Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Hold onto to your Donegal tweed hat, I am going to tell you something many of you don't know. The real St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was way more fond of the color blue than green: "Pantone 295" to be exact. It is the same shade on the original national flags, coat of arms, and St. Paddy's favorite vestiges. The "wearing of the green" actually had nothing at all to do with wearing green clothing. It had to do with pinning a shamrock leaf to your vest. St. Patrick did this as he traveled from village to village, not as fashion statement, but rather as a way to explain the gospel to non-believers.
See Naomh Pádraig, as his kinfolk knew him by, was not actually Irish. He was more Roman, than British, and it is believed he was born in Cumbria, not too far from where King Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, grew up.
Ironically, he was kidnapped by Raiders and forced into slavery in the tin islands, and as such was called Patricius Daorbae, which loosely translated means, the boy taken from the land of his father. This happened while he was a teenager. He eventually escaped, but decided to return to the land of his captors later in life as a missionary to SERVE them!
At that time in the church, it was not unusual for an educated young man to become a missionary, but all too often in that region it had nothing to do with serving your fellow man. More times than not, it was very much about being an entrepreneur. There was a great deal of money to be made selling indulgences, blessing chieftains, baptizing babies, marrying new couples, and ordaining village leaders. Patrick reversed all of that. He served at every opportunity, and refused any payment. In fact, he was widely known as a gift giver. This is a far cry from Patrick "The Fighting Irish" saint of legend that was known for boxing druids and brawling with pagans, drawn mostly from the folklore written far after the death of Patrick by Tírechán and Muirchu. When we look at the actual correspondence that he and others wrote during the times of his life, we find he had his greatest impact by working with the poor. He was, after all, from the Franciscan order. It probably did take a rough and ready man to carve kingdom expansion out of the harsh Irish landscape, but, as we have often asserted at Serve, more times than not, your best weapons are field tools and a cup to serve water out of for the thirsty.
Some of the legends are pretty fun to examine however. For instance, it is not believed by historians that he literally drove poisonous snakes away from the island, since the environment actually would not have supported them anyway, but rather it had to do with his ability to drive darkness form the land through kindness. Another interesting tale is about his persistence. During his evangelizing journeys he was known to carry a thick walking staff made of heart ash. It was said he would drive this stick in the ground in the middle of each village he went to serve at, and leave it in the mud until he had converted the whole region. There is still a town today in Ireland known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick). It is a testament to Patrick's perseverance. It is claimed that it took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root and become a groove of ash trees before he was able to move on.
Forget the green beer and singing of sad songs. . .the best way to celebrate St. Paddy's day is to go out and serve somebody!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Most people will see you as a pastor first. I want people to see me as a follower of Jesus who happens to be a pastor. (In my mind, the difference is big!)
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
The conversation continues. . .
New from the author of the breakout bestseller
Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
A devoted mother who feels abandoned by her workaholic husband, Mattie Cominsky gives her life meaning by investing herself in her two-year-old daughter and her graphic-arts business. Exasperated by her husband’s sudden new obsession with Jesus, she views an out-of-town business trip as a welcome opportunity to reflect on her marriage—and to decide if it’s time to put an end to this painfully unrewarding relationship.
Aboard the plane, Mattie is relieved to find herself seated next to a passenger who shares her scorn for religion. After she confides her husband’s unexpected turn, their conversation soon leads to a fascinating exploration of spirituality, God, and the quest for meaningful connection.
As Mattie’s skepticism warms to the perceptive insights of this stranger she finds herself confronting the unspoken longings of her soul for true intimacy and lasting fulfillment. And when his comments touch on personal issues he couldn’t possibly know about, she begins to wonder if she’s misjudged not only Nick but also the God he now claims to believe in.
See my review of this book tomorrow.
See my review of the prequel Dinner with a Perfect Stranger on March 3.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
What would you discuss over dinner with Jesus?That's the dilemma facing cynical but successful businessman Nick Cominsky when he accepts an invitation to join Jesus of Nazareth for dinner at a local restaurant. Nick is convinced that his friends at work are pulling a prank. But the man sitting across from him appears to be quite serious, introducing himself as "Jesus. My family called me Yeshua."Nick accepts hi dinner companion's suggestion to suspend his disbelief and "proceed as if I am Jesus." What follows is a fascinating conversation that covers family relationships, world religions, and the afterlife, among other topics. Along the way, Nick confronts his own unfulfilled longings, spiritual uncertainties, and anger with God--and he begins to wonder if the man across from him holds the answers to his deepest questions.