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August 2, 2020 | Crossing Over - 1 (download) / PDF

Today we introduce the new series "Crossing Over: Conversion in Strange Times," where we will explore Scripture's language and stories of conversion. My Canadian citizenship ceremony occurred on holidays - an interesting exercise in "conversion," with unexpected aspects that helped illustrate the point. Today, Nicodemus, the man who has everything except what God most wants to give, and how he became a disciple and found the "new birth from above."


August 9, 2020 | Crossing Over - 2 (download) / PDF

Today in "Crossing Over" we drew Nicodemus' story into our own and explored what "conversion" growing up in church settings looks like, in light of Jesus' call to "new birth from above." Nicodemus' faith was limited by what he could learn and accomplish, and how well he could respond to the expectations of other people. For some of us, perhaps our faith has been circumscribed by sin-management, Sunday routines, the unwritten liturgy of "728b" and "guide, guard and direct," and "staying faithful until we die" - that is, defined by what we do, instead of what God does. The presence of the Spirit brings God's love and power into us, to give bring life from outside ourselves - so that God can do in us and in our world what this world could never do. This is the gift and point of "conversion."


August 16, 2020 | Crossing Over - 3 (download) / PDF

Unseen power affects our lives! For August 30: "Conversion: It's Spiritual." It might seem strange to say that - but our surrounding Western culture doesn't know or do "spiritual" very well. In many other parts of the world - and increasingly in our country as people from all over the world make their home here - "spiritual" is all about getting unseen power to help with your job, your love life, your money, your enemies ... everything except what God sends the Spirit into our lives to do! Let's find God's Spirit and learn how to live "Spiritually.""


August 30, 2020 | Crossing Over - 4 (download) / PDF

Today in "Crossing Over: Conversion in Strange Times" we read through parts of Colossians to explore "Conversion: It's Spiritual." In the modern West and Westernized cultures, "spiritual" is kinda superstitious - our self-improvement and prosperity all depends on us and the world we know from science. For the rest of the world, and most of human history, "spiritual" is the unseen world of powers, angels, nature spirits, demons, etc. that influence everything and give us what we need. Both of these views are locked into a world going nowhere, without hope of change. Conversion puts us into Jesus Christ as Lord, the ultimate authority above all "powers," and Messiah, the one who sets us free from all the corruption of spiritual darkness. Conversion brings us to the place where God's Spirit gives us the power to become what we could never be, despite the best Western self-improvement - and all the resources we need to be and do whatever He wants every day, as He leads the Creation to newness. God wins the war. Conversion brings us to the right side.


September 6, 2020 | Crossing Over - 5: Community (download) / PDF

Our society experiences so much alienation, loneliness, personal distance - and that was before Covid! We try to build community in a variety of ways - online, identity politics, tolerance and more, which all fall short of what we're designed and destined for. In "Conversion: It's Community" we see how God knows our loneliness and hostility, and works in Christ to create a new community where "everyone" receives ultimate privilege - where we can all learn His way of creating community with each other, and to join Him in extending it beyond. God invented community - it's His plan.


September 13, 2020 | Crossing Over - 6: Not One Stone! (download) / PDF

So how's your air quality been this week?! Today in "Conversion: Not One Stone ..." we explore in Luke 21 how Jesus guides us through the "truthiness" all around us, so that we can stay on-track and on-mission when the world's going a little crazy. Not everything is as it seems. Most of the information we get (from all sources) is kinda "truthy," designed to move us to act or support someone else's agenda. "Truthiness" isn't new: it was in Jesus' day, too. He gives us powerful lenses to help us see what's really happening, and to stay faithful to Him and to our task of loving people as He does, as the world goes through pain - and as we share it.



September 20, 2020 | Crossing Over - 7: God is at Work (download) / PDF

Today we explored how God works not only in the message of Jesus Christ, but in so many other ways to help us hear it and find Him. He didn't simply draw point-to-point similarities in ideology to make it "easy" for us to keep ourselves and our world, though. Through many experiences He "opens windows" that call us out of ourselves, to confront what darkness has done to us, and to challenge the limitations this world puts on us. This is how we find hope for a new kind of life with Him - this is how the Good News finds a place in us.


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