The Best Christian Resources Wherever You Are!

Rally Point Chapel is partnering with Right Now Media to make available the best Christian resources wherever you are.   Many of you are on the go, deployed or in transit.  Your location doesn’t have to get in the way of your spiritual growth.  If you are interested in being a part of this oportunity contact us here or on Facebook.

 

The Voice of Lent (a reflection for Ash Wed)

I have never participated in Lent.  It is not a part of my church’s tradition. I remember friends at school whose parents picked them up and took them to church and when they came back they had ash on their foreheads.  I remember people giving up things like meat and candy.

I always knew there was something more to Ash Wednesday, but never really understood.

Ash Wednesday is the start of a 40 day journey to the cross and beyond.  Presently I am taking a class called “Preaching in the Christian Liturgical Year:  Incarnation to Pascha” and have been studying about the liturgical year and the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL).  As I was reading for class I came across a quote from, The Liturgical Year:  The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister.  She writes about what she has termed “the voice of lent.”

“It is a call to remember who we are and where we have come from and why.  The voice of lent is the cry to become new again.  To live on newly no matter what our life has been like until now and live fully.  It is even more than that.  It is the promise of mercy, the guarantee of new life.  It is the resin that keeps our souls melded to the spirit within us despite the pull of the chaos and waste and superficially of our spiritual moorings.  Lent is our salvation from the depths of nothingness.  It is our guide to the more of life” (121-122).

If what the author writes in the above quote is true, that “lent is our salvation from the depths of nothingness” and “it is our guide to the more of life,” then I am in.  It is about more than giving up meat.  It is about focus, repentance, redemption and salvation.

Lent is about life!  The more of life!

*What will the next 40 days hold in store for you?
*Are there ways that you pause to focus on the passion of Christ?
*In what ways can this season bring focus and clarity to your life?

Reflection on the Story of “Les Misérables”

image credit: impawards.com

“Les Misérables” is a current movie/musical but was originally written by Victor Hugo in 1862.  It is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century.  It is known by it’s French name but translates as the Miserable or the Poor Ones.  (more background)

“Les Misérables” is a story of revolution, redemption and love.  The story contrasts the ideas of life and death, good and evil, and justice and grace.

The current movie was a powerful, thought-provoking version of the book and musical.  The movie brings forth the redemtive themes as the viewer is introduced to various key characters that seem to teach something about life.  It would be very difficult to  see this film and not reflect on one’s own life.

There are several themes that stand out, howerever in this post I would like to highlight some quotes from Victor Hugo’s original work and the major theme seen between the two main characters who play a cat and mouse game throughout the story.

A quote that stood out from the movie and originally found in the book was:

To love another person is to see the face of God.

This is a profound and challenging truth.  The way we love and care for others creates our connection to God.  Many times we live as if there is a distinction between our personal lives, our faith and the world.  But the truth is that there is a connection and God is a part of it all.

A few other quotes that deserve reflection are

“Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God.”

“Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face.”

“Not being heard is no reason for silence.”

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

“The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.”

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”

“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” More Quotes by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

The major theme contrasting the two main male leads, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and Javert (Russal Crowe), is that of grace.  Specifically how an individual responds to the grace of God.  From the first scene of the movie to when the credits roll, this theme is explored.

There is a contrast in each character’s response and understanding of God and one’s response to His gift of grace.

What do you do with the gift of grace?

Grace is a gift that the receiver must decide how to handle.

We are all given the grace of God.  We have been given more than we deserve and in return, we must show grace and love to others.  Jean Valjean has received grace and in turn gives grace to everyone he meets.  Javert, in contrast, lives for the law and justice and when shown grace, cannot comprehend it.  The two men are continuously in a cat and mouse game, completely unaware that God has been pursuing them all along.

How will you respond to the grace you have been given?  Will you embrace it and live your life in thanks to God or will you reject it and cling to works and law and stop living?

My prayer is that you will embrace the grace of God and respond by showing grace to others.

 

New Year Plan

How is this coming year going to be different than last year?

As you consider the upcoming year, what are areas for growth, goals or transformation?

Here are several areas for you to consider as you plan for the upcoming year:

Health:  Physical Fitness & Diet

Mind:  Learning, Reading & Classes

Relationships:  Spouse, Children & Friends

Work:  Projects & Advancement

Spiritual Growth:  Bible Reading, Prayer, Involvement in Church

BHAG:  (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) Do you have something you have always wanted to do or accomplish?  Why not this year?

When it comes to your life, Do you have a plan or do you just hope it all works out?

Look at the areas in your life that you would like to work on and set goals and specific programs or ways to accomplish the goals.

What would it be like to have a plan this year?

Michael Hyatt and Ron Edmondson both have great resources for creating and crafting a Life Plan.

For Bible reading, check out YouVersion.   It is a Bible reading site and app for your phone that enables you to have hundreds of Bibles at your fingertips as well as audio bibles and reading plans (More info).

As you look to the coming year, have a plan for personal transformation.

What will you do in the areas of Health, Mind, Relationships, Work and Spiritual Growth?

What advice, goals, Web sites and resources do you recommend for making this coming year the best ever?

All Things New

Have you ever seen something in such a state of disrepair that you wondered, what it would look like restored?

Sometimes that is what our lives seem like.  We know where we want to be, but don’t know how to get there.  We long to be made new.  We long for a place with no more brokenness and pain.  We long for heaven.  We long for the kingdom.  In what ways do you want God to make all things new in your life?

Check out 1 Cor 13:12 and “All Things New”

Treasure

Where is your treasure?  What matters to you most?  Jesus said in Matthew 6:20-21, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” and “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  If this is true, Where is your treasure?  Take a look at your heart and life and see what is really the most important to you.  Check out this video and discover the greatest treasure of all.

Bunker

Bunkers seem unnecessary when sitting in the safety of your home.  But in a combat zone with rocket attacks and incoming sirens they are a welcome shelter.  Not long ago, I remember running into one . . . with 15 of my closest friends.  Boundaries in place to protect us in our relationships with others.  Sometimes we need to create boundaries in our lives so we can have healthy relationships.  Other times we need to come out of the bunker to draw closer to the ones we love.  Check out the book Boundaries and join us at Bunker #5!

Solid Foundation

Check out this video, “Solid Foundation” and ask yourself what kind of foundation are you building your life on?  You can have it all, but if your foundation is weak eventually it will all come crashing down.  Look at a modern day example of this Iraqi palace compared with Jesus’ teaching in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7.  As you reflect on your life, are there ways to reinforce your foundation?