17 December, 2005

Simeon & Anna

In the advent spirit I thought I'd point us back over to Scott McKnight's blog where he has reflected on what Christmas meant for Simeon and Anna:

Simeon & Anna 1
Simeon & Anna 2
Simeon & Anna 3
Simeon & Anna 4
Simeon & Anna 5

15 December, 2005

A Night @ Kiltiernan

We went up for some snowboarding lessons with Cormac, Steve, and a bunch of the lads going on the trip in Feb. If I get any pics, I'll put 'em up for ya. It's always fun learning to snowboard on millions of toothbrushes in the hills of Dublin. And we did look like idiots but as Steve said, "I felt really uncool, until I walked passed the skiers." It was great craic. We walked away from it getting to know how to snowboard a bit better and having some quality time with some quality lads.


11 December, 2005

Mary & Elizabeth


Scott McKnight has a great blog I've bee reading quite a bit lately. He is doing a short "series" on it about the meaning of Christmas for Mary & Elizabeth and shows quite some insight in his observations. Link below to read:

Mary & Elizabeth 1
Mary & Elizabeth 2
Mary & Elizabeth 3
Mary & Elizabeth 4
Mary & Elizabeth 5


10 December, 2005

Back to the Hospital

Well, we have decided to take Hailey back into the hospital. She just hasn't been doing well and could benefit from some more time on the drip.

Update: When I left Hailey at the hospital tonight she was in good spirits. She hasn't vomited much today - a HUGE blessing - and she is doing a lot better now with the I.V. Please pray that she would be able to sleep well there tonight. Last time she spent the night at the hospital she found it very hard to sleep due to hearing woman after woman go into labour.

Narnia Tip

Hey, it doesn't look like Hailey and I will be able to join you all for the Narnia adventure but I did want to let you guys know that rumour has it that you'll want to wait around after the credits. Supposedly there is an important scene there. So don't leave early.

Hailey and I are so thankful for your support in both prayer and provision. We are considering taking her back to the hospital today. I'll let you know what we end up doing.


06 December, 2005

Christmas Re-imagined

One of my personal prayers this Christmas has been to hear the story of the birth of Jesus anew. There is a tendency for me to hear the story I grew to know as a child and to close my ears to what really happened. Biblical story slowly turns to fairy tale. Recently, I found the CD "A Christmas Story You've Never Heard," reviewed over at The Ooze. I was thinking it might be fun to listen to this as a group as we try to hear the story with fresh ears.


Seattle Metro Church

Seattle Metro Church seems to be doing community similar to ourselves. Thought I'd put the link up here so we can explore it together and see if we can learn from these guys.


04 December, 2005

Being Available for God

I mentioned to some of us how I had really appreciated the testimony of Nick Vujicic (the guy with no limbs). You can check out his life and testimony on his website, or listen to him here (mp3) or even watch him here (quicktime). This is a guy who in many a person's eye would be simply a pity case but he is not. Nick is a guy who I've only listened to once but who has inspired me to a more missional mindset in life. His message is "be available to be used by God" and that means in the grocery store, or in my car, keeping my radar up and prayerfully asking, "God use me." I was brought back to this message after reading a quote from Bono in an interview with Q Magazine. He was their person of the year. You can read the entire article here (just click on the images). Here's the quote:

"Q: Money. Irishness. God. Which one couldn't you live without?

Bono: Wow. Well it's an easy question to ask but... here's a thing. When I was 16, my head was exploding. I just felt my life was going nowhere. I didn't fit in. I couldn't get a job. I didn't know how I could do my exams and I wasn't even sure I could concentrate at college. In those days, I remember, a prayer came up inside me. I said "I don't know what I'm going to do with my life but if there's a God out there, and I believe there is, and You want me to do something, then I'm ready. I don't have any plans for myself and I'm available for work." Pretty much within a few months of that epiphany I had joined U2 and started going out with Ali. A pretty good two months! Now had my destiny been -- if the God in heaven had said I want you to become a fireman and run up very dangerous buildings and save people's pets, I'd like to hope I'd have gone at it with the same gusto. So -- I couldn't let go of my faith. But what's more interesting is that I don't think God will let go of me. I love it when people on bar stools rub their chins and say do you believe in God? That's so presumptuous. A much more important question is does God believe in us?

Q: That sounds like you believe you were chosen.

Bono: No, no, no, I don't believe that. I do think God gets a laugh out of using some very poor materials. I volunteered is what I'm telling you."
--Bono in Q Magazine
And so as we enter our daily lives lets do it with the attitude of availability, with the desire to be be used by God.


Will Narnia Sneak Past our Dragons?


Read an interesting article in USA Today this morning concerning the religious tension in America over The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. It asked if the film was to be viewed as fantasy adventure or as religious allegory and answered that we should see it as both.
I wonder with what attitudes we are going to see the film in a weeks time (do you think we need to pre-book?).

One of the quotes is from a professor of Hope College (an evangelical college in the USA) states, "Let story be story. Don't go explaining it, don't ask kids, 'Does this remind you of something? Do you find something deeper here?' Let them discover it on their own, if they ever do."

But some of us might be thinking, "why?" Isn't this a great opportunity to discuss the gospel message of Christ with our kids and neighbors, and Aslan is such an obvious Christ figure... But I think we might do well to listen to the words of C.S. Lewis before we go and slip in the gospel through the backdoor with our friends, kids and family. The USA article quotes Lewis at length here:

"Lewis, who died in 1963, gave the clearest explanation of the books and why he wrote them in an essay titled "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said."

"I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past certain inhibitions which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ?

"I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices, almost as if it were something medical.

"But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could."

I think Lewis got it right. He always argued that his story was not an allegory but an experiment playing around with the idea of what it might have looked like if Christ had come into a world of furry animals and talking beasts. If we let our kids, family, & neighbors feel the power of the story I think it might just get past their inhibitions, their dragons, and lead to much greater conversations down the road.

Just some thoughts


Link: Is that lion the King of Kings?

03 December, 2005

Satan's Sinners in the Kingdom

Read a great article today at Relevant Magazine entitled Barnyard Births in the City. I love this quote from it:

"At its core, however, Christ’s birth was unseemly (single mothers were capital criminals); unsanitary (born in a barn, surrounded by farm animals, stench and bugs); controversial (astrologers were the first to perceive it, by reading the stars); lowly (shepherds got it, innkeepers did not); dangerous (it provoked the ire of a villainous king); deadly (the king slaughtered innocents in response); not to mention politically radioactive (Jesus was “king” of an occupied people) and religiously scandalous (“Messiah”). "
As we study the incarnation on Thursdays (i.e. the Christmas story) I think it's important to remember that this story is a messy one, it's not the sanitized one our Christmas cards, shopping sprees and family dinners speak of. The Incarnation is the trumpet sound of the beginning of the end. It is this story we celebrate 2000 years down the road.

As we said last Thurs. night, Christ's birth brought peace between humanity and God but Christ's presence in our lives also brings up a lot of junk that we need to deal with.

The article discusses the New York gang Satan's Sinners, and how pastor Rick and his congregation continued the ministry of Christ coming into the messy lives and communities of Bethlehem and the Middle East in their local community.

The birth of Christ is a reminder that what God has called us to is messy business but in being messy we announce “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Lk. 2:14).


02 December, 2005

Taking "church" to our community

Sun 4th Dec.
Meeting at Matt & Hailey's at 11:00am and walking to Knox Hall, Monkstown where Monkstown Educate Together National School (where Lauren & Robert go) are having their School Christmas Fair. The fair runs until 2:30pm but we can leave at any time. Stalls will include home cooking, face painting, cd's, dvd's, books, etc. As usual on these occasions, there will be a Santa knocking about & there will be a raffle - you have been warned!!. Tea and coffee will be served. Come and hang out with, and get to know some people from the area.

Sun 11th Dec.
Going to see 'The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe' at the Ormonde Cinema, Stillorgan starting at 10:30am. Tickets for this showing cost €4.50 each for adults and children. This is a movie we can invite friends and neighbours to come see with us and should lead to some interesting conversations. Don't miss this opportunity to see this amazing film just days after it is released (9th Dec). If you wish, you can reserve your tickets in advance using your cedit card, by calling the Ormonde at (01) 278 0000.


01 December, 2005

Ask and Ye Shall Receive...

Found an mp3 of Alan Hirsch to add to your list and another one here (again haven't yet listened to them myself). Again, it was Andrew Jones who pointed this stuff out to me. Hirsch is releasing a new book entitled "Dangerous Stories," a book asking why the House Church Movement has done so well under persecution.