The Church & the Kingdom

January 27, 2015 — 3 Comments
Photo Credit: Rodrigo Ussier via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Rodrigo Ussier via Compfight cc

“Seek the Kingdom of God first, and everything you need will be provided for you.”–Jesus

In the latest episode of the podcast I explore the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom of God. Are they one and the same, or are they different? Can their relationship be traced throughout Scripture?

Better yet, did Jesus really mean all those crazy things he said about life in the Kingdom? Did the early Christians take him seriously? Should we?  Continue Reading…

What’s next?

January 26, 2015 — 2 Comments
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Photo Credit: Cbeck527 via Compfight cc

Back in the spring I posted a few excerpts from a study I was putting together for the people I was meeting with at the time. That meeting ended, but the study was completed and the final PDF version will soon be available free of charge to all subscribers and anyone else who would like a copy.

Unquenchable Flame is the title of the study. It is a brief overview of first century history, including a chronological ordering of the New Testament writings in the context in which they may have originally been composed. This study is a primer on a larger project I hope to begin soon with Bill Heroman, a brother from Arlington, Texas who has devoted the last nine years of his life to research on New Testament history and a slew of other subjects which will form what I believe will be the most valuable treatment of first century history that is currently availableContinue Reading…

A.N. Groves & the early Brethren movement

A.N. Groves & the early Brethren movement

I’m currently reading Anthony Norris Groves: Saint & Pioneer by G.H. Lang, and after only three chapters into the book I have already been enriched. A.N. Groves was an early and powerful factor in the “Brethren” movement of the late 1800’s, and he is undoubtedly one of my favorite players in the entire drama of Church history.

I say that simply by way of recommendation: If you are unfamiliar with the early Brethren and the testimony of A.N. Groves, you are certainly missing out. Grab a copy of this book and get to reading.

Here are a few snippets from my reading so far: Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: Saunderses via Compfight cc

Greetings, friend.

The latest episode of the podcast is live. In this episode I talk about the natural human aversion to challenge and how it plays out in our response to the gospel of the Kingdom. These thoughts are born out of my recent observations of people–Christians included–who will resist the message of the Kingdom when it is spelled out in practical terms that disrupt their comfortable mindset and lifestyle.

First as a young Christian and then as an aspiring minister, I lamented the apathetic response of most people to the gospel. When the message was preached in Century One it was, for the most part, either accepted or rejected; there was very little indifference. Christ was a fragrance of “life” to some and “death” to others (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). But now the preaching of Christ will garner little more than a yawn or a long stare. Continue Reading…

You may recognize this article from a contribution I made last year for the House2House online magazine. House2House has gone offline, so I thought I would reproduce a few of my articles here. Enjoy.

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Photo Credit: derwiki via Compfight cc

Before anyone gets over-zealous for a particular church model, let’s be clear about one thing.

The whole issue of “organic” v.s. “institutional” is not primarily a matter of form. There can be organic elements in an “institutional” church, just like there can be institutional elements in an “organic” church.

The heart of the matter is not the way we do things so much as it is the source of our doing. Allow me to explain. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: KYin1221 via Compfight cc

Recently I was privileged to sit down with a good friend of mine and talk about his discovery of God’s eternal purpose. He likened his new vision to the man whom Jesus healed who at first saw “people who look like trees” (Mark 8:23-26) walking around before his sight became clear. My friend is in the beginning stages of seeing the mystery of Christ and the Church, so it was a joy to talk over the Scripture with him as we both exercised our spirits to share Christ with one another.

There are a few background noises in the recording at various points, but not so much as to be a distraction. This recording is longer than my previous two, checking in at just over an hour, so settle in with a cup of coffee and enjoy.


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Photo Credit: johndave892 via Compfight cc

Friends,

One of the greatest benefits I’ve received over the years while blogging here at In Search of the City has been the new relationships I’ve formed with readers. Not just to have people comment and respond to what I write, but to connect with them via email, phone conversations, or even face-to-face. I’ve connected with many of you in a more personal way over time and this is a privilege for which I’m very thankful.

I suppose the motivation for this post comes because I just spoke with a brother last night who has been a long-time reader. He is in Florida and I’m in Ohio, and apart from this blog we probably never would have met. But we had a nice conversation and I hope to stay in touch with him in the future. You know who you are, brother, and I enjoyed talking with you! :) Continue Reading…

To those of you who offered feedback on the first episode of the new podcast, thank you. I’ve already composed two more episodes and even managed to set a little music to them.

Judging by the reports I’ve received so far it looks like this will be an effective medium for me, so my plan at this point is to release one new episode per week. Today’s installment is brief but I hope you’ll enjoy it. It was inspired by a phone conversation I had with Raymond Reid, author of The Gate Seldom Found, and deals with the importance of learning from those who have gone ahead of us in Christ.

Here is the Scripture on which the episode is based:

Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions? If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents. (Song of Solomon 1:7-8)


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Photo Credit: ☻mrhappy☻ via Compfight cc

Well, friends, the time has arrived. I’ve been mulling over the idea of doing a regular podcast, and after talking with a friend who encouraged me to do it I decided to just dive in.

Behold, the new In Search of the City podcast. It’s nothing fancy, but I hope you enjoy it. I kicked off the welcome episode with some introductory thoughts about Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God in contrast with popular conceptions of heaven.

You can follow the link above or listen to the message here. There is an RSS feed on the podcast site where you can subscribe to future messages, though I’ll probably always give notice of new uploads here. Leave a comment here or there and let me know what you think!


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One evening, my wife and I were having dinner with some friends of ours. In the course of our conversation they began telling me about a book they had picked up at the local library.

“You have to read it,” they said. “Listen to this part,” they said. And so on. When I found out it was a work of historical fiction, I yawned. The historical part may have appealed to me, but fiction isn’t normally my thing. Yet they persisted in their effort to get me to read it, and finally I gave in.

I picked up the same copy from the same library. The drab yellow cover was forgettable to say the least, while the book description on the back cover didn’t exactly grab my attention, either. In fact, it looked just like every other piece of Christian fiction I’d ever seen. Little did I know how different it would prove to be.  Continue Reading…