Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Separated at Birth? - Pigeon John and Thierry Henry

Pigeon John (Everybody's favorite rapper)                                                              

Thierry Henry (Footballeur extraordinaire)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

New (wet) Life

Today, Tasha, one of our beloved Greenleafers, was baptized in the Haw River.  We sang a little, somebody prayed, then Tasha was taken out in to the water and baptized.  After that we sang again, somebody read from the Bible, some people prayed for Tasha, then everyone had lunch together.

But in short, Tasha got wet.  I mean, isn't that what it boils down to?  She went in dry and came out wet? 

How crazy, even absurd, that baptism, the dunking of a person in water, is a sign of the new life that person now possesses!   It seems like God could have come up with something a lot better.  A better ritual, a better display, something with a bit more pizazz!

But in reality, I can't think of a better picture of what God has done to Tasha than what happened this morning.  She stepped into the water dry and came out wet.  In that action, we see an embrace, an immersion into God's presence and an enfolding into His family.

For ancient Jews, baptism was an outward show of their awareness of their need to turn/ return to God (a.k.a. repentance).  It was a display of the cleansing that God had done and was doing in them, a cleansing of thoughts, motives, desires, and behaviors.  John the Baptizer preached, 'Turn to God, the kingdom of God is close, even here right now!!'

For followers of Jesus, it is all of the above and then some.  Baptism is a picture of death and life.  As Tasha went under the water, we saw a picture of her 'death' to her self - selfish ways, self-centered thoughts, not doing things God's way, etc.  As she emerged, we saw a picture of her 'live' again - new life lived in Jesus, with Him taking first place in all things and all the other things that were not as important or not good for Tasha either taking a backseat to Jesus or being cast completely away.

I was so moved by the scene and I know lots of other people were too.  Tasha did much more than just get wet.  She told all of us, Greenleafers, family members, and all her friends that came to see her get dunked, that she has 'died' and now 'lives' again.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Song lyric of the day - King's X

"We have heard the man and devil...lies
We've heard it all for far too long.
This is not the time to be weak,
But if you are then you're not alone."

Don't Believe It (It's Easier Said Than Done), King's X - from Gretchen Goes to Nebraska

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jesus - Man of Action

Jesus was not a theoretician.  He did not dispense a lot of ideas and leave His followers to sort out their application. His goal was never to leave behind a great catalogue of sermons.  Yes, Jesus was a great teacher, but He never wanted people to make a list of things He said and then debate His teaching points.  In other words, Jesus' goal was not to teach and leave us to figure out what to do next.  Jesus acted and taught with action in mind so He could teach people how to act. 

Jesus often did His teaching with actions, which said more than any sermon ever could. Take the story of Zacchaeus, the little tax collector from Jericho was was too short to see Jesus, so he climbed a tree.  Jesus could have turned up in Jericho, preached a sermon on repentance, and then left.  But instead of preaching that kind of sermon, He saw a guy in a tree and invited Himself to his home.  Some of the the people around Jesus were disturbed that Jesus would enter the home of a low life scumbag like Zacchaeus, a tax collector. 

But during the course of this visit, Zacchaeus stands up and says:
"Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."  Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost"  (Luke 19:8-10).

The actions of Jesus in Jericho speak so much more loudly than any sermon ever could.  He chose one of the worst guys in Jericho, a Chief Tax Collector, went to his house, spent time with him, ate with him, and probably had some good conversation.  Zacchaeus knew about Jesus, otherwise he wouldn't have been climbing a tree to get a better look at Him.  I don't imagine that Jesus really had to say loads and loads.  But in the course of the visit Zacchaeus spontaneously turned away from all his corrupt ways and decided to give money away and pay back the folks he had cheated.

There is no real sermon recorded by Luke.  All Jesus says is, 'Salvation has arrived in this house.  Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham, a child of faith.'  Not much in the way of sermons.  But the last part of what Jesus says is the best: 'See this everybody - this is exactly why I came.  I came so that people who are far from God like Zacchaeus can come close to God.  This is my purpose.' 

Jesus, the Man of Action, demonstrates the heart of the Good News - that God wants to come live near us and in us and have us be close to Him.  Very literally, God asked Zacchaeus to let Him into his life.  When Zacchaeus let that happen, Jesus showed everyone the result  - a drastically changed life.  Jesus left a reminder for the people of Jericho in the form of Zacchaeus' new way of life, a concrete reminder that God changes lives.  In my opinion that is much better than any sermon on repentance than Jesus could have ever preached.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stoke City - Tottenham 1-2 Gareth Bale Goal

Check out this goal from Gareth Bale during Tottenham's match today against Stoke City.  You don't see goals like this everyday:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Resolve. Accident.

I, Jamie H. Garrett, resolve to blog more. Seeing that my last post was almost 2 1/2 months ago, this really won't require much effort. If I can just blog once or twice a month, I'll be doing well. That's right, I'm setting high standards for myself. Whatever.

I crashed my bike today. I haven't wrecked a bike in years. The bad thing is that I have no clue how it happened. I was on a sidewalk and a couple was walking towards me. To be considerate, I rode over into the grass (which was level with the sidewalk), went around them, them moved back over onto the sidewalk, which as I said, was level with the grass next to it. Sounds simple, but somehow I ended up face first in the dirt. I am not a reckless rider at all, mainly because I don't want to get run over by a car, so how I crashed on, for all practical purposes, level ground is a mystery.

It was one of those moments when time slowed down and I could see with absolute clarity that I was going to eat it. I crossed back onto the sidewalk and felt the bike jump and twist. Them I saw the ground coming up fast. After I skidded to a halt, face first into the dirt and leaves, I slowly heaved myself up and picked up my bike. After checking for blood and making sure I was pretty much intact, I took a few limping steps, then jumped back on my bike.

The damage is minimal: I have a good sized abrasion on my right leg, my whole calf hurts on my left leg, and my forehead has a little road rash on it. I also tore my pants where my right leg scrubbed the sidewalk. When I looked down at my leg and saw this big tear in my pant leg I thought, 'Oh well, guess that's it for this pair.'

I thank God that I didn't eat it near as hard as I thought I might. I say this because I could have ended up face first on the sidewalk with a broken nose, lots of bad scrapes, a concussion and a trip to the ER. While that would have been a great story, having no health insurance makes me glad for a that I don't have a story that awesome to tell. Just a couple of scrapes, some soreness and torn pants.