Sunday Thoughts

Sundays are good to rest and appreciate God and the grace you have from him.  It’s really a beautiful day here in north central California.  I live close to Santa Cruz. Even in summer it can be a bit nippy here, due to the cold Pacific ocean fog, but when it passes, it’s gorgeous.  I live amid the redwoods a little further inland from the ocean.   Down the street from me is a state park with some truly giant trees.  They are a wonder.

A friend of mine standing in front of one monster redwood cluster

My Pastor’s sermon this morning was great.  I’m going to post a link to it when it’s available to listen to online.  It was on spiritual blindness, taken from 2 Kings 6:8-22.  I would say if there is anyone who is an Elisha in my life, it is him.  Solid.

I led a class this morning on evangelism.  I don’t consider myself “good at evangelism.”  I don’t know who would qualify.  I’m just trying to follow his word as best I can, warts and all.  The class is simply applying the Word to the mission he gave.  It begins and ends with love.  We’re not pushing religiosity.  Jesus hung out with “sinners,” irritating the religious crowd.  He showed us a pattern.  So really, in the class we just talk about how he did things.  We’re all trainees, hoping against hope to see others come to know him.

I wasn’t well prepared for class today. I wanted to be, and tried to be, but every time I tried to work, I got distracted by a need.  I figure it’s better to practice what I’m studying, when called on, so I left it in God’s hands that I had a hard time winging through today’s discussion.

The main church service starts after my class.  We begin with worship songs.  I’ve been somewhat distracted of late by a very pretty woman that comes. I don’t actually know her.  She seems very upbeat and pleasant.  I’m single. I don’t know about her.  Even if she is single (which I would find hard to believe) I don’t see myself in her league.  Still enjoy the view though. (-:  It’s more like appreciating a cool Vette.

I’ve been thinking about some of my posts. I resay some things I’ve written in the past. Sometimes I cover the same theme from a slightly different angle.  I figure that maybe this time I have an improved take on it.  Mostly I’m thinking out loud, always trying to improve.   When I go through hard times, I push my thoughts and feelings to the surface just so I can unwind the knots.  I think it will probably help someone else trying to figure things out.  Or maybe someone will have a cool thought for me in discussion.

Yesterday, my friend Sean made me feel like a million bucks just by spending some time together with our girls at a reservoir called Loch Lomand.  I get to feeling isolated, which is not wholly true, I mean, I have friends and my kids, and they are great.  But I don’t get to spend a lot of non-work time enjoying people’s company.  They are either too far away or busy with their own lives and families.

For ten years of my life, I cleaned houses for a living.  It’s not pleasant work, but the real blessing of it is becoming a part of different families lives.  You see everything.  You experience family events and holidays with them over years.  You see their kids grow up.  You help make their lives better.  I haven’t done that in a long time, but I still very much enjoy seeing the people around me changing and growing.  Feels like getting older makes me really want to form deeper bonds with people.

Happy Sunday.

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8 responses to “Sunday Thoughts

  • hsoi

    Happy Sunday is good. 🙂

    And who’s that ugly guy in the picture?

  • Erik Martin

    I can see why evangelism is a struggle for you, Eric.

    Evangelism is one of the main reasons that I turned away from the church when I was a teenager. The cynic in me couldn’t see it as anything more than a marketing ploy to gain more parishioners, and more money.

    I interpreted the new testament as Christ leading by example by being earnest and humble. Even when he did grand things like feeding 5000 and walking on water, it wasn’t as a ploy for converts. In fact when the crowd of 5000 were amazed by Jesus’ miracle and wished to anoint him King, he fled… Yet those parables always seem to be used as selling points for Christianity for the last 2000 years. As a result, I think that’s also why you see the early European and American Deists trying to remove the supernatural aspects of the bible and focus on the example of Christ’s life. At least to me, even as a non-believer, that’s the most important part of the Bible.

    That’s a good sign that you are making observations. It couldn’t hurt to ask around about her, right? 🙂

    • climbingupblog

      Erik,

      The thing I find hard about evangelism is that I can’t save anyone. It’s only God that that has the power to reveal himself. It’s also painful to see the separation but not be able to do anything but point to Jesus. At the same time, this choice of the heart is so important to God that he doesn’t force himself on us.

      Christ is the example. I believe he did all those supernatural things. I believe what he claimed about himself is true. He is not only the example but the revelation of who God is to us.

      I hear people say “this turned me off” or “that” all the time. It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been turned off by tons of stuff I see, but I’ve learned to separate Christ from man. And in that I’ve found freedom to think for myself and engage God in a real relationship. I share a connection with God’s Spirit and in those who belong to him and are acting according to that Spirit, but my relationship with God is a direct connection. There are no middlemen.

      What I’ve tried to do here is lay out succinctly what the Bible says so that it eliminates all the cruft people add to it. Just put it in simple terms. I think that simple message is actually credible and sensible. I cannot convince you to belief it, but I will rest easier at night if I have at least communicated the message clearly, humbly, sincerely, with decency and respect. My hope is that even if you or someone else rejects what Christ taught that at least the message was made clear.

      “That’s a good sign that you are making observations. It couldn’t hurt to ask around about her, right?”

      Heh. Actually, I really don’t see that happening. I was just having a little fun here. (-:

  • Erik Martin

    That is the trick, right? How do you get someone to believe something when you know deep down what you see as an absolute truth? As you said, you can’t. People have to find their way to faith either through direct or indirect means.

    For someone like you who has had that direct connection to God and Christ because of your past experiences, I can imagine it is easy to have faith. You have undeniable proof. No one can take that away from you. I can totally respect that. I also respect that you don’t feel like you can save anyone. It has to be an individual’s choice. It can’t be forced.

    Since I never had a direct connection to God, I had to discover what I believed indirectly through study and experience. Not only via my Catholic upbringing, but I also researched other Christian and non-Christian religions. What I discovered (when you discount all the extremists) is that all major religions are after the same basic principle. Respect others and lead an honest life. To me it is really that simple.

  • climbingupblog

    It’s never easy to have faith. It’s under constant attack from within and without. I had enough faith to believe in Christ and ask him in, like the thief on the cross who turned to him. God has to sustain it or I’d fall away like anyone else.

    “Respect others and lead an honest life” is a good message. There are a lot of other messages being preached, even from Bibles. But if you center on that as the cream from the whey, it still begs the questions: Why are we here? How does anything at all exist? Something had to always exist for anything to exist. We’re here. We’re clearly different from animals. Is it really just an accident or is there something behind this? And if this is, why? Why all this trouble here? For what ends?

    If you can reach a point of thinking there is a creator, the scope of creation tells you something about that creator.

    Seeing the trouble here on earth, you might assert bad things that creator. This is no right. And if you believe that, then you must recognize at some left that there is a right to be had. If so, then the question is what is it?

    I’m saying the Bible offers better answers to these question than people do. It has backed itself up over millennia with convincing proofs when the message was given. Jesus completely demonstrated the fulfillment of it. I can toss all of that aside as just myth, but to do so is probably less about faith than acceptance.

    • Erik Martin

      I meant to reply earlier in the week.

      I guess after reading the Bible (and other religious works) I never felt like I got any answers to the questions you mention that didn’t lead back to having faith to believe. I don’t really want to say more because as you said, faith is not always easy. I know I couldn’t sway you. I just didn’t want this thread to be a record of my thoughts on faith (more than what I have said)… And frankly, my ramblings are not really the point of your blog. 🙂

      I enjoy reading your blog. I celebrate that you believe as devoutly as you do. Your faith doesn’t come across as self-serving, hypocritical or judgmental. I like that. It is with interacting with people like you and my parents that grounds me that most people of faith are not all extremists. And unfortunately the Harold Camping’s and the Westboro Church’s of the world get the spotlight way too often.

      • climbingupblog

        I can appreciate everything you’ve said. Your thoughts and presence are appreciated.

        Scary people are scary. Not much to add to that. One thing interesting about programmers, we have an eye for presumption. We spend our whole lives discerning it in code. I think we can smell it. Faith is different than presumption. Presumption is forced and leads to arrogance and misjudgment, while faith is humble, simply looking to God to love and be loved.

        You’ve helped me through some really deep hurts, reflecting just the kindness and compassion Jesus taught (parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind). I hope I can extend back the same.

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