Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Be that as it may, the reliability of God's physical universe and our certainty about when this convergence will next happen, reminds us of the complete reliability of God and of His Word, which does not change,...It is so easy to confuse "relevance" with change. So subtlety do we alter God's Word when we seek to make it relevant to today.
Here's what really concerns me - it's not about making church, the Bible, God's Word relevant to us today - it's about us making ourselves relevant to God. Our entire approach to this whole thing is backward - at its root is the ultimate sin - the assumption that God exists to serve us when in fact we were created to serve Him.
I wonder often if we do not do things in precisely the wrong order when we seek to bring people to Christ through an appeal to self-interest. Indeed, coming to Christ may be the most self-interested thing any person can do, but the motivation in the end is not self-interest - it's coming back into the created order.
We have developed such a perverse sense of our own self-interest that the appeal is no longer useful. And therein I think lies the the real crux of the culture question. We formerly had a cultural in which self-interest was subject to something larger than ourselves. Such is no longer true; therefore, no one gets the gospel as we present it becasue it does not serve a self-interest that simply has no vision of something greater than itself.
This situation is not new in history. As Mark points out, it was all but the Hebraic world for eons. We need to learn to appeal to a different thing in people than we ever have in our lifetimes.
When we can help people understand that they are not the center of the universe, then we will have become truly relevant.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The Lord Is Good
Thanks Be To God!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
How NOT To Lead
Sadly, I see it all the time. This pastor suffered from the same temptation any pastor faces. His number one problem in my opinion: He was leading in isolation. He had no one on the inside of his life who knew him well enough to know when something was wrong and could confront him when necessary.I've said it, pastors need accountability, but there is something flawed in this set-up -- one cannot "lead in isolation." Leadership, by definition, involves being amongst people.
There is a distinction that has left the church in many way and that is the difference between leadership and management. One can manage an enterprise fairly well in relative isolation. There will be weaknesses to be sure and this is where Edmundson's points come in. But LEAD - never.
Almost anyone with the training can manage an enterprise and make some things happen, But leadership is about convincing people that the enterprise is worthwhile, that their role in the enterprise is important and then motivating them to play that role to the absolute hilt. Leadership is rare - and since it is all about moving people, it cannot happen in isolation.
The church today seems to be running on a model of build it and work with who comes. In the case of evangelical churches, is running through and work with who sticks. That's good management - but it ain't leadership.
A leader would go get people and move them enough to come and then motivate them to stay. And somehow that strikes me more as evangelism than just trying to walk them through the door.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Hope, my two year old, is constantly on to new things. It is not uncommon for her to climb up on my lap with a book, signaling for me to read to her. It is also not uncommon for her to climb down from my lap when I'm not even halfway through, only to get a different book or be entertained by something else that caught her eye. She is distractible, even when I pour myself into engaging her with a semi-theatrical portrayal of the book's content, attributing different animated voice inflections to different characters. This can be disheartening for the performer (me).I have never connected Eph 4:14 with the activites of a two-year-old before, I think that is an amazing insight. LAcine goes on to say that the local church should be the anchor that we use to have that mature focus.
However, I must remind myself that this is normal activity for a two year old. She is trying to get her hands into everything to figure it out, beginning to process the world around her.
With the mature it is different. They have trained their faculties to be focused, to go in one direction. Christians that are tossed to and fro in multiple different directions, like a two year old constantly being distracted by something more colorful, will struggle to be directional enough to make an impact as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
The local church is a stabilizing and protective force. It helps us to grow up so that we can move steadily in one direction, the right direction, bearing gospel fruit with our lives.How many local churches are that way? How many instead chase the latest fad like the two-year-old bored with the book not yet finished?
Another analogy just popped into my head. Lower forms of life, take reptile for example - give birth tot heir young and abandon them. Those birthed must grow to maturity on their own - if they survive at all. Mammals on the other hand, of which humans are a member - nurse their newborns. The highest form of mammalian - us - nurse their young later into life than any other species.
Yet so much of what passes for the church these days seems to behave downright reptilian - they love to birth 'em, but then they turn 'em lose.
Sad, sad, sad.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Politics Daily talks about pastors and whine, whine, whine - cry, cry, cry.God may have rested on the seventh day, but for a growing number of his ministers, there is more work -- and stress -- than ever, and less chance to unwind. That has led to all sorts of health problems among clergy, from a lack of exercise and a rise in obesity to problems of depression and substance abuse and all the many ills of modern life that pastors spend so much time helping their congregants tackle.
Indeed, even as the folks in the pews head off to vacations this summer, priests, rabbis, pastors and ministers of all faiths often find themselves looking after those left behind and still in need of spiritual support, or using any down time to catch up on the inevitable backlog of administrative work that always takes second place to the care of souls.OK - some straight talk.
A lot of pastors coming to the job looking for validation or adoration or approval, or anything besides working out God's calling on their lives. So they come with a lot of these problems built into their lives long before they get the job.
Secondly, it is not up to the pastor or individual to have the strength for the job - it is up to God to provide the strength and for them to appropriate it. That's what the Holy Spirit is all about.
Thirdly - the decidedly non-denominational approach to the job is a huge part of the problem. Think about it.
Pastors work hard and they bear many burdens, but so do the rest of us. Most pastors I know have parishioners that work much harder. Few pastors I know put in more hours than I do, and those that do are highly disorganized, and that is the problem, not the workload.
But mostly I think anybody that whines this much does not have the Holy Spirit. Christ went to the cross and never said a word to the apostles other than "pray with me" - the rest of it was between Him and God.
Think about that the next time you want to complain about your workload.