Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas is a season of worship

Christmas is a celebration of God.
Secular people often celebrate Christmas with zeal.
Could something resonate with people that makes them feel warm and fuzzy around that time of year? Not because they 'know God' or call themselves a follower of that "Saviour born in the city of David" but because that is how humans were made-to worship God.
Something intrinsic?
Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Theory of Relativity

The Theory of Relativity states that systems in uniform motion will experience no deiviation in any physical laws. No law of physics will be violated. These types of physics problems usually fall in your first physics class where all laws of physics still are intuitive. A car hits a wall going 20 mph and then there is an accident. At no point do you expect otherwise.
But then something changes. You get into your second class in physics and everything you learned about 'the laws' change. Allow me to explain...
*In the theory of relativity one person on the moon ages less than the person on the earth. Another way to say it would be the person on the earth observes the person on the moon as moving slower than he is moving. If he could look at his watch on the moon he would notice it goes a little slower than his own. Time Dilation.
*You get your hot new car going up to...say 150,000 mph...and your friend takes a picture of you that was supposed to be life sized. Only when he looks at it he sees your car looks a lot shorter. From front to back he sees your car AND YOU have been squashed. Length Contraction.
*Your obsessive friend who just had to take your picture also noticed you may be gaining some weight. But when you slow down and weigh yourself you still weigh what you weighed before you went so fast. But the picture really shows you getting chubby... e=mc^2 energy to mass transition.
*and something else called Relativity of Simultaneity. That says when something takes place at the same time as another it may not look like it to both people watching.

The breakdown in intuitive physics leads many to believe that science is not only more complicated than we could have imagined [or planned] but also seemingly irrational!
All this math can be figured out and understood but none of this is what anyone would expect.
It is like there are frames or reference that can take the same event and slow it down, for others it can be stopped. Some see the same object as heavy or short and others see long and skinny.

There are so many ways to see each situation. So many points of view. So many facts to consider. Time being relative. Events being relative. Time...TIME being relative to people.

So God, being superior to creation shows different experiences on time in our own physical universe. Within our laws of physics. His laws of physics I would say. How much more is He not expected to be intuitive. Not subject to act within our laws of physics, not subject to act within our frames of reference. Not locked into human time or situation. But even free to act simultaneously in the past, present and future.

2 Peter 3:8
Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord
one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

oh that crazy Paul...

3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer
4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.
5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

At some point this week a few thoughts popped into my mind. Not so much a 'popping 'but rather a lightning effect. You know the one, the one where a thought is so outstandingly brilliant in your mind you can't think of anything else for a moment because the truth in this one thought is so vivid that it overshadows everything else.
There is something about confrontation that bothers people. It bothers me. It aggrivates me. It forces me to be assertive and possibly even hurtful to someone if I am insensetive with my word choices.
Though I don't like to hurt people's feelings, I rather like to protect myself. It's a struggle I have dealt with for a while. I think it can be part of every human's desire but for me it is more so rooted in insecurity.
I would, proudly, tell you that I have become strong in my confrontation skills.
But is it always right to confront others? Paul seems to advocate that it is good and godly if the goal of it is verse 5.

Do we always see all sides of things? There can be so many internal and extrenal factors that are sewn into the fabric of everyday situations that it can seem easy for a physicist, such as myself, to feel like I have the whole situation understood. But when someone explains the emotional context of where they are to me I can often be put to shame for my assumptions.
Perhaps confrontation is one of those little understood dilemas in the Christian life.
It's similar to church discipline. My small group talked about that topic in 1 Corinthians 5 for a while with only minor revelation within the text. Mostly because life is messy. Imagine where we would be without the text!
I'm sure God uses our sincere attempts at confrontation to correct each other in a meaningful way.
But there is this strange thing that happens with confrontation- When you are forced to confront and you do so with a humble, heavy heart: You grow in character and you trust God more. When you seek what is God's best in a situation your desires are altered [growth] so you try to see situations and people the way God sees them. When you confront in a godly way you often build a stronger relationship with the confrontee. 'You have won your brother' is a common this is said. You have loved God by loving your brother and you have loved your brother by confronting out of love (that comes from the heart).

There was more to the thought in the moment it occured, but for now it is just food for thought...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Vine and the Branches

John 15 has got to be one of my favorite New Testament passages to study. When we came to these verses in the First Church bible study, On The Rock, I typed up my notes for it.
Working on these bible studies is typically a long process for me. This set of notes was probably the last version. Not all notes have been checked for theological accuracy but were thoughts and concersation starters. Just something I thought I would like to post.

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
Picture the image-God is the gardener, He planted to garden, he selected the spot of it to grow, he planted the seeds, He did this and that, all the work for you to grow has been done!
Great image that God takes such specialized care growing us.
2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
When we don’t bear fruit we get attention from the gardener. Whether to be removed or to be lifted up. But we know God’s motive is to have us bear more fruit.
Why would God want us to bear more fruit?
What is this fruit we bear?
What does FRUIT mean?
You can still bear fruit after being pruned. So trouble doesn’t mean the end for the person who abides in Christ. Realistically it’s the beginning of a deeper place of intimacy with God. Good news for us walking along rocky roads, they don’t mean the end!
3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
Our cleanliness is related to the position of the WORD in us.
Hypothetical: Can we ‘sort of’ abide without being cleansed by the word?
High on religion- low on salvation?
Does the importance of the Word in our life give us an indicator to the temperature
of our faith and our priorities?
4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
How do we bear fruit? ABIDE
Well, what does ABIDE mean? It’s so important.
Conduit, Pipeline, Extension cord
The can’t run without God, Laptop or Light-The Power Source.
Because our growth, maturity and depth as Christians is so related to our abiding in Christ.
How does this indicate our priorities? What gets the majority of my time?

What gets the majority of my thoughts? What gets the majority of my money?
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him,
he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I think it’s called a conjunction- The opposite of
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
When you don’t remain, you aren’t bearing fruit. Bad branch- not fulfilling the only purpose to be on the vine!
Can a person abide then un-abide? Are you really saved?
Does this speak of losing ones salvation?
Does it speak to the unsaved?

John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament
"I do not doubt that this relationship, in principle and in a general analogy, still subsists. Those who make a profession, who attach themselves to Christ in order to follow Him, will, if there is life, be cleansed; if not, that which they have will be taken away. Observe therefore here, that the Lord speaks only of His word-that of the true prophet-and of judgment, whether in discipline or in cutting off. Consequently He speaks not of the power of God, but of the responsibility of man-a responsibility which man will certainly not be able to meet without grace; but which has nevertheless that character of personal responsibility here."

7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
Remember last time? There is a change or personal desires that occurs quite naturally as we are abiding with God! What good news! We cant force it the fruit just develops!
8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God’s glory is for us to bear fruit that we may share our discipleship with others.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10If you
obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Milk jug filling an 8 ounce cup
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
As if that wasn’t clear enough. Note that this is also a reference to the extent of His love for us. Meaning he knew he was to die for his people. Knowing the future usually means a CTD! [Claim to Divinity-a subtle way Jesus claims to be God]
14You are my friends if you do what I command.
15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

The proactive friendship of God in our lives!
Proactive love reached down, Grace means getting what we don’t deserve. And we certainly aren’t good enough to be considered friends of the God of the Universe!
16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
WE ARE CHOSEN BY GOD [Adopted], not only that but we are chosen to bear fruit!
17This is my command: Love each other.
A personal relationship is what God desires. Salvation is just the beginning. We mature as we abide in God and that relationship. It’s a complex but good process.
Even when the brokenness of our existence weighs on us the process is still good because when you get past that time you will be able to recognize God’s sovereignty in your life and how you were able to draw nearer to God in those rough times.