Posts tagged: church
Insightful. His three main points are gold.
I am unemployed. I got laid off. My summer went from being not so busy to absolutely empty.
Inside the city I love, Fullerton, there is an opportunity for the church to be the church. Create programs to step in the gap for lack of summer school in our city. It is a beautiful thing.
SOLFUL is not about a church, or two churches, or even the amazing faith based non-profit Solidarity. It is about being the church to the incredible city of Fullerton which has a gaping need. It is about stepping into what God is stirring in our city and putting Him on display.
It is beautiful.
Last year 14 churches partnered together for the sake of the Jesus, the Gospel and the Kingdom. This is year three and for the first two years I was working. I didn’t have the opportunity to even contemplate volunteering. However, this year I was laid off and am wide open.
How could I not step into this?
To find out more - check out this: http://fullertonact.com/solful/
God will provide for me, so why not take a risk and step into this opportunity? I’m excited to see how God changes me in this experience. I will let God shape me in this. My God will show up. He will refine me - through unemployment and SOLFUL.
It’s time to hang out with some fifth graders all summer.
How can the church love on our cities in which we live?
I have not been able to get this commercial out of my head for months. During the course of the semester I just completed, I made it my business to dig deeper into the idea of gender and the roles of gender within the church. For a while, it has been a topic I needed to fully figure out where I stood and the classes I took this semester gave me the perfect opportunity to write both my research papers on different aspect of it.
As I was studying the biblical role of women inside the chruch and the Bible, this song (which I hadn’t seen in years) kept running through my head. If I could have figured out how to cite it in an academic work, I would have used it. But citing stinks and I didn’t have enough time to do that. And in all honesty, I thought it was a Nike commercial not Gatorade.
Watch this commercial. It was made after 1996 and the USA Olympic Women’s Soccer Team won the Gold Medal. Hamm, was the the star of that team. Michael Jordan is MJ, of course. He’s one of the greatest athletes ever, during the height of his second three peat.
The year was 1997.
Post-modernism had begun. The Feminist movement was in the stages of overtaking culture. And for some reason, 15 years later, this commercial sticks with me today as a 25 year old man with a beard.
Somehow, if it sticks with me, I wonder if it is the actual representation of what my generation of women and those coming behind me were raised on and what their norm is - they can do anything better then me for they are a woman, they are my sister? This is the question which has been pounding my intellect and soul for months now.
Inside the church walls, I am a man who would love to be an egalitarian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egalitarianism) but just can’t come over from being complementary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarianism). Yet even in this, I wonder if maybe there is a middle ground. Maybe, we need to re-understand, Biblically, what complementary actually means? Maybe, just maybe, the conversation complementarians are having needs to change?
What if, we started with the notion “What can’t a woman do?” rather then “What can a woman do?” Yes, you are only changing one word, but what it does is begin to open up a completely new dialogue. One must understand women can, must and shall have a large role to play in the church and we need to understand if there are things they cannot do (Biblically, not because they are not capable, qualified or better then male counterparts) and begin to err on the side of empowerment, instead of suppression.
Friends, feminism has won. This is neither good nor bad - it is culture. However, it means the old ways of saying things and doing things may no longer reach our culture. For instance, how do we expect to reach a generation of women who have grown up hearing “I can do anything better then you”, then hear the Gospel of Christ and are told there are now things they cannot do? Does this sound like the Gospel or Jesus?
I wonder, what is more important - people or doctrine?
Here’s the summarization of the article:
“Anybody can do it that believes it,” Wolford said. “Jesus said, ‘These signs shall follow them which believe.’ This is a sign to show people that God has the power.”
Wolford said watched his own father die at the age of 39 after a rattlesnake bit him during a similar service.
“He lived 101/2 hours,” Wolford toldthe Washington PostMagazine. “When he got bit, he said he wanted to die in the church. Three hours after he was bitten, his kidneys shut down. After a while, your heart stops. I hated to see him go, but he died for what he believed in.
“I know it’s real; it is the power of God,” Wolford told the Washington Post Magazine last year. “If I didn’t do it, if I’d never gotten back involved, it’d be the same as denying the power and saying it was not real.”
This man just died. I wonder if he believes now?
Yesterday when I woke up, I began to reflect on a single question. It haunted me every step I took from the moment my foot hit the ground. It followed me to the two morning services at ROCKHARBOR Fullerton. I ignored it while I studied in the afternoon; then at the 7pm service I couldn’t get the nagging question out of my head.
“How do you love the bride of Christ (the Church)?”
Maybe, before you can answer that question you need to ask - do you love the bride?
I ask this, because yesterday was a day of self-sacrifice - of dying first. It was a normal Sunday for myself, yet, it is one where I was haunted by this question. I would have rather slept then attend the morning services and serve the Bride like I do every Sunday morning. I wanted to choose my bed, over the Bride.
Every Sunday morning, I do not do the flashy service. There is no reward or pat on the back. There is no glamor, in a way this makes me glad. It happens at all three services. Sometimes people notice you and smile, other times they just ignore you. Yet, at the 9, 11 and 7, I lead the parking team.
See, our parking lot is impacted. It can become utter chaos - a merry-go-round - with cars just driving aimlessly. So, there’s a team of us who make it easy for our people to park - stress free - so they can gather together with the Saints and worship. It is nothing special. It is something which must be done.
I love the Bride.
I park cars.
I did not set out for this eight months ago. There was a hole and a need.
I love the Bride.
So I filled the hole.
Days like this Sunday beat me. There is no applause (I am thankful for that). At times, it is very, very tiring. By the time the last service comes around, I would rather not park cars. I want to sit through an entire service, be at home sleeping or hanging out in community.
I love the Bride.
So I sacrifice. I die first and surrender my desires for the sake of the Bride.
I park cars. Glamorous, I know. Then, after they are all parked, I joyfully exit into the background and find a seat on the floor or in the back room.
I love the Bride. This is how I show it.
So I ask again, how do you love the Bride?
Inside my soul, God is stirring something my heart cannot contain. It manifests itself in a passion my mind & body are only now beginning to learn how to navigate. My intellect has to learn how to explore the uncharted depths of idealism & practicality when applying the vision & prescriptions of scripture into every day life & ministry.
A lot of times I fail at it.
Sometimes, I get it right.
Though, the deeper I go, I am understanding this is how I am wired & unique as a leader & minister. I am designed to wander the path of idealism to reality.
Vision to fulfillment.
Exegete the scripture & place the unending, never compromising, relevance of the scripture & gospel inside my city & community. Take a nothing & nurture it into a something. Find coal & refine out a diamond.
A daunting task is mine to pick up. The task excites me. I cannot wait to see how God shapes & refines me. I am excited to see what He uses this stirring & passion for. I am excited how God will move through me to make Himself famous.
He is making me ready for this.
Missiology is not a spectator sport. When one studies mission and culture, it invariably means one’s own hands will get extremely dirty - this is unavoidable. I can sit from the sidelines all I want and tell people what it means to engage culture and people, but at some point, me, as a pastor at my future church, will have to chose how we will interact with our city at large.
In order to do this, one needs to have a doctrine and theology firmly held in an open hand - things you and I can disagree on, but still work together with (predestination, gender, worship style, etc.). But, in order to hold certain things with an open hand - there must be a close handed theology and doctrine (Jesus, cross, resurrection, etc.). For me, personally, as I analyze my close handed theology, it all falls under one umbrella - Jesus and the Gospel. We can disagree on a lot of things - maybe even hell (maybe). We need to agree on the Gospel and Jesus. If you don’t - we can’t work together. If you don’t - you may not be a brother or sister. If you don’t - we will love you, but we may not be able partner together - like hold an Easter service in a mosque. If this offends, I’m sorry…
Jesus is fully God and perfect man. You must have that in your closed hand. He came and lived as a human, a perfect life, in the power of the Holy Spirit, sent by His Father, God, to preach a message of sacrifice and repentance. This must be in your closed hand. Then, to fulfill the calling of His earthly days - He was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world (you and I), which you and I have committed and thus cannot be in relationship with a perfect God, and He rose again 3 days later to conquer sin and death. This is closed handed. Now, He is resurrected. He is alive because He defeated death. His resurrection sealed our ability to come to be a disciple of Jesus - if He just died, it wouldn’t have been enough. Now, we have new life. Now, we are a part of Jesus’ family - not because we earned it but because He loved us first. Jesus came, lived, died and rose again - and we have a choice to be a disciple or not. His resurrection means we can one day, see the resurrected Jesus face to face - as He has bought us back from death and redeemed us into eternal life with Him. This is closed handed.
Closed handed. Open handed. It matters.
This is the bare essentials of my closed handed theology and doctrine. If you can’t even come to this place of core, foundational beliefs - we may not be able to work together. I’m not really sorry for that (but I love you).
Missiology means walking the line of culture and gospel faithfully. You hold on dearly and lovingly to what is close handed and discuss - lovingly - what is open handed. This article is an example in bad missiology. It breaks my heart.
“I know that I don’t believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus but I do believe his spirit ascended and his teachings are very valid and transformative,” the Rev. Michael Moran, senior minister of The Spiritual Life Center, told The Christian Post over the phone.
Sorry Reverend, but your closed hand needs to be more closed…
The community of ROCKHARBOR Fullerton has been walking an adventure together for two years. It has been a powerfully exciting two years. God has been faithful and granted us tremendous favor inside His city of Fullerton. It has been more then the crew of people who walked together, dreaming about this campus, could have imagined.
It takes breath away, inspiring awe and wonder.
Yesterday, I sat with this community at both of our services as we announced a shift to three services - two in the morning, one at night. I remember dreaming about our first prayer gathering; then there was Sex, Love, God; then we dreamed about February 28, 2010 - our first service; we longed to have a service where families could come and not just be a community of twentysomethings. I remember dreaming big dreams - dreams birthed by God, for His city of Fullerton and North Orange County, which only He could usher into existence.
Now, there are three services. We have wandered for two years, using multiple locations for Sunday gatherings and countless venues for midweek gatherings. Now, we have a home - sharing a building with a Korean Seventh Day Adventist church on the border of Fullerton and Placentia.
We have a location of development and opportunity - Sunday through Thursday.
A more permanent location does not mean we have “arrived” as a church. We have a building; the building is not important because we, ROCKHARBOR Fullerton is not a building. The location, allows us to create oppurtunities for development and engagement, for equipping and unleashing.
Our young community has changed greatly in the span of two years; I cannot wait to see how God shapes our community in the season to come. As one of our leaders put it Sunday morning, we enter into “the year of the terrible twos”. There is a Holy Spirit feeling inside of me saying the terribleness is not going to be bad for our community - it is going to shape the foundation and makeup of our community for years to come.
Year three is going to be one we can look back on years from now and say: “God started this here. Who could have imagined?”
do you let the government do the work of the church?
do you hope for the church do the work of the government?
whose role is it?
i’m curious, what are your dreams?
do you allow yourself to dream?
i have dreams (right now i’m picturing the song and dance number from Tangled). i long to see men rise up and become Biblical men. i long to see the church be the Church in word and deed. i long to love on my city. i long to see God’s Kingdom break through in this lifetime. i long to create a unique, local expression of the church in a culturally relevant, large city.
what are your dreams - are they God sized or you sized?