Sunday’s Coming

Not that we’re ever guilty of being formulaic or, you know, emotionally manipulative … but we are big on growtivation.

Following Jesus, by N. T. Wright

https://i0.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/0802841325.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgI bought this one with my very own money – and it was money very well spent. Following Jesus was first published in 1994. It doesn’t offer hugely powerful new theology. Rather, it offers excellent, insightful introductions to several New Testament books and then takes on several topics essential to the Christian life. Good stuff.

For example, speaking of Hebrews, Wright writes,

The point is this: he continually presents the Old Testament as an unfinished story, and shows that it invites and even requires a final chapter. … The argument of Hebrews runs like this: the Jewish scriptures are continually pointing beyond themselves to a further reality which they do not contain. Continue reading

Clergy & Laity: Further Thoughts on: And he wants Mondays off?! (Part 2)

https://i1.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/_bLBPZAiyuwA/SQkMldOkY5I/AAAAAAAAAJY/FlxoD65cNcE/s400/clerical_collar_9.jpg[This is a bit rambling, but I’m fighting a virus and that’s how the thoughts flow, you know.]

I’d add a fourth incontrovertible principle —

4. We ask the wrong things from our members, and so we ask the wrong things from our ministers.

We live in an age when most husbands and wives both work, and both may well have a long commute. We then ask them to attend 3 or 4 hours of church on Sundays, another hour on Wednesday nights, and volunteer in church activities, lock ins, trips to Six Flags, etc.

We have a congregation of over 700. Our children’s ministry alone requires 350 volunteers per year. We ask a lot of our members. And I’m good with asking a lot. I just think we need to be careful to ask for what’s important and to avoid those things that don’t truly serve God’s mission through the kingdom.

This is an important one. I don’t see the point of, for example, Sunday night church. Why do the same thing twice in one day? And so, why ask the preacher to preach twice in one day? Continue reading

Mark Driscoll on Legalism and Anti-legalism

For discussion and reflection

Clergy & Laity: Further Thoughts on: And he wants Mondays off?! (Part 1)

[Please remember as this series proceeds that I’ve been involved in church leadership for a very long time and get calls and emails from churches all over the place. Please don’t take any of my comments as being pointed at my church’s current staff.]

https://i1.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/_bLBPZAiyuwA/SQkMldOkY5I/AAAAAAAAAJY/FlxoD65cNcE/s400/clerical_collar_9.jpgI agree with all that, if the minister is working as hard as most, there’s no issue. In fact, many ministers work far too hard.

If the minister is hard working, then it’s just a question of setting fair pay — which is a tough question in its own right. Most ministers are underpaid, in my view, but that trend is reversing among the more progressive churches, at least. Good. Some think ministers should accept starvation pay, but I disagree and disagree strongly. (Post on compensation is coming.)

On the other hand, if a minister is not accountable for how he spends his time, I don’t know how he expects his elders and congregation to appreciate his hard work. If I was a minister, I’d do the following: Continue reading

The Holy Spirit: The Synoptic Gospels, Summary

The synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew, begin and end with the Spirit. They are centered on Jesus, but the Spirit nonetheless permeates their narratives.

The Spirit conceives Jesus. The Spirit inspires prophets to glorify God in announcing the birth of the Savior. The Spirit descends on the baptized Jesus to demonstrate God’s anointing.

The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, and the Spirit empowers Jesus to do miracles. Jesus declares that the Spirit’s role is such that blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven.

The Spirit empowers the missionaries sent by Jesus, and the Spirit gives joy in their successes.

Jesus concludes his ministry by telling his disciple to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Gospels are about Jesus, but much of the narrative is driven by the Spirit, because the Spirit’s role is to bring glory to Jesus.

The Holy Spirit: The Synoptic Gospels, Part 3

Missionaries

(Mat 10:16-22 ESV)  16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

(Compare Mark 13:9 ff; Luke 12:10 ff). Continue reading