Sunday, February 24, 2008

A funny thing happened ...

I just got done preaching a sermon I was very curious about. It was based on my ideas and thoughts that came to me after reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer and "Life Together" in particular the chapter called "Service". I also used Matthew 25:31-40. It started out to be a missional sermon but after reading Bonhoeffer it ended up being about looking at ourselves and how we view those closes to us. I ended up talking about bearing one another's burdens and how we must serve those right outside our doors before God will send out to the ends of the earth to serve. I really enjoyed it.
Yet I also realize how much I still have to learn about preparing for a church service!
I hope this does not become to much of a distraction to sharing the word.
I will post the sermon later this week.

Peace <><

Pastor Chris

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Longest Election just keeps going and going and going and ...

I don't want to get to political here but I found these two videos on the Internet. I figure they tell a pretty good story.

Happy Election Season!

Pastor Chris

Thursday, February 14, 2008

PC(USA) High Court Rules "Fidelity and Chastity" Standard Remains Binding

Just in from the PC(USA) Permanent Judicial Committee… PC(USA) High Court Rules "Fidelity and Chastity" Standard Remains Binding


While I am glad that the denomination has made a clear statement in one direction or the other in a what almost looks like an election year “pay off”. But I really wonder if this will lead to Peace Purity and Unity. Will a decision that so strongly favors one side of the fight over the other truly going to bring an end to the argument?  I struggle with understanding God's teaching for us on this issue. While I truly believe God wants us to live in marriage between a man and a women and that a Gay lifestyle was not part of the original plan, I know many people who are Gay and live a more Christ like life than many others in the church. I am not sure this decision will help us to understand how to love ALL people without reservation just as Jesus did. We are a broken race and will continue to be a broken people, But God still loves us, even in our impurities. I agree that Ordination is for those that have been called out by God for a special service and we are held to a higher standard but what about grace? What about unconditional love? What about Christ's open arms? Let us move forward with this decision but still find places for all of God's children to serve together as ONE body.  Let us continue to find ways that every child of God who feels a call to ministry can indeed serve without having to give up who they are as a person.


For more on this and to read others thoughts go to:


Pastor Chris

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Church in the 21st Century

I was recently reading an article titled, "The 'Missional Church': A Model for Canadian Churches?" by David Horrox. He says: "The church should stop mimicking the surrounding culture and become an alternative community, with a different set of beliefs, values and behaviors. Ministers would no longer engage in marketing; churches would no longer place primary emphasis on programs to serve members. The traditional ways of evaluating 'successful churches' – bigger buildings, more people, bigger budgets, larger ministerial staff, new and more programs to serve members – would be rejected. New yardsticks would be the norm: To what extent is our church a 'sent' community in which each believer is reaching out to his community? To what extent is our church impacting the community with a Christian message that challenges the values of our secular society?"

Another favorite author of mine Dan Kimball in his book "The Emerging Church" (Zondervan, 2003) explains the missional church this way; "as a body of people sent on a mission who gather in community for worship, encouragement, and teaching from the Word that supplements what they are feeding themselves throughout the week."

Both Horrox and Kimball capture much of the essence and heart of what it means to be missional, but in order to probe deeper and be more coherent we need to be involved in conversation about this subject. I think we can and I want us to begin to think about what it means to be missional. The first step in understanding what it means to be missional requires a shift in our thinking.

Alan Hirsch in a separate article observes, "the word 'missional' over the years has tended to become very fluid and as it was quickly co-opted by those wishing to find new and trendy tags for what they themselves were doing. Missional is often looked upon as just another phase or program. But we go astray when we allow this to happen for missional is more than just another movement, it is a full expression of who the ekklesia (the Church) of Christ is and what it is called to be and do. Some scholars, including Darrell Guder in The Missional Church (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing - February 1998) believe "missional" focuses on the church contextualizing its methods, morality, and message to fit its indigenous culture. At its core, missional is a shift in thinking. This shift in thinking is articulated by Ed Stetzer and David Putman in their book, "Breaking the Missional Code" (Broadman & Holman, 2006) like this:

  • From programs to processes
  • From demographics to discernment
  • From models to missions
  • From attractional to incarnational
  • From uniformity to diversity
  • From professional to passionate
  • From seating to sending
  • From decisions to disciples
  • From additional to exponential
  • From monuments to movements

And these are a couple others I have seen on the internet:

  • From services to service
  • From ordained to the ordinary
  • From organizations to organisms
Making this shift can be difficult for many, but to fully appreciate what the missional church is, we must look outside of our traditional understanding of how we do church and realign ourselves with the biblical narrative. This Lent we are having conversations around what church may be in the 21st century. As you participate at whatever level you choose keep this idea of Missional in your mind. See if you can relate to this envisioning of the church much like it was 2000 years ago and see if that matches with what you see for the church of the 21st century.

Let’s sit down and enjoy a cup of Free Trade coffee and enter the discussion!