July 29, 2010

Return to Joy


o often I experience a rollercoaster life—many hills and valleys, sharp and disconcerting accelerations and decelerations, thrashing from side to side, fear and trepidation about what’s coming around the next bend, exhilaration, fear, excitement, terror, adrenaline, perspiration ... you get the picture. But somehow I don’t think that’s the way life is supposed to be.

From my admittedly short-sighted and myopic vantage point, sometimes things seem to be going well. I get excited. I feel safe and secure. I lie back, kick my feet up, and relax. And then a storm comes in from the periphery, I begin pulling the shutters and latching the hatches, I retreat to the cellar, I whine and complain, I cry out in fear and desperation....

Wash, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

And repeat.

That’s called an intro. I know, because that blue, italicized text up there (like this) is a CSS class called “intro.”

Slight deviation with some more contextual introductory material:

Quite some time ago, my sister recommended that I listen to the podcasts from Mars Hill Church—Mark Driscoll’s church in Seattle Washington. He’s known as a good preacher with good theology, but quite edgy and sometimes somewhat vulgar. I have heard him say things from the pulpit of John Piper’s church that made me a bit uncomfortable. Not inappropriate things, but things that are not usually said from the pulpit. And I am far more old-fashioned and staid than I like to admit to myself or others.

So finally I took my sister’s advice and subscribed to one of Pastor Driscoll’s podcasts. This morning as I rode the bus in to work I listened to the first message in the series, “The Rebel’s Guide to Joy.” In spite of my staid nature and boring life, I have always been somewhat of a rebel. At least I have at times earned such a reputation.

Driscoll was speaking from the first chapter of Philippians. Good stuff. I may comment on more of it later. It made me think. It made me realize that I have a whole lot of work to do in my personal life. And ... it made me realize that I have been a slave to religion rather than a slave to Christ. Maybe I have been a slave to religion and culture, if you can serve two masters. But I think I have missed the boat on being a slave to Christ.

This is the part of the sermon that made me want to blog about this:

Mark Driscoll: The Rebel's Guide to Joy


In this, I want you to see that Jesus was a rebel who was counter-cultural. I know in our day rebel means sinner—but everyone is sinning, so it’s no longer rebellious to sin.

You’re just a conformist ... if you’re drunk and naked and driving around on a loud motorcycle smoking cigarettes and breaking commandments and getting pregnant out of wedlock. Everyone’s done that. That’s so tired!

If you really want to be a rebel, get a job, cut your grass, read your bible, and shut up. Because no one’s doing that.

That’s rebellion. That’s the only rebellion left.

And we’re going to encourage you to be counter-cultural rebels—like Jesus.

Pretty good stuff, eh?

That portion of the sermon was just an aside and didn’t have a whole lot of meat. It was a bit funny, so I posted it here. But the sermon is outstanding. After I think through all the points of the sermon and try to come to terms with it, I may post a bit more about the meat of the sermon. But if you’d like to hear it for yourself, here are a couple links to get you there:


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