Just read an article (Our Adolescent Culture) that discusses today's culture that has lost vision and challenge and is but "entertained" in their teen years. The article says: "Adolescence didn't always exist". It is a recent phenomenon. "The word teenager wasn't really used until 1941. In virtually every culture in the history of the world, kids became adults. In other cultures, "teenagers" were marrying, farming fighting wars, writing books, and in one case, bearing the Messiah." What we need to do is challenge them, provide the vision for them to take on the real problems in our neighborhoods and world and thus make the church of God attractive to a world turned inward. Case in point, John Quincy Adams, 6th president, was only 14 when he traveled to Russia as a secretary to obtain recognition of the new United States.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I just finished reading Numbers 20 as I read through the Bible and I was struck by Moses' failure that caused him not to enter the Promised Land. I enjoy teaching about the uncomplicated truth of how God values simple obedience and I often am brought back to 1 Samuel 15 where Saul is given a mission and essentially accomplishes most of what he was supposed to do, except he skips over some of the details and keeps some of the spoils and… makes all kinds of excuses and blames everyone else. In verse 22, Samuel tells Saul that God desires obedience over our sacrifice. Pastor Danny alluded to it today. Sometimes we get caught up in "doing" and forget that what God really wants is relationship (and all else flows out of that, including our "doing"). Back track to Numbers 20- Moses was supposed to speak to the rock and instead, he whacks it twice. God had an illustration he wanted to make and Moses messed it up. Verse 12 says that he didn't hallow God (make holy) in the eyes of the people. But then strangely enough, he says in v. 13 that God was hallowed among the people. Which is it? The answer was that because of the miracle, God was ultimately glorified but in the actions of Moses, he wasn't. What do we learn from this in regards to missions and our service to God? 1. The means doesn't justify the end 2. The measuring stick is not the outcome or result but the obedience of the servant. 3. The heart behind the obedience of the law is critical. Regardless of your agreement with the theology of Mother Theresa, I like a quote she once said, "God hasn't called me to be successful but rather to be faithful". Obedience is key!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
“decide what you believe before trouble comes: the time to settle our belief about the goodness of God is now, not when the bottom drops out of life. The pain of circumstances can easily tempt anybody to question the goodness of God. Overwhelmed by tragedy, it doesn’t feel like He is good and circumstances don’t cause it to look that way either. That is why it’s necessary to settle the issue before trouble comes into your life.”
Monday, December 14, 2009
As always, Mark hits a home run with an insightful look into the history of Mars Hill church and his experience as a church planter. I really recommend this book to anyone interested in planting a church as a great look at lessons learned (I really prefer to learn from other's mistakes rather than make them myself!). I thought I'd include some adapted thoughts below:
On the problems of many of the contemporary churches- Pg. 24 The contemporary church generally proclaims a gospel of fulfillment (Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs establishes each individual as their own god, on their own mission, pursuing their own glory). In other words, I don’t exist for God, he exists for me. In this gospel, the cross is an echo of my own great worth, since God found me so loveable and so valuable that he was willing to die for me so that I could love myself, believe in myself, and achieve my full glory. This “therapeutic gospel” is a false gospel because it does not call me to love God and my neighbor, but instead to love only myself. It doesn’t call me to God’s mission but rather calls God to my mission. Third, it does not call me to be part of the church to serve God’s mission, but instead to use the church to make me a better person. It takes pride and repackages it as self-esteem.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Just finished talking to Bri about the CC St. Pete Cuba trip. They hosted a camp for 250 kids last weekend that were between 8 years old to 19. Bri said it was neat to see them arriving Friday crammed into the back of dump trucks (not a lot of access to public transportation in Cuba!). They used sports and games to create a great environment and each evening and morning taught a well rounded series of messages on evangelism, growing in your faith, discipling, etc. They were able to raise enough money for the Cuban believers to duplicate their efforts on the east side of the island and to bless 5 of the poorest churches with some extra money.
Pray for the Costa Rica trip as they get ready to leave Dec. 12th with the Christmas outreach gifts and water filters.