Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not one, but two parties to mock the devil..

Hey gang..tis the season for come on and join them, and bring some friends and enemies:

March 28: This is the Sunday usually known as Palm we will put a twist on it. Since it's the fifth week of our series on spiritual warfare..we will address that theme, AND play a joke on the devil by having a cool lunch and having holy fun at it! We will be bringing in salad and pizza. If you want to bring your own drinks, or a dessert to share, bring it on (but not required).

If you want to really play a joke on the devil, bring a non-Christian friend. When they find out they actually like our church, they'll say "Well, I'll be damned." Watch this clip here to practice your "Well, you don't have to be" (:

April 4: This is the Sunday formerly known as since it's resurrection day, best excuse ever to party! We have, amazingly, for the third year in a row on Resurrection Day, our own missionaries, Ken and Cathie Metz. They are coming all the way from Peru just to be with us, so make sure you show up (:

(OK, ok, they are in the states for a few months..but the real reason is to see YOU!)

You know, when you hear there are missionaries at church, most folks skip as they think it will be boring.

Let me tell you, the Metzes are never boring..I have lived with them and Peru. And Ken has promised to
do the "Pants on the Ground" dance for us,
singing it in Spanish!!

More info, and radical movies of the Metzes here:

and here

By the way, making fun of the devil in an ancient church tradition on easter, so appropriately, this is the last week in our series on spiritual warfare. See you then, and give the devil a hell of a time.
More on that tradition here.

Info, map
etc Sunday 10:1o am @539 W Celeste

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Emperor Arcadia, spit-laced chicken sandwich, and Free Road Food: Missional Sacraments part 2

Even though I am still part travelling salesman, I've got nothing to sell.

Even though many churches justify it, I can't imagine selling donuts in church.

It is hard to completely

detox down

from the system which

Botoxes-up evangelism as sales.

Isaiah 55:1:

"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost."

That such "strategy" is counterintuitive to us who are in (so-called)"full-time ministry"
is perhaps hinted at by a verse (8) just a bit further on in that chapter:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

I don't even want to think about thinking about the gospel as a product.
I fear that I might even echo the sounds of "saaaaaaaaaaaaaaalesmen."
I don't want to be sold out to Simony (click if that is a new word for you; as it is precisely the point I am about to make).

I've got to give it away indiscriminately.
One can only keep what they give away.

That goes for food.

We are called to give it away on the road.

Following up on several great stories told on
my post on sacraments being intrinsically missional..

..all I can say is the Emperor Arcadia story is amazing,
and hugely relevant.
Thanks to St. Mark Scandrette for posting it online
(it's part of his "Soul Graffiit" book).
Mark is quick to qualify that this is not a program, or even him saying we should do a version of the same.

But without making it a program, I think we should all do a version of the same.

Suffice to say meeting and "ministering to" someone with as sign like this on the bus which is their home...


..would be a stretch.

Someone named "Emperor Arcadia," (actual photo) who though a bit unstable, has some prevenient-grace sense of sacrament:
Baptism?He ritually washed himself daily in a solution of vinegar, bleach, dish soap, and urine
Communion? When you read the heartbreaking story, you will see how Mark and his friends loving the Emperor over various meals that he often "officiated at"; sacred meals of strawberry milkshake, spit-laced chicken sandwich, Italian sausage sandwich (“Make sure you get it with mayonnaise and provolone cheese")and prime rib dinner are blessed elements indeed.

That is the whole worldview behind missional meals/Love Feasts/church "meatings."

The story ends...I didn't know or guess how it would end...with the whole point.
Which is not the point.
This the paradox we all live in. We love without condition, and without requiring conversion.
"Is an act of love only significant because of the change it produces? Or, can the meaning be in the act itself," Scandrette asks.

The end of the story, someone says
“That sounds like the kind of church I would love to join”

Without being driven by selling our church, or God's Christ, how sweet and Spiritaneous it is when someone says something like that.

It may only happen when sacraments are road food.

And may only begin when you dare to read the story of Emperor Arcadia.
(or listen to it..I remember seeing an audio link somewhere at that link, bit can't find it now.)

Read it now, and come on back to comment.
From the soaring sublime to the (partly) ridiculous....but on the same point:

Who knows what the lyrics to The Guess Who's "Road Food" are intended to be all about (I'm afraid I do know!!)....but I can't refrain from singing the refrain....and knowing that somehow in the Spirit's stealth sovereignty, it's also about putting the Kingdom show...oops, that's exactlty the wrong word, how about "food"..on the road.

How missional is that?

"Each night smacks of new wonder..

..Smile and nod your head, dead is live is dead.

......ROAD FOOD!":


Thursday, March 11, 2010

the devil is God's devil..

(ART BY nick griffin)
Reposting this item below from my blog post a few years this will be our hot topic this Sunday:

the devil is God's devil..
(excerpt from
this rant )

I occasionally enjoy playing devil's (uh, I should say "angel's") advocate when I preach and teach. I often ask a group "shock-value" questions as a wake-up and shake-up call to the necessity and validity of the vertiginous (yes, it's a word!) encounter; the test of temptation. In light of the fact that "sometimes we can't make it on our own, " and need to go with Jesus to hear, and experience, a challenging and dizzying "Sermon Way Up the Mount," disciples need to remember to remember that in those disequilibrating times when elevation gives birth to vertigo, let the Spirit be midwife, and what will mercifully be born again and again in you is untold freedom and hilarious strengthening. Here, then is the first question I might cast out: "How many ever pray the Lord's Prayer, including the line 'Lead us not into temptation?'"

And since all answers are a nodding "yes and amen," the subsequent question has earned a hearing: "Would, or could, GOD ever lead anyone, then, into temptation?; especially since we have been taught by Jesus Himself to pray it would never happen?" Since most have detected that, by my mischevious inflection and sly smile the expected right answer is "Of course!," it's an appropriate time to take holy advantage of the stunned to silence room and have them turn from their shock to either Matthew 4:1 or Luke 4:1. Either verse reads right on the lines that "God, the Holy Spirit" is without apology recognized; indicted as the Agent leading someone into a very real and literally demonic temptation. And just who that Someone is, is telling and is troublesome: "Then the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Granted, and important to highlight: God does not do the tempting; the tempter is clearly the devil, but in God's stunning sovereignty, he has personally arranged the time and place of the temptation; He Himself has set the boundaries and parameters of the boxing ring; He himself is out in front ushering Jesus..and often us..right into a head-on . What in heaven's name and hell's court is going on?


"The devil is God's devil!," a much better theologian than me, but one also famous/infamous for "shock value sound bytes" quipped a few hundred years ago. By that biting byte, Martin Luther has not more than he could chew in, mouth. He meant simply that God is so supernaturally and sovereignly 'in charge' that he is even in charge of, Superintendent of; in fact he created, "Ol' Scratch."..Satan himself. Which is why the Spirit can risk, allow, even set-up our wilderness temptations with Satan. He can trust, that like Jesus, who "at the end of this satanic temptation, came out of the wilderness stronger and more full of the power of the Spirit, and more prepared to minister than ever, " (Luke 4:13-14). We who follow in the footsteps of Christ, even and especially when they lead to the devil's door, we pass the test! And the joke is on the dumb devil, Ol Scratch scratching his damned head as we..the eternally undamned and newly undammed…come out stronger in Spirit. And if Romans 8:28's al- inclusive sweeping claim that "God works all things together for good for those who love God, and are the called according to his purpose" is taken at face and faith value, that "all things" includes "all" all things, including satanic temptation, and Satan himself. With that Romans verse in mind, a more modern theologian, one who is in league with Luther (and U2) in that she was also earthy in a heavenly way, one tested and tempted in the evil vileness and extreme vertigo of Ravenbsruck concentration camp, one Corrie Ten Boom, offered this prescription, "When the devil sticks his gun of accusation or condemnation in your face, just stuff Romans 8:28 in the barrel of that gun, and turn things around by stuffing it back in his face."


Let's take the test. Only two possible answers for each question below: A)God or B)Devil. Choose only one each time. Sounds easy, so take the test, without looking up the accompanying Scriptures until you have turned in your exam. (Number two pencil only, please):

1.)Who sent an evil spirit to terrorize Saul? (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10)
2.)Who sent a deceiving and lying spirit? (1 Kings 22:22)
3)Who authorizes satanic harassment of Job (Job 1:12)
4)Who can destroy both body and soul in hell? (Matthew 10:28)
5)Who sent a deceiving influence, so that wicked people are damned? (2 Thess. 2:11)

How did you do? Isn't it obvious that the only correct answer to each of the above is..God!?
Huh? Is that the good news or the bad news, you ask? Whose side are you on, anyway? Cool down, mama! Now you can look up the Scriptures, and triple check that I am not just making this up, or nuts. I think the lesson, though so much more should be said to be sure our theology is biblical and balanced, is: God is so sovereign that he uses..and even though we are not as comfortable as these Scriptures sometimes are in saying so, He is some sense "sends"…. evil, and wrings good purposes out of them. He is not evil, nor the author of evil; and does not enjoy our suffering and evil; he does not want AIDS, cancer, rape, slavery, etc…...but the devil is God's devil. God is either good and sovereign or not. These Scriptures, stretching and shocking as they are, actually steer us towards his radical "in charge-ness," He is ridiculously sovereign. The devil is active, but he is on a leash…a long one, granted..but God's grabbing the other end.
OK, four more questions. Ready? Of course not! Same two possible answers, God or the devil, for these below:

1)Who sees to it that a sinner is saved? (1 Cor. 5:5)
2)Who is the god of this world? (2 Cor 4:4)
3)Who helps keep Paul humble? (2 Cor, 12:7)
4)Who teaches Paul not to blaspheme? (1 Tim 1:20)

All done? You got an "A" of course, if every answer above is, as verified by the verses, .the devil! Don't get me wrong, the devil ain't good, but he works for God at the end of the day. Church folks don't get this. Bono gets it. As much as he hates, and campaigns against the devil's evil (and he and we should) …God uses evil. He wins. Satan is trumped and checkmated in the End. This is the full-orbed gospel.
Yes, these are the other shocking questions I love to ask at church gatherings. Did they work?


"This generation will be remembered for three things: the Internet, the war on terror, and how we let an entire continent go up in flames while we stood around with watering cans. Or not," Bono preached to evangelical congregations on his Africa awareness tour, hoping for crumbs from our generous spread and table. "Let me share with you a conviction," he often challenged a hushed church, " God is on his knees to the church on this one. God Almighty is on his knees to us, begging us to turn around the super tanker of indifference on the subject of AIDS."

He is right. Even though we can lean back on the lavish and wild sovereignty of God to work good out of evil, nowhere does that justify us doing nothing so that evil (temporarily) prevails because we know that it will (at the End) be vanquished. And there is enough evil and suffering in the world..and in us; we don't need to ask for any additional of either, even if we know they force us to grow....


C. S. Lewis, as previously mentioned, is such a lamppost...
Lewis was at his best at reminding us of eveything we should've known: there are not two gods, God and the devil, who have always existed and are opposites in the all-American "good guy, bad guy" scenario. This ridiculous theology, though, is often our default, unconscious understanding. Many evangelicals will actually suggest that the devil has always existed, and always been bad; forgetting that "Evil is only fallen good," and God made Lucifer; made him good; he simply chose to fall and attempt to claim God's throne.

That is Christianity; the "good and bad eternal opposite" jive is dualism, related to the hell of extreme Hellenism. But the radical monotheism of Christianity, by design is a one-God deal; and He so big that the buck stops with Him, meaning laments like "Jesus.. I know You're looking out for us..but "sometimes Your hands aren't free?" are doubts cased in honest faith, which can stand up in Gethsemane, Vertigo or hell-on-earth..(excerpt from this rant)

Monday, March 08, 2010

a fishy request

Many will remember this guy from camp or church
(uh, the guy with the fin...hopefully you remember the other guy, too.

He was so popular there was even a fight over him last summer.

Anyway, I bought him at Food Maxx years ago, and haven't seen any for sale since.

And as some of you know, he has a new home...and I really want a new one for camp/church.

Anyone who remembers how we used him as a "hold this guy when it's your turn to speak"/microphone has great memories of him.

We even have video of one of his brothers who came to a church breakfast...No, we didn't eat him;he helped with an American Idol competition...of course!

Anyone seen fishies like this for sale?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

don't ever stand in front of a 'Y"..or (worse): an "S"

Read the whiteboard...

reminds me of the supposedly true story Paul Harvey told:

A man was in a car accident near a Shell gas station.
As he came to consciousness, wondering where he was, all he saw was the SHELL sign..
......and someone was standing in front of the "S."

Yes, this was a real commercial...1949

Thanks for the tip, Rod

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Check out tons of audio and legal illegal downloads from Third Day
on our brand new "eavesdrop page"...thanks to our audio elder Keltic Ken for setting it up.

Click here to hear..

"Insanity of God" Showing for third day fresno!

Special Showing of The "Insanity of God" Day , June 4 for third day fresno. Special Day, Special Place! Invite a special f...