Bunnies & Easter

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week.  It is  easy to get caught up with the things associated with the Easter like new clothes, Easter Bunnies, even getting ready for the one of the biggest church services of the year. We can loose focus of the meaning of Easter.

The origin of the Easter bunny is not Christian nor does it have anything to do with the Christian observance of the resurrection of Christ. The Rabbit and eggs were a symbol of symbol of fertility and spring time. The rabbit was a symbol of the pagan festival of the goddess Eastre. The rabbit was her symbol. (1) In Egypt and Persia eggs were given in honor of the start of spring. (2) Christians incorporated the pagan tradition of coloring eggs into the Christian observance of Easter. The earliest mention of the Bunny in connection with Easter is in Germany in the 1500′s. The Easter bunny was introduced in the untied states in the 1700′s by German settlers. (3) By the 19th century Easter baskets and chocolate were used in the United States, however Easter was not widely celebrated until after the Civil War. (4) I have nothing against Easter bunnies especially the chocolate ones but they have nothing to do with the.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us performed by Skillet

Notes:
(1.) Jerry Wilson, “Easter Traditions”, http://wilstar.com/holidays/easter.htm.

(2.) Marian Murdoch, “History of the Easter Bunny” http://www.bellaonline.com/art icles/art19136.asp.

(3.) AustrialianMedia.com, “Easter Bunny History” http://easterbunnys.net/easter bunnyhistory.htm.

(4.) Murdoch.

Do You Want to Live Forever?

That was one of the topics on  the Daily Post last week.  It is one of those questions that make you think. My answer is yes but not here.  The hope of eternal life is essential to my faith.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18 NIV

Top 10: Top Posts for 2010

Top 10It is time for my annual list of the most popular posts for the years. All posts were posted this year.  I re-posted videos for posts that features just a video.  Three of the most popular posts for the year featured videos. Another trend was that three Top 10 lists were among the most popular posts this year.

#10: Top 10: Happy 40th Sesame Street.

Today’s top 10 is in honor of Sesame Street’s 40th birthday.  As a child we would watch   Sesame Street right before watching my dad on the evening news.  Sesame Street and later School House Rock contributed greatly to my education. Today’s list is a combination of favorites and things I learned from Sesame Street. MoreHappy 40th Sesame Street

 

Ernest and Ronel along with others waiting to get out of Haiti are still stuck in the U.S. Embassy. Earlier today they were told my officials in the U.S. embassy it they got a flight they could leave the country.  Well, Ernest got a flight and it seems that the officials in the U.S. embassy had no intention of letting  them leave Haiti.  The staff is being difficult and  causing unnecessarily causing delays. Read More.
Note: For live updates check out Ernest Parker’s Twitter.
I am re-posting this from Aaron Ivey’s blog. The Ivey’s were in the process of adopting from Haiti when the earthquake hit. Their son Amos was one of the children with Humanitarian parole who came home last Saturday on a military flight. 27 children from the Real Hope for Haiti rescue center were supposed to be on that flight, all of them except Ronel were allowed to leave. Apparently, he was missing one piece of paper. More

#10: Cars (2006) — Racing champion Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) ends up being stranded in the  tiny town of Radiator Springs and in the process tears up the town.  The town judge Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) sentences Lightning community service to repair the damages.  In the process Lightening learns some valuable lessons about life from  Sally (Bonny Hunt),  Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) and the other locals. MoreCars

#6: Is Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

After the Extreme Makeover Build in Gainesville, Florida I begin hearing rumors about the show that trouble me. After doing some investigation I have been able to confirm one of the rumors. It seems that some recipients of the homes have lost their home because they cannot afford the mortgage, increased taxes and/or increased utilities bills. … Read More.

Season 7: Episode 18 -- Wagstaff Family

Season 7: Episode 18 -- Wagstaff Family

#5: Holy Week 2010: Monday.

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. …. More

#4: Sounds of the Season 2010: Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob Style.

Posted November 30 this one has quickly become one of the most popular posts of the year.

#3: Top 10: Signs You Might be A Nerd.

This post was inspired by a recent conversation with The Big Guy. For some unexplained reason our conversation evolved or eroded to a discussion about our favorite search engine from back in the day (late 90′s/early 2000s). Read More.

#2: Dancing in the Mine Fields by Andrew Peterson

When I post videos I like to include something about the artist or song. I think Andrew’s description of the inspiration for this song is better than anything I might write.

In December of 2009 my wife and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage. A few days later, we got in a silly argument and I wrote this song after she went to bed. Marriage, see, was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, in Christ that marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed? Read the original post (Link to Peterson’s website)

#1: One Minute Sermon

Tamara Lowe packs a lot in under two minutes. This was originally shared at  Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach area Florida.

“I’m just a struggling Christian; not a good one like you.”

That statement from a conversation I had last month has haunted me. It is the kind of statement that just sticks with you and pops up when least expected. There are many aspects of that statement that get me.

First,  I’m a struggling Christian. Honestly, most Christians are struggling even if they are not willing to admit it.  Contrary to what many think being a Christian does not magically erase all struggle from our lives. It is a process or journey in which one’s faith grows.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

The other thing that bothers me about the conversation was the implication that somehow I’m a “good Christian”. I not good just forgiven

18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Romans 7:18 (ESV)

Passage results:

Philippians 3:12-14 (New International Version)

Amuzgo de Guerrero (amu) Amuzgo de Guerrero العربية (ar) Arabic Life Application Bible Български (bg) Bulgarian Bible 1940 Bulgarian Bible Chinanteco de Comaltepec (cco) Chinanteco de Comaltepec Cakchiquel Occidental (ckw) Cakchiquel Occidental Kreyol (cpf) Haitian Creole Version Čeština (cs) Slovo na cestu Dansk (da) Dette er Biblen pÃ¥ dansk Deutsch (de) Hoffnung für Alle Luther Bibel 1545 English (en) New International Version New American Standard Bible The Message Amplified Bible New Living Translation King James Version English Standard Version Contemporary English Version New King James Version New Century Version GOD’S WORD Translation 21st Century King James Version American Standard Version Young’s Literal Translation Darby Translation Holman Christian Standard Bible New International Reader’s Version Wycliffe New Testament Worldwide English (New Testament) New International Version – UK Today’s New International Version Español (es) Reina-Valera 1960 Nueva Versión Internacional Reina-Valera 1995 Castilian Reina-Valera Antigua Traducción en lenguaje actual La Biblia de las Américas Français (fr) Louis Segond La Bible du Semeur Κοινη (grc) 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament 1550 Stephanus New Testament 1894 Scrivener New Testament תירביע (he) The Westminster Leningrad Codex Ilonggo (hil) Hiligaynon Bible Hrvatski (hr) Croatian Bible Magyar (hu) Hungarian Károli Íslenska (is) Icelandic Bible Italiano (it) La Nuova Diodati La Parola è Vita Jacalteco, Oriental (jac) Jacalteco, Oriental Kekchi (kek) Kekchi 한국어 (ko) Korean Bible Māori (mi) Maori Bible Macedonian (mk) Macedonian New Testament Mam, Central (mvc) Mam, Central Mam, Todos Santos (mvj) Mam de Todos Santos Chuchumatán Plautdietsch (nds) Reimer 2001 Náhuatl de Guerrero (ngu) Náhuatl de Guerrero Nederlands (nl) Het Boek Norsk (no) Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930 Levande Bibeln Português (pt) O Livro João Ferreira de Almeida Atualizada Quiché, Centro Occidenta (qut) Quiché, Centro Occidental Română (ro) Romanian Romanian Русский (ru) Russian Synodal Version Slovo Zhizny Slovenčina (sk) Nádej pre kazdého Shqip (sq) Albanian Bible Svenska (sv) Levande Bibeln Svenska 1917 Kiswahili (sw) Swahili New Testament Tagalog (tl) Ang Salita ng Diyos Українська (uk) Ukrainian Bible Uspanteco (usp) Uspanteco Tiêng Viêt (vi) 1934 Vietnamese Bible 汉语 (zh) Chinese Union Version (Traditional) Chinese Union Version (Simplified)

Philippians 3:12-14 (New International Version)

Pressing on Toward the Goal

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Some Thoughts On Christian Music

My motivation for writing this comes from something that happened at work this week and comments made on a couple of my posts this week. (See: KJV Only, Rock Music and Other Rants and What I Believe). I want to begin with that I love music. My dad was a DJ and minister of music. For many years my mom was either the church pianist or organist. I grew up in a house filled with music. My dad enjoyed classical and jazz among other things. My mom’s tastes are more classical or worship music. Currently, my iPod has a selection from GNR to Handel. For more about my musical tastes check out: Some Musicians You Should Check Out, Top 10: Favorite Bands, Top 10: Favorite Artist/Musician, Concerts I’ve Been To, Concerts Part II. I am a Gen-Xer and a part of the MTV generation. I have had my own personal entertainment system (ie radio, tape player, CD, etc) since I was a baby. Music has always played an important part of my life. So this is a sort of random collections about thoughts I have regarding music.

On Music in Church

First, I love hymns. Some of my favorite songs are hymns. I grew up in a Baptist church. Baptists are non-creedal, that means  Baptists have had an aversion to creeds. Historically, Baptists have used hymns to transmit theology. The theology found in hymns is often missing in our modern worship music. According, to my dad a true hymn only mentions God and praise to God there is no mention of humans therefore most songs labeled hymns are not hymns.

Second, I love modern worship music. I like that it is usually upbeat and is easy to sing. My favorites are the more simplistic ones that are essentially scripture set to music.

I think using a live praise band is great. Drummers and guitarist should be given the opportunity to use their God given talents in church. For many years, I attended a church with a full orchestra. Many hymns have  kicking bass, low brass and timpani lines. I also enjoy hearing a good organ as well.

I am pro-music in worship services. I want a variety of styles and lots of music.

On Christian Rock, Alternative, Punk and Rap

Music is music. It is neither good nor bad; rather it is what humans do with music that makes it bad. John and Charles Wesley used the tunes from drinking songs for hymns. Why? Because that was the music the people were familiar with, could relate to  and liked. Even our own National Anthem was set to the tune of a drinking song. Before you slam Christian rock, alternative, punk or rap music take sometime to check out the music. Read the lyrics.

I really  like Flame, The Ambassador, Da T.R.U.T.H. and the other guys from Cross Movement. Many of them have theology degrees and their music is much often much deeper than a lot of Adult Contemporary and Southern Gospel. When was the last time your heard a Southern Gospel Song discussing Hermeneutics? One of the first things I do with a new CD is to read the lyrics of the songs. No matter how good it sounds I believe the content of the songs is more important. What is the message the artist’s is sending?

One of the reason’s I really liked Rich Mullins and his music was his lifestyle. He was an average singer but a brilliant song writer. Mullins was about ministry. He had a reputation for being real and humble. If you aren’t familiar Mullins music or even if you are you can check out his music at Calling Out Your Name.

One last thought on Christian, rap, rock, alternative and punk music God has changed my standards but not necessarily my tastes. I still like rock and alternative but I just don’t want the junk any more.

More Thoughts On Music

While you may or may not like or even agree with any of the music I like that is fine. Don’t be so quick to condemn an entire genre of music because it doesn’t “look Christian”. What exactly does a Christian look like? I mean can you actually tell that someone is a Christian by the way the look? Is everyone that looks like a Christian really a Christian? There have been some cases of well—known Christian artists that “looked Christian” but got caught in some very un-Christian behaviors. Rather than judge an artists or group by their outward appearance examine their music, lifestyle and ministry first.