Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Jesus Way...

I'm reading a book entitled, The Jesus Way: a conversation of the ways that Jesus is the way, by Eugene Peterson (author of The Message). It is one of those books that really takes me in, not only through the message of the book but also through the style of writing. Mind you, if you want a "fluff" read to reinforce your own world-view, or if you're looking for sugar-coated Christianity...well, you'd do better to read something else or someone else. Like all of the Peterson books I've read, The Jesus Way is challenging, confronting, and at the same time a delight to read.

If you are looking for a good read this Fall or for during the winter months, and you're not afraid to have your world-view challenged a bit, I recommend you take up The Jesus Way. It's the kind of book that you can hardly sit to read a chapter--that's almost too much. I'm reading pieces...a little a time, digesting, turning over, pondering. A church staff would benefit of doing an extended book study...but it seems dangerous--it's the kind of book that can really do a number on a church. But, I think it'd be worth it.

Hope that your reading is going well. If you find a really good read, let me know. I'm out of the loop on this end...and have to trust the suggestions of people on that side to let me know what is new, what is good. Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Chance to Live the Faith...

Of course, it has been in the news. My guess is that it's the headline of most newspapers--the "financial crisis" in North America (and Europe). The government is talking about "bail-outs" for both financial institutions and individuals. Predictions close to "the Great Depression" abound. People are worried...and things look grim. What a great place for God's people to be!!

What do I mean? Well, let's see.... The Scriptures indicate that we are to be a people of joy, of hope, of faith. Fortunately for the world, the call to be such people does NOT come with a caveat! We can't turn from our responsibility of being people of good cheer, of kind words, and joyful faith just because things are falling down around us.

When we read the accounts of the Christians being sent to the lions in Rome in the 1st and 2nd Centuries, we find that they entered the arena singing and praising God. Were the scared? Probably terrified on some level...a terror that most of us will never know. But, they knew that they were called to be a people of faith and confidence...and that their faith and confidence was not to be found in swords or governments or people. Their confidence was in God...that He was working all things together for good, that He would receive them and bless them upon their death.

Well, we may feel that our economy is being fed to the lions right now...but even if that is the case, as people of God, shouldn't we, in this day and age, also enter the arena with confidence, with joy?? As the crisis continues, I hope and pray that Christians across America will not give in to all the nay-saying, to all the gloom and doom. May we stand tall, smile and bring words of grace and hope into the national conversation. For we know that our future extends beyond retirement, that our final hope is not in Wall Street, and that "joy" does not come from nor is sustained by money.

May God bless us in new ways...may we joyfully place our trust in the right place. Jon