Cosplay or No Play? What You Say?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Blog | 2 comments

Cosplay.  I'm slow and didn't know what this was until just recently.  But it started showing up in my Google feed.

I'm working on Sunday's message.  It's on Colossians 3, our identity in Christ and the clothing that goes with that identity.  Halloween is an obvious tie-in.  But there's also this cosplay phenomenon.  If you're not familiar, go here for the definition.  Do a Google image search and the images will sear you somewhat.  Beware.  The word was created by a Japanese artist in 1983 while attending a Sci-Fy convention in Los Angeles.  It's a joining of "costume play."

Go cosplay and you'll find anime, movie, comic, and gaming characters.  Some people make a living out of it.  Of course.

Have any of you ever attended such a convention?  Did you dress up?  What do you think about the traction cosplay is getting?  How does it relate to our baptisms, our identity in Christ?

I'd be curious to know your thoughts.  I think cosplay is a bigger trend and speaks to a profound issue.  

Or not.

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Window Washing Via Michael Frost

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Michael Frost is a bald, metaphor machine, and the window metaphor he shared at FiveTwo’s Wiki’13 changed my understanding of following Jesus.

Perhaps you have heard Frost before.  I had not.  I had heard of him from Alan Hirsch.  I spent a year with the South African Obi Wan and others in FutureTravelers, a wonderful journey of large-church pastors learning how to more effectively reach and disciple those dissatisfied with the local church.  We Jedis traveled from Austin Stone to Soma Communities to Community Christian with each layover bringing new insight and fascinating stories.  It launched me and CrossPoint on a journey that aims for the blue ocean.

And it introduced me to the persona of Michael Frost.  “One of the best communicators in the Church,” said Hirsch.  After Wiki’13 I would agree. 

Frost’s window metaphor paints like this:  If the mission of the Church is to announce and demonstrate the universal reign of God through Christ, then we who are Church are simply called to help people see that reign present in this world.  The challenge, however, is the room in which pre-Christ people live: it is dark and dank with grime covering the windows.  No light seeps through.  No sun rises or sets are visible.  No beauty can be seen or birds heard.  Yet we who live in the kingdom of God by the certainty of baptism united to the certainty of crucifixion and resurrection know this Kingdom is real (I fleshed out the sacramental link).  We can already see heaven.  The smell of the wine is in our nose and taste of the bread, on our tongues.

Our windows are clean.  Our worlds, lit.  The images live in our minds by the power of full cross and empty tomb.

Our task, then, our mission, is to clean windows.  To expose friends and family to the reality of Jesus’ universal reign.  To remove the grime that hinders people from seeing Jesus and His Kingdom. 

According to Frost, Christians clean windows in two ways: by announcing and by demonstrating.  Words and action.  Sharing and doing, especially in the areas of reconciliation, justice, beauty, and wholeness.  (Frost admits the first three areas come from N.T. Wright but adds the last for completeness sake.)

Thus, if in the world to come no hatred or prejudice or racism will exist, how can you be an instrument of reconciliation when another color moves in next door?  If in the world to come have-nots will not exist and widows will not have to beg deaf judges, how can you be an instrument of justice for your co-worker who has been maligned, so that she gets a glimpse of God’s kingdom today?  If in the world to come the beauty of creation and music and food and art will be the norm and everywhere, how can you bring beauty, how can you leverage art to demonstrate Jesus reigns right now?  And if in the world to come the whole man will be whole, with no illness or demonic possession or debilitating addictions, what can you do to bring release and healing to the woman who has struggled for twelve years?

The mission of the Church is to move into the neighborhood – to be the sacrament of God in Christ – revealing the salvific reign of Christ for all.  That happens through announcing and demonstrating.  Through both word and deed.

For me, that means my widow neighbor whose husband recently died of pancreatic cancer eight (!) days after diagnosis needs to hear and see the “kingdom to come” today.  Through me.  Right now.

What about you?  Whose window do you need to wash today? How do you need to be God's sacrament right now?

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Searching for meaning….

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

We all want to matter. We were designed by our Creator to change the world, at least our little corner or cubicle or cul-de-sac.  We were created to contribute. We want our lives to matter.

But we also  know that a life that matters isn’t just about making a difference, We all want to matter to someone. We want to belong, to be cared for.  We know how each of us matter to God.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus testify to that. God loved the world, including you, so much that He sent Jesus as a sacrifice for the world. You are now a friend of God.  You no longer bear the label “enemy.”  Easter irrevocably gives you that, and your baptism irrevocably guarantees you that.  You matter to God.

And if that’s true—if your life truly matters to God—then the only way to live A life that matters is to follow the One who makes life matter, namely, the resurrected Jesus.  The resurrection of Jesus is the single-most life-changing event in the world’s history.  This Jesus is alive; He is walking alongside of you on whatever journey you’re on.  And His heart for you is to realize that and to learn from HIM, to listen to HIM, to live with Him on that journey.

So A Life That Matters is a life that follows Jesus.

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Are you a follower?

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I’m a follower of Jesus. Followers follow, and they have no problem saying why they follow or who they follow.Jesus wants us to follow. And to say why. You’ve publicly said you will follow Jesus unto death. That no matter the persecution, no matter the attacks, no matter if there were hoards of people encircling you, ready to eat you alive if you smell like Jesus, you’ve publicly said, “I will suffer even death rather than fall away.” You were baptized into the name of God the father, son and Holy Spirit. You don’t follow your congregation.  You weren’t baptized in the name of Bill Woolsey–at least I hope not. You’re a child of God. You follow Jesus. Children just sit and receive. Followers take action. We’re children of God, yes. But we’re called to follow, to take action.

So what are you afraid of when it comes to being labeled a Jesus follower?

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In Jesus’ Name…

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

We are dying. Our bodies will die. We know that.

But we also know that with the final verse of the song, the final beat of the heart, the final episode of our lives, rather than the stage going dark the lights will all come on. What Jesus did millenniums ago He did for us. When He hung on that cross He didn’t just die for everyone in Malaysia or Madagascar, He died for me. He didn’t just save everyone in the Urals or United Kingdom, He saved you.

And because He saved us then, we are saved now. Because we were baptized years ago–or just yesterday–we are baptized now, which means we have the Spirit of Jesus in us forming and molding us so that more and more we look like Jesus, act like Jesus and will one day totally be with Jesus.

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