This weekend, I met with one of several fellowships in our county that’s primarily comprised of men who surrendered to Jesus while in jail.
They are now out, and meeting weekly in different gatherings as they encourage, support and move forward together in the Lord.
Because they came to the Lord in jail, many of these men did not have an opportunity to be water baptized quickly after conversion. Some ended up serving the Lord – and the State of Virginia! – in jail for several years after becoming believers, and were only recently released.
As a result, they now want – and need – to be water baptized.
I am more at home in a jail cell, than in a church sanctuary.
Will we submit to the spirit of this age, or the rock of ages?
An older, but timely, blog.
Critique of the Center Church by Tim Keller [Part 3], by Neil Cole
I like Tim Keller’s books. We even went to the same seminary and share many similar influences. But Neil Cole provides a needed critique on Keller’s latest book, which views churches as institutions.
God created us with both meaning and purpose. Some, however, want the passivity of “being”, without the intentionality of “becoming”.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
--The Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Neibuhr.'
‘Why’ don’t matter. ‘What’ matters.
When I was a boy growing up in Arkansas, the most important person in my life, in very real ways, was Rose.
Probably at some time in our lives we have all wondered what it means to trust the Lord.
Trust can be elusive. It is not something that we magically create, but it is something that the Lord develops in us over time. It usually requires walking through difficult circumstances for the Lord to implant trust in us.
I believe that trusting God is like bungee jumping. You jump as a choice of your will, while you are connected to a large elastic, bungee cord. In the same way, we trust as a choice of our will while we are connected to the Lord.
For those who enjoy bungee jumping, the thrill and excitement come from the jump and the resultant rebound. Often when the Lord asks us to trust Him, it is difficult to experience the joy and the excitement that could be ours if we are willing to jump with abandon.
“If you want to know who the true Christians are, ask the poor, the imprisoned and oppressed. They will tell you.” ~ Gandhi
Without virtue, liberty is impossible.
Facebook seems to be a hot bed for the new distorted view of “grace”.
The other day someone posted that through grace, God finds our sin acceptable. He thus no longer “deals” with sin in our lives – and we are free of sin – because it no long exists.
According to their “logic”, sin ceases to an issue in our lives because it ceases to be considered sin by God.
That neat theological sleight of hand was followed by lots of “likes” and “amens”.
To deny the reality of sin and its bondage – and to say God doesn’t deal with sin in our lives or that we are free of sin – is an abuse of grace.
Functional elders trump dysfunctional “apostles” any day of the week. They are, in fact, the worst nightmare of – and the best protection against – self-proclaimed and detached whomevers roaming among God’s people.
By the time you analyze, systematize and homogenize the move of God – well, He’s moved on…
It's amazing how ekklesia takes root in the fringes of society when you empower Christ in existing community rather than trying to bring "church" to them, take them to "church" or do "church" for them.
When some of us started changing our perspective, we started seeing dynamic, participatory, indigenous fellowships emerge in the jail, among the homeless, and with ex-offenders - as well as other improbable existing communities.
Many would rather live a lie in peace, than live for truth.
German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Where the world seeks gain, Christians will renounce it; where it exploits, they will let go; where it oppresses, they will stoop down and lift up the oppressed. Where the world denies justice, Christians will practice compassion; where it hides behind lies, they will speak out for those who cannot speak, and testify for the truth.
Do we really want virtue, justice and truth – especially when they challenge the status quo of our settled lives, churches and ministries?
Do we really value virtue, justice and truth – even if they challenge any self-affirming relationships with Jesus and each other?
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:5-6)
May God send prophets among us yet again.
Unrepentant evil will never fess up to its own culpability, and always play the victim.
Fruit seems to be a touchy issue these days.
Jesus tells us to be fruit inspectors, and even says that we are to be known by our fruit. See Matt. 7:15-27.
We shouldn’t, therefore, be bashful about looking for and asking about fruit when discerning someone’s ministry, doctrines and practices – even if they find that offensive.
However, it’s one thing to look for fruit, but it’s another thing to be wise fruit inspectors.
God gives different gifts, callings and motivations to different people. It’s OK to be different!
The older I get, the more I realize that maturity is having the wisdom to understand there are consequences.
Too often folks anxiously try to fix the fix that God has fixed to fix some problem. Never works. Never has, never will.
If you’re in a fix, own it and let God do His perfect work.
If someone else is in a fix, let them own it so God can do His perfect work!
Relational unity must be built on relational truth – and never on lies.
God’s not into pendulums. He’s into plumb lines. Big difference!