Happy Pentacost!

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and resteda on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. – Acts 2:1-4

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Incite to Riot

    “Let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds.”
    – Hebrews 10:24

So, since NATO is here, all of the “Occupy Chicago” people decided hey, why don’t we protest too? Apparently the cool thing for Occupy people these days is to wear V for Vendetta‘s Guy Fawkes Mask. Because identifying with a failed British arsonist is clearly an American thing to do.

Then, there was the time I was working at the Mall of America, and I showed up to work, and everyone said “Oh, were you at the riot yesterday?” Whut?
Well, apparently a riot had broken out in the mall because people had heard rumors that certain rap musicians were going to show up. They didn’t, but clearly it was a good time to riot.

What can this tell us, above and beyond the fact that people barely need any excuse to get riotous?

Hebrews 10:24 tells us to “motivate one another”, or “spur one another on” to love and good deeds. This is from the Greek word παροξυσμός “paroxusmos”, and it means irritation, provocation, or angry dispute, to jab someone to the point where they must respond. It means inciting, as in “inciting a riot”.

How can we provoke one another to love and good deeds? Where’s our little bit of energy that rouses us to wear our Guy Fawkes masks, and get angry Lil Wayne didn’t show up at the mall? Let’s incite a riot of Christcenteredness!

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So Easily Entangled

So this weekend was the NATO Summit at Mccormick Place downtown. As I was coming back from work on Friday, I saw about 8 cops on every corner of every intersection I went past. I think I saw more cops in 3 blocks of downtown than I have seen in the past 3 years.

Then, I got out of downtown, and up into Wrigleyville, where there was a Cubs versus Sox game. Not only had the Sox won, so you had all the exuberant southsiders, and apparently NATO dignitaries were at the game, but it was 5pm on a Friday- Wrigleyville was swarming with people – people spilling out of the bars onto the streets, trike taxis taking up the whole road, and all I wanted to do was get by and get home.

Somehow, this made me think of the verse in Hebrews that goes like this:
“…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

We are so easily entangle in sin, just as it’s so easy to be trapped in traffic at 5pm on a game Friday in Wrigleyville. Just like I wanted to get home, but found people on every side blocking my way, so when we want to do right, we find evil is close at hand. Even when we are desperate to do the right thing, so often we end up doing what we hate instead. (Romans 7:20-21). What hope is there for us, then? Who will guide us through that which entangles us that we may go the distance Home?

But thanks be to God! Through Jesus we can run with endurance the race that is set before us. How do we get safely though the things that entangle? By fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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While you wait

I have a post or two that I’m working on getting around to.

While you wait, check me out here on the Trinity City Church Blog

Trinity City Church has graciously allowed me to be a guest blogger for them. I’m highly honored!

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Here comes the Danger (Hey-o)

The other night I had a dream that I was in a movie theatre with a variety of creatures including a large red dragon.
This theatre, and the one nextdoor had giant openings where the screen would normally be, and it looked out onto a giant open plain. This plain had a giant version of every Nazgul, as well as a giant gnome Nazgul, and hordes of miniature baddies. These were the battle lines. All of them against the two theatres full of us. It would have been easy to do some damage with our dragon, but right at that moment he stopped being able to breath fire.
Someone ran off to go see if they could get the giants on our side, and someone else thought we could convince the gnomes, but the gnomes were plainly already standing with their Nazgul – standing against us. We’d gathered who we could, and I think Peter from Narnia was there, which was decent, but we were desperate. So we sent a messenger to bring back anyone he could find.

I’m pretty sure some caterpillars trickled in.

So I already mentioned that Thousand Foot Krutch was coming out with a new album, and now I’ve had lots of time to listen to it.

At the moment, I’m a fan of the song “Courtesy Call“.

Earlier this week I met up with some of the brothers that work on campus. They had just finished a pretty big outreach, that really shoot up campus, and got people talking about Jesus. That was very exciting. Moreover, one of the guys queried me about what it’s like at a church plant, because a lot of students are fired up, and he had heard that could be a good next step for people after they graduate. SO cool.

Moreover, two of the guys in my year had deliberately picked a living location to reach students there. Here is the “payout” of their faithfulness: the men they reached are now pursuing the LORD in a big way on campus and in ministry. Praise God!

I also know so many people my age who are passionate about taking the gospel to people all over the world – Germany, China, Japan, and so on. This is way cool.

I remember back in 2008 EBF spent a serious week in the word and in prayer as a “Prelude to revival”. Could this be it? I’m reminded of the words of the prophet Joel:

    And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
    your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.

You know who doesn’t like movements of God?
Yeah. That snake the devil.
“This war we’re fighting is not just writing” – “Courtesy Call“, TFK
This is real stuff. Satan’s really going to try and stop things.

It’s going to get messy. We need to stand our ground, knowing that the LORD is Jehovah Nissi, the LORD our Banner, around whom we can rally. He is Christ our Victor, who triumphed o’re the grave, and crushed Satan’s head. He is our strong refuge, our mighty fortress. He’s the fricken huge helicopter that comes up over the mountain behind us so we can stand up to the enemy. The Gandalf who shows up at the Battle of Helm’s Deep with all the Rohirrim.

Friends, do not lose heart. Rather, stand firm, for the battle is already won. Three nails, a spear and one Messiah made sure of that.

“There’s a battle upfront, but beyond that’s the promised land!”- Light up the Sky, TFK

One day the Prince of Peace will reign over all, and say to you “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter my rest.” So today we stand firm, and put our armor on, and sharpen our swords, the knowledge of His word. And we draw up the battle lines. I know that some of the battle lines are in my own heart. “We once drew some lines in black…so bored of losing ground to the heresy in our hearts!” – P86. Get serious. Have confidence in Who is beside you, and in what He has laid before you, that you may stand up to the enemy in front of you.

Because things are about to “get wicked!”

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Being Caught By Ourselves

“I’ve seen the darkest things // crawling inside of me // I’ve seen the monsters come alive…” – Daylight to Break, Switchfoot

Listen to your heart! Truth comes from within! Follow your dreams! You are your own best friend! Do whatever makes you happy!
These are the mantras of our society, are they not?

I know some people who are pretty quiet, and like to think a lot. After I asked one such person if he would tell me what went on in his head, he refused. He said, among other things, that his thoughts scared him. I know what that’s like. At one point in college I perceived that I got to the bottom of myself and my belief system, and found after all the layers was nothing, just deep deep void. That was frightening.

In times like those, it pleases me to crank the metal music and flip my hood up, (call that “happiness” if you will). Project 86 was right when they said: “Most of us would be lying // holding fast to denying // if we said we’re all feeling swell and content.” Their song goes on:

We’re trying
just to convince the world
we’re something
that we can’t be
we are not
afraid of being alone
of being caught by ourselves
with only our own thoughts

No. No. I’ve “been caught by myself with only my own thoughts.” I’ve seen what’s inside of me. The masses of ugliness and despair, the hopelessness and fear, the anger, the gluttony and envy. It’s all right here, in my heart, waiting to come out. Society, am I to follow that?

I have seen where that road goes. Loner linguistics major, who dresses sorta goth, listens to metal music etc etc. Say goodbye. They said “It was a student in distress” and she was ruled a suicide.

So, knowing what I know about myself, how desperately sick my heart is, and wicked, I DO NOT WANT TO FOLLOW IT. Sorry. DO NOT WANT.

What then? If truth cannot be found in myself where shall I look? My heart I could not trust, since it lies to me too much. I once asked one of my friends where he thought morality came from, to which he replied something like “oh, you know, parents, society, friends…and the alien robot chips in our brains.” I got a kick out of that. Kind of a bummer it isn’t true.

Once, I was in pain, asking who could understand my sick heart. Ghost had a simple, but powerful, answer: There is One who understands you. Behold, He knows when we sit, and when we rise, He is familiar with all of our ways. Before a word is on my tongue, He knows it completely.

In Him alone is the hope for my sick heart, my heart unworthy to be followed, containing aught but shades and broken dreams. In Him alone is my hope, for He is the great Understander. He is the Great Physician, who can perform surgery on my wounded, damaged heart. Only He can make me whole again. He is our Chieftain, who casts for us a better vision to follow. I do not have to be frighted, for He is Mighty, far mightier than my fears. He “charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease”. He’s life, and health, and peace.

No, do not follow your heart. Rather, follow the One who made your heart, for He is so much greater than our hearts, and knows everything.

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Something to do with redemption

So today is a rather monumentous day. And truly the LORD is good. “You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out!” (Deuteronomy 7:19) “With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, His love endures forever!” (Psalm 136:12)
Let us not forget what God has done for us! “We will not hide them from our children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” (Psalm 78:4). “Posterity shall serve Him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it!” (Psalm 22:30-31)

Now, I live in a house with a bunch of other girls. One just moved out, and took the dining room table with her. Fortunately, one of the other girls had a lovely dropleaf table. Unfortunately, one of the supporting beams was stuck, and thus failed at its task of holding up the table. So, the table-owner-roommate handed me a bunch of tools, and tasked me with fixing it. This was delightful to me.

True enough, it was very stuck. After snapping a knife trying to leverage the beam out, I recruited another roommate to help me turn the table upside down, to get at it more easily. Eventually, I had enough space to fit the hammer in, and it was just a matter of whacking it a few times, and flipping the table over. The table was fixed.

But not without casualties. The knife was certainly the most obvious. But all the force I used, hammers and all that, the wood took a beating too. You can’t see it from the top, but the underside of the table has some dent marks, too.

And so it is with us. Redemption comes at a price.

Behold, we are broken. But we can be fixed. But not without cost. As Isaiah the prophet says “Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions you [were] sent away…” Sold in to bondage and death in sin, we know no corpse can buy its way to life. How then, are we fixed?

Later on in Isaiah, the LORD says:

    “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.”

As Christ followers, Peter tells us “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

What was the price paid? Who born scars for our sake? By whose wounds are we healed? Christ alone, the spotless Lamb of God, marred beyond human likeness, bearing the wrath of God for our sake, that we might be healed.

In economics, you can calculate the worth of something by how much someone is willing to pay for it. Often, we are faced with working out how much we think “human life” is worth.

Let’s do the economics here. The God of the Universe paid a price to redeem and repair you. This price Christ’s blood shed on the cross, for you. The scars of redemption are borne by the Lamb, that you may be presented without blemish (Colossians 1:22).

This is how much you are worth to the Living God.

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