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Posts from December 2010

Christmas Day in Belarus

Yesterday was Christmas Day in Belarus but it wasn't very peaceful. A friend of mine in the country emailed me:

"19 people were arrested and now are suspected in organising and implementing mass riots (this from 5 to 15 years in prison), about 700 people from the protesters and some accidental people are now in prison for 10-15 days. Arrests and searches continue the whole of this week, even today during Christmas day."

"Before 2006 the authorities were using the oppressive law on freedom of religion to arrest and make searches in the flats and houses where "unregistered religious groups" were conducting religious activities. Bible readings and church home group meeting are illegal in our country for all Christian confessions. So if they would wish so, the authorities can start the same repressions against Christians and any other "dangerous" groups.At the moment we need to advocate for the release of all prisoners in Belarus among whom there are many Christians as well. We need do demand to stop violence and repressions against citizens of Belarus. The county is paralised by fear and only few people dare to do things openly." [Name withheld]

He suggests PRAYER and following these websites: RFE, ERB, Spring96


Happy Christmas everyone

Last year we celebrated Christmas in Portugal. Its hard to believe that our family has been in 25 countries since then. And now we are all in Portland Oregon, USA for Christmas with the relatives.

Its been 10 years since our kids have shared a Christmas with their grandparents and cousins and Aunties and Uncles. Its very special. You can imagine.

I am cooking a big rib roast today as well as a turkey. And playing some pool in between cooking and eating.

Hope you enjoy a good one also.


Thanks for following our journey this year and for supporting us. Next year we will be in Asia as well as Europe. Tell you about it in a few days.


Close to 2 weeks without blogging and it feels GREAT. Consider it a Christmas break while I retool for the next year, as well as a highly intensive people period as our family spends Christmas in Portland Oregon with relatives.


God Came Near [Advent Synchroblog Post]

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God came near. This is my contribution for today's Advent Synchroblog. Take a look around and see what other bloggers have contributed.

I took the photo of the ladder [minus the words] in Spain earlier this year, outside the Theatre-Museum of Salvador Dali. Ladders [and stairways] feature prominently in surrealist art and I was exploring the theme of Jacob's ladder in Dali's art. What I like about this ladder installation, which stands outside his museum, is the way the blue fades into rusted iron.

Most likely Dali was thinking of the mystical journey, ascending into the unknown blueness of the subconcious but for me, at least today as I think of the Advent message, I see the journey in the opposite direction - the emergence out of one's protective environment and voluntarily thrust into the wild open to be abused the elements of wind, rain and sun. The adventure in the advent. Like Jesus laying aside his glory and entering the corrosive world of men. I hope Dali will forgive my words on his ladder but since addition and acquisition feature so prominently in his art, I am pretty sure he wouldn't mind.

History looked forward to the Creator coming near to us and as it worked out, he came a lot nearer than anyone ever expected. We look back at the Advent of his nearness-made-known, the coming-down and fleshing-up of Christ, his hanging-out-for-a-while alongside creation and we celebrate it at Advent. But we also look forward to a time when we will be with Him forever and that nearness will be fully realized as creation finds it's complete redemption: an adventure from rust to non-rust, from corrosion to permanence.


UPDATE: Dec 8th event now at Horse Brass. Portland, OR

UPDATE: Organizer Tim Westcott has changed the venue. We will now meet at the Horse Brass at 6:30, Wednesday, Dec 8th.  What really funny is that I used to go to the Horse Brass almost every lunchtime when I was a student at Western Seminary in the 80's. I even used to pray that God would somehow use this pub for His purposes. Interesting . .  and Tim wouldn't have known that. Anyway. . .

This Wednesday evening is an informal chat with me at Horse Brass Pub. What I want to talk about is this:

Portland, Oregon was at the creative center for much of the emerging church movements over the past 2 decades. In fact, many of those experiments in the late 80's (coffee shop church, skate church, Mission Portland, house church, etc) became the template for new forms of church and ministry all over the country and overseas. And many of its leaders migrated to start flagship ministries far beyond Oregon.

But its not 1989 any more. The world is different. The needs have changed. The focus has shifted. There are new priorities that should give direction to our efforts, in particular those we discussed at the recent Lausanne World Congress in Cape Town.

So what will it take NOW for the city of Portland to be a player and leader in the next season of what God is doing now? That's my question. Come along and lets chat about it. Well, at least hear me waffle on about it and then, put your beer down, and ask some really penetrating questions and lets see what happens.

Wednesday, Dec 8th at 6pm. Horse Brass Inn. 4534 SE Belmont St, Portland OR 97215


Previously: Reflections on Western Seminary (2005)


Christmas Aggregations

Its the most wonderful time of the year, when bloggers get into the spirit by creating Christmas collections of related thoughts, responses, poems, images, and whatever is worth aggregating. Here is the beginning of my list. Can you help me out by suggesting some more Christmas Aggregations?

1. Simon Jenkins is compiling a collection of 140 character answers to "What is the true meaning of Christmas?" for his December-only website Christmas.org.uk

2. Marko has the 20 worst nativity sets.

3. A Facebook Christmas synchroblog on Dec 7 called Advent as a Journey, corralled by Sonja Naylor Andrews.

More?

4. Twitter aggregation of #xmashouses by @tweetalondoncab. Thanks @Koffs

Anymore?
Don't be naughty and hide them from me or you won't get any pressies this year!


Theo: New Animation for Kids

The Facebook page for Theo already has 10,000 likes so I know this is going to be BIG!

Our family had a sneak preview for Theo Presents, a new animation for children that is designed to teach them about God. Our youngest daughter, TJ, watched the episode on forgiveness twice and today she was showing it to her older sister. These cartoons will make a great Christmas present but the website where you can buy them will not be released until Dec 20th which is  . . . inconvenient to say the least. However, if you can wait . . . its an amazing series of cartoons and I am already requesting the producers [I met Bruce at Lausanne World Congress last month] to get them into other languages as soon as possible. Actually, our whole family is going to their studios in Burbank next month to give them a "Well Done!" as well as a "Git 'R 'Done!"


Theo - Good News from Theo Presents on Vimeo.

There's a temporary website for Theo but its very minimal and bit lame and I hope you don't judge the animation prematurely. The new website will change all that. Stay tuned. I will post a link when the time is right.


Speaking on West Coast, USA

We are happy to be on the West Coast of USA, having driven our Brady Bunch wagon all the way over from the East Coast. The West Coast is home for us in many ways . . . It's where Debbie and I were married (Fullerton), had our first child (Portland) and fixed up our first house.

My speaking engagements on the West Coast that are open to the public:

Dec 8. Pub night. Portland, OR. A chat and a beer at the pub. Details as soon as we can agree on which pub. Organized by Tim Westcott who you might remember from this blog as DJ Cloudburst.

Jan 2. Vintage Faith Church. Santa Cruz, CA. Speaking at all 3 church services. Topic to be announced soon. Dan Kimball taking the blame for this one.

Jan 9. Tribe. Los Angeles, CA. I am preaching an old fashioned REVIVAL message [no not really] to The Tribe of LA at the polite and insistent request of Minister Deb Hirsch, and despite the strenuous protesting of her husband Alan.

Jan 11. 4-5pm. USCWM. Pasadena, CA. A lecture at the US Center for World Mission entitled "Social Media, The Great Commission and the Opportunity of the 1024 Window".  In this talk, I hope to answer the question, 'What happens when a new generation encounters the gospel primarily, or at least initially, through a computer screen?'


Advent Resources for your Advent[ure]

As usual, Jonny Baker is the blogger with the resources to create an Advent[ure] to remember, including an animated parable of the Lost Son. And i-church have an online Advent calender.

Adventure: Dictionary defintion: adventkra what must happen, fem. (orig. neut. pl.) of L adventkrus fut. participle of adven+re to arrive. See advent

Wikipedia definition: "An adventure is an activity that comprises risky, dangerous and uncertain experiences. The term is more popularly used in reference to physical activities that have some potential for danger, such as skydiving, mountain climbing, and extreme sports. The term is broad enough to refer to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with risk, such as a business venture or a major life undertaking. An adventurer is a person who bases their lifestyle or their fortunes on adventurous acts."


Top 10 Jesus Images

When people look for an image of Jesus on Google's search engine, this is what they find. I hope international viewers are not taking them too seriously. Here are the Top 10 Google image results for "Jesus".

1. The Number 1 image is from a Choose your Jesus poll and the Buddy Christ from the movie "Dogma" comes out on top
.


2. Second up is an optical illusion page showing this Jesus but I am not patient enough to see the other side of the illusion.



3. Beer drinking Jesus makes number 3 on the post called  "Jesus was a booze-drinker". But we all know Jesus preferred WINE! And Google has better similar images than this one anyway.
 

Read on for more . . .

Continue reading "Top 10 Jesus Images" »