November 19, 2009
John the Baptist warned the Pharisees that there was a standard coming from Jesus that they would not be able to live up to.
Before Jesus came, the Pharisees enjoyed a lush life, living as respected community leaders, teaching in the temple, and having a lot of influence on the political system. This came from their standing within Jewish society and the respect that that earned them. John’s warning was that there was going to be a new standard through which they would be viewed. When Jesus came, He removed the barrier between us and God that had given rise to the Pharisees and Priests. When judged by the content of their character, it was seen just how far they had been from God in the first place.
I know that there are many areas of my life through which I could be producing much more fruit than I am. John warms that those that don’t produce good fruit will be thrown into the fire. I don’t want to be seen as the Pharisees. I don’t want my life to be judged unfruitful. The good news is that we have the best source of nurishment for our fruit, and that is a relationship with God and His Word. These are the only things that we need to produce an overabundance of fruit from our lives.
November 16, 2009
Has the progression of technology made it harder to seek God or has it made Him more available. As someone who works in the Church and we technology, it is easy for me to interweave the two. While technology is a distraction in many ways, I am very guiltty of escaping my surrounding with my iPod, I has also made it easier, I can be listening to worship music or a sermon on that iPod.
One of the things that I really struggle with is the availability of the Bible versues how much we actually read it. Just a couple centries ago, it was very bard to get a copy of the Bible. The teaching and the reading of the Word was reserved to just those priveledged enough to have access tithe scriptures. Christians longed for the Word and were faithful in attending church because it was the only place they could hear from God. Now the scripture is easily available, in everything for inexpensive print versions to phones and other technological gadgets. I have dozens of print Bibles and hundreds of Binle translations on my iPod and Kindle. With the Word of God so close, so accessible, it should be a no-brainer to be able to connect to God all day long. But that is too often not what happens. There are so many things I can do with the technology at my disposal that reading the word can sadly be shadowed by other, less important things.
How about you? Has technology become an instrument or a hurdle in your pursuit of a deeper relationship with God? Leave your opinion in the comments.
November 1, 2009
This Sunday was the first Sunday of “Everyday Jesus”, our winter series at Antioch. Through this series, we are going to look at how Jesus applies to our everyday lives. Preparing for this series, I realized just how many days can go by when Jesus is on the outside borders of my life, and not at the center of it. Everyday Jesus is about more than just a routine. It is about relying on the creator of the universe for more than just the emergencies in our lives. Jesus is not a seasonary figure, and He is not a 911 call, Jesus is relevant to our everyday lives, in our struggles and in our pains, in our joys and our fears, and in our relationships with others. I am looking forward to what God speaks into my life through this series and I hope that everyone that attends Antioch is challenged to live with Jesus as the center of their everyday life.
October 25, 2009
How many times do we take for granted the blessings in our lives? Today at Antioch, we had a special prayer time for the region in India where one of our staff members is a missionary. The Indian people in those villages have lost everything that they knew. Their entire lives were disrupted, uprooted, and destroyed.
Too often, I complain when God gives me even the simplest of tasks. I had a wake up call today when I realized that the Christians in this area of India have not only poverty, sickness, and persecution to endure, but recently a terrible flood has covered the region making their daily lives even more difficult. A faith strong enough to withstand the things that they go through should be an example to all of us that our faith is in serious need of reform. I cannot imagine being in that situation and facing so many trials.
Keith wrapped it up best:
Those people cry out to God, because He is all they have.
God is really the only thing we have. He is more than able to influence our everyday.