Monday, November 3, 2008

The Bible "Raw and Uncut"

Yesterday @ Park Slope we began our "New Testament Challenge". The challenge is this, to read the New Testament in 63 days( Click here for the Reading Plan). On Sunday, As I made the altar call for the challenge I closed my eyes and began to pray. When I opened my eyes almost all the congregation came up to take the challenge. It was a beautiful site. Young and old a like came up. I challenged Christians to re(read) the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles and the book of Revelation and they said Pastor, here we are. There were even some guests that came up. I challenged non-church goers to really give the Bible a try and some of them took me up on it too.

We're reading the Bible "Raw and uncut". Don't get me wrong I'm a real proponent of devotionals, books, and Bible Studies but some times we need read the Bible in its most purest form. Reading it "raw and uncut" will give us a greater appreciation when we read books about it and when we hear great sermons and teachings based on it. The great thing is that you don't have understand everything right away but hold on the things you do understand, and let the words sink deep into you. Ask yourself what is God teaching me with this passage? We're meeting in Life Groups during the week to discuss what we've read and on Sunday we'll be teaching on the major themes of the New Testament.

I'm excited to see what do is going to do in the spiritual life of our church.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12


Saturday, September 6, 2008

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

I've always loved Super Heroes since my youth. Among my favorite is Spiderman. This quote from the first Spiderman comic book is close to my heart,"With great power comes great responsibility". Peter Parker (Spiderman's alter ego) uncle Ben gives him these words of wisdom. In essence it means that there was a reason why he was given these super powers. A gift has a purpose. Some how I thought that Stan Lee (the creator of Spiderman) borrowed these words from Confucius. Ana, one of brilliant young people at PSCT, corrected me a couple of weeks ago. I did some digging and she was right. Although this was in keeping with Confucius' teaching about those who hold power, It turns out that Stan Lee actually derived this quote from the Jesus. See below:

I heard Stan Lee speak at a college in Connecticut many, many years ago...and/or I read it later in an interview with him...where he said he enjoyed reading the Bible as Great Literature and a source of story ideas. I think he may have said at that time that the "with great power comes great responsibility" quote was adapted from what Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verse 48: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."

That's the King James version that Stan might have read years ago. A contemporary translation reads: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

Who would have thought,biblical truths in Spiderman.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

God's Faithfulness

Isaiah 25

Praise to the LORD
1 O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

2 You have made the city a heap of rubble,
the fortified town a ruin,
the foreigners' stronghold a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.

3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you;
cities of ruthless nations will revere you.

4 You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
is like a storm driving against a wall

5 and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is stilled.

6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.

7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;

8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.

9 In that day they will say,
"Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Men's Hike

We had a great time last Saturday.
A few us from Park Slope went to Bear Mountain and Hiked up 1200 feet. We had a few vertical challenges but we stood the course and conquered a 5 mile trail.
Below are some photos from flickr.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pastor Max Rios Leaves with the Lord

On Friday, May 30, beloved Pastor, father and friend, Rev. Maximino Rios (Max) went to be with Lord. Rev. Rios pastored Ebenezer Temple in Newark NJ. for 23 years and was a father of 9 children and 19 grand children. A funeral service was conducted the following Monday with over 1200 people in attendance. People from the community, tri-state region and across the country came to give their last respects to a person who marked their lives in a significant way. There were old friends and newer friends. I was among the old friends. Max marked my life significantly. He was one of my Associate Pastors in John 3:16, Astoria, Queens, in my early teens. Max had a consistent joy and passion for God and was always a source of encouragement to me. He would play and sing the most heartfelt songs as he strummed his guitar. It was with Max that I a received a glimpse of King David's deep, no holds barred worship to the Lord. It was through Max that received a glimpse of Job's faithfulness, as he and his family lost everything in a tragic house fire one year, and his 15 year old son to cancer in the following years. He was a man of sorrows, but a man of great joy.

Our heart and prayers are with his wife Iris of 46 years and this outstanding family.

Max loved life. He challenges us to live life well and to live a life fully surrendered to God.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
-Psalm 116:15

Love you Max.
I'll see you in Glory!

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's π Day

I continue to "geek out" today. Nerds have dubbed this day Pi (Greek letter π) day because of the month and day 3/14. Ironically it falls on the same day as Einstein's birthday. Pi is one of the most important mathematical constants. Pi can be found everywhere, from astronomy to probability to the physics of sound and light. It is mathematically irrational and transcendent number. It represents the world's oldest mathematical mystery: the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

A common use for Pi is to calculate the circumference of a circle (it's distance around). It can be found by multiplying Pi by the diameter (distance across) of the circle. Pi is approximated to 3.14. Actually, its 3.14159..... . It goes on and on. Because of my 10 grade math teacher Mr. Fronhoffer, I accept it as 3.14159 (oddly enough I wasn't good at math).

The knowledge of Pi was used in the construction of Solomon's Temple (see 1 Kings 7:23). As an existential geek I've always loved this symbol. Some how I felt that the enigma of π has some divine message, that this incalculable foundational constant in mathematics is analogous to an incalculable God, that can not be completely nailed down, but only approximated. A mysterious constant present in the fabric of our existence. This begs the question, if we can accept a π in math and science, can't we accept one in life?

Here's more Pi


Einstein's Birthday

Well, it's time to show my geek card. Today is Einstein's birthday.
He was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany.
Einstein learned to speak at a late age, he was considered a slow learner as a child, and he showed no particular aptitude for formal schooling. His theory of general relativity (E = mc2) revolutionized science. His name is synonymous with intellectual giftedness.

Interestingly enough this iconic scientific figure firmly believed there was a God and was fascinated by the Historical Jesus. In the following quote he rejects a contemporary author, Emil Ludwig's view on Jesus. This is portion of an interview with the magazine The Saturday Evening Post, in 1929 :

"To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?"

"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."

"Have you read Emil Ludwig's book on Jesus?"

"Emil Ludwig's Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot."

"You accept the historical Jesus?"

"Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."1

1. George Sylvester Viereck, "What Life Means to Einstein", The Saturday Evening Post, 26 October 1929.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Baptism Splash

A friend of mine just sent me this video. It's hilarious....
By the way, you jokers in PSCT don't get any ideas.
I'll have you take "Class 101" 7 times if you do.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tim Keller's New Book

I was checking out Jeremy del Rios' site and he posted Tim Keller's new book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Tim is known for his ministry to New York's intellectually thirsty. Check out this CBN interview


Friday, February 1, 2008

Meeting Rick Warren

A small group of pastors, including yours truly and Danny Sanabria (PSCT Youth Minister), had the privilege of meeting Rick Warren last night at the Journey Church Offices in Manhattan. Rick shared his heart and some great "pearls of wisdom" in his trademark personal style.

Rick, of course, is the author of A Purpose Driven Life and the Pastor of Saddleback, a 20 thousand member church in Southern California. He was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America. Many consider Warren the successor to Billy Graham's place as America's minister.

Thanks for coming down and blessing us Rick!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Clock Tower is Back

I'm happy to see the Williamsburgh Bank Building's Clock Tower is back. Originally the building was owned by the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, then later its parent,Republic National Bank, then, via a merger, HSBC. For years the building contained offices, notably dentists' offices; the once called it 'The Mecca of Dentistry'. Now HSBC has relocated across the street to 118 Flatbush Avenue. In early 2006, Magic Johnson began converting the building to luxury condominiums. The clock on the tower disappeared when visible construction on the tower began. Many (including yours truly) thought that we had lost the iconic clock tower for good, but it is back!

At night the dial sports a new red luminescent glow. Aside from being a beautiful Brooklyn Landmark its always provided me with a point of reference for the various times I realized that I had "misplaced myself." It's always good to have a guide...Amen?

I guide you in the way of wisdom

and lead you along straight paths.-Pr. 4:11


Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."

For many of us holidays are just time off. Days that we take a break from work. In England when you go "on holiday" its just that. It means you're going on vacation. It seems that we become far removed from the significance of the day. I suspect MLK Jr. 's holiday will become just another day of unless we hear his words and let them sink deep into us so that a tree of hope flourishes and from that tree the fruit of justice and righteousness.