Friday, July 29, 2011

breaking the law

The other day JamieTheVWM posted a picture of a couple of my tattoos on Twitter.


Immediately someone pointed out my violation of Old testament Law. (Leviticus 19:28)  The comment was entirely sarcastic and in no way a surprise to me because several people have pointed out the “error” of my ways.   So, in an effort to clear the air, I would like to take a moment to confess to you some other Old Testament laws I have violated this year alone.

I made NONE of the required sacrifices this year and celebrated NONE of the feasts. Not one!

In fact, after not celebrating the Passover (Numbers 9:13) I ate leavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Exodus 12:19)

I ate a nice juicy, well it was pretty much bloody steak on my anniversary. (Leviticus 19:26)

Oh yeah, the shirt I have on is a poly-cotton blend! (Leviticus 19:19)

I would just like to apologize for these transgressions, hopefully you will not think any less of me.
ecwrites

What are some of your favorite OT laws? Has anyone ever pointed out your violation of an OT law? What should we, followers of Christ, do with OT law, observe it or what?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

sidewalks

Living in the emerging world means you are constantly caught between the old and the new, using things according to their intended purpose and, well, doing whatever you want or used to do.  Case in point:

Roads

We all know what roads are for, right? But, what if you live in a pedestrian society?  What if you live somewhere where they still use ox carts on a regular basis?

I have learned that roads are not so much for cars as they are for traffic of all kinds.  They make it easier to transport goods, materials, people over distance.  Roads are kind of the jack of all trades of the transportation world, but sidewalks, there you have a specialist. They are new, relatively speaking, narrow little people highways with the sole purpose of protecting our "breakable girls and boys" (stolen from Ingrid Michaelson's Breakable).  


Why wouldn't you use them?

We even have them here, brand new sidewalks, less than a year old.  They hem our tiny little country road, a gleaming beacon of protection screaming out, "USE ME!!", but people here don't.  The preferred mode of transportation, walking smack dab in the middle of the road.  It is this very preference which was the primary cause for my almost accident driving up the hill today.  Some dude walking in the road literally steps away from the sidewalk and safety.

Why?

It can't be to save time, we are talking seconds of difference, at best.  I am pretty sure he wasn't trying to save any energy either, he was walking downhill.  It had to be out of habit.  He has walked on that road for decades before that sidewalk existed and even though there is this new and improved, SAFER way to go, he continues doing what he does.  Living life on autoplilot.

So as I am swearing at this guy in my head, and well out of my head too, this little tidbit out of Proverbs comes to mind:

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11
Strange thing is, I have a feeling that this nugget of wisdom its not being directed at this guy, who is obviously being a fool, but at me! I'm the dog!

How many times do I blow it?  How often do I choose to return to my vomit, my old ways?  How often am I that jackass walking in the center of the road, spittin' distance from the sidewalk, from safety and freedom, from an abundant life?

ecwrites

Have you ever found yourself walking in the middle of the road with the safety of the sidewalk just steps away?  What problems has it caused you?  How can we keep walking in the safety of the sidewalk?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

does it ever work?

Short term missions.



Apparently there are very strong feelings about how they should be run, who should be the focus, and, most importantly, whether they are a good idea. Even mentioning short term missions in a somewhat negative light gets people all fired up, but why?

The most successful businesses, non profit organizations, even churches take a look at feedback from all sources in order to determine if their marketing strategies, their business plan, their ministry worked. They talk to the planners, to those instituting the plan, and even to their target audience to evaluate all steps of the event from the genesis of the idea to the after party.

What I have seen in the last couple of weeks, mostly sparked by some criticism of short term missions from JamieTheVWM, is a completely one sided view of missions. Short term missionaries, and that is what they are: missionaries, have commented in droves about how the experience changed their life, helped to shape their view of God, even gave them their calling, but what about those being “reached”?

For the past couple of years I have been both a player and coach for several north American style football teams. I am part of the team, in fact, other than my size and bearded glory, I am truly one of them. So, when short term missionaries come down and try to convert my players, 3 times in the last year, I am inevitably on the receiving end of their attacks (see Droppin Evangalism Bombs).

In an effort to give a more complete analysis of the effect of short term missions on their intended audience, here are a few of the comments I have received from my fellow evangalees after our various interactions with short term missionaries:

“They are trying so hard to save me. Do you get bonus points for converting us?”

“I knew they wouldn't help us without getting something out of it. You christians are all like that.”

“Why do they use the same testimony; I used to party with girls/booze/drugs, but my life was meaningless before Jesus and now that He is with me everything is great? Do they teach you that s^#%?  Does it ever work?”

“If we are accepting Jesus into our lives shouldn't He know? Why do they make us raise our hands then, is it so they can count us up to tell everyone back home how great they are?”

“I felt so much pressure to make a decisions today, right now. It is my experience that when people pressure you like that it is because they are hiding something.”

“What do I do now?”

I am not condemning short terms missions, on the contrary, I feel they are a vital part of the work of Christ, but can't we look at them and make them better? Is it possible that we are making mistakes and even working against His plan? Is there a problem in asking the question?
ecwrites


Friday, July 15, 2011

changes

I am trying to make the blog a bit more interactive and user friendly so I have instituted a few changes, mostly small, but I would like you to be aware.

I have changed the share buttons for a style that I think may be a bit more relevant and user friendly.  Now below each post you will see buttons for google+1, like for facebook, tweet, and share which will give you the ability to share the post on whatever service you use/enjoy/trust.  


Also, I am testing out using facebook as a means to follow the blog.  If you are already a follower on google friend connect, GREAT, but go ahead and follow on facebook as well by clicking the like button on the widget in the sidebar over there --->


If you haven't yet followed the blog yet and now your thinking its time, go ahead and follow with both google friend connect and facebook.  I am not sure which one I will end up with, but I will keep you informed.  Right now I am leaning towards facebook because it is more interactive, but let me know what you think.

Finally, if there is anything I can do that would enhance your experience or make the blog easier to access and interact with, let me know.

ecwrites

Oh yeah, I made it on google +!  Not so sure why I should be excited or what it really does for me, but I'm on.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

So, what was your first time like?

I am not one to sit and read blogs everyday, especially "Christian" blogs. 

They tend to read a little fake, and usually fall into one of two categories:
    
     Look at me, I'm so great!


and,

     Look at me, I'm still suffering!

But, there are some really great blogs popping up that don't fall into the Pharisee group, and the authors don't always sound like Eeyore.  They are still rare, but they exist, people talking about their quest to live out what it means to be a follower of Christ.  No they aren't perfect, and yes they do have some great, fun, exciting moments, but they are REAL!


A while back I was surfing the Blog-O-Sphere when I was smacked in the face with a little of this reality.  I ran across this blogger that called herself One Righteous Babe.  What struck me was that she was a screw up, like me, made mistakes, like me, and was still a follower of Christ, like me.  So I asked her to share a little of herself with you.

Enjoy!

ecwrites



When El Chupacabra messaged me out of the blue the other day asking if I was interested in guest posting I swear I almost crapped my pants. 

My first reaction was "Um... WHAT? Me?!"

The thing is I've never EVER done a guest post before and doing a guest post for someone who I hold in very high esteem is a bit like me drawing a picture with crayons for Michelangelo. 

So after much stress eating, chewing my nails off, and googling "how to write a flippin' awesome guest post..." 

This would be my crayola coloring attempt of guest post -

The other day I went out with my church plant group to feed the homeless and put on a tiny rock concert for them in honor of Fathers Day. 

And let me just say, I am SO glad I'm not homeless. It was over 100 degrees in the shade. And homeless people? They're a tough crowd. At least these homeless people were.

One guy, (I'm just gonna call him Jimmy) lit up a joint right in front of me and started puff away while gyrating drunkenly to the band. I mean, at least I thought it was a joint, it could've been a squished cigarette or something. 

But I doubt it.

After the band finished their songs, our pastor got up and asked the crowd to raise their hands if they needed prayer. One lady raised her hand and I was the first one on the scene to jump up and run over to pray for her. 

Mostly because she was sitting in the shade and I didn't want anyone else getting all up in that prime real estate.

I placed my hands on her shoulders and did my best to look the part of a person who knows exactly what they're doing, and asked her what she needed prayer for. 

Now, my ears were still ringing from our 100 decibel rock praise concert so it sounded like she said "Sialkdjave."

So much for a graceful attempt at public prayer. 

I leaned in closer and asked her to repeat herself. I'm thinking, she's gonna pray for money, or beer, or a house, or a job right? Wrong.

"Salvation."

My first reaction was tocrapmypants "Um... WHAT?"

I mean, I've never EVER led anybody to Christ! This was NOT how I pictured it... When I saw it in my head, mymake up wasn't melted off, my hair wasn't ratty, I wasn't sweating from every available pore on my body, it wouldn't have been to a strung out homeless woman, and it most definitely wouldn't have smelled like pot!

But what was I supposed to do? Say "No, I'm sorry you really don't fit the bill of who had in mind of being myfirst person to lead to Christ? Plus I've never done this before so you might want to wait for a more experienced less self-centered Christ follower to handle this..." 

Because after all, leading somebody else to salvation in Christ is all about me right?

Now, I've never memorized all the Christian mantras or Roman's Road thing that people recite, so I winged it Righteous Babe style stuttering all the way through of what I'm sure sounded like a painfully pitiful salvation prayer even to strung out homeless woman.


I was expecting her to be looking at me like the screwed up,most likely second-hand high, idiot I was when my eyes opened...
But you know what? When I opened my eyes, she was crying. Big, heart felt tears of joy and thanks. She looked like a 57 lb weight had been lifted straight off her shoulders. 

And I can guaran-damn-tee you that it had absolutelyNOTHING to do with me.


So, what was your first time like?

If you like what One Righteous Babe had to say, check out more or her work over at:


Monday, July 4, 2011

words of encouragement

I want to be the best!

Seriously, I love being looked up to, talked about, recognized in public. For me, its an acknowledgment that I am an important person. It validates me. It shows me how indispensable I am in God's Plan.  It means that I am...



When we started this adventure I wanted to serve God with all my being, but I knew that I struggled a bit with pride. At first I tied to restrict myself to a more behind the scenes role. I worked on the campus, helped with teams, organized and planned, but I was not the center of attention. Then little by little, I started falling into the spotlight. It started by leading short term teams in bible studies, then coaching and playing football, and now...blogging.

To make matters a little worse, on came the praise. Accolades for what I was doing. People actually telling me how great I was. 

It wasn't really what I was doing, I mean they are all good things that fall into God's plan for my life. It wasn't even the praise because seriously, thanking others for what they do, how they impact you, is never a bad thing.

The problem was I forgot. I forgot why I was here, forgot who I was here for, and I forgot that I, El Chupacabra, am not all that important in the overall scheme of things, but He is.  I forgot...

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17


I'm not entirely sure, but I think its sort of a missionary curse. I mean, we go home and we have all these meetings with friends and family, with pastors and supporters and they all want to know what great things we are doing. That is our job you know, to do great things for God, and well...sometimes we start to think its all about us.

Don't get me wrong, there are great things happening for God, but its really in spite of us, not because of us. There is no better way to put it than in the words of one of my friends down here, Hector. Hector likes to tell me that when we are doing God's work NOBODY is irreplaceable! Not him, not you, and especially not me!

So I have been thinking about this for a while, and I know how you can help. Now this may sound a bit bible thumpery, but you can keep us humble with your words. We need some encouragement, but maybe instead of telling us, especially me, what a great job we are doing you could say something a little like,

“It is so cool what God is doing down there. Nice to see Him able to use you, even though you're a total douche!”

or,

“Its incredible to see what God can do with you on his team. Just think of what he could do with someone with a little talent.”

or maybe,

“You are so lucky to be a part of God's work down there because, lets be honest, you don't really have all that much going for you.”

We could all use a little reminder that without Him we are...well...just us.
ecwrites

So what gets your pride going, and how do you fight it? How can we live out the instruction of Paul “Don't think of yourselves more highly than you ought...”? What other words of “encouragement” can you pass my way to help me out in my struggle?


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