(How do you like my rockin’-it-like-it’s-2003 MS Excel graph?)
This shows the decline and fall of salguod.net. Back nearly seven years ago (yikes) when I started this thing I was pretty prolific, posting nearly 4 times a week for the first two years. Alas, each year had fewer posts than the last and in 2010 I barely managed more than once a week (this is post #63 for 2010).
I hope to reverse that trend this year and to that end I’ve signed up for Project52. Again. You may recall that I signed up for this last year too. Well, while I did manage to post more than 52 times, I wouldn’t say that my personal Project52 was a success since many of those posts were fluff like Five for Friday, links to posts on other blogs or other such goofiness.
Another thing I’d like to get back to, rather need to get back to, is my quiet time journal. There haven’t been many here of late because, well, I haven’t been really studying much of late. There’s really no excuse, and I intend to change that in 2011. If I can be consistent with that and put up at least other one decent post of substance per week this year, this could easily be another nearly 200 post year here at salguod.net.
Well see how that goes.
I mentioned how impressed I was at our recent art gallery during our church Christmas party. While the entire show was impacting, one piece, shown above, impressed both my wife and I beyond the rest. We couldn’t stop admiring it and talking about it. In fact, it we liked it so much, we did something we had never done before.
We bought it.
We decided that this would be our Christmas present to each other. Never mind that we normally don’t buy each other anything (and that I had already violated that rule in buying something for Maria), we were both moved my it and felt that it would look great in our home. It does. I think it’s the most extravagant and frivolous gift we’ve ever done.
It’s an oild on canvas painting, 36″ square, painted by Said Oladejo-lawal, who is relatively new to our church. He’s from Nigeria and has been painting for a long time, having sold many works back home. Here’s what Said placed next to the painting in the gallery.
These images evolved from the scripture “out of the mouth of children and babes you have ordained praise”, this is a piece that thrives on linear abstraction with some element of surreality which is accounted for by the appearance of some elements in it such as wings and so on. It is all about praise that expresses the awe of God.Said Oladejo-lawal
We feel blessed to have this on our home. It seems that each time we look at it we see something new.
last week our church had our annual Christmas party and for the first time our arts ministry had a small gallery of pieces on the one word theme “Hallelujah”. It was simply amazing. Not just because we have talented people in our church (we do), but because of how those pieces communicated what God has done for us and for them personally.
One of the most moving pieces was this simple plate made by Paige Dietrich, one of our campus students. Here’s what she said about it:
“Gods Glory is Man Fully Alive”
When thinking about the word Hallelujah the first thing that came to mind was Gods glory in Adam and Eve when they were first created perfectly in His image. I put the mirror in the middle of the piece to show how we too can be like Adam and Eve in all the glory God intended. When you first see the mirror you see it as broken but with the death of Jesus (the seven black pieces around the mirror) and his blood (the red pieces) it brings them together like the top half of the mirror and we can see ourselves as God sees us as holy and fully alive. The redwood trees and the sky line represent a few things where personally I see Gods glory.
We are broken, but through Jesus we are made whole and God that’s how He sees us (though we still do not). What an amazingly succinct presentation of the gospel in a small circle.
Ever had a discussion of religion or Jesus with folks and find that you just can’t break through their misconceptions? They are opposed to Christianity and Jesus, but posses an inaccurate picture of who He is, why He came, what He was about and what we should do about it. In large part, the blame can be laid at the feet of many ‘christians’ who have made following Jesus nothing more than living out of a playbook, following the rules and being good. Moralism under the guise of Christianity has no more power than it does when named ‘Islam’, ‘Buddhism’ or a ’10 Steps to a Better You!’
Funny thing is, usually trying to explain to these folks a more accurate picture of Jesus and the Gospel usually falls on deaf ears, and I’ve often wondered how to break through to produce a more clear understanding,. If only people understood, they’d follow, why can’t they understand?
Today I came across this excellent description of the Gospel on the Middletown Springs Community Church website (the Vermont church where Jared Wilson is the pastor) which reminded me of the answer (my emphasis):
All of us without exception are broken people because of sin, but God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to experience the broken world in the weakness of full humanity, to live an obedient life to redeem our disobedience, to die a sacrificial death to atone for our sins, and to rise from the dead to conquer the death our sin deserves.
The reason most fail to grasp the gospel is they refuse to see that they are broken. To the unbroken, no savior is needed. To the healthy, a doctor is not required. Rescue is not necessary of you are not in danger. Thing is, the reality of one’s broken nature is overwhelming if there is no way out, so humans have mastered the art of self deception. We convince ourselves that we are OK. to anyone who has eyes, we clearly are not.
But until you see your brokenness, until you grasp your own utter failure and own that you cannot fix yourself, Jesus will not make sense. Surrender all? Submit your will to His? Repent? No thanks, I’m doing fine.
No, you’re not, and seeing that is key to seeing Jesus for who He is and why you need Him. That’s why He said “He who has ears, let him hear.” It’s also why I take every opportunity to teach my daughters that they are broken people. Not to tear them down, not to convince them that they are worthless, on the contrary, to point them to the one who has declared their worth in unequivocal terms with His very life. Embracing and understanding their shortcomings is crucial to their embracing God. We, all of us, prove every day that we “without exception are broken people because of sin”, but we must be willing to be honest with ourselves to see it. The world wants to tell us that we are just fine, but Jesus knows that we aren’t and nothing in this world will make us so, but he has already provided for us a way out of our brokenness.
Most folks never get to admitting their brokenness, and until they do, Jesus is of no value to them and no amount of explaining Him will ever make sense.