Monday, February 15, 2010

Quick Notes on Heroes vs. Villians, Episode 1

And I mean it, quick notes.
This was the best Survivor premiere ever!
As ridiculous as he is, Coach is the star so far.
Coach + Jerri = Unholy Alliance.
Neithe Rupert nor Colby are impressive so far. Come on!
Russell is working his magic again. Is it wrong to root for him?
Glad Cirie wasn't voted out. My heart skipped a beat when Tom started talking about that.
Tom is very impressive to me so far. JT too. I thought the winners would be in over their heads.
Boston Rob is a blast.
Tyson and Courtney are on the show purely for their one-liners.
Sugar: Glad she went first, but she had her best moment ever when she won that challenge for them.
I am constantly amazed at the sheer size of James.
Can't wait til the Villians tribe goes to tribal council.
Anyone else interested in Rob vs. Russell?
Go Cirie! Go Colby! Go Russell! Go Rob! Go Steph! In that order.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What I Have Been Taking In

While it has been said many times, I am still struck with the importance of what we allow into our minds. What I watch, read, listen to, all has a huge impact on my thoughts, attitudes, etc.
So, that said, here are some things that I have been taking in.
Deep Church by Jim Belcher. I finished this a few weeks ago, and Karina is reading through it now. I love reading books on the church, and this book probably best summed up where I have been heading in my thoughts about the church. Really great book for anyone thinking about the purpose and mission of the church, and also a great book if you are wrestling through issues related to the emerging church. So worth it. Highly recommended.
Exploring Ecclesiology by Brad Harper and Paul Metzger. Another excellent book on the church. Many of you know that Paul Metzger was one of my professors at Multnomah, and he has had a big impact on me. I was especially challenged, in this book, by the idea of the church being an "eschatological community." The idea is that we reveal what will be to come. One day Christ will take back rule of this earth, and, God-willing, the church now reveals to people what that rule will look like. As a brief disclaimer, I don't agree with Harper and Metzger on their egalitarian position, but I still agree with their overall thrust and message.
So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger. I read this book near Christmas time, and I loved it. Rich, relatable characters, and a great story about redemption. I loved it so much that I am now reading back through Enger's first book, Peace Like a River, which is even better.
Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. I read through this book again about a month ago. It is so good (and nice and short). If you have not read it, it is a brief book on the attributes of God. Check it out. Short chapters (4-5 pages each). Very deep and rich.
Timothy Keller Podcast. This was just put up on Itunes a couple of weeks ago. If you don't know Tim Keller, his stuff is fantastic. The two things that I appreciate most about him are
(1) His emphasis on preaching Christ in every passage of Scripture,
(2) His excellent job of dealing head-on with the tough questions that challenge the Christian faith.
The podcast is WAY worth it. If you are into podcast, check it out for sure. And if you like what you hear, go to ItunesU and get the tracks for a class he did at Reformed Theological Seminary with Ed Clowny called Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World. This is also great stuff.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Thus They Plundered the Egyptians

Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
---Exodus 12:35-36

The Plundering of Egypt
The final statement in that passage makes me smile. I love it. It fulfills God's promise to Moses back in Exodus 3:20-20: "So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go. I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the women who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians."
When do you plunder someone else? Isn't it when you win a victory over them. You are triumphant, they are utterly defeated, and so you plunder them, walking away with their stuff. The thought of a bunch of ragged slaves plundering the greatest kingdom on earth is a comical thought. But that is what happened. After Pharaoh told the Israelites that they could leave, they turned to their neighbors and asked for some of their stuff. And the Egyptians scurried away to grab their earrings and silverware and cloaks. They handed them over quickly, saying, "You can have it. Just leave!" The people of Israel were not only set free, but they walked away as victors over Egypt.

To the Victors Go the Spoils
When the Israelites plundered the Egyptians, they reaped the benefits of a victory with which they had nothing to do. God had won the victory, humbling Egypt, and the Israelites got the spoil. They were invited to partake of the spoils of victory, even though they had not lifted a finger to achieve this victory.
Later on Israel had a greater level of participation in the victories that God brought to them. When this took place, though, they would have done well to remember their initial victory. This would keep them from pride, and would help them to remember that it was God who fought for them.

"This is my body, take and eat."
I cannot get over the parallel of this story and the larger gospel story. We reap the benefits of a victory that we did not win. We are triumphant because Christ has triumphed! He conquers sin and death, and we enjoy the spoils! This is the beauty of the gospel.

And we would do well to remember that it was not our doing when this victory was won.