Oh, the places we’ve been

In 9 days we pack up a moving truck and begin a new phase of our lives. In the last four months, we have been able to see God do incredible things to prepare the way for us.

We’ve also had the incredible opportunity to visit all kinds of churches and see the Body of Christ in worship. While I am still hard on my own tribe (evangelicals) because we’re simply not ready for what is ahead in our culture (and I’m not sure just how many churches are), I am far more positive about the Body of Christ than before.  Continue reading “Oh, the places we’ve been”

Church bashing

We may not think much of the Church in our American angst. We complain. We argue. We are always quick to point out what is “wrong” with the Church. Every particular season I will come across dozens of articles about what NOT to preach on a particular Sunday. (“Make sure you avoid these THREE mistakes on Mother’s Day”, etc.) Continue reading “Church bashing”

Why the CHURCH is so vital

This is a post that won’t make the Huff and Puff Post (aka, the “Huffington Post”). It’s not filled with angst or disillusionment over the “Church.” So, about 3 people will read this. Angst sells.

We get so fed up with our tiny little views of “the Church” and think it’s all about what is wrong with “the Church.” It’s not “the Church” you’re upset about. It’s your tiny sliver of experience and you haven’t really gone past that.

The CHURCH is beautiful. And you don’t get to worship Jesus (the HEAD) without the Church (his BODY). Unless you’re a cannibal or head hunter or something.

I LOVE the Body of Christ. I LOVE my church where I pastor. I LOVE the wider Body of Christ in my city. I LOVE the expressions of the Church I see from time to time around the world.

It is time to declare it: JESUS HAS A BEAUTIFUL BODY!

22 And God placed all things under his feet an19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizenswith God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundationof the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.d appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.(Eph. 1:22-23)

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizenswith God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundationof the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22)

My Great Loves

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I confess my great loves today.

First is my great love for God. I spent this weekend in a “silent” retreat contemplating Ephesians 1-3. I love Ephesians. For the past 15 plus years of my life it has been bedrock to my life. Once again I was blown away by my God’s great love for me. I am IN Christ! What a great Savior! How can I NOT respond in love? I confess I do NOT respond in love far too many times. I confess my foolishness. I confess I chase other “lovers” from time to time. But when I get back to his great love for me… I am in awe.

Next is my great love for my wife. She is absolutely incredible. We are approaching 22 years of marriage and my life is so much RICHER because of her love, her presence, her passion, her friendship. So much of who I am is a result of her love.

My great love for my wife extends to my great love for my boys. One has passed out of the teen years this month and is headed toward marriage. The other two are in high school. When I think of them, I am filled with gratitude and pride. They are great joys in my life.

I must finally confess my great love for the Church. There is something stirring deep within me, something I hope to dig out and actually put into words. To love Christ IS to love his Church. It is his Body. When we insult the Church, we insult Christ. He is the head. When part of our body feels pain, we KNOW it! When I find Christians insulting the Church, I sense the hurt of Christ.

My life is in ministry. I teach and I preach and I pastor. I have tried other things. My realization is this: I have no other marketable skills… and I don’t WANT any other marketable skills. I’m not rich. I won’t be rich. I’m not well-known. I don’t have a lecture circuit or speaking circuit. No one wants to hear from some small time pastor!

But I LOVE the Church of Jesus Christ. I love the expressions. My own expression is Pentecostal. But I have a deep love for Baptists, Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans… and more. I LOVE the expressions of the Body of Christ.

Today, I proudly profess my great loves.

Happy Valentines Day