Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WikiWorship Promotional Video

video
I wanted to show you all a promotional video that I put together for my evangelism class. Please tell me what you think.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Internet Idolatry

So, yesterday we had a comment that said this about idolatry:

"I believe that we do have idols today. Some people may not even realize that they are worshiping these idols because they do not pray directly to them. However they might spend way too much time with their particular idol, let's say the Internet, and lose track of what is really important."


This response begs me to ask another question. If it is possible to have an idol (like the Internet --- the example that was used) then what makes that an idol? Is it just a matter of spending too much time with something? Or is something deeper?
Anonymous says that we might not even know that we are worshiping these idols --- and that we are losing track of what is really important. What are the important things in life?
The comment that Anonymous made was perfect for our discussion on idolatry. What do you all think --- what is important for you?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Idolatry


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to preach at our sister Church --- Lea's Chapel United Methodist Church --- so any of you that are reading this and you go to Lea's Chapel I want to say thank you for having me.

During the sermon I brought up the how the early church viewed idolatry and showed how we in America have idols as well. Instead of having rock gods and wood gods, we now will idolize the stock market or the oil price market --- praying for those gods to go in a direction that would benefit our pocket books.

I was wondering what you all thought. You can comment by just clicking the comment link right underneath this post. Do you think we still have idols today? And if so, do you have any, or do you know of any that other people have?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Prayer


Yesterday I received another question. So if you would like to help me with this one you can, or you can just ask a question that joins with it. Here it is: What is the purpose of prayer?

Now I am sure there is a story that goes along with this question --- I don't know what that is --- but I thought I would let you all weigh in on this matter. Things to consider are: who is praying? who is on the receiving end? (because sometimes we think we are praying to God---when in all reality we are just trying to elevate our status [ref. Luke 18.9-14]) is prayer only words? how does this relate to Jesus praying?

I would love to hear what you all think.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Faith

There was a good response under the Real heading that had to do with faith. I thought this could be a discussion forum for what faith is. In Hebrews 11.1 it says: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen," this is out of the New Revised Standard Version. The King James Version says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (as just a side note I love the KJV, it's the Bible I grew up reading). The New International Version says: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

I love this passage when describing faith and I would love to see what you all can add to this dialog. Notice that there is an assurance/being sure/substance that has to do with faith, but this is not as easy as it sounds because it is based on things that are hoped for and that you do not have in your possession. Maybe that is why I love the KJV it shows the ambiguity of this part of the verse --- faith is substance, but it is substance of what is not substance. Okay, follow me here. Imagine you are 5 years old and you are hoping to get a new bicycle for your birthday. Faith is being assured you are going to get that bicycle, even though you don't have the bicycle. I think that is how you parallel that part of the verse with a 5 year old.

Things to notice: there is a time element to faith.
There is an anticipation.
There is an assurance that comes from someone other than us.
And it is a faith in something yet to come.

The last part of the verse goes like this, it is an evidence/conviction/certainty or things not seen. Kind of like the 5 year old anticipating the bicycle. She has been assured she is getting a bicycle, therefore that is her evidence/conviction/certainty, even though she cannot see the bicycle.

Okay, that was my best analogy that I could come up with for that particular verse. What do you all think?

Also, what is the "something" that is yet to come that we have faith in? [hint-read Hebrews chapter 11]


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Community


Let me tell you a little more about WikiWorship. WikiWorship is about creating "space" for people to be real with the questions that they have for the Church. After bringing together all the questions that we can we are hoping to get together in community and work to answer these questions. I know for sure that we can't always get all the questions answered --- but at the least I hope that we will be able to put the questions out on the table for discussion. But, we can't do that in some virtual world we call Internet. There are some awesome things that we can do for community on the web --- but it is not the end all be all of community. The web is there as a tool to help connect people together --- but if we are never connected as living breathing beings that can be touched --- then that is not connected (in the truest sense of the word). It's kind of like this --- imagine if you were born and your mother never touched you --- I think you could honestly say that you two were not connected. Well the Church is to be the body of Christ --- we are to be the Christian community --- that is why we are to worship together and be together. With this WikiWorship project I hope to connect us in worship. That is why this summer we will have worship services that are devoted to the questions that are raised --- so that we can, as a community, gather together to praise and glorify God and to help each other to understand more and more the God we serve. Even though this God is sometimes beyond our understanding, just like the Psalmist says in 92.5 - "How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wikipedia

I wanted to say a little something about Wikipedia before proceeding on with posts of questions. The main reason that I decided to call WikiWorship, WikiWorship, is based on the Wikipedia. Just in case you don't know how Wikipedia works let me give you a little background. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia which allows anyone to edit the content of entries. For instance, if there was an entry about a dog and in the encyclopedia entry it was to say a dog is a four-legged furry animal that barks. Well, if you wanted to, you could go in and change that and say a dog has five legs and is a bald reptile who meows. This is the trick to Wikipedia --- Wikipedia acknowledges that all encyclopedias are biased in some form or another --- so they open it up for anyone to edit, rather than just a select few people. It is acknowledging the post-modern belief that all truth is relative --- even truth that is surrounded by "facts."

The reason I used the word Wiki, in WikiWorship, was to show that we could edit the content of a worship service --- how we are going to do that is to edit it with the questions that we gather. This blog is one way that we are gathering questions --- and as you can see we have had some hard hitting questions. Other ways are through on the street interviews, door-to-door interactions, gathering the questions in the Warren's Grove congregation and through mailings. When we get these questions we will try to answer them during worship services at Warren's Grove in Roxboro, NC. We hope that all of you will help us gather those questions. How you do that is through emailing them to me and I can post them for discussion. Here is my email: philipchryst@gmail.com

Once I get the questions I am forming a big list and then we will try to answer those in a Christian community. I am really excited about this and I am also excited about how many people have viewed this blog. I am going to try to periodically continue to tell about this project. If you would like to read the paper I wrote on this --- please email me. God bless you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bluegrass

videoI wanted to share with you all a concert that the family and I went to last night. I had been looking for something like this in Roxboro ---- I knew that I would find it if I kept looking. I saw in our own Courier=Times an advertisement for Country Club Convenience & Grill putting on a Bluegrass show. It said the band is from Henderson, NC --- their band name is Grass Street. It was awesome. I pulled a short video so you could hear a little. It was one of those shows you hear about from Wilkesboro --- where it is in a gas station and they are playing next to the ice cream chest and the cooks come out and dance to the music with their aprons still on. Now that is really living!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Real


If you will remember, last week I conducted some interviews with some Piedmont Community College students. During the interview I met a young woman named April. April expressed a core question --- and this question is linked with Nick's question that you will see down a little ways (I didn't put them one after the other because I really wanted to show that cool gargoyle picture). Anyway, April asked: "How do you know if the things in the Bible are real or not?" This is a terrific question --- and a question that deserves a great deal of time. I think that April is referring to many of the issues that were raised as a result of the book/movie The Da Vinci Code. This is my guess --- it partly stems from her next comment, where April said: "People know things to cover things up, and the Bible is written by human hands."
If you haven't figured out yet, I am not going to sit at this computer and pontificate all the orthodox details of the Christian faith. I am hoping to open up a conversation for all of us to have. Please comment and make suggestions for how we are to understand the questions that are raised. I think April's question is vitally important. How can we trust a book that was written by human hands and was written thousands of years ago?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Laughing at the Devil


Okay, so this weekend I preached a sermon called: "Laughing at the Devil." I talked about taking care of those who are vulnerable --- eg. the poor, the elderly, children, the dying, unwed mothers --- is actually laughing at the devil. That we are flying in the face of the prevailing culture by taking care of those that others have left behind, and they have been left behind because they don't seem to present any apparent "good" to the great cause that we call citizenship or in other words - tax-payer.
So I have to ask the question --- do you think our culture is really like that --- or am I just blowing hot air?
Also, there is an assumption that I am operating under and that is, that there is a devil --- do you all think there is a devil, or the devil, or devils (however you want to phrase it)?

I put a picture of a gargoyle that overlooks part of the quad at Duke's campus --- cool huh? At Duke we definitely believe in the devil --- and he wears Duke Blue.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tithing

During my interview at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, NC I had another question that came from a man named Nick. Nick asked where the Church came up with the idea of having to give 10% of you income to the Church. He said: "Where does the ten percent idea come from?" I told him about this passage in the book of Malachi --- you all can look it up if you want --- it is Malachi 3.10. Then Nick made this statement: "But the thing that gets me is that a book that has been passed down from generation to generation has to have flaws." I think with the last part of Nick's response he is getting to the heart of the matter about the 10% question. How do we know 10% is the way to go --- if we can't trust what the Bible says? Maybe some controlling people put that in there to force us to give away our money, so that they can have more power and control. That is a valid question. And it is a question that will be addressed in the future. What we are planning on doing is compiling as many questions as possible and then making your questions into an actual worship service --- that is why this is called WikiWorship, because you all are going to edit the content of the worship service around your questions. So please keep them coming. These are big questions and they deserve time and thought, but we need your help. What do you all think about Nick's question?
Also, I am sorry that I didn't get a picture of Nick. Nick, when you read this, if you want to send me a picture I will upload it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

God's Planning Techniques

Again, on April 8th, when I was at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, NC --- I was having a conversation with a woman named Sandra. Sandra was telling me about a book she read called When Bad things Happen to Good People. She explained: "it let me understand why bad things happen. You have to be a good person, and be in the faith, to deal with the bad things. You have to trust that everything will work out all right. That God has a plan." Sandra then went on to ask this question: "Why isn't God's plan a little clearer? There seem to be so many obstacles."
Now I ask all of you, what do you all think?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Piedmont Community College

Yesterday (April 8th), I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with some people and talk about WikiWorship. This was at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, NC. I asked all kinds of questions and got great responses --- while at the same time I gathered some more questions. I thought I would share with you one of them here and let you all respond. I know that I don't have all the answers, I tried to answer this one the best I could. But, I would love to hear what you all think.
This was from Ashley, she asked: Why is the Church full of hypocrites?
Ashley, I have to thank you for the question. Let's see what people have to say. God bless you all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

4.30am

This morning I arrived at Duke at 4.30a. I am working on a paper on Christianity and Matters concerning the end of life. This is based on a book by Julian of Norwich titled Revelations of Divine Love. Actually, I put a picture of it at the top. End of life issues seem to be where the rubber hits the road for many of us. When we are having to make decisions for loved ones and we don't exactly know what they want or what God wants. Ever since the Terry Schiavo case the Christian community seems to be walking on pins and needles to make sure that they make all the end of life decisions for their loved ones before they are forced to make these decisions. It seems like the "living wills" that I have seen have poorly planned and put together. Some make the case that they want no outside help to keep them alive. This would mean that they could not even have oxygen. This is a tough thing to think about and sort through. As I am here trying not to think about a paper I was wondering what you all think? And keep praying for me, that 9 pages will show forth their beautiful head ---- especially a head that has an "A" on it!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Punishment and Car Problems

Okay, maybe I only want to ask this question because now I am in the process of having car problems. But, am I the only one in the world that starts thinking about God punishing me for some kind of sin when I have car problems. I automatically start rehearsing all of the things I have done wrong --- including wrong thoughts --- whenever I have car problems.
So right now my car is not working properly, if you all have any insights on things I am doing wrong (in other words - sin), please let me know.
Also, do you think this is the right way to think? Or does this show that I am actually afraid of God's wrath on my life? Or am I just a superstitious blundering pagan?