What Is Lent? You’re going to give up WHAT for 40 days?

40 Days of Lint?

Linsanity! After last nights win over the Dallis Mavericks I am suggesting that we change the 40 (46) days preceding Easter from Lent—to Lint. Anyone with me? If you are going to participate in “Lint” this year here are a few things you have to give up for the next 40 days—starting on Wednesday.

1. Riding the bench

2. Loosing

3. Sleeping on your brother’s couch

4. And—most importantly— you must not use Lin’s name in vain. If I hear one more play (Linism) on this kid’s name— I may have to give up watching Sports Center for the next 40 days. Although, you have to admit, “You can’t Lin-it unless you’re Lin-it.” is pretty darn clever. (do you have a favorite?)

Ok, this post is probably way too far gone to talk about something serious—but here it goes.

With Ash Wednesday only a few days away— I wanted to let you know what my friends at Blood: Water Mission (started by the band Jars of Clay) are doing, and to challenge you to join me, in the 40 Days of Water Campaign,  from February 22nd to April 7th.

Typically during the Lenten season we spend 40 days, starting on Ash Wednesday, preparing our hearts for Holy Week and Easter. This year for lent I have decided to do something good, at the same time, for the people of Uganda. Please take a minute to watch this quick video and read my challenge below.

Yep—you heard me right! I am giving up coffee, and all other drinks, other than water, from Ash Wednesday until Easter morning, and I am asking for your support in one of 2 ways.

1. Join me. Why not take the 40 day water challenge with me? You can sign up with Blood: Water Mission here. If I can do it… you can do it!

2. Sponsor me. If you support what I am doing tell me in the comment section below that you will make a contribution, directly to Blood: Water Mission, for every day that I participate in the 40 Day Water Challenge. Maybe you can sponsor me for .25 cents a day? What about a dollar a day? Whatever it is—at the end of the 40 days you can make your donations directly to Blood: Water Mission here.

Thanks, What do you say?

 

Share!

When you have six children there are going to be a few battles that you will fight everyday, and sharing is one of them. Around my household it’s usually food, toys, food, TV, food, games, food, books, food, friends, food, clothes— did I mention food? Sharing, or being more generous, is something that we get better with as we get older—at least I am hoping that’s true.

Yet, as followers of Jesus, for the most part, we (myself included) are not very good at sharing—sharing our hope in Christ with others.

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Scripture is pretty clear that we should be willing, and prepared, to share the hope that we have in Christ with anyone who asks, and to do that with love and respect. Yet, many of us break into cold sweats with the thought of sharing our faith with someone at work or school. We have fears of being asked theological questions that we can’t answer, seeming judgmental, or appearing to put our hope, in the opinion of some, in superstition and myth—so we just keep our faith to ourselves.

But, I would never let my kids get away with those reason to NOT to share at home.

I would never let my kids get away with these arguments…

Well, Dad, this cookie is really a personal cookie and I don’t want to offend anyone with it. I mean, what if they are allergic to chocolate chip?

or,

I really don’t know how to share this cookie, and what if they say no?

or

yeah, but what if they ask me questions about my cookie that I don’t know how to answer them?

I know that these are facetious questions to make a point, but consider these follow up questions. When we don’t share what God has done for us, through Jesus, are we being selfish?  Does the personal risk/cost of sharing outweigh the benefit to the person that you might be sharing with?

What about you? Do you have fears about sharing your faith? When is it challenging? When is it easy? Is it our responsibility? Why does God choose to use us to share the message of Grace through faith?

What Is Your Favorite Bible Verse? (Seriously, tell me what it is!)

Happy Friday! I want to shoot for at least 30 verses here, so please leave a Bible verse!

What is your favorite Bible verse(s)? Do you have it memorized?

My favorite passage is:

Romans 12: 1-2

A Living Sacrifice

 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I wouldn’t call myself a hymn person—per-say. Don’t get me wrong, I like hymns as much as the next Gen-Xer, but they aren’t my first choice if I want to listen to worship music. However, I feel like the language and tradition in many classic hymns puts much of our “contemporary” worship music to shame. And, no, this is not a post on worship styles—so don’t worry.

PLEASE HIT PLAY AND THEN CONTINUE TO READ!

One of the things that makes some hymns great, in my humble opinion, is how a piece of music, and the message within, will stand the test of time, and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing has surely endured the test of time!

Written in 1757 (that’s 255 years ago, people!) by Pastor, and hymnist, Robert Robinson, Come Thou Fount has gained recent popularity being covered by bands like David Crowder and Jars of clay—just to name a few.

At the age of 17 Roberts, as the story goes, was involved with a questionable group of friends, and started sensing a needed change in his life. So he convinced a group of friends to go see the famous Methodist preacher, George Whitefield, so that he and his friends could heckle the minister while he was giving his message. unbeknownst to his friends Roberts had ulterior motives for the visit, and so did God.

That day Whitefield preached on Matthew 3:7.

Matthew 3:7

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

After hearing that message Roberts left feeling a deep sense of conviction and dread. That message remained with Roberts until the age of 20, when he publicly declared that he would enter the ministry and live a life dedicated to the message of the cross.

Two years later, at the young age of 22, Roberts penned the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing:

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I’ll praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

My favorite stanza from this hymn is:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

This last verse may have been foreshadowing a season in Roberts life. Although unverifiable— the story goes that one day, many years after writing the hymn, Roberts boarded a stagecoach in which a young lady happen to be humming Come Thou Fount. When the lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming— he responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

Do you have a favorite hymn? what is it? what is your favorite line from it? Do you know the story behind your favorite hymn?

Fast-Food Faith

Diner Christianity

We started a new series in The Underground this week called “Diner-Christianity.”  It’s a creative, conversational, out of the box, attempt for us to relate the characteristics of our faith journey back to different types of eating environments or establishments.

Another way to say it is, “If my faith journey is an eating establishment what kind of eating establishment would it be?” (I know, only in America, right?)

We launched the series on Sunday with the topic of “fast-food Christianity.”  The conversation and teaching focused on areas of our faith journey that look more like a trip to Taco Bell than the journey toward discipleship.  (However, I will quickly mention that I do hear angels singing the Hallelujah chorus every-time I order a Double-Double from In & Out Burger.)  I know, at times, I am guilty of fast food (drive-thru) Christianity, and here is one simple example of some of the things we talked about on Sunday.

Convenient!

Take a minute to think about two of the main reasons that we go to fast food “restaurants.”  We frequent places like McDonald’s because they are fast and cheap.  It doesn’t cost a lot of time or money to go through a Taco Bell drive thru, although there might be some weight and health issues at some other time.

Fast-Food Christianity is just that—fast and cheap, but with the potential for long term challenges.  With fast food faith you are “done” in an hour a week (church service) and your faith has little, if any, implication (cost) on the rest of your life, actions, dreams, finances, future or character.  Simply stated, there are times in my life where I want a faith that is quick, easy, and that doesn’t cost a lot.

Of course the challenge with fast food faith is that the Bible says, in several passages, that following Jesus has a very real cost.  Jesus himself talks about the cost at the end of the Sermon on the Mount where he tells his followers that people are going to persecute you “because of me.”

Matthew 5:10-12

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In Luke 14, Jesus implores the large crowds to consider the cost of following him in the same way a builder understands the implications of constructing a new building, or a king considering the cost of going to war. And, at the end of his recruitment pitch, (sarcasm) Jesus makes it clear exactly what the cost to follow him is—everything!

Luke 14:25-33
The Cost of Being a Disciple

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Many times I want my “faith order” to look more like a “happy meal” than the mysterious, dangerous and scandalous meal that we see at the last supper. One of the real byproducts of fast food faith is that it reduces Jesus down to the part of  a loveable fast food corporate mascot (be it clown or king) and turns heaven into nothing more than the chintzy prize that comes with the meal.

 

 

 

About The Ordained Barista

Barry Hill

Barry Hill

Story Teller, Writer and Coffee Lover

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