Going to the Dentist

I’ve got my kids at the dentist for their regular checkup. We’re all hopeful for a no-cavity report, but that’s a stretch with 3kids & 96 total teeth (I think). We do this wonderful appointment twice a year & we cross our fingers, hoping for good outcomes. 
Sometimes, people treat church like the dentist – a twice yearly visit, hoping for painless, quick & uplifting. Alas, dental hygiene is kind of like spiritual hygiene. Weekly visits, daily Bible time & occasional retreats often yield healthy spiritual growth. If plaque is like sin, then steady prayer & Bible time would be like daily flossing & brushing. Let’s stay the course until Christ be formed within us – Galatians 4:19!

What Trumps Judgment?

 

I’ve been around the church world for most of my life, so I’ve met some very interesting people, seen unusual things and experienced a plethora of human and supernatural events.  Many people in the church world are nothing less than pure pleasure and altogether phenomenal.  Some people, not so much and that’s the rub.

It seems that we want Christians to be consistently kind, loving and prefect.  When we get to heaven, I’m sure our flaws and foibles will be smoothed out, along with our dysfunctions, shortfalls and sins.  In the meantime, how should we deal with being judgmental, hostility & intolerance, not only in the church, but also in the world where we live?

This morning, I read James 2:15 and the end of the verse was a sobering confrontation for me in how I deal with the judgmental stuff:  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Of course I want all the mercy I can get, but I would be wise to be liberal with mercy because judgment has a way of coming back like an abrasive and hurtful boomerang 🙂

Some food for thought in the middle of our week 🙂

hot topic: Mars Hill Church closing

Recently, the controversial pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from being the lead pastor for Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  Yesterday, the church announced that it was disbanding and dissolving all of its satellite campuses, giving each location freedom to chart it’s own path for the future.  Being a pastor’s kid and having lived in church for most of my life, this announcement saddens me for various reasons:

  • as humans, we often fall into the trap of following people more than we follow Jesus
  • oftentimes the people we think are leading us closer to Christ are made of the same flawed flesh in which we live and breath
  • we struggle with how to keep each other accountable without being judgmental, intolerant or divisive
  • we are susceptible to many internal deceptions that stroke our flesh and poison our passion for Jesus
  • somewhere it talks about striking the shepherd and scattering the sheep

So here’s my point:  there are lots of hurt, confused and disillusioned people from all of this fallout with Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll, many of whom have followed Jesus because of Pastor Mark’s leadership and influence, as well as the communities that had formed around the satellite churches connected with Mars Hill.  In 1Cor 12, Paul talks about the how the body of Christ functions together, diverse parts and pieces working together in complementary more than competitive ways, promoting Jesus in all ways and opportunities.  In Galatians 6, Paul talks about how we should bear each other’s burdens, restoring, assisting and being part of Jesus’ redemptive work.

So as members of the body of Christ, let’s be devoted to pray for this situation and moreso for the people who may find themselves floundering from all of these changes.  Let’s pray:

  • that the enemy does not make progress with this opportunity for strife, dissension and conflict
  • for the body of Christ that has been a part of the Mars Hill fellowship – let’s pray for their hearts
  • that God redeems this hardship and struggle

 

help, I’m drowning!

Greetings & happy Friday!

I read this yesterday & found it super helpful so I want to pass this along for your weekend thinking 🙂

This is from my pastor friend in CA, Joel Phillips – joelphillips

 

 

Shunned!

The Office’s Dwight Schrute enjoyed using the Amish technique of shunning people who were guilty of some kind of infraction.  Although I laugh when I watch this clip, something about it reminds of how people in the church treat others who have messed-up or fallen.

We can wrap it with all sorts of holy sounding language, like “holding them accountable,” or “stepping them down,” if we’re honest it’s really just shunning. I once heard a leader use the verse, “godly sorrow produces repentance” to justify being flat-out mean to someone under him who had sinned.

Condemnation, guilt, shame, never produces righteous results. Instead, they push people even further from God.  What’s weird is that there is a sick side to our souls that actually likes condemnation.  We feel like we deserve it, and as the guilt and shame mount within us, we think that it’s all a part of the process of getting back on track, and reinstating our good standing with God.

That’s not the gospel!

I could quote tons of scriptures that point to the fact that those who are in Christ are fully and permanently justified and declared righteous, but the passage I want to go to is the familiar story of Peter walking on the water, falling, and being rescued by Jesus.

So much has been said, preached, written about this story, but one key part of it is hardly ever referenced.  It’s the part when Peter got back in the boat.  There was no browbeating.  No heavy sighs.  No, “You’re all wet!” Here’s all we’re told,


“And when [Jesus and Peter] got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 14:32–33)

 

I wish the church was more like that.  Somebody falls, Jesus saves them, they’re soaking wet from their mistakes, but they’re alive and the storm is over!  And as they come on board with us we worship God for how He saved them.  It reminds us of how he saved us, after all, we’ve all been wet at one time or another.

Celebrate Jesus!

Last night was one of the coolest evenings I’ve had in several years. Our church joined with 2 other churches to have a worship might with all 3 congregations. There were lots of things I thoroughly loved about the evening & probably my top favorite things are:
*unity – Jesus prayed when He was on earth that our Father would make us one like He & the Father are one. Experiencing some of the unity that Jesus prayed for was magnificent!
*worship versus performance – I totally loved getting to participate with my heart, soul, body & emotions to lift up Jesus, rather than sitting & watching excellent & skilled musicians make beautiful music
*fellowship – there’s nothing that can compete with genuine spiritual fellowship & communion with brothers & sisters in Christ – such rich heart food

What a great honor to lift up Jesus with other whole hearted believers!!

HELP!!!

I’m working on sermon that I’ll be doing soon & I’m really keen to know what you like about church.  So, can you pls leave a comment & tell me?  I promise that I’ll keep all answers confidential, but your investment will help me LOTS!!!!  So thanks MUCHOS for sharing your thoughts!! 🙂