Sunday Relevant and Healthy

When God made the church on the day of Pentecost he didn’t create a government though the church has governance. He didn’t create a school though the church has disciples.

He didn’t create a club though the church has fellowship.

He created a “body”. He made an organism with millions of “cells” each one having a special function which could only be carried out in the context of the greater whole.

I have been thinking about the church as I have moved through the paces of benevolence projects and fellowship luncheons these last weeks. The questions often asked me  are, “Is the church relevant today? Is it even healthy to be part of the corporate church?”

As to church relevance here’s what I know. The church will always be relevant in the world, not because we keep up with the times and the culture (though we should try to do that I think), but because it is THE created device in which people of God can express their power. God didn’t make any thing else for Christians to plug into. And we were born with a NEED to plug-in.

As to church health here’s what I know. Some things that call themselves “church” are not really “church”. If the organism doesn’t preach Christ crucified for the salvation of man, if it doesn’t teach the Bible as the authoritative word of God, if it doesn’t lead people into godly relationship with each other and ministry work, if it doesn’t point people towards a personal lifestyle of worshipping Jesus, it ain’t “church” no matter what sign hangs over the door. the perfect church doesn’t exist but health doesn’t require perfect. It just requires a commitment to live biblically before God in community.

As you gather this Sunday in your house of worship know that the songs, the ceremonies, the traditions are not as important as the purpose behind it all. Church is the most relevant thing a Christian can do! It is necessary! It is healthy!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the church! 

Share Your World With Cee Cee

One of the new blogs I am reading is doing this…  game… I guess you would call it. Cee Cee asks four questions and the participant (that’s me!) answers them. Sounds simple right? Here are this week’s questions.

  1. Who was your favorite Teacher – what grade and why?
  2. What do you like most about your home?
  3. If you were forced to change the name of your blog what would you change it to?
  4. If a movie was made based on your life, what actor/actress would play you?

1. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Hagemeyer in fifth grade. She was the first teacher who wouldn’t put up with my penchant for slacking. She called me to a higher level and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Thanks Mrs. H!

2. I love the yard. It is so wild and untamed, a place of dreams!

3. If I had to rename this blog I would probably call it “Fifth Man In the Fire”. I sometimes feel like I’m part of that story from the book of Daniel even if I am only an extra! 🙂

4. If  someone had to play me I think I would like it to be Kevin James!

 

Thanks Cee! This was fun!

These are some spring snow pics from Massachusetts

Heaven Pt. 40

For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors. “Now search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now, and search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything as great as this ever been seen or heard before? Has any nation ever heard the voice of God [fn]speaking from fire—as you did—and survived? Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your eyes. Deut. 4:31-34 NLT

Creation boasts many works of beauty. God has splashed the world with a myriad colors and cut the corners of the Earth into a thousand provocative shapes that capture the mind and the heart pointing all towards eternity.

Of all his glorious works none is greater or more beautiful   than the plan of redemption. Before the world was founded God knew He would make a world filled with beauty and goodness. He knew he would make a creature called man who being good would yet choose evil bringing destruction on God’s beautiful creation. Yet knowing this He did not choose to not make man. Instead He made the man and put a plan in place to undo the devastation man would cause and to even save mankind from itself! He made man even though the making cost him the life of His only begotten Son…the Darling of Heaven… God’s most precious treasure…Jesus Christ. The painful beauty of redemption’s plan surpasses everything else.

Let’s Pray: All we can say Lord is thank you!

Heaven Pt. 39

“And [take heed], lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and [when] you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.”Deut. 4:19

In this verse the “heavens” referred to are the starry heavens…the grandeur of the universe. Truly the stars, planets, galaxies and the space between them are awesome in their scope. But they were created to point us to the One who is far beyond their measure! We humans have a thing for beauty. We tend to worship the artwork rather than the Artist. We ogle the painting and forget the Creative Genius who is behind it; So Deuteronomy 4:19 warns us to be careful not to get so lost in the landscape that we miss the Maker of the forest because of the trees.

I suppose it goes to our thinking about the eternal Heaven as well.  Jesus wants to be our chief reason for desiring Heaven.  Living in the City of Gold and even living forever need to come in as  secondary desires.

Let’s pray: Father I thank you for the eternal life you have given me. I thank you for the promise of seeing the place You have prepared for me. But Lord give me an undivided heart even when it comes to these precious treasures of Heaven. May I be all consumed by the desire to be with You! In Jesus Name A-men!

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 66

You might be new to “Reinventing the We’ll”. You might be asking Who is Pastor Wrinkles? What is a chapter chart?

Pastor Wrinkles is a moniker my youth group gave me in 2010/ 2011 during my last year as a youth pastor (for now). At the time I was the oldest youth pastor in our district (just a spring chicken really but as youth pastors go a little past my prime).

The chapter charts are a devotional exercise.Here are the steps to creating a chapter chart:

1. read the chapter in question?

2. Ask yourself “What are three things I noticed in this chapter?”

3. Write those three points down as titles or sermon topics.

It’s easy and fun so give it a try!

Here are my offerings for Numbers 12 and 13.

Numbers chapter 12 sermon topics/titles:

1. The Wounds of A Brother, the Wounds of A Sister: Nu.12:1-13

2. What’s a Prophet? What’s A Friend? Nu. 12: 6-8

3. One Sure Way to Lose Face.: Nu. 12: 1-11

Numbers chapter 13 sermon topics/titles:

These are rather tongue in cheek but they would make fun church signage!

1. Leading By Logic: Nu. 13: 1-33

2. Bugging People: Nu. 13: 1-33

3. Count Your Many Curses Count them One By One Count Your Many Curses Forget What the Lord Has Done! Nu. 13:1-33

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 65

You might be new to “Reinventing the We’ll”. You might be asking Who is Pastor Wrinkles? What is a chapter chart?

Pastor Wrinkles is a moniker my youth group gave me in 2010/ 2011 during my last year as a youth pastor (for now). At the time I was the oldest youth pastor in our district (just a spring chicken really but as youth pastors go a little past my prime).

The chapter charts are a devotional exercise.Here are the steps to creating a chapter chart:

1. read the chapter in question?

2. Ask yourself “What are three things I noticed in this chapter?”

3. Write those three points down as titles or sermon topics.

It’s easy and fun so give it a try!

Here are today’s chapter charts on Numbers 10 and 11

Numbers chapter 10 sermon topics/titles:

1. The Trumpet Of Assembly: Nu 10: 1-4

2. The Trumpet Of Battle: Nu. 10: 8-10

3. The Trumpet Of Rejoicing: Nu 10:10

(Boy so much more in that chapter but I have used up my three wishes!)

Numbers chapter 11 sermon topics/titles:

1. Fire In the Sinner’s Pew! Nu. 11: 1-3

2. Craving Other Food. :Nu. 11: 4-25

3. Blessed Even In Rebellion: Nu. 11: 26-30

Now tell me what you see! 🙂

Heaven Pt. 38

“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you….”Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God [are] alive today, every one of you….take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, ”[especially concerning] the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and [that] they may teach their children.’ ”Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.” Deut 4:1,3,4,9-11 NKJV

When we truly experience Heaven’s glory we gain a desire to share it with others.

Not only do we desire to change personally so that we might attain the hope we want to share the truth with others so that they too might be changed by it. Moses said it this way.

But you who held fast to the LORD your God [are] alive today, every one of you….take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen…. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, ”[especially concerning] the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb,”

It is the glory of Heaven revealed through the Holy Spirit that gives us burning desire to share the truth! As the Scripture says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Let’s Pray: Father God thank you for the promise of Heaven! God I want to share this promise more; So Lord fill me with your Holy Spirit. Give me a powerful vision of the Kingdom of Heaven through experience that will spur me on to share with the lost. In Jesus Name A-men!

Heaven Pt. 37

“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you….”Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God [are] alive today, every one of you….take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, ”[especially concerning] the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and [that] they may teach their children.’ ”Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.” Deut 4:1,3,4,9-11 NKJV

Glory, (faith hope and love manifested physically) is the predominant quality of Heaven. It was this quality that came forth on Horeb in the cloud and the thick  darkness that reached to Heaven.  It was in the context of glory (faith hope and love manifested physically) that the Israelites heard the word of God and began to fear the Lord.

I have tasted a little glory in my time as a Christian. Always the taste has left me completely undone, on my face, unable to do anything other than speak the Name. Always as the glory receded I was left overwhelmed by the wonder of what I  experienced. This feeling of being overwhelmed, awestruck is the fear of the Lord (at least in part). These moments have left me wondering what will Heaven really be like. What will it be like to dwell in that place where the glory never recedes? It certainly helps me understand I Cor. 15: 50 “What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.”

Have you experienced Heaven’s glory here on Earth like the Israelites did? What was it like?

 

Dance In the Rain (Rewrite)

I published “Dance In the Rain” on July 11, 2010. The blogs I read this week kept bringing pieces of this work back to memory. I hope the rewrite blesses you!

In the course of life I have learned that almost nothing remains the same. Life is a stormy mistress. If we are honest the stormy days outnumber the calm ones. In life, lightning strikes and lots of times in the same place. Life changes and right quick. Wink and tragedy comes on you unawares. Blink and blessed moments may pass you by. Usually tragedy and blessing are mixed together in fast-moving squalls that roar across the surfaces of our existence; But whether winking or blinking we have to learn to enjoy where we are at and stop waiting for the world to change in our favor.

There is a dish displayed on the bookcase in my office. Written in the center is this saying: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

We’ve all got “stuff” going on. You have money troubles. She may have a close friend who is dying. The guy in the corner over there is going through a divorce. But if we let those things take our focus, we miss opportunity to dance between the rain drops. And it’s the dancing that makes life on this planet tolerable. If you listen close enough the rain offers a good beat; So friend spend some time today dancing in the rain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ujj0FNxl8g&feature=related

Heaven Pt. 36

“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you….”Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God [are] alive today, every one of you….take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, “[especially concerning] the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and [that] they may teach their children.’ “Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.” Deut 4:1,3,4,9-11 NKJV

What is Heaven to you? Is it a land of fluffy white clouds filled with dead folk reborn as fat little cherubs playing harps? Is St. Peter standing at a white lectern, the heavenly Maitre d”?

I have heard it said that when we get to Heaven we are going to have all wisdom and knowledge. I’m not sure about that, but I do know that certainly wisdom and knowledge will be increased by the experience. If fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge then God is going to have to scare some of us pretty good to bring us out of our folly.

I’m not sure we all get harps in Heaven. I do know though that the cloud which caused the Israelite’s to shake in their sandals, being present in Heaven, will cause us to fall down on our faces in worship. This might be a change from how you viewed Heaven but it is  far more  powerful and hopeful than any Michelangelo painting.

I’ll take a thousand years bowed before Jesus  and the wisdom that  brings over wings any day!

I have more to say on this. We’ll come back to it soon!