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Thursday, November 20, 2014

With Great Power...

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Hey guys.

Tonight the growth group I lead for my church was discussing spiritual gifts. Interestingly, this discussion took place as part of an 8 week series on surrendering to God. I know this seems like a strange context for talking about spiritual gifts, but it really isn't. It was exciting to see how we were all exploring out gifts and where we might fit in.

Often times when we discuss spiritual gifts we don't look at the larger picture. Like a certain web-head, we focus on our own, individual situation. We look at our gifts without considering where we fit in the full plan of what God is doing currently or His great plan for all time.

Have you recently read any of the passages that discuss these gifts? The Apostle Paul often discusses them during the same time as he discusses unity in the Church.

Read 1 Corinthians 12-14 or Romans 12. God gives us these super powers but He has certain expectations. Both of these passages discuss spiritual gifts, church unity, and love. These 3 things are fully inter-connected.

If we think our gifts are useless, we fail to serve. If we think our gifts are the most important, we disrespect other members of God's people.

Think about Spiderman:he is a solo hero. He is not a team player but yet he has joined with the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers. His uncle told him that (you know this line so say it with me) "WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY." We often think of that responsibility as it stands in relation to him and the citizens of NYC. But what about the responsibility of it in regards to the other heroes? What about his place in the scheme of the Marvel Universe? We found out how hard that is in the Civil War storyline, right? [spoilers] He joined one side, disagreed with them, got in a sticky situation, got rescued, and joined the other side.

We don't always agree in life. The Avengers movie showed how easy it is to showboat and how difficult to come to a place of cooperation. But what happens when that cooperation does come to it's prime? When we trust God and use our gifts as directed by Him instead of insisting that some gifts are better or more necessary. 6 Heroes defeated a full army led by an Asgardian, despite the huge size of the army.

Do you know your spiritual gifts? If not, get on the training ground and play around. Start serving and you will find your gifts over time. You might want to take a spiritual gifts assessment. Talk with your pastor. Find out how your gifts fit into what your church is doing. I would also remind you that these gifts tend to be useful outside the church as well.

With great redemption comes great mission. Get out there and serve!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Training or Gifting? has this great cartoon up right now about the difference between Japanese heroes and American heroes.

Ryu (yes, that Ryu; from Street Fighter) decides to prepare to protect Earth from alien attack. He makes a point about how he'll train really hard, even carrying a bolder to do so. As he is fighting aliens, he feels overwhelmed. Way to many for him to fight alone. In come 3 heroes, from our 2 biggest hero houses, DC and Marvel, to help him. As he compliments them on their skills, they all admit that they haven't really trained that much. Iron Man just has cool gadgets and money, Spidey got bitten by a spider, and Superman was born with it.

This is a huge over-generalization, right? Look at the X-Men. They have a huge room devoted to training and even a whole school. Wildcat has a purpose in DC comics of training younger heroes and vigilantes. Think about our other heroes, that we label under other things. Catniss Everdeen trains on various techniques before going into the Hunger Games.Luke Skywalker has to train with Yoda and Obi-wan.

On the Japanese side it doesn't seem so off, though. Almost all Asian heroes that I know of have a lot of training and a strong emphases on preparation. I am sure there are exceptions, though. Feel free to let me know of any.

This week we celebrated Veterans Day. A day when we remember men who trained hard and worked hard to keep our nation free. Now, in some cases, such as Word Wars, the training was quickened a little bit. And in other cases, such as the Vietnam War, soldiers arrive to a theater of operations to find out they need to learn a whole new set of lessons from soldiers who have been there for a while.

As Christians, we are told to train. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:8 that physical training is of some value, but the training in Godliness holds much more relevant value. This is one of the reasons we have the Bible. To train in righteousness. In 1 Corinthians he tells us about the proper uses of spiritual gifts. These gifts are given to all followers of Christ freely, but we don't always look for them.

You see, real heroes have a mixture. God freely gives all his followers gifts to use in fighting spiritual battles and in serving. Yet we still need training. We need to learn how to use those gifts, when to use the gifts, and we need to learn wisdom. But it isn't only training.

In the cartoon mentioned above, Spiderman, Superman and Iron Man somehow all come at once to aid Ryu. What did Jesus do when He sent the disciples out to teach? He sent them out 2 by 2. They went out as teams. Paul's treatment on spiritual gifts in his letter to the Corinthians comes in a context of unity. He discusses order in worship during this time as well as the beauty of the diversity of the Body of Christ.

In order to be real super heroes, we need all of these. We need training. We need natural talents and spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit. We need each other. That is the recipe for true heroism.

**Quick Note: This Saturday, Nov. 15, is a gathering at Cornerstone Univ. 6:00pm. Come join us for a chapel service and some gaming after that.**

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Arrow Family

So last night I got to watch Arrow live instead of waiting and catching it online (which often happens for me). I don't watch a lot of CW shows but I do like the DC shows. One of the themes that really stood out in this episode was family. Specifically, sticking with family even when you don't see eye to eye.

Felicity's mom comes to visit and we quickly learn that they are very different people. Her mom comes from Las Vegas and she looks the part. Their hobbies and interests are different (Mom comments on how she was never as interested in all the tech stuff that Felicity loves).

That same episode we find Oliver and his sister disagreeing over a funds source she is using until she gets the club back running again. In the middle of all this I think it was Thea who tells Oliver that they have to stick together because they only have each other. She pleads with him to meet her half way.

One thing stands out: you stick by family because family is what you have. Hebrews 10:25 tells us we (as fellow followers of Jesus) should not give up meeting together. The writer encourages us to encourage each other instead of giving up on each other.

That person you have in your family (or in your Bible study group) that drives you crazy. You don't get to give up on them. We are all family in the Kingdom of God and if we give up on each other, what happens to the Kingdom?

For those in the West Michigan area, don't forget to meet up with us on the 15 at Cornerstone Univ.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nerd Chapel and Cornerstone Unite!

Nerd Chapel is excited to announce a new partnership with Cornerstone University. CU will be cooperating with Nerd Chapel to host a monthly experience currently called Nerd Chapel Live! Each night of this will begin with worship and teaching before a time for table top gaming.

Our first night will be November 15 (a Saturday night). This will be in the Chapel at the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (a school of CU).

I looked for couple months for a location in Grand Rapids for this. Grand Rapids sits as the easiest gathering point for West Michigan within an hours drive of several other cities and I felt it would be a nice, central location. This will be open to anyone but CU felt that they could use something like this for their student population so they agreed to host it!

Our first one will be at 6:00pm Saturday, Nov. 15. We plan to start it as a monthly community in January. If you are in the West Michigan area, we would love to have you come out for it! The Seminary building will be hosting us in their chapel. The building is off Leonard St. NE. right by E. Beltline.

We are looking for a worship leader so we can do live worship. The message for this first "preview" event is inspired by "Pacific Rim" and is titled "Drifting with God."

I hope you can make it!

Visit the Cornerstone site if you are looking for a college to attend or just want some more info on this place.