Friday, September 28, 2007

No Way! Ain't Going There!

Food and Music. Everyone has a strong opinion about foods they like and foods they hate. And it does not follow a clear logic-line. The same is true about music, especially in the church. People really, really like choral music with organ accompaniment or really, really hate it. People really, really like music sung from memory with a heavy percussive beat or they just can't stand it and will walk out of worship. But most folks will agree that these are personal opinions and preferences and not matters of fact and certitude.
When it came to Peter and food, however, it was a matter of salvation, history, tradition and Scripture. Leviticus 11 clearly described the foods Jews should never, ever, ever, never eat. It was God's commandment and law. Eat those foods and you are dirty, unclean and OUT! The foods Peter ate were part of his personal, family and community identity.
And God gave him a dream of foods he had never even considered eating....and God told him to get up, kill and eat. No Way! Nothing Doing! Not Going There! Then God said "What I have cleansed you will not make unclean!" Any questions? 3 times God gave Peter that dream and set of commandments before he got it.
So, are we called to eat new foods? Maybe. But the deeper point is we are called to welcome in new people, people we never ever considered reaching out to. Who might those ones be who God is bringing to your front door?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

You're Letting In Him?

Acts 8:4-40 tells a story about who's in and who's out of the church. And it's quite a surprise. The locally known and respected wealthy guy makes one small mistake and boom...he's out! I mean Simon Magus is every pastor's dream new member. He could underwrite all sorts of ministries. Yet Peter blasts him for trying to buy the things of God. Then Philip goes out onto a desert road and baptizes an Ethiopian dignitary who is also a eunuch. That's more information than anyone really wants to know. This guy is a complicated person. He does not fit nice categories and will create all sorts of stir. Yet he is quickly welcomed in with baptism.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Persecution's 1st WAve: Stephen

After so many miraculous interventions and escapes, the first martyr was Stephen, an appointed deacon and powerful witness. The harsh and jagged stones lay at the base of the keystone, fanning the flames of the early church. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Jerusalem: the begining of the Church

Sunday, September 2 celebrates the birth of the church, looking at Acts 2:1-5:16. Those passages cover the 1-2 year period just after Ascension and Pentecost. The three images on the table speak of origins (the root of Jesse) the person of Jesus (the key-stone) and the flowering creativity of the church (the flowers).