Exhaustion, fatigue, and apathy are worn today like it’s poorly in style and there’s a good chance you are wearing it too. We all are, and it’s a tell-tale sign we as a humanity are hurting and unhealthy. It’s about time for an overdue wardrobe change. Continue reading “Rest for the Soul”→
Mary tucked the colored eggs away in preparation for some morning fun with the kids and I got the first pot of coffee started. In just a few hours our house would soon be transformed from a quiet sanctuary to a bustling gathering filled with food, conversation, music, and prayer. It was Easter Sunday and the body of Christ was preparing to meet, as we do every Sunday morning, in a simple and purposeful setting.
This week I had the privilege to be part of a 4-day “Church Intensive” with We Are Church, the church-planting network founded by Francis Chan in San Francisco, California. We learned first-hand the heart behind their ministry, the ‘why’ behind their methodology, and caught a powerful vision of what the church can and should be in our communities. The following is one story from my time with them.
Movements and causes come and go all the time. But there is one movement that has withstood the test of time because its founded in truth and spiritually empowered. Regrettably, the statistics have been in for quite some time: Christianity has plateaued and begun a slow decline in North America, not because its been proven false, but because we have lost sight of our mission.
In his final instructions to his followers, Jesus is clear; they have a mandate — a ‘great commission’ — over their lives. To be a follower of Jesus, united in His death and resurrection, and the recipient of a restored soul for all eternity, is to be a fully enlisted and endorsed participant in God’s redemptive plan for the world.
There is something freeing, beautiful & powerful when we get back to the basics. When we strip away the access, fluff, irrelevant, and unnecessary, we’re left with nothing but the essentials. This is how we do church.
It’s no secret the church, specifically the broader evangelical church, is in a state of crisis. Attendance and engagement is down, stories of financial, physical, and spiritual abuses are mounting, and any meaningful conversation regarding theology, philosophy, and morality in the cultural mainstream has become nearly impossible. Even the faithful in the evangelical church are becoming disheartened, weary, and have stories of frustration, disenfranchisement and hurt. This growing crisis should cause us to take an honest look inwards through the lens of Scripture, in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and with a heart of great humility before the Lord.
In the age of digital contentedness, institutional abuse, leadership failures, relational brokenness, and social persecution, many faithful followers of Jesus have found themselves questioning their participation in a local church community. I contend the answer and solution is found in rediscovering the purpose and mission of the church, and it involves accepting and acting upon the assignment that has been given to every follower of Jesus. Continue reading “The Mission of the Church”→
One of the unexpected gifts of church planting is the often-forced opportunity to think critically and prayerfully over the most basic functions and purposes of the church. At every turn we have the opportunity to search the Scriptures and evaluate our cultural context to make informed, gospel-centered decisions. Continue reading “Four Essential Functions of the Church”→
In 1 Kings 10, we read about King Solomon’s rise to power and greatness. It says, “King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind” (1 Kings 10:23-24). To be excellent is to be competent, brave, strong, great, outstanding or extraordinary. Solomon was an extraordinary man of great wealth and wisdom, “Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him” (Daniel 6:3), an outstanding wife “is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4), and believers are to be great “in faith, in speech, in knowledge, [and] in all earnestness” (2 Corinthians 8:7).
Biblical excellence is rooted in this important fact: any and all achievements of bravery, greatness and competence are a gracious gift from God for the purpose of bringing glory back to God.Continue reading “Why Excellence Matters”→