In the previous post we noted the two foundational skills to move from being a successful-based follower/church to a faithful-based one are our abilities to submit to God and to love others and then briefly examined what submitting (surrendering) to God means. In this final post of A brighter path, we will briefly examine the second skill of what loving others actually means. Continue reading “A Brighter Path #8: Loving Others”
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.” (Luke 6:46-49)
Some years back, a popular Christian movement centered on the acronym WWJD, asking, “What would Jesus do?” It is a great question that evokes the centrality of Jesus. The question implies that our discipleship journey today should reflect Jesus’ actions in the Gospels. I would love to see it make a sweeping return in a thoughtful manner but I would call it WYRTGWPDEPOJ (yeah, I know, my branding needs work). Because I think the better question is asking, “When you read the Gospels, what portrait does each paint of Jesus?” Asking that is a great litmus test to expose beliefs of successful-based communities, those practices not found in the Gospels which hinder and undermine bringing about the “kingdom of God” on earth that Jesus came to establish.
Successful-based beliefs/practices in the church today continue to undermine Jesus’ desire to bring about “the kingdom of God.” And the successful-based belief/practice on sin has arguably had the biggest negative impact on that. We conclude our look at sin by contrasting how faithful-based communities view it.
Successful-based beliefs/practices in the church today continue to undermine Jesus’ desire to bring about “the kingdom of God.” And the successful-based belief/practice on sin has arguably had the biggest negative impact on that. We continue our look at sin (from the previous post in this series) by examining how successful-based churches view sin.
Successful-based beliefs/practices in the church today continue to undermine Jesus’ desire to bring about “the kingdom of God.” And the successful-based belief/practice on sin has arguably had the greatest negative impact on that. Because of that impact, it is critical to understand as fully as possible what we mean when we use that little ‘ol three-letter word that is at the root of so much difference between successful-based and faithful-based churches. We will therefore spend three posts on sin (or you could say we’ll be “sinning” for the next few weeks). In this post we will engage in a brief overview of the concept of sin and a related spiritual concept, holiness, and introduce how successful-based and faithful-based churches differ on them. The following two posts will each explore in more detail how each side views and lives those concepts. Continue reading “A Brighter Path #3: Sin”
When we look at the nature of the church through the lens of Mother Teresa’s spiritual maxim that “God doesn’t call me to be successful, but to be faithful,” it might appear at first glance that both qualities should not only be acceptable but encouraged. It seems counter-intuitive to think we should not be successful for God. But the two concepts are opposites. One relies on God, and the other relies on ourselves but puts God’s name on it. Many churches today preach a life of faithfulness but their actions reflect Christianity’s long struggle with striving for success in its own human-derived standards.
An old joke I first heard while at seminary in the late 80s goes something like this— “Jesus came to earth in order to establish ‘the kingdom of God’… but all He got was the church.” The punch line can be self-deprecating humor for life-long church members but it also reflects a painful indictment. The history of the Church over 2,000 years is the record of an institution that has done some good (along with some evil) but overall has fallen far short of bringing to fruition Jesus’ mission proclamation to break-in “the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:15).
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:1-7, NRSV)
By Steve Flowers and Jordan Flowers
Jordan and Steve talk about changing churches, including their recent and current experiences looking for a new church and discussing “When is it ok to change?” The discussion touches on topics that are also relevant for examining the relationship with your current church even if you’re not looking to change churches. Continue reading “On The Table Podcast: Episode # 2 – You do y’all”