Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Contemporary Church

How do you look at the church of today?  Do you long for the church of your childhood?  Do you desire the first century church would return?  Would you like the excitement of the Reformation era church?

In Vertical Church, James MacDonald has some harsh words for the American church of our generation.  His proposition that the church exists to demonstrate God's glory (verticality) runs opposed (in his mind) to the consumerstic approach (horizontality) of our franchise church society. (I must say that I would be shocked if the Harvest churches that are starting with the Vertical concept won't fall prey to the franchise trap as well.  We all copy better than we reproduce.)

I must tell you that I agree with him.  I am reading an article right now about the church in our era, and I agree with Russell Blanchard Smith in "Ministry in the Age of Design" that the franchise, cookie cutter model of the last 20+ years is a dying breed.  He calls our contemporary society "the age of design" calling for artisanal churches to meet the unique qualities of any context.   The skepticism created by square-peg-in-round-hole philosophies won't all such ideas to work with people who value authenticity over pragmatism or heritage.

What do you think about the church of today?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sermon poll: What fuels the fire of your church? (please read the blog)

What fuels the fire of your church?

There are countless answers, but there is only one answer for your church.  Pandora's box is open.  Is it growth, success, acclaim, accomplishment?  Or is it righteousness, glory, obedience, service?  Again, there are many answers but only one true answer for each of us.

Please no "squirrel answers."  What's that, you say?  I heard a story once about a kid's Bible school class where the teacher described to the children a brown animal, with a bushy tail, that lives in a tree, that collects nuts.  She asked the students if they knew what the animal was.  Johnny raised his hand.  The teacher called on Johnny, and he replied, "Teacher, that sure sounds a lot like a squirrel, but since we are at church the answer must be Jesus."

Squirrel answers are the bane of the modern church.  Everyone knows the "right" answer.  The question is "Is it truthful?"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

God's Presence

Is God's presence merely a theological proposition?  God is omnipresent; therefore, He is here with us.  It is certainly true that if you go to the mountain peak, He is there.  If you go to the floor of the ocean, He is there.  If you go to the moon, He is there.

But, what about his manifest presence?  Israel knew their God was with them when His glory fell upon the tabernacle and temple.   We know that God resides within us on an individual level, but what about the corporate level?  What is it like when God shows up?

I am convinced that people need God.  They need God for salvation.  They need God for provision.  They need God for appropriate social interaction.  They need God at home, work, school, the mall, etc.  They need God.  We all need God.

For the average Joe, do they see us as a place to find God or find church?  Or, if the average Joe attends your church, will they have a chance to meet God?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When God Shows Up

The children of Israel knew that God was with them because He was tangibly present.  He was there with them.  Not in the omnipresent sense of things; He was there.

Is worship a time for us to gather before our God or gather about our God?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sermon Poll-Horizontal or Vertical? (Please read the blog)

Is your church leaning toward the horizontal or the vertical?

James MacDonald in his book, Vertical Church, lays down a challenge to become more vertical (centered on God).  He does not want us to stop carrying for one another; he wants God to be the focus and not us or our care for us.

Does your church focus upon the people or our God?  Temporary things or eternal realities?   Is your worship for you to enjoy or God to enjoy?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


What is the bride of Christ supposed to look like?  What should we act like?  What are the characteristics of the lover of Christ?

Is there anything about the weekly gathering of God's people that conjures up images of a bride preparing to meet her bridegroom?  Do we long for Him or flirt with others?  Is our life about us or about Him? 

My favorite part of weddings is seeing up close and personal the response of a future husband to the beauty and radiance of his bride to be as she takes that first step down the aisle.  Cody, my most recently married groom, exclaimed, "She is so beautiful!"

What is God's response to us as we gather together?  Is He blown away by our beauty?  Does He find a waiting bride?  What is our response to God when He shows up?  Do we enjoy His company or do just pass the time until we are united in eternity? 

Help me out, isn't now a part of eternity?  If so, why don't we participate in eternity now rather than waiting until we die.

What do you think?