Between Two Trees.

Last night we watched Rob Bell’s Nooma #3 entitled Trees. The Nooma series has been a huge blessing in my life, bringing up interesting questions that really help me push my faith by asking tough questions.

 

Here are some of the questions from the Nooma study guide (with a few little tweaks) that we talked about last night, and my personal responses to these questions.

 

-How do you feel about the world? Is it getting better or worse?

 

I am not one of those people that feels like the world is on a continual downslide. I think we romanticize history a lot, and forget how bad things have been in the past. As a culture we look back and think previous times were so much better because they were simpler. If anything, the world has stayed pretty consistent. People have always killed people, wars have always been fought, bad things have always happened. The biggest difference now is that we are able to see and experience the depth of mankind’s brokenness like no other time in history.

 

The flip side of that coin is that there has always been good to balance out the evil. In the midst of man’s worst we have seen man’s best.

 

The biggest change I see is a divide between the good and the bad. The generation that I work with has some extremely depraved individuals, but will probably go down in history as the first generation to take on global change as an assumed part of their identity.

 

-What does is mean to live how God created you to live?

 

This is one where actions speak louder than words. Using a Don Miller analogy, I think this means allowing God to be the author of your life, and you playing your part as best as you can.

 

  1. -If we believe God’s way of life is the best way to live, then why is it so hard for us to do it?

 

The essence of sin is selfishness. I think our tendency is to remain as comfortable as possible, which is nothing but self-gratifying. God’s way of life is, for the most part, completely contrary to remaining comfortable. He continually calls us to do things that push us into parts of the world that we would never dream of going to, and interacting with people that we would otherwise avoid.

 

  1. -Are we faced with the same choices as Adam and Eve?

 

Yes and no. I don’t think Adam and Eve had to deal with breadth of choices that we have to deal with. But, once again if we simplify sin down to a choice to follow God’s best interest or our’s, then we do share that struggle.

 

  1. -How can we help God in taking care of the world?

 

A lot of people look at the Bible and are turned off because they only see a list of rules. I look at the Bible and see God’s intent for us. If we actually obey His rules, we play a part in bringing His kingdom (heaven) to Earth. What if no one ever stole anything? What if no one ever murdered? What if no one ever cheated on their spouse?… those are just a few.

 

-Are the choices you’re making now shaping you into the kind of person you want to be?

 

This is the toughest one to ask, because it demands an answer while standing in front of a mirror. I think the key here is to have a clear goal in mind of who you want to be. I’m not talking about what kind of job you want to have, but who you want to be.

This is why it is important to be a part of a Church family. We surround ourselves, and put ourselves in a position to learn from people who we should emulate. I’m not talking about holding holding up another person as holier than others, but as one who will help keep you accountable in the choices you are making.

 

-How does your faith help you understand the world?

 

One of my favorite movies in recent years was August Rush. The main character hears music everywhere. My faith helps me look at the world through the same lens.

 

If a trash can falls down some stairs it is simply noise. But, if you give that same trashcan to one of the members of Stomp!, all of the sudden that trashcan becomes an instrument, and it is no longer noise.

 

I believe there is always a song playing. The things that happen are noises that either do, or do not go along with that song. The song is our way of knowing what is right and wrong.

 

The Bible is the sheet music for that song, it gives us the basis for organizing all of the noise that we live in.

 

-What are places in the world where you see God?

 

How much time do you have? I think the easiest is in nature, but my favorite is in people. This is why I am in ministry, because I see God in the students I work with.

 

One of the things that stands out though, is something my dad once told me when we were driving past a car wreck. I was upset because everyone was slowing down to view a tragedy. He told me that he saw God in that situation. He explained that there were hundreds of people who designed that car to be as safe as possible, and that was a blessing. Engineers and construction crews had designed and set up concrete barriers to keep that car from crossing into oncoming traffic. The scene was surrounded by police, firemen, and emergency crews that were comprised of men and women who had dedicated their lives to protecting others.

 

For me, its moments like these that separate men like my dad from the masses.

 

-What are the fingerprints you are leaving on the world?

 

This goes back to the ‘is your life a good story’ theme that has been prevailing the past few months. I’m not naive enough to say that I don’t leave an impact on this world. I think the goal here is to be intentional with your impact. We can sit still and leave an impact on quite a few people, or we can get up and do things specifically to leave an impact on people. For me, I like to keep it simple by making sure as many people as possible know they are loved.

 

-What does it mean to be partnering with God in making this world the kind of place He intended it to be?

 

Rob Bell and Donald Miller both address this. What I’ve been learning lately is that our inclusion in God’s story is our blessing. The fact that the Almighty even knows who I am, much less asks me to be a part of His plan is humbling. It is so easy to sit back and ask God to fix everything for us, or just sit and wait for all things to made right. But how much greater is is that God calls us to be active participants in the building of His kingdom.

 

I think of the guys that built the New Yankee Stadium, and how they all signed their name on the building when they were done. I think it would be awesome to look at that stadium and say ‘I helped build that!’. How much greater will it be to look back at God’s Kingdom and say, ‘I helped build that!’

 

One love, one heart.

 

reading:

Getting Things Done / David Allen

The Adventures of Huck Finn / Mark Twain

Isaiah

 

listening:

kaya / bob marley

the achemy index vol 2 / thrice

rattitude / weezer

 

watching:

terminator salvation

lie to me

chuck season 2

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Author: djiverson

I am a Christian, son, brother, artist and friend. I am blessed to be the Youth & Family Minister at New Vintage Church in San Diego. Know You Are Loved.

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