FNB WIRe 9.12.09

September 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Biblei-Octopi, Sports) (, , )

Flesh & Blud – Week In Review [09.12.09]

>Items That Grabbed My Attention This Week<

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>>I was exposed to a proverb that I was previously unaware of, speaking in regards to the Seattle Seahawks signing aging Safety Lawyer Milloy and releasing Safety Brian Russell, the author concludes, “This could be the proverbial poop in the birthday cake.” I’ve never heard that one before, but since it is proffered as a well known axiom I shall look for my opportunity to impart it’s wisdom. PS – I am ready for some Seahawks!

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>>Church structure (eccesiology) continues to be a front running stream of thought. The principle that we serve a person (Jesus), rather than a purpose, and He has instructed us to declare a unique message (the gospel), continues to cleanse my mental temple. We labor for gospel clarity and gospel transformation in our families, our churches and our community.

Gospel Clarity – Gospel Obedience – Gospel Transformation

Our practical approach must be to labor for gospel clarity, seeking God’s Word to know WHO God is (right theology/doctrine) and WHAT God wants us to do (right action/doctrine). As such, God’s Word will take center stage, we will look to His Word to have the first and final say in how we live our lives and the practices of our churches. What we believe about WHO God is and WHAT God wants us to do can be very liberating (the truth will set you free – My burden is light) or it can be very dangerous (errant theology). Josh McDowell emphasizes the importance of just how much what we believe affects how we act (see Beyond Belief to Convictions).

The pursuit of gospel clarity must flesh itself out in gospel obedience (aligning ourselves to the revealed will of God) in the lives of every individual, every family, our corporate gatherings (churches) and our community (gospel overflow!). Right doctrine is a right pursuit and right doctrine is not a concept but a shaping of our heart and actions in accordance with God’s instructions that we might know the fullness He has designed us for.

As we labor for gospel clarity and raise the standard to gospel obedience, we will see the Holy Spirit work gospel transformation in people, families, church and communities. The relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one of undisturbed intimacy, a relationship we are designed to share (see John 17 and Philippians 3:20,21). The intimacy of our right knowledge and faithful obedience is part of a greater work of gospel transformation.

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>>The next time someone says, “We need to see people as Jesus sees them.” I want to say, “We do need to see people as Jesus does – broken, filthy and dead in their sins. But we also must embrace them as He does – with the power of the gospel to save and transform their lives.”

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Skinny and the Gospel

April 4, 2009 at 8:34 pm (Biblei-Octopi) (, , )

I walked into Starbucks the other day, to purchase a hot caffeinated beverage for my wife. Apparently I had quite the look of consternation as the attendant, correction-barista, commented that I looked as though I were concentrating and trying to remember something. We laughed and I made the order, “Grande, nonfat-no sugar-Carmel Macchiato.”

Macchiato & Contextualization

Macchiato & Contextualization

She was very gracious and permitted me temporary access behind the veil, enlightening me with an excerpt from the top secret Starbucks glossary . She said that it may simplify things to order a, “Grande-skinny-Carmel Macchiato.” Marvelous. I expressed my deepest gratitude as this indeed does simplify my journeys into the depths of corporate evil (much sarcasm – the only thing more evil than Walmart is Starbucks, right?).

My benevolent barista was quick to qualify stating that the beverage wasn’t truly “skinny” as the final carmel topping isn’t non-fat/non-sugar. This is a surprisingly consistent qualification as near every time that I make the order there is some casual comment either to me directly or between baristas as to the true nature of “skinny”. I admire that there is a consistent clarity amongst baristas on this Starbucks truth.

As I was leaving Starbucks today, a pit stop on the way home from a meeting in which we had several discussions pertaining to matters of the church, so the two experiences were blending in my mind. My experience at Starbucks is a fitting example of what we face in communicating the gospel within our current cultural environment(s). The baristas had a firm understanding of the deeper truths of the Starbucks menu as well as an understanding of practical terminology and were joyous in enabling me to function with a better understanding that simplified my experience without sacrificing a standard of truth.

Though I am exaggerating a point, I believe the discussion touches on a real task of the church in every generation, meeting people where they are at, being diligent to present Christ and His Word in a manner that people can understand without sacrificing truth or undermining/countering His own revelation of Himself. Culture does not create the context for understanding the Bible, but the Bible must wisely be contextualized to engage the culture. This distinction is far from merely a matter of semantics, how you view and apply the Bible is foundational truth; core truth that should not be compromised.

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Churching Peoples – A Renewed Perspective

January 31, 2009 at 7:12 pm (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , )

A good friend, or spiritually should we say brother, peeked my interest in Mars Hill and pastor Mark Driscoll’s work (particularly in the arena of Christian sexuality – I encourage you to investigate). I’ve added the churches blog The Resurgence to my bloglines and recently found this posting:

Most church-goers conceive of church as a building. On Sunday mornings they get up, get dressed, and “go to church.” However, this is not how the early Christians conceived of church. They did not go to church—they were the church. Church is a community, not a building or a meeting. Church is all week, not just on weekends. Church literally means a “public assembly of people.” It has to do with people gathering, not with program-participating. (Jonathan Dodson)

This posting struck me, as I have often been of the mindset that the ministry of the church is the reason we arise on Sunday mornings and struggle to get our family out the door. I’ve also been blessed with the deep benefits of Christian relationships that have challenged and encouraged me. Church, as the Bible (Acts 2 in particular) describes it, is not just a polished message that we dress up for nor is it a social gathering for like-minded people. In these extremes, the church takes on 2 basic forms:

  1. Going to church only to be ministered to by the message and/or the music, in this focus the people can easily become unnecessary and often your “edification” is predicated on whether you felt the music or were touched by the sermon for that day. If the church has this perspective then the ministries/programs, the tools of ministry, can become more important than real connections or actual spiritual growth
  2. Going to church as a social gathering. This doesn’t just affect teenagers, there are plenty of adults that get fancied up for their spiritual parade while building up the body and being spiritually fed are a distant second in their priorities for the day. I’ve been around leaders who believe that getting more people in the door is the main focus of their efforts. Their theory is that as long as they are coming eventually they will reap something of benefit.

Acts 2 shows us people who were committed to people with a clear purpose of learning and living the teachings of the disciples (agents of Christ). Of vital importance is the understanding that both elements must exist in unison in order for the Biblical picture of the church to play out. In a separate post on The Resurgence, author Tim Chester summarizes this concept by stating:

The content of our ministry is the gospel. It’s a word: gospel means good news. So being gospel-centered means being word-centered. And it’s a word to be proclaimed: gospel means good news. So being gospel-centered means being mission-centered. That’s the content of ministry. The context is always the Christian community. Ministry is not an event, still less a performance. It takes place in and through the shared life of the Christian community. So whether it’s evangelism or social involvement or children’s work or apologetics or pastoral care or training, these two principles shape what we do: gospel-centered and community-centered.

Chester’s post further elaborates on the concept of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) to be more of, “As you are GO-ing,” as opposed to the static command to GO-for-a-time. When you understand the content of your ministry (the gospel of Christ) and the medium through which this content is to be communicated to the world (the church) the natural application for the individual is to always be about living the truth in all aspects of life. Chester does well to summarize it this way:

Here’s another way of thinking about it. One of the catchphrases we use to capture our vision is “ordinary life with gospel intentionality” or “ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.” In other words, what we do is ordinary life together: household chores, trips to the movies, meals, neighborhood volunteering. But running through all these activities is a commitment to speaking and living the gospel. We pastor one another at the kitchen sink. We evangelize by talking about Jesus over a meal.

I believe that Christ made things very simple and clear, His commands are far from easy, but He made them simple. I found these posts from The Resurgence to be refreshingly simple and applaud the application of these principles. Let Christ prepare His bride.


The two posts referenced can be found here:

Dodson’s post – Gospel Centered Community

Chester’s post – Ordinary Lives With Gospel Intentionality

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