Saturday, July 27, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Sometimes, We Should Drop The Metaphors
In many ways, I believe every trip to the local grocery store is what every trip to local church should be. Folks from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, carrying all sorts of stress and burdens with them, coming to a place based on a deeply primal need: to seek the sustenance of grace, the Bread of Life, and to meet a creative need to make our worship interesting.But sometimes I cannot help but think that we should just drop the metaphors and learn to deal with things on their own terms. I can think of far more ways that churches and groceries stores are not alike than they are alike. Number one being one goes to the store to consume, one goes to church to BE consumed. (Think about it.)
Too often metaphors become our guidance instead of an illustration. I certainly think that is true in the application of marketing to churches these days. The market metaphor only works so far.
In some businesses, it is marketing that drives product development. What is the public looking for? - Go figure out how to make it. The church's product has not changed in centuries. That is a bog difference we often ignore. The church is unique in history. Perhaps we should embrace its uniqueness.
church marketing unique
Please forgive the profanity and off color stuff, it's just too funny.
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Thursday, July 25, 2013
GIVE ME A BREAK!
When it comes to people being saved, it all hangs on what they believe. So when it comes to teaching, heaven and hell are in the balance.I thought Piper et al. were Calvinists?!
I do not need to discuss this theologically, let's just look at it practically. For most of the history of Christianity, the majority of people were illiterate. Are they not saved? OK, OK - they don't have to read to believe, but then where is the belief line? Is it impossible for those that do not believe homosexuality is a sin to be saved? I know far too many that think Christ demands acceptance of the homosexual? I know far too many homosexuals that believe Christ will save them.
What in the world is belief anyway? I doubt people this hardcore are going to uby into the whole deathbed confessional thing, so belief must be for some period of time? Oh and then there is the fact that I know all sorts of people that can explain my beliefs better than I can - some who do not believe. Is simply announcing ones beliefs sufficient?
The point of this post is that teaching matters and when one undertakes to teach in a church, one should be serious about it. That's a good point, but this is a bit too much, don't cha think?
belief faith salvation teaching
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Grace Too Far?
5) Here’s one always sure to get a rise out of evangelicals. “Once you are justified by faith, you can do what you want. And if you want to do all the things you did before you knew Jesus, then you just don’t get it.” The idea that we can do what we want just gets everyone nervous. But what is the alternative? Being somehow forced to do what we don’t want to do? I sin because parts of me still want to sin. I obey Jesus because parts of me really want to do that. It’s a bummer. (Read Romans 7) I believe there is some hope the situation will change, but not until I’m dead! The prodigal came home and did what he wanted. So did the woman in John 8 who Jesus said he didn’t condemn. So did Peter when he denied Jesus and then repented.
6) How does grace change us? The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, the mind of Christ, new affections. We are changed and the promises of sanctification and perseverance are true. But the law can’t PRODUCE anything worthwhile in my life as a Christian. It’s either there because Jesus is my treasure and I choose him over the world and the flesh, or it’s not worth being there at all. The law can really do a great job on the externals, but grace gives me Jesus and only cares about fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. Sorry to all the preachers and Christians trying to control people. I suggest you give up.This is all true stuff, but there is one risk to grace, that iMonk does not touch on and that is grace extended to point that there is no maturity. It is true we cannot control people, but we can demand better from our leaders. Grace may give you a passing grade. But then there are higher grades than merely passing. Certainly we should demand such grades from those that lead us?
And yet, when I hear of a problem in our leaders, all I hear is grace. As iMonk noted, Peter repented. That is not actually that high a bar for and above average grade if you think about it, but we rely o grace to ignore even that low bar it so often seems.
Like all of God's fantastic message, the message of grace can be warped.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I found it deeply troubling. My parents would have had better control of me than to ever let something like that happen, and if they both had had a heart attack and were so prevented from preventing me the punishment I would have taken after they recovered would have been extraordinary. But even more troubling to me is the fact that even as a small child, I was being taught to respect some thing and situations and I was taught WHY to respect them.
I think about how we structure services. When I was young and pastors wore robes and there was lots of stuff that seemed less accessible I would not dare dream of something like that. The very form and appearance was something that one was a bit taken aback by - there was simply insufficient familiarity to dream of a field trip up front.
A sermon is supposed to be a declaration f the word of God - that is not something that should be approachable in the fashion of this child.
We've lost something.
awe church reverance
Monday, July 22, 2013
There Is A Difference
...our call is to be faithful, not stupid.I like that a lot. To often people view faith as a reason not to think, when just the opposite is the what is really entailed. Faith should in fact make us smart.
Consider - Jesus took twelve regular blue collar guys and changed the word. Until Paul got involved, after Jesus' resurrection, none of the core guys were well educated types. But they were smart enough to change the world - start a movement that eventually brought the Roman Empire to its knees. That's pretty doggone smart.
Too often we go to church and we turn our brains off. We design worship services that are all about the absence of intellectual activity.
Christ calls us to improve every aspect of our lives. That includes our intellectual lives. Time to pick up a book without pictures.