Showing posts from December, 2017

Just like doing your hair: The church is a work in progress

Where did the church go wrong? Unfortunately, churches today look much different from the ideas we’ve been discussing in this blog. We’ve reduced church from a way of life to a weekly routine. The liturgy is a program that follows the same format, week after week. The focus of church is not on the assembly and community, but on the pastor and program. A service offers, at most, 5 minutes for a quick “hello” or a hug -- not proper fellowship that any assembly of like minded people would have. Churches are no longer bodies made up of believers, but earthly organizations with buildings, legal status, and human hierarchies lead by bureaucracy rather than the Holy Spirit. We do not see much discipleship in the church, substituting sermons, which are usually just motivational speeches delivered to make us feel good for the week. We’re expected to hear a sermon and know how to live, but we’re not given the chance to put it into practice and learn by doing. Except for getting to

Believers: Stop being so welcoming

  Church is for believers  Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In this exchange, Jesus drew a contrast between who society says he is -- a prophet -- with whom Simon Peter said he is -- God’s son the Christ. Jesus hinted to an Old Testament title for the Christ when he called himself “Son of Man”, but it might surprise you to know that the Bible never actually records Jesus directly claiming to be the Christ or God’s son -- he only affirms it when someone else says he is. Simon wasn’t simply repeating his latest Sunday School lesson. He was actually defining theology. Later in this passage, we read: He warned the disciples that they should tell no on

Community: It's a noun, not a verb

What’s the difference between church and bowling night? Well… not as much as you might think. As we discussed in this blog post , the church evolved from Jesus’ words about building an assembly. If we remove all of the tradition and religious connotations from this simple idea, we can get a better understanding of what Jesus was trying to say. An assembly is defined as “a group of people gathered together in one place for a common purpose”. A church fits that definition just as much as your average bowling league. If an assembly is simply a group of people coming together for a purpose they share, the only thing that separates Jesus’ assembly from the bowling assembly is who is gathered and for what purpose . These two criteria will be explored in future blog posts, but for now, let’s look at how much they have in common. Neither assembly could exist without people coming together. There is no such thing as an assembly of one. An assembly doesn’t just exist to further its purpo

Interactive Church: The Importance of Discipleship

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My assembly. -Jesus The common English translation of Jesus’ words substitutes the word “church” for “assembly”. But as we discussed previously, Jesus  couldn't have used the word church , because that word wasn’t used in such context until 300 years after Jesus said this. It's an incorrect translation. The word Jesus used is correctly translated “assembly”. So if he didn’t mean a church, what kind of assembly was he talking about? He was talking about something much more interactive than what we're used to. Jesus' Example of Interactive Discipleship Earlier in the passage, we read that Jesus was in the middle of a question and answer session with his disciples when this topic came up. But there were a lot more than just 12 disciples as we might have thought. The 12 were BFFs Jesus called apostles, and they came from a larger group of many more disciples -- at least 120 men and women by the

The Church is Not What You Think

What is the church? Spirituality in the world is changing. As pastors in the Western world wonder why attendance in their churches is plummeting, the number of Christians in the South and East is skyrocketing. This growth is occurring not in the traditional Christian denominations, but in churches of a more charismatic and Pentecostal leaning. Meanwhile in the United States, the number of those affiliated with religion is dropping, but those that consider themselves spiritual but not religious is growing even faster than the religious crowd is shrinking. It seems that around the world, people are generally discontent with the traditional idea of church, yet more spiritual than ever before. Those that still faithfully attend church probably do so because it’s encouraging to their Christian walk and it helps them get on God’s good side. After all, God told people to go to church, right? Or maybe you’re part of the growing group of people who’s never even stepped foot in a church b
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