Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Break....

I've had a lot going on over the past two weeks which is why you're seeing more links than my own writing (though I share many of the same views as the links I post or at least consider the questions that are being asked). I hope to be back with some Spirit filled insight into individual transformation and communal growth in the next couple weeks. I hope you see all of the blessings God has bestowed upon you this year and please make sure to be praying for the people of Haiti!

Much Love,


"Organic Church": Is it really a movement? (Frank Viola's reply to the Christianity Today Article)

I've quoted Frank Viola alot. I've shared my thoughts on "Church" frequently, especially the "organic" variety. I've posted some recent questions and links on this topic that have had me answering if I'm still a "Christian" in my social circles. In other words, the importance of God's vision for His bride is at the forefront of my mind even if the questions I'm posing make the casual Chrisitan and even the committed follower of Jesus uneasy.

Therefore, I'm posting a recent article Frank Viola used as a response to the previous post I had regarding a Christianity Today article on "Organic Church". I suggest you read it as it gives more insight into what his, my and I hope God's view is for those who desire to live a life by the indwelling Spirit of our Lord Jesus.

Disclaimer: Frank Viola is not of Minnesota Twins fame from the 80's and the 90's, so don't get your hopes up that a left handed pitcher with a perfect mustache cares more about Church life than how well his curve ball is breaking.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Can Organic Church Last?

It seems I write about it daily. I think about it constantly. I wish I didn't feel led this way as it's much easier to stick with the status-quo. I'm speaking about Organic church and it is the current trend in the Christian faith with the hope of bringing back a more authentic community life, an end to silly institutional spending and an abolition of the clergy/laity divide while re-instituting the biblical view of an all member functioning community in which the body becomes the true expression of Christ as it moves in the way the Spirit leads it. Many believe it is the answer to the lack of transformation in the individual and the way for the church to get back to her true definition. Regardless of how you feel about it, it's here and it's gaining steam.

Today, I've posted a link to a great article I read in Christianity Today that gives a great outline and description of what is happening and what has historically happened to similar visions for the Church in the past. I hope you check it out and gain insight, perspective, hope and an opinion about where you stand in your own relationship with Christ, His bride, and your perspective on where the church is headed.

If you are like me, a bit torn in your view of "church life" and you hear this still small voice calling you out of institutionalism but unsure if you are walking into a possible heresy (that is Organic Church life) I urge you to read this. If you are living the institutional church life, have no issues with it, but wonder what those crazy revolutionaries are fighting for when it comes to Organic Church I urge you to read it. If you are looking for something interesting going on inside your family (your eternal family) that you may not know a lot about, I urge you to read it. In other words, check it out and let me know what you think.

(Click the title for a link to the Christianity today article)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"A Jesus Manifesto" by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet

I had to post this link after reading Frank Viola's and Leonard Sweet's "A Jesus Manifesto". It was written to and for the entire body of Christ regardless of specific views of members regarding ecclesiology (church), eschatology (end times), Soteriology (the way in which humanity obtains salvation), the presence of spiritual gifts today or in light of political, social or economic views. This "Manifesto" is strictly about Jesus (which is why the entire trinity is not focused on) and is a great foundation for what He hoped we would become.

Within the "Manifesto" we truly see it is Jesus who is Lord and Head. Both authors make it clear that they don't necessarily agree with the different sets of beliefs listed above. I clearly have certain views within the realm of being a Christian, but like the authors, that doesn't separate me from being part of the same body as many of you who don't share those same views.

I truly hope you consider reading this "Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremecy of Jesus Christ", and would love to hear your comments, thoughts and insights. There is no better unifying factor in the Christian life than to have Jesus as the King, Lord, Savior and Head. He is the Alpha and Omega and he desires His body to be unified under His headship. I hope this writing helps us to recognize that we are truly dead outside of Christ and that if we all would allow His Spirit to transform us into the kind of people who love like He did, the problems of pride and self-righteousness could be eliminated and unity in the body would come to fruition.

(To see the article please click the title of this post)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Budweiser vs. Microbrew" what Newsweek says about Church in America

As most of you know I'm passionate about Jesus, I'm passionate about truth, I'm passionate about love, I'm passionate about God's word, and I'm passionate about God's plan for sharing the truth, love, and word of Jesus through His body...the Church.

This morning I read an interesting article in Newsweek's online magazine about the cultural Christian shift from institutionalization to a more organic and biblical form of community life. In the article Gary Laderman, professor of American religious history at Emory University and author of 'Sacred Matters' stated, "What's going on is a kind of deinstitutionalization of religious life," when he was asked why American Christians have grown weary with the current ways of practicing their faith.

Though the article is interesting and agreeable on the point it aims to make, ( it expresses a major concern for the institutional tradition of the way we "do" church) it still fails to focus on the main issue in regards to the mass exodus of some 1,000,000 Christians per year leaving institutional churches (per the Barna Group), the lack of genuine transformation of individual Christians, and the total disunity within the "body of Christ" (The Church). That main issue is that Christians have grown tired of playing the part of the "American Christian", a part that is focused on keeping America "Christian", the using of the pulpit as an opportunity to press the political beliefs and religious interpretations of a few clergy on to the mass amounts of listeners while they care more about the appearance and marketability of their congregation than transformation and discipleship within the membership (don't tell me it's different, show me). Within this issue is that while the church preaches to the individual listener there is a lack of biblical community within the body as we have been taught like children to be seen and not heard for fear that the congregation speaking up is what would lead to disunity (shaking hands and giving your name before we get entertained is not community). Though Pastors have the best of intentions to keep things orderly, their hierarchical positions have deadened the Spirit of the congregation as very few manage to function, and their fears of disunity are strictly a fear that they may need to re-think the way their program currently works. In a nutshell, followers of Christ are tired of playing the part of Christian, following a select few and their views while the Headship of Jesus and the love and unity of believers is left in the dust.

It also needs to be said that meeting in a house doesn't make a Christian community any better than the one who meets in a church edifice. This is especially true if people are leaving the institution in order to meet together while still holding on to the un-biblical hierarchical structure and liturgy that bores the masses on Sunday's. I truly believe that the main reason for this move from institutional church life is due to a desire of the body to share in authentic worship within an all members functioning community with Christ as Head (see 1 Corinthians 14, Ephesians 5, and all through Acts). The desire doesn't come from the need to be known or "do" church better, but instead, due to the Holy Spirit which desires us to be a unified visible expression of the love and truth of Christ within local communities. While we currently have church buildings on every block from multiple denominations, God's desire to bring true unity within His body cannot co-exist with the current "sheep stealing" that goes on. Especially if these sheep are already part of the Kingdom of God through their relationship with Christ and know their Shepherd(John 10).

In these tough times, ones in which the faint of heart have a buffet of choices in which they can get their daily fears from, the Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of Christians to usher in the Biblical Kingdom of God through the love, generosity, grace, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I do agree that a lack of institution is where God moves best as the Headship of Christ is allowed to be re-established as he supplants the "CEO Pastor" that currently runs the body in America (and the world). However, I'm also aware that some may disagree with my views on why the move to de-instituionalize the Church is happening and I want to be clear that my main desire is that we would aim in this New Year to re-hire Jesus back as the Head of his Church so that we may get the true answer of what he's doing.

May we all come together in love, regardless of our views on denominations (that includes you non-denomonationals too), politics, baptism, eschatology or any other view that gives us pride as opposed to humility. Let's aim to give Jesus his church back, regaining our understanding of who we are in Christ as well as our roles in His Church.

(For the whole Newsweek article, please click the Blog title entry)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Keeping you Mentally Healthy...

I came across this blog entry on the John Piper "Desiring God" site. As many of you know I've dealt with Panic Disorder and General Anxiety Disorder in years past and this link is a great list of things you can do to prevent these harmless yet annoying and debilitating conditions along with burnout, stress, pride and depression. Along with the link above on the title of this post, I'm also copy and pasting the 10 points directly on to this blog in case you have trouble. I encourage you to see the entire article so that you get some history into who wrote the list and why it was written.

I'm hoping you all are off to a wonderful New Year! I pray that we all will be a blessing this year both individually and as a body to those we come in contact with. Make your life one of ministry like Christ who "Came to serve, and not to be served...". Like Abraham, we have the ability to be a blessing because we are so blessed.

10 Resolutions for Mental Health

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: "There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing."

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities.

I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."

8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.