No, I’m not there.
Monthly Archives: June 2015
Chapter 8 is a place a tranquility like the above shot from Duck, N.C. It begins and ends (and is filled) with great news…
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:1, 38-39 ESV)
Numerous articles of late have contributed to the ‘woe is me’ about the church. Statistics show church attendance waning in many sectors of USA. There is much wringing of hands that the church as we know it is done for.
This thinking, which leads to fearful emotions, especially among clergy, is unbiblical and based, at root, on a human centered theology.
It’s not your church, it’s HIS!
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
Maybe the reason we freak out is that we spend more time reading books about the church and how to accomplish this and that than we do listening to King Jesus through His word, and responding to His words to us in prayer. I recently saw a post that called into question our love of God if we don’t love reading His word. Tough words. But pose an important question.
Could your problem with fear for the church be that you love the church people and the act of worship more than you actually love God?
Some Scribes challenged Jesus about his followers eating with unclean hands (I can just see these guys in mid scoop of bread in the humus looking at each other then at their hands). Jesus never missed a teachable moment:
And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (Mark 7:6-7 ESV)
Later Paul said this:
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6 ESV)
My application of this is that we need to realize our liberation from the religious laws of man. I would even expand it to the policies and procedures, the rules and ideas to make our leadership better, our ministry more effective, our church bigger.
If what we are about is not drawing US and those that we walk with into a deeper knowledge of, and walk with God, are we really any different than those Scribes?
Let’s be very careful that our heart is to know HIM first and help others know him in an ever growing manner. Let us not fall into the trap of letting our hearts chase worldly things that look like Christan success.
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. (Romans 6:17 NIV)
It is hard to follow a pattern of teaching that you don’t know.
Reading Scripture is the certain way to hear from God. It informs our conversation, it gives us language for prayer.
Open and soak in the Bible.
If you don’t love reading it now, discipline yourself and He will meet you and you can grow in your love of Scripture.
As I was getting my gear together this morning to catch the 0745 from Szeged to Budapest my friend Gabor congratulated me on my work anniversary. Seems he noted it on LinkedIn.
Once on the train I began to reflect on the idea that it’s appropriate that Gabor made that early congratulation since he was the first Hungarian I ever met when I first arrived in 1997. Back then I had come to Hungary to check on a student exchange program between Deak Ferenc Gimnazium in Szeged and The Covenant School in Charlottesville (which I served as Chaplain and ‘everything else that neither Copeland nor Collmus wanted to do’).
That visit to Szeged and Budapest in March of 1997 would be the seed God would use to behind the vision for the founding of CEO 3 years later in April of 2000.
Then, in late 2008, the idea to leave the security and safety of the paycheck from the school began to grow. Months later, and 6 years ago today, I walked out of Covenant after leading a prayer in a closing ceremony for the last time as an employee. Later that day I got on a plane to Hungary with a team for a short term trip.
Teams are now part of CEO’s history but my travels continue. I’m writing this post from a train, just finished a coffee and am getting picked up by a couple of pastors who I will ask some questions on a quick retreat.
I’m thankful to God. For I know that the development of our network of partners has been His hand at work.
So, yes, it is very appropriate that this anniversary fall on my first full day in Hungary after 4 weeks of travel to D. R. Congo, South Africa, Croatia, Palestine, Israel, Serbia and Bosnia i Hertzigovina.
It’s also timely that during an impromptu meeting ‘as I’m going’ with a ‘fellow disciple’ that he encouraged me that ministry progress (that I didn’t even know about) was fruit of our disciple making conversations. God is great! Thanks be to God!
See, it’s God’s deal, it’s God’s fruit. Our job, according to Jesus, is to make disciples as we go.
As you travel behind Jesus, point people to Him and learn from Him together.