Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trusting Truth-40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 37)

"Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace." Psalm 37:37

I love watching people or is it "people watching"? Whatever... you know what I'm saying. Just yesterday I was having lunch (or a people watching session) with one of my favorite friends when he caught me looking everywhere but at him as he was sharing some of the great things going on in his life (because I handle multiple tasks on a daily basis, I did hear it all just in case you're reading this). I'd love to say the reason for my wandering eyes was that I was watching to see if a masked man was about to rob a bank so that I could be the knight in shining honor to the unsuspecting hostages and bring the victims to Christ with my heroism. But the real reason for my lack of eye contact was that I love to see how people live in their present environment. I love to study their mannerisms, their voices, the way a man treats a woman during a meal and the way people chew their food amongst other things. The irony of that discussion was that we were talking about what it would take for a disciple of Christ to put their foot into the mold that God willingly carves out for us as we walk through life. How could we come to the end of our own life (abandon self), our own dreams, our own ideals and our own aspirations in order to take our steps on the road of the life that God has planned for us? As I walked away from lunch with this "Man of God" I came to the conclusion that we are able to develop this walk in three ways, two of which involve "people watching". The first is by following/studying God's word, the second is by studying the life of Christ and the third is by emulating the lives of unapologetic followers of Christ in history as well as in the present. We come to realize that the way to a life of peace as mentioned in today's passage is by ending all fear and anxiety as those are not ways in which the "blameless and upright" live.

We all walk through life fearing things and I have personally had major fear issues. I spent a year and a half in fear as a prisoner to panic disorder with some agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder (to those reading this who have dealt with this or are dealing with it, I want to encourage you that this does not mean you don't love or trust God. He is stripping you of the areas that you are holding on to tightly. Be patient, it passes as we begin to fear it less. I also want to say, that you CAN be a follower of Christ and experience this. Be patient, it will go away.) During this time, my life was literally controlled by a fear inside of me that anything I did would lead to the end of my time on Earth or that I was going insane and would lose my wife and myself. It was a terrible time for me personally and was paralyzing in my personal growth as I was consumed with me (only now do I see the pruning (John 15) that God was doing by using this circumstance). During that period I had a difficult time watching others because all I could think about was how to get over this dreaded feeling of hopelessness. I was anxious about everything and with this anxiety came a true lack of peace, even in my walk with God. My wife, who should be Sainted for her support and unconditional love for me, taught me so much during that period. Somehow, while her husband was suffering and she was pregnant, she managed to maintain the peace of God that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7). I remember watching her wondering how she could have such a life of peace, even in the midst of not being able to do the things that she may have wanted to do. In hindsight, I see that the people who were supporting her during this time, namely some female mentors in the faith, played a major role in shaping her response to her circumstances as they were personally living lives of peace even in the midst of suffering and trial. Her answer to living a life of peace, was watching how others around her we're already doing it.

Today's scripture means so much to me personally because I know what it's like to live without completeness/peace. Though we may think we are doing what we were made to do, we never experience the peace of God that passes all understanding until our total contentment is found in His unfailing love and plan for us. As we read His word we learn to trust his perfect plan. As we follow the life of Christ, we see a man that "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:6-8) Jesus was a man who found that eternal peace came from obeying and following His father even when he knew he would encounter trial and "death on a cross" in which he sweat blood at the thought. As I watch those around me who have helped shaped me in the faith, I see men (and women) who are anxious about nothing because they placed their trust in God and his timing for their death, their place on the economic ladder, and their willingness to be used by God even if it is out of their comfort zones.

I hope today's passage encourages you to look at the lives of Christ followers around you who you admire. I don't mean casual Christians, or people who say the right things. I mean watching the blameless and upright, who have found completeness (peace) in this life because they understand that they have amazing worth as bearers of the image of God. Because the Spirit is in them, they understand that they have no control over Earthly circumstances such as their time of death or IQ and manage to see this life as the mist it truly is. Peace is found in giving our entire life to Christ, letting Him lead us where he chooses, and being the Shepherd that he claims to be who will give us full life (John 10:10). We need to be reminded that we have a God who loves us, unconditionally, and is always willing to accept you coming home to Him. As 1 Timothy 6:6 says, "...godliness with contentment is great gain", and we can only come to that contentment, and that peace, by allowing the Spirit of God to shape us into the upright and blameless people God desires us to be.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Being put in my place today...

As you can tell, I truly love Jesus Christ. I desire the truth, and my hope each morning is to follow Christ with everything I have. I'm not great at it, but I try to die to myself daily (at his command), so that I may take up my cross and follow him. Lately, as you've read, I've been studying the history of the church (both the body of Christ and the local community) due to my own personal convictions about what the "church" has become. I won't get into that today because I feel as though my research is tossing me like the waves of the sea and I can't come to a conclusion about some specific issues that I'd like to share. However, in this process of my research I received a message I'd like to share with you.

The message came from a Catholic man in regards to attending the ideal church. He quickly reminded me that in my search for the perfect "church" I'm destined to never find it for two reasons. The first reason, is that this side of Heaven, there is nothing perfect (in terms of church). The second part was that the second I begin attending the "perfect" church or congregation, that church will no longer be "perfect" because I am now an attendee. There is nothing we do can make anything perfect without the gifts of faith and grace. Praise Jesus for loving us enough to give us the ability to accept both.

Talk about being humbled without a response, today was one of those days! I hope you all have a great weekend. Enjoy the life God has given you, be who He made you to be, and live to grow His Kingdom!

Much Love,


Monday, October 12, 2009

"Beautiful Old Age"

A little while back I was turned on to the writings of a 19th Century Pastor from the Midwest named J.R Miller. His devotional, "Greener Pastures" is one of my daily readings and his book on Homemaking is currently on my wife's nightstand. One of his writings, entitled, "Beautiful Old Age" is a must read for both the young and old followers of Christ (though, it was intended for the young). Below is an excerpt from this gem of wisdom. I hope it encourages you to live a life for Jesus Christ. One in which you have abandoned the desires of yourself to be filled with the Spirit of God. I never get tired of reading this and when I begin to lose perspective, other than the Bible, this is one of the few places I turn. Enjoy...

..."We must live a useful life. Nothing good ever comes out of idleness or out of selfishness. The standing water stagnates and breeds decay and death. It is the running stream that keeps pure and sweet. The fruit of an idle life is never joy and peace. Years lived selfishly never become garden-spots in the field of memory. Happiness comes out of self-denial for the good of others. Sweet always are the memories of good deeds done and sacrifices made. Their incense, like heavenly perfume, comes floating up from the fields of toil and fills old age with holy fragrance. When one has lived to bless others, one has many grateful, loving friends whose affection proves a wondrous source of joy when the days of feebleness come. Bread cast upon the waters is found again after many days.

I see some people who do not seem to want to make friends. They are unsocial, unsympathetic, cold, distant, disobliging, selfish. Others, again, make no effort to retain their friends. They cast them away for the slightest cause. But they are robbing their later years of joys they cannot afford to lose. If we would walk in the warmth of friendship’s beams in the late evening-time, we must seek to make to ourselves loyal and faithful friends in the busy hours that come before. This we can do by a ministry of kindness and self-forgetfulness. This was part at least of what our Lord meant in that counsel which falls so strangely on our ears until we understand it: "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."

Again, we must live a pure and holy life. Every one carries in himself the sources of his own happiness or wretchedness. Circumstances have really very little to do with our inner experiences. It matters little in the determination of one’s degree of enjoyment whether he live in a cottage or a palace. It is self, after all, that in largest measure gives the color to our skies and the tone to the music we hear. A happy heart sees rainbows and brilliance everywhere, even in darkest clouds, and hears sweet strains of song even amid the loudest wailings of the storm; and a sad heart, unhappy and discontented, sees spots in the sun, specks in the rarest fruits, and something with which to find fault in the most perfect of God’s works, and hears discords and jarring notes in the heavenliest music. So it comes about that this whole question must be settled from within. The fountains rise in the heart itself. The old man, like the snail, carries his house on his back. He may change neighbors or homes or scenes or companions, but he cannot get away from himself and his own past. Sinful years put thorns in the pillow on which the head of old age rests. Lives of passion and evil store away bitter fountains from which the old man has to drink.

Sin may seem pleasant to us now, but we must not forget how it will appear when we get past it and turn to look back upon it; especially must we keep in mind how it will seem from a dying pillow. Nothing brings such pure peace and quiet joy at the close as a well-lived past. We are every day laying up the food on which we must feed in the closing years. We are hanging up pictures about the walls of our hearts that we shall have to look at when we sit in the shadows. How important that we live pure and holy lives! Even forgiven sins will mar the peace of old age, for the ugly scars will remain.

Summing all up in one word, only Christ can make any life, young or old, truly beautiful or truly happy. Only He can cure the heart’s restless fever and give quietness and calmness. Only He can purify that sinful fountain within us, our corrupt nature, and make us holy. To have a peaceful and blessed ending to life, we must live it with Christ. Such a life grows brighter even to its close. Its last days are the sunniest and the sweetest. The more earth’s joys fail, the nearer and the more satisfying do the comforts become. The nests over which the wing of God droops, which in the bright summer days of prosperous strength lay hidden among the leaves, stand out uncovered in the days of decay and feebleness when winter has stripped the branches bare. And for such a life death has no terrors. The tokens of its approach are but "the land-birds lighting on the shrouds, telling the weary mariner that he is nearing the haven." The end is but the touching of the weather-beaten keel on the shore of glory!"

Find the whole work at:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Reformers fearing "Reform"

It was brought to my attention one day listening to sports talk radio (who doesn't need a break from this treadmill life we run on?) that when we speak of a "sports fan", the word "fan" is actually short for the word "fanatic". Personally, I have the privilege (or not) to know fanatics from every walk of life. In many cases, I have the opportunity to share life with them as I talk to friends who love the same sports teams I do or when I show up at a local "church" on Sunday. If you don't believe that fanatics are all around you then check your local news in which you'll have the opportunity to see the disastrous outcome of somebody strapping a bomb to himself and walking into a crowded area of innocent people so that they can receive "X" number of virgins in paradise. If you want to see a fanatic this weekend, turn on an NFL game this Sunday and watch some guy support his winless team by dressing up like a pirate or taking his shirt off in the freezing cold and barking like a dog. In the last day I've got to see fanatics by reading Facebook status updates and tweets supporting Barack Obama's most recent award as the recipient of the Nobel Peace prize even though he was only nominated nine days into office and has yet to accomplish any of his goals. (if you argue with this last one, I'd suggest you read the definition of "fanatic" in the next paragraph. Mind you, this is not a political site and it is only serving as an example).

The word fanatic defined is, "a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal". In my own life, I refuse to call myself a fanatic of anything because of the word "uncritical" in the definition. This refusal includes how I envision my identity as a follower of Christ, and as I sit here tonight pondering bigger, more important things than the win-loss records of my favorite teams (all of which lost today in College Football giving this thinking session a bit more perspective) I have started digging into my own beliefs. Why do I believe them? Where did these beliefs come from? Am I following a belief because I've actually studied and prayed about it, or do I follow it because that is the cultural "norm" within American Christianity, and it's the way I've grown up? I have even begun to wonder if I read books because they make me cool or is it because I'm searching for truth? I've noticed over the past few months as I talk to close friends and family about their faith, even the ones who consider themselves to be part of the "reformers" in the church, I've noticed this "uncritical" attitude in their relationship with Jesus. The fact that we don't even know where are beliefs are coming from, and we in most cases refuse to dissect them help me to recognize that this attitude is due to one thing...FEAR!

We are a culture that loves comfort, security, and instant gratification. When it comes to our faith, which on paper is the most important thing in our lives as it develops our world view and should be transforming us from the inside out; we refuse to be uncritical because it interrupts those three aims mentioned above. Whether we realize it or not, we are a culture of Christ followers that is fearful that we may actually be wrong in the way we've been "doing Christianity". We are fearful that we may have to change our attitude, our friends, and our goals and aspirations. As you all know I typically write about dying to our self so that we may find life as we follow Christ, and tonight is no different. Below is an article I came across tonight by a man named Frank Viola who has been chasing after the truth of our faith. Through extensive research, prayer and sharpening by fellow lovers of Christ who believe that if "God said it, then that settles it", Frank has written two very important books called "Pagan Christianity?" and "Reimagining Church" (along with many others) that challenge our fear of reforming what we believe we have already reformed.

This article was taken from, It was written by Frank as a response to a well known article circulating about the "coming evangelical collapse". I'd urge you to read it in its entirety, but below is an excerpt from that article. Frank is quoting a friend of his named Hal Miller. To give Hal's quote some context, Frank states right before it that current evangelicalism has, "rooted itself in modernity, it failed to fully grasp and teach God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:11), and it retained the Western individualistic bent that marks historic Protestantism."

To which Hal states,

"Christianity is culturally relevant when it offers a qualitatively different society. Jesus called it “the kingdom of God.” Paul saw its first outlines in the gathered disciples of Jesus, and so he called them ekklesia - we translate it “church”- a Greek word denoting citizens assembled to attend to their common project, their city.

The evangelicals missed this. Evangelicalism sought to transform people and so transform the world. They did not see that something might be missing from this vision, something their assumption of American individualism would hide from them. The true Christian vision is to transform people, transforming them into a people, and so transform the world. The evangelicals missed that middle term. They could not see the church as a foretaste of the new society; it was a club for the new individuals. The evangelicals simply dressed American individualism in Christian clothing. They ended up with new isolated individuals, but in the old society. Since their expression of Christianity did not take form as a new society, it quickly became culturally irrelevant, even though it was admirably culturally open.

To be culturally relevant, Christianity must offer an alternative. God has indeed chosen to deal with persons as individuals- in this the evangelicals were right. Yet they are not simply individuals; they become members of a social reality called ekklesia, which is the entering wedge of the new society of God’s making.

Too often, for example, we assume that evangelism involves the simple aggregation of more and more new individuals. If enough people are “born again,” the world’s problems will diminish. But the experience of the last twenty years- in which we had more and more people “born again” as well as more and more marital tragedies, more and more international tension, and more and more bondage to the demons of our age- seems a perfectly contrived counter-example to this theory.

The Christian calling requires being reconciled with God, to be sure. But it also requires being a new, reconciling society characterized by forgiveness, acceptance, and responsibility in a common task- a society qualitatively different from its culture, yet engaged with it. Little gatherings of Christians for worship and mutual help in being disciples become the seeds of God’s coming new society.

Such a new society will be culturally relevant because it springs from God’s movement among God’s people. The persons who make up this new society live their faith in the face of day-to-day problems that they share with the world around them. They face the same questions as unbelievers: finding joy and meaning in work, living at peace both personally and globally, raising responsible and compassionate children. And in facing those questions, Christian faith becomes relevant even for unbelievers.

Imagine a group of people gathering to help each other in the common task of seeing God’s kingdom incarnated in their work, in their families, in their towns, in their world, in their midst, and (rather than only) in their individual lives. This gathering is ekklesia. It will be relevant to its world because it lives the life of the kingdom in the world, not apart from it."

I couldn't have said it better which is why I shared this article with you tonight. As followers of Christ, me included, we must recognize that we have the ability to take on God's eternal perspective as we live today. The economy, the political outlook, the social injustice and the lack of peace are not things we can fix individually, but they can be affected collectively as the "ekklesia". We can't fully fix them this side of heaven, but we can improve them if the sum of the individual disciples of Christ acting as a body is greater than the individual parts. This means that your individual relationship with Christ is meant to be multiplied through true community and love for your fellow members.

Do not be scared to ask the important questions when it comes to your faith in Christ and how we are to follow him, experience him, love him and share him. Nobody has ever gotten in better shape by staring at the mirror every day hoping that they will see a difference without getting on the treadmill and lifting some weights (unfortunately I've learned this one first hand). Therefore, don't talk about wanting to "going deeper", challenge yourself, don't "start on Monday", ask God for His truth, study the words of Christ and our fellow brothers and sisters who followed Him in the flesh by reading God's word. Pray that the Spirit may transform you into an evangelistic tool that God will transform individually in order to grow and glorify God's "ekklesia". You are not a "member" of a building, but instead a part of God's living Kingdom and a team of fellow lovers of perfection if you have made Jesus Lord. Don't be scared, but study God's word for yourself, you may find out that you've been "doing the Christian thing" while you could have been following Christ.

To my fellow reforming friends, I am still with you in theology but the way I see it is that as much as I love Luther and Calvin, I love Jesus more and therefore, anywhere that those two disagree with Jesus, then I disagree with them. To my "emergent" friends, you got a lot of reading to do. Yes, Jesus saves, but we don't get to define him differently than the clarity in which he defined himself. You are right in assuming that we are "doing church" wrong in comparison to the early followers, but you're wrong in your Unitarian/Universalist approach to the grace of Christ. To all of you, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and the only way to the Father is through Him. (John 14:6) Following Christ is not easy and grace is not cheap but the message is simple; like the story in which Paul and Silas said to the jailer after he heard them praising Jesus in jail and wanted to know how to share in their life by becoming saved, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." (Acts 16:30-31)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trusting Truth- 40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 36)

"But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found." Psalm 37:36

We live in a culture consumed with what celebrities are doing on a day to day basis. Whether they are "hitting and running" in their Bentley's and Benz's, making fools out of themselves at award shows, or puffing themselves up through tabloids (even bad publicity is good publicity), we can't get enough celebrity gossip. We are so consumed with the world of celebrities that the news now lets us know what our favorite actors, actresses and socialites are eating, where they're partying and how they travel just as often as we hear the weather or traffic. The only thing we may hear more about than celebrities is the state of the current economy (which we've turned into a celebrity idol) and what our President (who is as big of a celebrity as it gets) is going to do to make sure his health care plan goes through. Even more nauseating is the thought that we honestly think other people care what we're doing via twitter or Facebook status updates as we rap off where we're eating, what weights we're lifting and how the purchase of a new toy is making our day. What does it say about our culture that we spend so much time thinking about ourselves and yet nobody can seem to "get it together" as depression and suicide runs rampant even for the "upper class" who according to the world's teaching are always happy because they have money, fame and notoriety (even if it's within smaller circles). Then, in order to like ourselves better, we do the humble thing and we make ourselves part of the most "cause" oriented generation in history. Of course, as we stand around talking about how we're going to change the world, the status of the human soul has grown darker and darker as it becomes more in love with the character it is making itself to be. As Leo Tolstoy once said, "Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself."

Today's passage of Scripture is a great reminder that no matter who you are, or how well you're known eventually you will be gone, and the people who once aimed to follow you, will no longer be able to find you. You see, we need to constantly be reminded that no matter how great we are in the present realm, unless we do something that can last for eternity, our life is "a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14) I don't know why we act as though we'll live forever, but clearly there's one thing that will certainly happen to everyone that has been born...we will die. I know we like to turn celebrities (this includes actors, actresses, musicians, sports figures, TV personalities and even Pastors and authors to us in Christian circles) into God type figures and our President into the Messiah, but one day, you can take this to the bank (the only thing you may have taken there in a while), every person on this Earth will cease to live and unless they've done something that builds up God's Kingdom eternally. This means that even they're greatest works on Earth will be forgotten at some point. So what can we do that will be seen forever? One of my favorite little poems out of the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by Jon Piper says it best, "Only one life twill soon be passed, Only what’s done for Christ will last."

When it came to living a life for eternity, Jesus of Nazareth was the expert. One day after making himself known to be the "Messiah" to his followers two of his disciples asked if they would sit with him in his glory (of course bringing them heavenly celebrity status) to which they were told that this life is not about getting what we can for us while we're here. Instead, Jesus stated "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." The way for us to do something for eternity is then twofold. The first thing is that we must not only accept Jesus for what He did, but also for who He is. Without recognizing that Jesus is God incarnate (see Colossians 1:15 and 2 Corinthians 4:4 as well as numerous other places), we are unable to grasp that the person we are following, though like us in the way he lived, is actually the "exact image" of the invisible God. Once we realize how bad the Creator of the Universe wants a relationship with us, and that the way to that relationship is by His grace through the death and resurrection of Christ, we can never get to the second part of making an impact that will last forever.

The second part to living a life that will echo into eternity is not by becoming a celebrity, puffing up ourselves by obtaining higher positions, a greater following or more money. It's not by dumping what we already have in terms of marriage in exchange for a more beautiful husband or wife and the perfect kids. The second part to living a life in which we will be "found" even after we're gone is to live a life of service. Like Jesus said, He came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Personally, I have to be reminded of this daily as I, like the rest of the world desire to be known for things other than being one of God's children by the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, by becoming a true follower of Christ through the acceptance and belief in who He truly is, and then letting His Spirit fill you so that you may take on the personality of Christ that aims to serve others, you will be making an eternal impact on humanity.

I don't know why it's so hard sometimes to take Jesus at His word and begin loving others they way we love ourselves. I'm guessing that the reason for our lack of action in this way is due to the fact that we haven't died to our own ideas, agendas, dreams and aspirations in exchange for God's perfect plan for us. As we are reminded in Scripture of how short our lives are, and that the only way to truly live is by believing in and following Jesus Christ, we must come to realize that a life lived to glorify ourselves is not only shallow but literally worthless. Today, like every day you can choose to do something to fix the temporary or you can let go of yourself enough to affect the eternal. The beauty of course in this decision is that you are given the free will to decide, just another way God shows His love for us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Taking back the Church...

At the suggestion of a Pastor friend (another guy who is much smarter than me) I have begun reading a book called "Pagan Christianity?" by authors Frank Viola and George Barna (head of the "Barna Group" and contributor to books such as "Revolution" and "UnChristian"). I've only started the book last night and plan to make it the first book I review upon completion. From, what I've read so far, this book is quite possibly the most important book for our time in terms of church culture and is a must read for any person who is a follower of Christ. I say "must read" because as followers of Christ, we ought to truly want what He intends for us, and what He has for us as opposed to what has become cultural (whether Christian or American) or socially normal for people who consider themselves a "christian". We ought not be scared to learn more about why we believe what we believe and develop our own theology based upon God's word as opposed to a popular speaker, writer, etc.

Without giving it all away, Viola (a former Pastor and current Home Church advocate) breaks down the "church" today as defined by man and compares it to the "Way" or "The Church" (aka Body of Christ) in the New Testament. In just one day, I've learned (through numerous sources which he clearly identifies) that the idea of a "church" building is not from those who follow Christ but actually from the Constantine era in which the Roman Empire became "Catholic" and took on numerous forms of Pagan worship only changing the "Pagan players/god's" to Christ, The Trinity, Madonna and the Saints. I've also learned how Scripturally, though there were elders, there was never a paid staff, a clergy, laity or even a "lead Pastor" who oversaw the meetings and told the followers of Christ what they should or shouldn't do, deliver a message or lead "worship". In fact, there was no "Head" because according to Scripture, the "Head" was Christ and His temple, Scripturally, was HIM! Ultimately, the church was exactly what Paul said is was, "the body of Christ" and the "Bride of Christ".

When speaking about "church" today, we often picture a beautiful building or cathedral, both of which were taken from Pagan Culture (and are aesthetically beautiful both now and in the past I must admit), and though there is an importance and even a commend to continue meeting together, the church (body of believers) met wherever they could such as homes or other local buildings as opposed to building a place to worship. They did this because they believed it was important to not waste their money on a temple (which they already had in Christ wherever they were) when it could be used to help others who were starving or in need. The authors, in their humorous yet informative way made the comparison that if we are to call a building the "church", then Scripturally we ought to call our wife a condominium (Even funnier when you're an appraiser).

Anyway, the reason I bring this up earlier than the planned book review is because I came across a sad article of division in the church in Florida (might I add that in no way am I hoping to split up the church by suggesting we are doing it wrong, but in fact am hoping to bring us together following Christ as one body the way it was intended and originally practiced with Christ as the head/groom). The church (building) in Florida is called Coral Ridge Presbyterian and was Pastored by a man named Reverend D. James Kennedy who died in 2007 after many years of growing this "mega church". After his death, his job as teaching Pastor was taken over by a man named Tullian Tchividjian who is the grandson of Billy Graham. Long story short is that this new Pastor is not liked much by the congregation because according to the Associated Press "While he has shown no sign of theological differences with Kennedy, he has rejected politics as the most important force for change, and his sermons have not focused on divisive issues." So I need you to help me out here, "members" of this "church" are now leaving to form their own "church" after losing a September 20th vote to overthrow the current Pastor because he won't preach something other than Christ as the true eternal means to "change". Does this mean that they now are not in the body of Christ, and how do you leave the body to form another body? Were they ever in the body of Christ or just "members" of a different group of people who follow Jesus and culture, because that is what it seems like America does anyway? Might I also add that in Scripture, pastors never needed to be overthrown because our idea of pastor and the idea of "pastor" in the New Testament are totally different (I'll get more into that in the review).

Anyway, because I don't believe in coincidences, I had to note that God is clearly saying something in this book "Pagan Christianity?" and reiterated the importance of following Christ as the head of the church as opposed to a mere mortal man, who runs an institutional organization and has the ability to hire and fire as well as being able to decide how much Jesus should be taught. I urge you all to not believe that you need to be a "member" of a church who has a building in order to be a member of the church community as the former is not Scriptural. I also want to say that this is an opportunity to not create division by speaking against these little businesses (which I'm guilty of), but instead a chance to be the true body of Christ that helps these little businesses to see that we are doing what the followers of Christ did in the first century completely wrong. What I mean is that we are all a "Royal Priesthood", we are all the "bride of Christ", and we all can worship in the temple that is Christ anywhere because the temple he built in "three days" is a Spiritual one; Praise Jesus!

In defense of the present day worship style, even though being a "member" of a church building is not Scriptural, how are we supposed to know this unless we do the research ourselves? Also in defense of our pastors, they most likely don't realize that the way we "do church" is not scriptural either and that is why I urge you to pick this book up for yourself. By being informed about who we are meant to be in Jesus and how we are meant to function in the body of Christ you will be able to educate a friend, a pastor, a member of the "laity" or any person who desires to be Christ's bride as opposed to his Condo.