(Warning: explicit language)
She’s one of the most creative singer/songwriters of our time. Her mystic is the strangeness that never belongs to any genre, a feeling that things are never quite as they seem.
She’s chilled, with lyrics that can be chilling.
She’s a warm soprano, with the highs filtered out.
She’s the mellow whisper that draws us into her trance.
Complementing her voice are filtered electronic rhythms, smooth bass, edgy guitars and percussion, blended by the master-chef Finneas — the less conspicuous member of the duo. She may be a soloist, but it can take a symphony orchestra to create that sound.
That’s all part of the enigma that attracts us to her music. When things don’t quite match, we’re drawn to explore further.
Continue reading “Happier than ever: what I heard from Billie Eilish”
Hear the parable of the Lego. Each piece has its own identity, but its meaning is found in how it fits together with others.
I know that’s not how our culture sees it. We tend to focus on building our own individual identity. Why? That’s where our science has led us.
Continue reading “Identity in community”
What’s the most important thing God ever told us to do? The answer describes kingdom life, what the king intends for his community.
The fight is on!
Jesus is in one corner. Opposing him is a tag team of Israel’s leading fighters. They’ve stopped fighting each other to bring down the people’s champion. Three rounds:
- Pharisees lead the attack by testing his support for Caesar. Jesus sends them back in their corner: give Caesar the currency in his name, but he’s not the ultimate authority (22:15-22).
- Next, Sadducees take a swing at his resurrection hope, but Jesus finds their vulnerability. They failed to factor in God’s power, the I AM, the life-giving Being (22:23-33).
- Then an unnamed hand gathers reinforcements to bring down God’s anointed.
This fight is the final week of Jesus’ life. It’s building towards the final assault on God’s anointed. He’s been in this fight since he was born, when Herod gathered together all the ruling priests and scribes of the people to investigate this king of the Jews (2:4). Now the leaders are gathered against him by an unspecified hand (same verb, passive voice):
Continue reading “Loving God and people (Matthew 22:34-40)”
This should trigger discussion in your small group: What does it mean to love God?
I mean, it might be important if Jesus placed it in the top two: love God + love people.
Continue reading “How do you love God?”
To us, history can feel like a war story. To God, it’s a love story. Not a cheap coming-of-age novel, a fully-fledged romance of love overcoming tragedy. Continue reading “The divine romance (Ephesians 5:31-32)”
What can we do while we can’t go to work, can’t go to church, can’t go to the gym, can’t go out with friends? It’s not just the activities we miss; it’s the meaning we find in sharing life. So, what meaning can we find while we can’t get together?
Continue reading “Discovering church while there’s no church”
Most churches spend our energy and resources providing a great Sunday experience. It might be a cathedral with pipe organ, or a rented hall with a band, but most of a church’s time and money goes into what happens at the weekend service.
So, you’d expect the New Testament to guide us on how to do church. It doesn’t.
Ephesians says heaps about the church, with no instruction on what to do when we meet. Search Colossians, Philippians, Thessalonians, and Galatians. Nothing?
What about a longer letter like Romans? Nada. What should we make of this disparity? Is it our fault (we’re focused on the wrong thing), or Paul’s (he missed the main deal)?
Let me throw you a lifeline. There is one letter where Paul discusses church meetings, and it’s a significant chunk: 1 Corinthians 11 – 14.
Continue reading “How should we do church?”
What does this mean to you?
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9 NIV).
It says I must resist the temptations that suck me in, so I don’t fall into sin, right? That’s what most of us hear, but that’s not what Paul said at all. It’s actually about loving people, not individual struggle.
Continue reading “Genuine love”