Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Content In Context

Why is it that during the weeks where the most pressure is applied, the clearest thoughts emerge?

This week, my son is flying out to CA, I'm driving back home to Macon to preach at my aunt's funeral, Memorial Day weekend is here with a Gideon speaker to work into the mix, I have a deacon in the hospital... yeah, busy.

But yesterday, as I was talking with our associate pastor, it was if something of a principle I can apply again and again leaped out of the conversation.

Content in Context

No, I'm not applying this in the hermeneutical sense, though it's something I practice and insist on in our teachers. What I realized was that the very way that our small Body carries out its mission where we are - in our Jerusalem - has to fall within the same parameters.

My friend was talking about summer plans for the youth he has responsibility for, and really struggling to find something for them that would not just be an event or a program. He wanted to lead them into an experience that mattered with lasting effects spiritually. We reviewed past efforts - mission trips to New Orleans, youth retreats, lock-ins - the usual, then he said this "do you ever think that maybe we are trying to do what everyone else does just because they do it?"

Bingo! Eureka! Doh!

New Hope Baptist Church is a unique group of people, drawn together by the Holy Spirit for His use at a specific geographic location within a specific period of time. Why is it when we plan for its "feeding and care", we look first to see what others are doing instead of spending most of our time examining just where we ARE?

We agreed to pray about what God had given us to use for His glory right here, and ask the Holy Spirit to direct us out from who we are to who we've been placed within - our neighborhoods and our area. That's a great start I think to applying our "Content" (what God has given us, and how He's equipped us for His use) in our "Context" (our ministry area).

This will probably mean that we are even more off the map when it comes to mirroring traditional SBC practices/programs. So be it. I would love to be more like the church in the book of Acts, flying solely by the wind of the Spirit.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Postman of the Apocalypse

I'm finishing a series on the "Big Story" of the Bible this week with a look at the consummation of Christ's Kingdom. Lots of Revelation, a place where I've not gone too often. Too much Hal Lindsay in my background.

But I did trip across a funny post about a young man in Orlando, a self-professed atheist who is ready to offer a`plan "B" for anyone who is afraid the rapture might come and leave letters un-sent.

The Postman of the Apocalypse

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I'll Know It When I See It

One of the challenges those of us who are working to be missional followers of Christ and who are trying to lead our churches to be more missional is how to explain what it would look like. I've had the questions asked of me "what does a missional Christian look like?"

Well, here's a great explanation through the use of Images

Read through the word pictures and see if it doesn't help.

HT: Missional Images

Friday, May 04, 2007

On the Journey

When I'm trying to unpack the call of Jesus on a person's life, I talk a lot about "the Journey" with Him. The idea is to separate the lifelong process of following Him from the "event" of beginning the journey. Not because that first step isn't important - it is, but that so many seem to linger close to where they began all their lives.

So I work to make people understand that we are to give our lives as testament and testimony to what God has done and is doing in and through us. I was reading today about the work of Robert Webber, who went home to be with the Lord just this week. Webber's call to an Ancient-Future faith resonates with me. I cannot see my part in the story as unrelated to all those followers of Jesus who went before.

Yet, as a present day follower, I rely far more on the written Word than my forbears in the first century did. Sometimes I worry about that. But a quote given by Webber in an interview with Christianity Today a few years back made me understand just how that worked then, and how it should work today

Currently, worship seems to be divorced from the story. It is programmatic and narcissistic. If we resituate worship in the story, then worship tells and enacts the story of God. And God is the subject of that worship rather than the object that we worship. The subject acts on us in worship and forms us into Christ's likeness and thus affects our spirituality.

And today, spirituality, like worship, is divorced from the story. Spirituality is shaped by psychology, shaped by focusing on the self. It's very narcissistic instead of being our continual embodiment of the story. Spirituality is ultimately not having some sort of esoteric experience, but becoming what God created us to be and making the world what God created it to be, a place of his glory.

Hans Urs Von Balthazar said that we need to take a passage of Scripture and so internalize it that we become it. If somebody asks where's Matthew 25, we should be able to say, "Oh, it's walking over there."

Can we point to one another and cite ourselves as a scriptural reference?

Lord, have mercy on me a sinner and give me what I lack to delight your heart.