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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jesus Christ Rose From the Dead!

Yup. It's a historical fact. (But, if you're a doubter, then "I double dog dare you" to disprove it historically.) Consequently, this blog exists to support, illustrate, and encourage people. It supports, i.e., advertises the fact. It illustrates and celebrates it's real-life implications for the Christ follower. It encourages fellow Christ followers and those considering whether-or-not-to-become Christ followers.

Here's a troubling, but predictable observation in the theme of last weeks' post. Remember that I said Christ's resurrection " ...remains as threatening and hated today, by some, as it was in AD 68. Every effort has been made by principalities and powers--the dark rulers of this world and of the unseen spirit world--to discredit that Good News. Hmmm. Where do we see it?

The Word/Integrity Celebration Hymnal, 1997
I wonder if--like me--you've observed the dramatic changes in Christian worship music? Tell me. You be the judge. Are the changes you've seen good, bad, or neutral? Maybe you don't really know? Regardless your judgment, I think (if you're seasoned enough to recognize the changes) we can probably agree on this: Today's contemporary worship songs ARE NOT the worship songs of just 20, 30,...50 years ago. What would you say is most noticeably different? My observation: It's generally their content. Praise and worship aside, the content of today's church worship music has deteriorated dramatically. How? It's the instructive, theological, historical, doctrinal, and self-disciplinary/ persevering themes. Those themes are altogether gone, or they are meagerly present at best.

Contrast, for example, the lyrics of the old hymn, Take Time to Be Holy. Thoughtfully compare, if you can--ya, I know it's an age-related thing--this routinely sung hymn of just 40 years ago (that's 1970) to a worship song of your choosing in 2015.

 Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

OK. You might be saying to me, "Well, that's not fair! You chose a really good one, probably not representative of the majority of past worship songs?" Nope; not true. Just grab a dusty ole hymnal from the closet archives of a church that's been around for a little more than 25 years. Open it up--any page--and read the lyrics. Yup. See what I mean.

So why is this important? How does this relate to my last blog? Again, remember what I said about Christ's resurrection "(It) ...remains as threatening and hated today, by some, as it was in AD 68. Every effort has been made by principalities and powers--the dark rulers of this world and of the unseen spirit world--to discredit that Good News. Those discrediting, dumming down influences are at work everywhere--even inside the church--whether we're aware of it or not.

It is a troubling thought, but it is recognizable in the Church. We can see it. It's in the simple and subtle way we've dumbed down--yes, with good intentions--present day worship. We have slowly and unintentionally emptied  historically profound content from Church worship songs. It's quietly separating the Historical Church, and our legacy, from our Contemporary Worship. Hmmm. Well, you say, "Isn't it really about worship...everyone just really getting into worshiping Jesus regardless of the words, the content, etc?" Really? C-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y think about what you just asked,...then you tell me. Sure--some agreement--worship is "of the heart," but it's also supposed to be a Spirit and Truth thing....right? (John 4:23, 24)

So, again, I ask myself the same question I peddled home mulling last week, "Dick, what are you doing with that truth, and what can you expect will happen as you choose to live it's implications daily?"

How about you...what are your thoughts? (Re-read the old hymn...identify those pieces of content I identified above...hmmm.)

That's Dialogues... for today.

(Wanna commit to my financial support? Click here...then go the top, right, corner of the page....thanks!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Little AM Life-Challenging Summary

This morning I attended a 6:45 AM guys' Bible Study. I was at Faith Lutheran Church in Golden, CO. The men were working through the little epistle of II Timothy. As we discussed portions of its first chapter, I was struck by a short, quick summary statement the Apostle made:  "For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do."(vs. 11)

Paul said the reason he was in prison--and soon to die--was because of his preaching and teaching. I thought to myself, "OK, but preaching and teaching what?" Of course,  he states that answer right there, too. He was preaching and teaching the gospel, the Good News, surrounding the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of that news, and because of it's implications to radically influence the lives of people, Paul was intensely persecuted. The Apostle's message--his preaching and teaching--was dangerous. So, he had been arrested, thrown into jail, and faced death--beheading. Recently, we've all "witnessed" the fearsome threat and savageness of beheading. It's no aberration. 2000 years since the Apostle Paul's life ended, that kind of ideological warfare persists. 

In the USA we have lived well outside the hideous reach of such savage persecution. However, through the past 50 years obvious deleterious changes in American societal values are well documented. These probably do not bode well for America. Predictably, the changes are provoking new interpretation of America's founding documents--its Constitution and Bill of Rights. They also contribute new perspective on America's history and new conclusions about its legacy. Hmmm, some interesting albeit tangential thoughts.

Some 2000 years and America's history aside, the truth in the Apostle's simple summary still trumpets the clarion call.  The Good News in the Apostle's gospel, so threatening to princes and kings and rulers then was this: Wow, wow, wow. The implications in that amazing truth literally changed the world. It remains as threatening and hated today, by some, as it was in AD 68. Every effort has been made by principalities and powers--the dark rulers of this world and of the unseen spirit world--to discredit that Good News.

This is important stuff. So, I'm going to say a little more about this in the next blog. Let me end with the question I was asking myself this morning as I peddled my bike toward home. I asked myself again, "Dick, what are you doing with that truth, and what can you expect will happen as you
choose to live it's implications daily?

How about you....what are your thoughts?

That's Dialogues...for today.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Campus Ministry Preparations...ongoing

This past week scheduled the review of program docs and their anticipated update: I suspect I'll be engaged in this process for a while, but here's where it's at right now.

I scheduled time to update my book, Smarter Romance. A major complaint: it's too cerebral (?) and wordy. I'm trying to slim it and tone it down; make it more reader friendly. It's a fail-safe dating and courting system. Progress is being made. I'll need another week of catch as catch can time slots. I do suspect, despite my best effort, it'll remain more of a class text book than an easy-to-read pocket manual--
Upper SW Campus, Colorado School of Mines
eighty pages and a short stack of practical addendum. It's a super concept. (Tooting my own horn.) I plan to teach through it several times in the NW Denver burbs and with Colorado School of Mines students. We'll see.

I reviewed the mentoring program's documents. The initial review spotted dated elements. I've also decided to create a small program board. It'll probably be comprised of 3-5 educator-engineer-business types who catch and share this vision: offering value-focused insights and market-specific skills to transitioning young engineers and entrepreneurs. Interested? In the meantime, I'm gathering the names of some self-selecting mentor candidates. We'll need to come up with a new program name. As it is now it's got a University of Denver focus. 

I'm taking a hard look at all the documents for the divorce support group, Collegians Addressing Issues Related to Divorce (CAIRD). The need for the support is there; I've already heard that loud and clear from students. The plan is to make it known through several local churches,  CSM Pan-Hellenic groups, officially recognized faith-based campus ministries, and word of mouth. 

Last Friday afternoon I met with the front-range area team for Campus Ambassadors. As I updated that team, I rehearsed a statement I have now made several times this past month. “All of this passion, effort and strategic planning is merely academic unless I can get my financial support underwritten.”

Your strategic concern targeted through your focused game changer! (James 5:16b)

That's Dialogues for today.


PS: My web page at Missions Door for your information (Click here) and my financial support (top right of that web page)


Sunday, January 11, 2015

An Unrequited Life

Give this some thought...

When you don't know how good you are, you settle for less than you should. When you settle for less than you should, your God-given gifts and talents get squandered. When your gifts and talents get squandered, you experience a nagging sense of frustration and disappointment. When you experience nagging frustration and disappointment, it masquerades as anger...because you don't realize you are settling for less. But remember,  you're settling for less because you don't realize how really good you are. Wow, you can change that!

...So "if the shoe fits, put it on," or maybe you've got a friend who needs to read this. 

That's Dialogues for today.