Waiting in silence – Teddy Hart – Renovatus

http://bit.ly/1g1w7ZU

After listening, you’ll see that I shouldn’t have posted it!

So necessary for me…

So necessary right now…

In addition to the main message, you’ll see Zechariah and Elisabeth in a whole new light. 

Listen in peace…

All that Jazz

Yesterday seemed to have very dissonant chords and unusual rhythm changes.  I like jamming but I’m not so good at improvising.  Dr. Chris Jones helped a lot this morning: http://mediastorage.cloversites.com/renovatuschurch/media_player/Act%203.mp3

I’m involved in a small committee and yesterday two members decided that it was best that they no longer be involved.  (excuse me, but I’m going to be deliberately vague in respect to the people involved) We had not done well in all working together.  This announcement was bittersweet for me.  There is a certain amount of pressure being lifted off in that we were struggling to work together, but definitely an amount of sadness in that we all failed to work it out. 

Yesterday would not have been the day to “work it out” and due to the maturity of everyone involved it was not ugly.  No, working it out is something that we all managed to not do on the way.  I’m convinced that God is as interested in the success of the committee becoming a loving family and effective leadership team as He is in the success of what we’re directing. So in that respect, yesterday felt like the stamp of “failure” at least in the part of team-building.  The fact that it happened with maturity and grace, though, allows me to think that it might have been simply an interesting plot twist in the improvised story that God and we are all acting out.

I’m a musician but I’m also a very ordered computer-geek as well.  Put those two together and I’m more likely to listen to Pachelbel’s Canon than Miles Davis.  Yesterday’s events feel dissonant to me like much of certain jazz styles.  The more predictable stuff, I can hang with, but when it gets out there, I’m lost.  But I know enough music to understand that Jazz DOES work and that it DOES have coherence but that the way it works and the coherence it demostrates looks nothing like Pachelbel’s Canon

The message from Dr. Chris Green this morning really helped me in that I’m understanding that Miles Davis and Charlie Parker may be more theologically sound than Pachelbel, Vivaldi and Bach.  Hard to stomach in the ordered world that I want and in my own struggles with the idiom of improvisation – both in music and in life – but I believe it’s a truth that’s hard to deny. 

Renovatus Church – Teddy Hart – The Economy of Mercy

Hey look!  It’s the "once-a-year-blogger" at it again!

Seriously, I wanted to pop this post out before it got stale…which is the problem I have with most of my posts.  Good ideas, but no time/energy/mojo to fully develop them and get them posted.  Then they get stale and I’m like, "meh…"

So, this morning I listened to this teaching while doing the dishes (duh…)  Empty house and no pressure to be somewhere or rush through anything.  Voila a post!

For two days now, I’ve been sitting on what I’ll call a "minor but strategic conflict" with someone.  God has been slowly revealing things about this conflict (and me, of course), but things still feel so confusing.  So this teaching comes along this morning and speaks even more into the situation.  Consequently, I really felt God on it and got a lot of revelation from it.

Will you?  Hard to say.  It might just be me and/or this situation.  But I will say that I felt that Teddy Hart, the young-adult pastor at Renovatus Church, really does have some revelation on:

  • The Mercy of God
  • The Kingdom
  • Forgiveness
  • The parable of the King forgiving the debt of His servant

There are some conceptual connections here that I’ve not heard before and which add depth to this parable, bringing it alive for me.  I imagine that if you’re in a conflict and that you really are wrestling with God about it (and not just stewing) then I think there’s likely sustenance in here for you as well.

I don’t even remember if this is the first time I’ve blogged about Renovatus Church or not as a source for teachings. I think it might be.  At any rate, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  99% of the messages are from Jonathan Martin, the founding and current pastor, and he’s largely the public personality of what Renovatus Church is.  So I’m really recommending him and his messages to you.  The occasional guest speakers that he has are almost always good too.  This is, for example, the 2nd Teddy Hart message I’ve heard and while his speaking style has some rough spots for me, I feel like he has some real deep insights that resonate (at least in the 2 times I’ve heard him).

So, without further ado:

http://mediastorage.cloversites.com/renovatuschurch/media_player/the%20economy%20of%20mercy.mp3

Renovatus podcasts

Jonathan Martin blog

Renovatus Church site

Language is a many splendored thing

If you’ve at all noticed how often I blog, you can see that I’ve lost a lot of my "mojo" for blogging.  One reason is that I have too much to say!  I just can’t sit down and get all my thoughts out easily.  It takes enough energy that even though I’m excited by something enough that I want to express it, the expression itself matters enough to me that I tend to see it as a mountain that I just don’t have time to climb at the moment.

Anyway, this morning, I was listening to a teaching, as usual, while washing the dishes and I figured, that if I just started typing, I could get some of my excitement out before I thought about how big a task it is! (I’m trying to trick myself! Smile with tongue out )

I was listening to a series of teachings/discussions by a guy named Skip Moen on the book of Matthew.  Skip is a theologian/Bible scholar who, while still teaching various theological courses at a university level, is also endeavoring to reach a broader circle of Christians with the message of what a Hebrew/Old Testament contextualization of the New Testament does to help us better understand Jesus, God, His Kingdom, etc.  I learned about Skip Moen because Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA mentioned him in a sermon about 6 months ago or so. 

The plug from Bill interested me because he made reference to some word/concept in scripture and then what the Hebrew behind all that really means and it really brought it to life.  I’ve experienced that before when I’ve discovered the original language meaning and cultural context of something in the Bible – typically something I thought I already knew/understood.  I’ve also experienced that in a more modern context by simply living in another country where another language is spoken – even though there is no disconnect in the temporal context. 

Language and cultural context are enormous!  I don’t know how I can stress that enough – other than to say that I understand as well that it really has to be experienced to be fully understood (which is, itself a concept taken from a Hebraic world view!) These recordings of this study of Matthew are interesting because you can hear the discussion and the questions of the people in the discussion on the recording.  When he presents something that creates a cognitive dissonance in them that I don’t personally feel, I realize just how far God has brought me these last dozen years or so outside of the American and English context – and how valuable that journey has been.

So, all that to say go have a listen yourself and expand your dimensions of understanding and knowing God and His plan for us and His Creation.

http://skipmoen.com/category/matthew/

The Power of the Backstory

My 18-year-old son is an avid gamer and at this point in his life, aspires to make some aspect of game design into a career.  Whether he does or not, who knows, but I’ve no doubt about his excellent chances for success.  One reason is his ability to bring the paradigms of epic gaming into epic reality and vice versa.  One of those paradigms is that of the "backstory".  My own history with gaming revolves almost solely around one racing game and I only got a charge out of the competition and sense of speed and skill that one can draw from it.  First person shooters or RPGs, etc. have never held my interest and I suppose one of the reasons is that I’ve not "had the time" to really engage with the "backstory."

What’s a "backstory?"

Most of you probably already  know, but I remember that the first context I heard that term mentioned in was in gaming (though wikipedia gives it a broader definition).  It refers to the over-arching narrative that has been crafted around the action of the game that can give the player more understanding of what’s going on strategy-wise (the "practical" value of the backstory), but it’s also a tool that facilitates a more immersive experience in the game.  Depending on how alive the imagination is of the gamer, they can really enter into what they are doing and what they are experiencing in the game. It enhances the experience.

The backstory to the Gospel of Luke

Imagine my surprise, having only a gaming context in mind for this word, to hear it come out of the mouth of "learned British theologian" NT Wright. In the this talk that he gave in 2010 as part of the British "The Big Read" project (various churches in Britain all reading through the same portions of scripture during the season of Lent), Wright gives the "backstory" to the Gospel of Luke.  It is vintage NT Wright – especially since he’s all about "narrative."  It brings together many of his best themes and lays a rich foundation for approaching the reading of the Gospels (and indeed the Bible) but with a focus especially on the Gospel of Luke.  When he used the term backstory it really made me think of what a backstory does in gaming and how that applies to how we engage with God and His Kingdom and this incredible vehicle of communication that He’s given us called the Bible.  My impression is that we are all too often stuck in the posture that I had with games.  I didn’t bother with the backstory or anything else that is really necessary to engage with a game and plumb its depths as an immersive experience…and so it wasn’t. 

Knowing and appreciating the backstory is a complete game-changer!

Martin Scott: Spiritual Mapping

In May 2011, Martin Scott was the speaker at the YWAM France School of Intercession at the "Gault-la-Forêt" base in the Champagne region of France. The topic centered around the concept of Spiritual Mapping, but the amount of time given to Martin allowed him to synthesize into that topic many of the different themes that he regularly deals with in his prophetic ministry.  This is really a fabulous opportunity to gain a holistic understanding of the dynamics of the Body of Christ actually bringing transformation to a city or region.  Another way of looking at that is the intersection of The Body of Christ with a location and what that is supposed to mean for the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in that place and why it sometimes doesn’t work out as it should.

The teaching is given in English and translated into French.  This is also a good opportunity to brush up on your French if you’re so inclined!  The recording was done with a hand-held digital recorder so the quality is not the best.  I’ve post-processed it some to try and clean it up…listener beware.

01_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h23m 60Mb)

02_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h24m 61Mb)

03_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (26m 19Mb)

04_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h4m 46Mb)

05_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h11m 51Mb)

06_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h44m 75Mb)

07_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (57m 41Mb)

08_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h11m 51Mb)

09_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (59m 43Mb)

10_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (1h6m 48Mb)

11_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (53m 38Mb)

12_Spiritual_Mapping_Martin_Scott.mp3 (37m 27Mb)

No, no, no, no! We’ve got to think differently!

I’ve been tracking off and on with Martin Scott since around 2002-ish and find him inspiringly provocative! Winking smile  Those provocations have been one of several key ingredients to my personal growth and the growth of my theology.  As a prophet, Martin frequently has had specific perspective about the times in which we live and often for each new year.  I don’t think he’s posted a specific word about 2011, but in mid-January he and Gayle, his wife, were at Family church near Sacramento where two messages were recorded that I think create a provocative (there’s that word again) context for how to journey with God in His destiny for us and the world during these really extraordinary days in which we find ourselves.

Certainly personally, and I think as an American, destination has been more my focus than journey.  I struggle to appreciate most journeys and usually have my telescope out to scan the horizon for the destination.  Martin is one who repeatedly brings me back to the profound truth of journey in our lives and in the tapestry of redemptive history.  How to move forward with purpose and a deep-seated hope and joy when you’re filled with genuine questions without easy answers is often difficult (at least for me) and yet I am convinced that it is our calling in this season of world history and in being the Church sown into the World.  I think Martin makes a great hands-on tour guide!

Be provoked and enjoy the ride (If you’re like me, you may have to get back on and enjoy the ride a few times!)

Martin Scott – Sacramento – January 14th, 2011

Martin Scott – Sacramento – January 16th, 2011

Mind the gap! The difficult path to “both and”

Well, it’s the eve of the US mid-term elections and here in France…well…no one cares I think. No, it’s All Saint’s Day (Toussaint) here and they’re mostly at the local cemetery putting chrysanthemum’s on grave stones. Tomorrow is “All Souls Day” where one prays for the deceased in Purgatory. Add to that the US import of Halloween last night and the ever important VE Day celebrations on November 11th where the French gather in every town’s war memorial (they call them “monuments to the dead”) and there’s a whole lotta’ “death” being celebrated over here!

The recent strikes and riots and fuel shortages have not helped either. The sense of “division/divisiveness”, at least for me, has a consonant ring with the “spirit of death”. To surmise that this period of time on the calendar and this period of time with respect to political events in the US and in France, is fraught with activity in the spiritual realm would not take a genius. The stakes are high and the tempers are too…prime territory for enemy seed to be sown in hearts. Kind of scares me that we cast important votes in such a climate!

What seems to be trumpeted around so often in American politics and, I see in French politics too, is that you have two real choices…no more…no less. One must fall on one side or the other and responsible engagement in the political process (aside from the ubiquitous call from all fronts to simply “VOTE!”) requires fighting for one side or against the other. As I’ve mentioned in other posts this sort of default engagement by the Body of Christ does no one any favors as we abdicate our priestly role to steward the land in which God has put us.

How do we get out of these deep ruts? Well, as one for whom concepts are primordial to shape certain kinds of behavior, I think we need to better understand what it looks like when the Kingdom of God is advancing…i.e. when God is King. What it looks like typically flies in the face of “either or” dualistic views of the social and political landscapes. Jesus bridges the gap and takes a path that doesn’t necessarily align with either right or left-winged expectations (no matter how hard we try to put Him in such “one-sided boxes.”

Recently, Duke University Divinity School held their Convocation and Pastor’s School where they had 3 outstanding speakers: NT Wright, Andy Crouch and Rob Bell. Each of these speakers, in different but complementary ways, outlined both concepts and practical application of how we “mind the gap”; how we, as the Body of Christ can and must embrace the tension of the “both and” and reject the easy slipping into left or right-wing ruts. I don’t do their excellent talks justice at all in this short blurb of publicity, but I’m much better at pointing you toward excellent source materiel than I am at summarizing it! So, I highly encourage a listen to these speakers. If you have iTunes and want to use the iTunes U. service, you can simply use the links here. If you, as I do, rather despise iTunes, feel free to take advantage of my efforts to extract these free mp3 resources from Apple’s grip and download them/stream them directly from here:

NT Wright Part 1

NT Wright Part 2

Andy Crouch

Rob Bell

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iTune out!

I really like NT Wright audio teachings. He stimulates and provokes and challenges and bridges many a theological gap. I found on the NT Wright page (http://ntwrightpage.com) recently a link to some lectures he did at Duke University’s 2010 Convocation and Pastor’s School. I happily went to download the free audio teachings and I couldn’t get past a page that said that iTunes was not found on my computer. Well duh! Of course it’s not found on my computer. I wish it could stay that way!

I detest iTunes and I detest Apple’s practice of creating “monopolistic” and “invasive” software. I’m duly convinced that much of what Apple creates in terms of hardware is really good and from a design standpoint is laudable (if stupidly expensive!). However, their handful of offerings that make it to the Windows world are hugely annoying! They’re probably just trying to stick to Microsoft for their clunky Mac offerings. Of course the losers in this war are the end-users, not the big corporations.

Having had experience in getting other streaming protocols to finally cough up a standard URL of a standard media file via circuitous editing of a series of downloaded files, I did various “view sources” and tried playing my results in different capable, non-invasive media players and tried changing the protocol from itms to http, etc. None of this worked. So I started out looking for specific freeware players capable of playing/downloading itms files. I failed…

Apple has started this thing (I hesitate to use the word “service” as it does us only a dis-service!) called iTunes U. iTunes U is a corner of the iTunes Music Store universe dedicated to more educational media files. They must make it pretty attractive to participate in. Personally, I find it reprehensible that Duke University would, in essence, force people to download Apple software to play a free academic mp3 lecture. I can’t imagine that the bandwidth hit or storage space is any kind of real problem for the university that they just couldn’t put their mp3 files up on their own servers somewhere where anyone could easily download them.

Anyway, I didn’t succeed in circumventing iTunes completely, but I did find this tutorial on how to install iTunes in a less invasive way: The unofficial guide to installing iTunes 10 without bloatware on the zdnet site. I highly recommend doing things this way if you simply need iTunes for some unique capability it offers and you don’t want it to be so invasive or huge. I would add however, this final step: Fire up autoruns after doing the install steps and do a search on Apple. Then you can delete autostarted tasks/services that you don’t want.

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Eschatology and God’s Beauty – Keep the meat, spit out the bones

I’ve been wanting to express my frustration and excitement for some time now with respect to some of the revelation distributed to different places in the Body of Christ:

  • Excitement – fabulous revelation that will change how we think and usher us into new realms in God and new dimensions of the manifestation of His Kingdom concretely here on earth if we will just get this stuff into us at a heart level.
  • Frustration – people whom I respect, either personally or from afar based on their body of teaching and ministry, who contradict each other in aspects of their teaching. Contradiction is not necessarily a bad thing and is certainly not to be unexpected when groping to discover the Infinite God with finite minds and weak hearts. Where it becomes frustrating for me is the passion with which those “on one side” of a perspective categorize and label others.

Of course we all do it! 🙁 I was just in a church meeting Sunday afternoon where the diversity of perspectives, personalities and communication styles was exhilarating…which at first blush means: “Dang I wish they’d just shut-up!” I was seriously exhilarated and pleased by the diversity, but I was also seriously annoyed as a first reaction! 😉 As another example, just yesterday I was in the parking lot of a local supermarket waiting on Angela and Olivia who were inside shopping. While waiting I observed the stream of people arriving and leaving. One car caught my attention as it maneuvered slowly, directly in front of me, into it’s parking spot with its three occupants. You could see the visible signs of brokenness on what I supposed was a family. You could see where they needed a radical change of perspective and the gracious healing that only Jesus could bring. Unfortunately all of this “hindsight description” that sounds so spiritual manifests itself in my heart initially simply as “Ewww! What a depressing sight!” So, I admit, I put labels on people and I don’t do it with amazingly objective compassion and love.

That being said, when it comes to how we perceive God and His Kingdom I really think it’s important to realize that at the same time that we are being stunned by the depth and breadth of some revelation, our perception, our perspective, is really amazingly limited and small. I’ve attempted to represent it with an image in this mashup of clipart (ugly but I think it gets the idea across):

God and His Kingdom are so vast and multi-faceted that eternity will not be long enough for us to understand and experience everything. What I see/hear when I listen to/read about various revelations of who God is, how He acts, what His Kingdom is all about, etc. is more like this following image:

In this image, there is the logical realization that others do hold different perspectives, but over-simplification distorts reality and there is a tendency to lump all other perspectives into a few clearly defined camps that are then easier to dismiss. What happens then is that group “A” presents arguments as to why perspective “B” doesn’t really work. Group “A” will have some good points about their objections, but will neglect the fact that “B” is not really summed up that easily and that there are groups that they’ve lumped into “B” that hold to certain facets of that perspective but are really based on perspective “C”, etc. The fact of the matter is, that one needs to sink deep into the perspective of the other to see what they see and understand what they understand. I think when walking a mile in another man’s moccasins, we often stop after about 100 yards and are pretty sure our conclusions won’t change…forgetting how many miles we had to walk to gain our perspective.

So with that little soapbox dealt with, I want to present two different series of teachings. One is Martin’s Scott’s fabulous, line-upon-line presentation of a “framework” for developing an eschatological perspective broken down into 40 (that’s right 40! ) 15-minute podcasts. Both the podcasts and their transcripts can be found on his great and lively blog site (worth connecting with): http://3generations.eu/blog/?page_id=2640

The other is one of Mike Bickle’s many teaching series. Mike and the worshiping intercessors at IHOP in Kansas City have focused a LOT on eschatology in the last 10 years. They have come to many different conclusions than has Martin (who is more interested in creating a healthy framework for interpretation than to be rigid in interpretation). There are many other series specifically on the End Times on Mike’s site, but I chose one called “The Beauty Realm of God“, which is 8, 1-hour messages specifically on Revelation 4-5. The reason is that this series lays the foundation for the IHOP “framework” of how they view eschatology. So you kind of have two different “eschatological interpretation frameworks” if not really two different rigid eschatology theologies. I think they are both valuable to explore… deeply …as they both include rich, rich truth not presented in the other. You’ll have to deal with some unresolved tension however as there are definitely conflicting aspects to what they’ve concluded based on their perspectives.

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