Monday, November 22, 2004

The church was given us by God and was intended for all people in all cultures. He (God) kept the model simple so that it would fit any setting. The church is an assembly of believers in a given area united in worship of God and support of each other. Organization is likewise simple. A cadre of servant leaders drawn from the assembly who demonstrate spiritual maturity, as spelled out in scripture, are charged with maintaining doctrinal orthodoxy and direction for the group.

Historically, the church was also identifiable. This was due in part because of our group worship. It was also largely a result of the church being out of step with contempory culture (as the church should always be). Being maladjusted has its advantages. Differences are noticed. When those differences are the fruit of the indwelling Spirit of God people may just be drawn to them.

Every time the church has attempted to fit into the culture, it became something other than what God had ordained. When that happens people lose. They lose the truth and ultimately life itself, for life is only found in Jesus. They have no where to turn.

Why is this important? When was the last time a stranger knocked on your door looking for rescue from a shattered life? That happens all the time at church.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Man, so many people out here seem to be down on anyone different. I don't like the attitude of the person in the fancy car next to me! How do you know what they are thinking? Suburban mind sets are inferior to urban. By what standard? The established church is missing the point and being out classed by technology. Did you get that from God? Bildad and Zophar have spoken and here comes Elihu with the closer.

Hey, I have lived in both. As a point of fact, I have lived in the uptown and downtown urban scene, the rural (as in farming country) outback and deepest darkest suburbia. I find a common issue with each one. There are people who really love Jesus and people who love themselves. Let's not push past that by speaking words without knowledge.

There does seem to be a geographical relationship in the different way individuals express their arrogance. Some areas appear to promote an elitist approach to their egocentristic judgments on us of the unwashed class. Others disguise their self-righteousness as concern for the misguided. Sometimes as prayer requests. The reality is that all of it springs from the same well and the water is bitter.

The followers of Christ are commanded to "love one another as I (Jesus) love you." Romans 5 explains that kind of love. Jesus loved us and died for us while we were useless, sinners and enemies of God. The tenderness and compassion Jesus has for the people around us is every bit as intense as it was that day He raised the son of the widow of Nain. Luke 7:11

Man, if I could just love like that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Two of the longest epistles in the New Testament were written to a group of believers who believed they had moved beyond the mainstream church. They in their wisdom had achieved such a high point in their spiritual formation that conventions of the established church no longer applied. Indeed they had entered a spiritual kingdom age having become rich and reigning kings ahead of even the Apostles. The church at Corinth was a pace setter in their day.

We know we don't do church the way most people think we should or we would have only one in town. I don't even think my church does it the way I would like it done all the time. We sometimes sing songs I don't like. The music can be a bit loud at times. The parking is often a hassle. While most of the people are great, some of the ones who lead are; well where did we get these guys.

Oh yeah, and Ephesians 4:1-16 is still true. Philippians 2 still calls out the message of Christ likeness in us. Church is not about me. It is about God and US. We are united in the Holy Spirit. Love is not a feeling it is an act. I can not withhold what God has gifted me to provide nor can I be all that He wants me to be without the same from you.

Monday, November 08, 2004

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:25,26

Every generation seems to have the need to go through some push back on the conventions of the prior one. Sometimes it is a violent rebellion while at others it is a subtle more harmless challenge to fashion or style. Christians are not immune to this tendency and that is generally a good thing. It is, however; not without risks. When the taste of free will seduces us into pushing against boundaries that God has set, it crosses a line we must not approach.

Is the church as we know it becoming obsolete? I see tendencies in some blogs that suggest that idea is being revived from those heady days of the early 70's. Has technology allowed us to go one better than God? We no longer need to associate in the traditional sense of church. The authoritative structures of the church only seem to keep replicating everything we don't like, we lack the freedom to be who we are. Pastors who don't blog are missing out on what is happening.

Of course there may be some bumps in the road to deal with. There is the problem of the Holy Spirit and His desire for unity. He also continues to impart the spiritual gift of pastor/teacher on men He gives to the church. And then there is the old conflict between the natural man and the new man created in Christ. Does God really want us to be ourselves? Galatians 5:16 seems to suggest otherwise.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Since I broke my rule on politics, I guess I can break my rule on personal matters as well.

Just two days from now I will have the privilege of officiating at my eldest son's wedding. He will cross the line from my family into his own. The scripture notes this as a cutting away or leaving the one to form the other. This is about the only real ceremony we have left in western society to mark the passage into manhood.

Unfortunately it has little to do with helping a boy become a man. I get to see the other side and find all too often that we have boys masquerading as men in their role as husband. Men keep their word, boys keep their toys. Men can be trusted, boys need to be watched. A man loves his wife without reservation or expectation of reciprocation. A man loves because he said he would. A boy loves his wife if.....

I have no desire to ever conduct a wedding between a boy and woman.

My son, the pledge you make to your wife this Saturday will forever be the measure of you as a man. I know who you are and know that you are up to the challenge of being the man God wants you to be. You know how to stand when everything tells you to flee. I have seen you face yourself as you are and seek to change what you see. Failure is not a stranger to you, nor is the desire to quit when you fall. But, I have never seen you submit to either.

I am honored that you and Kimberly will allow me to unite you in your new life together.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Conspiracies, the realm of black helicoters and tin foil hats, are strangly attractive things. Amazingly, the more bizzare the better. The reality is that conspiracies seldom hold together. There is something in human nature that hates a secret. The truth always comes out. If you are one who believes otherwise, try telling your most scandalous secret to 5 of your most trusted friends and see if it holds.

Well, I did not want to say anything political here, but the flesh is weak. Many speculate that low morals, rejection of God, abortion or any of a myriad of cultural trends will be the down fall of our nation. I suspect it will be a much simpler cause. Yesterday, 48% of the votes cast were for the canidate endorsed by our enemies. Last week Usama Bin Laden offered security to the states that voted against our sitting president and 55.4 million people (knowingly or not) aligned their vote with his offer.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A good insight into how strongly our opinions and presuppositions shape our beliefs can be found in the conspiracy launched by the priesthood/Sadducees to cover up the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To see this you need to look at Matthew chapter 28 verses 11-15 and Acts 4:1-22. It is not too much to read so take a look.

The key points are that when Matthew wrote his recollection of Jesus' life some 20-30 years after the resurrection, the official story was based on the conspiracy recorded in his book. The guards were bribed to cover up what they had seen and claim the apostles stole Christ's body.
The events of Acts 4 took place 2 months after the resurrection and even though the official version was the theft, the priest did not use it on the apostles. Why?

I suggest it was because both parties knew is was not true and both parties knew the other side knew this. Strong proof that the priest and Sadducees knowing suppressed the truth to protect their political positions.

If they could purposely practice such self deception should we not be very careful to make sure we have a rational basis for what we believe? Fashionable skepticism may be cool, but it can kill you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Some of the things I have noticed lately is the way we react to the political news and ads this election season presents us with. Objectivity does not seem to play a very big role in the response. I find that I am more likely to reject out of hand negative comments about the people I support than ones directed at the other side. I am not alone. People seem to decide what they want to believe first, then filter the information based on their position rather than some objective measure like truth.

In this we are no different than the Sadducess who refuse to accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The evidence of scripture strongly suggests those men did in fact know that Jesus walked out of that grave. However, they refused to let go of their belief structure cultivated around a very different Messianic expectation.

I want to keep this short, so I'll explain the evidence tomorrow.

OK, I have decided to start this thing up again and blog away. Mostly because of some of the things I have been reading on other's blogs. I feel the need to react. So, if anyone out there still checks in from time to time, I'm back.

One of the things I don't like about blogging is the focus on self. Take my statement above, sounds a bit arrogant does it not. There are much more important ideas to exchange our thoughts on. That is what makes them so ugh-lee

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