Amazing Conversation

I had an amazing conversation with my senior pastor today from 9:20am-10:00am.
40 minutes.

Some vulnerability and honesty were laid on the table.
The door opened to show all my cards, and I went ALL IN.
I showed him the whole deck, not all the details, like if a jack has one eye or two, but I at least flashed my cards so he could see where I was headed.
Enough metaphors (is that the correct word Corbin, my wise friend?).

I spoke of dreams and visions and what I don't think church is and what I don't think church should be and what I think church could be and the things that really pump me up and the times that have given me the most hope in the past year and the changes I have seen in him that have infused excitement/hope and I even planted some ideas of what I hope could happen through us... perhaps involving me... and a house church... and house churches... and...

That's when someone knocked on the door and I had to run off to my Thursday lunch appointments (4 lunch periods, 15 students, I didn't eat much, but had some great conversations). So, the discussuion will contine, and when we saw one another again at 5:00pm it felt fresh and natural and new.

Man that feels good!!!!!!!
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Solomon, Solomon, Solomon... Where have you been?

I have rediscovered a book of the Bible... Ecclesiastes.

I am preaching on Sunday, and as I was preparing I was reading some Scriptures and following some inclinations, which led me to Ecclesiastes 3 (the "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven passage"), which is probably the primary passage the average evangelical knows from this book. I decided to keep reading, which I am sure I have done before, but I was drawn deeper in. So I kept reading and reading and reading... No wonder our Sunday school teachers stopped at verse 8 of chapter 3. Solomon gets deep on us here. He asks a lot of questions and doesn't give a lot of answers, and when he does give answers they aren't touch, feely, comforting, happy thoughts. Some of them are dark, some are gloomy, some are bewildering, some leave you saying "huh?" In addition to that he speaks words, from his vast wisdom, that seem to condemn the American Dream in itself. His words contradict the goal of an individual in a Capitalist society. He counteracts the myth that riches bring happiness, with the reality that "whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. " (Ecc. 5:10) It seems like Christians are willing to accept that Solomon is the wisest man who ever lived, but we aren't willing to live by his teaching, because he warns us about many of the very things The Church itself (not just the individuals), is chasing after today. He warns us of their meaninglessness, futility and lack of fulfillment, yet we press on in our ignorance. I press on in my ignorance.

I came into my office yesterday, stressed from being gone for 2 weeks, and ready to tackle my to-do list. On my desk sat Richard Foster's, Celebration of Discipline, opened to the Chapter on Simplicity. A post-it note read, "I dare you to take 20 minutes to read this. It changed my life." I took 40 minutes to read it... and then Ecclesiastes comes out of left field and smacks me across the face with the same message.

Read the passage below for an idea of Solomon's style in this book, and follow the link at the end to keep reading if you are so inclined. A great book, with great questions to challenge our minds.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-22
9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
15 Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.£
16 And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment: wickedness was there,
in the place of justice: wickedness was there.
17 I thought in my heart,
"God will bring to judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time for every deed."
18 I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

I will be dwelling here (Ecclesiastes) for a couple of weeks. If you are dwelling here with me let me know.
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