Archive for August 9th, 2008

So I was working at the church this afternoon and 3 of our members were taking care of the lawn when one of them (an Elder) came in jabbering about something.  He was upset about an exchange that had just transpired between him and the next door neighbor to the church.  The neighbor had asked about a property marker (flagged wood stick) that was nowhere to be found and got upset with the Elder.  The Elder apologized and came inside to vent.  We spent a few minutes talking about the entire issue which was of no fault of ours and about how this thing and that thing should have been done by the neighbor or the survey company.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to go over and talk with our neighbor (It’s farm land that was deeded over to a daughter to build a house on.  The gentleman actually lived a few miles away.).  I introduced myself and apologized for the missing marker expecting him to still be irate over the issue.  His first response was to apologize for how he treated the Elder and for making a big deal out of something that wasn’t that big of a deal.  We proceeded to chat and I found out that he was having a bad day.  (In addition to his bad day, most men I know, including myself, get easily agitated when they are working hard on a project trying to get it done.)  I invited him and his grandsons (they were working on cleaning up the property) into the church for some refreshments.

The church members and myself completely wasted all the time spent talking about the issue.  Not only that, but the more we talked about it, the more we saw how right we were and how wrong the neighbor was.  All we needed to do was to be kind and gracious, even if we were in the right.  You see, being a Christian isn’t about being in the right, being a Christian is about being willing to give up your rights for somebody in need.  And chances are, everybody you come into contact with has a need.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

By the way, we do a lot with youth, and I’ve already got our new neighbor kids in the building and they haven’t even moved in yet.

 

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I know we already have a great post on this from Jerry. However, after reading the comments at TRUTH MATTERS, I was sick from the self-righteousness and judgment that was overflowing there. I wonder what all of the people who have not met Jesus yet think about an organization that is dedicated to tearing apart churches that do things different than they do. This MUST have been what Jesus envisioned when he talked about the church… wars over something as stupid as a costume. Jesus must be so proud of the public poll that asks reader’s opinion of the pastor’s intro. Really!?! Do we really need ministries that go around taking polls on other church’s sermon intros?

I just listened to a really great talk from Image Dei on loving the church and loving each other — and all of our differences. Check it out here.

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I really don’t want to bring the whole he said, he said between Ken Silva and Richard Arbanes back to life but I found this thread to be interesting in the comment section. Many were up in arms that RA would threaten to sue a “brother” in KS. Indeed, there is not agreement here amongst the writers on the entire issue. What makes this comment thread interesting is the team politics that is happening. You see, I think this entire thing is more about a “us” verses “them” mentality than anything else. According to Mr. Silva someone else has gone to him privately and asked him to alter a post or that person would have to go to Mr. Silva’s Biblical authorities. What has Mr. Silva done? He has refused to follow the Biblical mandate and simply said, “no.” I’ll deal more with that later. But I want you to read Mr. Chew’s comment. He is saying that the Scriptures don’t apply to KS because RA violated them. Later, he goes on to say that the Bible doesn’t apply to the situation he is talking about b/c he is talking about free speech. The reading is unbelievable.  For people who like to rail against the emergents they deem heretical because of gray areas it certainly seems as though they are making a run at a little ambiguity for their own benefit. At the end of the day I am convinced this is about team politics than it is about following God, Jesus or the Bible. It’s about preserving what they are comfortable with and having something and someone to fight against. Below is the quote.

Daniel Chew Says:

CD:

Amen.

Phil Naessens:

Pastor Ken broadcast this mess because the ISP threaten him with the removal of his website unless he removed that “offending” article. So there was real action involved which have implications for the entire issue of free speech as well. If Abanes would just threaten Pastor Ken, or slander him, then yes, he should have turn the other cheek. As for 1 Cor. 6 and Mt. 18, they do not apply since Abanes has already violated them in going after Pastor Ken.

There you have it. What else can be said really?

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Friends,

I’ll apologize at the outset for the offensive title to this blog post, but it is really the only way to say what I am thinking after reading Ingrid’s latest drive by display of ignorance. I am angry though about her most recent outburst against the Body of Christ. She was so willing to make a hit against someone that I don’t believe for a minute that she even listened to the sermon she criticizes. I am simply astounded that she has criticized this sermon delivered at the Grace Church. Here’s part of what Ingrid wrote:

Please take just ten minutes to watch the video. After watching it, you can vote on the website as to whether Christ was glorified or something else. You can forward past the out of tune guitar and singer, and just listen to what the pastor has to say.

We have been so far removed from Christ-centered worship, most evangelicals wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it. Worse still, because of a lack of biblical knowledge, the Scriptural metaphors and references within this hymn wouldn’t have any meaning to most reared at a circus church. We are generations deep now in biblical illiteracy, and that’s why the church and professing believers are in the condition they are.

See also the comments at Truth Matters where even more ignorance is on display. Here’s what the author there says:

When you have a spare 10 minutes, please go to the video link below. Before you get to the senior pastor’s introduction you will have to listen to the music director sing and then an associate pastor speak for about 2 minutes, then watch the Pastor’s introduction. The whole thing is very painful to watch. [You can also vote in their ridiculous poll which, predictably, favors a negative reaction. In fact, I had the only positive vote out of 33 or so.]

I suspect the reason why neither Ingrid nor the author of Truth Matters got it, and why they found the whole thing ‘painful’ is because they only watched 10 minutes of it, if they watched it at all.Well, just so you know, I watched the entire clip and I can say without reservation that this sermon was profoundly biblical in every aspect. I’ll only add a few caveats. First, he did look ridiculous in the Superman costume. But I suspect that he was playing the doppleganger by dressing in such an ironic way. Second, his outline was a bit difficult to follow, but he evidently provided outlines for the congregation. Third, he dealt with the Scripture from front to back. Fourth, aggghhh…he had people stand when he read the Word of God in order to, are you ready for this, ‘honor the Word of God.’ What a heretic!!!* (*Sarcastic)

Please someone tell me: What was painful about what he said? What was unbiblical about it? What did not glorify God? Mrs Schlueter, with all due respect here, did you even listen to what he preached? I am simply floored that they are bent about this message. The main part of the message, the overarching point was this: We are useless to God if we don’t forgive. How is that unbiblical? How is that painful? I’ll conclude by noting the main outline which follows this question: How can we be Biblical Supermen and Superwomen. Then I’ll note just a few bullet points that I picked up.

How can We be Biblical Supermen?

  • The Biblical Superman puts his faith in the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Put your faith in Jesus.
  • The Biblical Superman is committed to the local church in prayer, worship, teaching, fellowship, and accountability (and a few others)
  • The Biblical Superman is active in serving Christ, using his gifts and talents.
  • The Biblical Superman is always looking for divine appointments (This was really a brilliant point)
  • The Biblical Superman is bold enough to share Jesus with others.
  • The Biblical Superman takes responsibility for his actions.
  • The Biblical Superman chooses to forgive.

Can someone point out to me, because after 13 years of preaching I guess I have missed the point, but can someone point out to me at what point this outline fails to honor God? Can someone point out to me how this is ‘painful’? This is one of the most biblically derived, expository outlines I have seen in a long, long time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this outline or the delivery or his exegesis or his orthodoxy. He argues for Pauline authorship, he tells us the historical circumstances that prompted the writing, he argues, first, that it is faith in the Work of Christ that makes the letter to Philemon possible in the first place.

I’m offering a challenge right now to the author of Truth Matters and the author of Slice: Point out one aspect of that sermon that was unorthodox or unbiblical. He dealt with the text from front to back. Offer one example of his failure and I will stop writing here. You cannot do it.

Now some bullet points in conclusion (these are a few things I picked up and wrote down, there was much more!):

  • If you are harboring bitterness, God cannot use you.
  • God sets up divine appointments.
  • Philemon=loving
  • Onesimus=useful
  • Real biblical supermen choose to forgive.
  • The grace of God makes us brand new
  • Repent.
  • Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Man is never more like God than when he chooses to forgive.
  • The news of the Gospel is that God forgives sins no matter how ugly they are.
  • We are NOT supermen.
  • Paul is asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus
  • Sometimes when people hurt us it is part of God’s plan for spiritual renewal (ie. salvation)
  • Forgiveness always refreshes the body of Christ.

The church sang. They prayed. The stood when the Word was read–and to be sure, they only read, for the purposes of the sermon, three verses! (Even though he read nearly half the book in the context of the message.) They talked of forgiveness and grace and repentance and Scripture and love. I counted the word ‘grace’ at least six times on the website where I watched the video. Just so you know, I am writing this defense of the preacher who preached that sermon because I know he wouldn’t do so himself. What I fear is that some lost person will happen along Slice or TM and be turned off to the sermon without giving it a chance. But I’ll say this: If I was lost and heard that sermon I would be convicted that Jesus is Lord. I am not lost and I am convicted of the Lordship of Christ after hearing that sermon. What a blessing.

Ingrid: Give the sermon more than ten minutes. TM: Give the sermon more than ten minutes. Get through the pain of being confronted with the command from Scripture to forgive and listen to what the preacher has to say. You have both missed it entirely! Oh my God, it is so sad, so pathetic that these two blogs have run down this preacher, Christ’s body, this sermon for no reason whatsoever. Oh My God! I am convinced, and becoming more so with every blog post I read at SOL, that there is something seriously, seriously wrong with their point of view.

Ingrid wrote:

We have been so far removed from Christ-centered worship, most evangelicals wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it. Worse still, because of a lack of biblical knowledge, the Scriptural metaphors and references within this hymn wouldn’t have any meaning to most reared at a circus church. We are generations deep now in biblical illiteracy, and that’s why the church and professing believers are in the condition they are.

The preacher spent nearly a third of the sermon (at least a third, maybe more) explaining and re-explaining the history and background and text of the book to Philemon. He did his part to eliminate biblical illiteracy and he is criticized and it is said that the sermon and worship ‘did not honor God’?!?!?!?!?!? My guess is that the people at Grace Church are not among the biblically illiterate. I suspect this is a church that is very good condition–especially if their preacher preaches like this every single week.

Wow. I think it is time to put SOL and TM into the heap of irrelevance. They ought to be ashamed for attacking that message, that preacher, that church in such a way. Shame on you, SOL!! And shame on you, TM!! You have no ground to stand on in your criticism of this man or his message. And I think I know of what I speak since I too preach every single week. I won’t dress like superman, but who cares if I did? The point is that this man delivered an orthodox, theologically sound, expository sermon. I don’t care what he was dressed like on the outside. He was wearing Christ on the inside!!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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