Posts Tagged ‘ church ’

Thoughts on Church Membership

Book Review; The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church By David Wells

David Wells packs a lot into this tiny pamphlet. I found myself nodding along and writing affirmations in the margins. Wells is concerned about the evangelical church becoming the mainstream and he points out a surface level issue that troubles him in three ways:

A shift from a doctrinally framed church to a market ethos driven church.

  1. The church is tailoring its message to be bought and sold by consumers.
  2.  The professionalization of pastors; pastor as specialist.
  3. The explosion of evangelical originations and the personal fiefdoms and infighting that come with fame grabbing.

 

Wells follows this up by pointing out one issue that is under the surface but he feel is important to note in light of what is viewed from the surface.

The disappearance of theology.

Wells illustrates it this way,

It is not that theological values are being denied, but that they have little cash value. They don’t matter. I like the situation to a child who is in a home but ignored. It is not that the child has been abducted; the child is there. The child is home, but has no legitimate place in the family…God now comes to rest lightly and inconsequentially on the church. This, however, is just our own private, evangelical version of the larger culture.

Lastly, he offers two remedies to the bleeding of the evangelical church.

            1. Recovery of the word of God.

            2. Recovery of a vision of the holiness of God.

 I found this short 12 page pamphlet to be one of the better reads I’ve had this year. Wells makes astute observations of the current evangelical climate, how we got here and how it might be corrected. I recommend this book highly.

The One-Another’s, the Local Church and You

By Russ
A few weeks ago in my church’s leadership develpoment class we took a look at the local church and what we are called to do. below is a list of commands from the N.T. that we are to do for one another (compiled by Smedly Yates). In light of the list below, how can you do these things and do them well if you are not plugged into a local body?

The One-Another’s:
accept one another (Romans 15:7)
admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16)
be at peace with one another (1 Thessalonians 5:13)
be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10)
be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
be humble toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
be of the same mind with one-another (Romans 12:16; 15:5)
be subject to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)
build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
do not challenge one another (Galatians 5:26)
do not complain against one another (James 5:9)
do not envy one another (Galatians 5:26)
do not judge one another (Romans 14:13)
do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)
do not repay one another evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
do not speak against one another (James 4:11)
do not sue one another (1 Corinthians 6:7)
encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13; 10:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)
greet one another (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14)
fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7; Hebrews 10:25)
love one another (Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; see also 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter
4:8; 1 John 3:11,23; 4:7,11,12; 2 John 1:5; John 13:34-35; John 15:12,17)
pray for one another (James 5:16)
prefer one another (Romans 12:10; see also Phil 2:3-4)
regard one another as more important than yourselves (Phil 2:3)
Seek good for one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
Serve one another (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10)
speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)
Speak truthfully to one another (Ephesians 4:25)
Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
Tolerate one another (Ephesians 4:2)
Wait for one another (1 Corinthians 11:33)
Wash one another’s feet (John 13:14)

Carl Truman on the Best Pieces of Counsel he has Recieved

C.J. Mahaney has a great interview with Carl Truman. here a few of my favorite questions:

Carl, what single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?

From my wife, my most faithful supporter and most astute critic: be aware that when you preach, there are children in the congregation and I must neither make them stumble nor preach over their heads. I think particularly of a time when I preached on 1 Corinthians 1 and referred to the church in Corinth as probably containing the first century equivalent of “pole dancers.” My wife rebuked me afterwards for using a term which could have provoked embarrassing conversations for parents over a Lord’s Day family lunch. Point taken. Never done it again. Other times I have used pretentiously technical vocabulary which kids (and some congregants) would not understand. At such times, I did not preach Christ, I preached Trueman and how clever he is. I now try never to do this, and confess it when I think I may have slipped. As a professor, this is always a temptation, so now I assist my wife in teaching the 4 year olds in Sunday School. That has helped me—and humbled me—more than anything with regard to how I communicate in the pulpit.

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your leadership?

Again, I have to plead to be allowed to break the rule and list four things.

(a) Pick your battles. Not every hill is worth dying on; and not every battle is something you are competent to fight. As a younger man, I wanted to fight all comers and win every battle. Neither necessary nor possible.

(b) Be part of a team who care for you and whom you trust to tell you when you are going the wrong way or crossing a line that should not be crossed—and listen to them. Yes-men are fatal to good leadership. A trustworthy colleague who is prepared to oppose you to your face is worth his weight in gold.

(c) Understand that leadership is lonely; being liked by everyone is a luxury you probably cannot afford. Deal with it and get on with the job. If you want to be liked, be a circus clown; if you want to lead and lead well, be prepared for the loneliness that comes with it. This is why, for me, a happy home has been crucial for it has been a place where work is, as far as possible, kept far away. Home is the one place I can go each night and know that I am loved, and I guard it fiercely. I have even banned my kids from Googling my name—if there is nasty stuff out there about me, I deal with it at work; I do not allow it into my house.

(d) Don’t waste time defending your own name for the sake of it. If Christ’s honour is at stake, or the innocent are made vulnerable by some attack on your character, you need to respond; otherwise, let it be. If I responded to every wannabe crank who thinks I’m arrogant, hypocritical, lying etc. etc., I’d never have the time to do anything else. The secret is not caring about your own name except as it impacts upon others.

Where in ministry are you most regularly tempted to discouragement?

Have I failed as a husband and a dad? Have I preached the whole counsel of God? Why do I still struggle with the same sins with which I fought on the day I first believed? Do I really care enough for the people in my church? Is my teaching leading people to Christ or away from him? Am I driven solely by a desire to raise my own profile? These kind of questions periodically strike me down.

Read the whole thing here.

Lecture of the week; Thabiti Anyabwile on Bearing the Image

This week’s lecture comes the 2008 Together For the Gospel Conference. The speaker is Thabiti Anyabwile, who is a Pastor in the Grand Cayman. His topic is, “Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church.” Click here to download.

MLK on the Church

There was a time when the church was very powerful—in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. . . . But the judgment of God is upon the church [today] as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the 20th century.

-MLK, letter from a Birmingham jail

Matt’s Favorite Reads of 2009

Several weeks ago Russ, as the faithful administrator of this blog, sent us an email asking for our favorite extra-Biblical reads of 2009.  I thought about it but never sent him a response.  Then I noticed the rest of the guys posting stuff and figured that I should at the very least send him something even if it’s not at all what he requested.  I spent 2009 avoiding extra-Biblical reading, so this question doesn’t apply.  I typically read a book a week, but this year I aimed for reading through the Bible a couple times (1.5 to be honest) and listening to a lot of sermons.  Here is what ministered to me the most.
Reading through the Bible quickly.  My aim was to read through the Bible in 90 days…I ended up doing it in about 115.  I HIGHLY recommend this.  See my post about it here. I also have a link to a 90 day plan.  Here is a different plan that I didn’t use, but my wife just started it.
D.A. Carson’s Sermons on Evangelism in the 21st century.  These sermons changed the way I interact with non-believers.  They change the way I look at culture and the Gospel.  They changed everything for me.  I recommended these to my brother-in-law who is a youth pastor and he changed his teaching schedule for the next year as a response.  I cannot recommend these three sermons enough.
CJ Mahaney on Gospel Centered Parenting.  Once again, these sermons opened my eyes to a completely new interactive experience with others.  I was just looking for some parent helping from Mr. Mahaney, instead I learned how to bring the Gospel into my everyday life.  If you have no children, go listen to these sermons and think of them as evangelism sermons with anyone that you interact with regularly.  If you have children, stop reading this post and go listen…
Matt Chandler Preached a Series on the Church this year that I really enjoyed.  He didn’t tell me anything new, but he explained many things more clearly and there are a few illustrations in this series that I will plagiarize for the rest of my life.
Finally, the sermon of the year, goes to Smedly Yates (one of the teaching elders at my church Grace Bible Church, Tempe).  He preached a series on missions and when he talked about how missions should be ecclesiological…well listen.
Praise God for faithful men who dedicate their lives to preaching and teaching.  Our job is to use their hard work to grow in our love for and dedication to the Father.  Let’s go be great servants and show those we interact with, the Father.
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