I have been thinking a lot about what it means to actually be a disciple, and have come to the realization that not everyone who goes to church or calls themselves a Christian is a disciple. In my experience, we tend to think that the goal of evangelism is to get people to become regular churchgoers. We want them to attend regular weekly church services, and if someone misses a week or two, we start to wonder if they are backsliding in their faith. Why has church attendance become the litmus test for deciding if someone is walking with the Lord?
August 26, 2011
August 22, 2011
It is interesting, because yesterday I heard a preacher say that we are living in the “New Dark Ages”, and I was expecting to hear a sermon about how we need a new reformation in the church, but instead he preached about how we need to cling to our “Traditions, orthodoxy, and Dogma”. He also said that anyone who tries to reform such things is being rebellious. (The very same things that the Catholic Priests were saying during the first Dark Ages about those leading church reform)
August 16, 2011
I would like to take a moment to address professional pastors and clergy in this note. Please take a moment to consider the things I am about to say with an open heart and mind. Listen to the voice of the LORD. Hear His heart, and consider how it affects the Church.
August 15, 2011
I have come to realize that we regularly encounter a number of oxymorons when we discuss things relating to church. An “oxymoron” is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms. Oxymorons appear in a variety of contexts, including inadvertent errors such as ground pilot and literary oxymorons crafted to reveal a paradox. Some examples include “controlled chaos”, “organized mess”, “accidentally on purpose”, “Dark light”, “Living dead”, “New Classic”, “Old News”, “extremely average”, “objective opinion”, and “original copy”. Oxymorons are often used to convey paradox, irony, or sarcasm.
Jesus taught a lot about authority, but his teachings differ significantly from our modern understanding of authority in the church. Basically there are two kinds of authority: authority that is taken, and authority that is given. The kind of authority that is taken by rulers who “lord it over” people is set in contrast to the authority that is given to the one who humbles himself as a servant. Jesus describes both of these types of authority in the following scripture.
August 14, 2011
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is giving instructions on what the Church gatherings should look like. According to Paul, every member of the Church Body should participate in the worship and teaching aspects of the Church. Everyone has a hymn (song), a word of instruction (teaching), a revelation (what God is saying or doing in your life), a tongue or an interpretation (spiritual gifts functioning). Paul says that this is how a healthy Church should function. These things are done to so that the church will be stronger.
August 13, 2011
I have been doing a lot of study of the New Testament Church and how it compares to our modern Church, and my eyes are being opened to a whole new way of understaning things. While studying the role of the preacher, I found out some very interesting things, and have realized that our modern “preaching” is very different from the New Testament preaching.
August 12, 2011
I have heard many preachers quote the scriptures that say “a worker deserves his wages” in reference to the pastor getting paid a salary from the church. It is interesting that the context of this verse has nothing to do with pastors, and it has nothing to do with money. The context is of a traveling evangelist, an apostle (sent one) who is traveling around from town to town preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. When these traveling preachers enter a town, they find a home to stay in, and receive the food and shelter that is given to them as their payment. Hospitality, therefore, is the payment that is due to the gospel worker, not money. Jesus instructed them not to even take a purse along with them, so they have no way of collecting money even if it was offered to them. They were only able to collect their daily bread, eating what was placed before them.
This is a scripture that has been on my mind for a while now. “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) It keeps coming back to my mind. What did Jesus mean when he said that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees? The Pharisees were considered the most holy and most righteous people of their day. These Pharisees were known to have the entire Tanak (Old Testament) memorized, and were also considered to have been the people with the most accurate interpretations of the Scriptures. Jesus himself even said to do what they teach. So, what does it mean for us to be more righteous than the Pharisees?
August 10, 2011
Jesus often taught using parables, and one of the most popular of these stories is that of a farmer spreading seed on the ground. For many people, this parable has become so commonplace that its message is often lost in the mundane reading of it. However, I believe that this parable holds some very significant information and revelation in regard to discipleship and spiritual growth. Please read this parable again with fresh eyes, as if it were the first time you had heard it.
August 7, 2011
I have been thinking about a difficult question recently - who should we give our charity to? To answer this question, I think we should take a look at the New Testament, to see how the Church handled its charitable giving in the beginning. We find in the New Testament that there were three groups that funds were given to. They gave to the needy in the church, those outside of the church who had needs, and traveling apostolic workers as they had need.
August 6, 2011
I have recently been captivated by the way the church formed in Antioch. It was quite different from the way we assume churches typically form and develop. It is a great example of how a church can form organically, without structure, leadership, or institution.
What does it mean to do something “in the name of Jesus”? It is a phrase that we hear and say often in our prayers, but do we really understand what it means? Are we truly speaking and acting in Jesus Name, or are we simply giving lip service?
August 5, 2011
Everyone who has become a Christian has received the the Holy Spirit, and likewise, the Holy Spirit gives gifts to every member of the Body of Christ. These gifts are given for the benefit of the Church. These gifts are given to lead and strengthen and encourage and prepare the Body of Christ.