God does not leave us where he found us

We say around Garnett that you can come as you are, but God loves you too much to keep you that way. Everything about who God is demands that our lives change. I love how Anne Lamott says it,

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Shine brightly today

I’m in Owasso this am for a meeting and over the hill to the East the sun is rising. I’m reminded of one of our readings last night in the congregational meeting at Garnett. We gathered to take another step into The Story and read passages to one another from Judges.

In particular some of the ladies read from Deborah‘s Song (Judges 5). Seeing the sun at dawn, I’m reminded of the last line we paused to concluded with last night. I want to encourage us today with this verse.

“But let everyone who loves you shine brightly like the sun at dawn.”

One problem is that you must know the context of this verse, and it may spoil the above verse for you, but more importantly perhaps it will draw you and me more into the amazing story of God and his people. Jon Hart knocked it out of the park Sunday when he preached in my place on the Judges. You are indeed a Jedi, Jon.

So back to the line before this colorful scripture I quoted above about the sun. The preceding line says, “O Lord, may all our enemies die like Sisera.” Deborah and Barak are singing about “Jael and the nail,” an old Neal Pryor-ism. Look it up (Judges 5:24-31).

Advent – The Story

Source: ExploringFaith.org recommended by Chris Altrock

Some of you follow the Advent Calendar. Some of you do not. Some have never heard of it and others are formulating their response to me for even mentioning it in “Free Church” circles.

One good site that leads a daily thought and activity around Advent, recommended by my friend Chris Altrock is ExploringFaith.org

Advent is a way of preparing individuals, families, and churches for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is done through the lens of the coming Messiah. In other words, we continue to prepare ourselves for the Lord’s return through the event of Christmas and during the days leading up to Christmas, we express faith in various ways, scriptures, prayers, acts of service.

One way I plan to live out Advent is by being available at Cafe Mosaic during the weekday mornings to share more about The Story that Garnett has been going through. I’ll also do more visiting with shut-ins and planning to write letters to my children for Christmas (don’t tell them . . . they don’t read my blog 🙂

By Greg Taylor Posted in Advent

Nativity Stories

I read this book recently and couldn’t wait to tell you about it, so I wrote a review and posted it at Wineskins. Part of my urgency was to put it up before Christmas, because our interest in Mary is usually around Christmas, which is part of what Scot McKnight, who I consider one of the top five theologian/writers to watch and listen to today, is trying to move us away from. Mary is so much more than a “Christmas Character” but a courageous and prophetic disciple who not only says “May it be” but also “do what he tells you” and hears and believes the words of Gabriel when he says, “Nothing is impossible with God,” even the rise of a peasant boy who will cause the rising and falling of many, and one who will be pierced by the sword to her heart and soul.

The Real Mary

I also posted a review of The Nativity Story, more than what I posted here a few days ago, on Wineskins.

Review of The Nativity Story

I’m not a “real” movie reviewer, so here’s some more legit reviews . . . of course it’s all freestyle stuff and sometime “real” reviewers are a little more highbrow and may not relate to everyperson watchers. If you read my movie reviews, that’s what you’ll get is just a guy in a movie seat telling you what he saw, but you’ll sometimes miss some of the Hollywood insider stuff I’m clueless about.

Rotten Tomatoes reviews of The Nativity Story

Joseph, stepfather of the Lord

I asked at a Christmas party last night for those gathered to tell one part of the Christmas story that stood out in their hearings so far this Advent. One person said she was touched by the fact that Jesus was part of a step family.

Here is a little-read line from the beginning of Luke’s version of the genealogy of Jesus:

“He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph” (Luke 3:23b)

Want a LIVE Christmas tree this year?

My mission teammates Mark Moore and Clint Davis, with the help of Kibo Group supporters, continue to come up with creative ideas and funding for development in East Africa. Clint is just back from a trip to Rwanda where he joined other board members of the Imbabazi Orphanage to set direction after Roz Carr’s death. Being involved and supporting the orphanage is one way Kibo impacts East African development, and another way is through a creative and earth-renewing tree planting project. Click the picture below to find out more.

kibomvuleproject.jpg

What if you were Mary?

Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as “Mary” in New Line Cinema’s release of Catherine Hardwicke’s drama, The Nativity Story.I asked high school students last week to visualize Mary, depicted so well in The Nativity Story, conflicted, wondering how anyone would believe her story about the Holy Spirit conceiving in her a child.

When you wonder how this teenaged Jewish girl might have felt to be the mother of the Messiah, ask teenagers how they might feel . . .

Students wrote their feelings on cards and here are a few things they wrote, compiled in one paragraph:

I would be confused but happy in a way, I am overwhelmed, humbled, scared but excited, awed, honored, scared spitless, loved, sacred, angry, unbelievable, amazed, WOW! then I would faint, wouldn’t know what to think, doubtful, afraid, honored God chose me, a spiritual peace and logical fear and she says to herself, “this is what I was made for,” curious, mysterious, proud, worried, joyful, anxious, unready for responsibilities to come, WOW, me Lord? You want me to do this for you!?

Photo: Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as “Mary” in New Line Cinema’s release of Catherine Hardwicke’s drama, The Nativity Story. Photo Credit: ©2006 Jaimie Trueblood/New Line Productions