Thursday, November 6, 2008

The crushing of Satan's head

Hey all, I was thinking the other day about the depravity of us humans. The sin that we are all caught up in, the lies, the deceit, the backstabbing, and the selfishness. How in the hell did we get like this? How did we stray so far from walking with our Creator in a simple garden, hand in hand, absolutely free?

There is a beautiful image in the bible when we are told that the serpents head will be crushed by the heel of the Messiah. Beautiful? All the blood and chunks of skull and pieces of brain? Beautiful? Yes, beautiful. Recently I have been experiencing the repercussions of someone's sin that is relatively close to me and I have come to hate Satan. Before, I didn't like him, you know, but when he starts messing with people and situations that are close to your heart, you want to kill him. Never before have I prayed to be apart of crushing Satan's head, but that is an everyday prayer now.

It's funny you know. I probably sound like a crazy lune who needs some anti-depressants and a couple day gettaway at the local psyche ward. But I think that we, as Christians, have got to wake up and smell the coffee. Satan is real, he does exist. And while I know he is not all powerful, all knowing, and all present, he is the best deceiver of them all. All he has to do is get one little lie in our heads and the rest is up to us to screw up. So be watchful, because Satan stalks about, roaring, waiting to see who he can devour.

Pray that you, too, can crush his head.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hey All, Donovan here,

I was on my paper route this morning and at around 4 a.m. a song came on that I have on the nano. It's a song that I have heard a million times but I guess I never really paid attention to the lyrics. I want you all to read these lyrics, think about them, and then read on.

The Great Inversion by The Cobalt Season

Come, my child, away/Come away where we can be/Come , my child, away/Come away/Away with me

Don't you know it?/Child, I hear you when you call/All your groaning and moaning, postponing the owning of everything/And wonderin' is this all/But that was not the plan/Or I should say, it's not the dream/Greedy privitization, big fat corporation, some one Christian nation/How'd they think that's what I mean?

Come, my child, away/Come away where we can be/Come, my child, away/Come away, come and see

They said eye for eye/But I tell you cheek by cheek/They said hustle and work to be comfortable, powerful/I say blessed are the meek/But twist and turn my words/And you could wage war on half the earth/You could kill all the others, the sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers/Mark them by place of birth

Come, my child, away/Come away where we can be/Come, my child, away/Come away and now be free

Don't waste your life away/Waitin' on that brighter day/You really are the one/To bring the healing that's begun...'cause it's begun/And it's all in love I say/Don't opt for a diff'rent way/Stop swallowin' their cliche/As if it's the only way,it's overplayed

We're all overpaid/But feel like we can't get away/That new car won't save the day/Oh no, it's not the way

I said that you would be free/And I mean free indeed/Free from that white middle-class American dream/Free from loneliness, free from greed

Just pick up and follow me/To Kingdom Come/A place where we all will run/A new life that has begun/Right now it has begun

Did you think about them? Crazy huh? It got me thinking about what Jesus meant when He prayed, "Your Kingdom come...on earth as it is in heaven." Jesus Himself asked God that His Kingdom would become a reality on earth as it is a reality in heaven. Am I doing that? Is it even possible to do this while pursuing "Manifest Destiny" and the whole "American Dream"? How have I walked so far from the simplicity of The Way? How do I begin again?

All of these thoughts are racing through my head and I just want to hunch over and cry for what I have become. No wonder Jesus cried as He looked over Jerusalem. He understood that His people had bought into the Empire, they had bought into empirical greed, wealth, possessions, gods, and politics. He knew they were going to kill Him because He spoke of another world; a world where wealth, greed, and possessions were not on everyone's agenda's; a world where He is King and everyone actually gives a damn about others.

I often forget what Jesus said on the Mount and I have to admit, when I read the words that Jesus spoke on the Mount I can't believe what He is saying. Can the Master really mean that? Turn the other cheek? How humiliating!! Hmm, His point exactly. The more I take a real, honest look at myself (my spiritual habits, my sin, my spending habits, my thoughts) I see, in the words of The Cobalt Season, that I am the obstruction. If another world is possible then it has to start with me and my willingness to change. "Perhaps we're the one's we've been waiting for. Perhaps God has just been waiting at our door."

I am in the process of reflecting on my life and the things that I need to give up in order to follow the Master. He meant what he said and I have to stop highlighting what I like and disregarding what I don't. If we're going to be honest with ourselves, the truth is that we're scared. We're scared to give up our comfort for the Kingdom. We're scared to stop chasing our American destiny. We're scared, I'm scared, to just let go.

I don't know where to begin. I've bought into the Empirical American dream and sometimes I feel that it's too late to pull out. Maybe it means losing some money, trading in the $20,000 SUV for the Scooter (100 MPG Shane, 100 MPG), and dying to myself. And maybe this all sounds crazy, absurd, naive, and impossible. But another world is possible; on a quiet day I can hear her breathing.

Come, my child, away/Come away where we can be/Come, my child, away/Come away and be free...

God is waiting at our door...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

newsletter update

This is a letter to update brothers and sisters far and wide about Chi-Rho, something you have probably heard mentioned, but until now I have not fully explained.
It’s been two and a half years now since the calling came full blast. I met Donovan at college and then our wives met and we began to get to know each other. It wasn’t long until we realized there was a common passion that united the four of us, little did we know that this passion was Chi-rho. Donovan and I were both youth ministers at the time and we were beginning to discover some of the same things. I had been a part of the church for a large part of my life through youth group, vbs, Christmas plays, the whole works. I had always seen the church as a safe place, but as I began working in “church ministry” my walls were beginning to crumble. It seemed that the closer I came to Christ the farther I got from the church. I will never forget being called out in a board meeting because “There are plenty of Christian churches for our kids to do things with” this was in regards to me taking the youth group to a function that was put on by a non denominational church that used to be Baptist. Or there was the time that I served in a denominational church and got a group of students from the area college to help lead a service that was less “denominational”. Everybody loved it we had double the amount of people there that we did on Sunday mornings. However once we outgrew the dreary basement and decided to move the service to a building we were offered to use for free across the street everyone turned on us, we were no longer brother and sisters but competition. Then there was the senior minister who always compared the church to a football team. Or the time I preached a sermon and a professor could only point out that my tie was crooked and my tattoos showed. Then there was the time a sobbing father came in and I was able to counsel him about his overwhelming thoughts of suicide, and his continual fight against alcohol. I was later informed by the pastor that he was “just a drunk”. Yet probably the last straw was at the last church I served at. I was preparing for youth group and the phone in the office rang. I answered it and on the other end was a single mother who was desperately begging for money to pay her electric bill. I was so excited, here was a real chance to show love to a woman in a real life way. I went upstairs to tell those “in power” about the situation. To my utter dismay, I was given the telephone number of a charity hotline to give to her, and to my everlasting shame I did………
I have no doubt that Shawna and I have been sent on a journey by the Father. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know this. I have seen authentic love from a women so unloved that her views had been distorted to the point of lesbianism. I have come too fully trust men that have no form of relationship with Christ, but they are more real than any group of people I have ever known and they would go to battle with me in a second if I asked. I have worked with orphans who had next to nothing but would gladly give it to help another, and they did it with no agenda. All of these things have came to make me realize that although I was beginning to lose my faith in the church I had not lost my faith in people. I then realized that was perhaps the most ignorant thought I had ever had. Because I began too research and study and see that the church was never meant to be anything different than just…..people…..true…..authentic….loving……giving……people. Not people who meet a checklist of requirements like don’t drink, don’t cuss, don’t smoke, have correct ideas on things like war, and doctrine. I began realize that the church was never intended to be a bunch of social clubs that compete for business like fast food chains. The church was intended to be one. One body of people spread out seeking only to serve Christ, and in essence His children…….all of His children.
From this dream we decided to start Chi-Rho. Chi-Rho is the name of an ancient symbol that was used by Christians in the first century as a secret symbol with which to mark a safe place of worship. That is exactly what we wanted, a safe place of worship. A community of believers of all backgrounds united by a common love or interest in Christ. A community of the church…….the one church………. that is focused on teaching the literal gospel (not a watered down, always smiling, life will always be easy version), fighting injustices, feeding the hungry, and making disciples of all nations.
I have recently discovered that my life has not resembled that of the faithful bastard son, but instead the rich and spoiled one. I have lived my life thinking I was better than people I wasn’t, thinking that all that I had was for my enjoyment, and being irritated at all the fools around me. Even though I would have never said these things the way I lived, my life screamed it.
I recently got an interview at a Christian school where I had applied to be a teacher. Everything was going great until we hit a little wall, maybe a mountain. It seemed that to get this great position that included insurance, salary, the whole works all I had to do was sign a contract saying that the use of alcohol and tobacco was wrong, and that I would not condone it. I was so mad, I was indignant, this was there opinion and I was being forced to comply or I could not be “one of them” regardless of the fact that we worshiped the same Jesus. Needless to say I did not sign it, I would rather keep moving furniture. Because I have spent my whole life judging people out of my ignorance and refuse to condone it any longer. There is not a biblical example of alcohol being condemned, drunkenness yes, but not the act of drinking. Christ’s first miracle was turning water to wine. Many Christian in order to fit there agenda say it was non alcoholic wine, or grape juice. Yet the bible in no way says that. The Bible says clearly that Jesus made the "best wine." Anyone who understands wine knows that the best wine takes longer to make and has more alcohol content than cheap wine. Our prejudices and agendas have even distorted the scripture. Chirho is a group of people who refuse to condone this kind of doctrinal arrogance, I am even trying to make water into wine myself (homebrewing) but that’s not going so well, completely different story.

Chirho officially began meeting July the thirteenth in Bella Vista Arkansas, and we will begin meeting in Fayetteville Arkansas right outside the university in September. Nine of us gathered to commune together on the thirteenth. We talked about life relationships and our dreams. We plan to have a community meeting every other week where we will study eat and chat together. On the opposite weeks we are seeking to get more involved in the community, this week we plan to visit the local salvation army and perhaps if we are blessed, make some new friends.

Honestly I don’t know a lot about this, only He does. I hope that Chirho spawns a growth of the church that surpasses all of the borders on this planet. I hope to see God start a chain reaction of people from all walks of life everywhere who will devote themselves to total service, sound bible, and simple living. I hope to see chirho be a place where people can get help with there electric bill, because the community is not in debt over a pastors salary, a fancy church building, and all the latest technologies. I hope to see the church to be expanded in every way, to no longer be intolerant, or biblically illiterate.

Lets clear up the obvious way of thinking. It seems that in this country where the entire “American dream” is based on money, that it is pretty much seen as the answer to all problems……..its not. A lot of people have asked about supporting Chirho financially. Although we do have expenses and have already put some financial gifts to good use in the kingdom. We have great hesitancy in this area. First of all it is common today to find someone you think is doing good and giving them money, this making as if you are doing good… not really. Instead of taking care of a widow, we put some cans in a box, instead of sitting and loving the homeless we drop money in a salvation army bucket, Instead of feeding an orphan we send $19.99 in response to a tv commercial. Before you consider giving a financial gift to Chirho (or any other group of do gooders) consider what is outside your own back door. Consider the young couple two doors down who you know is hardly making it. Consider that bum you see in the alley everyday on your way to work, consider the kid at church whos shoe’s outgrew him along time ago. There are plenty of ways which Chirho is attempting to put money to help people, and we will gladly take gifts we are given, but again do not send us money to ease your conscious. One of the greatest ways to help Chirho (the church) is to help those next door, fight the social injustices in your own backyard. If there is anything left after that, then we will thank you for your generosity. More than money please pray for us, we need it.

Right now we are in northwest Arkansas, we chose to start here because of its status as one of the top three fastest growing areas in the United States. However our goal is not for Chirho to show Gods love to northwest Arkansas, but the whole world. Therefore are ultimate goal is the same as that of the early disciples, expansion. If you are in the same area as us we invite you to come on over. Yet if you are not and you are interested in starting a Chirho Community where you are we are all for that. We will help you get started, and will provide anything you need. We will also meet and talk with you, make sure you don’t worship satan or anything like that, and we will help identify some leaders who we will be able to have constant contact with us as well as go through a series of meetings and trainings to help prepare them for the road ahead. We will also help on a weekly basis with things anything you might need such as finances, meeting/teaching aid, community needs, exc.

Thank you for taking the time to show some interest in our passion, we wish you the greatest success in the journey called life, God Bless.

An unworthy servant
Rodney Rambo