Church Reduction 101…..

“As the Preacher of Ecclesiastes saw, “There is a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” And the second Reformation, if it comes, will be distinguished from the first by the fact that it is a time of reticence, of stripping down, of traveling light. The church will go through its baggage and discover how much it can better do without, alike in doctrine and in organization.”

– John A.T. Robinson, as quoted by Frank Viola in “Finding Organic Church”.

Right Answers. Really?

Religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right. But Father is about the process that takes you to the living answer and once you get to him, he will change you from the inside. There are a lot of smart people who are able to say a lot of right things from their brain because they have been told what the right answers are, but they don’t know Father at all. So really, how can their answers be right even if they are right, if you understand my drift? So even though they might be right, they are still wrong. Don’t look for rules and principles; look for relationship–a way of coming to be with God.

This came from a blog post by my friend Jason Duncan, here.

A Great Quote…

“The missionary work of the non-professional missionary is to live his daily life in Christ, and therefore with a difference, and to be able to share the reason and cause of the difference to men who see it. His preaching is essentially private conversation, and has at the back of it a life which explains and illustrates and enforces his words. It is such missionary work that the world needs today. Everybody, Christian and pagan alike, respects such work. When it is so done, men wonder, and inquire into the secret of a life which they instinctively admire and covet for themselves.”

Roland Allen (1869-1947, Non-Professional Missionaries) as quoted by Warren Cole Smith in A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church.

If only every single Christian would come to understand this concept. If only this would be the plea from pulpits, rather than a plea to fulfill the ministers ministry vision. If only Christians would actually be Christians, rather than consumers in an industrialized engine of greed, power, and tax-free monopolies. If only Christians would get out of their Christian ghettos, whether they be living rooms or sanctuaries, and get on with living the life Christ crucified and resurrected!

A Great Quote…

I had to share my absolute favorite quote from Neil Cole’s most recent book, “Organic Leadership“.

I wonder if God likes getting the credit for all the crap we do.

This quote comes from a section where Cole is writing about the sin of self-preservation. This is the sin we see when churches, organizations, ministries, etc. died long ago, but are being kept alive artificially with man’s systems, institutions, and organizations. When I was young in the ministry, I visited MANY churches such as this, and I still know of some that continue to hold on to a “life” that is but a distant memory now.

Sometimes, actually often, things need to die in order to live. After all, Jesus did say, “Truly, truly I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” (John 12:24-25, NASB)

In fact, CrossLife, actually had to die last year in order for us to finally begin seeing the life we always dreamed of. Once we decided to “die”, we began seeing a new life that has not stopped. In fact, it even multiplying! I am excited to see what Father will do in the future with our “dead” stuff.

I would rather see God get credit for the great things He does rather than the second-hand crap, we can do!

Thanx!

Compelled…

I am held captive by my imagination in Christ. As I read Scripture and move deeper into intimacy with Father, I am compelled to share more, pray more, and find myself broken over my own sin. I have posted the following quotes before, but thought they may be needed again…

I am not here attacking Christianity, but only the institutional mantle that cloaks it.

Pierre Berton

A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.

Dresden James

Experience supplies painful proof that traditions once called into being are first called useful, then they become necessary. At last they are too often made idols, and all must bow down to them or be punished. 

J. C. Ryle

I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? . . . A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.

Franz Kafka

If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of [the twentieth] century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will not be one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom.

A.W. Tozer

Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convinced of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convinced by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.

Martin Luther

These quotes haunt my imagination, and stir something deep within. They leave me very unsettled and unsatisfied with the status quo. They make me uncomfortable, and compel me to move out of the safety net and into the battle. While I appreciate and enjoy our gatherings, I know my life must be spent in the trenches of real life everyday, joining Father in His Kingdom agenda.

I’ll end with this stirring thought:

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NLT

A New Book, A New Quote To Chew On…

I received a couple of new books today:

 

 As I began reading “Organic Community”, I came across the first quote to cause intrigue and introspection:

Praxis without thoughtfulness is functional fantasy.

I wondered to myself, what is it that I do just to do? What are the things that consume my time that I never really think about? I can certainly say that for years I went to church just to go, because it was “the right thing to do,” or “I felt bad when I didn’t go”. I have lived much of my life with no intentionality behind it. I have recently made it my aim not to do anything just for the sake of doing it. I don’t want to get stuck in a rut. If it ain’t worth doing it, why do it?

I think this will be one that hangs on for a while. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!!

Thanx!