Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tearing up the Streets - Pt. 2

I promised I would tell you why brought up the story yesterday, so here it is. The city we live in is a small place that was built out on a reef in the water. The town is pretty much houses and sidewalks. No cars, no roads, just sidewalks. These are not overly wide sidewalks either. So, in the process of putting in the new sewer/septic system for the island, where are they laying the pipe? Under the sidewalk. This makes it extremely difficult to get around.

Right now, they are working right in front of our outreach center. When I say right in front, I mean right in front! You have to step across three foot trenches and over frayed electrical wires and go through the muck to get in our gates. So, why is this so relevant right now? We picked this week to start our new outreach to the teens of the island, giving them a place to come study in the mornings before school. They have all been very excited about it so the poor turn out so far is in direct relation to the difficulty of getting into the building. The first day, they even had the street totally blocked off and we had to wind through someone elses yard to get to our place.

Well, we hope it gets better next week, but most importantly, we hope that when the project is complete, the toilets all flush and everything goes where it is supposed to. It reminds me of the old joke, "There's only two things you need to know to be a plumber, water runs downhill and payday's on Friday!" It is actually said with a little more color than that, but you get the point. (BTW, I know there is more to it, so please don't sic the plumber's union on me!) When you need a plumber, nobody else will quite do!

I'll try to post a picture tomorrow of the mess.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tearing up the Streets

It's good and it's bad, depends on what day it is. The municipal here on the island started a project last year to put in a sewer system. For those of you who don't know, that means we don't have one now. Well, actually we do. It's called the sea. Everything drains right out into the sea. If you are fortunate enough to have a house over the water, plumbing is simple. Hole in the floor, toilet on top, BAM, done! We shudder to think of this in this age, but it's been that way for centuries, even onger

As a young boy, I had the opportunity once to go shrimping off the coast of Mississippi where I was born. My uncle took me and my brothers and we went with Dominick Gospadonavich (I'm sure that is spelled wrong!). It was a small bay style shrimp boat and it had a flat rear deck with about a six-inch lip all around.

We started out pretty early in the morning, before sunrise, and I just thought it was the neatest thing. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but would have to guess that I was probably around 10-12. We put the nets out and we were just dragging them along, enjoying the day. I remember that my uncle had bought some donuts and I got one from the wheelhouse and I walked out and headed to the back of the boat. As I got to the back deck, there to my shock and surprise was Mr. Gospadonavich, britches down around his ankles, hanging his backside off the rear of the boat. He looked at me, grinned and said something that would be in my mind forever, "The sea's the biggest toilet in the world. I been usin' her all my life and I don't fill her up yet!" (Naturally as an old seaman, his language was just a bit more colorful than mine!)

That was it, imprinted forever in my mind. This one's going to the grave with me!

Tomorrow I will actually tell you why I even brought any of this up, I promise.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Xerox Image?

Given the complexity of God, I think that to try to come up with a single idea of what is meant by, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Gen 1:26 NIV) is impossible. So first, what is an image? An image is a semblance or likeness of something else. It brings thoughts of Xerox machines. With a copier, we can have an image of an original. The trouble with copies is that they are never as sharp or perfect as the original. I’m reminded of the movie “Multiplicity”, with Michael Keaton. He gets cloned and the clone is not as good as the original, and the clone of the clone (or copy of the copy) got even worse!

I know there is a lot of discussion as to whether man is a triune being or a biune being (yes, it is a word, you will find it in the obscure words dictionary). If we believe that God is a triune God, a Trinity, and we are made in a likeness of Him, why would we not believe foremost in ourselves as triune beings also? Man being made up of a body, mind and spirit (we’ll use these terms, but I know that some may argue for; Body, Soul and Spirit). Maybe we have God the Father as the mind (or soul), God the Son as the body and God the Spirit as the spirit or life force of it all. Just as our mind and our spirit would guide us, Jesus while here on earth said that He did what the Father told Him and the Spirit led him, our bodies really do not function on their own without the mind controlling the functions and the spirit being the life.

So, looking from that perspective, what form would God the “Body” have? I would assume that He has always looked like we do, since in reality, we look like Him if we are in His image. Remember, Jesus was around from the beginning of time. In Gen 3:8, we read that Adam and Eve, “heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (NIV). This gives us the impression that God was in a physical form as He showed up there. If God had been in the Garden in a spiritual form, first, they probably would not have heard anything and second they probably would not have thought they could hide from Him.

Another “image” that we should look at is one of authority. As God is ruler and has authority over everything, God also gave us authority over the earth. This authority surely is part of the image process as it is stated right afterwards. “in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen 1:26 NIV) God gave no other creature this kind of authority, not even the angels. The only authority that Satan has is what was given over to him by us.

Last, and I believe most important is that “in His image”, contained righteousness in the beginning. Adam and Eve were formed without sin and so had a righteousness such as a copy of that righteousness that God is. When they sinned and fell, that righteousness was gone and therefore, the greatest part of our being created in God’s image. When that righteousness left, so did the authority and maybe all we have been left with is a vague physical, triune resemblance of our creator. The reason that I feel this way is pointed out to me in Colossians 3:1-10 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ (born again)….(9) since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV) We are new creatures in Christ Jesus and are being renewed (to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state[1]) in knowledge (to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly[2]) in the image of our Creator. In other words, our new self in Christ is starting to know what the original creation was like as man was created with righteousness in the image of the righteous God and our righteousness is gained through the righteousness of Christ.


(This post is a discussion board response of mine in Theology class at Liberty University, Copyright:Me)
[1] Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Anakainoo". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon". .
[2] Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Epiginosko". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon". .

A Story of Conviction

In Friday’s blog, I touched on the fact that people do not want God in the picture of their life because that makes them accountable for their actions. It brings about conviction for the way that we live. As I read in Acts, I came upon a great illustration of this. In Acts 24, the Apostle Paul was taken to Caesarea to stand trial before Governor Felix on baseless charges brought by the Sanhedrin. Felix listened to Paul as he spoke about faith in Jesus Christ. This is when we see what the truth does in our lives.

Acts 24:25 “As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come,” (NIV). I’m sure Paul’s “discourse” included some bits about our unrighteousness, our lack of self-control and the fact that we will all stand before God in judgment for these things. Whatever he said, it must have been quite an impressive and detailed “discourse” as we see the result in the next bit, “Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."” (NIV) When confronted with the reality of judgment for our unrighteousness, Felix, the Governor of Samaria, a man who controlled an army, a man who had the power to imprison, punish and even put people to death, was afraid! The Greek word used comes from the word “phobos”, which is where we get the word “phobia”.

Oh, to preach like the Apostle Paul and be able to bring that kind of conviction upon a soul! But alas, Paul preached to Felix for 2 years and we never hear of him accepting the truth that would save him from the very judgment that he so feared.

Salvation is available to everyone; it was even available to Felix. God supplied the salvation, but we still each have to accept it!