Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vessels of Honor

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 2:20–21).
God has created us to be vessels of honor. Some translations loosely translate ‘vessels’ as ‘pots.’ How appropriate.

His Name is Bill

Bill has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes.  This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.  He is brilliant.  Kind of esoteric and very, very bright.
He became a Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church.  They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it.
One day Bill decides to go there.  He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.  The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.  The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat.  By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.  Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.  (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Total Church

This post is my take on Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. The book was published by Crossway Books, in 2008. 

Chester and Timmis are "ministers" in home churches in Great Britain and though they say early in the book that that will not cause them to have any biases, that is clearly not the case (p. 124 for their view of Clergy). Much of what they say is good and pretty standard fare for churches who want to serve the Lord. However, they have several serious problems: First, Total Church is man centered and focused rather than God centered. This is seen in that everything in the book, called "doing church" is geared to how it affects men and what men are doing to affect men. There is only one short sentence that even mentions worship and even then it does not seek to find out what God thinks about what they are thinking and recommending (p. 86). Second, rather than being worship focused (God centered) they write that there are several other things that should be central to good church (Word, Ministry, community, Gospel, Mission, etc. p. 16, 17). On the surface, placing the Word at the center should be a good thing, but when it is used to keep us focused on what men are doing and how they are doing it, it loses its attractiveness. Third, by emphasizing community the way they effectively negate the Biblical emphasis on the family and on individuals. Finally, the philosophy of the book is very similar to the commune model taught and attempted in the 70's here in the US. Which, by the way looked a lot like a cleaned up version of leftist liberation theology.

This doesn't mean that there aren't things in Total Church that shouldn't provoke thought in the average Christian. There is much good here in terms of thinking about ministry in areas where it may not have been thought about before. There is also much good in practical ways that a church, having acknowledged that God is the center, can then move out to minister to the community.  Once you get rid of that political thinking of course.

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Mother Dies

I'm praying that God would do his best for your mother. I know how great the grief is when you mother goes to be with the Lord.

I knew my mother was dying years before she actually died, but the loss still hits me from time to time and is very emotional. I didn't live with her for many years, but there's something about your mother dying that is a lot more than simply a close person leaving your life. I think it is connected to the sense of homeness (I know that isn't a word, but it should be). Home is wherever Mom is and when she dies there is a sense that home dies too. And then, what is there? A different kind of loneliness and even emptiness. I guess that's why the Bible encourages us with the idea that God is preparing a place for us to call home. And his home is much greater than anything we've experienced on this earth. But the missing is still present, and at least on this earth, there is nowhere to call home anymore.

I work hard to make my eyes focus on the future heavenly home, and usually I do a good job of it, but there's something about a mother that is unique to all of life that way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians tells us that we live by faith, not by sight. This means that even though we don’t see a thing the way God says it is, we live in accord with what God says rather than relying on our own understanding and wisdom. The reason this is true is because none of us are wise enough on our own to correctly interpret what we see around us.

The difference between a mature person and an immature person is that the more mature a person is, the more able he is to observe life and to judge it correctly according to what God says about it. This ability comes with a combination of concentrated study of God’s Word and time spent applying what he has learned. So an older man, having spent 40 years studying his Bible and applying it in his life, is almost sure to be more mature than a young man, who, though having diligently studied the Word since he was a young boy, has only lived into his 20’s. The young man can be assured that despite what he thinks, he is no match for a man who has the same training but many more years of experience. In addition, the fact that he thinks he has more wisdom and maturity shows that he doesn’t.