When a horse is hooked up to a plow or a wagon, the farmer will place a blinder over the head of the animal, blocking the side view and forcing the horse to look forward. This helps the horse focus on the task at hand and keep it from getting distracted by events happening on either side.
Sometimes in life it is good to have blinders on – for example, it is good to keep ourselves focused on Jesus rather than getting distracted by things of this world (i.e. wealth, fame, pride, food, etc.). However – and this is a HUGE “however” – most of the time blinders are bad.
They are bad because they are basically blind spots in our lives – places or areas that we a) either don’t know about or b) are unwilling to address.
The solution to these blinders is to have someone call out the blind spots and make them known. The “someone” could be the Holy Spirit, a friend, pastor, mentor, parent, spouse, child, family member or a stranger. In my experience it is usually a combination of all of the above…
The main question, though, is not who calls out the blind spots – the question is what we are going to do with the information.Are we going put the blinders back on and pretend that we didn’t ‘see’ anything? Ignorance, they say, is bliss.
Yet, to do this is to essentially ignore our King. We are to live in the light of Jesus and not walk around in the darkness of our own blinders and ignorance.
A site I have been following recently asked for blog suggestions as they were looking for some new sites to follow. In thinking about that, I decided to list out some of my favorite blog sites for your reading pleasure. Note however that this is a very small list as I have over 80 sites on my RSS feed… yeah, I’m strange that way! 😛
Jason Clark – Jason is a Vineyard church planter in SW London, UK, as well as a teacher at George Fox Seminary and a PhD student in theology at Kings College London. He has some great thoughts and conversations on the church, culture, mission, and theology in general.
WordHavering – Written by Mike Freeman, a Vineyard Boise (Idaho) pastor, this blog full of amazing “musings/haverings on God, theology, the Bible and the occasional movie.” While it may sound cliche, I would have to say that Mike’s style of write is refreshing and warm to the eyes.
As I See It… – Marty Boller is the pastor of the Cedar Rapids, IA, Vineyard church and has been exploring ways to move from focusing on size of a church building, money in the bank account and/or the number of folks attending to really, truly following Jesus and being missional to our communities
Peace Catalyst International – Peace Catalyst is an organization seeking to “stimulate peacemaking between individuals and between peoples.” Most of the articles are written by Rick Love, a truly peaceful and loving man, who severs as a consultant for Christian-Muslim relations in the Vineyard, USA.
Brambonius’ blog in English – Brambonius is a Belgium Vineyard guy who writes some eye opening posts about Jesus, Christianity and the Bible through a European worldview.
Carl Medearis – Carl is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations as well as the author of “Speaking of Jesus” (one of the best books ever!). The thing I love about Carl is his passionate love for Jesus and the ability to separate the culture of “Christianity” from following the person of Jesus. Well worth the read!
Verse&Verse – A wonderful blog full of heart felt poems and deep views on following Jesus. It is written by Steven Hamliton who currently in the process of launching a Jesus community in urban Pittsburgh. He is also deeply involved with the Vineyard Anti-Slavery Team.
Captain’s Blog – Written by Chad Estes, this blog just oozes the freedom, mercy and love of Jesus to all people at all times. It is definitely a good site to have on your RSS feed.
To some folks this word sums up all that is that is wrong with the world. It is the ‘liberals’ in the government that are destroying our nation… it is the ‘liberals’ in the church that one must be watchful for as they are the “wolves in sheep clothing” Jesus warns us about.
Yet, what exactly is theological liberalism? What is it that has people in the church scared?
Or, to rephrase the question, are we using the term ‘liberal’ a little too, well, liberally? Perhaps we are calling folks a ‘liberal’ when they simply differ from us in some minor points and not on the big issues?
I, myself, for example, have been called a ‘liberal’ by folks who disagree with my stance on taking care of the environment. Or, for that matter, on my belief that women can serve at any level within the local church (yes, that means they can be pastors and preachers).
But do those beliefs make me a ‘liberal’?
To a fundamentalist perhaps…but in the history of theology, no – it does not.
The reason for this is that theologically speaking a ‘liberal’ is one who has believes that doctrines of Christianity should be subject to the consensus of modern thought.
This was the hardest sermon I’ve ever preached (noting, of course, my loooong career as a preacher). 😛 It was hard not because of the time it took to prepare; or because of the words used in the sermon.
It was hard because I have to live it.
I cannot read the words of Jesus to others if I am not willing – nay, if I do not try with every breath – to live them out in my personal life…
Following and obeying Jesus… hard things do to….Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
Yesterday afternoon I was staring out of our upper window looking south across the green fields towards the Montour mountains…. Reagan’s Butte stood tall – a silent monument of a peaceful valley created by the Hands of God.
Dotted throughout this beautiful view were roofs – metal, tile, shingle – roofs of the houses of people. What is happening in these houses? Do they enough food? Are they lonely? Friendless? Are they fighting cancer? Disease? Perhaps a cold or flu?
Maybe they have a good family, some friends – maybe they are healthy….maybe they are searching for something bigger then themselves? Perhaps they feel empty and lack a purpose…
Each home – each person has a story… they have feelings, emotions, dreams…yet often we drive past these houses without thinking – without considering the pain, the happiness, the people inside.
Today we are going to talk about being a “Reconciling Community” – a community of healing and forgiveness. A community – a people – who realize the power of the cross to reconcile what has been separated by sin.
It always amazing me that no matter how much I prepare ahead of time, the Lord always takes my sermons off track. This week was no different – granted, I stayed on ‘track’ for most of the time. It was the ending that God really took over…but considering He gave some words of knowledge and healed some folks, I guess I will let you continue to run the show. 😉
Today we are going to be talking about the theology and practice of the Kingdom of God.
Now before you all get scared or nervous about “theology” – let me tell you that is really just about fried chicken.
Juicy, buttermilk batter, on-the-bone, deep-fat fried chicken – the kind that clogs your arteries the moment you take a bite. To a Southern boy like myself, that is a description of a piece of mouth watering fried chicken. Right?!