Author Archives: joshkilsch

Church/Mark Update

The season of Thanksgiving and Christmas is here. I am excited that we are going to be having the light display up for our church and community to enjoy. The good news is that God is not done with First Christian of Salina! New faces are joining us each week, and some are returning to probably become a regular part of our weekly worship gathering!

Much to be thankful to God for in this season of the year and in this season of our church journey. Our study in Mark’s Gospel has taken a turn toward the second half of the book. As mentioned on Sunday morning, Jesus and his disciples are “on the way” toward Jerusalem. We continue to see that Jesus is more than a prophet and more than just the promised Messiah. The disciples seem to have break through moments of clarity and insight into Jesus, but they struggle of Jesus’ plain language of His soon to be crucifixion and resurrection. We as the reader learn that Jerusalem is where the unthinkable will take place by crucifying Jesus-the-Godman. The disciples are still learning their own future is “on the way” too. This was case for John the Baptist and will be the case for those who decide to follow Jesus. They have been instructed that they will have to pick up their cross. We as the reader/disciples do not get a pass on the cross journey either. 

Our study reminds us that we must have total dependance on God for our lives. Through prayer and faithful trusting we follow the One who not only leads the way but also is the Way. May Christ be fully formed in each of us this season. May we each be reminded the love that God gave us in Jesus Christ. May we be agents of this love and mercy to each person we come in contact with.

It might seem strange to talk about scandalous events of Jerusalem in the season we celebrate the miraculous events of Bethlehem, but this is where each of the Gospels move. 

The good news that a savior is born is the same good news that a savior died for sin and that same good news is that savior Jesus raised back to life!

By way of analogy: Maybe some kids will get presents this year that they didn’t deserve…

In Christ we sure did!

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

 –Romans 5:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Merry Christmas

-Pastor Josh

Mark Update

I hope everyone is enjoying the Fall season. I am not a fan of the cold weather, but I do like the colorful trees. It is also the season for hot coco, apple cider, and pumpkin spice! See… there is always something to be thankful for!

Anyways, I am happy to report that we are almost halfway through the Gospel according to Mark. We are continuing to see the Jesus that Mark presents. The God who stepped into time and space, lived in a human body and moved in and among real people like you and I. We are encountering a God who stepped into a particular point in time, into a specific culture, and with a radical mission to turn people’s hearts and religious understandings toward the truth that God wants to save broken humanity.

Jesus’ disciples are on a faith journey that they do not fully grasp (which they won’t till after Jesus’ resurrection… and even then, it is foggy for them!). The main take away as we walk through Mark’s material is that God has shown up in Jesus. Jesus is revealed as the One who calms the storms, walks on water (many Old Testament images of God’s control over nature), miraculously feeds 5000 Jewish men with a low inventory of bread (representing Moses and the manna God provided the Israelites in Exodus), Jesus crosses assumed purity lines by not making His disciples wash their hands according to manmade rules/traditions (since the disciples would have been possibly defiled by being in the market place with Gentiles!?!). Jesus further crosses customs by talking to a Gentile woman who boldly makes the case for God’s grace to flow through Jesus to heal her daughter. Things are not as they seem with Jesus, and therefore, things are not always as they seem with God from our limited/sometimes skewed/ human vantage point.

God cares about our internal world. What comes out of the sinful human heart (or what can come out) is selfishness, greed, and violence. This was not the creation intention. God-shown-up-Jesus in a real time and culture shows us that we need a God/Human Savior. The disciples are literally being trained in Christ-likeness, but they do not seem to grasp who their rabbi/teacher is. We must stay on this journey with Mark to unfold the rest of who Mark is presenting to us. We are encountering the revelation of God to humanity in Jesus Christ. We are constantly confronted with a Jesus… with a God that makes us think twice about our long-held beliefs and our long-held unbelief(s). The Gospel begs the reader/hearer to respond to the person and message of Jesus. Will we rejoice or reject the One we encounter along the way? I encourage you to continue to read Mark in your Bibles and try to make it to our Sunday Morning gatherings. May you encounter this God of mercy as we journey together through the Biblical text.

Peace to each of you,

Pastor Josh.

Update On Mark

Wow! It has been a great several weeks of our study through the Gospel of Mark. A couple of highlights/thoughts have been that God has shown up! God is on the loose in creation in the person of Jesus. Jesus is Israel’s long-awaited Messiah that was promised in the Old Testament. The interesting thing is that Jesus is not the kind of Messiah that many (including the religious establishment) had been waiting on. Rather than conquering through an “iron fist” or with armies and war horses, God-shown-up-in-Jesus displays power in a different way.

We see through Jesus’ launch of His ministry that evil forces are subdued, the sick are made well, sins are forgiven, and the natural realm obeys Jesus’ commands. We have met the 12 disciples along the way and seen the religious “police” (scribes and Pharisees) get rebuked by Jesus. Those who are outcasts from “normal” society are being invited and included. Most know that when we talk about the “good news” of our faith we are referring to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well that is exactly what the Greek word “gospel” means. It is good news (not good advice). It is good news that God has shown up on the scene and that it doesn’t look like any had imagined (or deserved). Mark’s good-news-story reveals who Jesus is by what Jesus does. We see God full of grace, truth, and compassion. We will further see the suffering side of God/Messiah as we move toward the cross event in Mark’s Gospel. We as the readers are called to respond to the Jesus we encounter. We have so much more to see (and hear) as we move through this account of the Jesus we together proclaim Lord! I hope everyone reading this can join us for the journey.

In Christ,

Josh.

The Gospel of Mark

I’m currently attempting to preach through Mark’s Gospel at our church on Sundays. I say “attempting” because that is how I see the preaching/teaching endeavor. I do believe God speaks through this act of communication, but I (at the same time) realize the depth and humility needed to approach this task.

I’m following David Garland’s outline in his user friendly NIV Application Commentary.

I will update the other sources I’m using throughout the study. I hope I can provide through this blog summaries to each week and reflections on the journey. My thoughts will also reflect the time I spent two years ago taking Dr. Andy Johnson’s “Mark” course at Nazarene Theological Seminary.

I encourage readers here to go and read the first 3 chapters of Mark to start.

Peace, Grace, and Truth

-josh

Sabbath (My Poem/Reflection on Mark 2:23-3:6 and Genesis 1.)

Sabbath isn’t about rule keeping…

Sabbath is about keeping

the One who Rules

Ruling…

A Ruler of Absurd Mercy?

Yes!

Sabbath wasn’t for just some Sabbath thing…

Although it was rough for the Pharisee

Jesus kept perspective on life flourishing

Sabbath wasn’t for just some Sabbath thing…

Sabbath is the King’s gift to Humanity

A Day To Remember the Creator’s Creating.

God’s Inauguration

Humanity’s Source for Satiation

Rest for Creation

Humanity’s Image Reflection

Shalom the Intention

Even After Sin’s Manipulation Destruction

Torah’s Instruction

Prophet’s Correction

Then

God’s Participation, Cross Presentation

Resurrection Celebration…

Led to Our Redemption Salvation!

And His Maranatha Anticipation!

My AMEN Realization

-Josh Kilsch

deactivate Facebook

de·ac·ti·vate

[dēˈaktəvāt]

VERB

1.      make (something, typically technical equipment or a virus) inactive by disconnecting or destroying it.

(A simple Google Search of the “deactivate definition”)…

 

If you are reading this, dang that is probably a miracle of some sorts since I wasn’t able to post this to my Facebook page. That is a reality I had to choose to face.

So… I deactivated my facebook. Well first I “deleted” it. Which really isn’t deleting it since they make you wait 30 days to shut the thing down and “erase” your data (if they actually do that). You know there has to be some psychological studies backing the 30 day wait period. People who have been stimulating their minds with dopamine alerts, and “likes” might grow weary and need to login for one last time to satiate the identity seeking desire. Of course, once you “pop, you can’t stop” or something like that and if you decide to try and quit you will again face another 30 day barrier between you and freedom from endless and mostly mindless scrolling…

I deleted it last night after my four month of resurrecting my attention and participation with the social media beast. This morning I remembered that I might actually want to connect again with some of the “friends” on there in the future and wouldn’t want to spend the vast time it takes to start over. There is also the reality that many people get concerned when they thought you were their Facebook friend in the past and now you randomly pop up as a friend request (thinking you are a scammer or something).

After reading an incredible book by Charles Duhigg called “The Power of Habit” and having an experience of a friend (who I have a lot of respect for) called me out about my Facebook usage I chose to delete my Facebook profile around 2014. Around 2015 I started getting tattoos on my arm and my tattoo guy was not yet my friend would only communicate through Facebook. So… Like an addict who had been sober for some time I justified the need for Facebook and opened a new profile.

Since opening the account, I maintained my discipline by never clicking on the app, I also didn’t think about things/thoughts to share with my friends, and I felt empowered and a little better than peers when I could say that “I am not on Facebook”. Being Holier-than-thou takes many forms even beyond organized religion! Yes, I must admit that I was a Facebook abstaining Pharisee.

From 2015 to this last October (2018) I did not wake up thinking about people outside of my day to day activities very much. My real social network was… well… pretty much real social interactions. Something changed in October, like a need to reconnect with some people I hadn’t talked to in a while. So much continues to change in my life and so much has changed in my journey over the past 15 years.

For four months I have been getting on Facebook daily, adding friends, looking at all the stuff that people share. There was a point where I thought that I should see if I can grow my friend list as fast a possible just to see how wide my network of “influence” is or could be. The reality, however, is that I capped out at about 220 friends.. Haha! I feel somewhat accomplished j/k. Some of my friends who do incredible artwork or produce music etc… have 500 to 2000 “friends”. It is incredible to think that many built those networking connections over a decade. It is impressive to be able to say something in a couple of sentences and impact so many people at once. Truly fascinating to me.

The dark side to Facebook to me is that it is time bandit. One week my phone told me that I had spend an average of 51 minutes per day on there. I thought to myself… there is no possible way that could be true. But sadly, it was.

I have seen so many issues arise from misunderstandings with Facebook between friends, spouses, and co-workers. I have seen good people not regulate (which is pretty hard when it is a click away on your phone and so easy to grab when there is “down” time). I decided last night that I was done with my “experiment”. I was ready to get back to not thinking about clicking on that app daily. The scary reality is, however, that I know that Facebook is not done with me. One of the most powerful companies in the world with over a billion people addicted to feeding their stories, identities, and egos with a taste of connecting, meaning, and activism. Facebook is good for a lot of those things. It is a business must in our world. Every product I come in contact with has a picture of the logo and the message “like us on Facebook”. I recently have been reading the Epistle of James in the New Testament and the poetic wisdom literature book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament (Many see James as a sort of New Testament wisdom book).

Two brief observations that contributed to my deactivating Facebook. In James chapter four there is a warning about boasting about tomorrow’s plans without qualifying the potential reality that there is a Creator involved with one’s life. Life is short. It is a vapor. Ecclesiastes also reminds that life is Heble (Hebrew word meaning vanity, meaningless, or better breath). The picture is that human life is a bunch of breathing from the beginning to end. That is all you get. What are you going to do with that breath is the haunting question I am asking myself. Other ones pop into my mind stemming from that question is, did I pray to the God I believe in and for the people I care about as much as I looked at non consequential stuff via my Facebook life investment.

So… More to come on my Ecclesiastes reflections.

For now, I have taken action to de-activate wasting (for me) time that is precious.

What will I do with an extra 51 minutes added back to my life (13 days per year!)

What do you need to evaluate and deactivate?

It is worth noting that virus was a part of the Google definition mentioned above…

Don’t let anything overcome you.

Watch this video of me talking with my friend Payte on his show Discern Daily

https://themajestysmen.com/podcast/discerndaily-episode-12-wasting-your-life-on-social-media-josh-kilsch-wordstream/

Gillette 3:16? The SimGospel According to Procter & Gamble

Recently the most famous razor company Gillette made an advertisement that, at length, participates in the drama of our culture’s tensions on important issues. I have seen the commercial. There is a lot of good content there. There is also a lot of crap there too. Depending on your focus, you will see what you want (or don’t want) to see.
The “crap” opinion regarding aspects of the commercial can immediately (possibly) make a couple of you reading this to shudder, re-question your opinion of me, and think you have me pegged religiously and politically.
The positive elements of the commercial involve the apparent call to men to be more than stereotypes, not evil, and stand up for the truth and the underdog. “Have some freaking morality!” it screams at the viewer while rattling the conservative and liberal buttons positively and negatively simultaneously. It calls men everywhere to have some deep convictions and ethics in society. Who can be against that? It is a very brilliant ad.

The crap part of it all, however, is that it is solely about money (I know you thought I was going to jump on it against the “#metoo” issue, (that too, in this commercial is about the end-goal of money)… I have seen how many of my Christian friends (who I respect the snot out of) have jumped in to praise the ethical message interwoven around the other messages within the commercial. Church culture has long used commercials within their worship services/sermons to make an illustrative point. The reason commercials grab us is due to their attractive nature. The people who create commercials are not stupid. They have to grab our hearts in a short amount of time in order for us to cough up the treasure that’s connected.

Ford sells Trucks, Pharmaceutical companies sell drugs, and Gillette sells razors. That’s what they sell. Gillette has felt recent pressures from other companies such as Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. One of these have an advertisement where they talk about how they are “disrupting the billion-dollar industry” (men’s razors and grooming products). Gillette has been criticized over overpriced products their “best ever” slogan is put forth so they can give the consumer the perception that their product is worth it. These other company’s creative destruction was simple… Be better and be cheaper. With the threat of competition, maybe Gillette became desperate and took a cue from the Nike playbook. The reality is that the issues they attempt to address are the flavor of the week. This is an observation, not a declaration that I am happy or excited about. Ethics, morality, love for neighbor, care for the marginalized, mercy, justice, love of enemy, embrace of the outsider, dignity, humility, etc… etc… is a duh if you are a follower of Christ (not to say that you have to be a follower of Jesus to practice these things).
Now before you damn me (if you are still reading). I will give my main point to offer a couple of thoughts from a Christian participant in this conversation. In his book “On Earth as it is in Advertising”, Sam Van Eman convincingly makes the point that most advertising (including mediums beyond commercials) pulls at our soul strings in order to get our money. Sam’s starting presupposition (Christian perspective) is that all of humanity (men and women) are broken due to sin. I am owning my presuppositions as much as possible to let the reader know that I obviously know that for some “sin” is not only not true, but a dangerous belief due to damage to a person’s self-worth. This, however, is not a post about that. It seems that every blog post that could cause offense, however, needs to die the death of a thousand qualifications so that a person realizes we are talking about ideas in an attempt to consider many angles and not just trying to tick people of the opposite opinion off. Our time is a time of reactionary absurdity of being offended by things that should not be given the air time that they do (when no loving and philosophical conversation is possible to ensue).
Sam’s book offers the illustration of the SimGospel. Because humanity longs for God, meaning, worth, value, life-to-the-full we will try to find remedies. We in our sinful experience are drawn to things that simulate the Gospel (Good news about our hopeless evil situation). We long to be saved. We long to be redeemed and live in a world where love and peace flow exhaustively (especially toward ourselves). The world/creation, however, does suffer due to wicked choices done by humans.
SO… my thoughts (which that is all they are) is that Gillette’s gospel is not sustainable since its purpose is derived from it’s end-goal of money. I believe that ethics are derivative of something or someone. For me, that is that ethics and morality are derived from a response of a human to a/the Holy God (To unpack “Holy” here is too big of a task for this post, but acknowledging this since it is a word that one might think I am using loosely in order to further Christian-Godspeak which isn’t necessarily helpful… or my point!).
The mediums, stories, and emotions that companies use to sell their products achieve their purposes. Profit. Profit is not, in my opinion, the problem. It is how we are moved in such a manner by the content that reaches for our souls to get to our wallets. Gillette cannot provide what human suffering/evil needs in order to address the problem. It is commend worthy to note the positive humanitarian call in the commercial. Those who bear the name of Jesus might remember to discern the reality that all truth is God’s truth and can be found throughout the creation. Jesus followers must remember that we often should not fit into a ditch of cultural or political assumptions. We must prophetically stand in a third stream to try and be a voice that points to the person full of Grace and Truth. Jesus. The Gospel is the Gospel. We must think through what the New Testament writers tell us about our identity before we quickly and completely baptize a SimGospel.
Instead of Gillette 3:16, I believe the Apostle Paul reminds what the Holy Spirit produces in those who are in a surrendered relationship with Jesus Christ: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This is the real Gospel and ironically is too quickly characterized, misunderstood, or rejected. And then out of nowhere… occasionally it can be popular for a season when it is presented through a slick medium.

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