When New Testament words are presumed to have post New Testament meanings based on post New Testament assumptions, traditions and agendas, is it any wonder that the Church has lost its New Testament power, form and function?
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.
Seriously, can anyone defend “church” as a carefully produced weekly “service” that feeds the need for affirmation through a staged “sermon” which mimics secular “motivational” speakers and staged “worship” which mimics intense pop concerts?
Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations, not entertain the masses by catering to a culture which craves emotional affirmation and intensity – then calling it “God”.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
Let us return to the Lord, and His ways, once again.
~ Jim Wright
Non sequiturs¹ Jesus never said …
(But are implicit among those who jettison scripture to create a postmodern² Jesus of their own perception):
“It’s about relationship …
So forget obedience.”
“All scripture points to me …
So your own perceptions of me trump any scripture that offends you.”
“I am the living word …
So you no longer need to submit to the authority and discipline of my written word.”
“‘Be holy as I am holy’…
Now means ‘I am postmodern as you are postmodern’.”
When you “go to church” these days, it seems that staged teachings and “worship” performances by the “anointed” few during Sunday “services” have become substitutes for the diverse gifts and “one another” imperatives of the New Testament.
When you truly “are the church”, however, shared teachings, songs and diverse gifts arise among us – each and every one – by encouraging and strengthening “one another” in the Lord as functional communities which gather together.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecc. 3:1)
Each of us travels through many seasons throughout our lives. Sometimes the seasons are very long and at other times they are short. Often they change even without our awareness of the start of a new season.
I went to the jail yesterday with another brother to be with one of the churches we helped establish there.
When we arrived, that other brother, John, felt the Lord’s prompting to ask if anyone was struggling with anything and wanted some one-on-one help. A young man raised his hand and I met with him alone while John remained with the larger group of about twenty inmates.
As we talked, that young man was able to openly confess and release to the Lord years of hurts and regrets that he had suffered. The pain he carried from the wrongs he experienced as a boy contributed to addictions and emotional enslavement, which had been destroying his life. As he began to expose and gave them to the Lord, Jesus met him in a very personal way.
Then, without prompting, he started talking about all the stupid sins he had committed in reaction to the wrongs he had suffered at the hands of others. He began crying and asked how he could be free from the guilt and weight of his own wrongs.
I find that’s often the case: When we forgive others for their wrongs, we often clearly see for the first time the significance of our own sins and then are brought to a place of genuine conviction.
When shifting concepts of personal autonomy become the supreme law of the land, not by legislative deliberation through democratically elected representatives or constitutional provision but by the whim of judges, then all other rights – including those expressly enumerated in the Constitution – eventually must fall.
My prayer for the Church in this age of itchy ears and false teachers …
Lord, raise up true elders – “grown ups” among us who serve your people in their local communities – to teach sound doctrine and confront those who redefine:
Faith as doubt;
Grace as excuse;
Love as license;
True as relative;
Real as subjective;
Moral as optional;
Community as conformity;
Church as unassembly;
Diverse gifts as distractions; and
Mission as introspection.
To all the fathers in the Household of God who faithfully stand watch over His people to serve and protect them, may the Father of All richly bless you this day.
Those who “profess” Christ know not Christ if their concept of Christ produces contempt for Biblical truth, repentance, redemption, virtue, honor, service and sacrifice in all spheres of life – both public and private.
A passion for redeemed lives, sustainable churches and healthy nations means rejecting their false Christ of existential angst, cultural anarchy and postmodern sensibilities.
This video (despite the goofy background music!) brought back lots of memories of the time we lived in Newfoundland, Canada.
In the 1960s, my dad, Robert Wright, was stationed there as a navy pilot in VW-13 (the sister squadron to the video’s VW-11, but same air base, planes and mission). Although I was in elementary school, I remember well many of the scenes shown in this video!
My dad’s mission was to fly Super Connies over the North Pole for early radar detection as part of the North American missile defense system. While there, he and my mom encountered Jesus (or maybe I should say that Jesus encountered them) and their lives became devoted to advancing His Kingdom while also serving our nation.
Later, he did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Naval aviator and squadron commander, where he saw combat and lost friends while also earning two Presidential Unit Citations and being awarded the Air Medal. He also was exposed to Agent Orange and suffered heart damage which eventually contributed to his service-related death decades later.
This Memorial Day, let’s not forget those who served with honor and gave their lives to defend others.
~ Jim Wright
God’s gifts and calling are about His mission, not your title, position or “ministry”.
I need your help to stop a stalker who has been harassing and threatening my wife.
For over a year now, an obscure blogger named Bart Breen has been acting on behalf of a cult that’s upset and trying to silence me (and others) for daring to warn folks about their history of sexual predation, abuse and cover up.
As more and more people learn the truth about that cult – centered on narcissistic “Beyond Evangelical” author Frank Viola and his mutual promotion network of self-proclaimed “apostolic workers” – they’ve become more and more shrill in a desperate attempt to hide their history of shame, failure and abuse.
As a result, Mr. Breen is now stalking my wife in a perverse bid to silence me. He’s even openly boasted about it on Facebook and in his various blogs.
Why? By harassing my wife and publicly boasting about it, Bart Breen and Frank Viola are sending their victims – and those who stand with them – the clear message that they too will be attacked if they don’t toe the line and remain silent about what has been going on within their “Beyond” Cult.
Last month, on January 6, 2015, my dad died peacefully in his sleep after a seven year struggle with dementia. His was a life well lived, in service to the King of Kings and His Kingdom.
This is a blog I first wrote a couple of years ago about my parents. I am re-posting it as my tribute to him and the legacy he leaves behind.
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The last several years have been a wonderful journey of seeing folks come to the Lord and fellowships emerge in highly improbable places. In my own life, the roots for this go back to my dad and mom, Bob and Mary Jane Wright.
In the 1970s and 80’s, the Lord used them as pioneers in what we’d now call simple “organic” church – before that term became popular (even though today, unfortunately, it can mean nearly anything).
Forty years ago, they helped birth a regional network of open, participatory fellowships in Maryland, where people could find and express the vibrant life of Christ in dynamic gatherings as everyone ministered one to another – rather than having directed, scripted meetings.
Last evening some elders from among our fellowships took time to share a meal at a local pizza joint and talk – just talk, with no agenda.
Our conversation turned to how the traditional model for church leadership is to inspire folks to “come” and be part of our own gift, calling or motivation – but that we don’t see this in Apostle Paul’s life.
Rather, Paul’s main approach was to unleash Christ within existing communities where God sent him. As Paul would “go”, he was secure enough to then let Christ be expressed through the wonderful diversity of the many unique gifts, callings and motivations He chose to bestow among His people in each church.
Thus, it was never about Paul inspiring people to come gather around his own gift, calling or motivation. Likewise, there is no example in the entire New Testament of any single “pastor”, one-man ministry or other person serving as a primary focal point “over” any local church.
Rob Bell, by insisting that the church embrace homosexual “marriage” and reject clear Biblical teachings, is an apostate existentialist: He claims the right to let his sensibilities define God and His written Word, rather than let God and His written Word define his sensibilities.
Every once in a while we get to touch the hand of God. When we hold a loved one’s hand there is a connection that transcends more than the mere physical touch. Holding hands unites the emotions with the physical. Touching the hand of God unites creation with the Creator.
This morning God reached His hand down to the Sunday fellowship group that meets in our home. After a short time of sharing we began to pray for each other. Some of the shared needs will require the totally miraculous to happen.
I believe that God is in the business of the miraculous. When we prayed this morning the supernatural presence of God filled the room. Almost everyone had a word, Scripture or a picture from the Lord to share with the person who was receiving the prayer. The sense that the Lord was standing right there in the midst of us was overwhelming.
Here’s a much-needed blog from PredatoryPastors.com – a locally-based (but unaffiliated) ministry near us – about the victim blaming that often occurs when a beloved or otherwise respected church leader is outed as a sexual predator.
I have been involved in many church abuse cases over the years, both as an attorney (now retired) and as local elder who has been asked to intervene on behalf of victims in other churches.
In my experience, victim blaming – and even outright trying to destroy the victim – always happens in cases involving an abusive but otherwise inspiring church leader.