Wednesday, April 26, 2006
This is a little something written by my friend Mike. He taught me how to walk with Jesus and is still doing so. This is from his ministry home page and is pretty classic Mike. Check it out. Mar 21, 2006 On Becoming Norm I don’t have a ton to write on this topic, but I have always wondered where Norm comes from. Do you remember Cheers? Whenever Norm would come into the bar, everybody would yell his name. Woody knew what he was going to have (beer) and everyone seemed so happy to see the chubby old guy. I’ve always thought there is something cool about Norm. Something about being connected and loved and talking about our lives with people who really know your name and are always glad you came. Read More
John Piper is a hero of mine and so I thought it would be fitting to add this link to an article he wrote the evening before having surgery for Protstate Cancer. February 15, 2006 I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain. Don't Waste Your Cancer
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Though it may make me simultaneously, the most naive and disliked person in cyberspace, I believe Barry Bonds is completely innocent. That's right, amid all of the allegations, the growth of his now huge biceps (and possibly head) and his assault on baseball's all-time homerun record, I think he's innocent. I could engage in a lengthy discussion as to why I think he's innocent, but ultimately, I think I want so badly to believe him, because I want baseball to have heroes again. There was a time when baseball was king; when Mantle and Mays and Ruth were like superheros. Kids believed in baseball players. I believed in them. If Barry's guilty than it means this isn't real. It means that we aren't watching someone do what millions of us have only dreamed of. It means that we're not watching the records of heroes past fall. We're not seeing a new superman. Willie Mays is not coming back if Barry's cheating; neither is Mantle or Ruth. If he's cheating, then what was done in the past can never be done again. I just don't want to believe that. If Barry's cheating, then we'll forever be skeptics. If he's innocent though, then we have to live with the fact that we destroyed superman before he had a chance to do something really heroic.
Marriage is great. I highly recommend it. When you're married to an amazing woman like I am, it's even better. This is my wife Jenn. She's a foxy little blonde whom I smuggled away from the great state of Montana. She's passionate about kids, women and people that don't know Jesus, and she kinda likes me too.
The American church is at a cross roads. A cultural shift is taking place that makes traditional methods of reaching and connecting with people look different, but while a new crop of willing and Godly ministers want to get into the game with their new vision, passion and ideas, they are not given the chance because of a lack of experience. Because of this, many young men and women with a passion for the Lord and a zeal for ministry are relegated to taking jobs they don't like for the soul purpose of building a resume to get the jobs that they want. But what happens when a young person with passion and vision takes a job in an environment that doesn't share that vision and doesn't give them an avenue to implement those new ideas? Burnout. Young ministers are feeling more and more frustrated with the main stream church are "taking their business elsewhere." Ideas start to circulate and swirl around in the heads of these bright and talented laborers that "the church has no room for me," or that "they're doing it the wrong anyway, so I'll start my own church." I fear that a growing number of house churches and church plants are being built out of frustration and not out of passion or a call from the Lord. This causes people to think and ask questions about how they can make church and ministry different, a question that is many times valid and a good one, but that can also lead to radical changes in the direction of the church. Views of the disontented towards the mainstream church 1) They aren't reaching anybody. 2) They are out of touch with culture. 3) They are building something just for them with no desire to reach this emerging culture. 4) Church isn't exciting anymore. 5) Churches are too focused on theology and doctrine and not enough of those truely in need. Now, I'm 25 and searching for a job as a worship pastor, and so this comes out of experience of watching friends go through this transition and with battling my own frustration. I am fully willing to admit that this perhaps is not the case universally. However, I am afraid that if this idea of building out of frustration is prevelant throughout many in my generation, the answer to these grievances above are going to look something like this: 1) They aren't reaching anybody because their gospel is out of date. We'll change the gospel, admit that there are other ways to get to Heaven apart from Jesus. That'll bring people by the thousands. 2) They are out of touch with the emerging culture. So we create something specifically for the emerging culture. We will choose relevance over Biblical mandate and since the Bible is out of touch with emerging culture, we'll say it's a good guide book, but not innerrant and certainly not the only resource by which to live our lives. 3) They are building something just for them, with no desire to reach the emerging culture. They exclude our generation, so we will create church that only reaches a specific segment of the population, primarily those that are feeling neglected and we will exclude everyone else. 4) Church isn't exciting anymore. We will create different elements of worship; art, dance, prayer stations. We will meet the needs of so many who are discontented with the mainstream church by making church hard for anyone of another generation to connect with. We will use things like "lectio devina" which are designed to focus scripture and prayer on us and want God is trying to say to us and do for us. Let's do away with elders and leaders too. They get all the time at the podium anyway. Let's make it a sharing community where everyone gets a say. We'll include no filters for discernment and not test things against scripture, cuz after all, who are we to judge. 5) Churches are too focused on theology and doctrine and not on people who are really hurting. So let's just own all of Christian history. Forget the Reformation, forget councils brought together to cannonize scripture or thousand year old doctrinal differences that caused denominational splits. Can't we all just get along? There are people in need of help. Homeless people and those suffering from injustice. Let's not burden them with the Gospel but simply meet there needs. The sad part of all of this for me is that there are some ideas in here that tug at my heart. There are many people who are afflicted and hurting, struggling from homelessness, drug addiction or involved in prostitution. These people need a loving church and men and women who love Jesus to love them. I'm frustrated too with the mainstream church and their 75 piece praise bands and worship services not designed for intimacy and expeirence with God, but seemingly for a performance. However, God has moved historically and biblically through His Holy Spirit's response to our prayers and through the preaching of scripture to empower His people to reach their world for Christ. Methods have to change, I agree, but to change scripture, two thousand years of rich church history, that is the real danger.