Monday, January 30, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
"To the emerging pastor, the key is to put your worst foot forward as opposed to your best foot. To show weakness and to use yourself as an example of weakness and spiritual neediness is central to the meta-message of the emerging pastor's approach to his place as a role model."
I think, a pastor, a believer shows both feet. One foot is the dirty one, the one that demonstrates that I'm saved by grace. The other foot is the clean one that proves God in his grace is saving me.
This blogger claims that the emerging wine won't fit in the old wineskin. I'll agree, if he views the Christian life as an either/or set of propositions. But the Holy Spirit is the wine in the universal church. Enlightened elitism bothers me. We are one church. We are manna distributors. Some serve in high flying suits and ties establishments, some serve fast food with lots of grease and salt, some only offer it home cooked without professional help, some are heavy on the gravy and offer little meat, some offer steak well-done without even a drop of steak sauce, some add seasoning that is actually poisonous, some offer entertainment with the meal, some think its a crime to distract from the meal. One or the things I like about a transdenominational meeting, like work church or neighborhood fellowship, is all those styles I usually miss out on I get to sample and benefit from.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
what is it about prayer groups? there is love in action and power in demonstration. its an experiential apologetic. its a taste and see for the Lord is good session.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
A final point about these homely little massacres and the even more terrible ones that keep occurring throughout the world: women and children are almost never exempted. A small anthology could be assembled just of quotations about the desirability of killing the women and children while one is killing undesirables.
Inescapable in American slaughters are the involvement of religious men. Methodist Rev. John Chivington who fought for the Union and against the expansion of slavery as a free soil proponent considered his duty after the war to free the West of Indians. Consequently he had no difficulty massacring at Sand Creek an Indian camp mostly composed of women and children. Then there are those Mormons involved in the Mountain Meadow Massacre.
We all are wicked. We all need Jesus to save us. We all need to love others as we love ourselves.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I met my wife on an IVCF missions trip to Jackson Mississippi where we served under John Perkins and his ministry, Voice of Calvary. We both thought each other attractive and made a casual friendship. I didn't see her again until our schools did joint meetings sporadically. When I did a Co-op 2 years later by her school I got to know her and all her friends. Yet attraction never became romance then either. When I graduated and went to work at the same business, but now as an employee and able to provide for a wife I then began to court her. When i thought I had convinced her to date me she made me read a book called Dating with Integrity by John Holzman, who, ironically, also provides our homeschool curriculum, Sonlight. I hated the book. But she wanted to protect her heart. The book described courtship while calling it dating and it ruled out kissing! I was traumatized. But I was sure this was the woman for me, until I broke up with her. It was a breakup though without any moral regrets. Needless to say, after a month we decided to try again and were engaged a month after that and married 6 months after that. We've been married 11 and a half years and have three children.
The woman I had to pursue and honor and cherish and treat as a sister in Christ's family was the woman I finally was allowed to treat as a wife after the wedding ceremony. All the women I "dated" got the wife treatment without a wedding. It came before the ceremony and ended in disaster. But the woman I treated as a sister got the wedding.
I never read Josh Harris's book, I kissed dating goodbye, but I'm sure its a challenging read. So it worked for me and Josh, what more proof do you need?
On Being a Missional Church
What I mean to say here is that we’re not just “a people.” We’re a people for the sake of the world. I love the phrase that George Hunsberger and others use, that we are a sent people. Unfortunately, we have a tendency as evangelicals to understand what we are saved from, and less of an understanding of what we’re saved for.
In God’s design, the Church exists for God’s mission in the world. God is himself missional. The Trinity is well understood in its calling and sending activities. The Church understands its missional purpose by observing and imitating the love of God for the world.
So, then, the church I would build would take seriously “equipping the saints” for meaningful ministry. In my judgment, John Wesley is a great example of leading a godly, missional people. He so perfectly blended community and mission. He had very laid-out methods for classes and societies where people learned to be disciples. But the early Methodists are also famous for their circuit riding, for their preaching, for their sending. They are a beautiful example of what it’s like to be “living stones” (I Peter 1:4-5), as Peter calls Christians.
However, I sometimes find in pastors that, psychologically, we really don’t like leading living stones, because they can be trouble. You’re trying to build a wall, and “the stones” are hard to control. You put a stone in, but because it’s living it has its own mind and is moving around in the neat, ideal little wall you are trying to build.
The problem, my friends, is that the alternative is dead stones. You can control them. But there’s no life of the Spirit there. Wesley found a way to loose these living stones, making them increasingly mature Christians, so that they became a “sent” community living winsomely and powerfully in the public arena. Many of them actually became the circuit riding preachers because Wesley knew that they were the ones who had the intuition necessary to reach their people.
Friday, January 20, 2006
By winter break I had sent in my application to UConn and was accepted before Spring Break. I reasoned I could get the same debauchery (with honesty and vigor) and evolutionary biology for a third of the price. I felt surrounded by Christian posers, it was an immature perspective, and I wanted to be around honest sinners. At least I could offer them Jesus.
I also figured, why not heap it on thick and requested the dorm at UConn with the most debauched reputation. It’s nickname? The Jungle. This is when the Guns-N-Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle” was very popular. Several students like to demonstrate their intelligence every fall by aiming their speakers into the Jungle’s quad and turning up the volume. Already, one could tell there was a diversity of scholasticism.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
1. The Bible will still have the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Monday, January 16, 2006
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Biography, encyclopedia of MLK's life, sermons, speeches, writings,
and other materials from the Stanford University project to compile
and publish MLK's ...
The King Center
The OFFICIAL WEBSITE of The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The King
Center educates the world about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's
philosophy and methods of ...
Friday, January 13, 2006
from part 1
Bro Ren(Chinese): Let us take prayer first. The leaders of the church in China try to pray three to four hours a day. That is normal. But
then there are some brethren who are totally committed to pray.
Almost every minute they are awake, they are praying. They have two kinds of leaders in the church. They have spiritual leaders, who fast and pray; then they have practical operational leaders, who are active in everyday affairs of the church. The praying leaders are praying for the whole church, and especially for the practical leaders. They are not in a preaching ministry. The operational leaders go to them for direction and wisdom. Very few Westerners have ever met these elders. These men are older men who cannot travel anymore, so they are mainly
in that ministry. It literally keeps the church on track. They hear
from the Lord and give answers to the practical leaders.
from part 2
Bro Denny: Could you comment on the name given to these Chinese Christians. I am referring to the name "house churches." What is the significance of this name?
Bro Ren: The name signifies several different things. First , the
name is given because they meet in houses. There are several reasons for this, and I will comment on them in a moment. The second reason has to do with a distinction between them and the registered churches, which meet in buildings. The last reason is the most important one, they call themselves house churches out of conviction. They meet in homes because they believe it is more biblical. It is also true that they have to because of persecution, but the primary reason is evangelical in nature. Even if the government of china allowed them liberty to meet openly, they would still meet in houses. Meeting in homes is one of the greatest keys to the tremendous growth of the church. The more meeting places, the more they can win the lost to Christ. In addition, when they meet in houses, it does not cost them any money. Finances often slow church growth.
Bro Denny: Could you tell me what the church services are like when they meet together and feel free? I know there are times when they have to be quiet, but what is it like when they are free?
Bro Ren: The Chinese Christians are a lively, responsive congregation when they gather in freedom. They sing some hymns and some choruses, and the singing is wholehearted. During the preaching and open testimonies, there are lots of amens and hallelujahs. They meet in forests and caves to do this so they will not be heard.
Bro Ren: There is another reason why they still have revival. The
church leaders are careful to give the Holy Spirit His place in
directing the work. They allow God's Spirit free course to move how
and where He will. They see the American church as one that is too organized. The leaders have a saying about revival that I feel is helpful. They call it, "How to kill a Revival."
-Man wants to organize it to suit his understanding.
-Then after he has it organized, he then secures himself a
position in it.
-Once this is done, the Spirit is grieved, and slowly withdraws.
-Then the Revival becomes a history class, and everyone talks
about it in the past.
Q-why do we mourn with those who lose babies to miscarriage?
Q-aren't those mothers mourning a life lost?
Q-do mothers who abort and not mourn mean there was no life in their wombs?
Q-does that life belong only to the mother?
Q-does a life shared for 9 months of absolute dependency out of a
potential 70 years negate the personhood of the child?
Monday, January 09, 2006
People aren't flocking to churches, necessarily, but if God has been drawing their hearts they will overcome their culture shock. The issues with churches aren't form and format. The issues are grace and love. If you wear funky robes and and burn funky candles but are full of love and grace and resemble Jesus, you'll attract people. If you grow a goattee and get multiple piercings and quote Velvet Revolver lyrics from behind your music stand in a cafe back room, but don't have love, you are an idiot. But the person who offers a system of spiritual healing that only asks for some money and accepts without condemnation, that funky eastern shop attracts people who are in their core, religious. I agree with the idea from that we are born with God shaped holes in our souls. We are born with Eternity in our hearts.
Walker's thought is, "Maybe we could take a little break from the tired gay topic in church. Maybe if we let people come in and feel safe, the Holy Spirit would do some amazing, powerful things. Maybe we jump the gun on the Holy Spirit. Maybe we don't trust the Spirit to speak without our vulgar voices chiming in at a whim." This is the risk that the liberal church took. It's the topic because it's the issue in society and the Love letter from heaven adresses it. Those guys who are so relieved once they are in the walls of the gay bar are not seeking safety from violence but safety from their conscience. It's a sinning support group. As long as the sinner wants to embrace the sin, the church can't help much. Nor will the church help anyone by pretending the topic is moot. The church needs to keep seeking a simpler explanation of the relationship between God and sex. Like every other part of life, sex is sacred, a gift that can be used to glorify God.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
The amazing thing about Jesus is he never misses the people for the crowds. The woman who bled for 12 years until she touched the hem of his cloak got to tell him her whole story despite the huge crowd and the urgent need to heal a little girl. Jesus never treats us as cogs in the machine. He calls us by name. He knows the total number of hairs on each of our heads. It is so awful when a leader in the church makes a sheep feel worthless because she's not contributing to the goal. We weren't recruited to win a game. The game's been won. We've been called to the victory party. We've been called by name. Importantly, those guys will never be at the celebration. They have their reward.
This makes me want to write about hell another time. Can any Universalist imagine welcoming Mao or Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot (Cambodia) or Kim (North Korea) into heaven? Can any adherent of conditional immortality put a timeline on when their suffering will end and their souls be extiguished?
Friday, January 06, 2006
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
The arts are so powerful... That will have to be another post.
Mark 6:7-13 (NLT)
And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two, with authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing with them except a walking stick-- no food, no traveler's bag, no money. He told them to wear sandals but not to take even an extra coat. "When you enter each village, be a guest in only one home," he said. "And if a village won't welcome you or listen to you, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate." So the disciples went out, telling all they met to turn from their sins. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
Later on, He did it again.
Luke 10:1-3 (NLT)
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: "The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and ask him to send out more workers for his fields. Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.
The proponents of house church are the Direct marketing version of the Church at large. Instead of saying come to our building, they say, come to my house for dinner. It’s not that one is better than the other. But we might miss that plentiful harvest if we insist that they come to a building to hear the good news.