Well, I'm off for some long-awaited vacation, but be sure to come back here the first week of January for a look at what's coming in 2010!
Have a fun and deeply purpose-filled Christmas!
With movies like Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2 and Titanic under his belt, James Cameron has the right to command hype with any film he releases now. And Avatar has had it’s fair share. But how does it stack up after it’s 2 hours and forty minutes are finished and the 3-D glasses come off? That depends entirely on what is important to you in a movie.
Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation) plays a paralyzed marine who is chosen to remote control an alien body in order to communicate with the native people on an alien planet. There are two human forces at work. The scientists(good guys), who want to study the planet and it’s people, and the businessmen and their heavily armed mercenary forces(bad guys), who wish to get rid of the aliens and mine the planet for its valuable minerals.
From beginning to end, this flick is a visual feast. I’ve seen a lot of movies, but never before have I watched one with this many visual effects. The credits boast a handful of visual effects studios employed to make this movie happen. Nearly every shot has some element of CGI, not including the constant 3-D effects. The world of Avatar is exotic and lavishly detailed. I have no doubts that this film will get the Oscar in visual effects. For the full experience, do not neglect seeing this movie in 3-D. It will cost a little extra, but you can keep your glasses for the DVD/Blu-ray release and it makes for a much more absorbing experience.
There is also quite a bit of action in the movie. The spirit of adventure and exploration is constantly at work. But try as it might, it won’t carry the movie for some. The plot is very predictable and the entire movie will be charted out by some within the first 20 minutes. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the performances were captivating, but there is not a single character I became invested in. (Very bad for all those action scenes that I’m supposed to be on the edge of my seat for.) The problem is that the movie is being carried by characters rendered by visual effects. Despite this film breaking ground in the shear quantity of visual effects, it makes little progress in the quality of motion capture. CGI characters still look animated in their mouth and facial movements. We miss the subtlety found in a flesh and blood actor’s performances that the digital wizards of the industry haven’t been able to duplicate or capture yet. Without sympathetic characters to ground me, I became numb to the barrage of eye-candy after only about 30 minutes.
The movie has a few concepts and themes that may lead to worthwhile conversation. The “bad guys” are greedy businessmen and a military force anxious for war. The bad guys loosely refer to the aliens as terrorists and the good guys describe the mercenaries as using a “shock and awe” campaign. The movie also draws from a familiar well with its theme of nature preservation. Given these clues, you can probably guess the political affiliations of the filmmakers.
You can also draw comparisons to early American settlers and their conflicts with the Native Americans. Though I can’t tell if the writers are trying to preach a particular message with this theme, or if they are simply drawing from history for inspiration.
It’s also hard to pin-point whether or not this movie supports Pantheistic theology, or is merely using it for inspiration. The alien natives have a clear mental/psychic connection to their planet. Their Deity is synonymous with their planet and they go to their planet in their afterlife. This certainly smells like pantheism. But it is pointed out by one of the scientists that, unlike similar pagan human beliefs, the aliens in this movie actually have a provable biological, neural connection to the vegetation of their planet. So technically, it’s not a spiritual concept, but a physical concept inspired by a theological concept. Either way, it certainly presents opportunity to dissect pantheism if you’re looking for a conversation starter.
So this movie is a mixed bag that some will be content to rent in a few months, particularly if they have a large television. The plot and characters are far from captivating, but those who want to see Hollywood pulling out every stop to demonstrate the cutting edge of the visual effects industry should not miss seeing this movie in 3-D.
Avatar is rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.
I came VERY close to releasing part 8 of the Dark Ritual commentary this week, but instead decided to see Avatar so that I could review it for the podcast this weekend. So if you were hoping for the commentary this week, don't let my sacrifice be in vain! Check out my review of Avatar at spiritblade.net/paeter or hear it on the podcast this weekend!
Wish I had some progress to report, but I ended up taking today off to get ready for some Christmas caroling! And you're welcome to join me if you live in the Phoenix/Mesa area! See the info at:
Anyway, better get back to gathering inventory for assembling gift baskets! Hopefully I'll have some "spirit bladey" stuff for you on Friday!
Most folks with a Christmas tradition that involves reading the Biblical "Christmas Story" turn to the second chapter of Luke's gospel. It's a very descriptive and detailed account, which is why it is read so often around Christmas. But there is a fantastic follow-up to this chapter that you might consider adding to your Christmas tradition.
In John, chapter 1, verses 1-14, we see a picture of Christ painted for us that lifts away the veil and reveals the truth and significance of the Christmas story in a way that Luke doesn't. Luke tells the story from the viewpoint of third-dimensional physical existence. John tells the story closer to God's viewpoint, recognizing the cosmic reality of who Jesus is.
You'll notice that John uses the odd title "The Word", to describe Jesus. He describes "The Word" as having existed before ANYTHING else. The Creator of everything that DOES exist. The giver and sustainer of ALL life, and a being that can NEVER be overcome by evil. He also said that "The Word" became flesh and lived among humans.
Imagine that concept for a second. If you're a sci-fi buff (and if you're reading this, chances are good that you are) you may be familiar with the science-fiction concept of a non-linear being. A being existing outside the confines of time and the 3rd dimension. Although this concept is represented in various ways in sci-fi and fantasy stories, ultimately it is portrayed in physical images for our linear, 3rd dimensional brains. In the end, we simply can't comprehend the concept of a non-linear, non-physical being.
Now consider that this infinite, timeless God chose, in ways we can't fully understand, to limit himself to the life of a human. Stew on that for a minute and try to comprehend it. God and human... at the same time. Jesus says later in Chapter 10, verse 30, "The Father and I are one." And later on in chapter 14, verse 9, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." Even wilder concepts still.
The Hebrews of the time understood "The Word" to be the acting power behind creation (Psalm 33:6) and would also have understood it to make reference to God's law and goodness.
The Greek philosophers of the day would have recognized the Greek word used for "Word" here: logos. In Greek philosophy this word was a reference to the divine source and sustainer of all things in the universe. John was writing so that both Hebrews and Greeks would clearly understand that Jesus is God in every sense.
And keep in mind, Jesus did not become God more and more as he grew older on earth. He was just as much God on the night of his birth as he was when he rose from death. Infinite, unknowable power packaged in such a weak and helpless form. Even setting aside the cross for a moment, we will never fully know what the God of the Universe gave up to live as one of us.
This is the true wonder of Christmas!
Well, I still can't say what the "Secret Project" is for 2010, but I can tell you that I'm FINALLY working on it again after spending half the week in a mountain of e-mails. That's what happens when I take a few days off, and it's likely fixin' to happen again! I'll be taking several days off next week, so I apologize in advance if I'm a little slow to answer e-mails.
Anyway, as far the Secret Project goes, I can say that I found some really cool beats this week for one of the songs I'm working on for it. Some hard, even nasty sounding percussion that dirties things up in a way that makes me feel all warm inside. Can't wait to start stitching the song together!
Well, it's Christmas time again, and all you "Bladers" that have been here since the beginning know what that means! My dark, electronic rendition of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" is back up at spiritblade.net for free download!
As is customary each year, I did just a teeny bit of tweaking to the audio (because art is never finished, just abandoned) and added some embedded artwork. You can get it now at www.spiritblade.net/freestuff ! But only during the month of December!
In an effort to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen”, we’re going to spend a little extra time looking at the first few verses of chapter 5. At the beginning of this chapter, Paul gives us a glimpse of what the future holds for those who trust their eternal existence to Jesus.
The “earthly tent” refers to the current physical body a believer has and the “building from God” refers to the kind of body believers will be given in the future and keep for eternity. There are a few details we can gather about these future bodies from verse 1.
They will be created for us by God and will not simply be improvements on our existing bodies. The phrase “made with hands” was used by Jesus to describe his own body before crucifixion (a body formed through biological process, despite being conceived miraculously) and he used the same Greek phrase “made without hands” to describe his resurrection body as we see here. (Mark 14:58) Jesus said his first body would be destroyed and another built in its place. Jesus served as the first of all believers who would be given new bodies in this way. (1 Corinthians 15:20) Therefore, if he started with a body “made with hands” and was resurrected with one made by God, so will all believers.
These bodies will also be “eternal”. The Greek communicates the idea here of being non-temporary, unable to be lost, broken or destroyed. The life these bodies have will be as eternal and everlasting as God himself!
Notice that Paul says that we “have” these bodies right now. They already belong to us, though the time to claim them won’t come until later. Currently, they are “in the heavens”, meaning with God, as the term “heaven” commonly implies in its New Testament usage.
As our bodies are now, we all long for something better. We look at ourselves and see our physical flaws, our shortcomings, our weakness or dysfunction. (v.2) Public nakedness is a shameful state, but with our new bodies, we will be “clothed” in some way, without shame of any kind.(v.3) Our natural mortality will be “swallowed up” by life. The Greek word here for “life” refers to the highest and best form of life possible. Whatever life may be like for believers in eternity, it will not include any of the negative aspects of life here on earth in the bodies we live in now. (v.4)
For some crazy reason I'm virtually GIVING stuff away again this Christmas season! Just like last year, you can buy the 3 Disc set of "Dark Ritual" and get the 2 Disc set of "Spirit Blade" for FREE! And now, buy one "Pilgrim's Progress" and you can "gift" one for FREE!
Check the deals out while they last at www.spiritblade.net !
Paul refers to his suffering as “carrying around the death of Jesus” in his body. Paul made the point in previous verses that his own weakness and frailty showcases the power of God by contrast, as God uses Paul despite his weakness. The same idea is continued in verses 10-12. In the Greek, the phrase “life of Jesus” doesn’t refer to biological life, but to the spiritual being. So, although following Christ can be difficult, even painful at times, there is great potential for Christ himself to be “revealed” in those times.
Have you ever been encouraged by another believer who was experiencing pain or difficulty? As odd as it sounds, we can sometimes be most effective in encouraging others when we’re experiencing pain. As we maintain our trust and dependence on God in the middle of suffering, others can sometimes see that and find themselves trusting God more as a result. We may not even be thinking about trying to encourage anyone. (In fact, we’re likely just holding on to God for every breath!) But God can use those moments of our weakness to impact others with the “life” of Christ (v. 12) in ways we’re completely unaware of and may never even see in this life.
Paul quotes a fraction of Psalm 116:10 to illustrate the natural behavior of genuine faith. It leads to speech. Let’s be clear, faith is not measured by the amount of speaking or “witnessing” we do. But think about it for a minute. If you are passionate about something, if you believe in a cause, admire a person or love a movie, you talk about it with someone. The same is true of our faith. If we are passionate about it, it will “show up” in our conversations and activities. (v.13)
Why does Paul believe? Look at verse 14. Because he “knows” that Jesus was raised from the dead and that he (Paul) and all believers will be raised, physically, from the dead as well. The Greek word used here for “know” means to perceive with the eyes or some other sense. Paul was an eyewitness to the reality of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 9) and this was the basis for his faith. The Bible does not ask us to believe blindly, but to search out truth and use our minds. A few verses on this theme worth checking out include:
1 Corinthians 15:14, Isaiah 1:18 , Mark 12:30, Proverbs 25:2 and Acts 17:10-11.
The amazing promises of the Bible can seem fantastical. They can be easy to compartmentalize into a back corner of our mind that “believes” in a sense, but not in the same way that we believe the sun will appear tomorrow. But there is no need to keep our faith in that emaciated condition. The Bible asks to be scrutinized, because it can take it. If your faith is fading because of doubt, seek out the evidence for the truth of scripture and you will begin to develop the kind of “eyewitness” faith that Paul had. The kind of faith that sees the eventual bodily resurrection of believers to be just as real as the computer screen in front of you.
Paul recognized that his ministry, with all the pain it brought with it, was for the benefit of the Corinthians. Paul was being used as a tool of God’s undeserved favor (grace) toward the Corinthians, so that they would ultimately live lives that recognized who God is and what he has done for them, and repeatedly thank God as a result. (v.15)
It’s this perspective that “renews” Paul’s attitude and keeps him from “losing heart”, even though he is experiencing severe difficulty. He knows he will eventually share in an “eternal glory” that outweighs any difficulty he can potentially experience in this life.
So what is this “eternal glory”? Romans 8:17 indicates that believers will be “co-heirs” with Christ. We will share in everything that he possesses. Imagine that for a moment. We will have all the wealth, excitement, and discovery that can be potentially found in what an eternal, infinite God has to offer us. According to this verse we will also share in Christ’s “glory”, meaning we will reflect who he is. We will become like Christ(1 John 3:2) and become perfect reflections of who he is. All the aspirations we may have for who we want to be and what we hope to accomplish will seem like nothing when we become perfect reflections of Christ. And this future we look forward to will never fade, or become stale. Unlike the temporary things of this life, believers will eventually have fulfillment that lasts forever.
Have you ever met a believer in pain, or heard a story of one, that encouraged you to put more trust in God? Don’t be shy! Let’s hear about it! (‘cuz we all need encouragement, too!)
If you've been to spiritblade.net recently, you may have noticed that there is a "Secret Project" due to be released during the first half of 2010. No, it's not the Spirit Blade Audiobook, but it's something fans of the Spirit Blade series will dig, and something I've been excited about doing for a little while now.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I've started working on it again as of this week (I've already spent some time working on it during the production of "Pilgrim's Progress") and it's coming along great! I've been through a few sound effects and musical ideas to narrow down the basic feel of what I want and today things started coming together nicely. My wife got a preview and it brought a wide grin to her face. Hopefully it will do the same for you in a few more months!
Part 7 of the Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual Interactive Audio Commentary is now available to download for free at www.spiritblade.net/freestuff !
What wildly alternate sequence was replaced in the final version of the script? What went horribly wrong during the recording of "Veritas"? And what does "Dark Ritual" say about questioning your own religious beliefs? All this and a fart joke await you! Don't miss out!
After stressing the superior ministry of the Holy Spirit (versus the ministry of the Old Testament Law), Paul points to it as the reason he does not lose heart, even though he constantly faced both physical and emotional pain and danger. (v.1)
Because the strength of Paul’s ministry does not rely on himself or his reputation, he lives his life transparently, without secret habits hidden to protect his public approval. He also doesn’t use his leadership position to manipulate people through his teaching. It can be an easy thing to look at scripture and “make it say” something that it doesn’t. But Paul was committed to presenting only the truth to others. He let everyone see who he really was and allowed them to evaluate him in the presence of God.(v.2)
Paul models confidence so well for us. We’re often told today that we need more self-confidence and more self-esteem, but as we examine ourselves, we find ourselves repeatedly disappointed by a lack of reasons for self-confidence. But Paul’s sense of self worth and purpose was completely wrapped up in the Holy Spirit, not in his own strengths and accomplishments.
The active power of the Holy Spirit does not mean that the truth cannot be obscured. Paul says that for those who are perishing (in other words, those who are on the road to rejecting God forever) a “veil” created by Satan (the “god of this age”) has been placed over the good news(“gospel”) of who Christ is(his “glory”) and what he reveals about God (being God’s “image”) and his loving gift of redemption. This veil blinds and enables those who do not want God to interfere with their lives. (v.3-4)
Paul again deflects the importance of his reputation, stating that he preaches CHRIST is Lord, not himself. And that he is serving the Corinthians for the sake of Jesus. Paul does what he does because of the powerful compelling of God inside him. The same God who spoke light and creation into existence, put a “light” within Paul that revealed the knowledge of who God is (his “glory) and who Christ is. (v.5-6)
Clay jars in Paul’s time were cheaply available and often broke. So when Paul says that the treasure he has (the knowledge, worth and purpose given to him by God) is stored in a jar of clay, he’s referring to his own body and weakness, which contrast the power and effectiveness God has given him, and makes it easy to see that Paul is not the source of his own strength. (v.7)
Paul is no stranger to pain, but take a more careful look at verses 8 and 9. Although he experiences difficulty, Paul knows that he is never ultimately defeated by his difficulties. As we’ll see later in verse 17, Paul has an eternal perspective and knows that whatever pain or difficulty he experiences now is temporary. Even ongoing, life-long pain is only a dot on the line of eternity.
But how can we gain the same perspective? When life is assaulting us with difficulty and pain, how can we have realistic hope? How do we develop the kind of faith that sees the world and our lives so differently than we naturally do?
Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes from hearing the message”. In that context, “the message” refers to who Christ is and what he has done for us. The entire Bible has been given to us so that we can better understand that message. The more time we spend in the Bible, the more our worldview will be affected.
The Psalms are a wonderful place to read from regularly, in or out of pain. The Psalmists openly expressed fear, doubt and anger to God, but they also recognized him for who he was and what he had done. At the end of the day, even in their difficulties, they knew to trust him. We can learn to trust him too!
A few Psalms you might find helpful include chapters 13, 27, 33,103 and 111.
What passage or verse in the Bible have you found to be helpful when you’ve encountered pain or difficulty in your life?
With the main thrust of my publicity efforts for "Pilgrim's Progress" slowing down, I'm finally finding time to give attention to the next project on my list: The Spirit Blade Audiobook!
"But wait a minute. We've got a Spirit Blade Audio Drama. Isn't an audiobook a bit of a step back?"
Not in this case. For one thing, this audiobook is actually the unpublished novel that I wrote which, after numerous changes and restructuring, formed the basis for both Spirit Blade and Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual! Far from a re-treading of what you've already heard, the Spirit Blade audiobook will be a very different story with new characters and plot threads you've never seen or heard before!
Like the "Pilgrim's Progress" audiobook bonus feature included with our latest audio drama, this audiobook will be enhanced with sound effects and a musical score, drawing some scoring from Spirit Blade and Dark Ritual to maintain a tone similar to those projects.
But unlike our previous projects, the Spirit Blade Audiobook will be available for free!
Recording for the project is finished and production has already begun. So keep your ears open for this one in the next few months!
Although I had hoped to speed through my "publicity e-mails" for Pilgrim's Progress in a single day this week, my memory has not served me well regarding how long this sort of thing takes and how I want to approach it. It just takes time, plain and simple.
I'm still hoping to "power through" the bulk of my e-mail publicity stuff this week, but I'm interjecting some other work as well, to prevent me from going insane from the mind-numbing tedium of it all!
Some grand and distant day when I have money I'm going to be paying someone else to do this...
As Paul compares the ministry of the Old Covenant (or, we might say Old Agreement) to the ministry of the new one, he refers to Exodus 34:29-35, where Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with instructions from God on stone tablets, and his face is literally glowing because of the time he spent with God. But the radiance didn’t last forever. And the delivery of God’s instructions to humanity did not solve our sin problem.
Still, there is a real glory in the “Old Agreement” that we are often quick to dismiss. The Greek word Paul uses here for “glory” is “Doxa” and refers to a revealed appearance or reputation. God’s “glory” reveals who he is!
Many Christians today view the Old Testament as obsolete and unneeded. But the Old Testament gives us a detailed picture of who God is and what he cares about! It may be difficult to understand at times and more suited for study than for casual reading, but Paul says that there is glory in it, and we don’t do ourselves any favors by neglecting it.
That said, Paul goes on to say that the New Covenant, God’s new way of relating with people, is even more glorious. (v.7-8) The Holy Spirit, God himself, actually lives inside every believer in some mysterious way. This connection to God has greater impact and is far superior to merely receiving instructions from God. We might compare it to reading a letter from someone verses being married to someone!
As we observed last time, the Law only announced condemnation. The Holy Spirit actually makes us completely righteous in the eyes of God! (v. 9)
Although by itself, the Old arrangement between God and humanity revealed who God is, it reveals nothing in comparison to a life lived intimately connected to God through the Holy Spirit! The Law was static and etched in stone. Moses experience on the mountain faded. But the Holy Spirit produces lasting and ongoing change in the life of the Christian.(v.10-11)
The firm and reliable hope Paul had because of this immense change in the God-Humanity status quo, gave Paul the ability to be bold in his speaking and teaching. (v. 12)
Paul says that because of Moses’ veil, the Israelites couldn’t see the radiance left by God fading from his face.(v. 13) They couldn’t see that the outward sign of being in the presence of God was fading. And up until Paul’s day (and still in many places today!), people don’t see the truth of the fading, inadequate nature of the Law to truly change us forever. Only through Christ can we see the inadequacy of the Law. (v.14-16)
Although the Law reminds us how far we fall short of God, the Holy Spirit brings freedom into the life of every believer. The forgiveness we’re given and the righteousness that is “transplanted” onto us from Christ, frees us from living lives weighed down by guilt and a sense of inadequacy.
If you are a believer in Christ but you’re living with a constant sense of inadequacy, remember what Christ has done for you! In the eyes of the only judge that matters, you have been made perfect! You have the freedom to fail while you aim for the highest mark! Make every effort to rewire you’re brain and see yourself as God does.
When life is lived with this kind of freedom and purpose, people will see who God is through you, and they’ll see it more and more as time passes. (v.17-18)
What is it that keeps you from seeing yourself the way God sees you? What action can you take as a first step toward seeing yourself more the way God sees you?
It's been really cool to hear from folks that have listened to "Pilgrim's Progress". The reaction has been extremely positive!
Here are a few choice links you can check out to see what people are saying about "Pilgrim" and Spirit Blade Productions. Of course, it may not be as exciting for you, but it sure puts a smile on MY face!
Regarding "Pilgrim's Progress"-
A Two Part interview of me about Spirit Blade Productions-
Well, normally you'd be looking at "In Search Of Truth" here right now, but I will be out of town this weekend. Since I don't like to get "out of synch" with the podcast, I'm going to hold off on "In Search Of Truth" until next week.
And for those who listen to the podcast, SORRY! I completely forgot to mention it on the podcast!
If you've got a story or message you're passionate about that you want others to experience who have never heard about it, you have to engage in some form of marketing. But despite my passion for what I do and create, the marketing is my least favorite part of running this little company, second only to all the technical internet stuff I have to keep afloat.
The last few days have been filled with e-mail writing and e-mail sending. Not to folks I've interacted with before, but to folks with blogs and podcasts that I think might be interested in what we're doing or who might be willing to help get the word out. It takes me well outside of my comfort zone and I sometimes agonize over my choice of words in an effort to avoid coming across like a salesman. But at the end of the day, I've got a product that I think others will want. And if I want them to buy, I have to sell. A necessary chore.
Thankfully, mixed in with that has been my work on the Spirit Blade audiobook, which I have now been able to resume work on. I am about two-thirds of the way through recording it and am hoping to take two days next week and just barrel through the rest of it. Mixing the audiobook for "Pilgrim" took much less time than I had originally anticipated, and so I'm realistically hopeful that you guys will be able to start listing to the Spirit Blade audiobook before Christmas! I'm not positive what the release method will be, but I do know that it will be available free of charge!
It's also been really great to hear the positive and energetic responses from those of you who have listened to "Pilgrim's Progress: Similitude Of A Dream"! Your encouragement means a lot! Thank you!
Have a great, safe Halloween weekend!
Well, now that "Pilgrim" is out, I am finally emerging from my production cave to re-evaluate my online marketing strategies and how I can make the best use of my evaporating time.
I'm looking into Twitter, which I've avoided because the nature of the beast lends itself to sharing only short thoughts with little substance, and I'd much rather share ideas than tell you all that I'm eating cereal or mixing audio (in which case, I'm not really doing either because I've wasted time to stop and say that I am.) But I've learned that I CAN use Twitter to let folks know when a blog post has gone up or a podcast episode has been published, which sounds cool! And I think I've got it worked out so that I don't have to do anything extra to make that happen. I don't know, it's set up now, so this post will act as a sort of "test".
I'm also currently wondering about MySpace. I'm very hesitant to add anything to my "posting ritual", which already takes up more time than I'd like. I've been unable to find a tool that will allow me to simultaneously post blogs to Typepad, Blogger, Facebook, my two Ning groups and Myspace, so I currently manually copy and paste my weekly posts for both blogs into all of those places.
I'm looking for ways to subtract time from this ritual and I've got my crosshair on my MySpace web presence.
Is it worth it to keep a presence there? If so, is it worth it to paste my blog posts there? I get comments regularly on Facebook, Blogger and Typepad, but it's been almost a year, maybe more, since I got a comment on MySpace.
Should I just keep the two pages (one personal and one "Spirit Blade") with LINKS to my blogs but not worry about actually copying my blogs to them, or should I keep those blogs going on those MySpace pages, even though it's the same blog material you'll find on Blogger (Paeter's Brain) and Typepad (Spirit
Recently, it was suggested that I try "Ping.fm", which I had tried a year ago. This free service allows you to update multiple social networks at once, but a year ago I didn't get any further than signing up because they weren't compatible with all of my social networks. So I tried it again today.
Ping.fm failed me again.
It lured me in with the promise that I could post to all of my social networks, but when I began to create posting groups (so I can post to some social networks and not others) it revealed that if I choose "blogging", my options are severely limited. It looks as though the only places it can send blogs to, among my social networks anyway, are Facebook, Blogger and Typepad. I can only microblog and do status updates at all the others. So again I am faced with what to do about Myspace and Ning. Especially Myspace.
Should I continue to copy my blog posts there, or just put a referral link on the Myspace page and hope they check out my Typepad blog?
Any web geniuses out there that have this problem solved?
Continuing the defense of his reputation and ministry, Paul suggests the idea that he is commending himself with his previous words in this letter, or that he needs letters of recommendation. (v.1) He then counters this idea by pointing to the superior, living evidence of his ministry’s integrity: The Corinthians themselves.
The lives of those in the Corinthian church acted as a living letter of validation for Paul’s ministry, because of the outward evidence they displayed of God in their hearts. This validation of Paul’s ministry was superior to a letter of recommendation in a couple ways. It was more than a document written in ink by a human. It was brought about by the Holy Spirit. God himself! It was more than a record fixed in stone, waiting to be read. Paul’s “letter of recommendation” was a living community of believers, active and impacting others. (v.2-3)
This is the kind of impact we should pray God will allow us to have on others! Imagine investing your time and passion into helping someone know and love God more deeply and then later seeing that person do the same for someone else!
Paul also makes a comparison here (which he will expand on later) to the Law given to Israel through Moses. (Tablets of stone vs. human hearts in verse 3) The power of Paul’s ministry to change lives was the Holy Spirit putting God’s will into people’s hearts, not the written law. This is a key function of the Holy Spirit as he lives in believers. This kind of ministry is superior to the Law, and was promised to Israel by God. ( Jeremiah 31:33, Ezekiel 36:25-27)
As we allow the Holy Spirit more influence in our lives, we will be better led by him as we make decisions, discern truth and prioritize our activity.
Paul’s confidence about the superior nature of his ministry doesn’t come from himself. His confidence is all “through Christ” as he recognizes him as the source of his strength and capability. (v.4-5)
Sometimes, when we’re experiencing success, we can start to believe that it came about because of our own talent or intelligence. We forget that the opportunities presented to us are orchestrated by God and that he is the one who made our talents and provided people and opportunities to increase our knowledge and refine our skills. No one is the source of their own success.
Paul refers to himself as the minister of a “new covenant”, which refers back to Jeremiah 31 and a “spirit-based” covenant promised by God. This covenant would be superior to the covenant of the Law, because “through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:20) And the payment we receive for sin is a death sentence. (Romans 6:23)
The Law announces a death sentence for us! The standard it sets is too high and impossible to keep, and so it brings about our death. But when the Holy Spirit enters every believer, they are transformed and rescued from death. (v.6)
What areas of your life do you tend to forget to credit God for, either to yourself or to others?