Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This song just played on my computer as I was listening to worship music on shuffle mode. As this song played I was thinking: Why do we struggle so much with sin? As I listen it makes perfect sense:
As I listen to the chorus I see a piece of what is missing in my life. It seems like I live such a comfortable life that I do not need God. Of course I need him for spiritual things, and even for long term direction. But I don't feel like I need him for: bread, provision, water, shelter.... But the fact is I do. If I fully realized how much I needed God I would not be tempted to sin as much. I would realize that he is what I need, not sin.
Lord help me to realize that I need you supremely for every part of my life so that I may find my satisfaction only in YOU!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
- "We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith." speaking of the fact that more Christians can articulate their Biblical stance against abortion and gay marriage, than they can articulate the Gospel to a non believer.
- "This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good."
- "We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it." Not much to say about this, it just makes me step back and say hmm.?!
- "Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral." when answering the question if this is a good or bad thing. His stance is not that it is good, but then again he sees some things that will only change when the churches fail.
- "We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture."
Once again, I have not fully processed what I have just read, but I know this should shake us a little. Even if Spencer is not accurate in what he is saying he is accurate in some of the problems he is seeing. As long as Evangelicals are joined at the hip with political conservatism in a world turning away from political conservatism Evangelicalism will not flourish. We need a movement that is not focused on politics, but rather on winning souls. A movement that is more focused about the kingdom we will live in than the one we do live in.
I am afraid that Spencer that the best way to reach the world in the future may be through another medium than the Evangelical church.
Monday, March 9, 2009
For the six months or so I have been thinking about the church, and its job in the world. My purpose in thinking about the church is to be able to explain the church better to those around me, help them understand their place in the church so we can do more for the cause of Christ together. At Central Church we have broken down the job of the Church (and believers) to a three fold vision:
- Worshiping God
- Loving You
- Reaching the World
We are attempting to make this more and more a part of our church thought process, and infrastructure. We want to be able to say to our people: "There are three things we want you to do as a believer: worship God (attend corporate worship on Sunday mornings), love each other (be a part of a small group to love and be loved), and do your part to reach the world (be involved in service and evangelism inside the church and out). This three fold emphasis makes life easier, makes vision easy to explain, streamlines efforts, and hopefully adds glory and souls to the kingdom. I love this, and am a big supporter of it...but my question is this: "Is our job even more simple than this?"
In my thinking I have taken this three fold approach down to a two sided approach. As believers we should be:
- Worshiping God
- Pushing others toward God
Whenever I share this I feel like there is so much left to explain, but then I remember that there will always be much more to explain. I like this approach for a couple of reasons: 1) This approach mirrors the Great Commandment of Mark 12:28-31. In the Great Commandment there are two sides: God and others, this lets me know that our ministry philosophies should fit into that same vein. We should not have a ministry philosophy that emphasises the human side more than the God side, we should follow the Biblical model and have a two fold model. 2) Encouraging our people to "Push others toward God" is much more general but much more descriptive than other models. As Christians we should push everyone we meet towards God; if we have a conversation with a fellow believer they should be closer to God because of it, if we meet up with a non-believer they should be a step closer to calling on the name of Christ as Savior. We can push others toward God in everything we do, whether it be at church or at work, this can be life! 3) The language used does not intimidate. Most people feel like they can worship God, and most people feel like they can push others a little closer to God, on the other hand they get a little overwhelmed with the thought of reaching the world or even loving everyone. This gives the average Christian something they can hold on to and strive for as they push on toward maturity. If Christians will do these two things on a daily basis the Kingdom will grow exponentially. 4) It is much easier for me to remember 2 points rather than three, though we could just go with the Westminster Catechism which has one point for this....
There are also two things I don't necessarily like about this phraseology: 1) it doesn't necessarily flow off the tongue (not that important I know) and 2) it doesn't mention the name of Christ. I don't ever want to be accused of getting away from a Christ centered Gospel (that is an oxymoron), so I want to use the name of Christ in this, but to this point I haven't.
Here is the point. As Christians we have a job to do. Whether we break it down to three points or two, or even fifty: we have to be obeying the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission. This is the job of the church. As leaders we must streamline our churches so that our people can concentrate on these main things, as Christians we must streamline our lives, getting rid of what is in the way so that we can concentrate on what Christ told us is most important: 1)worship God, and 2) push others toward Christ.