Plumbline Faith

Simple Faith, Simple Virtue, Simple Church

Simple Church — June 20, 2017
Simple Discipleship — May 29, 2017

Simple Discipleship

If Christians today started giving how the New Testament says we should give …

To what the New Testament says we should give …

Its doubtful that what we call “church” today would survive.

Simple Church — May 27, 2017
Simple Church — May 25, 2017
Simple Church — May 18, 2017
Simple Faith — May 16, 2017

Simple Faith

I may have an ability or perspective that you lack. 

But I have yet to meet anyone – and I mean anyone – who does not also exceed me in some aspect of their own abilities and perspectives. 

Likewise, no church, ministry or movement will be healthy if it pulls into itself or thinks itself beyond everyone else.

This is true also with our different sub-cultures, theological “tribes”, and the often unexamined presumptions and sensibilities of our own community of like-minded friends.

Unity in diversity through humility, not uniformity through hierarchy, is God’s intent among those who love Him and heed His Word.

Simple Church — May 12, 2017
Simple Discipleship — May 8, 2017

Simple Discipleship

I routinely ask men I mentored in the jail, who give their lives to the Lord there, why it’s so hard for them to become part of a church when they get out. 

I then follow up by asking whether, after being released, they were ever invited into someone’s home for a meal and fellowship from any church they visited. 

The answer? Never.

I’ve asked this hundreds of times, not just of men trying to put their lives back together after jail, but also of others living in the woods or in homeless shelters.

The answer is always the same.

In twenty years, I’ve seen no exceptions.

We all love arms-length “ministries” and “programs” that make us feel good about helping “those people”, so long as it’s not too close and personal.

I guess most “churches” are look-alike religious social clubs for cookie-cutter “believers” rather than real Christian communities. 

How tragic.

In the meantime, our house remains a place of hospitality, friendship and fellowship …

And our lives continue to be enriched beyond measure because of it.

Simple Church — May 7, 2017
Simple Church — May 1, 2017

Simple Church

The New Testament says God distributes different gifts and functions among us to advance His Kingdom …

As we minister one to another and a waiting world.

Today, we use those gifts and functions to advance our own kingdoms …

As we create titles, hierarchies and “ministries” over one another before a disgusted world.

Simple Church — April 26, 2017

Simple Church

We need more elders sharing lives among us …

And less “preachers” on podiums above us.

Unfortunately, few are willing to give up the recognition and privileges of the latter …

For the humility and sacrifices of the former.

Simple Church — April 20, 2017

Simple Church

“Church” too often means expecting others to fit our own molds, in order to support the sensibilities and biases of our own cultural perspectives.

In contrast, I have learned to allow “church” to emerge in all its splendid diversity by letting the life of Christ take root in the rich soil of different cultures and communities.

Could that be why the Great Commission says “go”, rather than “come”?

Simple Church — April 12, 2017

Simple Church

Slowly but surely, God is shifting the paradigm of church and leadership. 

It is becoming organic, simple and participatory, with healthy fellowships beginning to emerge. 

All I can say is forget the buzz words by past advocates like Viola, Dale, Zens, Rodriguez, Giles, Rohde and their buddies …

With their failed attempts to impose their own existential, cookie-cutter visions of Christ and the Church on God’s people through books and blogs that never lined up with reality in their own lives and home towns.

Instead, go and let the Lord express Himself as He sees fit, building on the foundation already apostolically laid through Scripture as His authoritative written Word, in the unique context of diverse communities … 

Where He still sends us today to make disciples among the lost and redeem nations.

That, my friends, is real “organic” church and leadership.

Simple Church — April 7, 2017

Simple Church

In Hebrews 13:17, some translations tell us to “obey” those who “rule over” us in the church. This is a very unfortunate translation. 

In the Greek, the verb translated “obey” is in the middle voice and means to “be persuaded”. Yet it is often wrongly translated in the active voice as “obey”, which has an entirely different meaning.

The verb phrase “rule over” also is a misleading translation. 

In the Greek, it does not mean having authority or being “over” anyone, but rather earned esteem by those who have given thought to and walked farther along the same path.

If they can’t persuade or earn your respect by having actually thought through and lived what they’re saying, then we are under no obligation to accord them any influence in our lives.

Bottom line: 

There is NO command in the New Testament to blindly obey or follow anyone – and no mandate for authoritarianism, “cover” or control over others – in the church.

Church leadership in the New Testament is straightforward: 

Be persuaded by those who thoughtfully walk the walk and are further along in their faith and life experience, yielding to their example as we submit one to another.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Simple Church — April 5, 2017

Simple Church

The New Testament says we should sing God’s praises together to encourage one another …

Not to somehow persuade God to show up.

Since He’s already present in those who know Him – and thus among us when we gather as His church – anyone claiming some special status to “lead” us into His presence is committing spiritual fraud …

By peddling counterfeit “worship”.

Simple Church — April 2, 2017

Simple Church

For many, “church” has become a circus – a staged show where they go to be entertained, amazed, awed and sent home feeling good. 

This perversion is sustained by convincing folks that the more they are entertained, amazed, awed and feel good …

The more “God moved” and the service was “anointed” and “inspired”.  

It is collective narcissism at its worst.

Among those who thrive on the show, to question what “church” has become initially invokes blank stares …

Then an incredulous disconnect as the direction of the conversation is quickly changed. 

They will avoid at all cost having to consider the very idea that the Body of Christ is suppose to be something very different – and so much more significant.

Simple Truth — March 29, 2017

Simple Truth

It’s amazing how much huff, puff and indignation arise when you simply ask those pushing their books, blogs and conferences on how to “be the church” or otherwise function as a church …

If they actually are part of one in their own lives and home towns like they keep peddling to others.

Hypocrisy is not a Biblical virtue …

Nor should it be tolerated in those who presume to be teachers among us.

Simple Discipleship — March 23, 2017

Simple Discipleship

It is liberating to learn that God did not create us to be like someone else …

But instead gives us different personalities and motivations that match our diverse spiritual gifts. 

We experience His pleasure as we learn to uniquely use and enjoy those gifts as He intended …

In our lives, families, fellowships and surrounding communities.

Simple Church — March 18, 2017

Simple Church

Pharisees in the New Testament were religious teachers and leaders who insisted that others do what they were not doing or living in their own lives.

Today, we have authors, bloggers and so-called “workers” (their euphemism for “apostles”) peddling their ideas, books, seminars and influence by telling others how to form an “organic” or “simple” church …

Despite no consistent history of substainably making what they promote work in their own lives, home towns or anywhere else.

One need look no further than Frank Viola, Jon Zens, Milt Rodriguez, Felicity Dale, Ross Rohde, Keith Giles and their buddies …

With their various here today, gone tomorrow mutual promotion networks.

The irony is that when you point this out, they call YOU the Pharisee!

Simple, participatory church works as the New Testament authoritatively shows it  …

Not as they keep selling it to promote themselves, their “ministries” and their failed existential agendas.

Be discerning.

Simple Church — March 14, 2017
Simple Church — March 12, 2017

Simple Church

There are no hierarchical titles in the New Testament regarding God’s people and the church:

Just straightforward descriptive words for different functions using the everyday language of ordinary folk when it was first written …

And bad English translations which imply otherwise today.

Simple Church — March 8, 2017
Simple Church — March 7, 2017

Simple Church

None of Christ’s mandates full work, like the Kingdom of God, mission and discipleship …

Without the other mandate to be His ekklesia – His local participatory assembly which expresses His Kingship within the communities where we live – also fully working.

Simple Truth — March 6, 2017

Simple Truth

False prophets, teachers and so-called apostles are not so hard to spot:

They seek more attention for themselves; 

More power for themselves; 

More fame for themselves; 

More money for themselves; and 

More followers for themselves …

Than Jesus ever did.

Simple Church — March 5, 2017