
10a.  Children, just because they do it differently at "Johnny's House" doesn't mean that your parents are doing something wrong.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

How the Song "Trinity" was written

The below article from NT Wright inspired me to write the now "Village infamous Song: Trinity."

The Prayer of the Trinity
(Originally published in New Tasks for a Renewed Church, 1992, London: Hodder.  Also published as Bringing the Church to the World, 1992, Bethany House, U.S.A., 209-15.  Reproduced by permission of the author.)
by Tom Wright

Trinity Sunday
Isaiah 6:1-8; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 14:8-17

I suggested in chapter 13 that there might be different sorts of prayer that could be explored by those seeking appropriate paths of spirituality within the modern world.  In each of the three lectionary readings for Trinity Sunday, the revelation of the threeness of God comes in the context of prayer and worship.  If we are truly speaking of the true God, then the truest form of that speech can never be abstract discussion about God.  It must be speech addressed to God.  It must be worship.  It must be prayer.
I want, in this brief epilogue, to suggest one form of prayer in particular that seems to me to encapsulate all that I have been trying to say.  It grows out of several concerns and backgrounds, and I believe it may be helpful to some who are wrestling with these issues and seeking to do so in a Christian way, that is, not by mere intellectual effort alone, but through prayer, meditation, and a settled and steady seeking of God’s will and way.  I am aware that prayer and temperament are intertwined, and there may well be some who, for perfectly good reasons, will find my suggestions incomprehensible or unnecessary.  I trust that they will excuse this short chapter, and leave it for those who may find something in it to their profit.

The Village Song Trinity:

Friday, 3 January 2014

It has begun

In the darkness, an old soldier awoke with a start.

It has begun. Evil is at our door. The slurping sounds can be heard in our dreams.

The enemy's scouts have turned their eyes in our direction. The war will begin sooner than anticipated. The battle the monks warned of is here.

Yes, the ememy is here to test the borders. Raise your shields and grab hold of the cross.

Jesus, come quickly. Jesus, help us through the night.