Monday, July 26, 2010
Jason Helopoulos has a helpful post on (1) good reasons for leaving a church (Four P’s); (2) possible reasons for leaving a church (Three S’s); (3) insufficient reasons for leaving a church.
What right do you ever have to leave a church?” I can remember that question being asked by my ecclesiology professor in seminary. It is a good question and one that would benefit us all to wrestle with. As Kevin has recently pointed out on this blog, there is biblical warrant and there are practical reasons for entering into covenant through local church membership. Having entered into that covenant our breaking of it should never be done lightly. Clearly, there are reasons to leave a local church. But what are they? I have been thinking about this for the past ten years and this is my attempt at answering the question:
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Here are a few ways that we are trying to raise obedient children:
1. We are confident in our God-given parental authority.
God has set parents in place as the authority figures in the lives of children. Hebrews 12 speaks of how discipline is actually a privilege of being a son. Don’t fear that your child will resent your discipline. On the contrary, they will soon realise that it is a sign of your love for them.
2. We never count to three.
The counting-to-three routine undermines your authority and places your child in the driving seat. You are training them that, essentially, obedience is a negotiation and they can determine the timing of their obedience. Train them to think, “I must obey straight away.”
3. We model it ourselves to authority figures in our lives.
Several times a year there is a clash between what my “boss” is asking me to do and what my family and I would like to do. I always seize these opportunities to explain to my boys that I must obey my boss straight away and with a good attitude, and that although I would much rather spend Saturday morning with them, I must obey my “boss” and go to that meeting.
4. We try not to exasperate our children (Eph. 6:4).
Avoid petty rules. Pick your battles. Be merciful and compassionate. When you are in the wrong, say a sincere “sorry” to them. Also, make sure that you are giving them sufficient attention so that they are not compelled to rebel just to get some time and attention from you.
5. We use appropriate forms of punishment.
We discipline mostly for three D’s: disobedience, disrespect, and destruction (of property or your brother’s nose). Punishment must be proportional to the offense and also proportional to the child’s stage of life. If it is not then you will find that you exasperate a growing child. Also, the mode of punishment must be what will best help the child. Different parents have more “faith” in some forms of punishment than others, and different children respond differently to different forms of punishment. I acknowledge and respect that, although we have had continued success with the primary biblical form of disciplining children with a wooden spoon on their chubby bottoms.
6. We are convinced that it really is worth the effort.
The joy of parenting increases dramatically when you have obedient children, and most importantly, you are equipping your children with the vital life-skill of obedience, which will stand them in good stead in their obedience to God, life, at school, and in the workplace.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
"We must be careful with our lives, for Christ's sake, because it would seem that they are the only lives we are going to have in this puzzling and perilous world, and so they are very precious and what we do with them matters enormously." Frederick Buechner
Saturday, July 10, 2010
In II Kings 13:14-19, story is about Joash, who is engaged in a severe spiritual battle. But has every opportunity to succeed, but didn't. He had misplaced passion. Half hearted faith. Elisha had enabled Joash to conquer the Syrians. He was giving him perpetual, generational victory. But Joash was overwhelmed with mediocrity. Elisha told him to "pound the ground" but he only did it three times, signifying that he would only have 3 victories. The prophet told him, "you should have done it 5 or 6 times". Elisha was angry at the lack of passion on Joash's part. Then Elisah died.
So here is the message. We have our priorities and passions misplaced in this present culture. As I turned on ESPN Thursday night to see the details of the horrible news of Cleveland's beloved son, leaving the fathers house, for another country? Miami Heat? Come On LeBron! $128 million for 6 more years in Cleveland not enough? Oh but to settle for $99 million for 5 years on South Beach? Ok, my real thoughts....He is just a basketball player. Yes I love Ohio. yes I am a Cleveland fan, Yes I enjoyed watching LeBron play. But his contract was up! He decided to go to another team. In a world that we have more things to be emotional about, such as, abortions, deaths, marriages falling a part, our nations economy, etc.... In Cleaveland people were screaming, crying, consoling each other, threatening to burn LaBron's house down, and burning his famed sacred number 23 jerseys. This is all the reaction because one basketball player is going to another team. Yes it is devasting to us, the Cleveland economy, but things change. On the other side of the coin. In Miami the camera's go to a local sports bar. When the news is announced people are jumping, high fiving, hugging, crying, dancing, and passionate celebration. LaBron, Wade, and Bosch! It is going to be a championship in Miami! Yee Ha!!!!
The world and culture expects "Passion" for it's teams and players. Men, Women, and kids of all ages, express that passion. We were the jersey's, the tshirts, the hats, we read the sports page, turn on espn to find the latest news. I'm not doggin this, I admit I do this too! So can I say that if we are so passionate about these things, and we express those passions, and yet we don't when it comes to God. It has become idols in our culture? Grown adults acting this way and yet will not do so in a worship environment? Will not be that passionate about God and His plan for us? We have become inactive, no iniative towards God. We have accepted all this without objection. When was the last time you were this passionate about God? Do you worship like you have passion? Do pray like you have passion? Jesus said, where your treasure is that is where your heart is? Where is your passion?
Why is it that when we see someone excited, passionate in a church, we think they are weird, or just new to the church? There is nothing wrong with being passionate in worship and passionate towards the things of God. Goodnight, if these people in Cleveland and Miami can act a certain way and not be ashamed, why should we as the Church?
David sinned in II Samuel 11:1-2, not because he just had a lust problem. He saw a gorgeous, smokin' hot naked woman taking an oil bath on a roof. That would mess with any man. Here is the issue, He was in the wrong place and the wrong time. Most sin is a result of that. David was supposed to pursue his enemies at this time. The Kings were supposed to be at war. David napped while his men fought. A passive, misplaced passion introduced David to his sin.
I like sports, but I love God! So LeBron goes to Miami. Does anyone care, that people are slipping off into eternity without Christ?
Does anyone care that 4800 abortions were committed? Does anyone care 1 out 3 church plants fail? Does anyone care that 1500 pastors leave the ministry every month? Does anyone care that 65% of marriages are ending in divorce? Does anyone care that people are dying from cancer and other diseases everyday? That millions are dying from starvation everyday in Third World countries? There are truly more important things to get emotional and passionate about it life that just a basketball trade.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
A Book Review of "Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ" by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola--Reviewed by Rob Yanok, Dad, Husband, Pastor, Teacher, and blogger
G.K. Chesterton said, "Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair." That is what this book does. Keeps true religion focused on the person of Christ and not certain theories of Christianity. Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola put into words what many are thinking but was never brave enough to write. They reveal to us in this book our distorted view of true christianity and call us back to the purpose and person of Jesus Christ. The God who saved us, called us, and keeps us. But the one we usually leave out of our daily religion. Paul told us be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We cannot help but be transformed by the challenges presented to us in this book. It not only reforms our mind but it reframes our life. Jesus MUST be the center of everything or we don't have anything.
The famous pop celebrity Madonna was once quoted as saying, "I don't thing there's anything wrong with the teachings of Jesus, but I am suspicious of organized religion." So if you are like Madonna, and you are not a fan of organized religion, or a Christian disillusioned Church, you will find yourself gaining truthful insights on the very nature and character of God himself. This book fleshes out the "word", "Christ", "Jesus", or God himself.
I love what Paul said, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6,7 This book will help lead you to receive the person of christianity, Jesus Christ without dogging the doctrines of Christ. Spurgeon, Chesterton, Lewis, and Tolkein, would all be proud. So I challenge you go ahead and read it for yourself. Sit down and relax in a Starbucks with your latte and read away! It will end up being considered a classic!