And from today I have the paper to prove it. I have a Latvian personal code and I am allowed to live and work in Latvia for the next five years. Now all we have to do is to hold our breath until Hanna and Angelina get theirs.
Archive for April 2006
The evangelist goes on and on, urging people to come to Christ, coaxing them and finally it seems bribing them, with promises of peace, love and joy.
But does Jesus really offer peace here and now? All to often I hear the “Happy now, Holy in heaven” Gospel proclaimed. Yet I don’t know anyone whos life got easier or happier when they got saved. Personally I lost all my friends, and my family took a step back hoping it would be just a phase. Although I experienced tremendous joy in worship, I struggled daily with Holiness and with the prospect of becoming more like Him.
The war rages on and anyone who accepts Jesus Christ will immediately be targeted by the enemy. We need to preach a realistic message, where we invite people to pick up their cross and follow Jesus ([bible]Matt 16:24[/bible]) on the straight and narrow path that inevitably leads to golgatha and the crucifixion of the ego and the flesh. It is unplesant, offensive, downright grimy but in the end the only way to God and true freedom.
Lets prepare for war! Lets be Holy now, Happy in heaven!
This simple little question echoes to me through time and space. How goes the war indeed? We as soldiers of God need to ask ourselves that question every day. We need to evaluate, reassess and strategize but most of all we need to daily don our battle gear and step onto the battle field and engage the enemy, relentlessly attacking.
Lets not kid ourselves the enemy will not rest untill all oposition has been silenced, until the last bastion of truth has fallen, until the return of Him who will end the war once and for all.
Cedrik answers king George by saying: The war has grown ferocious, we need more men! Echoing the words of Christ ( [bible]matt 9:37,38[/bible] )
WE NEED MORE MEN! In latvia this is litterally true as our corps are filled with women but a good man is nowhere to be found but it is also true in the rest of the world that we need more soldiers in the army so that we can hold back the steady advance of the enemy horde. We do need more men and women, we need you!
So my question to you today is, How goes the war?
So, that time of the year again, I have been busy this week preparing for Hannas birthday, with a rather cramped economy it has not been easy tho and we had to agree on what I was allowed to buy her. So on monday I set out in Riga together with my trusty helper Angelina. She was dressed in pink camo and her new Po.p ballcap and looked cooler than ever, her matching sunglasses she temporarily placed in her new handbag.
After some searching and Angelina charming every store owner we found a brand new designer speaker system for Hannas allready modded and spiffed up wonder machine of a computer. And after a bit of persuasion they where even inside the allowed price range.
This year I hid the huge box under the kitchen table hoping that such an obvious place would elude detection and sure enough, even tho I could not surprise Hanna with a gift she didnt know she was getting at least I managed to hide it in plain sight.
All in all I think that Hanna had a good birthday and you can read more about it on Hannas own blog.
You would think that a community that promotes tolerance would actually show tolerance to other views. Not so in the heated debate about Intelligent design and the veracity of Jesus truth claim.
Right now I am reading Lee Strobels “a case for” series of books. At the outset I found my faith growing and I felt encouraged and inspired by the factual presentation of all the books. As I read on I realized that it wasnät as clearcut and simple as the books claimed.
Surfing on the net I found as many pages proving Lee Strobel and his retinue of Scholars wrong as there was scholars lending their support. I kept searching the internet for more information and I was shocked by the tone of the debate raging on blogs and supposedly factual sites. On the Christian side of things the tone is mostly civil but every so often you run across a Christian who treats unbelivers with such contempt and sarcasm it makes you wonder. On the secular side (wich is very diverse indeed, ranging from hardcore atheists to proponents of other religions.) The tone is generally deraogatory and sarcastic. There is no love present and no humility, this alone makes me reject their contributions in the debate void.
The funny thing is that by responding to the Christian truth claim in such a way they are actually proving one of the main points being made for the case of Gods existance, that without God (or if you do not acknowledge Gods existance) the concept of good becomes meaningless and human value plummets. If there is no God then human value is not inherent but rather humans are a freak accident with no purpose and meaning, therefore no respect, no love and no humility is needed.
The other thing that stands out in the debate is that the secular world seemingly fail to grasp Lee Strobels intent. Lee Strobel from the outset (especially in a case for Faith) is declaring that he wants to see if the Christians have reasonable answers to the hard questions. Not to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s true. Therefore the critique that he is not interviewing anyone of the opposition is pointless. Why would he, we know what they are saying! If I wanted to know if I should get a cat or not I wouldn’t ask the kennel club. If I wanted to know if Linux would benefit my buissness I would not ask Bill Gates. If I want to know about Christianity and Christ I will ask the Christians!
Lee Strobels books are excellent reading for the average Christian who has questions or who wants a boost to their faith. Anyone that wants to get deeper should go straight to the various sources Mr. Strobel is using. Granted after having read the books, you would have many more unanswered questions, but this is not a fault of Mr. Strobel but the very nature of science and knowledge. The more you find out about this universe the more you realize how little you know and the more questions you get.
To conclude I really think that the whole debate would be much better if both sides (if there really are only two) made their own case called their own expert wittnesses instead of going for character assasination and pulling apart the other sides arguments.
So this saturday my old K2 fatboyz got some exercize again, I went to play hockey on blades, and boy was it Fun! It was 2 hours of hardcore stickwaving, rollerblading, sweating, torture for muscles I didn’t even know I had.
So of I go to buy a hockey stick ’cause this was to much fun to miss out on.
Last night after two hours of hardcore rollerblade hockey I sat in the car with Ron. I was appologizing for having to rush of right at the end to get home to my familly, it had taken longer than I expected, I wish I could have stayed end gotten to know the guys a bit.
Ron asked me if I play football, and I said no. Would I like to? Not really? There was a game with the international church last week, Ron, I said, I really don’t need to get to know any more church people….
Ah, a man like me said Ron, but I can’t bring these guys to church, for them we need something special, lika a BBQ with a professional athlete coming to witness. I am all with you Ron, I said, lets make it happen.
But it really got me thinking, why is it that our corps is not a place where we can bring our unsaved friends how have we gotten to a place where we are so far from anything we are willing to present to people from the outside. Why can’t the local corps be the place we are most eager to share withour friends. Because that is really how it should be. And the last question in my litany of question is how are we going to make it so?
I have long pondered the question of church culture, while an evangelist in Sweden I was astounded how the Christians in church could stomach the message of the cross and the fantastic news of resurection and salvation without showing any emotion. I was told that it is just not within Swedish culture to give an emotional response to anything, yet I observed the Swedish people unanimously go wild during every fotball game or any other international event with swedish people involved, I watched droves of people mass to the place where Anna Lindh was killed leaving roses and heartfelt eulogies for a woman they never knew, crying on the news every night that fateful week. Being Swedish by birth myself (although aparently not by culture) I question the hypocracy of this.
Now I am in Latvia and the situation is exactly the same. A pattern is emerging, no matter where I go I am told the same thing: It is just not in our culture to pray loudly, to dance in worship, to shout in church, to raise our hands, to express our emotions to God. And yet it is if it is a sports game or anything else where excitement is high and you just cannot hide your emotions.
Show me your passion, I will show you your God!
It takes comittment to stay on fire, to keep the cross close to your heart, to still get moved by the message of salvation. It takes total engagement of the whole self, that is we need to engage our bodies and our minds and if we give ourselves totally to the Creator of the universe, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Alpha and Omega, the Author of our salvation, our Saviour, our closest Friend then our emotions WILL be stirred and personally I think it is an affront to a Holy God to try to control and hold back our natural reaction to the supernatural reality of a loving God.
Many people hold the idea that if a meeting is very emotional it is shallow and not very spiritual at all, I say nothing could be further from the truth, If the gospel is comunicated right sinners will be convicted and saints will rejoice! The true gospel communicated where the deep and profound truth of Gods salvation plan is clearly put across in a way that people can grasp and take to heart WILL elicit true emotions, not the shallow chemicly induced hype of a secular party but the true, honest and heartfelt response of the people of God!
If a child was told extremely good news and did not react, told extremely bad news and showed no emotion or Did something wrong and showed no remorse when corected then we would assume that something was wrong with the child. And yet we defend the non responsiveness of the saints with excuses of cultural conformity. It is time we release people to be truly in love with Jesus. To boldly rolemodel a proper response to the miraculous love God has shown us.
After last weeks accident numbers where down on the self defense course, but a few brave souls showed up to keep up their training. Once again the Latvian women surprized me with their determination and resilience. Not to mention that they are actually starting to get really good both in the wrestling and sticky hands. Even though we are only running soft rules wrestling at the moment, there is nothing soft about it!We are now running sticky hands at full speed and we are close to start semi contact sparring, these girls who are currently doing two sessions a week are progressing with incredible speed, and will soon be fully fledged warriors in their own right.As of this week we are also starting each training with a short prayer, making sure that what happened last week will never happen again.
A few interesting things came out of it. John Cleary writes of the Worship wars that the church is going through
At the moment the Church is going through what may be described as the Worship Wars, a battle between contemporary and traditional forms in worship and particularly in music for worship. The war is as much over content as it is over form. And for the participants the stakes in the war are nothing less than the future of the Church.
It is also clear what stance the early Salvation army took in this issue.
This war is one in which The Salvation Army has its own significant place. One hundred years ago The Salvation Army was being roundly criticised for employing similar musical methods and techniques. Unfortunately the lessons of our history seem lost to us.
The Salvation Army began life as a movement that used the most popular and accessible forms of music to reach a public for whom the message of the Church was shrouded behind musical forms that had no relevance to them, and rituals that spoke of another age. The early Salvation Army captured, cannibalised and redeemed the popular forms of the day, and filled them with messages that spoke of the love of God for ordinary people and the power of God to change the world. This combination of music that was relevant and lyrics that touched lives was revolutionary. The message of the Salvationists was carried in song – songs that mapped the way to a new world.
Early Salvationists recognised the power of musical form, sometimes as an end in itself, but always within the context of wider theological convictions. The form was to serve as the herald of the message, a message that was as distinct, and powerful as the form itself. Music opened the door of the heart, and lyrics shaped the life of faith.
The lyrics of worship in the early Salvation Army were critically linked to evangelism. Songs for worship were also songs that spoke to the lost and broken. These were not songs for the elect body of believers but for the whole lost world for whom Jesus came.
The early salvation army recognized the fact that music is and has always been a spiritual endaevor and depending on what spirit you comunicate through your music you will push people closer or further from God.
It is also interesting to note that the ever so popular Hillsongs movement in Australia was started by a man with a Salvation Army heritage. It seems clear to me that we as the Salvation Army faces a very simple choice.
We can adapt and embrace todays music styles and fill them with the blood of Christ and fire of God, or we can see all our young people leave only to start new churches playing their music in the best case scenario, or wander of aimlessly into the world worshipping the idols on MTV and the ideals of the plastic new age.
Or more to the point are we going to sing the music we like and cater to our own needs or are we going to sing the music they like and reach the unreached of this world?