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Photo Credit: six steps  via Compfight cc

“Discipleship” is all the rage these days. But I wonder, in so many circles, to whom people are really being discipled.

When the Lord Jesus charged the Twelve to “go into all the world,” he told them to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). But disciples of whom? Themselves, or Christ? You know the answer, but I wonder how many Christian ministers know the difference.

Here is my point, right at the outset: If your intent is really to serve people and not just to use them for your own gain, you will give them what they need and not what draws them to yourself.  Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: geatchy via Compfight cc

I hesitate to share this post with you simply because it contains a glimpse into something that is exceedingly precious to me–my personal relationship with God.

You see, having a “personal relationship” with God has lost its flavor in many evangelical circles. The concept is so familiar that it is foreign. In fact, I wonder how much it is really practiced rather than just preached and talked about.   Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: yewenyi via Compfight cc

A few days ago I was going to the grocery store with my kids. When it came time to get out of the van, they scrambled to get ahead of one another and be the first to get out. This is something they do often, always competing to be number one. Human nature, I suppose.

Anyway, just as it escalated to the point of a fight I intervened. I took the opportunity to tell them about Jesus’ parable of the man who chose to sit at the head of the table: Continue Reading…

Here is the second section of notes from my study on the first century church. Slowly but surely we're continuing to work our way through it locally, and the full manuscript is almost ready for printing. If you would like to help in the editing process I'd be happy to send you a digital copy for review. Just shoot me an email.

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Photo Credit: zamito44 via Compfight cc

THE APOSTLES’ TEACHING & FELLOWSHIP

Read: Acts 2:42-47, 1 John 1:1-4

Suddenly there was a housing crisis in Jerusalem. The bulk of new believers were Jews from out of town who decided to stick around after being baptized into Christ (that’s a couple thousand people without a place to lay their head). So the local disciples began to sell their extra property and belongings in order to accommodate their new brothers and sisters in Christ. It was a tremendous display of love that attested to the reality of the kingdom of God. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: chris.chabot via Compfight cc

When God deals with an individual, He always has the corporate in view.

After finding the one lost sheep, the Shepherd brings it back to the fold. Likewise, the prodigal son is restored to the Father’s house with all the familial relations that involves. And so on.

The individual is of supreme concern to the Lord, but the purpose of God does not end with personal salvation. On the contrary, it only begins there. Continue Reading…

Yesterday I was honored to take part in a love feast for the church in my city. Let me tell you, it was both wonderful and a lot of work. If I learned anything, it is that event planning is not one of my spiritual gifts. Anyway, here are a few thoughts I shared with the saints to challenge and encourage you today.

One of the hallmarks of early Christian communities was the love feast. This was a big potluck dinner where Christians would come together and enjoy fellowship with one another, each bringing whatever he or she could contribute to the meal. Often it was connected to the observance of the Eucharist in which the disciples would remember the Lord together in the breaking of bread.

So the rich and poor would come together. There would be employers and slaves, men and women, Jews and Gentiles, all together around the same table. But in their fellowship, all the worldly distinctions which held sway “out there” would be superseded by their unity in Christ, a fact that became apparent as the night wore on and their spirits swelled in fellowship with one another, Eventually someone would bring out the bread and wine as if to say, “Now, brothers and sisters, let us stop and remember who made this possible, and how he did it.”

Tertullian wrote about the love feast in the late second century. Apparently, the Christians he ran with were accused of being too “extravagant” in their meal. But the extravagance was the point, he said. Unlike the secret societies who engaged in late-night romps of licentiousness, the Christians would eat and drink their fill in worship to God and then use the leftovers to feed the poor.

In other words, the love feast was more than a meal; it was a unique and vibrant expression of the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ, through the offering of himself, had brought an abundance of life and blessing into the world which was more than enough to meet the needs of all humanity. That is what the love feast showed.

The love feast fell out of practice after the first few centuries of the Faith, but I for one think it needs to be resurrected. More than that, the radical extravagance of the Kingdom of God needs to be restored in our midst. The love feast went away because our expectation of the Kingdom went away, plain and simple. When the superabundance of life that Jesus promised to those who follow him is active in our midst, then our practices will betray a living faith once more.

Until then, someone pass the cracker and grape juice. ;)

Sorry it's been quiet around here lately. I've been occupied on so many fronts that it's been difficult to find time to write. Here are some more notes from the series I've been working through with the brothers and sisters in my town. One of the brothers recently challenged me to put it all on paper so we can produce a print version of the entire study for wider distribution. Our focus will be local, of course, but I'll be happy to send a copy to you or anyone else who may find it useful. Keep in mind that these are just study notes, thus they are not exhaustive. The content is intended to serve as a launching pad for teaching/group discussion and to provoke further personal study.

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Photo Credit: bertiemabootoo via Compfight cc

The crisis of Pentecost

THE IN-RUSHING OF THE SPIRIT

Read: Luke 12:49-50, Acts 2:1-4

“The sign of Christianity is not a cross, but a cloven tongue of fire.”—Samuel Chadwick Continue Reading…

“We venture to say that a time has begun when the old and fixed positions of traditional Christianity are losing their hold on, not only the Christian public in general, but many sincere seekers for reality… something not to be found in many of the churches, and what they are looking for is the real and true life of God.” (T. Austin Sparks)

The supreme ambition of Paul’s life was “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10)–Christ, that is.

Evidently this meant more to Paul than just having a “salvation” experience with the resulting assurance of sins forgiven and an ever-increasing knowledge of theology, which is the today’s common evangelical conception of what it means to know God. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: noodlepie via Compfight cc

Just a brief update and request today.

I’m about halfway through the rough draft of my new eBook and already the project is shaping up to be more than I originally envisioned. It’s exciting, but it’s taking more work than I anticipated.

By the way, I’ve heard from a few of you who are willing to help with the launch of the book when it’s ready, and I appreciate that so much. If anyone else would like to lend a hand, I’m still looking for reviewers. Continue Reading…

There is at least one more article to come in my series on the heresy of orthodoxy. You can prepare for it by asking yourself the question, "What was the sin of Jeroboam in the Old Testament, and how does it relate to the church today?" In the meantime, enjoy this brief personal update and intro to a series on the first-century story.

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Photo Credit: rennes.i via Compfight cc

Those of you who have read my eBook know that my first official foray into the world of house church ended a couple years ago. Following that season my wife and I were largely bereft of fellowship and did what we could while attending a local Methodist congregation and visiting friends here and there. Continue Reading…