The Cups we use at our Gatherings for Communion

For our Re/New worship gatherings, we have decided that, due to liability issues, we could have communion with wine as long as we have individual cups to help people feel comfortable (due to possibly spreading germs).  You should see the trays we have to use for distribution!


Codex Sinaiticus NOW online!

This "bit" of info is from the new website!  I’ve been trying to get on to look at the Codex all morning…too much traffic!  Can’t see it!  That’s how significant this is!

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sinaiticus is one of
the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years
ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including
the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected
text is of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible and the
manuscript – the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity – is of
supreme importance for the history of the book.

DeVries hits one out of the park today!

Jesussmiling_2This is a post from my buddy Mike DeVries blog today.  Good job Mikey!  Way to yank that sucker out of the park!

Rediscovering the Gospels – By Mike DeVries

I was doing some reading tonight when I came across this quote from Tom Wright:

am forced to conclude that there is a substantial swathe of
contemporary evangelicalism which actually doesn’t know what the
gospels themselves are there for, and would rather elevate "Paul"
(inverted commas, because it is their reading of Paul, rather than the
real thing, that they elevate) and treat Matthew. Mark, Luke and John
as mere repositories of Jesus’ stories from which certain doctrinal and
theological nuggets may be collected.

I think
he is dead on with this. It took me back to a conversation we had while
we were in the Bahamas for Soularize. His statement at that time was
that for a substantial section of evangelicalism "Paul" is where we go
for the "Gospel," while the Gospels themselves are simply the stories
about Jesus. It was as if the writings of Paul were the real
theological substance, while the Gospels were somehow lesser in
theological stature. What Wright was inviting us into to was nothing
less than a re-discovery of what the Gospels are – beautifully crafted
representations of the message of the Kingdom, proclamations of what
the "Gospel" of God is and looks like.

Could not agree more.

What would our Christian faith look like if it were shaped as much by the Gospels as it is by the writings of Paul?

Eavesdropping into a Great Discussion on the Bible…worth looking at!

I’m a regular reader of Mark Roberts blog…great guy.  He was the Senior Pastor of a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA while I was doing a similar gig "down the street" at Good Shepherd Lutheran.  Anyway, over the last couple of days, he’s been posting a very good discussion on aspects of the Bible that I thought you would like to see…you can check out the rest of the discussion at Mark’s website.  He’s talking with Chris Smith who worked on the International Bible Society’s Books of the Bible. This aspect of the discussion comes after a question Mark poses about the chapters and verses in the bible…enjoy:

The chapters and verses that the Bible was divided into came many
centuries after its books were written. Chapters were introduced around
1200 AD, so that authors of commentaries could refer to passages more
easily. Verses were added around 1550 AD, originally so that a
concordance to the Greek New Testament could be prepared. In other
words, chapters and verses were introduced so that reference works
could be created. They were never intended to guide devotional reading
or to structure public teaching.

Mark: It seems strange to think of the Bible without the chapters
and verse numbers, since they’re so much a part of the Bibles we read
today. They almost seem sacred, though I know they’re not. Why do these
get in the way of our understanding of Scripture?

Chris: Chapters were intended to be roughly all the same length. But
the natural sections of biblical books are of greatly varying lengths.
Thus chapters tend to divide up a longer sections into shorter ones, or
else put shorter sections together into what looks deceptively like a
coherent unity. For example, in 1 Corinthians, discussions of single
topics have been divided into chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4; into chapters 8,
9 and 10; and into chapters 12, 13 and 14. Meanwhile, two shorter
discussions have been combined in chapters 6, 7, and 11. Another short
discussion is attached to Paul’s travel plans and greetings in chapter
16. Only chapters 5 and 15 consist of a single discussion in its
entirety. How can anyone understand a book that’s been divided up like
this, if they try to read it chapter by chapter?

Mark: When I’ve read devotionally through the Bible, going chapter
by chapter, I’ve experienced what you’re talking about. But I’ve never
given this too much thought, honestly. So what’s wrong with the verse

Chris: Adding verses to chapters made things even worse. Verses
create the impression that the Bible consists of series of independent
statements–that it’s a collection of authoritarian rules or doctrinal
propositions. This is particularly deadly for a postmodern audience,
which is not really receptive to those things. But postmodern people
are very receptive to art, music, poetry and the like. If we can make
the original literary forms of the biblical books visible once again,
postmoderns will be much better able to receive the message the Bible
has been trying to convey all along through its stories, songs, letters
and poems. All of us, in fact, would do better to engage the Bible as a
collection of literary creations that together trace the path of God’s
redemptive work.

Lord Save us from your followers – quick “thumbs up”

Lsu_book_coverAll I can say now (I just got home and need something to munch on) is that this film gets a BIG "thumbs up".  Go to the WEBSITE and order a copy…show it to your community/church/group/whatever and have a great discussion.  Worth every minute of it!  I’ll give a fuller "review" soon…but for now let us suffice to say that the book was good but the movie was better! 

I recommend it highly…there was a number of people in our community that were challenged and encouraged by the fact that it is God’s mercy/kindness that leads people to Him AND for more reasons than we care to admit, we’re blowing that message in a rush to set up and "us vs. them" mentality/posture in the culture.  My feeling is that it is time for Christ-followers to take the Kingdom message back from those who want to use it for their own purposes or for that which constantly divides and condemns.  So…more to come! 

In the meantime, check out the WEBSITE and order one today!

Virgil got this one!

Virgil, a new "friend" in the E-world just brought this to "our" attention today…thanks dude!

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, Michigan Live reports:

A Canton man is suing Zondervan Publishing and a
Tennessee-based publisher, claiming their versions of the Bible that
refer to homosexuality as a sin violate his constitutional rights and
have caused him emotional pain and mental instability.

Mental instability alright…I wonder if Muslims would put up with this charge regarding the Quran and Homosexuality?

Book Review – The Almost true story of Ryan Fischer

I’m honored to be able to be on the Ooze team of book reviewer…just like in the delight that I feel every time a box with a smile on it arrives from Amazon, so I get excited when a discreet white envelope arrives from Mike Morrell filled with some new gems from the publishing world. 

Unfortunately, I can’t agree with some others who are in the process of reading/reviewing this book…I found this
book idiotic and trite. It proved to me what many others have said
about “Christian” fiction…it is poorly written and full of stuff that
is unlikely and outrageous. The fact that it has on a cover, "a work of fiction" is actually the best part of this book…it is what the dictionary says about fiction – "something untrue that is intentionally represented as true by the narrator".  In this instance, the author’s imagination is beyond what is even in the same universe as reality.  Normally, I’m in on fiction.  I read TONS of it.  I just finished a series of "ancient detective" novels by Steven Saylor that were outstanding.  Then there is David James Duncan and others who write incredible stories.  With "The Almost True Story…", I put it down about the 1/2 way mark…it was actually more like a bad illustration shared at a ministry conference than a good idea for a book.  For a book that is intended to be smart, witty and insightful, It actually ended up putting down one of the things it was attempting to lampoon – the
church planting struggle.  By making Ryan a “hero” in the church planting
world slammed and trivialized those who are out there working the
Kingdom with the depth of their hearts and souls. I hope this book just
goes away! Now, I don’t know the author and I’m sure that Rob must be a nice guy.  He is a "Creative Director" at a mega-church…that’s fine.  Rob, God bless you!  I just couldn’t buy this one bud!  I’ll read your next novel, that’s a given.  I’m always game for a good story.  But I don’t think that this one was helpful or entertaining (which I believe novels need to be). 

By the way, one suggestion for you – if you want to read a "helpful" though uncomfortable book about Christian subculture, read “Rapture Ready”by
Daniel Radosh
…it is a much better.