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Whenever SNL does a short it is going to be over the top satire. That is their style, and they have done a really good job with it over the last couple years. Last weekend they unveiled a new short (embedded below) called Djesus Unchained. It showed a vengeful Jesus who has raised from the dead, killing as many romans as possible.

The humor here comes from how opposite this stands from the peaceful and non-violent image the gospels give us, right up to his death. The most powerful image for be took place in the garden when Peter cut the ear off the solider, and Jesus healed the main to, in my understanding, get peter off the hook for his brash action.

Yet in this short, I see so much of what many of my Christian peers believe Jesus will be like when he returns. A man who is vengeful  and full of blood lust. In this short it is easy to see how out of character it would be for God to act this way, and how it goes against so much of his own teaching.

Take 2 minutes to watch the short, and let me know what your thinking in the comments.

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My 300 words for why you need to engage on twitter + even the pope is doing it.

An interesting shift took place in the western church this past century. It is the same shift that pushed churches to the sidelines of culture and conversation in the west. We, as the leaders of the church, began to see our role more as protecting the flock than engaging the broader community (which is what I saw Jesus do in the scriptures).

With a few decades our institutions began to reflect this belief. Churches became elaborate campuses to serve ourselves from cradle to grave. This removed and disconnected us from the pulse of culture, and from the life of our neighborhoods and cities. Increasingly the church is seen as a relic of a bygone era – I believe because of this very shift.

I get it, the secularization of our communities is terrifying because of the spiritual implications for those around us. But our withdrawal says that we passively accept that God has nothing to offer modern society and culture. Jesus has a lot to offer, and longs to see the whole world transformed and reborn.

Jump into the Stream

Now the Pope has joined twitter (Pontifex though at writing has not yet tweeted). This is important because it is a visible and symbolic step back into the stream that defines and makes our culture. Social media is the new town square – both global and local. You might not be participating, but they are choosing the YouTube videos you watch, the next big musician, and are even defining how the news you hear is told.

You may have your reasons for abstaining from social media, but it is the conversation of our day. Think twice before you write it off.

Oh, and incase the pope is reading this – “Hi there Benny 16!! Pray you’re doing well today”

TL;DR

The most influential conversations happen socially online. To abstain is to forgo any opportunity to inspire the transformation of creation.

Photo Credit: Charly Morlock

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Prayer flags at the Annapurna Basecamp

Church is not the goal. To journey and be transformed is.  As a pastor my heart beats so that others may have their own intimate and exciting experiences with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

For the church to facilitate this,  we need to see ourselves as the base camp of life. Where we prepare others for adventure, and expect that when they return they will be different. Different and embraced. Life is to short, and God to big for us to believe that have arrived.

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How to say 'no' well for Churches, Ministries, Missional Communities, and missionaries.

If your purpose is to keep your ministry focused, the most important phrase you can master is ‘no’.

Make no mistake, mastery is required. We have been trained that to be told ‘no’ means that one was wrong. Yet focus is often not lost by following things that are wrong, but by following good things that un-willfully extend our purpose.

One of the difficulties in being missional is staying focused. Your community may attract people whose ideas have been passed over in a more institutionalized church. The question to investigate with them is, ‘How might your passion for ________ help God fulfill the purpose laid our for our community?’

The key is to invite them into the discernment process, chances are God will use their passion in your community. If not, then God has likely been already revealing this to them.

Photo Credit:  GViciano