Filed under: Church wrongs | Tags: depression, Evangelism, Pastors, preacher, sermon
I popped over to the church site of a friend of mine, someone I had not checked in on in a long time. I found an eight part series on The Beatitudes, at least that was the title, but they really weren’t. A little googling and I found out that they were Rick Warren sermons, from one of Rick Warren’s sermon series. I listened to most of them. Now I was really depressed.
I heard a good man, a man with a loving servant’s heart become a shadow. His sermon illustrations were not from his own life, they were from Rick Warrens life, and so the message I was getting was like a fax of a fax, a bit blurry, lacking the crisp detail needed to bring a message. Seeing some one attempting to imitate anyone but Christ, well it just isn’t Christian.
Armed with a cynical attitude and already filled with negatives, by the power granted to me by Google, I set out to check out other web sermons. I found way too many cheap imitations of the same thing. Now I imitated Warren at a fancy dress party, but never in the pulpit. There are so many people going to Hell, so many of the saved that need the guidance of Holy Writ, and the exhorting that comes only from the Word, that I take my post very seriously. I can imitate no one. I do not need to. My God has worked in my life, He continues to do so, He does this so that I may share His Glory and point to Him.
To fight the Great War we are given the words of Moses and the Prophets, the Apostles, and even the words of the Messiah Yeshua! These words have Power!
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edgedsword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I am afraid some of my brothers are using imperfect swords. The power is not there, because instead of reaching up to God for power in preaching, they are reaching out laterally to other preachers who have had success in their area. They must forget that the success they are viewing came from God, not from the preacher whose church they are observing. Instead of getting the message from the source, they are sitting in the shadow of a man, not the light of the Son. If you attempt to copy Warren, or Piper, or Keller, or MacArthur you will be such a shadow, wielding a shadow sword. Reach High! Attempt the unattainable, and seek to copy Christ, as did James, and Peter, and Paul, and all the rest. You will fail, as I am sure they did, but it is a glorious failure, as the attempt is a victory, and fail to reach that hight the highest worship that we have. The sword from this armory will have little effect in real war.
I am not condemning Rich Warren, there are plenty of blogs for that, but I am pleading for us all to use the great weapon we were given, the Sword of the Word. Jeff , get First Baptist Langdon, North Dakota site fixed, and encourage your pastors to be themselves, as God has molded them. My wife has taught me much, but most of all to be me in the pulpit, just me. If God put me there, [and He did] , why try to be someone else? It is best to be a real little guy, standing in the Light of Jesus , wielding the true Sword, than the shadow of a giant, holding a Nerf blade against the Devil. The bible has many stories of God using men and women, but I can only think of one where He used a Shadow.
Filed under: blessings, Christ | Tags: bible, denominationalism, Evangelism, factions, God, Jesus, legalism, SBC
Thomas Grunfeld is my favorite taxidermist. He has taken the Jackalope to new heights. I really relate to these images. Quite often I have felt that I too am an assemblage of cast off parts.
In my search for a new career, OK, job, I get the weirdest comments about my resume from interviewers. ” So you were an Electrician for over twenty years, went from being Pa.’s youngest licensed Journeyman electrician, to an Electrical Inspector, then a teacher of robotics at a junior college , yet you have a Psychology degree , spent more time as a volunteer Fire Chief than in any kind of job, worked as a banker for 12 years managing branches, and you say you have been a Pastor since 2004, and now you want a career in with us?” I can’t imagine why they are confused. From this side of the desk it all seems so logical.
At least there is this degree of consistency, my ministry resume is just as odd. For years I did not go to any church planting meetings, as I did not think I was a church planter, as I was in a pulpit of a church that was built 25 years ago. Now I am in a church that is a new plant that started four years ago. It is the same Church building, but a new church was born there. I was just along for the ride. There were no meetings or trainings offered for people serving in a church that was being reinvented. Church Strengthening, yes, church Planting, yes, Church Reinventing or Church Rebirth, not so much.
I have been preaching the Gospel as pulpit supply on and off for 32 years. I never went to seminary, and that was by choice. There is a conservative Baptist dispensational seminary almost in my back yard, and even though we preach from the same book and share so many values, I find an attitude there that repulses me. I have looked back in the history of a few local churches and found that they were doing great, until a preacher from that Seminary was called to serve there. After that church growth would cease and families would be torn apart, all in the name of Jesus. As I looked into other sources of education I found two schools. One so loosey goosey that scripture was a suggestion, the other so sure of their doctrine that they would choose it over Jesus, and in fact I think some of them did. I then judged all seminaries by this one. I am also nonjudgmental.
In most areas of doctrine people say I am quite conservative, but I am comfortable with gays and addicts and criminals, and atheists, many of whom really are nicer than I by any standard. I do not like liberal theology, nor do I like the cocky conservative who is so sure of himself that he would advise the Apostles. I am comfortable with reading conservatives, but would rather associate with liberals. The conservatives think I am aberrant, the liberals think I am conservative.Neither side will buy me lunch.
I have never been ordained, as the only groups whose ordination I would accept would reject me for some of my beliefs. My head does not fit in the jar. I have sat on ordination councils, but it is not likely I will ever be ordained. There does not seem to be too much of a problem with this in practice, no one really seems to care. When I was an Atheist I was ordained in the Universal Church Of Life, as a professor of mine thought that if a bunch of ministers of this group met at his home , it would be tax exempt. Ordained as an atheist, but not as a believer.
What a misfit!
The people I baptize become Baptists, yet I was baptized Church of Christ. I was dedicated as a Methodist, but was never a dedicated Methodist. I play guitar in a praise band with drums and all, but I personally prefer the old hymns of the faith. I serve communion with Matzo and Welches, and yet think that if there is no Real Presence, something is awfully wrong. I do not believe in divorce, but the best elders I have worked with were divorced men. Divorce ends a marriage, not necessarily a ministry.
I preach out of the Holman, but only because I bought them for $3.00 a piece. I love the King James, but lean on the NASB, study out of the ESV and put up with the NIV. In the 70′s, after King James study and them discovering the NASB I really enjoyed the Good News bible. I taught with a guy who claimed he was saved with the Good News, and soon after his conversion the Holy Ghost told him the only translation was KJV. Go figure .
To me the Catholic church has let down thousands of people, so poorly taught them that the vast majority know very little of the Gospel, and fall into unbelief. A couple weeks ago I sat in Mass at a funeral and had a wonderful time of prayer and worship. I disagreed with a couple points of the homily, but the priest has such a loving attitude it did not bother me. It was all about Jesus and that suits me fine. I’m not turning, but I’m not all that turned off either.
I tell my wife who is of Italian heritage that my Welsh heritage of song is superior to all, yet I listen to this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2SZ-nCBmsU Nice as it is, it can’t compare to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_XJFp5JXpk
So none of the pieces fit together. Well I have been given a great gift of faith, I know that my loving, Father will not allow a sparrow to fall, but that He knows. Even if it is a funny looking sparrow.
Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: Evangelism, new church plant, SBC, worship style
This is an invite! Open armed, no right answers. It is a way for me to get advice or check myself. I propse a situation and ask you,”What would you do?” . You know WWYD? [and I do not mean Yeshua!] You can ask yourself ‘what would Jesus do?’, but then tell me based on that if that is how you do it, What would you do? Here we go, and this happened to me.
Some one hands you the keys to a church. It comes with piano, organ , nice enough building with great parking, moveable pews, total seating for 100, and about 8 new Christians, one couple from a fundementalist/legalist background and a couple seekers. All the officers quit and leave with costs of$750.00 per month and a balance of $7000.00 available to you. The downside, the basement has been flooded twice in 3 years and there is no leadership, none. The church was started by the SBC in the 70′s and went down hill ever since. There is no lock to stay with SBC, if you do you are one of 20 SBC churches in a 17 county area of 1.7 million people, fully half of those people are RC. There are no rules, no existing culture, no one will get mad at your ideas, do what you want.
So here are the keys, you’re up! What do you do? What worship style, what bible, what meetings, what vision? I can’t wait to read the comments!