February 23, 2010

Plodding past planks

Posted in better disciples at 11:07 PM by alexlozada

MCC teammate Rob Kastens passed along this quote from Eileen Button, “Lent is a plodding, definitive crescendo that leads up to the cacophonous noise of Good Friday and the gorgeous aria of Easter.” I don’t describe my Luke 6 reading today as plodding, but I’m glad that I have more than 40 calendar days for the 40 chapters of Luke and Mark, because I think I’ll re-read Luke 6 because there was so much to absorb. Influenced by a reaction to my post yesterday, I reflected on Luke 6:37-42. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Thinking about the planks protruding from my eye helped me pause before replying – important for on-line or in-person communication 🙂

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February 22, 2010

NACC video + Lenten Luke 5

Posted in better disciples, NACC at 11:48 PM by alexlozada

As MCC’s senior pastor Ben Cachiaras introduced this promo video for this year’s North American Chr Conv, he said “I’ve been going to the NACC my whole life.” I can’t quite claim that, but I do enjoy the opportunity to see this year’s NACC with through the eyes of those who have not been to one before, listening to their questions, and trying to convey how the NACC is always one of the highlight of my year.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Reading Luke for Lent is proving to be a challenge for a similar reason – I’m so familiar with the text that I need to remind myself to see it with fresh eyes. With Luke 5, just in the time I’ve been @ MCC, I’ve heard Ben Cachiaras preach on “Wreck the Roof”, former teammate Kristal Dove promote Matthew (a/k/a Levi) parties, and I’ve written about Jesus’ call to Simon & his fishing partners. During this morning’s reading, because I knew the other stories in the chapter so well, I thought more about two parts of the chapter that seemed to fit w/ Lent: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” and Jesus’ reply to the question about His disciples lack of fasting.

February 21, 2010

What’s the World Coming To? Yay – The Victory of God Unveiled 21 Feb

Posted in MCC resources at 11:41 PM by alexlozada

Ben Cachiaras continued MCC’s Sunday message series on the book of Revelation with “The Victory of God Unveiled.” Though I didn’t think of it as I looked at Luke 4 as part of my Lenten morning reading time, when I returned to it after later in the day after listening to Ben’s message (and reconnecting w/ last week’s message) I realized the shared theme of Jesus victory over the dark forces, beginning w/ withstanding Satan’s temptations after 40 days in the wilderness, on to silencing and casting out demons. Small groups study guide is INCOMPLETE DRAFT but my message notes written while listening are already uploaded.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

February 20, 2010

John the Baptist @ Lent

Posted in better disciples at 10:00 PM by alexlozada

Because my girls had a two hour delayed school start, I was able to attend a Fri 6:30a men’s small group yesterday at Open Door Cafe. They are using the Nooma video series by Rob Bell; yesterday’s was “Bullhorn.” At one point, the free-flowing discussion compared the confrontational “Repent!” message of John the Baptist with the stereotype sidewalk shouter in “Bullhorn.”

The last third of Luke 3 is Jesus’ genealogy – I admit that I didn’t reflect very much on that part during my morning Lenten reading. I did pay more attention to Luke’s description of John the Baptist because of the discussion from the morning before. John’s emphasizes “fruit in keeping with repentance” – his examples include demonstrating charity and integrity (especially as it relates to work, i.e. tax collectors and soldiers [probably closer to what we think of as local law enforcement, not Roman legionaries]).

February 19, 2010

Lenten Luke 2

Posted in better disciples at 11:29 PM by alexlozada

The not-yet-melted snow here in Central Maryland made a Christmas-tinged backdrop for reading Luke 2 as part of 40 chapters for around 40 days. I felt the challenge of trying to see this chapter with fresh eyes because I’ve preached, taught, and heard about every character and detail in these fifty-two verses.  Though I usually read from the NIV, my (seemingly) old Palm handheld has the English Standard Version, because I found a free download of it (all the NIV e-Bibles cost $). The ESV translates verse 23, “(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)” – the parentheses because Luke’s giving background about a Jewish custom to his non-Jewish (culturally Greek) readers. The wording was out-of-the-ordinary enough to slow me down, and make me think about how God uses religious customs that might seem out of place (“why males”, “why first born” – our current culture downplays distinctions like these) to accomplish His purpose.

February 18, 2010

40 chapters for around 40 days

Posted in better disciples at 11:07 PM by alexlozada

Because I’m a detail person (in some things), I realize that Lent is a little longer than 40 days, depending on when you start and end your count – check this part of the wikipedia entry for background. The MCC men’s small group of which I’m a part met on our usually scheduled (missed last week because of snowstorm) early morning Wednesday, though I was late for the 6a start 🙂 We’re going to try to hold one other more accountable for each group member spending personal time w/ God at the beginning of the day, which providentially links with this year’s Lenten season.

In all the years I’ve been a disciple, even as a detail person, I had never made the connection that Luke’s 24 chapters + Mark’s 16 chapters = 40 chapters. With that in mind, and rounding of for a few days that I might miss, I’m planning on reading those two gospels between now and Easter. I don’t know that I’ll be able to post about my reading each day, but this morning after I I read Luke 1, I went back to think about the phrase describing Elizabeth after she became pregnant “for five months she kept herself hidden” (wording is English Standard Version, the translation I was reading this morning). Maybe because I know several MCC families who are in these first five months, I thought more about Elizabeth’s “remained in seclusion” (NIV) than I ever had before.

February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday into Lent

Posted in better disciples at 11:39 PM by alexlozada

As he’s done the last several years,  MCC’s senior pastor Ben Cachiaras (in his most recent e-note) explains MCC’s use of Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season as ways to encourage becoming better disciples. He also links to a Lenten prayer & Bible reading resource for groups (version for individuals , too). My post from last year (including comments from other bloggers) has more on-line resources for the season.

Providentially rescheduled because of the recent snow, today’s MCC monthly all-staff meeting ended with each of us meditatively participating in MCC’s Ash Wednesday event. In the words of teammate Jenny Krichton, “sat my sinful self down in a dimly lit chapel today. Scripture was illuminated about the room. Exposed, cleansed & renewed. Thank you Jesus.”

February 16, 2010

What’s the World Coming To? Grr – Enemies of Jesus Unveiled (message resources 14 Feb)

Posted in MCC resources at 10:43 PM by alexlozada

Ben Cachiaras resumed MCC’s message series on Revelation with “Grr! Enemies of Jesus Unveiled.” For small groups that want to follow the series, here is a brief  study guide, plus my personal notes while listening to the message.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

February 13, 2010

Tony Dungy @ North American Chr Conv

Posted in culture, NACC at 11:02 PM by alexlozada

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the way Tony Dungy used the moral authority he gained in his decades-long football career to reach people-Jesus-misses-the-most, including troubled athletes who might reject more conventional Christian spokesmen. Earlier today, MCC’s senior pastor and 2010 North American Chr Convention president Ben Cachiaras updated his Facebook status “Highlight of my week: Talking on the phone to Tony Dungy! I’m excited he’s coming to the North American Christian Convention in Indy July 6-9. You should too!” I also posted about another NACC featured guest, Efrem Smith, and will be mentioning more about the NACC in the months to come – our family already has our registration in! For a glimpse of what to expect from Coach Dungy @ the NACC, here’s part of his testimony at the Super Bowl 2006 prayer breakfast:

February 10, 2010

Tebow Family-Focused Ad – reactions

Posted in better disciples at 11:45 PM by alexlozada

MCC teammate emailed this Washington Post article “Super Bowl ad isn’t intolerant; its critics are” about the Tim & Pam Tebow commercials sponsored by Focus on the Family. The Get Religion website offers a broader look at “Super Bowl morality tales” [UPDATE Get Religion also added this analysis of the ad’s effectiveness]This blog post addresses the underlying abortion rights advocacy issue.

For MCC small groups wondering about the local impact of this issue, Baltimore City Council’s recently passed an ordinance targeting pregnancy crisis centers. The measure is similar to a 2008 MD state legislature bill that proposed similar restrictions statewide.  At that time, I wrote a letter to the Maryland General Assembly endorsing the positive role of community pregnancy crisis centers. DISCLOSURE I’m a not-very-active-but-sympathetic supporter of our communities local pregnancy crisis center Alpha’s Glory

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