Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Self Righteous, Self Serving, Isolationists

So one of the many things I have the privilege of doing is helping tend the Web Store for a friend's band. Recently the band has been challenged by an opportunity to perform in a very public and noteworthy venue. That's prompted some interesting responses from those who claim to be fans. Today, I saw an email from a supposed fan that pushed me over the top.

In his email he was chastising the band for calling themselves a "Christian" band but playing "secular" venues and music. He pointed out verses of Scripture (out of context mind you) which he thought helped him build his case for an isolationist approach to living "the Christian life". What he must have forgotten was the verse which was in his email signature and went out on all of his emails:
" And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. "

—Mark 16:15

How can you "Go" if you stay in the walls? And it actually carries a meaning of "as you are going". How can you preach lest you are in venues that provide and audience for the message? He likens the band to Satan who elected for power and tried to overturn God. He called for them to drop out of the commitment to participate in the venue in order to keep commitments to "the Christian community".

I watched the End of the Spear the other day. First time I'd seen it. One of the things that struck me about the movie was the comment of the dad about the missionaries not shooting the natives if the missionaries were in danger because the natives were not ready to meet Jesus and the missionaries were.

Too bad this guy who sent the email was a missionary who was ready to shoot the missionaries for going to the natives.

Paradigm Shift

From Point "B" to Point "P". I read an interesting article the other day and it had a very descriptive image for my own journey.
A “paradigm shift” of historic and biblical proportions is under way as the shaking of the old gives way to the rise of the new. There is both good news and “bad” news in this new paradigm shift that God is now bringing about. The good news is that God is moving, raising up new paradigms to accomplish His Kingdom purposes, and He invites us to move with Him. The “bad” news is that not everyone who “should” move will move.

I feel Julie and I just beginning to climb out to the Point +1 stage right now but are very excited about what God has in front of us. Notice though... it IS a climb!

The Five Steps of Apostolic Migration

Saturday, December 1, 2007

When The Church Was Young

I'm adding some link categories for stuff I come across that seems to be on the path where God is taking me. I'm not 100% sure where it will end up, but I am 100% sure those comfortable in their weekly rituals of religion will be uncomfortable with where it appears God is taking me. Today I was reading a blog about myths of church as we seem to know it. A book by Ernest Loosley was referenced (which I've ordered to read... it was written in 1935! WOW!) . Here's a quote from the beginning of the book:
"When the church was very young, it had no buildings. Let us begin with that striking fact. That the church had no buildings is the most noticeable of the points of difference between the church of the early days and the church of today. In the minds of most people today, "church" means first a building, probably something else second; but seldom does "the church" stand for anything other than a building. Yet here is the fact with which we start: the early church possessed no buildings and carried on its work for a great many years without erecting any."

—Ernest Loosley, When The Church Was Young

It would be an interesting blog series to do a myths about "the church" we adhere to that just are not there! Hmm... I'll have to consider that one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Being Church 24/7

One of the feeds I get weekly contained five articles. This was part of the first and wow!
Everywhere I go I see people seeking to get the form of church right (even house church) rather than really seeking to re-capture the lifestyle of being the church. I trust that the latter will be the movement we are ultimately part of:

  • Daily adventure of listening to and following Jesus

  • Becoming the expression of Christ everyday, everywhere

  • Filling the earth with His glory

Here's a link to the whole article in PDF. Being Church 24/7

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today's Quote of the Day

So this was the quote of the day served up by my custom home page today:
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isa 53:4-5 NIV

What an amazing phrase I really never was struck by before. I guess I understood the concept and read what it said, not how it said it. Read it again. Wow!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shades of truth in all things...

This morning I was watching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Yoda said:
Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
— Yoda, Starwars III: Revenge of the Sith

It's all about the ___________.

During his ministry, Jesus taught a great deal about the Kingdom of God.
From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God's kingdom was his theme — that beginning right now they were under God's government, a good government! — Matthew 4:23

He often told stories to help people understand what the Kingdom was like.
The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?" He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to the. Whenever someone has a heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create rediness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it." — Matthew 13:10-13

When Jesus sent out the twelve:
Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. " — Matthew 10:5-7

If you read through the four gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry, it quickly becomes clear Jesus' teaching was centered in the Kingdom. He told stories about the Kingdom to spark interest in people's minds which would draw them into a readiness to live a Kingdom-focused life. Questions he was asked would focus on the kingdom(s) of this world. Jesus' answers would bring back into focus his Father's Kingdom.

I just finished reading the teaching plan for a Bible study. It was a typical teaching plan. But I was struck by it's focus. Where Jesus told the twelve to tell people the kingdom is here, I'm realizing so much of today's teaching is church-focused. As if the church has become the kingdom in the eyes of today's supposed believers.
Here's a list of questions the teaching plan suggests the leader ask:
1. What does this passage tell us about the needs and concerns of those who drift away from the church?
2. Why do Christians sometimes stop attending church?
3. What should other believers do in connection with those who drop out of church?

It is subtle but notice we don't ask about the needs of someone who has lost a focus on the Kingdom in their daily life. We don't ask why a person avoids hanging out with fellow Christ Followers. We don't ask what responsibility we have as Christ Followers to find out why our brother or sister is detaching him/her self from family.

Today, we ask people if they go to church anywhere rather than if they know about the Savior. We invite people to church instead of telling them the Kingdom has come. We give sacrificially to build the church. We serve to keep the church going. We have simply equated church=Kingdom. We are plagued with such tunnel vision about our mere piece of the body that we have lost touch with the sense of the Kingdom that Jesus taught. The success of our business enterprise demands that we gain more market share than the other God-business down the street so today's business leaders channel the focus of the people into brand awareness and loyalty.

Step outside your typical mindset for a week. Accept the challenge to be Kingdom-focused for a week. Scrutinize all the talk and teaching and boil it down to what it's all about. Don't merely equate church as Kingdom like we've come to do. At the end of the week reflect back on where it all aimed... Kingdom or just that little piece? Voice it out loud... say "It's all about the ____________" filling in the blank with whatever you discover.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

TIME Magazine - Why Home Churches Are Filling Up

This article from Time magazine was published in Feb 2006.
Or so thinks Jeanine, who two years ago abandoned a large congregation for the burgeoning movement known in evangelical circles as "house churching," "home churching" or "simple church." The week she left, she says, "I cried every day." But the home service flourished, grew to 40 people and then divided into five smaller groups.

"Oops!" — Bill Hybels of Willow Creek

So in a recent blog post (Willow Creek Repents?) it seems some folks are waking up to the fact that their millions of dollars spent to develop Christ Followers is actually not working:
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

Also Greg Hawkins, executive pastor at Willow Creek, in the same article expresses a fundamental change:
Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet.

The multi-billion dollar question is can their "ministries" survive the probable hit when climbing the mountain means some of the lack-luster committed followers don't make the climb. When the kingdoms begin to crumble is there enough resolve to stay the course and continue to build on a new foundation. I'm watching intently!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Little phrases!

Shorter is good. Sinks in more. Makes its point. Here's today's from 1 John 3:
...living in God's reality.

In what reality are you living?

Longmont clerk OKs anti-church petitions

So, put this in the OMGosh! category! And multiple strikes on the OMGosh! scale...
Longmont clerk OKs anti-church petitions

LifeBridge Christian Church plans plan to build a $25 million sports arena, luxury homes, retail space and a mega-church on the property near Union Reservoir.

LifeBridge owns the property but wants to be annexed to Longmont to get help bringing water lines and other infrastructure to the area. The City Council approved the annexation on Aug. 14.

  1. $25 million SPORTS ARENA!?

  2. Luxury homes?!

  3. Retail space and mega-church!?!?

Oh and... they want help bringing water lines and other infrastructure (tax payer funded) but they are tax exempt... please folks you can't have this both ways!

(You may want to stop before this last sentence... this one gets pretty harsh... but there is something in the writings of the New Testament about letting judgement [of the house of God] begin in the house of God by those who are part of the family.) Not to mention how far $25 million could go in helping families and individuals in crises... could Longmont eliminate homeless and poor situations with that money rather than building more places for supposed Christ followers to hide from the world in their own clean community? In another part of the country I'm familiar with two mega-churches are building combined improvements to their buildings around $40 million... and that's in the same community! $40 million spent on luxury space to provide a safe environment for their "members" to fellowship with each other hide away from the very world we're here to influence and help. And all this while their own members sacrifice (dividing a can of beans to feed families of four or more) to give to the building campaigns thinking they are advancing the Kingdom by so doing. Shame on us! Shame on the leaders who have been sucked down the road to believe this is for the Kingdom and pleases God! OMGosh!

1 John 2:6... the same kind of life Jesus lived

"Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived."

...the same kind of life Jesus lived. What does that mean? All of it? Certain pieces of it? This could be the next single-focused reading pursuit!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

All things point to Him!

Several months ago Aaron, one of my fellow followers, explained to me a concept he had been developing a Bible study around. The conversation began with my noting the humor of our friend Ray's synopsis of chick flicks to his wife... it was a very simple and to the point list of three or four things which most every chick flick contained as the marker points of the plot. Aaron's focus took it a little deeper and definitely was on the more serious side of the same subject. I asked Aaron to send to me a written quote of his point. Here it is:
No matter who you are, where you’re from, or what perspective you have in life, all of us can recognize a common theme emerging in the world. We see it in the stories we love, we see it in history, we see it in our own lives. There is beauty and innocence, interrupted by tragedy and sadness, followed by longing for rescue, and hope for a better day. We love the stories best where a hero comes along to set the world right and bring a new day to pass where we return to that place of beauty and innocence again…changed of course…but back home again. That story is older than the middle ages, the roman empire, or even the Bible. It is the story written on the very heart of God…woven into our lives because we were made in His image.

The other evening I was leisurely riding west on Highway 7 in the Brighton CO area (which if anyone knows the area, they would know I was headed toward the gorgeous mountains) as the sun was setting. I was in awe of the picture God was painting before me. I began to think about how things we see, stuff we experience, literally everything we encounter (at least the natural stuff... laws of gravity, workings of the world, etc.) illustrates the creator who spoke it into being if we will only look for Him in those things. They tell us as much about Him and about His ways as do the words of Scripture and as does the life of His Son. So, God... here's lookin' at you!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Cornerstone

This morning I was reading in 1 Peter 2 about Jesus as the cornerstone rejected by men. It's interesting how after you take the filters off you begin to consider applications outside of the ones you've always been taught and to which you've held on for decades. We typically gravitate toward embracing less than what God wants for us.

I read about Jesus being the cornerstone. A cornerstone that God has set as the foundation. A cornerstone "the builders" have rejected.
"Look! I'm setting a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone  in the place of honor.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
will never have cause to regret it...
The stone the workmen threw out
is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it's
a stone to trip over,
a boulder blocking the way."

Wow! As I remember back to Jesus affirming Peter's profession that He was the Christ (Messiah), the son of the living God, I am reminded that Jesus explained to His closest followers that it was upon this realization and profession, which He notes is not revealed by flesh and blood but can only come from God, that His church would be founded.

As I reflect on two millennia's worth of a centralized focus on "building our churches" I'm reminded of the outcry from "God's chosen people" for an earthly king to lead them when God had already revealed Himself time after time as their sovereign and one true God. A God like no other was not enough. We had to have a king like everyone else around us.

Our God took on the form of man so He could reveal to us His true nature and teach us about Himself.  In those days the rulers were kings and the domain over which they ruled were their kingdoms. Jesus explained the truth about God in terms the people could understand. Thus, an ultimate Kingdom with one true King made much more sense to those who lived in a world of kings and kingdoms. John Revell, a friend of mine who is writing a book helped me to think about this in regard to the fact that those of us living in America or similar countries who don't have kings and kingdoms struggle to understand some of the fullness of kingship. Hence, some of the extremely rich understanding we could glean from thinking about God as the ultimate king whose kingdom is unmatched is lost in our lack of familiarity with kings and kingdoms.

It always intrigues me how often new gatherings of Christ Followers shortly after they first gather long to have a building where they can gather; a building they can call their own. In the Old Testament we see a people who, though they already had "a king", were crying out for one like the nations surrounding them had. Likewise, this morning I find myself intrigued that Christ Followers almost always seem anxious to set a cornerstone for an earthly building so they can have their structure like, and be like the other religions that surround them, when they already have a cornerstone unlike any other. Why do we keep exchanging the things not of this world given to us by God for the things of this world? Could it be that this exchange began as early as the first generation of Christ Followers? Could it be that two millenia of established "church" practices are also diluted from the things not of this world given to us by Jesus?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh, the things we say sometimes!

Okay, so I read this in an email newsletter today and had to post about it. You read it and think about it first:
Christ's Original Mandate to Church Leaders

In the beginning, after Jesus had overcome his temptations in the desert, right when He began His public ministry, the apostles Matthew and Mark faithfully recorded the first words of Jesus to the leaders of His Church. 19 And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mt 4.19 & Mk. 1.17 NASB) Jesus was not in the least confused about the Father's strategic plan to advance His Church. His first words carry particular import. They were not just a cute turn of phrase to catch the attention of some professional fishermen. They speak to the very heart of the matter of church leadership.

Now, it's your turn. I see so much to comment on... but why take all the fun myself. What do you agree with and why? Is there anything in this statement with which you take issue and why? I'll comment on your comments along the way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Welcome to MyWalkBlog.com

Some will persecute me for doing so, but after much contemplation I've decided to pull all my spiritual related posts to a separate blog from my personal/family one.

It's part of becoming amphibious and being able to move openly among the a-churched (they just don't care if they are churched or unchurched... they are a-church) without them discovering some of my religion-ramblings which might both scare them off from the relationships we are developing and make them feel I was deceiving them as a zealot-wolf in sheep's clothing.

Everything from here down (older/previous) has been moved from my personal/family blog (the old life|simple one).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Looking In The Media Mirror

How do you converse with people whose language you don't speak? You could always memorize word equivalents and just say stuff in the words they understand. But, having taken a couple of years of German in high school and college I know that's not going to cut it. That would only emphasize how much of a sore thumb you are as a foreigner in someone else's country but it will not help you establish a relationship among people from a different country. I learned you must not only know the words, but be able to put them together correctly to even begin to communicate.My daughter is a Spanish major with a linguistics minor in college right now. This summer she will be fulfilling a requirement to graduate; she will be attending a semester of college in a country whose native language is the language of her major. Again, I've been told for years you don't truly become conversant until you live with the folks who natively speak the tongue for a while. Even our idioms cannot be simply translated word for word with the words in the right order.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with "Looking In The Media Mirror" about now. I read a news byte on TechCrunch (a technology blog) today about GodTube, a new video sharing service launched a couple of months ago. Looking at ourselves in the mirror of others describing us can help us understand just how foreign we seem to them.
Check out TechCrunch.com's perspective on the recently launched GodTube.com and see if anything jumps out at you. What do you see that illustrates a cultural disconnect between where we tend to live as "churched" people and where those who are not "churched" live their lives?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

40,000 Volts

Have you ever read one of those stories that's so amazing you just have to believe it. I just finished reading Dwight Robertson's Plan A. And There Is No Plan B. today. Great book!

Here's on of the stories from it that is amazing!
Frank Clewer had no idea what was happening to him as he walked into a business building in Warrnambool, a small town in the state of Victoria on the southern coast of Australia.

Frank was wearing a wool sweater and a synthetic nylon jacket. As he walked, the two were rubbing togethercreating friction and storing up an electrical charge.

He didn't feel a thing. He was totally oblivious to the electrical current that was building up in his clothing.

Others who were working at the business heard a popping sound, as if firecrackers were going off somewhere inside the building. But they couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from. Frank heard the sounds as well, but even he didn't know it was coming from his own clothing.

Read the rest to learn about the 40,000 volts! I'll let Dwight and the story do the talking on this one. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Persecution of Prosperity

I'm reading Walking with Arthur by James O'Donnell. James, or Jim as he refers to himself in the book, was, in the world's eyes a very successful businessman before becoming an associate-professor and executive in residence at Huntington College in Indiana. As a successful business man his marriage and family were falling apart when he discovered he believed in nothing. He held nothing sacred. Trusted no one. And no one he knew was worth trusting. That was, until he met Arthur.

Here's a great quote from the book (one of many I might add):
My coming to faith back in 1985 led me to serve in ways and places I never imagined. I've been to the third world. I've slung mud and laid brick in the Appalachian hills. I've been to a Jamaican orphanage and Honduran slums. But my heart hurts most for my fellow Christians in prosperous places... where people feel insignificant in spite of all they have.

—James O'Donnell, Walking with Arthur

This resonates with a statement my wife, Julie often recounts which was made in response to her assurance of prayer for a Romanian pastor she visited with while on a mission trip. After detailing the suffering his family and his father's family faced because they chose to be faithful in the face of persecution from a communist government who required they renounce their faith to receive food rations, he expressed his sorrow and prayer for the people of the west (US specifically). "Why," Julie asked. "You have endured so much, and we don't face near what you have to face." His reply put things into perspective. He said, "Because in your country Satan persecutes believers through prosperity. You have so much you don't even recognize the you are being persecuted."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lessons in being attentive to our master

Her name is Lily (or LiLeigh when we originally named her but it was too hard to spell). She's our faithful Springer Spaniel. We love her and she's part of the family. We joke about her role in the family: sleeping, eating, and shedding seem to be her primary role. Only as her owners can we recognize the intonation (Denver, this is for you... the word you taught me) of her barks and immediately know if it's friend or foe pulling into the driveway or walking through the yard.

You can learn a lot from a dog. The other day as I was sitting in the main room in our house enjoying the quiet and a cup of warm coffee she helped me understand something about being attentive to God. I was in a chair and she was close by resting. Her eyes were closed (this time she wasn't snoring but that's another post) and she was still. I adjusted my head slightly to look her way. I swear I didn't make a sound. But in the mere movement of my head turning toward her she snapped to, eyes fixed on me, anxious for any instruction I might give to her. It was far from the first time this has happened. As a matter of fact, it's hard to sneak any movement past her (unless she's snoring but that's another post). Time after time, movements large and small, she's ready to jump and run to fulfill the desires of her master.

In that moment her passion to serve me as her master stunned me. God spoke to me in the silence of that moment about the attention and expectancy with which I am to be watching for His work around me and ready to respond. Even if my reason for moving at that moment did not have her in mind she still responded by intently watching and waiting for the least hint of beckoning her. She was ready. Ready to please her master.

I'm amazed at how often those who profess to have been believers for years express an inability to experience God moving in their lives. When you talk about seeing God at work around you they look at you like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. If we know Him, but are not attentive to Him, could He be working all around us and we never notice (maybe we are snoring but that's another post). How can we ever jump to fulfill the desires of the heart of our Master if we are not passionately attentive to Him and what He is doing? God, I want to be that expectantly attentive to You and what You are doing in and around me!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Today's Quote — March 12, 2007

Okay, so I'm continuing to read Plan A. And There Is No Plan B. and today I come across what I'm pretty sure will be the key thought and central theme of the book:
People's spiritual lives simply cannot be mass-produced.

They're developed one life at a time through a slow process of relational transfer that cannot be bypassed through mass-production ministry.

Let me say it again: You cannot mass-produce Kingdom laborers.

—Dwight Robertson, Plan A. And There Is No Plan B.

Wow. Wow! WOW!

Dwight uses several illustrations, but the best begins toward the bottom of page 86 and ends toward the top of 87. I think I'm going to become a checkers player and armed with my checkers set and a bag of salt challenge many of today's pastors and church staff to a game so I can illustrate this (or try to).

Friday, March 9, 2007


Read this today in my through the NT with a singular focus reading. It's off my topic, but I just thought it was well put:
Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

1 Corinthians 10:12 The Message

In today's self-help culture it's a good reminder for believers to remember the source of our foundation.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

What God sets in motion

I'm reading Plan A. And There's No Plan B. by Dwight Robertson of Kingdom Building Ministries. It is a great book so far and one that really nails much of where I find myself along the journey right now. A portion I read today touched on something that's been dominating much of my God-thoughts lately:
What could God set in motion through your daily acts of obedience? Are you missing the chance to set off a chain of events because you are not listening to His voice?

Do you ignore His leading because you can't see far enough down the road to what He ultimately wants to accomplish through your obedience?

Remember you may not understand why He's asked you to do something at the time you are doing it....

That's what God can do when His laborers commit themselves in obedience to follow His lead—in the moment and along the way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A friend calls it being amphibious...

Paul said (emphasis mine):
19 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: 20 religious, nonreligious, 21 meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, 22 the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. 23 I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 The Message

Saturday, February 10, 2007

God does not live in a building called the church!

SWERVE is the blog of LifeChurch.tv who has among their physical campus satellites an Internet Campus. One of the blog's contributors, Bobby Gruenewald, who is Pastor, Innovation Leader on their staff, recently posted "God does not live in a building called the church!" about his interview with a news reporter.
A reporter asked me recently, “Bobby, aren’t you concerned that having people go to church on the Internet would somehow take away or change the ‘God experience’ that people get at a church?”

My answer was “I hope so”.

In response to the post on SWERVE, a reader named Adrian commented... "I think another concern people might have with an Internet church is that if the Internet church was enabling a consumerism approach, meaning people just went to the church to get their God-fix and leave, then a person can totally avoid dealing with fellowship."

"...get their God-fix..." Isn't that really what we see now through the vast majority of "churches" across the US? (I can't speak to other countries because I don't have the first hand experience like I do with US ones) There are more churches, offering more, to more people than ever before in history. We hear a great deal about all the change that is happening in the lives of people who go to church. We have the greatest resources we've ever had in the history of the world being applied to the "Christian community" and yet other than more people coming to church and people coming to church more often there seems to be little life-change occurring in the lives of those coming. Show me the fruit. Why are there so many who have come for so long so consistently but live un-changed lives -- living useless and unfruitful lives (2 Peter 1:8)? When did the measurement for growth in the life of a believer become less about adding to their faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love instead of adding service to their attendance at religious meetings? When did the context for the faithful become more about what we do inside the walls of a building than how we live outside the building? I think I've read this story when I was a kid. When does someone stand up and scream that the Emperor has no clothes?!

So I'm wondering... when did the fork in the road occur where the Body of Christ (the Church) began to focus more on a kingdom of/for man rather than the worldwide family initiated by Jesus, united by one Spirit, gathering wherever and whenever they had opportunity?
I read the other morning from Romans 9:
"And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. 32How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road."

Have we become so involved in our own "God projects" that we don't notice God busy all around us all the time in the lives of everyone we encounter and miss those "church" moments that occur throughout every day, all day when two or more are gathered? Do we spend so much of our time feeding the organization of man that we can't be the body out among the unbelievers?

Wow! I guess I've said more than enough. I think most people who are concerned over an Internet church being "churchy" enough don't really understand what the body of Christ is. I am totally for believers gathering... on the Internet, across the fence in their backyards, or at the local Starbucks. I simply believe that true (growing) believers who spend some of their time with other believers together online will not hold to that online time as their only "church gathered experience. Any intentional as well as coincidental ("as you are going" Matt 28:19) gatherings seem to meet the non-forsaking principle to me!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Prosperity? Complete charge of your financial picture?!

pocketgear header

Any fellow believers take issue with the premise of this advertisement? Or should I say the viewpoint that spawns it? Unfortunately, it's a viewpoint that has permeated the Body of Christ and is seldom questioned. We even teach courses through the institutional church to help believers become prosperous by taking control of their finances.

Oh, I know... there's purpose to being financially prosperous. It's usually enveloped within the potential to give more to the work of the Kingdom. But fundamentally, foundationally, at the core of a walk aligned spiritually is our trust centralized in our Father (a friend would say our Daddy) not only as owner of all the cattle on a thousand hills, but also as the loving provider for His children.

Is it God's will for us to be financially free? Is it God's will for us to build wealth for the future? Is it God's will for us to be wealthy? Could be, but not necessarily for every believer. Strike that... It IS His will for every believer to be financially free, just not the way we tend to think of it. Is it God's will for us to seek Him over stuff? Is it God's will for us to consistently spend time with Him thereby developing an enduring deep relationship with Him? Is it God's will for us to have a correct perspective of the things of this world and the reality of His Kingdom? Yes. Yes! YES!

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths." That last part in some translations say He will make your way prosperous. If you are pursuing financial peace this year, please accept the challenge to pursue God at least as much as you pursue wealth. He doesn't need your financial help. You DO need the relationship He pursues with you.

Proverbs 3:5,6

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Secret To Life... Just One Thing

Little did I know how true this favorite scene would prove to be in my life. As a senior in high school at our baccalaureate service the speaker read and talked about Proverbs 3:5-6:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

This is a just one thing passage. The secret to taking the right path is all about in whom trust is placed.

Then, there was Psalm 37:4:
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.

Another just one thing passage discovered in college which helped lay out the secret to life. The temptation in considering this passage is to place the emphasis on the latter part... the getting the desires of our heart. But if one begins with taking delight in the Lord the desire of our hearts will be aligned with what God wants for us. And what father doesn't long to give his children that which is the desire the child's heart?

Now, as I have been doing my just one thing approach to reading through the New Testament (with a singular focus for discovering specifically what is said or not said about a particular theme of God's work in and around you, reading through Matthew to Revelation with no particular pace in mind except reading a little every day) seeing what appears to be the central theme, or just one thing, of Jesus' teaching: there are two ways to look at life - the typical and the way God intends.

The secret to life? Just one thing! Look at the world the way the Father looks at the world as you watchfully follow Jesus' example of doing only what He saw His Father doing.