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Archive for January, 2009

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day,
What hour, O what black hours we have spent
This night! What sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light’s delay,
– With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.
– I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the cures.
– Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

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Throughout this paper I hope to focus through the lens of worship on the two ideas of (1) Spiritual development and (2) the dichotic need for both solitude and community in a healthy spiritual life. In this paper I am going to suggest that worshiping through Fowler’s stages of faith might be an effective way of meeting our spiritual needs.

There is a certain integration that naturally occurs between Fowler’s stages and the ideas of the dichotomous need for both solitude and community. Approximately half the stages tend to lead us to worship more in community and half lead us to worship in solitude. If we are able to worship through each of the stages, rather than just the stage we find ourselves in, then we become able to meet our spiritual needs for both solitude and silence. (more…)

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A Prayer

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our
Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News
of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive
the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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One only needs to read the phrase, “In the beginning was the word,” to realize that the Gospel of John approaches the story of Jesus in a manner that is truly unique. The gospel of Mark may represent the first unpolished record of the gospel message, and Luke may have finally written “an orderly account,” but it is the author of the gospel of John that truly delves into the theological implications of God coming to earth and dying for humanities transgressions.

There are many times throughout the gospel of John where Jesus tries to make it clear to his disciples that he is God incarnate, who has come to this earth as their savior; as their messiah. Jesus also tries to make it clear that he will die; unfortunately, the disciples never fully understand. One of these occasions occurs near the oratorical climax of the text, while Jesus and his disciples are eating what will be their last Passover meal together. Judas has just left the room to setup his betrayal and Jesus tries to explain to his disciples what is about to happen. The vast majority of John’s account (13:31b-36) of this event is entirely original and holds no semblance to any part of the other three gospels. (more…)

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Melchizedek, the king of Salem, is a character that fascinates me. He is called a “priest of God Most High”. Melchizedek blesses Abram and blesses God. Then Abram gives Melchizedek a tenth of everything he owned. The king of Sodom then asks for the captives from a recent military campaign to be returned to him in exchange for Abram keeping the valuables. Abram declines because he does not want anyone to think he became wealthy due to the king of Sodom; Abram wants everyone to know it was God who gave him all his possessions.

I need to freely give to those who are true ministers of the word of God. I need to be careful who I associate with. I need to make sure my focus is on being an example of Jesus, and not on becoming great, or wealthy.

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Abram and Lot were so blessed by God that the land could not support both of their flocks and herds. So Abram allows Lot to pick which way he would like to go and Abram goes the opposite. God then speaks to Abram again and tells him that he will be blessed.

There are times in life when God blesses us so greatly that we have to change our course. A question that has been on my mind recently is this: is it better for a church that has been blessed to expand itself or to plant a daughter church in the same town? To expand allows us to grow larger and to be able to do more and greater ministries; but it can also feed into our ego and make us think that we are the important players. To plant a daughter church forces us to give up control (which is a scary thing), and it keeps us from growing as large which may limit our ministry; but in the long run it is probably a more efficient and affective way of growing the kingdom of God and would provide a positive example of a church split.

When Abram and Lot split, God continued to bless Abram. I would argue that planting a daughter church is probably a better path to go down then expanding a growing church.

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