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Name: jameyprickett
Date registered: November 9, 2012
URL: http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com

Latest posts

  1. Wrestled With Angels: Ferguson and Snotty Fear — August 27, 2014
  2. Wrestled With Angels: Voices: Listening to the Voice — August 6, 2014
  3. Wrestled With Angels: Voices: Hearing God’s Voice — August 4, 2014
  4. Wrestled With Angels: #MidweekPrayer July 9, 2014 — July 9, 2014
  5. Wrestled With Angels: Students Making a Difference in Cherokee County — July 8, 2014

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Aug 27 2014

Wrestled With Angels: Ferguson and Snotty Fear

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/ferguson-and-snotty-fear/

imagesHe played the saxophone. I swung a baseball bat. He was a smart kid who made good grades. I was an average kid who liked to just get it done. He was a transplant. I was native. He was black. I was white. He wanted me to go to Six Flags and ride the Scream Machine.

Roller coasters don’t require you to put your fear in a locker along with all your other valuables. You just need to be open to the possibility of having the fear yanked out of you like a screaming baby being held down by her mama who is getting snot sucked out of her nose. The coasters are not for the neurotic wimp.

We never got a chance to get the snotty fear sucked out of us. I had a great-uncle who said it probably was not a great idea – his skin color was different. My thrill seeker’s parents encouraged him to make friends with someone who had less of a Southern drawl.

The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri has taught us that people are still scared. We let our fear control us and keep us from experiencing the thrill of going through life together. When will we learn that we are all on this ride together and the quicker we can get along, the sooner the terror mucus can be sucked out of us?

 “For he himself [Jesus] is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” Eph. 2:14.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/08/ferguson-and-snotty-fear/

Aug 06 2014

Wrestled With Angels: Voices: Listening to the Voice

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/voices-listening-to-the-voice/

voicesOne way that God knows if we are serious about hearing His voice is when we start to create space for silence in our life. Most of us surround ourselves with noise because we are afraid of the silence. Silence makes us feel helpless. We have trained ourselves to rely on words to manage and control ourselves and others that any room for silence leaves us feeling out of control. We crowd our lives with noise so that we don’t have to answer to the silence.

God will not speak over the noise in our lives. God will not be the one screaming the loudest. God’s voice will come in a still small whisper. But when it is heard it will be all that is needed. The voice of God may be a whisper but it will come with certainty.

Thomas Merton says, “Christianity is a religion of the Word.  The Word is Love.  But we sometimes forget that the Word emerges first of all from silence.  When there is no silence, then the One Word which God speaks is not truly heard as Love.”

I want to challenge you to create space for silence in your life. It could be driving with the radio off, taking a walk in the evening, or getting up thirty minutes early before everyone else. Whatever you have to do take the next month and create space for silence. Once you are in the silence say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Then simply listen. Listen for that still small voice.

Let me rest in Your will and be silent. Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory. This is what I live for. Amen.  — Thomas Merton

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/08/voices-listening-to-the-voice/

Aug 04 2014

Wrestled With Angels: Voices: Hearing God’s Voice

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/voices-hearing-gods-voice/

voicesActress Lily Tomlin has a line in the play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe that ask the question, “Why is it that when we speak to God we are said to be praying, but when God speaks to us we are said to be schizophrenic?” Hearing the voice of God is crazy talk. It borders on the delusional.

Many of us are critical of people who say, “God told me so and so…” We are skeptical of such talk because we know how manipulative it can be. I know an elderly lady who gave away a large portion of her retirement to a television preacher who used the “God talk” propaganda. However, being suspicious of the voice of God because of the way some people use it for their own gain does not help our relationship with God.

We are spiritual beings, created for an intimate and transforming relationship with God our creator. Part of being in relationship means learning to communicate and communication occurs in both talking and listening. God really does want to speak to us. If we are going to have a personal relationship with God, then we must be open to the possibility that God wants to speak directly to each of us.

The story of the prophet Samuel’s first encounter hearing the voice of God is a lesson on listening. Samuel has been dedicated to the Lord by his mom and sent to live with the priest, Eli. Eli’s sons have become rebellious and are doing things that are offensive to God and disrespectful to the role of the priesthood. It was evening and Eli, whose eyesight had grown difficult with old age, is lying down in his room. Samuel is resting in the temple near the Ark of the Covenant. A sleepy boy in a big room hears a voice. It is a voice that he believes to be that of his mentor. He runs to Eli’s room on two different occasions and each time told to go back and lie down. On the third visit to Eli, the elder priest discerns that it could be God who is trying to get the boys attention. Eli tells Samuel to go back and lie down. When he hears the voice again he is to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

The passage begins, “the word of the Lord was rare in those days.” It was not that God had stopped speaking. It was that no one was listening. Everyone was doing their own thing; living life on their own terms. The sons of Eli who were responsible of offering sacrifices in the temple were the modern day manipulators taking advantage of their position for their own gain. Of course, they are not going to hear from the Lord because they don’t have the ears to hear.

Could the same thing be happening in our lives? The reason we are not hearing from God is because we are not in a place to listen? God has never been reluctant to speak. We have just refused to listen. Perhaps we don’t hear the voice of God because we do not expect to hear it. Could the reason we don’t expect it be because we fully intend to run our lives on our own and have no intention of following God’s will? If the truth be told the voice of God would be an unwelcome intrusion into some of our plans.

It is hard for us to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” when we really don’t want to hear what God has to say to begin with. Do we really want God to come to our bedroom in the middle of the night and give us a word for our lives that may or may not require us to change? Do we really want God to give us a word about our marriage that may or may not require follow thru on our part? Do we really want God to give us a word about our business that may or may not call for a change in how we do our business? The word of the Lord is rare, not because God has withdrawn from us and is no longer speaking, but because we have ignored it or refused to listen.

Until we are honest with yourself and willing to follow through on whatever it is God wants to tell us then we need not say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” But if we are willing then God has a word for us. God has a life-changing, dynamic word for anyone who is willing to acknowledge that they have made a mess out of their lives. God has a word that will awaken the Lazarus’ among us and roll back the stone of death. God has a word that will bring light to the darkest moment. God has a word that heals and brings hope.

The Psalmist says, “I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants” Psalm 85:8. Will you listen?

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/08/voices-hearing-gods-voice/

Jul 09 2014

Wrestled With Angels: #MidweekPrayer July 9, 2014

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/midweekprayer-july-9-2014/

tracks 2 watermarkEternal God, you are the light, life, and strength of them that turn towards you. Grant us grace to abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

We praise you for the way you have provided: the joys of each day, the strength to handle every burden, the light to travel through dark places, and the wisdom to guide through confusion.

To your goodness we commend those whom are precious in our sight. Be the inspiration for the young men and women that they may face the future with confidence. Keep them from traveling false paths. Guard them from evil and make their ways prosperous.

Place your healing hand on those who are suffering. Lift them above anxiety and worry. Grant them the calm assurance to know they are your children and you hold them close.

Brighten the path for those whose future seems dark. Lead them from valleys of depression to heights of faith and trust. Send waves of hope into their hearts.

We offer our praise and prayers in the all-prevailing name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/07/midweekprayer-july-9-2014/

Jul 08 2014

Wrestled With Angels: Students Making a Difference in Cherokee County

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/students-making-a-difference-in-cherokee-county/

groupArmed with paint brushes, rollers, and ladders, two-hundred students and adult volunteers will converge onto eighteen different work sites throughout Cherokee County beginning on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Nehemiah Project is entering its seventh year. It is a four-day event that focuses on evening worship, dynamic messages and community service. All rising seventh- through 12th-graders are invited to participate.

Efforts to voluntarily transform the community have produced many blessings for the homeowners and the students serving on the projects. More than just the smearing on of paint, the homeowners experience the love and laughter of the students working on the homes. The teens discover the joy of serving others and loving their neighbors. ladder 2

This year’s theme is “Inside Out” and is based on the words of Jesus, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Tyler Greene of Wilmore, Kentucky will be bringing the message each evening that will reinforce the theme. Matt Price of Nashville, Tennessee will lead the students in worship. The students will be housed at Reinhardt University.

If you would like to participate next year or have more questions about the Nehemiah Project please contact Heather Shelton at heather@libertyhillumc.org or call 678.493.8920. Check out Liberty Hill Church – Canton on Facebook.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/07/students-making-a-difference-in-cherokee-county/

May 26 2014

Wrestled With Angels: Mixing Religion and Politics

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/mixing-religion-and-politics/

religion-politics-ROLEHere is a little unknown fact about me: I once enjoyed engaging in national and international politics. I would watch CSPAN and enjoy it. I got into the national debates. I was entertained by state politics. I started college determined to major in Political Science. I was set on working in the field of politics. I did not want to be a politician but I wanted to work on a political team. I had ambition to be a behind the scenes person. I wanted to be the one who done the research and put together reports. I ended up getting a minor in Political Science and a major in Philosophy.

Like almost every other American, I had bought into the lie that religion was a private affair. Religion deals with my inner experience. It helps shape my values. But it does nothing for the real world, I grew up being convinced. It doesn’t belong in economics, education, or politics. Faith and religion should not claim a place in the public arena because that is where the experts are needed with their “facts” of how to run the world. The Church’s job is the salvation of souls not the shaping of the world.

Call it a renewing of the mind or willingness to take the Scriptures seriously, but something changed my perspective. The Old Testament tells the story of God calling forth a people to make public God’s reign through them. These people were to be a “light to the nations” and be a sign of God’s presence in the world. They were to live out their election as God’s chosen people in all aspects of their life in hopes that all the nations would come under the reign of God. When they forgot their call and rebel, God sends them into exile. And yet, even in foreign lands they were to live as God’s people. Prophets were sent to remind them of their identity and that God’s promise of a coming messiah was still on the horizon.

With this story in the background, Jesus appears calling together a new people in a new Zion, the Church; people from all walks of life, from every nation, tribe, and language coming together to form the new Israel. We are people who are no longer strangers but brothers and sisters.

I have considered what it means that the religious and political forces were the ones who crucified Jesus. I began to ask myself what it truly means to declare “Jesus is lord?” It has to be more than a private affair. The power of Christ is above all “rule and authority and power and dominion, and above ever name that is named,” according to Paul in Ephesians (Eph. 1:21). There will be a day when he will rule from the kingdom of God after “every ruler and every authority and power” has been destroyed (I Cor. 15:24). Jesus is the “head of every ruler and authority” (Col. 2:10). If his authority and reign is above all other powers, where must my loyalty be found? If in the end of the ages, “Every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:10) then I wanted to be serving the one whose kingdom is eternal.

It is clear that the Church is political. There was a Roman law called cultus privatus that gave freedom to every religion to pursue itself strictly in manners of personal and spiritual salvation. Religions in the first century Roman world flourished under this protected law. It was permitted because it did not challenge the political order. However, why did the early Church refuse the protection? Why did they continue to speak out publicly about their faith? Why did the Church choose to go head-to-head with the Roman government instead of keeping their faith private? Why risk being torn a part limb to limb by wild animals in public display? Why risk losing home, children, and life? Because they understood that the statement “Jesus is lord” is as much a political statement as it is a religious statement. As a matter of fact, declaring “Jesus is lord” brings the political and religious together. There can be no longer be any dividing of the two.

The Apostle Peter writes a letter to a group of Churches in Asia. These are Christians who have come from a Pagan background. They were told to “not be conformed” to their former ways (1:14) and reminded that they have been ransomed from “the futile way of their ancestors” (1:18). They have already spent enough of their life living outside the will of God (4:3). There seems to be those who are ridiculing them for their new life (4:4). But they are called to remain faithful to the one who has called them.

It is hard to remain faithful when they are undergoing suffering. These early Christians are living as minorities in a world dominated by different religions and a political structure that does not see them as outstanding citizens. Matter of fact, they are viewed as  and unruly to the state. They are not to be trusted. The Christians are outcast and not welcomed as citizens. Flash mobs would ransack their businesses, destroy their homes, and leave them beaten on the streets. And yet, if they had chosen to simply stay silent and keep their faith private then they could live in peace along with all the other religions and differing worldviews of the time.

They understand themselves as people who live in the in-between. They live between the “already” – God’s reign through Jesus – and the “not yet” – the completion of that reign is still to come. They live as people with a hopeful expectation. This stance alienates them from their world. For wherever they live, they are not at home, for their home is defined by the kingdom of God. They understand their inheritance is “kept in heaven” (I Peter 1:3). It is a city “that is yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14). The early Jesus followers knew that their “citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that [they] are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). It is a city that will one day descend as they are taught to pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.” Because of this they cannot refuse to proclaim it. They cannot refuse to stay silent. The kingdom of God is coming. The reign of God is on its way. Jesus is truly lord rather we believe it, see it, or acknowledge it.

The truth of Jesus is a public truth. A private truth for a limited number of people is no truth at all. It is either true for everyone or a lie. If we think the truth of Jesus is simply a private manner, then it will be only a manner of time that we will refuse to live by this truth at all. Genuine faith living by the truth of Christ must be brought into the public arena of politics and culture. It must be held up against every aspect of human life. If we choose to keep faith away from the place where decisions are made about how life is governed and shaped, then it will make no difference even in the private life of the individual.

On this Memorial Day Weekend we take time to recognize the sacrifice and duty of those who serve the nation. I am truly thankful for the ones whose commitments have given us the freedoms to enjoy our hot dogs, chips, families, and friends on this weekend. But as a follower of Jesus, I recognize that this nation is not the final authority. It along with all the other nations of the world will one day bend its knee to the lordship of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, Jesus is bringing together a people to be a sign of his coming reign.

The Church is the gathering of God’s people who proclaim in public the lordship of Christ. We serve as a witness to the reign of Jesus. We assert that God, not nations rule the world. The boundaries of God’s kingdom transcend all other boundaries. The Church is political in declaring that Jesus is lord. For in this declaration we are saying all other powers and authorities must submit to him. Haeurwas and Willimon in The Resident Alien say, “The political task of the Church is to simply be the Church.” The world is shown through the politics of the Church that forgiveness, love, and justice is possible in a world filled with hatred, indifference, and division. The politics of the Church is going the extra mile and loving enemies. The politics of the Church is loving the neighbor regardless if the neighbor has the right papers or legal status. The politics of the Church is to live as free people but not at the expense of others.

Leslie Newbigin, missiologist, once asked, “Can one who goes the way of the Cross sit in the seat of Pilate when it falls vacant?” Other words, “Can one be a follower of Jesus and serve the politics of a particular nation?” “Can one sit in the seat of power and speak on behalf of the powerless?” There is no easy answer. It is one that requires a lot of prayer and wisdom. I suppose our politicians who claim the name Christian will say you can. Some will even say it is their calling.

For the rest of us, our role as followers of Jesus is to constantly remind them of truth. When they start talking in generalize terms about justice and love; it is our role as a church to remind them of the story of Jesus and what love and justice truly look like. When they start talking about peace that it means more than the absent of conflict. When the men and women of politics start saying they are on the side of the poor that the needs of the poor are not simply measured by the wants of the rich. So, you see, I guess I never left the world of politics when I entered ministry and neither have any of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/05/mixing-religion-and-politics/

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