Have you ever listened to Jewel, a singer in her young 30’s who is a Dylan-esque pop folk singer who was once so poor she lived in her car? In a pathos marinated voice, Jewel belts out bluesy songs that burn about the injustice, futility, and despair of life. Her lyrics, while not coming from an overtly Christian perspective, still touch something deep inside of many people. She sings:
We are given to a god to put our faith therein
But to be forgiven, we must first believe in sin
We’ve made houses for hatred. It’s time we made a place
Where people’s souls may be seen and made safe.*
Many of us struggle with these same questions, don’t we?
Do you know anyone with these thoughts?
In your opinion, what would that place look and feel like if people who called themselves ‘Christians’ (myself included), actually encouraged people’s souls to “be seen and made safe?”
*Jewel Kilcher, “Innocence Maintained,” WB Music Corp./Wiggly Tooth Music, ASCAP, 1996.
Here in San Diego, CA, we have a talk radio station on 89.5 FM, which I was listening to while driving to the grocery store yesterday afternoon after work. The talk show I was listening to was about the increasing popularity of blogging in China.
One single woman in her 20’s said she enjoys blogging about her favorite subject–herself. She is an only child and has little concern for anything beyond herself.
Another gentleman, a journalist, has loftier goals of getting political views across to the masses. Unfortunately, his blog was removed by Microsoft in conjunction with international law, referring to a clause regarding not communicating political views which conflict with current government. This man is outraged because the internet is difficult to police, however, Microsoft seems to be able to do just that.
There are 111 million Chinese bloggers today, according to this news report, and the numbers continue to rise. This is quite an extensive medium to get ideas across to an enormous audience.
Our world is definitely in the Information Age. As more people espouse ideas and communicate across geo-political barriers, more opportunities for chaos OR for unconditional love to occur will increase. My hope in having this blog is to communicate ideas that will nourish the soul of the reader, and help them understand who Jesus Christ really is. In the process, perhaps you will get to know me better as well.
I hope to begin more outreach to Chinese bloggers, that you may see the true freedom that is in Jesus Christ and trust in His forgiveness of sin. May you begin to follow His love and calling in your unique life.
Those of you reading this… will you help me reach the bloggers in China?
Have you ever met Joshua from the small town of Nazareth? The Western world knows Him as ‘Jesus,’ primarily because His name in Greek is ‘Iesous. In Latin, it’s Jesu. In anglicized Chinese, it’s Yesu. Either way you call it, He’s God in a human body. The only One to escape human mythology. He was and is the real deal.
Have you met Him?
Would you like to?
Wouldn’t you like to have a discussion with Jesus as exciting as this one to right?
In what Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost call in their book, The Shaping of Things to Come, to the Attractional Church, “evangelism becomes about inviting people to meetings.”
This limits our vision for what God can do both in time and in space, doesn’t it? But “Jesus didn’t say, ‘sit in your church and wait for people to come to you.’ ”
Even when traditional churches set out to be evangelistic, Frost and Hirsch suggest that church planting generally involves planting Sunday services rather than real Christian communities.
The Missional church, on the other hand “does not seek to attract people to it. It seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don’t know him yet.”
It does this through what are called proximity spaces, shared projects, and commercial enterprises. Proximity spaces are “places or events where Christians and not-yet-Christians can interact meaningfully with each other.”
“They are definitely not churches. Examples of proximity spaces include art workshops, pubs and cafes where Christians form part of the regular clientele. Shared projects are activities of genuine interest to the wider community, which meet a need and provide an opportunity for Christians and not-yet-Christians to meet in a natural situation. Commercial enterprises are real businesses, run by Christians for the wider community, but which are not overtly evangelistic. Examples included a shoe shop in San Francisco and a pub in Barnsley. The point of all of these activities is to find neutral ground where the Church can intentionally meet with the wider world.
This does not mean that the Church merely becomes a social club. Bible teaching and worship are still very much part of the life of the church (though perhaps not done in traditional ways), as is mutual commitment and accountability” (www.facingthechallenge.org/hirsch.htm).
Oh God, please cause me and my family to be missional in every venture we seek to be involved in for Your glory!
IS YOUR CHURCH ATTRACTIONAL OR MISSIONAL? You can’t have it both ways.
Have you ever felt like you want to say something incredibly profound, but are unable at producing it? I think I need to go on a hike…
While on earth…
* What kind of friend was Jesus?
* Is Jesus the kindred spirit I’m looking for?
* How did Jesus treat His friends?
* Can I be a friend of Jesus? What does that look like?
* Which were more important to Jesus–family or friends?
* What should I imitate about Jesus’ friendships?
I realize the answers are going to be found in the Bible, so I’m going to search for them!
If you could change one thing about your upbringing, what would it be?
Have you ever heard of the “father wound?”
What were those missed moments in your life that dad failed to take charge of? You know, those moments where he could have been intentional about teaching you those life lessons: how to fix cars, how to treat girls, how to handle your money, religious values and beliefs, or how to choose a career, to name a few.
What were those hurtful moments in your life that happened when you needed dad most and he either wasn’t there, or acted unjustly toward you?
What about those defining moments where the true character of your dad was revealed and you decided “I’m going to be better than that!” or some other agreement in your inner thoughts that you made.
When a boy fails to connect with his dad, demons of one kind or another, often fill the void. Perhaps you’ve seen them in other people or even yourself: workaholism, macho-ism, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, or selfish ambition.
Not all dads are bad. In fact, there are many dads who do a great job raising their kids and training them to actually hit a mark–intentionally. Are you one of them? Have you proactively unpacked your past and closed out the “unfinished business” — the themes and pain that resides there? Having done that, then the ability to launch your son into authentic manhood will be a much more enriching and effective journey.
“We are products of the past, but we are not prisoners of the past unless we choose to be.” (Robert Lewis in Men’s Fraternity.)
If you’d like further help, respond to this blog or email me, and I will make the effort to coach you through this area of your life!
Biblical Worship Defined
“Worship is the commemoration of being in covenant fellowship with the sovereign and holy God through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
How that is accomplished is by the:
1. Expressed commitment of trust and obedience to the responsibility of loving God with our whole being, and loving all other people,
2. Intentional praise and adoration of who He is and what He has done (and will do),
3. Memorial re-enactment of entering into covenant through sacrificial atonement with the confident anticipation of the fulfillment of His covenant promises.”
(Adapted from Allen P. Ross, Ph.D. Worship in Ancient Israel).
In other words, burn sacred cows and give God His due! His worth is far greater than any human can imagine!