I was drinking coffee with a friend who is preaching at a local church this weekend.  We bantered about this and that but got around to the topic of sin and grace.  If I were to tell you exactly what he has in mind for Sunday’s message, I would have his attorneys knocking at my door.  But I can say that I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  And this, oh blogsphere, is what I was thinking when I woke up this morning.

 Imagine Eden, where the Maker is once again visiting the garden for fellowship. This time, though, he’s calling out for His kids: “Adam?  Where are you?” This question probably hadn’t been asked before this moment in our cosmic history; it never came up.  Adam and Eve were always there, out in plain sight. 

Not this time. 

 This time God has to reach his hand out to the Man and Woman, the only part of the creation that had been shaped by — and had remained in — His hand.

We all know why they were hiding.  It was because of Sin, which we see rearing its ugly head for the first time and doing what it has done since the garden: seperating people from God and people from people.   

But consider again the fact that God is looking for them.  Searching, calling out, seeking.  His holiness has been greatly offended yet He’s on the hunt.  God is asking questions for which He already knows the answer.  He knows exactly where they are.  He knows precisely why they’re hiding.  He realizes full well that our short human history has just taken a sharp turn and that what will happen next was not on the original plan.  Holiness is about to respond to unholiness.  The penalty about to be laid down is so extreme that it will later require a great sacrifice by the Son. 

Fortunatley we now live with Christ at the center.  Yet we continaully re-enact Eden. Again and again.  Daily.  Hiding creatures being sought out by the only one who can fix this whole mess. 

The point? We chase after sin, but grace chases after us.  We’re so good at indulgence; God is so good…period.  We eat the wrong fruit and hide; God knows what we’ve done and seeks us out, knowing full well the sin we find ourselves in. 

Grace is waiting for us to give in to the chase, raise our hands and scream “I give up!”  This is what the Savior is waiting for.  We need this love and transformation.  Chasing sin? I need to turn around and see that Grace is chasing me with an even greater passion.

A cluttered desk = a cluttered mind. But an empty desk…

I’m trying to clean up my office and I thought of the above quote from Michael Scott (the Office). Ah… the simple wisdom embedded within incompetence. I love it. It’s something I can relate to.

Recent studies suggest that people with super-clean work areas aren’t much more productive than people with messy desks. The reasoning behind this is pretty common sense: what looks messy to some makes sense to the desk-user. For instnace, I can track down anything on my desk, remembering that it’s under something or holding up a cup of coffee, etc. The second reason, however, that clean desks don’t increase productivity is that these clean folks spend so much time clean-ing that they lose work time. Ha! I think that argument holds water… but what about thee?


Why is Cherry Coke Pink?

Cherry Coke (now known as Coca-Cola Cherry) came out when I was just a lad — 5 years old, to be exact. I loved it. And still do. But their cans are pink, which I know is the new black (or whatever) but is still quite Barbie/Barney-ish to me. This wasn’t an issue until someone saw me drinking it and made fun, asking if I’m drinking carbonated Pepto-Bismo (do they even make that stuff?) or if I was just getting in touch with my inner Strawberry Shortcake.

IN related news, here are the variations available in the Coca-Cola arena of sugary refreshers:

Coca-Cola • New Coke • Coca-Cola Cherry • Coca-Cola with Lime • Coca-Cola Vanilla • Coca-Cola Citra • Coca-Cola Black Cherry Vanilla • Coca-Cola Blāk • Coca-Cola with Lemon • Coca-Cola Raspberry
Diet Coke/Coke Light • Coca-Cola C2 • Coca-Cola Zero • Coca-Cola Cherry Zero • Coca-Cola Light Sango • Diet Coke Plus

15 Characteristics of Effective Pastors — by Kevin W. Mannoia & Larry Walkemeyer

That’s the book. Here’s the quote that got me:

Ministering from a position shaped by the reception of radical grace imparts a distinctive and undeniable flavor to the pastorate. It humbles the messenger. It simplifies the message. It emboldens the delivery. In this fatiguing day of celebrity preachers, stadium-sized mega-churches, prolific academicians and comparison-shopping churchgoers, it’s invigorating to return to the simplicity of grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That’s the resume’ that really counts. Degrees can be earned and ordination can be achieved, but grace can only be believed and received.

Read this often.

Ideas from the far corners of my mind

  • I’m fed up with contemporary worship music. I’m prayerfully walking through what we do at SAFMC along with a few others, as I can’t shake the nagging feeling of boredom and the potential for greater depth in our corporate Worship gatherings. It’s nothing that anyone is doing or not doing — rather, a sense that I need to do some thinking about why we do wat we do. We’ll see where it goes. Unsettledness usually drives us to something better.
  • Superintendent (Boss’s Boss, though admittedly several steps down from Jesus) has encouraged me to work toward Ordination, which means correspondence courses and culminates with a roasting by a board of Elders asking me really difficult questions. I’m afraid that it wil be things like “Explain the doctrine of Sanctification without using the letter ‘M'”, though I’ve been assured that they’re far more theological (but still as hard).
  • I can’t decide if its worth it to buy expensive coffee grounds. Can I adjust to drinking Spartan Brand instead of Starbucks? The cost-benefit analysis just doesn’t work out, but my taste buds are getting mad.
  • Working out stinks beforehand and feels great for the rest of the day. It feels like a waste of time and yet could add years to my life. Why is it so hard to make it a daily thing?
  • I like to wear a tie because I don’t have to. Yet when I’m supposed to, I don’t want to. Is this a sign of rebellion or just immaturity?
  • Voice mail lets people give us work we didn’t agree to do.
  • We love to talk about the weather because sometimes it’s the only thing we feel like we have a handle on — everyone can agree that the sun is out, not everyone believes us when we say it’ll be okay. Weather may be the only thing that everyone has in common, besides breathing. And who wants to talk about that?
  • I used to think that because I was a musician, I should write songs. Now I see that you write songs because you have something to say, not because you can.
  • We look back and laugh at the things we used to worry about, but we worry about the things we laughed at (like going to the gym, for example)
  • We will never come to an agreement on how much water we should drink in a day. Doctors have gotten into scalpel fights over the 12-glasses-a-day vs. When You’re Thirsty argument.
  • Okay. Now it’s someone else’s turn to rant.

    BookSlice: The Great Giveaway by David E. Fitch

    It’s been a long time since a RadBlog BookSlice, where I share with you a snippet of something I’m reading. Is it a review? Sort of. Actually it is more of a conversation starter than a rating scale. My hope is that if you’re interested, you’ll read it. If not, then it’s back to Dave Barry or Ziggy Comics or the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I have no idea what you’re reading, but as long as you’re reading something you’ll get no flack from me.

    Today’s BookSlice(r) is The Great Giveaway by David E. Fitch. The entire title of the work gives us an overview of what we’re dealing with, specifically Reclaiming the Mission of the Church From

  • Big Business
  • Parachurch Organizations
  • Psychotherapy
  • Consumer Capitalism
  • … and Other Modern Maladies.

    I’m only about 40 pages in (total of 264 pages including Index) but so far I’m diggin’ it. His thesis states that the church has “given away” its core competencies to para-church, social and cultural institutions (I’m paraphrasing) and should find its way back to having these things within the Body of Christ.

    The first chapter is especially interesting to read as I’m finishing up a degree in business, where we talk about profits, numbers, CEOs, leadersip, and the like. The Church has adoopted this corporate culture to describe its own function. This idea is similar to John Piper’s Brothers, We are NOT Professionals.

    Equally as fascinating is the attention that Fitch draws to the rampant  in the Evangelical church — which goes hand in hand with a corporate mindset of consumer capitalism. 

    A random quote from Fitch:

    “…[the] church becomes a place where saved private individuals come to be “fed” intellectually, to serve out of their personal duty to Christ, to get in touch with an individual experience of worship, and to pool their resources as individuals to furhter the mission of getting the gospel out to more individuals.”

    Thought provoking. 

    This May be the Golden Ticket We’ve Been Looking For in Metro Detroit, As We’re Paying $72.91 For a Gallon of Gas…

    Marathon Petroleum Co. is targeting its Detroit refinery for a $1 billion upgrade that would allow the facility to process Canadian crude oil. Such a move would add 135 jobs to the refinery and increase gasoline supplies in Michigan

    Keep two things in mind:

  • The law of Supply and Demand
  • The fact that seemingly no one invests in refineries because it means less revenue for oil companies, plus no one wants an unsightly refinery in their back yard.
  • An economics teacher once said in class that if the oil companies start investing in domestic refineries, it’s a sure sign we’ve living in the end times. He was joking but made his point. More refineries means more fuel… more fuel (higher demand) means lower prices. No, I don’t expect us to go back to $0.89 9/10, but it may make a dent in our uncharacteristically high fuel prices compared to the rest of the nation. Let’s see where this goes…