Are we too quick to say, “not them.”

9 Dec

… they wash feet.
… they make statues of Mary.
… they allow homosexuals in their pews.
… they don’t follow the church calendar.
… they don’t require seminary degrees for ordination.
… they drink wine.
… they do not use the King James.
… they do not speak in tongues.
… they…

Who makes the call?
Only one.

… It’s not us.

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Living Out the “Seek and Save” Model of Luke 19:10

15 Oct

The son of man came to seek out and save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

This comes from the passage in Luke which talks about Zacchaeus and Christ’s calling him out of the crowd and saying, “Come down, let’s have dinner together and talk.”

I started thinking about the command to: seek out the lost; and save them. Seeking means going out of our way to search for folks who do not believe in Christ, probably not in God, who are not church-goers and wouldn’t call themselves Christians. And yet these folks are looking for answers. They are asking the right questions.

But those who are truly lost are not likely to show up at a “seeker service.” In fact, based on this passage, I think churches who have adopted a “seeker” model have gotten it wrong. The “seeker” is NOT the person who needs Christ. The “seeker” WAS Christ. And this is our charge as well–to seek out those who are hurting and crying out for a savior. And to save them out of their lost condition.

And we do this not by pointing out their condition. They know this. They are crying out for a reason. We need to show them a way out. Call upon that which is good in their lives. That which reflects Christ in their character already. That which is the image of God already reflected through them but needing some polish and cleaning and directing.

My charge to you is to open your ears to the cries, to open your eyes to the conditions of the lost. If you’re not hearing and seeing this first hand you may need to do some seeking. Seeking out those who are looking. Those who are willing to invite you in for dinner and a conversation. And I pray that you might engage in a dialogue that will ultimately bring one of the lost to a saving faith and belief in Christ.

Out of the Miry Bog

30 Aug

PSALM 40 (ESV)
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

Why am I alive? Who do I serve? I am a good man. Why am I good? Why is that important to me? Why do people matter for me? If it’s only about me, I shouldn’t care? Is God good? If I am good, am I not God’s? God, are you there? Our father… Christ? Is it true? Are you true? Help me in my time of need. What about…? Why not…? All roads? All roads can’t. They don’t agree. They move in different directions. Some directions lead to the rocky precipice of evil. Been there. Not going back. He called to me on that rocky path and I turned my ear to him. I came humbly before him and offered up prayer. Open my eyes, Lord. And that song came to my lips. As you brought me back. Will they see, Lord? And put their trust in you, God. In Christ. I pray they will.

Trumpet Call To unity (1Cor 1:2 & 1:10)

18 Jun

In the opening lines of 1 Corinthians we already hear the trumpet call to unity as Christ’s church.

1:2 “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” [ESV]

The key word here is “together”—we are “called to be saints together with all those who…call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because he is “their Lord and ours.”

It is so easy to push pass this line as we read through this text. But let this sink in for a moment. Especially in light of where Paul is about to go with the first portion of this letter.

What does it mean to acknowledge the universal church? Are we acknowledging the universal church? Are we honoring of our Christian brothers and sisters across the globe…across the street.

It is a lot easier to seek division from Christians by any other name, rather than to seek fellowship with them.

1:10 “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” [ESV]

Paul addresses the church in Corinth but he might as well be addressing “the church of God that is in [enter your city here].” If we find sanctification in Christ Jesus, then we find a common union with people all across this globe who “call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

How quickly we turn our eyes from the Gospel to the writings of theologians who are in “our camp” so to speak. “I follow Tim Kellor.” “Dude, I follow Mark Driscoll.” “I follow Luther.” “I follow Calvin.” “I follow the Pope.” All of these men have written, preached, said things that are worthy of our attention and helpful in our Christian walk; but, if we let our adherence to their writings cause division among us, then we have placed the writings of these men above scripture—which is not such a good thing.

As Christians we are to find a connection in Christ. We are baptized in His name. We profess faith in His name. We all find salvation in His atoning work. We join in common union through the remembrance of His body and blood. And thus as Christ followers all we must seek to unite under the banner of His love.

Where We Come Together

7 Jun

Is there a common ground where ALL Christians can comfortably worship together? Certainly. If we profess Christ, then we can certainly glorify Him together in prayer and in song. While creeds may provide hang-ups for some; the Lord’s Prayer is certainly a text we might all join in to recite. Many hymns and contemporary praise tunes also do well at moving across denominational boundaries and being embraced by many. Study of scripture (if we can be neutral on our embrace of translation) is another area we should all see as valuable to our Christian walk. Certainly we can all acknowledge God’s hand in creation and his mark upon each of us, His image bearers.

“One Body” Politics

7 Jun

Ecumenism is a nice—but implausible—idea. As long as we seek to maintain the denominational walls that divide us within the broader Christian faith we can never achieve unity. What we have instead is Christian pluralism. And even there you will not find many who would endorse that all Christian roads lead to the one. What we need is unification. The body of Christ must be one. We must come together as children of the living God. We must acknowledge our common union in Christ. And we must give up our denominational identities and unite under the umbrella of Christ alone. Guided by scripture alone.

I’ll try to unpack this some more in future posts exploring: possible solutions; why unification is necessary (and scriptural); what if Christians fail to unite in Christ.

God Revealed

5 Jun

Daily I slip on my walking shoes. Get the dog on her leash. And head out for a 2-3 mile jaunt in the neighborhood. Cardinals, finches and sparrows zip by. The mocking bird dances and sings on one of the light posts. Three doves land in a tree nearby. A couple blocks over there is a hawk setting his sites on some ground-borne prey. Robins and blackbirds, grey birds and yellow sing out their praises to the one who gave them their feathers, a place to roost, and sunshine to basque in. Pinoaks and gumball trees and evergreens in numerous variety offer up green eye candy. God breathes and whispers into this scene as I offer up my humble words of thanksgiving and glorification, “Thank you God for this…which you have created. I marvel at your handiwork in the skies and all around me. The trees stretch their limbs upward to worship you. And the chorus of birds cry out to honor you. Praise God the great artist and architect. Praise God, for even though this is but a small taste of the intended glory which you had created, we will revel in that glory, and praise the name of the one who created this.” Each day I never fail to marvel at that by which God is revealed.