October 2005


Pastor Kyle Lake of University Baptist Church in Waco Texas (where David Crowder is worship leader) was killed yesterday when he grabbed a microphone while in the baptistry. Remember his wife and three children, and the church, in your prayers.

You can read more about it on Shaun Groves site and Monday Morning Insight.

B~

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I saw this in one of our English classes:

Woman without her man is nothing.
Woman, without her man, is nothing.
Woman! Without her, man is nothing.

Reminds me:

Godisnowhere.
God is no where.
God is now here.

It’s all a matter of perspective.
B~

Yesterday I wrote (ranted?) about what does it mean to “accommodate the prevailing culture” and Amber had a great reply:

“My problem is when we allow the culture to affect our faith. I see that a lot in the church. Unfortunately it is some of the worst of American culture that slips in – for instance the materialism, or operating the church as if it were a business (both very American ideas). The church should be affecting our culture, not the culture affecting our faith.”

Good thought, but at what point does culture start affecting the church? When does it start influencing our faith? And at what point does the church start affecting culture? How do we, as Christ Followers, know when we are affecting the culture or when culture is affecting us? I personally have had a hard time understanding the whole “being in the world but not of it” thought. Where does it start, where does it end? At one time (and in some cases even now) Christians weren’t suppose to go to movies, play cards, dance, drink, listen to any kind of music besides gospel, watch TV other than church services, etc. All of which Christians do today to some extent. Are we in the world and of the world? Well, yes, we are. But is that necessarily a bad thing? How does culture influence us? And how do we influence culture?

I’m still working through all of this. Any thoughts?

“We live within a unique culture, a culture with its own stories and references. If we separate completely from culture, we also separate ourselves from the mission of Christ, but if we connect too strongly with culture, we are in danger of becoming conformed to it. There is a balance – a balance that centers our hearts and minds on the mission of God within culture.”

BECOMING A CULTURAL REDEMPTIVE
by Brian Orme

2 Timothy 4:3 – 4
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths.

His peace be on you all.
B~

I started working on my lesson for this Sunday (I know this is early for me, but Texas Tech plays on Saturday) and came across something that bothers me. I use different literature, trying to find what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes I use the standard Southern Baptist curriculum (with a lot of changes and adapting), and in this week’s leadership book was this statement:

“Many people exhibit disillusionment with the church today.”

I so agree with that statement. I’m meeting and reading more and more people (usually young adults or people like me who have been in church a long time or who have experienced the prejudices of church) who are getting frustrated and discontent with the way church is done. I’m not sure why exactly, and each case is different. But the official literature of the SBC, put out by LifeWay, had this to say as to why:

  • Denominational strife
  • Accommodation to the prevailing culture
  • Compromise of true doctrine
  • Moral failure of prominent Christian leaders

I agree with the first point – the SBC is the leader in denominational strife, having the denomination split by it, and a new denomination formed out of anger and dissension.

And the fourth point is just so obvious.

But the middle two points give me heartburn. What does “accommodation to the prevailing culture” mean? This sounds like a jab at all those churches (usually Emerging and seeker-friendly churches) who are trying to make worship and their church more culturally relevant, more interesting, and yes, more appealing. The charge of accommodation usually comes from those churches that refuse to adapt: who dislike “contemporary” (whatever that means) services as compared to hymns only; who dislike conversational sermons as compared to expository preaching; who have been doing their church services the same way for 50 years and it works for them, even though they are dying on the vine; and who preach hell-fire and damnation instead of grace and forgiveness.

And I’m confused about the “compromise of true doctrine” point. Granted, there are churches out there that have watered down the gospel for the sake of numbers, but when the writer of the literature writes “true doctrine,” whose doctrine is he, or she, referring to? Baptist doctrine? I’m sure he would say it’s Biblical doctrine, but we as Baptist sometimes have problems getting the two confused. I think where we are compromising isn’t “true” doctrine, it’s “sound” doctrine.

I would think that if the churches were accommodating to the prevailing culture and compromising the true doctrine, that our churches would be full and growing of people who just want to have their ears tickled and not have a real realtionship with God. And maybe they are. I’ve read of these exact claims made against some of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. So I guess when the writer of the literature says that “many people exhibit disillusionment with the church today,” what he is really saying, based on his points, is that many old, fundamentalist Southern Baptist have a problem with the way some churches are reaching and connecting with people.

Sorry this was so long. I’d really be interested in getting your perspective on this. I’m adaptable.

His peace on you all.
B~

PS – those in my class this Sunday may be getting all this again. Too bad. 🙂

Saw this on another post and for some reason it really reasonated with me:

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin.”
I’m whispering “I was lost,” Now I’m found and forgiven.
When I say…”I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need CHRIST
to be my guide.
When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need HIS strength
to carry on.
When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.
When I say… “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches so I call upon His name.
When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow.
~Maya Angelou

His peace on you all.
B~


Very few of us have the same image of God. Our portrait of God is painted by the colors of past experiences, from the palette of our individual lives. Some have painted God with cool colors (blue, green, grey) that tend to have a calming effect. At one end of the cool color spectrum the colors are cold, impersonal, antiseptic. On the other the colors are nurturing and comforting. Others paint God with warm colors (red, orange, gold) that rev us up and get us going. They can either create excitement or anger. Warm colors tend to convey emotions from simple optimism to strong violence. Warm colors overpower cool colors. Still others paint God with the Colors of Intrigue – those colors derived from mixing warm and cool colors. These colors are purple, lavender, beige. Purple is royalty, nobility, spirituality. Lavender suggests refinement, elegance, and something special. Beige is a neutral color, sometimes seen as boring and dull when seen by itself. That’s how we paint God. He is calming, or cold and impersonal, or optimistic, or violent, or King, or dull and boring. Or all of the above at some time. And because we have such different brushes, and colors, and visions, we have trouble following God. I’ve tried to show you what God is like through my eyes, and it just doesn’t work for you – you’ve got an entirely different vision of what God is like. But the greatest portrait we have of God is found through the eyes of Jesus. If only we could grasp His vision, His portrait of the great I AM. “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7)

How do you picture God?

His peace be on you all.
B~

God is Love. Simple. Plain. Direct.

God loves us. Simple. Plain. Direct.

We have eternal life because of God’s love for us, through faith. Simple. Plain. Direct.

Jesus said, “Trust God.” Simple. Plain. Direct.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve made faith and trust for daily living a very complicated thing. We’ve added so many dimensions to faith that it just doesn’t work for us anymore. It’s not the simple “Trust God” that Jesus spoke of, but now we put our trust in our faith. We put our trust in our beliefs. We put our faith in other people’s faith and beliefs. Just like the Hebrews did with the Pharisees. They lost that connection with God that Abraham, and Moses, and David, and Enoch, and many others had. These men KNEW God, and walked with God, and God knew them. Our faith in our faith causes all kinds of problems. Layla and Danny Sims have written about one problem: “Why don’t I have enough faith to move this mountain?” We often get frustrated and discouraged and discontent when we are wrapped up in our “faith,” and put our trust in our faith. I’ve heard it said of people whose prayers weren’t answered, “You just don’t have enough faith.” Don’t have enough faith?!? What does that mean? What was the focus of their “faith” that they didn’t have enough of? Does that mean they didn’t go to church enough? Or pray enough? Or give enough? Or witness enough? Or read their Bibles enough? Those who came into contact with Jesus and were made whole were not people with a lot of faith in faith, they just had faith in God. And that faith set them free. It’s no wonder that there are those who had to leave organized religion to discover their “faith,” their faith in God and not in faith. You CAN know God, you CAN trust God, you CAN have faith in God. It’s not that complicated. Sometimes we just have to break free of our faith.

His peace be on you all.
B~

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