Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Can't Believe I Missed This Until Now . .

I really can't believe I missed this until now! I was impressed with what a bunch of enthusiastic fans accomplished . . it was excellent. That should be a lesson for all of us no matter what we're passionate about! Here's the film's website for more info and behind the scenes coverage.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Life Lessons for Leaders


If you're responsible for pastoring others and are operating in a leadership capacity, you may want to make time to learn from some capable, interesting people of influence in the lessons they have to share from their own lives. This is a *FREE* inline event and it starts today at 9:09a.m. CST in the States. Register and check it out!

From the site:

"THE NINES is a free one-day event that will take place totally on-line. It is designed for all church staff members who want to be motivated and stretched in their leadership. Leadership Network asked some of the church's greatest communicators: 'If you had nine minutes to talk one-on-one with thousands of church leaders, what is the one thing that you would tell them?' The result is a series of passionate and personal messages that will help you and your church navigate into the future."

Some of the messengers are:

Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)
Reggie McNeal (Leadership Network)
Perry Noble (NewSpring Church)
John Ortberg (Menlo Park Presbyterian)
Steven Furtick (Elevation Church)
Nancy Beach (Willow Creek Church)
Leonard Sweet (Author/Speaker)
Stacy Spencer (New Direction Christian Church)
Ed Stetzer (Lifeway Research)
Mark Batterson (National Community Church)
Dave Ferguson (Community Christian Church)
Alan Hirsch (Forge Mission Training Network)
Dino Rizzo (Healing Place Church)
Dan Kimball (Vintage Faith Church)
Greg Surratt (Seacoast Church)

+ about 50 others!

Monday, September 07, 2009

The STRIP CHURCH


As ever, I'm so inspired by what Craig Gross and his friends are up to as the Spirit leads them.
The newest inspiration has come in the form of moving to Las Vegas - Sin City - and starting a church (of sorts) on the Strip for people who would not otherwise entertain being in church. They have a number of ministries that are practically meeting the needs of people in the area and that serve as a point of connection with them including offering free water on the sidewalks (see video below), free bus rides in the 'Jesus Loves Sin City' bus, cleaning, cooking and connecting with
prostitutes at brothels and a traveling wedding chapel bus! The church is due to start in December 2009 or January 2010. Of course, there is still the official link with Craig's original effective vision of XXX CHURCH.

Check these links out and see what God is doing in 'sin city'. He's not absent. Sign up for a service trip for yourself or a team from your network. Be prepared to be moved and to stand in wonder of God's goodness and love for people lost to themselves . . and don't forget to give to or pray for the STRIP CHURCH team - if you're the praying type.

Check out EXIT Concerts for another brilliant initiative to reach hurting and at-risk young people in Las Vegas!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Finish with a Great Song

I think we'll close out this week with a classic killer song from our boys P.O.D. called 'Alive'. Enjoy!

The Bible, Mary & God's Initiative

I was just thinking in the car this morning on the way to my office that there is another way in which Christians of the Protestant faith are similar to those of the Catholic faith . . and it's an unexpected one.

One area of major divergence for these two camps is in how they each view the person of Mary, Jesus' mother - or the 'theotokos' in the Greek Orthodox tradition.
The Catholic Church has always had a special status among humanity for the mother of God - and rightly so - after all, she is the mother of God. She is said to have been born free of sin (the Immaculate Conception
) in order to be the 'host' of God in this world. The
Protestant understanding of Mary, the mother of God, is that in all ways she was as any other human being is - except that God chose her for the special purpose of birthing Jesus Christ into the world. She had her purpose, other saints had theirs and you and I have ours. Simple. Done. One musician named Rich Mullins once said that, 'Maybe it's not that Catholics revere Mary too much, maybe it's that we revere each other too little.'

I do not claim to be a theologian - nor do I believe in false dichotomies that give some claim to some special place over others in regards to access to God. I believe Jesus settled that one for us. I do recognise however that some have invested more time, energy and experience in the
pursuit of the One who passionately pursues them and therefore have more to contribute to conversations about God. However, while it may be that Catholics feel they must attribute a 'special righteousness' to Mary in order that she might have been more acceptable to be the one who bore God into the world (being without sin herself); many Protestants have seemingly employed the same principle in the collating and elevation of the Scriptures. The Scriptures (Bible) have been the dominant feature in Protestant theology & praxis, and therefore since all of life and faith under God emanates from the source of God's communiqué to humanity (the Bible) it must be 'protected' and held to be without fault or inaccuracy (seemingly of any kind) since God Himself is immutable, Truth itself and the Source of all things.

In my opinion it seems that in this both Catholics and Protestants are alike - in the Catholic estimation and elevation of Mary the mother of God and in the Protestant estimation and elevation of the Scriptures - in order to make both Mary & the Scriptures more acceptable, pertinent, authoritative (in our eyes?) to ordinary human existence. This is unnecessary and it smells of the human tendency to attempt to build on the efficacy of God's already capable plan of grace and forgiveness. It seems in both of these attempts to 'make good' what God has already done (i.e. 'to prop ourselves up' and contribute something to our own right-standing with God), we reveal what our true belief is . . that what God has done is not already good enough.

Built into the meta-narrative (grand, over-arching story) of God's engagement with humanity is that all the initiation, effort and persistence in chasing us is all His doing. He carries that story where we have dropped it countless times. God has always sought us out. He has always come to our side, reached out to meet us - rather than us elevating ourselves to Him. He has (seemingly) always been committed to getting into the mess and the mire of our human existence in order to communicate something of His depth of love for us. We DO NOT need to clean ourselves up before coming to Him, nor can we. He does this also for us when we do come to Him. In contemporary idiom, "It's all on Him." That's the way it is, always has been and always will be.

There is truth that leads to information and truth that leads to salvation (transformation). Both are good but one is essential. So while I do not personally believe it necessary to defend Mary's sinless holiness nor the Bible's inerrancy, I believe that God has, and is, communicating Himself through both to great effect in people's lives. Both are somehow key to God's unfolding story of love and redemption in the human race. That is not to say that I wish to devalue either. In fact, although my own heritage causes me to lean toward a higher view of Scripture, I do not wish to elevate it (The Word of God) over God Himself - which seems to be common practice in some sectors of the Christian family.

'Let God be true, and every man a liar.' (Romans 3:4)