‘Everything is Spiritual’ – Rob Bell

30 08 2010

In the Hebrew scriptures there is no word for “spiritual.” And Jesus never used the phrase “spiritual life.” Why? Because for Jesus and his tradition, all of life is spiritual. But what does that really mean?


“…Bell’s captivating, humorous look at the physical world and at human existence as body and spirit will help you start engaging the churched and unchurched, high school students and beyond, who have serious questions or interest in how science coexists with spirituality.” — Youthworker Journal


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8


To buy this DVD click here.






Mark Moore: Acts Class

18 08 2010

Since 1990 Mark has been a professor of New Testament at Ozark Christian College. In September of 2008 he was awarded a PhD from the University of Wales for his work on the politics of Jesus. Mark has authored a number of books, mostly on the Life of Christ (also Acts and Revelation). He is a speaker noted for his passion for the lost and his participation in completing the great commission of Christ. His life goal is to make Jesus famous. Mark and his wife Barbara live in Joplin, Missouri.



Acts – Introduction

Acts 1:1a

Acts 1:1b-2


For the rest of Mark’s class on the book of Acts click here.

For more YouTube vid’s of Marks teaching his Acts class click here.

Essays by Mark Moore


For more classes taught by Mark Moore click here.

To purchase books by Moore click here.


Find Mark’s classes and sermons on iTunes… search ‘Mark Moore Podcasts’






What is the Bible?

17 08 2010

Have you ever asked these types of questions: What is the Bible? How should we approach it? Why is it so confusing? If so, watch this workshop by James-Michael Smith 🙂



Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:


Click here for the full course.


James-Michael Smith’s

website

blog

twitter

youtube


James-Michael Smith on ‘the book of Revelation





Some fun health facts

17 08 2010


Constipation

How to fight a cold / flu

Spot reducing (fat loss at certain spots on the body)

Cardio vs. Strength training for fat loss

How to do crunches properly

Stress makes you tired, sick and fat

Blood sugar and processed grains

SUGAR (fruit, HFCS, glucose, etc.)






Women in Ministry

13 08 2010


The question I want to address in this essay is: Can a woman serve in top leadership positions — including being a senior pastor, preacher and/or teacher — or are these roles to be reserved for men? In this essay I shall argue that, while there are intensely patriarchal contexts in which its not expedient to place women in top leadership roles, God’s ideal will is for people to exercise whatever gifting they have in the body of Christ and in society regardless of their gender.

I’ll first provide an brief overview of the main biblical passages cited when people argue against the idea that women can hold top leadership positions in the church (I). I’ll then begin refuting this case by showing that very few churches are consistent in the way they apply these verses (II). Following this, I’ll review the role of women in leadership ministries in the Old Testament (III), in the ministry of Jesus (IV), in the book of Acts (V) and in Paul’s writings (VI). I’ll then explore the broader issue of how we are to discern what is and is not culturally relative in the Bible (VII) and then end this essay by applying this discussion to the two passages most cited in the argument against women in leadership ministries, I Tim.2:11-15 (VIII) and I Cor. 14:35-35 (IX).

Click here to read the rest of Boyd’s essay on ‘Women in Ministry’.




Greg Boyd




Most likely, worship gatherings in Corinth would have been taught in the popular language of the day: Greek. Unschooled women lacked education and were less likely to understand, as they were fluent in their own local ethnic dialects. They could have become bored or had questions that caused them to talk loud amongst themselves until the minister would have had to say: “Women, be quiet! Ask your husbands at home.” Paul may have written this to promote order in the Corinthian context so that worship would be orderly. In any case, it was not a prohibition on women in a general sense, but an occasional circumstance.

Click here to read the rest of Part 1 on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Part 2: Timothy 2:11-15 & Galatians 3:28

Part 3: If our main texts are taken at face value, the synthetic task demonstrates canonical tension, which seems to favor equality of gender roles in the church. Based on our reading however, the canon clearly gives witness to the opportunity for women to function in any leadership role within the body of Christ.

Part 4: The SYMBOLIC WORLD is evident in Gal. 3:28 in which Paul paints a picture of God’s new creation people that are separated by nothing. This is a new humanity that although it is multi-faceted (made up of different ethic, social, tradition, and gender classifications), it remains untied in Christ as one common family; Abraham’s family.

Part 5: Surface readings of the Bible are not only evident on this issue, but have created many distorted theologies that must be revisited. On the particular question of female leadership, we have demonstrated that both women and men can be encouraged to discover their unique gifts including those of the leader and teacher within the body of Christ. We also have the opportunity to be missional in a whole new way. For the woman who is highly educated, in vocational leadership, and has gifts of public speaking and teaching, this is an opportunity to let her know that the church is relevant for using the natural abilities that God has given to her.


Women’s Work in the Church

Hermeneutical Issues Concerning Women’s Roles

Ladies, Does the Bible Tell You to Zip it?






I Pledge Allegiance…

12 08 2010

“A number of years ago I attended a basketball game at a Christian school. Just before the game everyone was asked to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance. So I stood, placed my hand over my heart, and began to recite our national creed. Halfway through, however, I began to wonder what I was doing. I’m called to live as a foreigner in a strange land. I’m called to be a citizen of a Kingdom that is not of this world. I’m called to live as a soldier stationed in enemy occupied territory whose job is to carry out of the will of my enlisting officer. Yet here I was pledging allegiance not to Christ, but to the flag of this foreign land in which I happened to be stationed.

Early Christians were willing to be martyred rather than express allegiance to the Roman Empire, but here I was expressing allegiance to the American empire. This didn’t seem right. I stopped and haven’t said the Pledge since. I love America, but I cannot serve two masters. My allegiance must be pledged to Christ alone.

I acknowledge that people have differing opinions about this matter. Some have told me they recite the Pledge to express support for the good things America stands for, not to express their ultimate allegiance to it. Others have told me they do it out of respect for those who have sacrificed their lives to defend our rights and freedoms, but again, not to pledge their ultimate allegiance. Others have told me they do it simply because they feel like a communist if they don’t. Fine. My concern isn’t with this particular American ritual.

What concerns me is that it doesn’t even occur to many American Christians that there might be a conflict between their allegiance to Christ and their Pledge of Allegiance to America. Their faith has become so nationalized that they assume these dual allegiances are compatible. This is an idolatrous assumption, and it helps explain what the lives of most American Christians are indistinguishable from the lives of their pagan American neighbors. We’re failing to revolt against the pagan values of our nation because the nation, with its pagan values, has our allegiance – to the point that many followers of Jesus don’t even recognize the pagan values as pagan. They rather think the nation, with its values, is basically “Christian”!

We’ve been seduced by the Powers. It’s time for Kingdom people in America to be done with this. Our ultimate allegiance cannot be to America or any other country. It cannot be to a flag, democracy, the right to defend ourselves, the right to do what we want, the right to vote, or the right to pursue happiness however we see fit. We are Kingdom people only to the extent that God along is King of our lives, and thus only to the extent that we revolt against the temptation to make any cultural values or ideas supreme.”

– Greg Boyd (‘The Myth of a Christian Religion‘; and also the author of, ‘The Myth of a Christian Nation‘, and ‘Letters from a Skeptic‘)


“Perhaps there is a way to be creative in all of this, to make sure folks see a unique witness — of creating a new song or pledge that says, “We love the people of the U.S.A., but our love does not stop at any border… our Bible does not say God so loves America, but God so loves the world.” Even having flags from Iraq or Afghanistan next to the U.S. flag raises these healthy tensions . . . For too long, we Christians have been known more by what we are against than by what we are for. . . Our world is so saturated with the fusion of nationalism and faith. The flag is on many church altars. And our money says “in God we trust”, while our economy reeks of the seven deadly sins. With this fusion of God and country, places like Goshen are bastions of distinction — where we are reminded that our bible does not say “for God so loved America” but “for God so loved the world.” The absence of the U.S. flag and anthem at Goshen should always remind us that we have an allegiance that runs deeper than nation or country . . . I just had a chance to read over the words of Francis Scott Key’s 1814 poem that has become the national anthem – but there are lines that make my heart ache in their triumphalism and glorification of defeat. The rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air seem to stand in stark contrast to the love of the cross where we see a God that loves his enemies so much he died for them.

“O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation; Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free und the home of the brave!”

We must ask, could this national anthem riddled not be an obstacle to Christ rather than an invitation towards Christ? The god of the national anthem may be the god that we called upon when we took this land from natives and developed it with kidnapped Africans, but it is not the God I know or that I see in Jesus.

It strikes me as such a contrast to the beautiful words of Jesus in the sermon on the mount commending us to love our enemies, the beatitudes blessing the peacemakers and the meek and the merciful, the prayer of our Lord teaching us to forgive as we want to be forgiven, and the fruits of the Spirit that include things like gentleness, kindness, and goodness.”

Shane Claiborne (author of, ‘Jesus for President’, and ‘The Irresistible Revolution’)


An older post of mine: ‘Christians & the 4th of July’






Inalienable Rights (not Christian rights): Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

12 08 2010

“When followers of Jesus aren’t careful to clearly distinguish the Kingdom from their own nation, we easily end up Christianizing aspects of our culture we ought to be revolting against.

For example, America is founded on the conviction that everybody has an “inalienable right” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Now, politically speaking, I think these rights are the greatest privileges a government could ever give its people. Politically speaking, I’m a fan of the Declaration of Independence. But as a Kingdom person, I have to be careful not to think these values are Kingdom values. Indeed, as a follower of Jesus I have to critically assess these values as things I may have to revolt against to manifest the unique beauty of the Kingdom. Let’s briefly consider each of these rights.


The Right to Life

Americans believe we have the right to defend our lives and our rights when they’re threatened, using any means necessary.

This is a noble political right. I personally wouldn’t want to live under a government that didn’t grant this right to its citizens. Yet as a follower of Jesus we must never let political values – even noble ones – define the unique Kingdom that alone has our allegiance.

As Kingdom people we’re called to follow the One who surrendered his right to life in order to express God’s love for his enemies. We’re thus called to manifest the beauty of a life that no longer clings to its right to remain alive and no longer fears death, even at the hands of our enemies. Following Jesus, we’re called to manifest the beauty of an outrageously impractical life that would sooner be killed than kill.

So, while we can affirm the right to life as a noble political value, as Kingdom people we have to revolt against the temptation to put this noble political value above the value of self-sacrificial love in order to manifest the beauty of the Jesus-looking Kingdom.


The Right to Liberty

We Americans believe we have the right to exercise our free will however we see fit as long as no one gets hurt. And we believe we have the right to have a say in who governs us and how they govern us.

These are noble political rights. I personally wouldn’t want to live under a government that didn’t grant these rights to its citizens. Yet as a Kingdom people we must notice that this value, while politically noble, has brought about massive decadence in our culture. The emphasis on personal freedom has produced a society that is largely characterized by greed, gluttony, self-centeredness, and sexual immorality. This has to curb our enthusiasm for the ideal of freedom somewhat.

Sadly, many American Christians assume personal freedom is an ultimate value that is therefore worth killing and dying for. Indeed, for many, this is the “light” America shines to the world and the reason why we are a “holy city set on a hill.” For many, their faith in freedom and their faith in Christ are essentially inseparable. Standing up for freedom at all costs is part of what it means to be a “true Christian.”

But one reads nothing about political freedom in the Old or New Testaments. Most importantly, Jesus doesn’t say a word about political freedom. The early Church grew and thrived for several hundred years in a context entirely devoid of political freedom; yet never once in their writings do we hear early Christian writers wishing for it or expecting it – let alone fighting for it! Nor does one find any talk about political freedom throughout the rest of Church history before the modern period (the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries). In fact, the Church on the whole strongly opposed the concept of people governing themselves when it first began to be discussed in the late Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. How ironic that several hundred years later the majority of western Christians assume political freedom is synonymous with the Christian faith and – even more ironic – worth killing for! This simply demonstrates how thoroughly the faith of many western Christians has been co-opted and redefined by nationalistic ideals.

Personal and political liberty certainly is a noble cultural ideal, but it certainly is not a distinctly Kingdom ideal. In fact, on some level, personal liberty is something Kingdom people are called to revolt against.

As Kingdom people we’re called to imitate the One who never exercised his free will outside the will of his Father. We’re called to surrender our freedom and submit our will to God’s will, both as he’s revealed it in Scripture and as he directs us by his Spirit moment-by-moment. Not only this, but we’re called to live in communities in which we surrender our rights and humbly defer to one another.

Our fallen tendency to exercise our free will however we want is something we must revolt against. As we faithfully do this, we manifest something that goes far beyond a noble political value. We manifest the beauty of a life that is no longer addicted to its freedom and rights, for it has found something far better and far more beautiful – the eternal Life that comes from God lived in a community characterized be servant-love.


The Pursuit of Happiness

We Americans believe we have the right to do whatever we need to do try to find happiness.

Again, this is a noble political ideal. I wouldn’t prefer to live under a government that didn’t grant us this right. Yet as Kingdom people we must notice the massive negative effect this cultural value has had on people, both inside and outside the Church. Precisely because we give such emphasis to our right to pursue our own happiness, the highest authority for most Americans is their own personal preferences. Almost every decision is made solely on the basis of whether we thing it will make us happy and whether we can afford it. And this simply means that, for most Americans, the pursuit of happiness – or, in starker terms, “hedonism” – is the ultimate lord of their lives.

As Kingdom people this is obviously something we must passionately revolt against. We are called to seek God’s will above our own happiness. For Kingdom people, it’s not enough to ask, “Is this what I want?” and “Can I afford it?” If God indeed reigns over our life, we must allow him to reign over all the major decisions we make. Our most fundamental question, then, is not “is this what I want?” but “Is this what God wants?” This is what it means to seeks first the Kingdom of God, as Jesus commanded.

As we do this, we manifest something far more beautiful than the pursuit of earthly happiness; we manifest Kingdom joy. In Christ we can be free from the addiction to trying to find happiness. In Christ, we have access to the beautiful Life of God that is characterized by fullness of joy, even when our circumstances are unhappy.”

– Greg Boyd (‘The Myth of a Christian Religion‘; also the author of ‘The Myth of a Christian Nation‘, and ‘Letters from a Skeptic‘)


An older post of mine: ‘Christians and the 4th of July’