Saturday, October 31, 2015
Friday, October 30, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
A fire near our home consumed a large warehouse. The next day, on the edge of the road, beside the smoldering ruins, a note scrawled in green chalk on a charred piece of wood declared, “WE’RE STILL OPEN!”I read that and I understand what he is driving at, but there is a difference between "letting it go" and cock-eyes optimism. I have seen too many churches do "faith budgets" only to end up in bankruptcy to think otherwise. Indeed, we are not to hold tightly to the things of this world, but at the same time, we cannot presume on God's grace to supply an abundance of material resources.
Hear Jesus saying, “Let it go! Whatever it is that binds you in pleasure or sorrow, let me have it and I’ll show you my glorious kingdom.” Whatever you gain or lose, stay open to Jesus, and you will be blessed.
True trust has to it an elements of humility. You trust God to give you what you need, but you do not presume it. True trust involves an element of risk. Without risk, there is no actual trust, no element of faith involved. God wants our total dependence, like a child - not like a adult. If you violate trust with an adult, the adult moves on, but if you violate trust with a child, the child simply turns back to you and asks again - they have no where else to turn.
If you have somewhere else to turn, you are doing it wrong.
faith presumption trust
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
No Wasted Time
Let the unremarkable years of Genesis speak to you. A few days of your life are remarkable, containing events and experiences where you see God’s providence with startling clarity and when your faith and life course are indelibly and memorably shaped. But the vast majority of your days — likely a day like today — will pass into obscurity unrecorded and irretrievable to your memory. But though today may be unremarkable, it is not unimportant. It is unique, priceless, and irreplaceable.I look at the last sentence in that pull quote and I note that most of the uses to which time is being put are about someone else. And then I ask myself about my memorable days - are they when I was an agent to help someone else, or are they when something happened to me?
Today God is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Today God is at work in you to advance toward completion the good work that he began in you (Philippians 1:6). Today, though unseen and unfelt by you, God is at work in every detail of your history and experience and the history and experience of possibly thousands of others, to bring about answers to your long-requested prayers, to open the door that seems impossibly closed to you, to turn the prodigal homeward, to save your hard-hearted loved-one, to deliver you from the affliction, or to make you an unexpected, remarkable means of grace to someone else.
Self-centeredness is a hard habit to break, and yet it is, I believe, the principle thing that Christ seeks to transform in us. One of the things I am reminded of is that if I spend my time concentrating on someone elee's issues, I have less time to worry about my own. That does not mean I try and dominate the life of the other, it simply means that if I work to make the check out girl at the grocery store smile, I usually walk away smiling too. And the day is a little more memorable.
So. to what use are you putting your time?
other time use
Monday, October 26, 2015
Beyond The Consumer Model
We had a young post-college 24-year old girl whose brother was a member of our church. She moved to D.C. after graduation and worshiped with us a couple times and then suddenly disappeared. I believe she visited a number of other churches because she was put off by our liturgical dynamic. It wasn’t her background. Things that aren’t familiar can take a learning curve. Then gradually she started ducking back into our services. I sat down to have coffee with her and she said, “It just clicked that everything you do, you do for a reason. The reason isn’t just to get people in the door. The reason is not to attract a crowd. There is a well thought-out rationale and purpose.”Background: Lee pastors church that he plated that practices traditional Reformed liturgy in its worship.
I am sure that the marketers will analyze this in the standard niche marketing terms. But I wonder, 50 or 100 years from now, what churches will have had the greatest lasting impact? I love that line, "There is a well thought-out and rationale and purpose." What is going to last?
I think the church has largely given up strategic thinking for tactical thinking. We keep trying to win battles and we are losing the war. If nothing else, when we give up our liturgical culture we hand ourselves over to the popular culture and when we do so, something really awful happens. Soon the church begins to consider thing that scripture plainly says are wrong as normal. And then where are we?
I mourn for the church right now.
church lasting liturgy