Archive for the ‘Church Life’ Category

Not One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

November 6, 2007

Double negatives are acceptable when the word-of-faith folks are involved…

 It looks like some folks in Congress are questioning the finances of a few of our more affluent pastors and their lady friends.

 From CBS News

 al sends

Before David Posts Something Edifying…

August 26, 2007

Here is Rick Warren:

40 Ways to Increase Baptisms

# 20. Publicize the baptisms with posters around your church. Elicit “one line” testimonies from people who have been baptized, take an 8×10 photo of that person, and mount their photo and quote on a 2’x3’ foam board sign. Put this on a tri-pod in a visible area after the service where people can sign-up to be baptized.

Let the “its all about me” theme take root.

# 25. Always have the baptism pool warm and chlorinated before services.

This is particularly funny to me because all of my children were baptized when the heater in the baptismal pool was broken.  One daughter even cried, driving many away from obedience I am sure.

# 37. Give a follow-up booklet, a button, and a free gift for those who obey Christ’s command to be baptized.

I suggest cash.  Nothing says devotion like a Benjamin!

#39. When baptizing grade school children, have the baptizing pastor hold their hands lifted high after they come out of the water, like you would with a winner in game.

If possible have Queen’s “We are the Champions” or the theme from Rocky playing in the background.  Follow this up with a screening of the movie Beaches or Rudy.

Ahhh… Baptists.

al sends (HT: What?… Um via David M.)

Can You Love the Man While Questioning His Church?

August 23, 2007

I read Mike Adams’ column on Townhall.com.  Here is a guy who knows how to use satire while speaking to those in authority.  His biting criticism of the American university system, with its hard left politics and its humanist, feminist, anti-life, anti-real education agenda, hits its target with laser guided precision.  I highly recommend him to you. 

In this weeks column Mike addressed the emotional damage caused by casual physical relationships.  In the column he provides a link to his church.  Mike is a Christian and possesses a thoroughly Christian worldview, which is why I am so surprised by his church’s statement of faith.  Specifically, I am surprised by the last paragraph and more specifically by the last sentence of the last paragraph.  Here is that paragraph:

“Scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she is ultimately responsible. We believe the Statement of Faith to be an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches. All members shall refrain from advocating doctrines that are not included in the Statement of Faith in such a way as to cause dissension.”

Their statement of faith totals a little over 1000 words in eight headings (this paragraph makes up one of the eight headings).  So, they believe their eight paragraphs are an accurate statement of what scripture teaches and when you become a member you must refrain from advocating any doctrine that is not included in this document.  

I don’t know what they mean by the phrase “in such a way as to cause dissension”  but I am guessing that the threshold is pretty low.  Just a bit of observation from a guy who pastors a much smaller church 🙂

al sends

Pensacola Christian College… a Missions Sending Organization?

August 17, 2007

This from the Tom in the Box News Network…  A disturbing trend to be sure.

Read it for yourself

al sends

Love Me Some Baptist Preaching!

August 15, 2007

Loving his family and the church… I hope our less than family friendly Presbyterian Churches hear this man of God.

The Centrality of the Home by Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr.

al sends

Discrepancies

July 18, 2007

I passed the 1st Apostolic Oneness Pentecostal Church in our little town and saw this on their church sign:

15 Baptisms and 10 Filled with the Holy Ghost.

And two things crossed my mind…

1) Oh, how sad! The five who didn’t get the Holy Ghost filling thingy, must be terribly upset.

2) That there is a remedy for this discrepancy. Tom in the Box, linked to the right, has developed just what they need. Take a look:

Do you ever find yourself on Sunday mornings, tired, depressed, down and out? Ever feel like you just can’t “get into the spirit” of the worship? Do the songs seem dull and repetitive? Are you just plain lousy at speaking in tongues? Now there’s help.

Spiritryl is a new specially formulated all-natural supplement to boost your religious fervor. Just one dose of Spiritryl and you’ll be the most spiritual and worshipful person in your congregation, GUARANTEED!

The Spirit Filled life aint easy, but now there’s a pill that can help.

al sends

Trinitarian, Missional, Festal

July 14, 2007

The Trinity is the first society. Before the world began, before ever there was an earth or man to inhabit the earth, there was God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit dwelling in an everlasting bond of fellowship that we call covenant.

The covenant is an eternal bond of union, communion, and self-giving love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of the three divine persons eternally relates to the other two in peace and humility. The Bible tells us that God has graciously and sovereignly chosen a people to be drawn into communion with the divine family. These people are the church. Believers and their children are made members of the covenant through Jesus Christ, the eternal Son incarnated in human flesh. We enter into this covenant through baptism. Then this union gives way to communion, celebrated in our weekly partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

What does it mean to be a Christian? It is many things, but at the center is to be a part of this people chosen to be welcomed into the society of the Trinity. To be a Christian is not merely an individual affair. It is to be part of the communion of saints – the one holy catholic and apostolic church we confess, that is this people whom God has chosen for fellowship with Himself in the bonds of His covenant love.

The church is Christ’s body, the presence of Jesus the Head in the world, participating in His incarnation and furthering the redeeming purpose of God in the world. The church is Christ’s bride, being made ever more beautiful and lovely as she is prepared for the great feast that awaits her at her wedding day still to come. The church is a thriving olive tree with many thriving branches vitally joined to it that is growing to fill the whole earth. The church is a building rising on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and being built stone by living stone until it rises to be an eternal house of worship for the triune God.

All of this truth about the covenant and the sacraments and the metaphors of body, bride, vine, and building all speak of corporate realities, of the church as a people being welcomed into fellowship with the Trinity. To be a Christian is to be part of the community of God in the world.

This is to repeat something that I have said again and again. The good life that we are sent to embody in the world is corporate. It is communal. And that kind of life is a rebuke to the individualism and privatized faith of our day that we have accepted from modernity. Too often the church has been domesticated by American culture, rather than embodying and announcing a new way to be human under the triune God’s reign. But our task must be finding ways to rediscover how to live the good life in community together as a way of showing to the world what it means to be in right relationship with God and to live life as God intended. That is being a missional community.

Consider the place of feasting in the Christian life and the life of the church. The good life is lived at its best during times of celebration and feasting. Can you imagine a feast of one? One solitary hermit celebrating a feast of his own making? The very nature of feasting is that it is communal. It has toasts and laughter and sharing and giving at its heart. Something special happens when people sit down to eat together with joy. Something sacramental. It echoes the partaking of Christ Jesus in the Lord’s Supper. It joins people together and displays their love and compassion and enjoyment.

Have you considered that the better we feast, the more God-centered enjoyment we derive from sharing a feast and celebrating together, the more we are being cemented together as families and as a covenant community, and the more we are then embodying the social reality of the Trinity relating in peace and humility? This is the good life in service to the mission of God. This is a missional community centered around the gospel of grace and love, and it is the very thing we are sent to do.

A Feast of Covenant Riches Shared With Us

July 7, 2007

Jesus Christ was the Son of God who came to Israel in human flesh. The Messiah of Israel who is Lord of all entered time and history, and it is important to see that He did so in order to embody the people of Israel. Christ Jesus was Himself the new Israel re-enacting the history of redemption in His life and death and resurrection.

Where the nation of Israel failed and veered away from the Lord toward idolatry and immorality and lawlessness, Christ remained utterly loyal and worshipped the Lord His God alone. Where Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea in the Exodus and then failed as God’s covenant people, Christ Jesus passed through the waters of baptism and obeyed God in covenant with Him. God promised Israel that the one who sins will die, and yet God also promised Israel a day of resurrection and vindication. Christ took on the sin of His people and died in their stead, and then rose from the dead as the vindicated true Israel of God. Christ Jesus was the true Israel in the flesh, living out the true life that pleases God and fulfills His law and fleshes out His covenant mercy. When He died, His body, the chosen of God, died with Him, and when He rose, His body, the Israel of God, rose with Him to receive His invincible life.

So, when we look at the life of Jesus, what do we see? What should we expect to see? (more…)

It’s Nothing Personal

June 10, 2007

I always felt a little ashamed while reading Anne Frank.  It was like I had crept into her room, found her diary under her mattress, hid in the closet and read it.  Reading someone else’s personal correspondence is just not right.

Have you ever heard something like this… “The Bible is a personal love letter from God?”

Is that an accurate statement?  Should you read the Bible as though it were written to you, personally?  While I understand the sentiment I am sure that this understanding of the nature of the Bible is flawed and actually feeds modern passion for the individual over the body of Christ here on the earth.
 
The Bible as a whole was written for a people not a person (Moses recounts the history of deliverance of the people Israel (Deut 33).  The Psalms were written as congregational hymns.  The prophets wrote for the people (Is 6:9).  The New Testament was written so that the Church might have a faithful account of the events of Christ’s life.  The Gospel of John ends with a charge from Jesus to Peter to feed His sheep.  The letters are, by and large, written to Churches or there is an expectation that they will be read by the church at large (notice that Paul tells Timothy that he is to pass his training on to other faithful men).

This is important.  It is not just you and your Bible.  It was meant to be read in the context of a body.  It is not God’s personal love letter to you.  In fact it’s not personal at all.

al sends

Global Gospel Warming

May 30, 2007

Tim over at The Global Warming Heretic brought an interesting article to my attention. There is so much wrong with this gathering that I am aghast. But in this little Tennessean article Brian McLaren says the following:

Brian McLaren, an author and Christian activist who spoke Thursday, said many television and radio evangelists had delivered to their listeners the kind of fear-mongering and finger-pointing messages that promote factionalism.

In his lecture at First Baptist Church, McLaren proposed that preaching should remedy, rather than incite, controversial issues.

These include poverty and climate change, and he encouraged his audience not to shy away from such global issues.

“We can’t really afford to waste too many Sundays with so much at stake,” he said.
“If instead we play it safe, in a true sense we have switched sides from being part of the solution to being part of the problem.”

I don’t know what it means to waste time on Sundays promoting factionalism but there ARE important things to do on Sunday mornings. Not-a-one has anything to do with CO2 emissions.

Perhaps someone would like to discuss whether or not it is a good idea to have a “Festival of Homiletics” where folks are taught: “What preaching attempts to do is to foster a courageous and creative reading of scripture.”

Talk amongst yourselves.

al sends