Tag Archives: Life As Prayer update

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Advent Guest post

Advent: We Don’t Know What We Are Waiting For by Ed Cyzewski

http://www.in.a.mirror.dimly.com

Posted on December 15, 2009 by Christine Sine

http://www.godspace.com

This morning’s reflection comes from Ed Cyzewski the author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life. He blogs on theology at http://www.inamirrordimly.com and on writing at http://www.edcyz.com.
During December Ed’s book Coffeehouse Theology will be available from NavPress.com at 35% off (coupon K82E1D8E6). In light of this offer Ed is also making the Coffeehouse theology: Bible Study Guide available as a free PDF for download.
Advent: We Don’t Know What We Are Waiting For
What are we waiting for during Advent? The coming of Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise to bring salvation, and the coming of God’s Kingdom to earth.
In a sense we know what we’re waiting for, we read scripture, we pray, and we worship with our communities. We’re looking for Jesus, and we want nothing more than to recognize his coming.
However, will we actually recognize the coming of Jesus, the form of God’s salvation, or the arrival of God’s Kingdom? Are we willing to go to the places where God’s Kingdom is manifested, submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, and allow God to conform our dreams and desires according to his plan?
When I read about John the Baptist and the many people in the audience of Jesus, I see a large number of people who eagerly waited for God and did everything possible to prepare for his coming, and still they missed it. They didn’t recognize a Messiah who prayed in lonely places, worked on the margins, and challenged their preexisting lifestyles and religious practices.
Even John had a hard time accepting Jesus after spending his whole life preparing to be the herald of the Messiah.
What are we waiting for during Advent? I’m not quite sure. None of us should be sure. We are indeed waiting for God to act, but we don’t know what that action will look like.
Whether or not we recognize the fulfillment of God’s hope and coming Kingdom will depend on our own humility and commitment to listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Left to our own devices, we’d miss out on the very things we’ve been waiting for.

God as a Genie – Hoodoo Part III (moralist therapeutic deism)

Sociologist, Christian Smith and his team of researchers conducted surveys across America (and all religious preferences ) with over 3,000 youth, and got a feel for how they viewed God. (I would guess many American adults could score with similar results.)

The findings congealed into a perspective Smith terms,

“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”1

This view allows for much individual choice, values, and ethics, and nothing much in the way of a deepening relationship with the Creator.

It actually reminds me of how a child grows up. First, as a baby, the infant knows that something feeds him. After a while, he understands that certain things he does may cause certain needs or wants to be fulfilled. A little while later, the child comprehends that he has a person caring for him. Only much later does that child really respond to the parental love in any kind of reciprocal way, let alone, show much unselfish kindness to the parent. This is a good picture of the journey of spirituality, toward the heart of God.


1 R. Albert Mohler, Jr.| “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” Christian Post. Accessed November 16, 2009 from http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050418/moralistic-therapeutic-deism-the-new-american-religion/index.html 

(FULL article by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. called “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” here.)

Advent (start a new Ancient tradition)

bible

As some of you know, I have been involved in the Tyndale Publishing, New living Translation, project: Holy Bible: Mosaic, through contributing a meditation on the Trinity called, Anointing Oil (pg. 264).

We are soon approaching the Season of Advent. Many of us in the Evangelical tradition have not experienced the richness of joining with so many Christians around the world who worship and enjoy God by observing the Christian calendar year. This begins at Advent, the first week in December, and in 2009, begins Nov. 29th. This is a time when we focus on God’s redemptive plan for us, and anticipate the birth of the Incarnation, the coming King, Jesus the Christ. (This calendar continues to other major events in God’s redemptive plan–including Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, and Pentecost.)

The Holy Bible: Mosaic begins weekly thought-provoking meditations at Advent, but Tyndale also provides a special Advent sampler of the first four mediations from the Mosaic Bible that make a thoughtful early Christmas card or gift, (and are small enough to fit in a envelope.) Another nice thing is that this Advent sampler it’s only $1.99!

I hope you will consider the celebration of Advent in your worship this year, especially if you haven’t in the past.

More interesting, in-depth info on Advent available here.

Thank you to Rick Warren (Ministry Toolbox), and to New Testament scholar, and author of The Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight who have been so positive in their support of this NLT Bible–a new tool to dive deeper toward the heart of God through this special presentation of God’s Word–adjacent to weekly God-centered meditations.

I will be doing a weekly reflection on the Holy Bible: Mosaic meditation of the week here, as we journey together.

Thanks for reading.

Feel free to leave your comments.

Jedi Training, coming in 8 weeks.

 

jedi-t

Anyone can be a Jedi... eventually.

 

No, Mr. T is not officially endorsing my program, (which is really a focused learning group) but if he knew about it, he might.

If you’re curious, and ready to be a Jedi, click the tab at the top that reads “Jedi Training – Info.”

Only 10 people will be chosen, at a time. We begin in January.

May the Schwartz be with you.

 

Our First Learning Group is finished.

Here are a few quotes from participants:

“All in all, one of the major things I gleaned from Brother Lawrence, was the similarity of my struggle to his battle, to get past punishing myself  for my failures and losing my focus on God. It seems that when BL finally internalized the concept of God’s grace, he realized that as soon as he saw the disconnect in his life it was foolish to waste time beating himself over it (asceticism, which could take that quite literally, especially in BL’s day!). He learned to immediately return to the position that was already his because of God’s grace, continuing in the joy of His presence.”

“I’m glad Brother Lawrence seems like such a regular guy. He prays things like “God, I can’t do this unless you help me,” and when he messes up, “God, I *always* do that, and if you don’t help me I won’t ever do better!” That I can relate to!”

“I loved that Brother Lawrence was his own man – it was just him and God becuase everyone elses ideas confused him, so he just went straight to God. It was nothing in between – he would just get up – own the difficulty and carry on!!”

“For me, Brother Lawrence broke down some of my pre-assumed barriers by helping to break the secular and sacred divide that has happened in my life. I have often thought… okay, now it’s prayer time, then work time, then church time, then social time… etc. In reality, those separations don’t exist, and it’s immensely helpful to integrate our whole lives.”

Learning exchange invitation to YOU!

Brother Lawrence
Brother Lawrence-Practicing the Presence of God

For more on -Explaining “online Learning Groups”- click on the tab above called “Learning Groups-Updates”

Choose wisely- funny FAIL photo

 

This hotel has some strange amenities!

This hotel has some strange amenities!

Here’s an odd photo that reminds us that choosing wisely DOES matter.

 

Stay healthy.