Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking Blog


Of the many things we've done well as we've started NewLife @ Night, this is not one of them. We've left this blog dormant/bereft/dead as a doornail and you, our reading audience, has been the ones who've suffered.

I'm not promising we're going to get that completely fixed any time soon... but if you're a part of the NewLife community, you're cordially invited to be part of the solution. Drop me a line at mark@newlifeeaston.com and let me know you'd like to become part of the blog team.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

4/22/07 - Prison Break: Freebird

Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.
Lord help me, I can't change.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Freebird"

They don’t really want you to play ‘Free Bird’. They're just heckling you.
Guitar Hero

Then he said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'

This factory owner guy has two sons. The kid brother gets it into his skull that he's had enough. He goes to his dad, and as much as wishes the old man dead: "I want my 1/2 of the inheritance." The dad almost has a heart attack from the shock, but he sits down, does the sums, sells some shares and hands over half the family assets.

The son doesn't even hang around to hear his dad's top ten tips for survival. He legs it. Within weeks he's off to foreign climes, spending the nights filling the glasses of the designer set with his liquid assets. He has such a great time he can't remember any of it the next day. 'Course, the money goes down the toilet. So do the 'friends' when they realize he's broke. So he surfs around and finds a site called www.worstjobsposs.com . He scrolls through the search results and ends up cleaning out the pigsties -- not such a great career move, since he still counts himself Jewish.

He's there with his shovel, scratching away, and suddenly a light bulb goes on just above his head: What am I doing? The worst job in the old man's empire is, like jet-setter status compared to this. If I had any food in my stomach, I'd be throwing up. I'll hitchhike home. Work on a speech -- something like 'You don't have to think of me as family, but please, give me a job.'

After a long hot trip, he truns the corner into his old street. His dad sees him and runs out into the street in his slippers, throws his arms around him, lifts him up and spins him around. And the noise! The whole street hears it. Sooo embarassing!

The son starts his speech, but the dad cuts in, telling his assistant to arrange the biggest street party ever: 'My son was virtually dead, and he's come back. He was lost and now he's turned up. Let's party!'

Don't you just love a happy ending? Me too. Sorry, not this time. See, there's still the big brother issue. He's coming home from work, he turns the same corner and thinks he's in a scene from an old musical: dancing, music, tables up the middle of the street and everyone having a fantastic time. He calls over one of the waiters and asks, 'We just win the lottery or what?' The employee answers, 'Better than that, sir: your brother's back, and your dad's blown the whole entertainment budget on the party!'

That's the trigger. He loses it. Furious, he walks off, kicking lampposts, ranting & swearing. His dad catches up with him but he has to fend off words he'd never heard before from his eldest: 'I've slogged my guts out. Slaving over your accounts. Doing exactly what you told me to do - I've not even taken sick time when I fancied a day down the beach - and did you ever throw a party for me and my mates? No! But when this waster comes crawling back, oh yes, he gets the full treatment. Well, thanks for nothing!'

'Son,' his dad says, grabbing him by the shoulders and eyeballing him, 'you're around all the time, and I love it. What's mine is yours. But how could I not throw a party -- as far as I knew, your brother was dead! Now he's alive. He could've been anywhere, and now he's here, with us. Come on, join the party.'
Luke 15:12-32 (word on the street)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Five Streams

Last fall, I tried to explain (badly) the difference between "emergent" & "emerging" church.

Thankfully, Scot McKnight, the author of The Jesus Creed & other books, has done the heavy lifting for me... and for us here at NewLife @ Night. Go read his Christianity Today article Five Streams of the Emerging Church... and then come back here & let us know what you think.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday

This weekend will be a little different... we'll actually meet at the worship center at 3:00 pm in order to watch the big game between the Bears & the Colts. (For some of you, that game will be the bathroom break between the commercials you want to watch... whatever.) Bring your favorite TV-watching food & non-alcoholic drinkables and join us.

The one thing you'll miss is the halftime show - instead of watching Prince (sheesh - Prince was cool when I was in college, and we all know how long ago that was!), the NewLife @ Night worship band will cut loose and we'll get to worship the One who made it all possible, even the silly commercials. (And, no, that isn't Philo Farnsworth or Vince Lombardi.)

See you Sunday afternoon...

1/28/07 - Heroes: "with great power..."

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Luke 12:48 (NLT)

Hiro: We're changing the future. By taking action, we've changed something.

Ando: What if we make it worse? And if there's going to be a nuclear explosion, shouldn't we be flying away from the bomb?
Hiro: A hero doesn't run away from his destiny. My only concern is whether I need to hide my true identity. Perhaps a costume?
Ando: You even mention tights and a cape, I'm going home.
Heroes: One Giant Leap (Season 1, Episode 3)

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.
Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)

Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option…

Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man.
Peter Parker (from the movie, “Spiderman”)

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (NIV)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

1/14/07 - "dust"

Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1st Corinthians 1:26-29 (TNIV)

May you believe in God. But may you come to see that God believes in you.

May you have faith like Jesus. But may you come to see that Jesus has faith that you can be like him.

A person of love and compassion and truth. A person of forgiveness, and peace, and grace, and joy, and hope.

And may you be covered in the dust of your rabbi, Jesus.
Rob Bell

Sunday, January 07, 2007

1/7/07 - "hardwired"

Worship is first & foremost for His benefit, not ours, though it is marvelous to discover that in giving Him pleasure, we ourselves enter into what can become our richest & most wholesome experience in life.
Graham Kendrick

What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness & confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

Romans 1:21-23 (The Message)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

11/19/06 - "the Bible is a love letter"

The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.
A.W. Tozer

It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit & with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.
C.S. Lewis

You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.
John 5:39-40 (New Living Translation)