Archives For Christ & Church

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Photo Credit: @superamit Flickr via Compfight cc

“Community” is something of a buzzword these days; different people use it to describe different things. Overall, though, most people who use the word envision deeper, more intimate relationships between themselves and other people.

Christianity community centers around the person, work, and teaching of Jesus, but the core concept remains the same: Community means sharing life with each other. Church leaders, ministers, pastors, small group practitioners, and workers of all sorts are engaged with this question of how to form, create, build, or otherwise enjoy a deeper experience of community. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: RGNodak via Compfight cc

In the last post I introduced a new study series on the Cross and the hermeneutic with which I am going to approach it. In the weeks to come, we’ll be looking at the progression of thought in the New Testament concerning the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice.

For instance, what did Peter say about the cross on the day of Pentecost, and how did his understanding broaden over subsequent years? At what point(s) in the Story are we introduced to new concepts and further dimensions of the work of Christ? These are the kinds of questions we’ll be analyzing for a while here on the blog. Let’s start at the beginning.  Continue Reading…

Being people of the Tent

January 23, 2016 — 15 Comments
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Photo Credit: YoshiSBX via Compfight cc

Long-time readers of this blog know that I offer a view of the Church which is essentially organic and founded squarely on Christ as Head over all. Of course, what you imagine when you read those terms and what I actually mean may be very different, so if you’re unsure you can always go back and read older posts or, better yet, contact me directly and we’ll talk about it.

Knowing this, you long-time readers may be surprised to find out that I am currently working with a local pastor to develop a network of small groups within our community (Did I tell you that already?). Most of the people who make up these groups are members of various institutional churches. Continue Reading…

What is patience?

December 3, 2015 — 2 Comments
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Photo Credit: Rense Haveman via Compfight cc

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23

Last Sunday, I was invited to speak to a group of Christians who have been going through a series on the fruit of the Spirit, exploring what it means for Christ to live in us.

On tap this week was “patience, kindness, and goodness” (Galatians 5:22), so I opted to talk about Christ as our patience. All spiritual fruit, after all, is only a manifestation of the character of Christ. He Himself is the sum of all spiritual things.  Continue Reading…

God made who in His image?

November 5, 2015 — 3 Comments
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Photo Credit: notashamed via Compfight cc

You may already know (or you may be surprised to find out) that the Creation and Flood stories of the book of Genesis are not unique to ancient literature. That is, they are not the only ones, or the earliest, in existence. The Epic of Gilgamesh is one example of an ancient story depicting the Creation of the world that predates the Biblical account.

If this disturbs you, it shouldn’t. The Genesis account is different from other Ancient Near East creation stories in certain ways that make powerful statements about God. One of those ways came to my attention recently, and I’d like to share it with you.  Continue Reading…

As you can probably tell from the recent slow-down in blog production, I've been busy. Work, family, garden--you know, all those things you stay busy with yourself. But I ran across this quote from Karl Barth (shared by a friend on Facebook) that I thought you might enjoy.

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Photo Credit: RvB3nS via Compfight cc

“I have been asked to reply in a kind of testimony to the
question what Jesus Christ is for me. The request jolted me at
first, for I felt reminded painfully of the earlier question of
Pietists and the present-day question of theological
existentialists. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: Oh Kaye via Compfight cc

Once, I was part of an informal group of Christians who came across another informal group of Christians who were meeting in a different part of town. Upon finding one another, we began to cross-pollinate and attend one another’s gatherings. Eventually someone floated the idea that we should merge our respective groups and meet together as one, if only on occasion.

So we tried, and we failed. We had some good times, but in the end the merger just would not “take.” This despite the fact that there were people in both groups who had a passion for unity and for the Church to assemble around Christ alone.  Continue Reading…

Here is another article from my foray at House2House magazine on the practice of giving among Christians in simple church settings.

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Photo Credit: Lubori via Compfight cc

It goes without saying that the practice of giving is good. “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” the Lord is attributed by Paul as having said (Acts 20:35). Certainly we can all agree on that.

It is tempting, however, once you have discarded the obligatory “ten percent” mindset of institutional Christianity, to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” and forgo all intentional giving. But this tendency is mostly reactionary and is not characteristic of the Spirit of Christ.

Sure, “tithing” (as commonly taught and practiced) is not a New Testament concept. In fact, there is not a shred of evidence that the first century churches practiced a ritual weekly offering of ten percent of their income. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: Jannine Moschetti via Compfight cc

There is always a temptation for small groups of Christians who meet in their homes to become insular and ingrown. This can even happen with “organic” churches that come together around an epic vision of Christ as all in all.

I know, because I’ve been there.

For three years I was part of an intimate gathering of believers who struck out beyond the pale of institutional Christianity in search of life together in Christ. While we did discover a deeper fellowship than anything we’d experienced in traditional church, we also ran up against the roadblock of spiritual homogenization. Continue Reading…

Coffee, anyone?

February 21, 2015 — 7 Comments

Of all the articles I wrote for House2House magazine, this one generated the most response. It addresses one of my deepest burdens: How to practice the unity of the Body of Christ.

Scripture is replete with images of the Church as the Family of God.

For instance, God is our Father and we are all brothers and sisters in Him. The Jerusalem “from above” is our mother (Galatians 4:26), and Jesus, by implication at least, is our elder Brother (Hebrews 2:11).

There are many aspects of family, then, which can be applied to the Church. I would like to consider this from an angle you may not be familiar with, beginning with this question: When you were physically born, did you get to choose your family? More specifically, did you get to pick whom you would relate to as brother or sister? Continue Reading…