Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Church and World

Radical difference between the church and the world should be normal.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Daily Cross

I was sad when I saw on the Television news old men in Jerusalem carrying a cross and young men in the Philippines crucifying themselves. While they are sincere, they seem to be missing the main point of the cross: that Jesus died on the cross for us, so we do not need to do these things for ourselves. We must always be careful about slipping back into earning our own salvation, as that is a thankless and hopeless task. The best celebration of the cross is a life of peace and joy that comes from knowing the forgiveness of all sin and failure.

I am not sure about having a special day to remember the cross. We need to remember the cross, every time we sin. And for me that is fairly often.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Logic and Resurrection

Some Christians say they cannot believe in the resurrection of Jesus. This is not logical. If God cannot raise someone from the dead, he is not much of a god, but just a bystander in the universe. So why believe in him? If God exists, then anything is possible, including miracles. So the key issue is not belief in the resurrection, but belief in God. If God exists, then raising someone being raised from the dead is no problem.

Some Christians say that believing in the resurrection is not sensible in a scientific age. This is not logical. Man learning to do science, does not change God, or limit what he can do. Scientific study by man cannot take away God’s power to raise the dead.

Many scientists assume that miracles cannot happen. Not surprisingly, they find no evidence of God in the universe. However, assuming what you are trying to prove is not logical.

A television reporter asked a rationalist if he believed in God. That rationalist said that we have been looking round the universe for a long time, but have not found God, so he must not exist. That is not logical. First of all, many people have found him. More importantly, the fact that something has not been found does not prove that it does not exist; just that it has not been found. Many things exist that have not yet been found. Fortunately, God can be found by those who seek him sincerely.

God exists
Jesus is risen
Faith is logical

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Location, Location, Location

Church is something we are, not something we can attend. To be the body of Christ in the place where we live, we must live close to the rest of the body. Our Church should be a central part of our being, so we must belong where it is.

Each Church should be attached to a particular locality, so there can be as many Churches as there are different localities. Ideally, there should be one Church in each location and each location should have one Church. To have a number of different kinds of church in the same locality is inconsistent with the New Testament (from Being Church Where We Live).

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ascension Ministries

Much has been written and said about the restoration of the ascension ministries. Yet, most evangelists are still in para-church organisations and few churches have a functioning evangelist. Most prophets are still in the wilderness, while very few churches have an authentic prophetic ministry. Pastors are everywhere, but very few Christians are being effectively discipled (pastored). Most modern apostles look like traditional bishops, with more of the Spirit, and less of the regalia. Being Church Where We Live explains that the ascension ministries are just roles undertaken by elders. By bring these giftings “down to earth”, they become relevant to all Christians, rather than being limited to a few superstars.

The unintended consequence of the modern pastor/leader model is a desperate shortage of real pastoring in the modern church. Inadequate pastoring means that only a fraction of new Christians are fully discipled and even fewer move into a ministry. Many churches are full of half-done Christians and many get lost and fall away each year.

Most pastor/leaders are wonderful, dedicated, loving, enthusiastic people, but they are spread too thin. A weekly sermon, a monthly chat and a program once a year will not defeat evil attacks and transform lives. The inevitable result is a few very exhausted pastor/leaders, far more frustrated potential pastors, and a large number of immature and defeated Christians. Being Church Where We Live provides a ministry model that will ensure that every believe has a real shepherd.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Children

A problem that the church has never resolved is what to do with the children of believers. Some young people with Christian parents have grown up always believing in Jesus and wanting to serve him. How should they be initiated into the Church? Infant baptism was one solution that proved unworkable. The modern church tends to want children to rebel, so that they can be converted and baptised as believers, but this does not seem right either. We need a recognised path for children who love Jesus.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Numbers and Success

Numerical growth is not a true indication of a successful church. Success should not be measured by numbers. A truly successful Church is one where believers are growing into maturity and a ministry and where strong relationships are being formed.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

God's Team

The word "Church" now has so much baggage that it is no longer a very useful word. I sometimes think that the word "team" would be a more meaningful name for what we are.

  • A team has a common purpose or goal.
  • A team meets and trains together.
  • Every member of the team has a different, but essential role.
  • If a team member does not perform, the whole team is weakened.
  • A team functions best when every member of the team follows the coach's plan.

Perhaps we should start thinking of ourselves as "God's team" in the place where we live.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Silent before the Beast

Christians should be leading the battle against the power of the state. Faith in God and providence should have made them impervious to the states promises of cradle to grave security. The Bible repeatedly warns of the dangers of political powers (beasts) that will arise and oppose the purposes of God. The early Christians heeded these warnings and struggled against the “powers that be”; whenever they exceeded their authority. In contrast, modern Christians are strangely acquiescent in the face of massive state power. They are often the best cheer leaders for this emerging beast.

Whereas Jesus and the early disciples followed the example of the OT prophets and were willing to challenge illegitimate state power, the modern church is producing Christians who are trained in compliance. Most new Christians have handed authority over much of their lives to church leaders who tell them what to believe and what to do. They have been taught to blindly submit to that hierarchical authority that controls much of the modern church. Compliant, “Yes men” are not well placed to lead the battle against state power.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Spiritual Protection

Despite the victory of the cross, Christians everywhere are being battered and decimated by sickness and the trials of life. This suggests that there is something desparately wrong with our spiritual protection.

Despite being engaged in a spiritual battle, most Christians do not know how to protect themselves from evil attack. Some go over the top and see evil spirits everywhere, and others just ignore evil. The result is that many Christians are weakened or defeated by the forces of evil.

An army would not send soldiers into battle without teaching them how to defend themselves against attack. To be effective in serving the Lord, we must be experts on
Spiritual Protection.

For and effective defence against evil, I need Christians friends to:

  • Encourage me in ministry
  • Stand with me against evil attacks
  • Warn me of bad decisions
  • Challenge my besetting sins
  • Comfort me in trouble

Saturday, March 05, 2005

What Would Jesus Change

A friend asked, "What aspects of our lives are shaped by the world, rather than the gospel?" Here is my answer.

Consumerism
Serving our status
Maintaining our comfort
Strengthening selfishness

Individualism and Independence
High fences around our houses
Unknown neighbours
A room for every family member
Sorting our own problems

Working hard at Working
Most of our lives spent at work
Often at work we do not like
Often doing things that are not part of our calling

Faith in the State Divine
Trusting the state to solve every problem
"The government should do something about it", we say
Giving the state authority to decide right and wrong
Allowing the state to take half of all that we earn

Toleration of Trash
Inability to discern evil
Evil called good and good called evil
Acceptance of marginal advertising
Silence as the beast emerges

Doctors first, God second
Faith in drugs
Reliance on remedies
Salvation by surgeons