Further Up, Further In Weblog

Chronicling the Journey of the Homeyers

Current and New Baptist Covenant January 28, 2008

Filed under: Baptist Stuff — furtherupfurtherin @ 10:37 pm
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I will be in Atlanta starting tomorrow for the rest of the week attending Current, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s young leaders retreat, as well as The New Baptist Covenant, a celebration of unity from Baptists from many different conventions, associations, and walks of life. It promises to be an inspiring and hopeful week. 

 I will do my best to blog during the week about some of the happenings. 

Have a blessed week!

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The Britney Economy

Filed under: Etc. — furtherupfurtherin @ 10:33 pm
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I came across this article today about the economical impact of Britney Spears recent tailspin. 

Read the article.

Think about this fact from the article, real news publications are declining across the board, and celebrity gossip rags are growing steadily. 

Can you contemplate the societal implications of that one fact. 

Granted there other factors at work in both statistics, but it is still a staggering sadness to take in. 

Perhaps the saddest part is that I clicked on the headline, “A Britney Economy” instead of the headline, “5 Us Soldiers Die in N. Iraq” 

Why the fascination?  I mean, talk about a self-perpetuating industry.  The more pressure the media seems to put on the more she seems to self destruct (I’m not totally blaming this on the media frenzy, but it certainly has to be a determining factor) and the more she self-destructs the more the media scrutiny intensifies (and profits).  And you and I are the source of the profit.  We supply the great demand.

I think the reality of the situation warrants reflection at the very least. 

Now I’m going to add Britney Spears as a tag because I bet it will boost my hits considerably.  While I’m at it I may add TMZ, Perez Hilton as well. 

 

Thoughts on Evangelism January 25, 2008

Filed under: Baptist Stuff,Devotional — furtherupfurtherin @ 3:03 pm
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I’d be interested to hear what comes to your mind when I say, “Evangelism.” 

The word has different connotations for each of us.  I assume most readers of this blog will associate the word at its most base with, “spreading the gospel,” or, “guiding people to a saving relationship with Christ.” 

And this is the true and real essence of the word as Christians use it.  But along with the word, for me at least, comes many other associations that I have had to work hard to push past. 

Come to my mind is the experience in Boston of being forced into a contest with other NAMB Summer missionaries trying to save as many people as quickly as possible in one afternoon with the “Evange-Cube” and tracts prominently featuring the fires of hell.  I think my partner and I saved like 15-20 people in this government housing complex.  Most of them kids.  I don’t remember any of their names, didn’t write any names down in my reflections for the day, and didn’t partner them with any church.  This was a negative experience for me, despite the “success” of the day.  It didn’t feel real, or loving.  I felt like a very sleezy salesman. 

There are others that come to mind.  Both positive and negative.  Working with orphans in Russia:  Positive.  Spending 5 days in conversation with Cesar in Guadalajara:  Positive. 

 Still, my overall association is negative.  I’m having to tear back a lot of these negative associations with the word “evangelism” that I have realized are hindering me from sharing my faith.  Because isn’t “evangelism” (actually defined as “zealous preaching and advocacy of the gospel”) a fairly important part of following Christ? 

The Engage Conference in Rockwall last week really helped me and gave me the opportunity to sift through a lot of these thoughts.  There are EngageXP conferences happening all over the state in Feb, I encourage you to find out where they are through the BGCT website and go to one.  I’ll be in San Antonion with my church. 

During the conference I went to a break out session led by Gerald Davis who is a Community Development Specialist for the BGCT.  The session was entitled, “Ministry Based Evangelism, Just what is the role of the Church in its community?”

It was a great session and here is what I got out of it concerning evangelism that has been incredibly definitive for me. 

The emphasis of the session was God’s Shalom, which translates, “Peace,” but really has the deeper meaning of, “the world as God intended it to be.” 

Bringing about shalom is the essence of God’s mission to the world since creation.  For God’s intention for the world to become a reality. 

This was Jesus’ essential mission.  To make the world as God intended it.  Shalom is used in conjunction with the Kingdom of God. 

I would argue that the primary focus of Shalom is the reconciliation of creation (humanity included) with God.  But this is not the ONLY focus of Shalom.  God’s shalom encompasses those who face oppression, exploitation, powerlessness, and those that find themselves in bondage of any kind.  God’s shalom encompasses those in poverty and those trapped in their own wealth and oppulence. 

Or maybe it is that all these other aspects of Shalom are part of reconciling the world to Christ. 

God’s shalom may begin and end with guiding others to a saving relationship with Christ.  But between the beginning and the ending is this wide scope of making God’s intention for our world a reality.  Of bringing about the shalom of Christ. 

My issues with “evangelism” stemmed from a dichotomous view of mission and shalom.  “Evangelism” seemed to be something distinct and seperate from the meeting of needs I most wanted to be about. 

Too often this is just the case with “evangelism.”  It gets people saved (I hate that phrase) and begins shalom in a life and then leaves it to God or “bleeding hearts” to do the rest. 

Salvation without freedom, security, and a meeting of basic needs is only partial Shalom.  Freeing those from oppression, exploitation, powerlessness, poverty, etc is only partial shalom. 

And what a thought…when we share our faith, when we offer a word or act of hope, when we are about God’s work we are bringing about, if even in a small way, the world as God intended it.  We are bringing to creation the Kingdom of God, if only in part.

So our work, is to be about God’s mission of Shalom.  The work of making the world as God intended it. 

May the shalom of Christ be with you…as you go and bring Shalom to the world today. 

 

BU Response January 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 7:16 pm
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Anyone who blames any of the BU football, basketball or other athletic woes on the BU fans is a fool. 

I hear this argument often enough.  We lose because we don’t fill Floyd Casey or some other such nonsense.  It completely ignores the fact that our baseball team is a continual winner and places in the top 10 in the nation each year in attendance.  Our Lady Bears have been the toast of Waco and Baylordom for the past few years and have enjoyed tremendous support. 

Baylor fans will rally around even a slight taste and hope of winning and success as much as anyone other fan from any other university.  Perhaps more than most given our recent records in Basketball and football and the fact that most of us live surrounded by Aggies and Longhorns. 

We are thirsty and we are loving the live-giving drink we were given last night…My inbox has been full all day as has my voicemail with friends and family emailing and calling back and forth with new little tidbits and discussion from last nights unbelievable victory.  I thought I’d share some of the good stuff with you. 

This is a youtube clip my friend Andy sent me of the Bears reception late last night as they arrived back in Waco.

 This is a link to an ESPN.com article by Andy Katz on the game last night and its implications for Baylor. 

 Baylor loves a winner just like anyone else.  If you want to see what sort of support Baylordom will give a winner, show up to the Ferrell Center Saturday to see the Bears play OU.  I bet it will be quite an atmosphere. 

 

One more for BU!

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 3:06 pm
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Ok, so I know I haven’t written anything of depth in a while.  There will be one posted this afternoon, BUT, in the meantime,

May I invite you all to bask with me in the warm sunshine of a 5 overtime Baylor men’s basketball victory over the much maligned A&M Aggies. 

 That is not a typo – 5 Overtimes. 

It was a thing of beauty.   Baylor had 5 players foul out and still had more depth than A&M to pull it out. Amazing.  The Bears are legitimate ladies and gentlemen.  There is a limited amount of time to jump on the bandwagon before it becomes uncool to d so.  Take advantage of the opportunity! 

 My old roomate John Bower had the best quote thus far on what it is like for a Baylor fan to wake up the morning after such a rare BU victory,

“I had a strange feeling when I woke up this morning… all i know is that I WASN”T sick to my stomach and depressed.”

Sic Em Bears

 

We’ve all been there… January 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 8:33 pm
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 Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Clinton basher.  And hey, I don’t want to say anything too negative because I very well may run in to him next week in Atlanta at the New Baptist Covenant.

BUT, with that said, this is hilarious.  We’ve all been there…just not in front of tv cameras on MLK day when your wife is running for president and everyone is watching everything you do. 

 

Sic Em Bears! January 22, 2008

I love my Alma Mater, Baylor University.  As Baylor fans go, I am die-hard, green and gold, through and through.  I attend, listen to, or watch every possible football, basketball, and baseball game that happens.  I spent 8 years at Baylor and I love most all things about the University…even the footbal team God bless em. 

 I remember an ESPN blurb in the spring of 2000 that said if Dave Bliss continued his successful recruiting and coaching for 1 more year that Baylor would almost certainly crack the Top 25 and had a great chance of becoming a perennial force to be reckoned with in the Big 12. 

 I remember discussing this article with my friend Andy Myers and what high hopes we had to be respectable. 

I remember watching Terry Black and Demarcus Minor.  I remember going to Austin and watching Black pull up for a 15 foot jumper instead of slamming the ball home and costing us a victory over UT.  I remember watching Matt Saymon and Logan Kosmalski and all Baylor’s promise.  I even remember John D. Freakin Flippen.  The 7 foot wonder of Evant, TX! 

And I remember when Baylor basketball became infamous, the blackest of eyes of possibly any NCAA program in any sport at any time. 

 But now…the Bears find themselves 15-2 and 3-0 in Big 12 play.  And…listen to this sports fans…The Baylor Bears are ranked #25 in this weeks AP Poll.  God Bless em. 

The next 9 games are brutal, according to my Baylor sports guru Pastor Giraud.  So it may not last, BUT, if we go 9-7 in Big 12 play we most likely will be Dancing in March and what a glorious dance that will be. 

And in the meantime, whether we stay in the Top 25 or not, I think my Bears are going to make some waves and hover around the top 3-4 of the Big 12 this season.  O happy day. 

Sic’ Em Bears. 

Here are the rankings and an article off Baylorbears.com.

 http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings

http://baylorbears.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/012108aaa.html