Thursday, March 26, 2009

Remembering Nana

The last memory I have of my grandmother, Dare Adams, is the image of her running alongside Martin and myself to try and reach the Vortex one last time before Carowinds closed for the night. She was really running! I even think she looked back at us once with our 12 year old energy and said "come on slow pokes, you're gonna make us miss it!" I remember looking at her as we were bobbing and weaving through the crowd and saying to myself, "Now that is a cool Grandma!"

I can also remember vividly clear, my dorm parent at RVA, walking into the lunch hall and telling me with firmness to come to his apartment when I was done eating. I knew it wasn't good. I walked slowly up the hill expecting to be in trouble for something I had done. Instead when I get to the apartment he tells me to call my parents. Again, still thinking I'm in trouble, I do it. Mom picks up and proceeds to tell me that Nana was dying of heart failure at 64 years of age. She was flying back to America for the funeral and a friend of theirs was coming to pick me up so I could hang out with Dad, Zeb and Mary. It was a sad day.

Of course I was only 12 when we moved to Kenya and our family had never lived close to the Grandparents during those 12 years, but my Nana always found ways to spend time with her grandkids. She sent Martin and I to a Charlotte Hornet basketball camp one summer and I thought that was just the coolest thing ever! We went to her beach place a ton during the Summers. Holidays were always fun and hectic in the Adams house back in those days. I remember she fed me a chicken liver one time when I was like 8, that was cool. Anyway.

Evidently Nana was involved in a group known as the Eastern Star. This past weekend that organization unveiled portraits of all the past "Worthy Matrons." You may know more about it than I do but from what I can tell that means she was their leader for a couple of years. Quite a few family and friends turned up at the Cherryville Mason lodge to see the unveiling of about 40 portraits. The "ceremony" was interesting. If you have read this blog for longer than a minute you know that I am fascinated with different cultures. I certainly felt like I was seeing a side of Cherryville culture that I had never seen before. As foreign as it seemed to me it's part of my heritage I guess.

It was fun to see them pull the curtain away and there sat Nana's smiling face. I think it was a special moment for my grandfather and uncles and aunts who were there. I'm glad that Leslie and I had the opportunity to attend and be there in support of Nana and my grandfather.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Gospel Gets Bigger...

This is from I found it very helpful.

Our temptation is to think that the gospel is for beginners and then we go on to greater things. But the real challenge is to see the gospel as the greatest thing—and getting greater all the time.

The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,

* grace gets bigger;
* Christ gets greater;
* his death gets more wonderful;
* his resurrection gets more astonishing;
* the work of the Spirit gets mightier;
* the power of the gospel gets more pervasive;
* its global extent gets wider;
* your own sin gets uglier;
* the devil gets more evil;
* the gospel's roots in eternity go deeper;
* its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger;
* and the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder.

So keep this in mind: Never let the gospel get smaller in your heart. Pray that it won’t. Read solid books on it. Sing about it. Tell someone about it who has never heard or unsure about it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Old School Kenyan Music Videos

These songs were all the rage when I was in high school.

This was the "cool" Swahili/English pop song back in the 90's.

This is for all the tourists.

And of course, Africa by Toto. The choir sings this at every Rift Valley Academy graduation.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Religion vs. The Gospel

On February 5th Mark Driscoll came and spoke in chapel at SEBTS it was very good. You should go and listen to it here. For those who won't take the time here are my notes from his message:

9 Distinctions Between the Gospel and Religion

Religion says:
  1. If I obey then God will love me. (works/effort based)
  2. Religion sees good people and bad people.
  3. Religion is about getting from God or using God. (a "health and wealth" type thing)
  4. Religion sees hardship and suffering as punishment.
  5. Religion is very aware of other people's sin.
  6. Religion is focused on the external and visible.
  7. Religion is not certain about salvation.
  8. Religion is about self righteousness.
  9. Religion results in either pride or despair (depending on how we are fairing in our efforts).
Ultimately, religion repels people.

The Gospel says:
  1. God loves us despite of who we are and what we have done.
  2. The Gospel sees bad people and Jesus.
  3. The Gospel is about getting God.
  4. The Gospel sees hardships as loving correction and suffering as an opportunity to display God's glory.
  5. The Gospel is very aware of my own sin.
  6. The Gospel is concerned with matters of the heart.
  7. The Gospel says salvation was finished with Jesus. We can know we are covered by the work of Christ. (1 John)
  8. The Gospel is about the work of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 "The Great Exchange" not merited or earned, it is a gift.)
  9. The Gospel leads to a holy happiness. (Not because you have to but because you want to.)
The Gospel attracts.

His lectures on culture were also extremely helpful you can find them here, scroll to February 6th and 7th.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Institutional Church

"The Southern Baptist Convention needs a bone marrow transplant from the book of Acts." - Dr. Alvin Reid.
This week is our Spring break, so what does the weather decide to do? Snow! Which is a major bummer for us Africans who hate the cold. It's not to big a deal though because I am sitting in an Evangelism Intensive everyday from 8am to 3pm. It's a lot of work but I need to get some hours behind me. Anyway. Here are some free thoughts from a few of my notes:
To much of the way we do "church" in the South is institutional. Some examples of the institutional church (IC):
- The church has become something we maintain not a movement to advance.
- Movements change the world. Institutions are just tools (and tools can often wear out their usefulness).
- The IC is not looking for creative ways to win kids in schools or co-workers or neighbors.
- The IC complains about no prayer in schools but a LifeWay study found that 88% of Christians don't even pray with their families in their own home.
- The IC does not live with any sense of a burden for the lost around them.
- The USA is the fourth largest lost nation in the world. Large, beautiful, expensive buildings stand empty across the landscape of post-christian America. May these empty relics serve as a reminder that when the church turns inward it dies.

Institutional Church
• I go to church.
• Uses the building as a hotel for saints.*
• Is full of programs.
• Is the same every week and promises not to last longer than an hour.

* The church should not function as an institution but there are good institutions, ie. the home, the State, missional seminaries, etc.
* Family Life Center Building which are only being used to serve the saints rather than as an outreach tool to a lost community.

Church as a Movement
• We have NEVER been to church! We are the church.*
• Sees the building as a hospital for sinners.
• Is an organic movement, indigenous to its city/context.
• Cares less about routine and time constraints. Are often lead by pastors who preach biblical sermons for an hour each week.

* A funny illustration of this comes from a famous church in Atlanta. The pastor was standing in the foyer talking to a deacon before an evening service when a youth walked into the sanctuary in shorts. The deacon stopped the youth and said "You can't wear shorts in church, you need to put some pants on." The kid looked at the deacon and said, "I'm not wearing shorts in church, I'm wearing shorts on the church" and then he walked on in. The pastor looked at the deacon and said, "That kid has better theology than you."