Monthly Archives: March 2010

A Night On A Mountain!

Fine, I’ll admit it.

I like to get away.  I want to spend time alone when I’m really trying to focus.  When things are getting intense, or I really need to dive into my relationship with God, it is best done alone.  It doesn’t really matter where, just that I’m alone and can focus on preparing myself for whatever God has in mind and getting right with Him.

Things for Jesus on Tuesday night are similar.  Tonight, the final Tuesday night of His earthly ministry, He will separate Himself from everyone.  Scripture says that He goes away to the Mount of Olives to spend the night.

He knows what’s coming in a couple of days.

He knows He is going to die for all mankind.

He knows He is going to be the payment for our mistakes.

He is getting right with His Father.

He is preparing for what God has in mind for Him.

He is preparing spiritually for the task of saving the world.  A task that God has ordained for Him since before time.

Luke 21:37 (NLT) – “Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives.”

So, what about you?  Could it be, that God is preparing you for something?  Is it time for you to maybe, get away from the rush of everyday life and step onto your mountain  What better time than a week like this, to spend some time with God, preparing for what He has in mind.

Have questions about your next step?  Comment below.  Let’s talk.

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The Final Week!

I’m not a big fan of Lent.  I guess partly because it seems to be more of a tradition than a life changing experience for some people.  I can be skeptical that way.  For those who find Lent to be a life-changing, bring you closer to Christ holiday, I fully support you.

For me though, I like to focus on this final week.  The last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  This is the week leading up to Easter, the holiday when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  So this week is an important week.  With this final week in mind I want to ask, are you doing anything special?  By that I mean; are you fasting from anything?  Are you giving up any “extras” like chocolate, soda, meat or cigarettes, in preparation for this most sacred of Christian holidays?

I only ask because I’m curious about how you celebrate the Holy Week!

Maybe you never thought about giving something up this week.  That’s cool.  Maybe you could do that this year.  Start now and give something up that you love between now and Sunday.  You can give up anything you want, the only requirement (in my opinion)  is that it be something you love.  For me, it might be Dr. Pepper.  I say might because I’m not super convinced of my willpower over the ever tasty, DP.  But maybe you want to consider giving something up this week and replacing it with time to focus on Christ’s final week.

For instance, let’s use TV as an example.  Instead of watching TV at your normal times, you might choose to spend that time in prayer and meditation, focusing on Christ’s final week.  Maybe you are giving up a specific meal or type of food that you eat regularly.  Instead of indulging in that meal or type of food, you indulge yourself on the Word of God.  These are just some ideas.  Either way, maybe you want to give something up this week to focus more on Christ.

If you decide to do this, or if you already do, let me know about it in the comment section below.  I would love to hear all about it.

In the meantime, here is a great Scripture from the final week of Jesus’ ministry.

Luke 21:1-4 (NLT)- “While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.  Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.  For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

200 COMMENTS!!!

Hey CA (Cultural Awakening) readers.  I’m so excited.  I reached the 200 comment mark.  Woo Hoo!

Okay, so it’s a minor thing.  It’s no grand accomplishment.  Still, I’m excited about it though.

And the person who was the 200th comment will be receiving a small gift from me.  A token of my appreciation for reading and commenting.

If you’re interested in possibly getting some payback for reading and commenting on my ridiculous ramblings, then you should keep reading and keep commenting.  Comment right here on my blog so that I can see the comments as they come in.  Here’s looking forward to the next 200.

In the mean time; keep reading, keep posting and keep spreading the word about CA.  Thanks, everyone!

Beer and Bible – My Thoughts!

Two men walk into a bar.  One says to the other…

It seems to be the way this story should start.  Two guys, in the heart of Mormon country, trying to bring the Bible to people right where they are.  Even if that means, going to a bar.  If you haven’t seen the video, please watch it here first.

It’s obvious that this will not be a cut and dry issue for some.  There are many Christian people who will have a big problem with it.  A verse of Scripture, or two, will be used to try to prove their point; either for or against.  Some will come right out and say that Christians have no business in a bar, let alone drinking alcohol.  Scripture and a Greek word or two will be used to make the case for abstinence from all alcohol.  Some will be very excited that the Gospel is being taught to people, even if it is in a bar with a beer in hand.

Chances are, I will not bring total clarity to this topic, nor will every single person who reads this post, agree with what I have to say.  Still, I wanted to weigh in on the topic.

It is possible that the biggest obstacle to this topic is that beer is involved.  Let’s be honest, the initial reaction for many Christians is to put up a defense when the words beer or bar are used.  Anyone caught in a bar or with an alcoholic beverage are automatically wrong and therefore can not be ordained or used by God in any way.  My opinion is that Scripture is not black and white on alcohol.  There is a lot of gray in that topic in and of itself.  The only Scriptural mandate that is a command for us to follow regarding alcohol is Ephesians 5:18 (NLT) which says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Without a doubt, getting drunk is called sin in Scripture.  However, having a drink of alcohol is not called sin.

I guess for me, the heart of the issue is the way we view people.  We spend time with the people we love.  We spend time with people we care for.  We give of ourselves for people that mean something to us.  When I hear a Christian say that they can’t be seen in a bar, my first thought is how they view “those” people.  Jesus spoke very strongly about that very attitude.  Matthew 21:31 (NLT) He warns the religious elite, “Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.”  Or what about this encounter in Luke 5:30-32 (NLT) – “Jesus answered them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.'”

The heart of Jesus ached so badly for people who needed Him, that He would be seen in unimaginable places.  One of his best friends had a sister that was a prostitute.  You see, the root of the issue is not beer, or even a bar.  The real issue is, “Do I see people the way Jesus does?”  And if I do, shouldn’t I be willing to go to the ends of the earth to share the message of Jesus with them?  Could it be that for some Christians, the bar is the “ends of the earth?”  Or in the terms of an Old Testament prophet named Jonah, could it be that some Christians Nineveh, is the bar?  When I don’t view people through the eyes of Jesus, there are just some places I won’t go.  When I don’t care for them the way Jesus does, there are just some places that I can’t go for fear of my own appearance and reputation, taking a shot.

I once heard a Christian talk about going door-to-door, inviting people to church.  They went door-to-door in the “nice” neighborhoods, but when they got close to the “not-so-nice” neighborhoods, they just skipped past.

We view people through a lens.  That lens is tainted a certain way based on our upbringing, our culture, or what we were always taught was right.  God doesn’t see people that way.  He sees us all the same.  He went through the pain of watching His Son die for “them” as much as He did for you and me.  And if that is the truth, and if we really believe it, then the first place Christians should want to go, is to a bar, or wherever else the people are that need the Jesus that died for them.

You don’t have to go to a bar to be a good Christian.  You don’t have to stay away from one to be a good Christian.  If the Holy Spirit is convicting you to stay away, then please follow His guidance.  If the Holy Spirit is guiding you to the bar, then please follow His guidance.

Beer and Bible!

Have you seen this video?

I want to hear what you think.  Soon, as inspired by Tim Stevens, I’ll post my thoughts.

Are You LOST?

For a long time, I have refrained from putting onto “paper,” my thoughts about LOST.  Probably the fear of getting it wrong and looking like a complete dork, has contributed to this.  LOST is now beginning the big descent.  They are within 10 shows of the finale.  I am very torn at this point.  I don’t want it to end, but I also want the answer.  I want to know the intricacies of what made this show tick and what made it such a national phenomenon.  I want the answer to the numbers and what they mean.  Will anyone, ever, be able to create a show with such depth and amazing character development?  Highly unlikely in my opinion.  For those of you who are already confused, I suggest sitting down with Netflix, begin at season 1, and just start watching.

I wish I could say with 100% accuracy that there was a “Christian” undertone to the show.  My guess is that ultimately it won’t be as much “Christian,” as much as “spiritual.”  Having said that, this past week’s episode, not bothering to mention countless others, really drives home some deeply “Christian” thoughts to me.

Jack Shephard

Jack Shepherd

Take for instance the scene with Jack and Richard.  (Spoiler alert – if you haven’t seen this week’s episode, don’t read any further)  So Richard is this immortal character.  He never ages and apparently, can’t die.  He walks into this giant ship in the middle of the island.  He tells Jack he is going in there to die.  Jack follows him in, along with Hurley.  Richard tells Jack that because of Jacob’s touch, he can not die.  Apparently, he has tried to kill himself before because he says that it won’t work.  So he is going to have Jack do it.  The conversation leads to Jack lighting a stick of dynamite, sitting on a table right next to Richard.

The fuse is lit and begins to make its way toward the stick of dynamite.  One character has already met his Maker from this dynamite and Hurley is still picking pieces of him out of his clothes.  🙂  Anyway, Jack sits down and begins to have a conversation with Richard while the fuse is burning.  Jack is now convinced that Jacob has brought him here for a reason.  Apparently, seeing his childhood home in a “magic” mirror has him convinced he was supposed to be there.  Remember, Jack and Locke had debated many times about how they ended up on the island.  It was Locke who was originally in the camp of faith and destiny.  Jack was in the camp of science and gravity as to why they were there.  Through many episodes and a lot of pain, Jack is beginning to realize, he is supposed to be on the island.  So he tells Richard that there’s no way the dynamite is going to explode because he can’t die either.  The fuse gets right down to the last inch (or less) and goes out.  No explosion.  Richard goes on living, as does Jack.  Richard is now convinced and will most likely become Jack’s new right-hand man.

Richard Alpert

Richard Alpert

So why bother telling you all of that?  Here’s the spiritual parallel to us.  Jack has made many mistakes; so many in fact that he has attempted to run away from his “destiny,” his purpose for being on the island.  His running took him clear back home where he experienced nothing but misery.  Yet, as Jacob continues to work behind the scenes, Jack finds himself being drawn back to the island, to his purpose.

I see this in many instances, probably the most popular being the story of Jonah.  A guy running from everything he knows deep down is right, but has too many other issues to pursue what is right.  So he runs, runs as far as he can from his purpose, that being a trip to Nineveh.  As he runs, he experiences nothing but misery.  A major sea storm, a bunch of sailors who chuck him overboard and from there, nothing but a bunch of large fish mucus and vomit.  Not really a thrilling picture.

But this is exactly how God works in our lives.  We butcher the plan.  We run from God.  We call it anything in the book, anything other than a purpose or destiny.  We invent reasons to run away from our calling.  We do our best to get away from it in pursuit of what we actually think is best for our lives.  So we run from God.  We leave the island.  We throw our purpose away.

It is at this point that many people start getting confused.  This is not the part where God’s wrath comes into play and He starts smiting people.  This is the part where God’s grace comes into play.  This is the part where, even though Jack experiences some rough times and so do we, God begins to draw us back to His purpose for our life.  “We have to go back, Kate.  We have to go back.”

And while we run, God in His all sufficient grace, uses our experiences in life to redirect us back to His purposes.  He brings us back to the island.  Through all of our mistakes, God redeems us and uses our lives to accomplish His will.

LOST might just be another TV show to some of you, but to me, it’s one of the most beautifully constructed, images of the battle between Good & Evil and how God will ultimately accomplish His purposes.  The LOST producers don’t even have to go that far or even come out and say that.  But I am beginning to take something away from the show that is ultimately deepening my faith in the God who loves me, has a purpose for me, has given His all for me and is continually redeeming me and bringing me back into His will.  Now that’s exciting!

You can’t kill Him.  You know the rules.”

Rodda Family Blog Update!

Rodda Family

Rodda Family

This blog is finally set up like I would like it.  I think I will leave it, at least for a little while.  That is to say, until my low “S” kicks in and I get bored with it.

The blog that has a new look is my wife’s blog, Five Roddas.  This is the blog my wife uses for our family.  People can keep up with our family pictures and some of the latest and greatest things that Ashton says.  🙂  Plus all kinds of other fun, Rodda family fun.

Family Corner!

It is a very rare occurrence, something I don’t see everyday.Family Eating Dinner

Rare like, the dragon defeating the knight.

Rare like Spartans losing a battle.

Rare like a ninja being seen in public.

Rare like an honest politician.

So go ahead, ask me.  What was this rare occasion?  What did I witness?  What was it that was actually worth sitting down and writing about?

I saw a family having a good time at a restaurant.  Oh, the horror!  Gasp!  You don’t say!

Yes, it’s true.  I was at Panera for a meeting.  The meeting was short and sweet.  As I was getting ready to leave, I heard this uproarious laughter behind me.  I turned my head, slightly interrupting the conversation I was having, to see what was going on.  And what to my horror did I see?  A family, laughing together and enjoying time together.

Go to any restaurant and you will see a completely different scene.  Families struggling to get through one evening without little Jimmy throwing green beans into that ladies hair sitting in the booth behind them.  Or you might see a father who is on high stress, terror alert level “Red” and just not sure what to do with little Susie who won’t quit screaming at the top of her lungs because she wants French fries with her meal, not waffle fries.  Just watch for a little while as they struggle to get through the meal.  “Mom, he touched me.  Dad, can I have another soda?”  Of course the first round of soda has the child jumping on the seats and falling into the waiter passing by with a tray of drinks.  But no matter, the parents have yet to connect the sugar in the soda with their child’s hyper-activity.  Maybe they should add that to the manual.

The parents are completely exasperated, their faces are red, their jaws are clinched tight.  They are just about to explode.  Then it happens, the waiter comes by to see if they need anything.  Their faces whip around to see the waiter, hoping they weren’t just in the middle of verbally abusing one of their children for fear of what the waiter might think.  Their jaws immediately release as they force a smile.  “Everything is great.  We’re good to go.  Thanks.”  As soon as the waiter/waitress is gone, they whip back around to their children, jaws tightly clinched once again.

This scene plays out all the time.  It’s the previous scene that rarely happens.

So let me ask (knowing full well I have already asked myself), when was the last time you and your family just had a good time?  No stress, no worries about the spilled milk, not being uptight because your kid is acting like, well, a kid.  When was the last time your family was caught, just having fun?

What I’m Reading!

I posted a short status on facebook the other day.  I asked what people were reading these days.  I was amazed at the response I got.  So many people reading so many different things.  I had quite the list of books to look through.  My thought was that I could post the same question on my blog and reach even more people with the question.  So here’s something to get you started.

I recently finished “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  Excellent book by the way.  I would recommend it for anyone who is looking to step up the game of their company or church.  I’m currently in the middle of Jim Putman’s “Church is a Team Sport.”  Very good read.

All this to say, what are you reading?  Name of the book, author and even some of your thoughts would be awesome.

What’s your story?

It is a question that can be asked in many different ways. It’s a question about your journey. How did you get where you are? What things have happened in life that have brought you to where you are now?

Not only where you are at in life, but how did you get to where you believe what you believe? What elements have shaped your view of the world?

The question is; What’s your story?

I want to hear from you. Comment me anything you want, no limits. Why do or don’t you believe in God? What has led you to that point? Why have or haven’t you given up on church? How did you reach that conclusion? How do you view Christians or people of other faiths and what brought you to that conclusion? Good or bad. No holding back now. Your voice matters and I want to hear from you.

What’s your story?

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