Monday, April 08, 2013

Ginormous Resurrection?

I love this ginormous 12' x 40' mural that artist Ron DiCianni took two years to paint, oil on canvas, called The Resurrection. In it, using his sanctified imagination, Jesus is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that includes Moses, Elijah, Esther, and John the Baptist. This mural was commissioned by the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, Texas. Click below to see. Enjoy!

Does He Care if We Care?

In Revelation 14:7, God sends three angels to tell "every tribe, nation, language, and people" to worship He who "made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them." Significantly, THAT phrase is a quote from the 4th commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) which begins with "Remember the Sabbath day...six days you shall labor but the seventh day is the Sabbath" but ends with what's quoted in Revelation 14:7 "...the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them." Apparently, the Lord has a day and still cares if we care (if He didn't, why would He send heavenly angels to say so in a loud voice to everyone on earth?) But why does He care? Because He SO loves us (like crazy)! And always has!

That's why hundreds of years earlier God said Sabbath was not just for Jews in Isaiah 56:2 "Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong. I will also bless the foreigners (Gentiles - like us) who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant."

But what about the rejected and marginalized and those far from God? Isaiah 56:4-5 says, "I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me. I will give them—within the walls of my house—a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!" No wonder Isaiah 56:7 says that one day, God's house would be a house of prayer for "all nations."

What's kinda cool is we're living during the time when some of this is taking place. Various tribes and nations and languages and people of faith or no faith are beginning to see the significance of the Sabbath. In this clip, a Presbyterian minister shares how she observes Sabbath in her home on Saturdays. Kept right, it's a delight (Isaiah 58:13-14)! To God and to us. Shouldn't we care if He cares?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Silence in the Sanctuary?

Reverence cannot be limited to silence in the sanctuary. Yes, Habakkuk 2:20 says, "LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him." But Psalm 68:24-26 also says, "Your procession has come into view, O God— the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary. Singers are in front, musicians behind; between them are young women playing tambourines. Praise God, all you people of Israel; praise the Lord, the source of Israel’s life." Apparently, God loves instruments of all kinds, percussion, and women worship leaders in the sanctuary!

1 Chronicles 25:6 adds, "They made music at the house of the LORD. Their responsibilities included the playing of cymbals [percussion], harps, and lyres [stringed instruments like guitars] at the house of God." So pleased was God with the instruments and music and singers and even the loud volume of praise (2 Chronicles 5:11 says they raised their voices and in unison praised the LORD with these words: He is good! His faithful love endures forever!) that, "At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the LORD. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God" (2 Chronicles 5:12-14). Wow. God liked it so much they couldn't continue! I bet God LOVES the lyrics to Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. Take a listen. And check out these other rarely quoted references to reverence in worship.

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

New Movie in Maumee?

Whenever Hollywood actually makes something thought provoking and wholesome, I think the body of Christ should commend and support them! And since there's a new movie called Hell and Mr. Fudge coming to Maumee Indoor Theatre APR 19-25, I was hoping you could help pass out invitations and support it!

MacKenzie Astin stars in this warm, thoughtful, and sometimes humorous story of the trials and tribulations of evangelical scholar Edward Fudge as he challenges an ancient tradition and shakes up his own core beliefs. Whether you change your mind (like evangelicals John Stott or Clark Pinnock or Philip Edgecumbe Hughes or Edward William Fudge) about whether God burns people in eternal torment forever and ever or not, this film will touch your heart and undoubtedly spark study and conversations about what you DO believe. Which is always a good thing. Either way, thanks for helping Hollywood know there is a demand for good Christian feature films.

This family friendly film won the 2012 Houston International Film Festival award and is showing in Maumee Indoor Theatre APR 19-25 @ 7pm. All shows are $4. See you there!