Friday, November 30, 2007

Video of the week

This is an amazing video from Georgia. Police storm in and shut down a TV station while still on air. Thank God for freedom of the press here in Canada, let's never take it for granted.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Only the Injil v3 - Making a splash

Recently I became a 30-something, which at first glance was quite depressing. There has been, however, one sweet consolation - I am now in my 'Jesus years'. These years in Jesus' life (between 30 and 33) were powerful, dynamic, miraculous and ultimately led to the greatest grass-roots revolution in human history.

Realizing this, I picked up my Reese Chronological Bible and each day, for the next 3 years, I will seek to read about exactly what Jesus was doing at my age!

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This edition of "Only the Injil" focuses on Jesus continuing to build momentum with his new movement. Last time we saw him 'making a splash' so to speak, getting baptised by John the Baptist so everyone could see. This time he uses the biggest celebration that the country has to make his public debut

Everything Jesus does is so fascinating and instructive. There's so much that could be said about each of these 'editions' that it's hard to really decide what to include. I've put this edition off for far too long for just that reason.

For example, last time I was simply writing about how Jesus gathered his disciples but there are some really comical interchanges (I think) as Jesus first meets his future disciples through their friends. Take John 1:42. Andrew brings Peter to Jesus and the first thing Jesus says to Peter is 'hey buddy, I'm gonna call you 'The ROCK'! Or when Jesus meets Nathaniel (John 1:46) his first words are 'hey, here comes an honest man!'. You can almost see a smile on Jesus' face as he establishes himself as a guy with something about him that they would want to follow.

Jesus had personality and people skills. To me, it's almost comical to read how he interacts and make these new followers feel comfortable with him, and at the same time makes them want to follow him. This is interesting, especially as we think of making contact with people. So many times I've brought people to church and the leaders that are supposed to be experts on this stuff completely drop the ball. One time a friend of mine brought their mom to church and when I introduced her to the key leader in the church his first words to her were 'Hello, it's great to see you, but where have you been for so long'. Total idiot. In contrast, Jesus puts people at ease, makes them feel like he's interested in them, points out good things and even gives them little pet nicknames :)

> Jesus @ 31 years & 2 weeks old - So after gathering his first followers, Jesus hangs out with them in Capernaum for a while (John 2:12). Lots can be said here about discipleship. Spending time with people. Deepening relationships. Having no agenda. Too often I see Christians that hustle their contacts/disciples from this event to that event and rarely just hang out with them. Think about it. If you had someone that was interested in following Jesus what would you do with them? Bring them to a program/church/event? Jesus' strategy is totally different, he seems to me to be anti-programatic in his discipleship. He takes them home to meet his mom. Is that something you've ever done? Bring your friends to meet your family? Let them spend time in your home. Ask yourself, how often do the people in your church programs come to your home? Would people that are in your church programs be able to 'just drop in' and stay with you for a few days? It doesn't sound like something that could make the church bulletin but it's exactly what Jesus does.

Then they go to a wedding in Cana of Gallillee (2:2) and He does a simple miracle there. I won't comment on this, other than to wonder what Jesus meant when he said 'woman, my time hasn't come (John 2:4)'. As you read through what Jesus did in the next few weeks, was he saying he didn't want to be revealed until the time was right in Jerusalem at the passover? I'd be interested to hear thoughts on that.

What happens next is phenomenal. How did Jesus go from being a poor carpenters son from Nazareth to national phenomenon in such a short time? Was it simply his magic Jesus skills that helped him, or was he more strategic? John 2:13 mentions Jesus taking his disciples down to Jerusalem for the passover. It's what every good Jew would do. Take a pilgrimage. Sacrifice. Once again everyone would be there. Jesus once again decides to crash the biggest party in the country. This time though there's nobody to introduce him so he makes his own introduction. Cue Super Bowl Sunday part 2.

Jesus has already developed grass-roots word-of-mouth interest throughout the country, reminiscent of William Wallace lore in Braveheart ("William Wallace killed 50 men"), about who he was. So what is Jesus' next move? He takes it to the next level by going to Jerusalem with his new disciples and making a massive spectacle! There are so many applications here I don't know where to start. Think about this, there is already a buzz in the country about who this guy is that John baptized, but now he goes to the capital city Jerusalem right at Passover time and intentionally picks a fight with the religious leaders!! If being baptised by John the Baptist was Superbowl Sunday then this stunt is the World Cup of Soccer in comparison.

Everyone that was there to see John the Baptist would be there in Jerusalem. Also, all those people who weren't there, but heard reports about 'this one' would also be there. All the whispers are now escalated. He did what? In the temple? Did you see him? Who is this guy? This is what would be heard at supper tables across the land. The strategy Jesus uses is amazing to watch. Literally everyone in the entire country is talking about him, as well as other pilgrims who had come from other places just for the passover. I liken it to the scene when V takes over Jordan tower in the movie V for Vendetta and gets his message to the entire country.

With these 2 huge publicity stunts Jesus ensures that he is the talk of the town and all eyes are on him. He sets the stage for eveyone to be interested in everything he's doing. Every move will create more whispers. Every sentence will be analyzed. The stage is set. While I can barely contain the excitement of this, next time I will look at the content of what Jesus does in the temple and what statement he's making with all this publicity.

Up next - Temple tantrum

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The sayings of Lukas v37 - Christmas

Last night we set up some of our Christmas decorations. After putting up the nativity scene Olivia started pointing and saying "Baby Jesus".

Hayley: Yes, Olivia there's baby Jesus up there
Lukas: Where's baby Jesus? Oh there he is...and the wise men...and shepherds....but where's King Herod??

Monday, November 26, 2007

World Clock

*UPDATE* Here is a link to the World Clock - it was too big to keep on the blog for too long


...Reminds me of the title of a sermon I read once: Time is passing, death is coming, are you prepared to meet God?

And if that's just too depressing, here's a countdown to Christmas

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christian response to Muslim letter

A while back I mentioned that 138 Muslim leaders had signed a letter titled "A Common Word Between Us and You" - click here for full text.

Just last week Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and other Christian leaders wrote a response which I thought was good in that it explicitly asked for forgiveness for the Crusades and other wrongs that Christians of the past have done to Muslims (click here for full text.)

Log in to our new blog for more observations...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

One more reason why I love facebook

Those of you who have added me on facebook know I have some pictures up of my "Bridlegrove Homeys" - click here.

One such 'homey' is a young lad (at left) I met in 2004 named Orlando Franklin. Remember that name. When I met Orlando he was just 16 years old but already stood 6 foot 7 and weighed around 280 pounds.

Like most of the 'homeys' that live in Scarborough, Orlando moved away and I completely lost contact with him. That is until someone tagged him in one of my pictures on facebook and we got reacquainted. Much to my delight I discovered that Orlando is now the starting offensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes and making headlines across the football world!! Way to go Orlando!! I believe he could go quite far in football, so say a prayer for this little 'homey' whenever you hear about the Miami Hurricanes.

Happy Birthday Olivia!


Today my little girl turns 2! Happy Birthday Olivia

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Need a title v38 - Justin

Justin's pretty excited. Can anyone think of a good title?

Video of the week - Ottawa

Here's a quick video I took in Ottawa. It was amazing to see the verses from the Bible that are inscribed in stone right on the Parliament buildings:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wikkid tales

Well I'm back from Ottawa with loads of goodies and ideas. The best part of a conference is always the people that you meet whom you haven't seen in a while. One such person is the infamous Wikkid Person himself!!

It was great to see him again and yak it up over fish n chips at an Ottawa pub. We talked about everything from our experiences with various branches of the brethren to church culture to music. He reminded me that I still needed to listen to his 'Tales of the Prodigals Elder brother' collection of MP3's on his website. I decided to check them out and they are a brilliant masterpiece of the confusion that is growing up Christian. Since I was not raised Christian these 'tales' are instructive to me as I raise my own kids. So I wanted to share these 'tales' with all of you. If you go to Wikkid's website you can find these MP3's ready for download on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blogging from Ottawa

Hi everybody, it's 11PM here in Ottawa and I just got in my hotel room. Had lots of fun at a number of pre-conference events, the awesomest of which is getting to spend some time with Alan Hirsch! I'll try to post some video I took but my batteries ran out. I first heard of Hirsch from one of our interns Dan Carlson and he truly has some awesome ideas. Unfortunately for some, it seems to me that these ideas involve completely deconstructing church as we know it.

And not just in ways like having services on Saturdays or something like that. His 'Finding Nemo' analogy about aquariums vs. the ocean was key. He went so far as to say that the aquariums we set up (safe, clean church environments where only 'good people' swim) are not only artificial, they are actually detrimental to the fish, as they are unable to survive in the ocean. If I'm understanding this right, he's saying that church is actually detrimental to people's ability to do amazing things for God. That's something I've been saying for a long time, but usually have been told I'm crazy. To show up at a conference and hear the main speaker saying what I'm thinking in my deepest thoughts is something I'm really excited about.

But what do you think, is church in the west actually detrimental to people's ability to do great things for God?

The sayings of Sylas v11 - Microwave

Today Hayley & Sylas were making applesauce when Sylas heard a beeping sound:

Sylas: Mom, it's finished waving!!
Mommy: What's waving?
Sylas: The Micro-wave

Monday, November 12, 2007

Diamonds

I found this on a friends blog:

Imagine

Tomorrow I leave for Ottawa to attend the Imagine conference. Should be a really good time and I'll try to blog a few times about what I'm learning. I'm really looking forward to hearing Alan Hirsch, Sam Owusu and Ed Stetzer, as well as getting to chat with friends from all over Canada.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Video of the Week - I think I love Ron Paul

I'm not an American, but if I was I'd vote for Ron Paul.

100,000 reasons to read

Today the little counter at the bottom will click over 100,000!! So I thought I'd take a minute to thank all of you who check up on us, pray for us, support us financially and read up on what we're doing here on the athensBLOG!

If you do the math....

100,000 divided by 3 years = 33,333/year
33,333 divided by 52 weeks = 640/week
640 divided by 7 days = 91/day

We started this blog way back in 2004 as a way to keep folks updated on our trip to the Olympics in Athens. Since then it's blossomed into a discussion forum, as well as a wiki, we've been able to post ministry updates, thoughts, pictures, videos, stories of our kids and prayer requests. We hope you've enjoyed the last 3 years!

'No church Sunday'?

Over at Lon's blog he's got an idea for shaking things up in the peu's. An idea he calls - No Church Sunday.
the idea of intentionally not gathering as a church on sunday...Really, we’re not even suppose to be going to church, we are the church.
So how about it, would your congregation be willing to take a 'sabbath' from church?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Letter bomber in court today

You may remember a bomb scare here in Thorncliffe back in August. Today the bomber appeared in court and faced 8 new charges related to a seperate incident.

CityTV reports:
The man accused in all those other crimes is now facing eight new charges of attempted murder. His alleged weapon: tampered water bottles. Cops aren't saying much yet about their latest case against 37-year-old Adel Arnaout. He was arrested last August 31st at a gas station in the Thorncliffe Park area

Monday, November 05, 2007

Parenting 101 v15 - Girls

When I am confronted with a difficult parenting situation, I'll put the issue out there to plumb the depths of the vast parenting knowledge of my beloved readers....Here is our fifteenth edition of Parenting 101.
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Lukas' understanding of the world is increasing by the minute. He's learning to read and discovering many wonderful things. His questions are much different than before. Some things still don't make sense to him. For example, the other day at the supper table Lukas asked:

Why do girls have long finger nails?

I couldn't think of a good answer. Any ideas?

Monday's hot topics - The Word of God

Recently on the forum a fellow named jpurssey stated that he believed Jesus was the Word of God, not the Bible:
I also believe that Jesus, not the Bible, is the Word. The Bible is a very useful collection of texts
Many people reacted to this statement, and a poll was started. So far it seems most people believe Jesus AND the Bible are the Word of God.

What do you think? Is Jesus the Word of God and the Bible simply a record of him. Or are the actual pages in the Bible the Word of God? Or both? Or neither? Post your thoughts in the comments below, or on the forum - here

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Imposter!!

Not only is there another Hayley Cuthill out there, turns out there's another Shawn Cuthill on the loose:

http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/sport/Hockey-Sam-hits-five-for.3440582.jp
Pelicans gave Walsham Kent, Heatrick and Sweeney for the second half, but the goals kept coming through Shaun Cuthill
Go Pelicans!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Video of the week - Welcome to Toronto!

In this week's video Justin & Aaron document their first few months here in Toronto and Thorncliffe Park. It's a sweet little video of the city, with cameo appearances from our little prayer group, Hayley, and our apartment: