Thursday, December 18, 2014

Planning For 2015

Some of these things are still on the drawing board – being prayed through and planned – but they are clearly emerging with the leading of God.  I want to share my encouragement, help you be aware and praying as well as give the Spirit opportunity to begin leading you into your place with what is emerging.  Here are a few of the things on our horizon:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marriage Inequality – A Problem Caused By Redefining Marriage

How do you ensure that an airplane and an elephant have equal rights?


Answer: You don’t.  An airplane and an elephant are different in so many ways that talking about equality between them is pointless.  The two are simply different, not unequal.

It is absurd to talk about equality between an airplane and an elephant until you first get rid of the difference.

Which is why I say that “Marriage Inequality” is a problem that is caused by redefining marriage.  The romantic union of two men is as different from a marriage of a man and woman as an airplane is different from an elephant.  The two relationships are not unequal.  They are different.  At least until you redefine them in a way that erases or obscures the difference.

Jesus and the Two Mars Hills

 I was struck recently by sad news about the two Mars Hill churches, which reminded me once again of my own need for Jesus.

You know the two Mars Hill churches? 

The one in Seattle was founded by Mark Driscoll and experienced dramatic growth under his spiritually abusive leadership.  Pastor Driscoll resigned recently amidst the scandal of that abusiveness.

The other Mars Hill church is in Grand Rapids, MI.  It was founded and led by Rob Bell until he resigned to pursue his own take on a modern faith.  It was a take that left behind the historic foundations of Christian faith.  Rob and I are graduates of the same seminary.

Friday, September 19, 2014

So You Think God Has Multiple Personalities?

I didn’t set out to be a “Heresy Hunter.”  But once I saw THREE churches in our county that said they believed in “One God who has existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” I knew I needed to look further.

While I do not and have never thought that these churches were staging a deliberate subterfuge to undermine 16 centuries of Christian belief, I do think that defining the Trinity as “One God with Three Personalities” rather than “One God in Three Persons” is a dangerous misunderstanding with real consequences.  I’m posting this because I have now seen such statements on the websites of other churches in cities that I have recently traveled to.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Secret Capture of the Church: Why I Hope We Leave Behind the Movie Left Behind

For the record: I do believe that Jesus will return one day to planet Earth – publicly, gloriously, victoriously and savingly – just as He promised.  Those who are alive at His returning will meet Him in the air.  He will judge the world – both those who are alive and those who have died - and He will establish His Kingdom with justice, peace and life as it was created to be.  All of this has been believed by believers across cultures and across centuries and is part of the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)

Here is what I don’t believe:  I do not believe that Jesus will return half-way and silently in order to secretly remove the church and the Holy Spirit from the planet for the seven year Great Tribulation and then “come-again again,” this time to judge and reign for 1,000 years.  These ideas are the product of a particular perspective called Dispensationalism that was unknown among Christians until late in the 19th century.

Why bring it up at all?  Because the peculiar idea of a “pre-trib rapture” followed by a 7-year period of Great Tribulation will be served up for a fourth time by Hollywood on October 3 in the movie Left Behind starring Nicolas Cage (!?!)..  And like leftover food, microwaved and served for a fourth time, I recommend that you just throw it in the garbage once and for all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beneath The Cross of Jesus

Justin Taylor offers this long quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer on his blog today under the title: Bonhoeffer on What a Christian Under the Cross Can Offer that a Secular Therapist Cannot.  Click Here

I've been returning to it throughout the day.  It is stunning and inspiring and convicting.  Bonhoeffer is the German pastor who stood against the Nazi madness and ran an underground seminary to train pastors.  Life Together was written while he taught at that seminary. 

What makes a Church “Safe”?

For many people, church has never been a “safe place.”  They have experienced or heard stories of emotional and spiritual manipulation and even abuse inside the church.  Whatever True Christianity might be, the reality of day-to-day, life-on-life living with real people in a church setting can be pretty brutal.  I know.  I’ve been a pastor for most of my adult life, and have the scars, bruises and limps to prove it.  And sad to say, I may have given as much or more than I have taken.

Over the course of these many years, I’ve observed three different strategies for making a church into a more safe place for real people.

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