Sometimes, I link to stuff on Facebook just as a placeholder for things that I find interesting or thought-provoking so that I can go back to it later. Not all of it makes it to Facebook, however, because I realize that I am junking up all of my FB friend's feeds with stuff that they probably aren't that interested in anyway, so I hold back. This is my attempt to put links and quotes from the past week that I find interesting or helpful all in one place. The theme this week is on Pentecost and the change that happens to us when the Holy Spirit comes, when the breath of God transforms our imaginations and our witness in the world. When young men see visions, old men dream dreams, and the Spirit falls on men and women, how might the world be different? Here are some thoughts.
Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Read what I wrote about that last year. How many Baptist churches are celebrating Pentecost? Not many, I don't think. What if we prayed Pentecostal Prayers? This is a good starting point for talk about changing our world with the onrushing Kingdom of God.
Andrew Jones talks about the importance of festivals, feasts, and throwing big parties. I like his ideas and would love to see us do more of this in the future. The Hebrew people did this and throwing big parties helps to give us a foretaste of heaven and the coming Kingdom and renewal of the heavens and earth. What would it look like if Christians in a city or region came together to celebrate the salvation story and to promote justice, mercy, and humility with God? What would it look like if we did this in Montgomery? Hmmm.
NT Wright on the Bible and the Christian Imagination. Our imaginations are so shrunken by the plastic, consumer-oriented, "me first" world that we live in, that we often miss the Big Story that God is writing and our place in it. Wright, in this essay, calls us to recover our Christian Imagination through the arts, beauty, and our engagement with culture.
Erich Bridges on how we should not follow our passions, dreams, goals, or desires for self-fulfillment, but instead, we should follow Christ. He takes on graduation speeches and the religious ethic and impulse of secular America in the exaltation of self instead of living for a greater purpose outside of yourself.
Mark Scandrette, my old friend from San Francisco, on how the church can address violence in the neighborhood and be peacemakers to bring about a better future. The Church in Montgomery could really stand to hear this message. We can make a difference. There is violence all around us. Kids are dropping out of school at an alarming rate. Girls are getting pregnant out of wedlock and children are being born into broken homes in astounding numbers. How can we tell a better story?
Consider changing the life of a child in India through direct sponsorship. Our church, Gateway, is doing this and for only $40 a month, you can change the life of a child in North India forever. 100% of your sponsorship goes to take care of this child, as the administration for this is all done by volunteers. We could really use your help – and so could these children. Check it out.
Finally, a Pentecost video: