Please pray for the Christians in Iraq.
Anonymous asked: Love your blog. How can Christians who are divorced condemn gay marriage?
I guess I don’t understand the question. Are you saying that people that have sinned can’t encourage others not to sin? That pretty much includes everybody.
I’ve lied before. That doesn’t mean that I can’t say that lying is evil.
I’ve lost my temper. It’s still way wrong.
I’ve lusted and coveted and disrespected and hated. That doesn’t mean that I’m exempt from preaching that the Bible is the last word on how to live rightly. How to live God’s way.
I love that idea almost everyone in America seems to unanimously believe: if you can’t uphold the rules and standards set before you, you aren’t allowed to outline those standards to anyone else. Logically, this is an absurd notion: moral laws are true regardless of whether or not someone has broken them, and a person’s misstep is a hit against their credibility, not the validity of that moral code.
Although to be sure, the Christian message (gospel) is one of grace - it’s BECAUSE we sin and fail so badly that it’s good news we’re forgiven!
Anonymous asked: Hello! I'm a newly appointed youth leader of a charismatic community that I have been with since birth. Your latest blog post really spoke to me, as does most of them. It may be the answer to why most of the members we get come and go, or are lukewarm. I just really can't help but ask, how do you do it? How do you get that new excitement? And how do you infect others too?
Hey there friend, I believe you’re referring to this post.
First know: Please don’t feel bad if people seem to come and go in your church. In certain cities, certain cultures, and with certain groups of people, there can be a higher tendency for turnover and it’s NOT your fault. It’s especially true if you’re part of a big church (over 500), where the atmosphere is almost wired to have a loose back door. Some of this is expected.
Having said that: If you don’t have a consistent core group and people are continually leaving for the same kinds of reasons — conflict, drama, going prodigal, etc. — then most likely there’s an issue of depth.
I’m still learning here too, and I don’t always get this right, but a few things to consider about a sustainable church. I hope this doesn’t come off too “programmed,” but whether you’re a pastor or not, this is worth thinking about for both your own spiritual walk and your community.
Journey: If people know there’s an endless discovery to the goodness of God, they will find it hard to leave. If your pastor or church culture is only endorsing a me-too, strobe-light, too-many-stories, thin-doctrine rockshow, then you’ll have a church that is exciting for a few months and then gets flat. This sounds obvious, but many churches are really just therapeutic weekly concerts, hardly touching on the infinite immensity of Christ. You can still have the rockshow, but it must point to Him.
Inoculation: I hope your pastor or leaders are at least addressing things like burn-out, doubt, dry seasons, questions, hard parts of the Old Testament, apologetics, and the supernatural. And not in a trite way, but to really struggle with these things. Otherwise, your congregation will slowly build up too many irreconcilable questions without some legitimate groundwork to find answers. In the long term, they will feel disrespected, because no one took time to articulate the heavy stuff.
Clear Doctrine: Most prodigals who leave the church were more appalled by a church who did NOT take doctrine seriously. Churches tend to fall into patterns of entertainment and babysitting instead of training and equipping. I know I sound a bit harsh, and of course it’s great to have a good time at church, but when trials hit: everyone needs a solid floor to stand on. That Friday night laser tag won’t do it.
Monday through Saturday: Every church I know that has a wonderful loving core is also a church that stays in contact throughout the week. At the very least, the pastors and leaders are trying to reach out to their members and just spending time with them. You probably do this already: but you’d be surprised how many pastors are not involved with their people on a regular basis. And even then, some do it out of obligation or mechanical methodology or a fear of them leaving.
You can’t make yourself love people. It takes an intense kind of love that can only come by a grace-driven dynamic with Christ. When you do love them, you might be rejected for a long time. But that didn’t stop Jesus either. If you have a willingness to hang out, listen to problems for hours, ask for prayers, randomly call them, drive to their houses at all hours, get to the heart of things, and even just laugh at dumb things together: you will have a church. You can’t do this alone either, so get others in on it.
I really do hope this isn’t too much pressure on you. You might be doing much of this already: so keep praying through it. Love you friend, you got my prayers too.
Interesting thoughts on not ignoring the intellectual God created in all of us. I think the people in Canberra do this right =) (FOCUS and Tehillah, etc.)
What is your relationship with God based on?