God sure is big in the good old USA. Some time ago there was a controversy over Starbucks putting new age and pro homosexual slogans on their coffee cups. Now Rick Warren (purpose driven life) has his mug on the mug (lets hope its been supersized!) along with one of his sayings. Now I am a RW devotee, his books are required reading as far as I am concerned. But this article I am giving you a link to talks about such things as John 3.16 being sewed onto garments, and bible verses printed on burger wrappers. in my view its great that RW has had such a influential impact on culture that his sayings can be put on the side of a coffee cup. But I struggle with ‘Jesus Junk” or the dumbing down of the Christian message. Mission is our priority, sharing the love of Christ, helping people discover abundant life. Is what some folk doing a good thing, or actually detrimental to the advancement of the Kingdom? Should the drive through attendant ask, “would you like a copy of the 4 spiritual laws with that bacon double cheeseburger?”
After sharing lunch with a few Pastors, who will remain nameless, I have come to the conclusion that Churches can be fairly brutal places. I hate to say it, but we Christians can be pretty awful to each other. Pastors can be awful to their church folk, and Church folk can treat their Pastor pretty shoddily as well. I know I am a Pastor, and therefore have my own perspective on this issue. This obviously colours my thinking. Let me also say that I thank God for my supportive and loving church. Its not always an easy job, and people in my Church are good to me. But my heart aches when I hear stories of how we let interpersonal conflict stall, delay or destroy what God wants to do through us.
What do non church people think when they stand back and watch us fight each other?
Seriously, God only gives most of us about 80 years. Dont waste it in trying to argue or fight your way through life. Instead pour that energy into mission, into reaching people who don’t know Jesus yet.
The following story is a sobering reminder of this.
“PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – A church pastor called deputies to remove 16 congregants who refused to stop singing as he tried to begin his sermon, according to a sheriff’s report.
Pastor David Noel reported a disturbance at the Bethanie Seventh-day Adventist Church to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office when the group would not allow the Saturday morning service to continue.
All 16 church members were issued trespass warnings and left the property without incident, according to a sheriff’s report.
One congregant who received a warning said the group was protesting Noel’s leadership and alleged misuse of insurance money for damage to the church caused by Hurricane Charley.
“We received $364,000, but he told us we only got $264,000 because he wanted to give $100,000 to another church in Fort Myers,” Monique Robert said Monday. “But this money is for Bethanie. We want all the money for our church.”
Another congregant, Edourd A. Pierrelus, alleged that Noel struck his chest and twisted his left earlobe during an Oct. 1 meeting to elect new church board members.
“Many things are wrong in the church,” Pierrelus told deputies Saturday. “We don’t want him to be the pastor.”
Noel declined to comment to reporters Monday.
“I don’t have much to tell you, just that we are preaching the word here,” he said.
Milton Sterling, ministerial director for the Southeastern Conference governing the region’s Adventist congregations, said church officials were investigating the incidents.
Robert said she and the other 15 congregants who received warnings will attend a different church service this Saturday.”
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15.4,5
Recently I was up in Cervantes on a blokes weekend away. A group of us from Church went up to a beach house for the Grand final weekend away. I was the only one in the group of 16 that was going for the Swans (I go for the Dockers and whoever is playing the weagles). The day only got better. While enjoying a meal in the Tavern at night who should be there in that isolated spot than Justin Longmuir and Troy Cook (Dockers players). I had the chance to talk to Justin about his match winning goal after the siren against St Kilda. If you watch the replay carefully, I am right next to him when he jumps into the crowd. As well I got Cook, surely a tough nut player if ever there was one, to sign a shirt for me, and I bought him and Justin a jug.
Ever had a brush with fame? Care to relate the story?
My house is a revolving mess at the moment. We are in the process of getting it ready to sell. Anyone who knows my wife, knows it is a pretty house, and presenting it well is very important to her. What this means is that for the past 5 days I have been moving furniture around the place, to make way for new carpet, floor polishers and carpet cleaners, hence the revolving mess. This on top of my normal pastoral work.
Sometimes my life feels that way too, in a continuous state of flux and mess. Thank Jesus that He has given us a purpose and a goal. Strange thing is we dont always, or even often, know what the exact end of that goal will look like. Maybe if we did know what God had in mind, it would scare us too much and we would not start. I am aware that God has called us to be missionaries in the Bedford/Inglewood/Bayswater/Dianella area. We believe God wants us to be in the area He has called us too. This has not been an instant thing, in fact God has changed me over the 11 years or so I have been pastoring at Bedford. I want to give more to the Community, not less.
If you get a chance, pray that God will find us a house to move into and reveal this to us. It is stressing us both out, and our beautiful kids. We have not found a house yet. Foolish faith? No, we don’t think so. Instead we think we are acting on what God has said, and waiting for Him to say a little more.
What do these two terms mean anyway? I have a number of friends and aquaintances who are heavily involved in the Emerging Church movement. I respect greatly what most of them are doing.
However I do have an issue with what it might seem is an “exclusive” style of Philosophy and methodology in what they are doing. I struggle with some who seem to have thrown out the expression of the church as it is now, while still relying on it for support. It has been really encouraging though to see some, who are embarking on such works, also working alongside with and encouraging the work of more ‘regular’ expressions of Church.
This is why the article Brian Harris has written in the latest Advocate (WA Baptist Newspaper) is so ‘on the money’, in my opinion. http://www.theadvocate.tv/ADV1005.pdf
Brian advocates a ‘lets do both’ approach.
At Bedford I would like to think we are both heavily Incarnational and Attractional. We provide wondeful Community services, such as Toddler Jam (childrens ministry), Counselling, Welfare. But this is because we have a solid church base to support them. We also stress the need to be incarnational in our lives, be a Christian where you are.
People need support and encouragement to be incarnational. Christians need an attractive and relevant program to disciple, train, exhort and encourage them and their children.
I wonder if as time goes on what will be most valuable about the EC movement is not the communities it establishes, but the much needed redress it challenges the local church to embark upon.
Great Sunday morning at Church, real sense of God saying something to us all about trust, hope and joy, in the midst of our own confusion. I used the verse from 1 Corinthians 13 about us seeing things only in part. Its not always easy or clear this side of eternity ‘what on earth’ is going on.
Melinda and I have been reminded of this is our frustrating search for a home closer to our mission field.
Ponting doing well after Gilchrist hit a quick fire 30. I think in Adam we have seen the best one day batsman ever.
Also good to hear the mighty Dockers have cruised to an easy victory over the serial chockers, West Coast, in the London Derby.
“The Dockers took a more inexperienced side into the clash, but dominated the middle stages for their 13.12 (90) to 11.7 (73) victory in front of nearly 19,000 fans at The Oval”
And apparently there were a number of fights and melees, particularly in the third quarter with Chad Fletcher throwing a punch, but like most of West Coasts efforts this year, missing the mark.
“The third quarter was played with a marked increase in intensity, with one huge melee at the 13-minute mark and further spotfires throughout.” http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=66423
Its always good to beat West Toast, even if its a meaningless game, played half a world away, with half your team missing.