Aug 182011
 
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I've been intrigued lately by discussions of Bounded versus Centered Set Thinking about the Gospel and the possibility of a Blended approach.  Please see the following links if you are not familiar with these concepts.

Bounded versus Centered Set Thinking

Blended approach

As I've thought about this over the past couple of weeks, I've developed a metaphor I call the "Gravitational Model"

In this model, there is a planet at the center that is a metaphor for Jesus and a planetary atmosphere that is a metaphor for the kingdom.  Outer space denotes being outside of the kingdom.

Here are the some of the key ideas:

Jesus is at the core of our gravitational model, like a planet with surface gravity, actively drawing everyone to Himself.  Therefore we can invite people "where they are" to experience Jesus.

However, there is a threshold one must cross to leave outer space and enter into the planet's atmosphere, our metaphor for the kingdom of God.  At some point it's essential to become a committed follower of Christ, to be a disciple not just a member of the crowd.

Just as the boundary between the atmosphere (of a planet like Earth) and outer space is not clearly defined, only God can define the boundary of His kingdom.  We can be confident that we are his disciples when we receive Him by faith, turn from our own ways and follow Him.  However, we can't create a set of rules to determine who is in and who is out. There will likely be some "unexpected" people whom Jesus has drawn from distant places over the boundary, that we can't differentiate, and into His kingdom. On the other hand, there will likely be hypocrites that we will be surprised to learn are not a part of the kingdom.

Just as Earth's atmosphere protects the Earth from harmful radiation and supports life, in the kingdom we fully experience the abundant life of Jesus and protection from the enemy who wants to destroy us.

I also made this comment in response to the following blog entry:  Can We Skip The Middleman

Please let me know your thoughts about this.  Thanks.

 

Jan 182010
 
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If anyone had ever told me I'd feel excited about a purse, I'd have thought they were joking, or perhaps had mistaken me for someone else. But here I am, smiling at the thought of my newest shoulder companion. It's not just that it's pretty, at least in my opinion. What sets my heart aflutter is its functionality. There are all these nifty little compartments that help me organize my things! A place for everything and everything in its place. So as long as I stick with the plan and put things where they belong, I'm good! No more hunting for keys.  No more scrounging for change. No more frantic search for a T-pass delaying the morning commute.  As long as I keep everything in its place.

What's more, there's room to carry important stuff, which helps me with a key goal: prioritize the priorities. That's because the stuff in my purse helps to remind me of those priorities. There's the pocket sized bible instructing me to love God and demonstrate his love by serving others. The keys that take me home for rest and family. The gym pass nudging me to exercise. Business cards highlighting the ministry of work. From time to time, to maintain room for the important things I have to clean out my purse. Get rid of the extra coins that weigh it down or little slips of paper that clutter it up. This is a metaphor of course for making room for the most important things in life. This concept is highlighted in Steven Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I found the following link helpful for Habit 3 of Covey's Seven Habits: Putting First Things First:

God bless you as you endeavor to prioritize the priorities!