God’s into plumblines …
The phrase “simple church” means:
Smaller, intentional fellowships which relate together in their own home towns as the local Body of Christ, with throughout-the-week community.
In those fellowships, people regularly gather together in homes (and other places where life naturally happens) to motivate and encourage each other toward love and good works by ministering one to another in open, participatory meetings.
A true encounter with God often invokes intense emotion.
Unfortunately, many “churches” today try to invoke intense emotion and call it a true encounter with God.
It’s just fleshly manipulation masquerading as “worship”.
Beware of false dichotomies …
By which many are led astray.
Mature disciples, along with those who are lost and know it, understand the inseparability of God’s:
Promises and warnings;
Lordship and judgment;
Mercy and wrath;
Love and truth;
Yeas and nays.
Only fools who elevate themselves above God and His written word of Scripture …
People keep using that word.
But what they mean …
Isn’t what the New Testament means.
Which means they elevate their own understanding over God’s own revelation …
And worship “worship” more than God Himself.
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.
To find simple church:
In humility, go where you least expect it …
Among whom the least is expected.
Honor in God’s Kingdom comes not from fame, fortune or followers …
But being faithful.
Church in the New Testament …
Had nothing to do with sitting in pews.
Paul of Tarsus:
Lashed, left for dead, shipwrecked, jailed, scorned, abandoned, tried, beheaded.
I guess he never heard about “Your Best Life Now.”
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.
Although we all love the “glory stories”, we also need to tell of our failures …
Because it’s our failures which often teach the most.
The narrow gate is wide enough for each who travels through …
But not enough to also carry all their baggage too.
It’s hard to share Christ together …
When we aren’t sharing life together.
Christianity in Western cultures has lost sight of God’s fierceness …
Wanting instead only His comfort and affirmation.
By defining God’s attributes by our own standards, however …
We’ve lost the ability to be effective salt and light to not just to individuals but to whole societies and nations.
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.
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.
Many want God to forgive them …
Few to define them.
I tire of all the “new things”, hip new labels and conference extravaganzas – peddled through the latest amazing book, ministry, “revelation” or program.
Just go and do what Jesus commands, as He calls you to do it.
When you do, it will look different in different people, cultures and places …
Than it does in some hot new book or conference someone’s trying to promote.
“Missional”, “Christocentric”, “Neo-Evangelical”, “Eternal Purpose”, and even “Organic”:
Once they brand God and His purposes with some new label and convince everyone to hop on board …
It’s likely already so saddled with egos and extraneous agendas that it’s veered off track.
Learn to discern what’s good and eternal …
And leave the rest behind.
The greatest obstacle to faith is not doubt …
But our own comfort zones.
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.
Existentialism is a philosophy which claims that our own perceptions are the ultimate criteria for detetmining what is true, real and right.
As such, it rejects external, transcendent standards of truth, reality and morality in lieu of individual subjectivity.
Thus, for example, so-called existential “Christians” dismiss God’s plenary authority of Scripture as His authentic, external written word.
For them, how they feel or react when reading Scripture is higher revelation – and ultimately more authoritative – than Scripture itself.
But they are crafty folk, and rationalize their subjective perceptions by calling them “Christ” or otherwise trying to recreate Him in their own image …
As though Christ and His written Word are at odds and stand divided.
Regardless, their muddled philosophy dares to judge God and filter Scripture through their own individualistic sensibilities …
And leaves them stuck with themselves.
They are, in a word, fools …
Peddling deception to other fools who pay them heed.