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Archive for August 2011



Church: Old Fashioned? Pt 6

John 17:14,15,18. They are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

Because of extreme teachings about holiness and separation, the mindset of the Church has been to draw a line in the sand between the Christian and the world. This withdrawal from the world has meant the Church has lost it’s power to connect with the Gospel.

The Scriptures above, tell us that although the Church is not of the world , it is to be in the world; and that Jesus purposely sent us into the world to live out this Gospel message.

Jesus Himself is the model. He bypassed the religious and political institutions of the day and went straight to the common people, to live amongst them. When He was criticised for this, He replied, Matt 9:13 For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Jewish leaders created sub groups of people they labelled ‘unclean’ so they would not have to mix with them; Prostitutes, tax collectors etc, and when they saw Jesus with them, they called Him ‘A friend of sinners’ (Mt 11:19).

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to follow the example of Jesus and befriend the sinners of this world. How do we do it? We simply connect with the people around us. Family, neighbours, work colleagues. But in today’s world of resistance to Christianity, we have to ‘live out’, rather than preach the Gospel in order to win people to Christ.

When they see the ‘Christ in us’ they will be attracted to Him. To do this we need to stop being critical and condemning and reach out to them in grace and love, and adopt a non religious approach to life.

The world is crying out for authentic people. People of truth, integrity and reliability. Only Christians have the power and motive to be such people. The challenge to day is, ‘WILL YOU BE SUCH A PERSON’?

Meditation Point: Father, teach me how to be in the world but not of it.

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Church: Old Fashioned? Pt 5

Ps 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  (KJV)

Continuing our quest to make the Church relevant. As you can see above, there is a picture of a King James Bible and underneath a Scripture from the said Bible. I’m sure if I asked any Christian, they would know immediately what this verse means; but would an unbeliever?

The words are in archaic 16th century language which most of today’s generation would find odd, laughable and invite a mocking response. Even today we see preachers on T.V. and in the media, quoting the Bible in such language.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Without realising, we have developed our own Christian bubble, which is separate from society; and inside this bubble, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

Within this bubble we have developed our own form of Christian speak. We use expressions such as, ‘The hand of the Lord is upon Bill’ or ‘She is so anointed in her ministry’. We then use this ‘speak’ with unbelievers, creating a wall between us, because to them it’s a foreign language.

What we must do is continue to re-evaluate the words of the Bible to fit modern ‘speak’; and we need to do this inside and outside the Church. Let’s take the phrase, ‘The hand of the Lord is upon Bill’. As a teacher, I will teach and use the word ‘Hand’ and explain that it means such things as, power, consecration and ministry. But when I’m outside the pulpit, I wouldn’t say, ‘The hand of the Lord is upon Bill’. I would say, ” God’s presence is with Bill”.

It’s the same with, “She is so anointed in her ministry’. We could instead say, ” She is very powerful when she speaks”. So we are using words that translate into modern day language.

Wherever we see barriers between the Church and society, we must find ways to remove them so we can fully, ‘Scratch society where it is itching’.

Meditation Point: Do I need to adapt my Christian vocabulary in order to connect with society.

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Church: Old Fashioned? Pt 4

Ecc 3:1,6.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to keep and a time to throw away. (NLT)

We’re all familiar with the items above: Penny Farthing, Iron, Phone; all 3 could be used in society today. There’s only one problem. The world has moved on and we have far more modern versions of each item. In fact, if I came to your home and your transport was a Penny Farthing, you ironed clothes with this iron and spoke to people over this phone; we would all be a little embarrassed.

And if I told you these were now old fashioned, you would be hurt and wounded by my words. Why is this?  It’s because we haven’t moved on with the changing world around us.

Society is always changing; and it’s not that we have to be up to the minute with all the latest gadgets, clothes and houses, but we do have to adapt to changing times otherwise we become what’s called, ‘an anachronism’; which means, ‘A person or thing that is chronologically out of place’. We become outdated and old fashioned.

We all laugh when we look at the gadgets above and yet many of us Christians and Churches have become anachronisms without realising it; and we’ve become like this because we see every new invention or fashion as being ‘worldly’ or ‘self indulgent’ or a ‘moral attack against Godly values’. Not realising that God put the creative spark in mankind for such a reason.

We can embrace the new by adapting it to suit our needs. We can be fashionable without being sexualised. We can use technology without becoming addicted to it. We can be modern without being consumed by materialism.

God has put us in the driving seat by giving us the fruit of self control. If we can’t adapt to changing times, it’s us who are in the wrong, not society. We are saying we are too weak to master the changes.

Failure to embrace the new will always make us irrelevant to society and we’ll lose the ability to connect with the Gospel. So let’s choose to open up and learn from the Churches who are pioneering a new way forward for the Gospel of the Kingdom.

These kind of Churches are irreligious, modern, technological and mobile without losing the essence of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ; and they are attracting people from all walks of life, from fashion, media, entertainment, politics, sport and business.

A new day is dawning for the Church and God wants to include all of us. He wants a multi-generational Church that appeals to all sections of society.

Meditation Point: Father, help me like a snake, discard my old skin. Help me to embrace the new. Help me to see it is the fear of change that I need to deal with.

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Eph 1:22, 23.

And gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.  (KJV)

We’ll now unpack some of the areas where the Church needs to change, as mentioned previous Blogs; we’ll start with the Church.

The Church is not the building, it’s the people. We all say we know this but fight against any change. Why is this? it’s because we’re creatures of habit. Habits can be good things but we have to learn to ‘hold them lightly’ otherwise we  become set in our ways and controlling, thus making the process of change more difficult than it needs to be.

The word ‘Church’ in Greek is ‘Ekklesia‘ and means a ‘calling out to assemble’. In Greek society the Local Counsel would call the people out of their homes into the Town square for a meeting to discuss relevant issues

Hence the word ‘Church‘ speaks of the people that God has called out of this world to be His own group so that we are in the world but not of the world.

John 15:19 You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. (NIV)

1 Peter 2:9 That you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (NKJV)

Therefore , whenever God’s people meet together, we become the Church; And it doesn’t matter where we meet. It could be in a home, a movie house, a bar or pub, a cafe, an industrial unit.

So the next time the leaders want to change the interior, exterior or location of the Church in order to be relevant to society, we are now able to flow and change with their leadership.

Those of us in Gt Britain and N. America have become used to a static model of Church – meeting in the same place, at the same time, in the same way; But as the great upheavals of the world intensify, preparing the way for Christ’s return, we must adapt to a mobile model of Church; One that can fit in with changing circumstances.

Meditation Point: Father, help me to hold lightly to the things of this world. My security is in You (Prov 3:5). You are my anchor when all around is changing (Heb 6:19). You never change (Mal 3:6).

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