Archive for the ‘C.S. Lewis’ Tag

Jesus Is Risen! So Go…Make Disciples! Part 4

Disciple Making Logo

Audio – Part 4a: 27 min”

Audio – Part 4b: 30 min”

Audio – Full Message:”

Bible Verses: Matthew 28

 This Good News series is about Jesus’ Believers and Disciples “GO”ing in Active Participation with Him, Wherever He Says to “Go!…” AND MAKING DISCIPLES WHO CAN MAKE DISCIPLES!

Theological Theme:

Christian Disciples are those who willingly, by grace through faith, and in loving obedience, participate with Jesus in offering their total humanity in allegiance to the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit! Christian Disciples participate with Jesus in his repentance and baptism, being incorporated into his body, the Church. Christian Disciples become fully committed to making disciples of Jesus who can make disciples of Jesus that make disciples of Jesus – in the Spirit, through the Son and to the Glory of our Father!

Christ Connection:

“When the people of Jesus follow the way of Jesus, their stories will begin to look like his story (which is beautiful but it also comes with a cost).” – The Gospel Project

We have been drawn into the self-giving, other centered, self-sacrificing and generous, loving compassion of the Father, Son and Spirit God, through Jesus Christ. And though it comes at great cost, it also comes with great joy!

Missional Application:

*Don’t just “Bring a Friend” (everyone needs Jesus!), more than that, bring a pre-disciple of Jesus to the community of the Church Body.

*Start with one person (and only more if Father has made it obvious!) When rejected, go elsewhere. Feel free to look everywhere! Talk to disciples more about Jesus than something called Christianity. Talk more about Jesus than his Church!

*Don’t worry too much about bringing others to Church at first (think relationship, home, small group first!)! A person genuinely called by Jesus will be drawn to his Body, the Bible, prayer, the Father, the Spirit and loving all people.

*Remember that life is short and death is sure and people are living under the sentence of death! Physical death and spiritual death are real but now is a day of salvation.

*We must not be lax in discipleship because of past  and poor teachings  but we must be renewed at the living voice of Jesus Christ! “Can these bones live??? You know Oh, Lord!”

You received Christ though the proclamation and discipleship of his Church! Now is not the time to put down the Church but to lift up and be the Church and pray for the Church! God is not limited to the Church but in his oversight of this world Jesus is building his Church (and his Church is called to participate with him and to go and make disciples of all nations).

For the purposes of discipleship: There is a “them” and an “us”! We must never confuse who Jesus is on behalf of all, and who we are as individuals distinct from him and each other! There are some of us who are knowing, loving and trusting Jesus as he draws us to himself, and some who aren’t knowing, loving or trusting Jesus as he draws them to himself!


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Jesus Is Risen! So Go…Make Disciples! Part 3

Disciples who make disciples

Audio – Part 3a: 24 min”

Audio – Part 3b: 22 min”

Audio – Full Message:”

Bible Verses: Matthew 28

 This Good News series is about Jesus’ Believers and Disciples “GO”ing in Active Participation with Him, Wherever He Says to “Go!…” AND MAKING DISCIPLES WHO CAN MAKE DISCIPLES!

Theological Theme:

Christian Disciples are those who willingly, by grace through faith, and in loving obedience, participate with Jesus in offering their total humanity in allegiance to the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit! Christian Disciples participate with Jesus in his repentance and baptism, being incorporated into his body, the Church. Christian Disciples become fully committed to making disciples of Jesus who can make disciples of Jesus that make disciples of Jesus – in the Spirit, through the Son and to the Glory of our Father!

Christ Connection:

Who is Jesus? Jesus is God’s concrete love, revealing that God’s love has substance and is personal and dynamic! God Himself is his love toward us in Jesus! God the Father’s love is JESUS himself and therefore not a loosey-goosey “just do whatever you want, whenever you want” non-love that overlooks transformation. We don’t go out with a sappy sentimental human-centered love but with God’s real love (Jesus!) that supports and challenges others to receive the Spirit, personally, and become truly human, according to what the Father has made of us in Jesus and the fully human way he lives. We must remember though that God’s love respects the differences and uniqueness of each person, just as Jesus is a different and unique person. Jesus can help you discern the unique ways you might witness about him to each person, in the Spirit, without being tied down by laws and rules.

Missional Application:

Because we are united toJesus and his Father in the Love and Communion of the Holy Spirit, we go with him in his outgoing love and compassion, witnessing to all persons about him, but especially to those who don’t know and trust him yet! Disciples can and will be made by God-Father-Son-and-Spirit with our participation, so let’s go together and make disciples!

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Jesus Is Risen! So Go…Make Disciples! Part 2

Make Disciples (In the name of FSS)

Audio – Part 2a: 20 min”

Audio – Part 2b: 20 min”

Audio – Full Message:”

Bible Verses: Matthew 28

 This Good News series is about Jesus’ Believers and Disciples “GO”ing in Active Participation with Him, Wherever He Says to “Go!…”

Theological Theme:

What is a disciple? Disciples are those who willingly, by grace through faith, and in loving obedience, participate with Jesus in offering their total humanity in allegiance to the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit! They participate with Jesus in his repentance and baptism, being incorporated into his body, the Church, and become fully committed to making disciples of Jesus who can make disciples of Jesus that make disciples of Jesus – in the Spirit, through the Son and to the Glory of our Father!!

Christ Connection:

Who is Jesus? The Father’s Son! Our Chief brother! He’s the One Who sends the Spirit!
*He’s the one intent to fill the whole universe with his presence, which means his relationship with his Father in the fellowship of the Spirit!
*He’s the captain of our salvation Who has defeated sin, hell, death and the grave, affecting atonement and reconciliation with God, self, others and creation!
*He’s the Resurrected God/Man who has broken back into our corrupted time, cleansing and exalting it!

Missional Application:

God the Father calls us to embrace a life of participation with His Son, our Savior and Lord, and in his life of fellowship and communion, whose mission was only to seek and to do what his Father was doing, in the Spirit. What Jesus is doing now is sending out his people, even as he was sent, that the world might believe, receive and be saved! We’re actually supposed to make disciples of Jesus NOT just discuss making them!

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Love – the only name that matters

caspian-aslanMy kids and I recently concluded reading through C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Since I had stopped after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a child myself, I enjoyed them every bit as much as my kids. I ate them up hungrily actually.

It’s been interesting to read about some of the controversies sparked by the series, and also C.S. Lewis’ own words regarding his work. Entire books have been written on the topic, and as is so often the case, it’s difficult to know exactly what to think or believe. I find it interesting that Lewis described the stories as coming to him – and there were a number of events in the final two books particularly that resonated with me powerfully. When I finished reading The Last Battle to my kids, I could barely speak for being so choked up. I felt that if all they ever understood about their futures came from that book, there would be enough hopeful certitude to last them their lifetimes.

One of these events was the reaction of Aslan to Emeth, a Calormene who had spent his life serving and seeking the god he had been raised to believe in – Tash. Emeth relates:

But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.

Aslan continues:

Therefore if any man swears by Tash and keeps his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.

When Emeth persists, saying that he spent his entire life seeking Tash and therefore surely can’t be acceptable to Aslan, the Lion says:

Beloved, unless thy desire had been for me, thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly.

And you wonder why the Chronicles were considered controversial!

The idea that this could be true – that humans can worship or serve any “god” and, if love is there, God counts it for him, is controversial indeed. But it’s also extraordinarily wonderful!! – a cause for unending celebration.

It’s also worth noting that this account takes place once Emeth has already passed “through the stable door.” His physical life has ended before he encounters Aslan.

I realise we can’t know for certain – C.S. Lewis was a mere mortal, if not inspired. But I can’t help feeling that what he described here is precisely as it should be. When,

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. (I Cor. 13:4-8) *

When God is all of those things.

Someone knocked on my door a few months ago and tried to tell me that God wished to be called by one name only (Jehovah), and was as angered at being called by a different – even similar – name as I would be at being called by the wrong name.

I disagree. I don’t believe that God cares what name we call him by. My child could call me by a name other than Mama (even an insulting one) and I’d remain his mama. She could forget she ever had a mother, and I’d remain the person who loved her from the moment I knew she was coming, who birthed her, and for whom rarely a minute passes without consciously thinking about her. And never one without loving her more than my own life. This is so without thought, intention, effort or taking credit on my part. It just is. Most parents would sooner stop breathing than stop loving their children. (Even with the final cessation of breath, I believe that this love goes on and remains.) This is all, also, as it should be. Every human knows it, however deep down.

We get it wrong when we look at our own characteristics and imagine God from there – but I do know that if there is anything good in people – and there is – it is just like moon reflecting the true light of the sun. But as the moon would be invisible, in pitch blackness, without the sun, so would we without the Son, Father and Spirit.

I look around me at people of all cultures and religions – and I see that moonlight in all of us. Not one of us is perfect or has it all figured out, but Love remains, no matter what creed, or lack thereof, under which we we live.

7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. 11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! (I John 4:7-11, The Message)

Love – it’s the only name that matters.

Jeannine Buntrock

* The Message translation reads I Corinthians 13 as follows:

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

I love it! 🙂

Live like a Narnian (even if there isn’t any Narnia)

puddleglum (1)My kids and I have recently read through C.S. Lewis’ timeless Chronicles of Narnia, beginning with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We are currently reading The Silver Chair, the second to last novel. Just last night, we read as the serpent-witch attempted to enchant the children, the marshwiggle Puddleglum, and Prince Rilian — to trick them into believing that Narnia, the sun and Aslan were all just a dream, and that the only reality is the cold, hopeless, pitch black underworld where they currently reside. She very nearly succeeds, and might have if it had not been for Puddleglum, who says:

Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all these things — trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow.

While I find that there is so much good in our world, there are also times that it seems to be a black pit of darkness too. I am able to conceive of a much better, brighter world — but in so many ways it seems impossible that while humans walk the planet, wars will ever truly cease, that no child will starve or go homeless and unloved, that our environment will not continue to be poisoned, that people will not exploit each other and so on.

Is it just a hollow, empty, hopeless dream I have that things will be better? That this is NOT all that there is? It’s certainly not just my dream. I believe we all share it. Most of us know love when we see or experience it. We recognise injustice. Literature is full of stories that describe real, devoted, sacrificial love, and the struggle of humanity against injustice. From whence does this common dream come? Which is the true reality in our universe, and which is the dream?

I believe that, like Scrubb, Jill, Prince Rilian and Puddleglum, we are in many ways temporarily asleep, dreaming, and lost in the darkness. It’s easy to conclude that all there is is what we can physically see and touch — and that the darker sides of the human experience — loss, death, heartbreak — triumph despite our struggles against them.

Yet the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are constantly whispering to us — reminding us of what I believe we all know deep down — that these things will never triumph. That all battles have been won. There has already been a final end to war, disease, heartbreak, even death. We remain asleep to that reality, but  it exists nonetheless. It is the true reality, and ours is the dream.

Puddleglum concludes:

That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia…We’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland…

Like Puddleglum, I intend to live my life with the full assurance that there is better — infinitely better — life to come for all of us, and that Father, Son and Spirit have included us all there. My eyes will remain firmly fixed on the horizon, but also on what is directly underneath my feet. Because Jesus hasn’t left us here to dream a dark dream alone. He has joined us right here, exactly where and as we are. Glimpses of him can be found absolutely everywhere in our world. For those of us still walking planet Earth, the fullness is just yet to come.

~ Jeannine Buntrock

The Perks of Being a Child of God

My teenage daughter was very excited to see the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower after having read the book, so when we found it showing at a nearby theater, we went to see it last weekend.  I expected a teenage comedy, maybe something along the lines of  Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but what I saw instead was a film about teenagers struggling with a variety of issues and hurts, but holding fast to the importance of belonging.

The movie revolves around the story of Charlie, a quiet, shy writer-type boy who is just starting high school.  He struggles with finding friends until two senior students, Patrick and his stepsister Sam, take him in.  Their exuberant unwillingness to conform allows Charlie the freedom to be who he is, and it shows him that everyone suffers hurts in this life, sometimes through one’s personal choices and sometimes as a result of others’ choices.

Eventually, Charlie falls in love with Sam but he remains quiet about his feelings, allowing her to date others who cheat on her and mistreat her.   When she finally recognizes her tendency to choose those who treat her badly, Charlie offers this wisdom, given to him by his favorite English teacher:

                We accept the love we think we deserve.

Because Sam saw herself as being unworthy of true and faithful devotion, she deliberately chose to accept less than what she really wanted.  To me, this parallels our tendency to see ourselves as unworthy of the true and faithful love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Just like Sam, we choose to accept less than what we truly want.

This can mean we busy ourselves with work or excessive pleasures.  We don’t acknowledge the gift of God’s love and acceptance because we know how flawed and messed up we are.  If we have a hard time loving ourselves because of our vulnerabilities and mistakes, how could a perfect God love us?

The trouble is that we are basing our view of God’s ability to love imperfect creatures on how we respond to weakness in ourselves.  We project our shame about our weaknesses and our faults on to the face of God, assuming that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit hold the same view as we do.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Instead, we distract ourselves, as Sam did, by choosing those lesser joys.  Author C.S. Lewis says in The Weight of Glory that

                We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea.  We are far too easily pleased. (26)

Although I won’t spoil the movie for you, I will share that as Sam accepted Charlie’s love, expressed in various ways, she became more of herself, the person she was meant to be.  As we accept the love that we deserve, we will become all that we are meant to be.  We will finally BELONG, flaws and all.  It’s one of the perks of being a child of God.

                ~ by Nan Kuhlman

Our Pursuit of Beauty

The pursuit of beauty is a common theme in our world.  From the beauty that is advertised on the pages of almost every magazine to our very own homes and gardens, human beings desire to create or view beauty, whether it is in the mirror or in our surroundings.

I recently read a syndicated column in our local newspaper by Sharon Randall called “Where Will Beauty Find You?” (  In the article, Randall recounts spending her spring breaks with her grandmother, who taught her how to see beauty in everything.  In their hikes through the woods, collecting the best of the wild spring flowers, they would end up with briar pokes, chiggers, or the worst, ticks.  Her grandmother wisely advised her, “Beauty often comes with a price.  But you have to keep looking for it.”  As a result, Randall shares in the article how she has learned to look for beauty and to find it (or be found by it) in every season and situation of life.

Randall isn’t the first writer to think about the search for beauty.  C.S. Lewis also considers beauty in The Weight of Glory:

                We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to  be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it,  to become part of it (42).

Lewis goes on to explain that our desire for beauty is because the Triune God is the source of that beauty, and so our yearning for beauty in our lives is really a yearning for God.  Conversely, the Father, Son, and Spirit bestow lavish beauty upon the world and the human beings around us, so that we may recognize their handiwork and loving presence, even in situations that might not seem beautiful at first.

According to columnist Sharon Randall, “Every place we look for it, beauty is blooming.”  As we look for the Father, Son, and Spirit in our lives, we will find evidences of beauty.  There may be briar pokes or chiggers or ticks as you embrace the beauty in your particular situation, but “you have to keep looking for it.” The beauty we’re looking for is ready and waiting to be found.

~by Nan Kuhlman

Lady Gaga and the Good News

Lady Gaga was a recent guest on Ellen Degeneres’s talk show, and interestingly enough, she touched on the topic of religion:

                “Pop culture is our religion, and through self-worship (in terms of your identity, through honoring  your identity and really fighting for who you are every single day down to your core) you can have more faith and more hope in life and in the future.”   Lady Gaga to Ellen Degeneres, 7/21/11.

She went on to describe how she spends five minutes a day in meditation, thinking compassionate thoughts about herself.  “Love who you are.  You’re all you’ve got,” Gaga encouraged the audience.

I actually think that, without realizing it, Lady Gaga aptly addressed the issue that has plagued humankind since the Fall.  We want someone to give us value, even as broken and messed up as we are.  We want someone to love us.

Lady Gaga was right that pop culture is a religion for many people.  By this, I mean that we tend to think if we conform to what the media tells us is acceptable, we will be loved and valued.  Usually this involves buying the right jeans or shampoo or car.  Religion implies that we have to do something to receive something, and the concept of relationship is completely missing from the picture.

Unfortunately, her advice to direct compassionate thoughts toward oneself as a means of boosting self-love falls short.  Why?  We all have this built-in need to be approved of and accepted by someone we perceive as greater than ourselves.   Gaga’s advice, while well-intentioned, will never fill that hole.  As C.S. Lewis puts it, what we truly want is “fame” with God:

                “To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son –it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain.  But so it is” (Weight of Glory).

When we fully comprehend that we are pleasing to the Father, Son, and Spirit with all of our faults, we finally understand that any self-admiration we might feel for any good we have done will never fill the hole in hearts.  Lewis calls it “the most creaturely of pleasures…the specific pleasure of the inferior:  the pleasure of a beast before men, a child before its father, a pupil before his teacher, a creature before its Creator.”  The beautiful thing is that we already have this “fame” with the Triune God.  We are loved and accepted without reserve, without requirement.

Lady Gaga is to be commended for her kind encouragement to “fight for who you are” and “love who you are,” although I don’t think that self-worship will bring about the hope and healing she speaks of.  Even though she is famous worldwide and fast becoming a pop-culture icon, the good news for Lady Gaga is that she (and we) are already “famous” with God.  And we didn’t have to do a thing.

~by Nan Kuhlman

      ~photo courtesy of

Happy C.S. Lewis’ Day!

The “day” of a saint is usually the day he (or she) died, not the day he was born because the day the saint died is the day he was born into eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s probably the day we’ll really want to remember for all eternity.

No one has officially canonized C.S. Lewis but he stands pretty tall in the history of the Church. He died today in 1963. I’m looking forward to sitting down with him someday and having a cup of tea but I’ve got a feeling I’ll have to stand in a pretty long line to do it.

~ Jonathan Stepp

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