Monthly Archives: June 2009

Disciple Makers WANTED

Pastor Carter Goolsby, lead pastor at MCC, preached last week on making disciples of Christ. He said that many Christians believe that you have to be seminary trained or a seasoned Christian to disciple others. But he insisted that almost anyone can get in on the act. Making disciples is something we are called to do. Even the novice Christian can find someone else that they can encourage or at the very least hold accountable as peers.

Pastor Carter said that too many Christians hide behind the claim that they don’t know enough to disciple others. They are afraid of making a mistake. But this mindset fails to recognize that the original apostles were far from perfect. The whole concept is not to clone ourselves but to encourage others to be like Jesus. We are called to make disciples of Jesus not ourselves.

One of the biggest reasons that Christians shy away from disciple making is the fear of rejection. We should not be surprised when others reject us. Jesus said that this would happen.

Have you answered the call? See what Matthew  28:19 has to say about the original mission of the early disciples.

Common Sense Comedy Tour

Wow! I saw Glenn Beck’s live stage show in Richmond tonight. Beck was awesome. He was funny, profound, entertaining and inspiring. He just made sense.

Beck called his audience to join the revolution of common sense ideas with their passion and voice not guns. I loved it when he said that people need to find their voice and not depend on his. He preached personal responsibility mixed with perfectly timed jokes.

Beck said, “Big government can only be dismantled by individuals.” He said that we can’t depend on either major party to fix our problems. It takes people doing the right things and calling for “REAL” change.

His common sense message called for his audience to demand more from their elected representatives. The problem is that we elect people and forget to hold them to their promises. We don’t do our part to ensure that our political leaders really reflect our ideals.

Beck said, “When the government isn’t afraid of nothing, there is tyranny. When the government is afraid of you, there is freedom.”

Enough is enough. Somebody has to tell our political leaders in Washington to STOP!

My favorite joke of the night had to deal with the current clean energy legislation in Congress. Beck said that the current bill is more than 900 pages making it larger than the New Testament. He joked, “The government’s effort to regulate the weather is longer than the story of Jesus, the guy in the New Testament who actually controlled the weather.”

That about  sums up my attitude toward government fixes. Appeal to Heaven!

How Patriotic Is Your Bible?

Thomas Nelson Publishers has released a New Bible called the The American Patriot’s Bible. It combines the New King James with patriotic commentary that attempts to imply associations between the American story with the Biblical narrative.

Any special interest Bible risks misapplying the Scriptures. Critics contend that this Bible takes that concern to a whole new level. I have not read it and will withhold judgment until I do. One thing I will say is that readers tend to look at commentary notes as if they are part of Scripture or at least authoritative. But that is not the case. Even translations are in an essence commentary because you can’t make a translation without adding some commentary in the process. In translating, you have to make word choices and reconcile differences between major manuscripts. Very few people read the original languages and judge the meaning of the text itself. Plus, we may know the words and not understand the nuance of the ancient context in which it was originally written.

This new patriotic Bible points to a major concern for those focused on Scriptural purity. The more stuff we add to the Bible, the more cloudy the core of the text may become for the average reader. We have all these “helps” and special resources today. Yet, society is less aware of what the Bible actually says than ever before. If we are supposed to be a Christian nation, why do so few know much about the Bible?  Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments. That’s a failing grade in my book. See this article from 2007 to understand just how little we know.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-03-07-teaching-religion-cover_N.htm

Here is what the Out of Ur blog had to say including a critique of the new patriotic Bible. I am all for being a patriot, and I am a very proud American. However, I think that all these special interest Bibles may lead to confusion and get in the way of a clear understanding of Scripture.

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/05/ur_video_the_am.html

Fine One, Make One

How should a church go about discipling the flock? Are programs and workshops enough? How do you really change the culture of a people? Ho do people really become fully devoted to Jesus? These are tough questions with very demanding answers.

I believe you can’t rush perfection. And the process of becoming the Church takes time and intentional movement to strip away what is not necessary to reveal the masterpiece underneath. I am reminded of the process of sculpting a giant statute.

I recently visited the Next Wave E-zine, an online magazine dedicated to the Emerging Church and its leadership. It carried a flashback article by Stephen Shields on  developing church leaders. The article is titled, “When the Church Is Its Own Worst Enemy.”

Stephen made some great points. He basically said that a church can’t just setup a Christian education program and expect it to work without first modeling out the behavior we want to see replicated. It’s not a matter of teaching as much as showing. That is how Jesus made disciples. And it takes a long time. The key is replication.

Read Stephen’s article to see how churches can get in the way if they do the wrong thing and ignore the core problem.

http://www.the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue124/index.cfm?id=47&ref=ARTICLES%5FFROM%20THE%20ARCHIVES%5F640

Rebooting the Gospel

Here are a few videos that make you think about how we spread the Gospel today. Should we reboot our systems?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0R6oAJCVvg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc_FoELt8s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcWu5IMjxAw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvYFvhx1dcY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgxGK2GOcQQ

Are You Going to Wear that Shirt?

Terry Bowman recently shared the following at our men’s small group gathering. We do what is called a truth search. Our focus Scripture was Galatians 3. You generally start out with a question based on the passage. Then connect it with the passage and other verses in Scripture. The goal is to get to questions that you can ask yourself based on the truth revealed in the passage.

Terry’s truth was a question. He asked, “Are you going to wear that shirt???” The implied answer is always “No.” Terry said that he heard the voice of his wife as she frequently asked Terry about his clothing choices. He then connected this concept to  Gal 3.27, which reads “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

All Christians are to take on the appearance/character of Jesus. Terry pointed to  Rom 13.13-14, which says, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

We are to clothe ourselves with armor of light not darkness. Ephesians 4:22-24 adds to this concept. It says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

 Looking to the Old Testament, Terry found a similar link to idolatry, holiness and clothing as a way of putting off the old self.  Gen 35.2 records that Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.”

Terry then concluded with these probing questions. He asked, “What am I ‘wearing’ that I need to take off? – time devoted to television;  time spent surfing for hacks and gadgets. What does God have for me to put on? – acts of service; time spent investing in other people.” 

So do you need to change your shirt? When people see you do they say, “Hey, that looks kind of like Jesus?”