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Archive for the ‘Church with a big C’ Category

As fully devoted followers of Christ we are mandated by Christ Himself to go and share the good news of salvation through Him alone with the lost. Sadly though, many countries are actually closing their doors to missionaries on the ground, even though statistics show more than two-million people search daily for spiritual matters online. I believe that makes Social Media and online church campuses a great way to reach those people in those countries, because they’re out there searching.
 
What type(s) of online tools/sites have you used to engage those in the world that are hurting, broken, hopeless, and lost? Share a story of that interaction if you you’d like. 

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I got permission from one of the best bloggers that I know to share one of his recent blog post. All credit for this post goes to http://thewayitcouldbe.com and Chad Missildine. Post found at 25 Ways to Become a Christian Atheist.

The Christian Atheist: Someone who believes in God, but lives as though He doesn’t exist.  Someone who has gone to church for years but realizes their relationship with God has done nothing to change how they lived. Here is a link to Craig Groeschel’s blog with info on the book and how you can pre-order his new book The Christian Atheist.

I was a Christian Atheist for many years and had a blast (for awhile)! I picked up the below tips from personal experience and by watching others.  Live your life incorporating as much of the below as possible and you can become a Christian Atheist:

1. Don’t submit yourself to any form of accountability in a local church. Just set your own rules and whenever you don’t like something, just change churches….again.

2. Don’t ever open your life up to others. Instead live in a bubble and make sure all your relationships are surface level.

3. Go to church every time the doors are open. Listen really closely to the message, and then don’t think about it once you leave.

4. Blame the “church” for your lack of spiritual growth and don’t take personal responsibility for you or your family.

5. Make your kids go to church all the time, but don’t ever show them any evidence of your faith at home. This is a great way to create other Christian Atheists.

6. Don’t ever talk to anyone about your faith. Make it all an intellectual pursuit in your own brain, in your own world.

7. Be as divisive as possible with other Christians. Make unchurched people thankful that they have nothing to do with you and your arguements.

8. Be rude to waiters, kids, and poor people. Kick dogs too while you’re at it.

9. Be hateful all the time to certain groups of people.

10. Wear a cross around your neck while you defile God publicly with your body in public.

11. Make your kids your god and don’t ever serve any one outside your family.

12. Don’t serve anyone ever. Instead fill your schedules every night of the week with as many activities as you can.

13. Don’t ever pray. Hearing what God would have you do is way over-rated!

14. Don’t ever seek out truthful feedback from others about what they see in you.

15. Worship your money and your success. It’s all about you.

16. Judge people frequently and be thankful you are better than they are.

17. Say Christian things all the time like “brother” or “praying for you,” then never do what you say you are doing.

18. Have an emotional affair with your spouse and don’t ever tell anyone about it.

19. Blame the church for your kids’ lack of spiritual growth. Don’t ever take personal responsibility.

20. Put “Christian” on your Facebook or Twitter profile, then blend in with the rest of the world with what you post.

21. Don’t ever forgive your self or seek forgiveness. Instead, just try to be a good, moral person without God in your life.

22. Don’t ever listen to other people.  Talk about yourself during the whole conversation. This will give them hints that you don’t care about anyone but yourself.

23. Don’t ever engage with the Scriptures. Allow your mind to become numb to the things of God.

24. Place your popularly above your desire to be obedient.

25. Read about becoming a Christian Atheist from TheWayItCouldBe.com, then continuing to live out many of the above items.

What other ways can one become a Christian Atheist? Please share!


Chad, Thank you for this thought provoking, gut wrenching, heart transforming, insight, into “the cultural church.”

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This time of year always get’s me thinking about names and what goes into the naming process. Websters dictionary describes the word name to be a description, a word given to describe someone or something. When someone says I went to Yosemite, you understand where it is, the majesty there. If someone says I went to the Grand Canyon, you get a visual of its grandeur. When some one says I have seen the king, you don’t get a proper picture of whom he may be, because the word king is more of a title then a name. In Isaiah 9:6 the child to be born unto us, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Many people say these are titles, I will argue that these are names. Take Prince of Peace, He is called The Prince of Peace, the Sar Shalom, not a peaceful prince. It is His name not just a title, He is not a mere peace maker, but The Prince over Peace.

Most of my readers have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, but some do not. I welcome them both, my question is why are you a follower of Christ vs one who rejects Him, why are you a fully devoted follower vs one who rejects Jesus. Who is this child who grew up fully Jewish, who is this child who at 12 was a teacher to many adults, who is this man who was called rabbi, teacher, Lord. Who is this man who is called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We have all these names for who Jesus is, who God is. The question is what is the name you have given Him, what do you call Him, to describe who He is to you. Whats in a name….majesty, soaring mountains, majestic cliffs, waterfalls, like at Yosemite. Or a gaping hole, an inspiring canyon, that you find at the grand canyon. I’m not looking for titles, I am looking for who God is to you. When I think of God I think of Abba, yes its a title but also a name, Daddy. When I think of God I think of Adonai, Master, to whom I am a slave, not a harsh master but a loving, caring, compassionate Master who gives instructions for living, as a blessing not as a burden. So who’s God to you, what name do you call him, be it good or not? For the One who was and is and is to come, why does the name you give him mean so much to you?

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A while back I read a blog that really got me thinking about the different styles of worship in a service within the Church. I found myself not arguing with the author’s premise of what the big “C” Church needs to do to bring the people into an atmosphere of worship but more about the how’s of bringing that worship about.
The reason is this, I believe with all my heart, it’s not about lights, music, or style. Doesn’t matter if you have plasma screens or overhead projectors. Doesn’t matter if the building seats 25 people hands-worshipingor 25 thousand people, and it doesn’t matter if your band has electric guitars or drums or strobes or even a 70 year old saint with an out-of-tune piano to worship Christ.
 
I’ve both worshiped God through music as well as through silence. Through the heart pounding loudness of a Thousand Foot Krutch song and through the sweet softness of Amazing Grace sang acapella. Through dancing before Him and through falling on my face from the shear weight of His presence.
The only thing that really matters is that every time the doors open the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented in a very real passionate way, in order to reach the lost for the Kingdom of God. This is just as much worship to, for, and of God as any song, setting, or style can bring me into.
This I believe, with all I am, that it’s all about His name and not ours, His leading and not our agenda.
 
With that said I can’t help my curiosity, so for today’s Fill in the Blank Friday. I’d like to ask you what type of worship experience do you prefer and why?
 
I prefer __________ style of worship because __________.

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Church
 
Person, Place, or Thing.
 
This past week I had two separate conversations about this thing called church. One with a coworker here in Arizona. The other with a friend who lives in the Middle East. The conversation with my coworker was about church, him possibly attending and what church is. This coworker stated “There are so many ones to choose from and they’re all different, how can you know it’s the right one? That the one you attend is teaching the right thing?”
It got me thinking about the church I partner with as well as my co-worker and so many others. We are in a Western Culture with a Western Mindset, where the church is a place we go, place we spend an hour a week, a place where you just check your God box and then go about your business. For us in the West, the church has become a building, a denomination, ours verses yours. First Baptist, Presbyterian, Phoenix First Assembly, Healing Place, LifeChurch.TV, even NewSpring Church. Is that all church is? A Place?
 
In talking with my friend in the Middle East I got a different perspective. We discussed ‘church’ and in his perspective we are heroes. He was brought up where church isn’t a place but a thing. A place where church isn’t welcomed with opened arms. It’s not that they don’t congregate in one place, it’s that people in his country view church as a thing, a movement that sprouted from the West. Where its soul purpose is to dominate and reign. A movement that attempts to infiltrate government. A movement that attempts to cause division within families by setting one family member against another. It’s a mindset of church being a movement that causes so many to reject it’s principles. Personally, when I read scripture, and I read about what church is intended to be I don’t see it as a place, its not described that way, nor as a movement, its not described that way either.
 
I see church as a people. In fact when you see church in scripture, the Greek word used is Ecclesia, it simply means called out ones, not called into, not called for. But simply called out. See, the scriptures say the church is a people that sometimes congregate together for fellowship, to lift each other up as a community of believers, a people that can create change in government, in family, but not by their own movement, but by the spirit of God. To live as a fully devoted follower of Christ.
 
I submit to you that the church wasn’t created for us, but as followers of Jesus we are the church created for the world, not as a place, not as a thing, but as a people. A people that doesn’t seek their own agenda, but instead the agenda of God. His purpose, His will, His passion, His desire. I believe the church according to scripture is depicted as the bride of Christ.
Now if the church was simply a place then admittingly it would seem as if she were riddled with bipolar multiple personality disorder schizophrenia. Is that the bride that the very son of God is looking to wed?
Now if the church is simply a movement then would Jesus be wanting a bride that shifts her option at her whim, as she sees fit, no matter others perspective, feelings or thoughts. Would He want a runaway bride? Would you?
 
Now if the church were a people that came together with one mind, in one accord, fully devoted to Christ in passionate Love, with nothing around them but Him. A people that not only believed, but knew that He knows them intimately, all their past, all their present, their passion, their desire, their hopes and hurts. That He knows how many times they have fallen short and how many times He has forgiven them completely. A people set apart to be His Ecclesia, to be the bride of Christ.
 
So for me the church…. Person? Place? Thing?
YES! A people called out, set apart that at times come together in a place whether that place be called LifeChurch East Valley, Chase Field, or Phoenix International Raceway. A people called out, for a movement, not of their own design nor desire, but one initiated and motivated by God, for God, through God. To create the radiant Bride of Christ.
Person, Place, or Thing. Share your thoughts. You have mine.

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hotairballoon
 
Picture this- A family is driving down a road with their two children in the back seat when they pass a building with one of those big advertisement blowups in the shape of a hot air balloon. The following conversation commences in the back of the car:
 
Youngest: Hey look it’s a hot air balloon.
Oldest: No its just an air balloon.
This goes on and escalates into an argument…until-
Parent: You’re both right, ya know. Yes, it’s an air balloon but…. It’s in the shape of a hot air balloon.
Oldest: It would be a true hot air balloon if it had a basket on it, huh?
Youngest: What does a basket have to do with anything?
Parent: Well, the basket is to carry people, that’s the purpose of a hot air balloon. Without the basket it wouldn’t be doing its job, what it was designed for, thus just being an air balloon.
 
How many of us are walking air balloons, lacking the proper equipment to carry others to the foot of the cross of Christ and transport them to a relationship with a loving and saving God? Rather than continuing in the impotence of hiding behind the “Christian” badge, what do we lack in becoming the hot air balloon, the fully devoted follower of Christ.

 

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Insanity= doing what you have always done and expecting a different result.
Are you insane?
Am I?
How do you worship?
What do you hold on to?
God, is He our magic lamp, where we can do whatever we want? (8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not of works, that no man (including myself) should glory. Ephesians 2:8-9)
Should grace abound so that sin can much more abound? God no! (1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?)
God, let your holiness abound so we can catch fire.
 
Insanity= I can keep doing as I always have, after all I said “the prayer…”
Love, acceptance-you define it, I have. They are different words, they have different meanings.
Love-Acceptance
I love, but according to God’s word with you in blatant sin I cannot accept you.
Does that mean that I don’t love you? No, I just can’t accept you as a brethren. If you are to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, my brethren and in sin you cannot fully know God. Like Paul explained to the church in Corinthians (1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife.2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people–10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-13)
Judgment is past. Where times past judgment has fallen and I hurt, I die where God has called me to.
God loves,
God demands,
Old testament,
New testament-No, wait that’s to easy…
 
Are we called to be happy or holy?
I don’t expect much response.
But when God shows up and we are not on our faces before him-Are you happy?
Will you be with me on your face before God-Are you holy?
 
Happy-Holy
You decide.
I choose Holy!

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