Sunday, April 22, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Saying all that...today I read this post about singing. I agree with the author that there is something about a community gathering to sing praises and adoration to God, our Creator and Father, and to Jesus, our Savior and King. It's a good read.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
This is a very important question for us. I wasn't faced with this question near as much in the bay area as I have been here. I'm discovering that even in our neighborhood, this question has to be asked.
The following are excerpts from a post I read this morning that deals with this question.
This was the context in which I grew up. To put it charitably, most folks in my home town thought of themselves as Christians. Some evidently were by their profession and their lives. Some, no doubt, were not. But, most people didn't condemn themselves or think so poorly of themselves to self-identify as "practical atheist" or "unbeliever." Even the poolhall hustlers and the alcoholics claimed they knew God, "always said their prayers," and the "God knows their heart."
Many assumed the label "Christian" because they were certainly not practitioners of any other religion. They were not, for example, muslims. In fact, until I returned home during my sophomore year in college as a professing muslim, very few people had ever seen a muslim. No, everyone at least believed in some way, and that made most everyone "Christian" since that was either a family or community legacy bequeathed to all. Nominalism.
The more I think about the situation, the clearer it is to me that in trying to reflect genuine Christian distinctiveness in a nominal Christian culture definitions are critical. The root problem might be described as a failure to define "Christian" and Christianity in terms that bring into sharper contrast regenerate and unregenerate life, in terms that stress spiritual conversion, faith, grace, love and hope over and against moralism, patriotism, and spiritual relativism.
Greg Laurie writes on worship in today's Harvest Devotional:
A number of words in the Bible are translated "worship." The one used the most often means "to bow down and do homage." Another biblical word for worship means "to kiss toward." Put the two words together, and you will have a good idea of what real worship is. We worship God because He is worthy. In doing so, we bow down and pay homage to Him. That speaks of reverence and respect for God. But we also "kiss toward" Him, which speaks of tenderness and intimacy.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Tobin Marsh
This side of the resurrection
In the brokenness, defeat and sorrow
Is where lie all the deep lessons of my life.
Nothing wants to be broken,
And yet everything must be broken.
To never break is to lie stagnant and eventually die.
I break now and again.
Picking up the pieces can be an act
Of profound faith.
Source: Servant Stories
- Ignore it
The more we ignore culture the more irrelevant we’ll become. And if the church ignores the culture, the culture will ignore the church.
- Imitate it
We can imitate culture, but imitation is a form of suicide. Originality is sacrificed on the altar of cultural conformity. If we don’t shape the culture, the culture will shape us.
- Condemn it
We’ve got to stop pointing the finger and start offering better alternatives. If the church condemns the culture, the culture will condemn the church.
- Create it
We can compete for culture by creating culture. In the immortal words of the Italian artist and poet, Michelangelo: criticize by creating. At the end of the day, the culture will treat the church the way the church treats the culture.
We've all seen these first three ways of engagement, and have come away wanting something more, something different. You can read his entire post here.
“The huge thing he said to me was, ‘Do you want to build ideas to last, or do you want to build an organization to last?’
“I said I wanted to build ideas to last.
“He said, ‘Then you must not build an organization.’
“His point was, the moment you have an organization, you have a beast to feed–this army of people. If you ever start developing ideas to feed the beast rather than having ideas that the beast feeds, your influence will go down, even if your commercial success goes up. Because there’s a huge difference between teaching an idea and selling an idea. In the end, what are you in a battle for? You’re battling to influence the thinking of powerful, discerning people. If you ever abuse that trust, you can lose them. So the moment that arrow changes direction, you’re dead.
“He said something else important: ‘The real discipline comes in saying no to the wrong opportunities.’ Growth is easy. Saying no is hard.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Alcohol, Abstention & Redemption
Alcohol, Acts 29, & the SBC
Beer and the Bible
Christianity & Alcohol (wikipedia)
Christians & Alcohol - Four Myths (pdf link)
Good Wine and Glad Hearts
Link to Southern Seminary's audio on this (along with some commentary)
SBC Resolution on Alcohol
The Bible and Intoxicating Beverages
Wine in the Bible
What Does the Bible Say about Alcohol - A Systematic Study
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Our first annual Easter Egg Hunt turned out to be a success, despite having to move it to our house because of the cold weather. We had around 30 people, including some new neighbors who we had not met yet. We had the actual hunt outside, but everything else was inside. We had games, food, lots of eggs, and even a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
By John Howard Yoder
The cross of Christ was not an inexplicable or chance event, which happened to strike him, like illness or accident. To accept the cross as his destiny, to move toward it and even to provoke it, when he could well have done otherwise, was Jesus' constantly reiterated free choice; and he warns his disciples lest their embarking on the same path be less conscious of its costs.
Source: The Politics of Jesus
Monday, April 02, 2007
Jerry Falwell's sermon, "The Myth of Global Warming"
James Dobson calls for Richard Cizik to resign as vice-president of the National Association of Evangelicals
I read this and shudder. There's a part of me that just wants to ignore these guys and hope they go away. On the other hand, though, I do believe that this is an issue that the church needs to be informed on.
If you're interested, you can read an earlier post on Cizik from a Fast Company article.