Don't Admire Jesus

This is, in my opinion, one of the best sermons I have heard John Ortberg give in the three years I've been attending and serving Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.  You can read it below or watch it here.  It's a question that so many church-goers need to have thrust upon them: Are you just and admirer of Jesus, or do you want to follow Jesus?  Is Jesus your Lord, or just your homeboy?

Did any of you see Michael Phelps swim in the Olympics? Isn't he unbelievable? He has won 8 gold medals, all kinds of world records. It is remarkable how popular one man can become. I talked to somebody a couple of weeks ago who works with Facebook, and he was telling me Facebook added, they are estimating, about 5 million people to their ranks over the Olympics because Michael Phelps talked about being on Facebook, because so many people admire him. How many of you here would be willing to raise your hand and say, “I admire Michael Phelps.”? Just about all of us.

Identity Myth: I am What I Do

There are a number of myths about identity.  There's the false connection between identity and commodity.  And there's the idea that having identity requires self-sufficiency.  But neither of these are as destructive as the myth I'm going to address in this post.   It's about the relationship between identity and productivity.  We’re going to debunk the myth that “I am what I do”—this idea that my work defines me.

Before I dive in, let's reflect on the absurdity of this myth by thinking of a job you once had, probably when you were young, that you would be embarrassed to hang your identity on – embarrassed if you still had to introduce yourself as having.  To give you few seconds to think, I’ll go first. 

When I was in college, I was pretty in to art.  I thought about getting an art minor and took a few classes, I even convinced a roommate of mine to drop his pre-med major which he hated and be an art major, which he did.  I think he paid me back by letting me know about a job offering in the Art department – as a model.  That’s right, I took my shirt off for money.

John Ortberg Interviews Dallas Willard @ Catalyst

Dallas Willard changed my understanding of the Christian life and gospel, for the better (and the more biblical).  Watch John Ortberg interview him at the Catalyst West conference where I witnessed the audience gasp and burst into applause at a few of his pearls of wisdom.  He speaks to young leaders about the need to clarify the central message of Jesus.  Is it the announcement of the minimal entrance requirements for entering heaven...or something else?  He also speaks about the role of grace and spiritual disciplines in the process of becoming like Jesus through spiritual formation.  

Some of Dallas Willard's most life changing books are:
The Spirit of the Disciplines
The Renovation of the Heart
Hearing God

Light as a Biblical Metaphor Pt. 2

This is Part Two in my series on Light as a Biblical Metaphor. 

Part One explored the three dominant biblical metaphors for light:
1) Light as Goodness/Virtue
2) Light as Knowledge/Vision
3) Light as Life/Vitality

In this post, we'll look at how the three primary metaphors for light developed in the Old Testament get applied to Jesus and his followers.