Is excellence killing the church?

Why we need more good churches and fewer excellent ones.

excellence

If you regularly attend church conferences you will no doubt hear the rallying cry for excellence in the church. In some ways this is a good thing. I am all for pastors working hard and doing all they can do to reach people with the greatest message ever told. Where excellence starts to kill the church is when we make our church a polished flawless exhibition that we invite people to be impressed by.

When the church takes its cue from the business world and perfects its processes so that it can extend its reach and solidify its brand we have lost our way.

When excellence drives us to be efficient with people so we can be innovative with problems we are no longer the church we are simple a 501c3.

3 ways pastors should engage the abortion issue

baby

With a string of videos coming out of the past few weeks showing Planned Parenthood for what it is. These things are unavoidable for us and the kids we minister to. We have to understand how to logically understand these events so we engage rather shut down. My friend Scott Klusendorf writes the following argument in his book The Case for Life

The SLED Defense of Life

Philosophically, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today. As Stephen Schwarz points out using the acronym SLED, differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant in the way that abortion advocates need them to be.

Size: Yes, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more valuable than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one valuable. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-valuable tissue mass to valuable human being? If the unborn are not already human and valuable, merely changing their location can’t make them so.

Degree of Dependency: If viability bestows human value, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal (and valuable) because they share a common human nature. Humans have value simply because of the kind of thing they are, not because of some acquired property they may gain or lose during their lifetimes.

Armed with that understanding what must we do with what we know to be true? What must we do?

Video of Gabriel speaking to Zachariah

Looking for a video bumper to lead into the story of Gabriel telling Zachariah his wife would have a baby? Look no further. Check out this video that our team made for this weeks Bible story. So appreciate Lori (who shot and edited it) Tim who was Gabriel and Matt who was Zachariah stuck in traffic. As a parent and a Pastor of families it is so moving to see people who take what they are given make it their own and make it better. Love the team we have and their passion to distil gospel truth to the kids of our church. Awesome job guys this video is just to fun.

The death of a goose.

What your kids need to know about their bible

Jan Hus execution

 

Today marks the 600 year anniversary of Jan Hus. Most Christians today have never heard of Hus. He along with John Wycliffe were the original reformers of the church, and for that we have much to be grateful for. A full 100 years before the protestant reformation of salvation by grace through faith in Christ took place the stage for that was set by Wycliffe and Hus. Hus was a catholic who was committed to the scriptures. He was committed to do what it said at the cost of his own life. He had tremendous courage and conviction as he stood against the only church that existed at the time the Roman Catholic church. He saw many practices of the church that were contrary to the teaching of scripture.

What was amazing about Hus was that his life was submitted to God and completely committed to scripture. Hus was not a revolutionary by nature but was unable to stand by because of his deep love for the church and for God’s word.

When asked to recant he would not and it cost him his life. He gave his life and was ultimately burned at the stake because he wanted the bible to be in hands of the laity.

The historical account of his death is amazing.

Then Hus sang in verse, with an elated voice, like the psalmist in the thirty-first psalm, reading from a paper in his hands: “In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, bow down thine ear to me.” With such Christian prayers, Hus arrived at the stake, looking at it without fear. He climbed upon it, after two assistants of the hangman had torn his clothes from him and had clad him into a shirt drenched with pitch. At that moment, one of the electors, Prince Ludwig of the Palatinate, rode up and pleaded with Hus to recant, so that he might be spared a death in the flames. But Hus replied: “Today you will roast a lean goose, but hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing, whom you will leave unroasted and no trap or net will catch him for you.” Full of pity and filled with much admiration, the Prince turned away.

Amazing how he foretold of the protestant reformation. When Hus spoke of a Goose he was referring to himself because “Hus” is actually Czech for Goose. The swan was in reference to Luther whose families coat of arms contained a swan and who began the reformation nearly 100 years from the death of Hus.

What our kids need to know and what we need to remember is that our bible came to us at great cost to the lives of many. That the truth inside God’s word compelled and strengthen many to stand in the midst of extreme adversity. From Hus’ life we learn that we can have a revolution without being revolutionaries.

The power of God’s word is what compels us to stand for truth in love. Our kids need to know about lives like Hus that were willing given so we could have the scriptures in our own language. So that we could hear God speak to us through them and compel us to live a life of love founded in ultimate truth.

Below is an interview our pastor did for our church this past Sunday with Dr. Gordan Issacs professor of church history at Gordan Cromwell Seminary. It this video they discuss the impact of the life of Jan Hus on us as protestants and in History. It’s 29 minutes but well worth the watch.

5 shifts parents need to make in LGBTQ America

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The ruling that came down this week was not unexpected. It was a slow build that started in the 1960’s with the sexual revolution. What the ruling did was place the final nail in the coffin of Orthodox Christianity as the majority viewpoint in our country. As a country we have been drifting for years and we have finally hit the sand bar of post modernism with full force.

Here is what we don’t need to do. Freak out and bunker down. We must love and engage. The beautiful thing about Orthodox Christianity is that it is about true love, costly love. We as a culture have fallen in love with love. Not real love but the idea of love. Real love is not loving those who love you but loving those who hate you. Love is not a constitutional right, love is a gift. A gift that cost God what was most dear to him to ransom back to himself what was most far from him. We must convey this kind of love in everything we do and say. We must fight tolerance by actually loving our neighbors.