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July 2012

Transforming Hope - Hebrews 11.13-16

As a part of my church planting residency with the Evangelical Covenant Church, I've been serving on staff at CCFC (the Cambridge ECC church). And in this role, I've been given the opportunity to lead a Friday night service at the church during the summer. This service has been a laboratory for a new format I'm taking for a test spin. In this format, there is a musical worship set followed by a short time of teaching (20-25 minutes). But the bulk of the time is spent in dialogue groups. This has been a wonderful learning experience.

In this Friday night service, I've been teaching through one of my favorite passages of Scripture (Hebrews 11.9-18) in a six-part series. I've titled the series: "Family of Faith: The New City God is Building." This past Friday, we were up to verses 13-16, and the topic of the message was "Transforming Hope." Below is the audio from the message along with the slides I showed during the talk. 

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Nas, Farrakhan, and Jesus...

No, the title of this post isn't the beginning of a religio-hip-hop joke (although that might be fun too.) Instead, this time, I'm reflecting on a verse from a track by Nas—an emcee who is unquestionably one of the greatest of all time. Like many forms of media, clues lay buried in it, which point to much deeper truths about the Kingdom.

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Pilgrim Pines '12 and a Church Planter's Psalm

This week, our family spent six days camping at Pilgrim Pines in Swanzey, NH, the campgrounds for the East Coast Conference of the ECC. The kids, Osheta, and I had a fantastic time. We grilled, we rode bikes, we roasted marshmallows, we lounged on the beach, we ate smores, we swam in the lake, we played basketball, we made tie dyed t-shirts, we ate ice cream, and we made friends with a great family: the Martins. Our children became fast friends with the Martin's children, and we found that we enjoyed their company just as much as our children did their children's. Stephen and Charisa were so warm and hospitable it made us never want to leave.

All week, pastor Lyle Mook taught the adults about the Psalms and his teaching was excellent. I especially enjoyed his take on suffering and the Psalms. He challenged us to write our own psalm. So I wrote one from the perspective of a church planter. 

A Church Planter's Psalm

My Father, my Family
You have rescued me from going down to the pit
You have formed me like clay
Fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers you've given me
They stand like islands in a sea of clouds
Rising like mountain peaks in the distance
You have set before me a new city
Shining like the sun through a rainbow
But this journey you've called me on is treacherous
This path I now walk is filled with sharp stones
I am swept up in your movement
I am led along by your Spirit
But I am not worthy to reap where I have not sown
What if I fail?
What if I am not equal to the task?
Your calling weighs heavy on me, but you said your yoke was easy
When my days are dark, when all I see is pain
You are my delight, and you delight in me
Success is dwelling in your presence
I will remember your works and words
You have promised to go with me
You alone make things grow
And you have planted me in family

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Review of "Does God Expect Nations to Turn the Other Cheek?" by Greg Boyd in _A Faith Not Worth Fighting For_

Greg Boyd has written an important chapter in the new book (unfortunately) titled A Faith Not Worth Fighting For 1. Boyd's chapter is titled, "Does God expect Nations to Turn the Other Cheek?"

In his brief essay, Boyd manages to make a very concise and compelling argument in such a small space. He does so by making his arguments very direct. For example, he tackles Romans 13 head-on, summarizing much of John Howard Yoder's exegesis from The Politics of Jesus. He also summarizes much of his arguments from The Myth of a Christian Nation regarding the distinctiveness of God's Kingdom reflected in its unique "power under" in contrast to the kingdom of the world's commonplace use of "power over".

The piece that makes this essay stand apart and what makes it essential to the dialogue between Christian pacifists and Christian Just War theorists is the refinement of Boyd's distinction between what he calls "Kingdom Pacifism" and "Political Pacifism" and greater detail on the expectations of Kingdom Pacifism for the violence of nations.

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"When America Dies" by Micah Bournes

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Welcome to

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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