Friday, July 26, 2013

what is the gospel? a question not so easily answerd

I struggled to decide what to share this week, and in the end decided to begin the dialogue about something that I've been wresting with, something that has been weighing heavily on me for some time now: the church's (mis)understanding of the gospel.
matt chandler

I know that is a bold statement.  It sounds arrogant to criticize the preaching found in so many pulpits.  (Although it turns out I'm not alone (more on that later).) I'm not claiming here that I've got it all figured out (my reading list grows longer by the day), but I do want to share with you this burden that I feel deeply.  I hope it will lead to some good discussion and maybe even some change.

My church small group is doing a study on Matt Chandler's Explicit Gospel.  I'm having a hard time enjoying the book.  So far it seems like a filled-out version of the four spiritual laws, mixed with the 'neo-reformed' (not sure what to call it) creation-fall-redemption-restoration explanation of scripture.  I don't have as many problems with the second emphasis as with the first method, but in both cases I have one big concern: it's not the gospel.

Friday, July 19, 2013

HOW do I pray? (Imagination and prayer)

You sit in your room and prepare to address the almighty God.  How will you begin?  Will you stand, kneel, lie down or walk around?  Will you look up, or close your eyes and look down?  The image your imagination forms of your relationship to God will play a large role in determining the how of prayer.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Good sermon! (by Rev. Dr. Mike Jordan)

Today I am thankful for the encouraging church service I went to yesterday.  Those of you who know me know that from time to time I get quite discouraged about sermons.  Not yesterday.

The scripture Mike was preaching from is 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; 2:17-3:10.  He has keen insight into both our culture and the scripture.  One of the challenges facing Christians in our culture, he points out, is not simply that we believe 'crazy' things.  It is that people have the perception that "I can't be a Christian and be nice."  So where do we go from there?

I'll let you listen for yourself:
http://media.houghtonstories.com/hwcpodcast/20130714HWCSermon.mp3

Friday, July 12, 2013

not just child's play: Imagination

What does it mean to be a whole person, and to live in that fullness?  This past year, in the fellowship program I did, we all found Skip Ryan's tripartite model of a human person to be helpful:



We strive to live fully in each of these areas, to love God and others with each part of us.  I believe that the faculty of the imagination is crucial for uniting these parts of us.  Our imaginations link our heads and our hearts, leading to action.

Wait! Imagination?  Isn't that something for children?

Friday, July 5, 2013

church and chocolate (+ topic preview poll!)

Chocolate.  What feelings do you get when you hear that word?  Now compare them to what you feel when you hear the word church.  Yes, that might be a strange comparison, and yes, admittedly my brain may weirdly have equal amounts of both on its mind, but that is beside the point.

The point is that (unless you are part of that unfortunately minority of the populous who dislikes chocolate) you most likely had more positive associations with chocolate than with church.  Why is that?  Why is it that so many of us (myself included) have mixed feelings about the Church?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Patriotism

Happy Independence day!  As the world watches the people of Egypt fight for the government they want, we in America are reminded yet again how much we have to be thankful for in our country.

Despite this, it often seems like the easiest thing to do is criticize our country.  In regard to this, I have two comments.