Saturday, October 04, 2014
Friday, October 03, 2014
If Only It Were That Simple
Not allow it to be a replacement for community – It’s easy to post “Happy birthday” or reply “Praying for you” without really doing so. We shouldn’t trade the functions of the Body for an online presence. (Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 10:24)Begins to strike at the heart of the matter. It is easy to get out of line online because you do not have to look anybody in the eye. It is hard to be snide to someone's face, not so much on Facebook. Forgive me for not having a link, but recent studies have indicated that people prefer text messaging and on line communication because it gives them an opportunity to manage their identity. That is about as far from the genuineness demanded of us by Jesus as we can get.
It is a question worth pondering repeatedly - With the global reach that media allows today, why did Christ come when there was no media? The message of Christ can only really be transmitted one-to-one - personally, looking each other in the eye.
How should a Christian behave on line? As if on line is "not real." It is an aid to relationship, but it is not relationship. It is a tool for building something - not the thing of itself. Don;t hide behind it.
on line behavior relationships
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Speaking To Each Other
I want to consider one final question: Why should we speak the truth in love?I think the converse here applies as well - if the body of Christ is not growing IN MATURITY, then it is fair to say not all of the truth is being spoken. That's my problem with so much that is happening in the church today. We keep doping evangelism and then leaving the babies to get by on their own.
Ephesians 4:15 answers the "Why speak the truth in love?" question from another perspective. Consistent with what we have already seen in this chapter, the reason for truth-speaking-in-love relates to the church, the body of Christ: "speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." Truth-speaking-in-love is, in this verse, the primary means by which the church grows to maturity. Such speech enables the church to grow in size, as people hear the good news and put their trust in Christ. Truth-speaking-in-love also enables the church and its people to grow to maturity as we become more Christ-like in thought, word, and deed.
Most church's program of spiritual development anymore consists of "Go make babies." And so the church ends up being babies making babies.
The fact of the matter is that nobody much wants to hear about sin anymore and the key to Christian maturity is to continually look at our sins and deal with them through confession, repentance and asking the help of the Holy Spirit. The truth that we are deep and awful sinners just is not being confronted enough. It is just that simple. And when it is confronted, it is confronted from the "all sin is the same perspective," which is a message about fairness, NOT maturity. Theologically all sin is the same - but when it comes to maturity that simply is not true. As an adult I make many, many mistakes, but they are not the same ones I made when I was in elementary school. There are some sins common to young Christians and some common to more mature Christians and one of the things the church should be trying to do is move of from the sins of the young to the sins of the mature. As oxymoronic as that sounds, that is one view of the spiritual development. That's growing up.
Now, this is not something that can happen from the pulpit - this requires the messy business of getting into peoples lives. And guess what - small groups don't count - more babies leading babies.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
But isn’t it good to know that one of the ways we can show our “radical hospitality” to others is to just sit and quietly listen? To really listen. To sit with another and lend an ear, to give through the silence of a loving and understanding heart, to just BE there for one who is in painHow often do we play host to someone simply as a means to show off. "Look at our cool worship center." "We have the best youth programs." "Our mission focus is unlike any other." Most of the time I think playing host means simply saying, "How are you today," and then genuinely listening.
I have visited a lot of churches in my life and after reading this I have reflected on many of them. The ones that I have liked and tended to return to are not the ones that have spent a lot of time telling me about what they have going on, but have been interested in what I have going on.
I think it's important to understand that we are not talking about therapeutic listening here. This is not some kind of psychological interplay. This is simply showing a real and deep interest in someone. They don't have to unload their burdens, they just have to tell you about who they are, and you have to be interested.
What are you more interested in when you are at church on Sunday morning? What you are doing or what someone else is doing.
hosting listening welcoming
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Growth From Weakness
In 2014, I encourage you to identify and exploit your weaknesses for the glory of Christ.He then goes on to discuss Paul's "thorn in the flesh" passage.
I think Piper has a point, but he also misses the big point. Weakness is in large part about learning there are things we cannot control. Exploitation is all about taking control. Thus "exploiting a weakness" is in some sense oxymoronic. The only way we can really deal with out weaknesses is to lay them at Christ's feet and ask Him to exploit them for us. In the end that is not much of a strategy.
I agree that our weaknesses is one of the things that God uses to help us achieve greater maturity, but I am not at all sure they are exploitable for that end. That does not mean we give into them. Rather it means we give them up.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Are We Odd?
A real Christian is an odd number, anyway.Ron Edmondson lists "9 Great Ways to Be Extremely Strange" and then goes on to list the Fruits of the Spirit.
He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen;
talks familiarly everyday to someone he cannot see;
expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another;
empties himself in order to be full;
admits he is wrong so he can be declared right;...
All of that seems pretty true and right to me. So why do we struggle so hard to culturally relevant? Isn't such the exact opposite of "strange" and "odd"? Just sayin'