_to write darkness

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. _c.s. lewis

Posts Tagged ‘christian’

Christ-Centered Relationships.

Posted by abramjanson on May 4, 2009

Greetings friends.

 

I feel this is quite the popular topic of discussion… and it should be.  We are relational beings. I am a relational being. I have alluded to that before here.  Having been in only a single exclusive relationship I can’t talk about my many experiences in different relationships… but I can talk exclusively about the single one.  

The relationship I was a part of was great.  It was.  She was a quality girl. She’s legit.  But… the problem wasn’t her so much… I mean… It wasn’t really her at all.  The problem rested much more on the shoulders of this guy [two thumbs pointing inward].  It was a very selfish one-sided affair.  I put in what I could when it was convenient… and usually not much more than that.  The priorities were all mixed up.  It wasn’t about glorifying anybody or anything… but myself.  Regardless… I will stop there.  The reason of this is not to share with you about my past relationship… for many of you know most of the details anyways.  

The purpose of this entry is to present to all of you one of the most incredible pieces of truth I have ever heard on the topic of “Christ-Centered Relationships.”  I do not claim to be a wise man… but I know of a few.  Francis Chan as many of you know is pretty high up on my list of admired people.  He and his wife did a series a while ago on Christ-Centered Relationships.  It was a three-week series in their church and they go taught it.  I stumbled upon it the other day.  Looking for some entertainment for the long drive to school every morning… I loaded it on the iPod and gave it a wurl.  No joke… it was captivating.  The first sermon wasn’t done when I reached school… but I couldn’t turn it off. I sat in the parking lot for 10 minutes until the end.  All through school, I couldn’t wait for the drive home so I could listen to Part 2.  Then I couldn’t wait for the drive to school again the next morning so I could soak in Part 3.

Maybe I have just wrote off talks about relationships before… or maybe they fell on deaf ears… or maybe I am finally at a place in my life where I was ready for it now… and needed it.   It rocked my world.  Francis and his wife simply present truth in such a manner that I was seriously convicted about my past relationship and learned so much about what my future one will look like.

 

I am not kidding. Everyone needs to listen to this series. Single… married… engaged… divorced…  You must listen to it… and then pass it on… Pay it forward. You have to.  

You can access it here.  Once at the site click on Get A Sermon in the bottom right corner.  This will bring up a new window.  Scroll down through the sermons until you find the gold.  The money balls are dated 7/27/08,8/10/08, and 8/17/08.  Obviously… it would be who of you to listen to them in the correct order… Part 1 first… and so on.  Download them… put them on the iPod… and do nothing but soak in some serious truth.  

I’m not married… But I think it might change your marriage.  I’m not engaged… but I think it might change your relationship… I’m not lonely… but I think it might comfort you in your time of singleness.

 

Please… Let me know what you think. 

Post a comment or give it to me a abramjanson@huntington.edu

 

Traveling mercies.

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this is scary.

Posted by abramjanson on May 3, 2009

I was rummaging around iTunes tonight before I went to bed… and I found something very disturbing to me. 

I was searching for some of the latest podcasts to download and listen to in the morning on my 40 minute drive to school and I came across the list of Top Audio Podcasts for Religion and Spirituality… The results are frightening.  See for yourself below.

picture-4

 

 

YUP!  This is not a joke… TIPPING THE SCALES AT #1 is JOEL OSTEEN!  America… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  What trash. What trash. What trash.  This is unbelievable.  Seriously… quite possibly the “evil one.”   I can’t handle it. 

I hate this man. 

 

And Yes… Your eyes don’t deceive you… OPRAH IS #6!!! HOLY HEAVEN AND MOTHER OF MARY. People are getting spiritual insight from Oprah? In the words of my crew…. RASS!  

And yes… If you were wondering… Oprah’s teachings are more popular than Francis Chan’s…

 

I quit. Good night.

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Those Who Cry the Loudest in the Church.

Posted by abramjanson on April 29, 2009

I was presented with a question in class:

What can a reflective Christian offer the Church and what problems or opposition might they face?

Here is the mental vomit that came out. See if you can find some truth. Bless.

Those Who Cry the Loudest in the Church

“Here is cause enough to risk speaking. If there is no God, we are in desperate straits indeed. That fact alone is no proof that He must be, but it does place responsibility on those who have found signs of His presence” (Taylor 10).  It has been said by countless ‘believers,’ that “creation calls for a Creator.”  Creation, the world in which we live with all its complexities and intricacies, proves God’s presence.  At least the reflective Christian believes so.  A reflective Christian is one who believes in Christ and His redemptive purposes and lives a life reflecting his beliefs, yet does not lose touch with the secular world of which he also is a member.  Reflective Christians are the life blood of the Christian faith.  They cause the Church to move forward from its stagnant position, to contemplate its mission in the world, and to question the effectiveness of its ministry.  The “Church” in this sense is not being referred to as a four-walled building where people gather on Sundays, but as the corporate body of believers. 

Reflective Christians strive towards a likeness of Christ in their daily lives.  They have been “crucified by Christ and they no longer live, but Christ lives in them” (Gal. 2:20 paraphrase).  It is a constant effort to be refined through the fire to strengthen and purify their relationship with God. 

Preserving and strengthening that relationship to God and living out its implications in an undiscerning and troubled world is the great challenge to the Christian.  For all its failings, the church as a whole is an ally in that cause.  The reflective Christian can draw great strength and insight from it if he sees clearly what it is and is not, forgiving the church its trespasses as he is forgiven his own. (Taylor 44)

            The reflective Christian has much to offer the church just as the church has much to offer the reflective Christian.  Many times, the church in general is too conservative and set in their ways, closed minded if you will, to new ideas, concepts, or theologies.  The reflective Christian can assist in redefining the churchs’ attitudes.  Taylor reflects on this issue in describing how many believers hate speaking in Christian discussions for fear that their opinions and convictions will be thrown out and not entertained.  Taylor offers an interesting and piercing question to ponder, “How much does the church lose of the gifts and enthusiasm of its members because it creates an atmosphere where honesty and risk are not welcomed?”(Taylor 36). 

This quite possibly is the most important entity the reflective Christian can offer the church.  It seems common practice that in the realm of the corporate body of believers that real questions are generally discouraged and are rarely up for authentic conversation.  Taylor describes the opposite as “phony questions.” A phony question would be one for which the answer is known by all and simply part of a pleasurable ritual.  These questions are consistently asked and answered quickly and quietly, without threatening anybody’s comfort zone.  “The leader voices the supposed objections of the nonbelievers… the audience has the thrill of the chase with none of the threat, and goes away satisfied” (Taylor 37).  This is where the reflective Christian can genuinely minister to the church and break it of its predispositions.  The church should not be afraid of change or conflict.  Change and conflict in and of itself can be scary and usher in questioning; however, it’s through asking the tough questions that real answers are found. Taylor supports this position with a sharp statement, “The reflective Christian not only wants to ask real questions, with a sense that something is at stake, he or she also wants to broaden the range of allowable evidence in this trial of what one can believe and live for” (Taylor 37).

            Reflective Christians have much to offer the church in their gifts and abilities and their inquiring free spirits.  However, the road will not be easy.  Most likely it will be marked with suffering and difficulties, most of which will likely come from within the church.  “I am writing, however, for a large minority who find life within the church more difficult.   Where some find comfort and acceptance, others also find criticism and rejection” (Taylor 29).  When two different sides, in this case the reflective Christian and the church, present two different worldviews to one another, disagreement is sure to come about.  Taylor argues that we as human beings fight off competing worldviews because we are insecure.  “By threatening our present understanding of reality they threaten our essential security” (Taylor 25).  Self-defense is a natural reaction.  When someone disagrees with our opinion, conviction, or theology our natural reaction is to find fault in our opposition.  It is human nature.  However, this natural reaction brings about nothing good or helpful to the mission of the body of Christ.  It becomes a series of personal attacks that disrupt the infrastructure of the believers and an eventual collapse begins.  Rarely is this fracture remedied quickly.  Healing most likely never happens and renders the church useless and ineffective.  In referring to the church Taylor writes, “No institution has accomplished so much for good in the world; none has fallen so short of it’s calling! The church is God-ordained, God-inspired, but accomplishes its work through human beings subject to every possible failing” (Taylor 29). 

            One of the biggest shortcomings of believers in the Christian faith is the common misconception that God actually needs them to carry out his good and perfect will for his Creation.  He is God.  He does as he pleases, yet believers are so ignorant to think that the success of God’s work on this earth solely depends on them and their obedience.  He does not need his followers but he chooses to empower them and utilize them in the grand scheme, the great dance.  Christ is on his throne in Heaven seated at the right hand of God and we are so unaware of the fact that we are insignificant.  “God needs no particular person, church, denomination, creed, or organization to accomplish His purpose.  He will make use of those, in all their diversity, who are ready to be used, but will leave to themselves those who labor for their own ends” (Taylor 30).  This very well may be the most significant thing a reflective Christian can offer the church, a constant reminder that this life is not about them.  Tom Kizziar quite possibly identifies the greatest struggle facing Christendom in the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, “Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that really don’t matter” (Chan 93).

 

This is not meant to be a cynical bashing session… and I don’t think it comes across as that. Let me know your disagreements or frustrations. 

Traveling mercies.

 

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Relationships.

Posted by abramjanson on April 11, 2009

I’m a very relational human being. I enjoy people… in all our weirdness and awkwardness and failures and successes… I think people are fascinating.  Other people are essential to my life… they are my sustenance. Granted… don’t get me wrong… I love being by my self… I do… But I thrive on people.  

 

Community is my life bread. 

 

Community is great (it’s essential to healthy lives and true faith)… In moderation.  

 

community |kəˈmyoōnitē|noun ( pl. -ties)

a particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants, esp. in the context of social values and responsibilities;  a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

 

There is a stark difference, however, between true community and faulty misrepresentations of a beautiful thing.  I’ve been apart of some incredible communities in my short life already… but I’ve experienced some of the worst lies in human history as well. That, unfortunately, is another topic for another day.

 

All too often, I trade in community, true or more then not faulted, for single personal relationship with the Creator.  I place people in my life that take up too much time… leaving myself nothing.  

 

I’m more comfortable in the noise. Silence scares the hell out of me. 

 

Should I not be more content outside of community in the silence of an intimate relationship then in the noise?  Noise=distraction.  It’s easy.  Here lies the biggest struggle of my life.  Replacing people and things for a single constant truth.  One of my brothers from the land of rafting and whitewater, Brandon Brewer, said something so profound in a blog of his: 

“I’m awkwardly feeling uncomfortable here and wanting to make some changes in my life. Just been seeping into apathy in my walk and relationships, so keep me in your prayers I guess, I’m chasing things that have no treasure.”

I get chills every time I read the last seven words of that statement… this statement has spoken so much truth into my life.  In fact, I hate it. I hate how perfect those last seven words sum up my life.  I hate it.

Brewha left us with this as well: “I miss community and miss you guys. I pray that your lives are unsatisfied in the world but solely dependent on the Lord and His grace. I also pray that you are persecuted… otherwise it’s obvious the devil has no threat. Stay consistent and stay in pursuit.” 

 

I hope this was not rambling… but encouragement. Piercing questions welcome. Be blessed.

Traveling mercies.

“There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life.” Oswald Chambers

community

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