Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA/PIPA Blackouts

Several websites have gone dark (or partially dark) today in protest of the SOPA/PIPA legislation before the U.S. Congress.

Google is participating.

As well as Wikipedia with a link to their articles about SOPA/PIPA.

The most visited blog on the Internet - Whatever by John Scalzi - went dark as well.

I've signed the petition and e-mailed my representatives. Have you?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Knowing Jesus #2 - Jesus is Creator

For the second week in a row, I joined WFC's Online Campus to hear Pastor Dan talk about Knowing Jesus.  I had actually planned to venture out to the Speedway Campus to attend worship in person.  It's a blessing to be able to attend church regardless of what roadblocks detour my path. 

Knowing Jesus - 2
January 15, 2011
Dan Southerland, Lead Teaching Pastor

We are studying through the book of John, asking:

•    who is Jesus?
•    what does Jesus say?
•    what does Jesus do?

Big idea for this series:  Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. -- Hebrews 13:8

As we see who Jesus is and what He says and does in the Bible we know who Jesus is what He says and does today.

1.  Jesus is Creator.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. --John 1:1,3
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:26-27

But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NLT)

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.  Revelation 4:11

Creation was a team effort.  The God who exists in community also created in community and then placed us in community.

Summary statement: God screams community. 

2.  Jesus is Re-Creator.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;  behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJ)

In Greek grammar, the present imperative is a verb tense/form that means do this and keep on doing it.

We don’t have that in English.  So sometimes what is said in the Gospel doesn’t come through with quite the mood it ought to.  Example:  Ask and you shall receive is really:  Ask (and keep on asking) and you will receive (and keep on receiving).  
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ (and stays in Christ), he is (and will continue to be) a new creation; old things have passed (and will continue to pass) away; all things have become (and will continue to become) new. (emphasis added by Pastor Dan).

As I keep following Jesus, He keeps on making me new.    

Jesus wants to keep on re-creating me as I stay in Him. 

Two pieces of great news:
•    God is not finished with me yet.
•    What I am today is not the final version of me.

More on the Creator, creation, re-creation: John 17:24, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:3-4, 1 Peter 1:18-20, Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10

If not a member, Pastor Dan asks you to step up.
If you are already a member, Pastor Dan asks that you join a group. 

Next week:  John 1:4 … The Light of the World. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter 2012 Adult Reading Program - Destination: Anywhere

The Kansas City Public Library launched the "Destination: Anywhere" 2012 Adult Winter Reading Program on Monday, January 9, 2012. I plan to participate, although I may not read many (or any) of the suggested books. For the first time since I started following their adult reading programs, I saw non-fiction titles listed in their suggestions. I often need extra motivation to read non-fiction books, as I much prefer to escape to a place that you can't find on any real map. I am most at home on other worlds, in other dimension or in completely imaginary places.

Of the fiction titles suggested, I now have motivation to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (something I probably should have read decades ago). I am also intrigued by The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover, which also has a book discussion scheduled for Saturday, February 18th 2:00 p.m. at the Trails West Branch.

Of the non-fiction titles suggested, I might try Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. Then I could try either Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer or The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (the latter has a book discussion scheduled for Saturday, January 28th 11:00 a.m. at the Central Library which I could easily attend).

Whether or not I attend any of the events or read any of the books, I look forward to adding to my collection of adult reading program coffee mugs. If you don't live in the Kansas City metropolitan area, an alternative way to participate would be through the library's GoodReads group.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Notes on New Sermon Series at WFC: Know Jesus

I popped into WFC's Online Campus this morning after seeing a Tweet from Pastor Jason Morris and just happened to logon just five minutes before worship began.  I had some initial problems with the video feed (a simple browser refresh fixed that) and wasn't overly impressed or inspired by this morning's worship song set (but I'm partial to Speedway's worship band and not the main campus' one). 

Pastor Dan introduced the new sermon series "Know About Jesus" by stating that he plans to focus on the Gospel of John exclusively for the entire year (and joked that his sermon today would cover only the first verse of John).  I listened attentively to his sermon, took notes as directed (see below) and pondered questions I've pondered before. 

I have a big personal concern with our (and by "our" I mean Christians) focus on Heaven as the reward for our good behavior (dare I say our 'good works'?)  Often, I feel like it's a golden carrot dangled in front of me and I'm waiting for the whip to fall.  Does Jesus (and God) really want me so selfishly focused on my own salvation?  Shouldn't I be willing to risk Hell (as Jesus himself did) if it means saving just one other person, no matter how unworthy or sinful or ungrateful?  I struggle with this internally and often.  Do you?  Or am I just over-analyzing (again)?  I guess it's time for more prayer on that. 

In the meantime, enjoy the notes I took this morning while Dan Southerland preached about knowing Jesus and knowing God (and they're one and the same):

Knowing Jesus - 1
January 8, 2011
Pastor Dan Southerland

Studying through the book of John, asking:

•    who is Jesus?
•    what does Jesus say?
•    what does Jesus do?

Pet peeve:  Jesus is not past tense ... he is alive ... present tense.  What he said then, he would say now.

Big idea for this series:  Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus.

1.  Jesus is God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God ... John 1:18a
  • Jesus is not just a good man
  • Jesus is not just a great teacher
  • Jesus is not just a prophet
The Bible declares repeatedly and clearly that Jesus is God.

John 14:6, John 20:31, Acts 10:36, Acts 20:21, Romans 6:11, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:39, Romans 15:17, Romans 16:27, 1 Corinthians 1:3,1 Corinthians 8:6, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Galatians 3:26, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 2:11, Philippians 4:7, Colossians 1:1, Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 3:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 4:1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 John 4:15
How does anyone read this book and claim Jesus isn't God?

Handiwork ... Greek word for poem ... we are a real piece of work ... God's.

Everything is built on the foundation that Jesus is God.

2.  If you know Jesus, you know God.

God with skin on (according to Dan's daughter).
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.     
Jesus came so that we can know God.

If you know the Son, you know the Father.

3.  If you don't know Jesus, you can only know about God.

You can learn about God in any religion.  There is good in all religion.  All religions will lead you closer to good (Pastor Dan believes that).  It can't take you all the way there.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  John 17:3

I can see it now - at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here ...  Depart from me.  I never knew you.'  Matthew 7:22-24 (Mes, NIV)
There are many people who know a lot about God but do not really know God at all.

Do you know Jesus?  He is God!  And He is worth knowing!

Invitational (altar call) prayer

Jesus, I don't want to just know about you.  I don't want to just have information in my head.  I want to know you.  So right now, Jesus, I am putting my life in your hands.  Thank you for loving me.  I am going to go after you.  I want to follow you.  I want to know you and love you back.  Thanks for beginning this new journey with  me today Jesus.  I look forward to knowing you more and more.  In Christ we prayer, Amen.