Archive for October 21, 2009

Spiritual warfare is alive and well.  Sometimes the works of darkness show up in the church.  It did last night.  It came disguised like this!  That’s right, Satan’s brew in a shiny attractive can.  It was given to me last night at my growth group sort of like someone would bring an apple to their teacher.  You know…an apple…a piece of fruit…sort of like a forbidden fruit in the middle of a beautiful garden!  Clearly someone has not surrendered their lives to Jesus (who only drinks Coke products 🙂 ) (just kidding…sort of)

Church Planting Definitions

Posted: October 21, 2009 in Church, vision

Just so we’re clear.  If you tell me you are a part of a new “church plant” here is what I think:

You are in process of beginning a new community of faith that didn’t spring up out of nowhere, but rather is linked together with the church at large, and more particularly with blessing and support from an existing church.  There is something by way of vision and strategy that makes this “church plant” exciting and compelling.  There is a reason why other proven leaders see in this new church plant exciting Kingdom possibilities and because of it they affirm gifts to begin a new church and support it, sometimes with resources, finances, and at the very least prayer.  The foundation of the church plant will be Jesus (in attitude, speech, and behavior) and its focus will be intentionally directed towards outreach and God’s Kingdom agenda.

Even in that…most church plants fail (upwards of 70%).

But if you tell me you, and a “bunch of others” are hacked off at your previous church’s leadership and don’t like how they do things so you are going to start your own church  (with as many people you can find who are also hacked off at said leaders).  This is not called “church planting.”  This is called church piracy.  And the sign you put in front should reflect that.  You can speak the language of intentionality and mission, but if the back story is really about a church split…this isn’t a church plant.  I’m just saying…

A Taste of Ridicule

Posted: October 21, 2009 in Discipleship, faith

Going through a message series out of 1 Peter which is addressed to Christians who are going through trials and suffering because of their faith in Jesus.  Not everyone around them is “yippy-skippy” about their faith in Jesus.

Trials and suffering come in many forms.  Sometimes it is as simple as taking a little teasing.  It can look like this:

Blue team won a challenge and got the option to either go home for a week, or send the black team home for a week which they did hoping to sabotage their weight lose by denying them their trainer, Jillian, and also thrusting them back into all sorts of temptations.

Dina lost in the elimination room.  DANNY LOST 15 POUNDS AT HOME!!! (I think 12 of those 15 pounds were from his tears 🙂 )

(Shifting topics) The other thing that has preoccupied my mind is 1 Peter.  I’m preaching a series in it now entitled Square Peg::Round Hole.  In short, how do you live an authentic Christian life when there are those around you who are less than supportive at best, outright antagonistic at worst.

I see some parallels with 1 Peter and the contestants who went home on the black team.  It was interesting to note a few things:

1.  When the Biggest Loser contestants went home and caught a glimpse of their “old life” by way of eating habits via their family members – they were repulsed.  This is not a bad thing.  You want Dina to be “repulsed” by what she used to eat and what she used to consume.  You don’t want her to long for the “old days.”  BUT how do you live as the “new you” without making everyone around you miserable or put-off by your new found repulsion?  There is always the tendency to be judgmental and verbally critical.  “Do you know how many calories are in that?”  “Do you know how many fat grams you just consumed?”  “I used to eat the whole thing [as if that is a bad thing while others around you listening have every intention of eating the whole thing].”  “Why don’t you put the rest in a doggie bag?”  Ever been around someone who once was fat, now are skinny, and they won’t shut up about it?  You want to punch them in the throat.  Same phenomenon can happen in Christianity.  How do you live a new life without being an overbearing judgmental &#* with those who have not yet joined you on that journey?

2.  When you get started in the “new you” a support system is critical.  Until the new way of life really becomes habit, almost automatic by way of response, it is VERY DIFFICULT to be around old contexts and old relationships and not be tempted to go back to what you once were.  This is why I can’t go to a Chinese Restaurant while trying to diet (I’m a two-plater in round one…if you know what I mean).  With cameras around poised to show the world what you ate, it might be a tad bit easier to remain disciplined, but when the cameras are gone and a cheesy burrito (or cheese fries) is thrust in front of me…bring it!!!  Some of the contestants had very little by way of support.  Dina and Shay especially came to mind.  It seems that for a season, the “new you” might need to be surrounded by those who can support you in your new life venture while the contexts of the “old you” might need to go by the wayside for a time (and maybe forever).  Interesting that in Dina’s after shots we never saw her husband.  I’m not saying they split.  She went  home and continued to lose weight.  Good for her.  But the only ones I saw around her was her son, and personal trainer.  When you get started in a new life in Jesus, you might not be able to hang out at that club on the weekends because you know what happens to you in thought and behavior when you do.  Until your “new life” becomes habit, almost automatic, going out for drinks with your co-workers might be off-limits because of the conversation (or gossip) that transpires is not what you now want for yourself.

It is a tight rope that requires much grace, wisdom, and discernment.  Living the “new you” while guarding yourself from relapse and at the same time genuinely loving everyone around you who may not celebrate or support (even if it is passively) the “new you” (and thus avoiding getting punched in the throat 🙂 ).