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What's Your Ride? 
Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 11:12 AM - Extra Christy
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What Moves You?

Ohio Pastor Mike Slaughter in his book, Change the World he asks if the church has become like a cruise ship. A cruise ship caters to its passengers who are attracted to the promise of being pampered and entertained by the facilities and paid staff of the ship.

Sunday I'll be wondering how a cruise ship church compares to a fire engine church. A church where the focus is on going out into the world to save others instead of entertaining themselves.

Ottawa Fire Dept. E103
Some churches are police cars, seeking to maintain law and order. Others are tour buses gathering folks for visits to heaven. Some are mail trucks, delivering messages from far away places and times. You can find lunch wagons churches that feed spiritually empty people. Many are ambulances rushing to care for the sick, injured, and dying. Taxi churches will take you anywhere you want to go in life. A couple of churches resemble hearses, a burial club making sure members are memorialized properly. There are churches that are school buses where teaching is the driving force. One or two churches might be like the party bus in one community I served; it didn't go anywhere, but the riders had a great time getting nowhere.

I hope you choose a ride that gets you where God is calling you to go.

What Brings You Here?

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. - Matthew 11:7-9

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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Hunting for Jesus 
Wednesday, April 7, 2010, 10:56 AM - Extra Christy, Easter
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I've Been Looking for You!

The Saturday before Easter we had a bunny breakfast and an egg hunt. Children ran to find plastic eggs with prizes and goodies after a pancake breakfast. (No bunnies were harmed in the making of this breakfast.) I struggled to find the way of faith in our familiar ways.

I'll never hear the phrase "You can count on him" the same way again.

by Micah68 on Flickr
The Easter story has a story of hunting for Jesus. Mary wants to know where they had taken Jesus so she can go and get him. Strangely, not recognizing him, she asks Jesus where he has put Jesus. Both the angels and Jesus ask Mary about the quarry of her hunting trip. Jesus reveals himself, not by jumping up and shouting, "Surprise, you found me." but by calling Mary's name...as if he was hunting for her. The sought is revealed as the seeker. The one we call, is calling us.

So it is not that we are "Hunting Jesus" as if he is lost and we need to put him back where he belongs. Our savior can be thought as the "Hunting Jesus" who searches for us.

I hope Jesus finds you. He has been hunting for you. Listen for his calling of your name to ministry and mission. You will find he has been right in front of you all the time.

The First Easter Hunt

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' She said to them, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.' When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?' Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' - John 20:11-1

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
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Someone to Count On!? 
Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 01:33 PM - Extra Christy
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The Other 3 in Holy Week

If you ask a Christian what does "3" have to do with the events of Holy Week, the disciple would probably tell you that three is the number of times the disciple Peter denied Jesus. They are right! However, in my reading this year, I realized there was another 3 in the Holy Week story.

Three is also the number of times Pilate pronounced Jesus innocent of any offense worthy of death. (See for yourself in Luke 23.)

Today, Peter is celebrated as a man of great faith, the first pope, while Pilate is regarded as a villain who killed Christ. (How many children are named "Pilate"?) Yet the holy one denied Jesus three times and the cursed one defended Jesus thrice.

I'll never hear the phrase "You can count on him" the same way again.

by PeacePlusOne on Flickr
During the week Christians remember the sinless one who died for the sins of all, may these two threes remind us that there is sinner and saint in each of us.

The Other Three Times

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no basis for an accusation against this man." - Luke 23:4

and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him." - Luke 23:14

A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him."-Luke 23:22

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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Keep Singing 
Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 08:00 AM - Extra Christy
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Even if the Piano Goes to Pieces

The music stopped before the song ended Sunday.

Our sound board operator turned off the music at what he thought was the end of the song. It wasn't. Our singer powered on through finishing A cappella, without instrumental accompaniment. It was a thrilling witness of musical talent and perseverance.

I talked to the soloist, sound operator and music director later. The music director told me, "I tell them if the piano goes to pieces and the sheet music falls to the floor; keep singing."

by HurleyGurley on Flickr
Did you know that "a cappella" is Italian for "in the manner of the church"? Humans making music when there was none was the only way Christians did church for nearly a thousand years. Even today, congregations of the Church of Christ continue this tradition.

Lent is the time when Christians consider the cross. We face the death of Jesus and our own death. The Lenten story includes a follower's betrayal, tragic misunderstandings, false accusations, mob rule, religious persecution, denial of relationship, bribery; everything goes to pieces. Those pieces form a cross.

Yet the Easter song doesn't stop when the music ends on the cross. On Easter morning we found out that Christ is alive! Singing that song has been the manner of the church ever since.

I hope your singing doesn't end when the music stops.

Jesus Keeps On Singing

While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?"

They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?"

They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. -Luke 24:15-23

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
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Fishy Quotes 
Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 01:49 PM - Extra Christy
Posted by Administrator
Bible Quoters May Not Be Bible Readers

On Comedy Central's The Colbert Report Mary Matalin told viewers that "Jesus also preached 'Teach them how to fish, not/don't give them fish', right?" Jesus did have a lot of fish sayings, but if you thought that one seemed a little fishy, it is because it is mangled Chinese proverb not a saying of Jesus.

There are plenty of good places and ways to study the Bible. I'm partial to your local neighborhood church, but whatever your choice, I hope your Bible exposure goes deeper and wider than supposed quotes from cable shows.

If you want to check out a quote, you can ask your pastor or check an on-line Bible. They let you search by words, not just book, chapter, and verse. I usually use bible.oremus.org for the NRSV but also look at the versions at www.biblegateway.com.

While you're there, read around the verse and see if you can get a sense of the context of the quote. My favorite example of an out of context Bible quote is from Luke 12:19, "...relax, eat, drink, be merry". It is in a middle of story that Jesus told. The next verse has God saying, "You fool!" in Luke 12:20. Someone could honestly say that Jesus said, "relax, eat, drink, and be merry" without sharing God's judgment on the wisdom of such self-centered behavior.

Hear a quoted verse and you're entertained for a moment, read the Bible and your life is changed forever.

You can quote me on that.

Jesus Gives Thousands Fish, FREE!

When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said to them, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
-Matthew 14:15-21

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Creative Commons License
This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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