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Showing posts from July, 2013

Hijacked Gospel

‘Romans’ is a beautiful letter. Paul describes in incredible rhetoric the saving action of Jesus Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s heart for humanity, and the role of the church in the world. Unfortunately, it has become the go-to text for a popular group of teachers that claim to be the harbingers of the true gospel – a message currently saturating the Christian subculture. I’d like to take a few minutes to explore a few ways to recognize the true gospel when you hear it – and in turn how to recognize imposters. But first, a little background.
The church in Rome was full of people from two completely opposing backgrounds: Jews and Gentiles. There was an obvious tension between the two groups, one believed they were better than the other, both struggling to figure out how to co-exist. So Paul’s letter to the Romans is structured in a ‘back and forth’ way that describes the reality that both were on common ground and neither could therefore claim a higher status in the church. …

Singing Songs We Don't Mean

When it comes to worship music, I like high flying, intense, anthems filled with words of surrender and devotion. Some people have questioned this type of worship – “it’s too passionate, too big for real life” they say. Perhaps those people are simply expressing what many of us refuse to -- that there is often a gaping disconnect for us as we leave worship services between the words we sing and the lives we lead. Why do we sing with such urgency and then seek such trivial things? Why are these important words so heavy on our lips and so light on our hearts? Jesus proclaimed such was true of some of the leaders around him: “these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. If you truly listen to many of the songs we sing, you could honestly step back and wonder whether we should really be singing them so often. Is it possible that we are actively sinning as we sing to God if our hearts don't line up with our words? And is it possible that people actually be…

Is His Body Well?

The New Testament writers speak about the church as “The Body of Christ”. If you have been around the church for very long, you’ve probably become familiar with this expression. This was true for me. Yet, the significance of that image was lost on me because of how often I’d heard it – I hadn’t come to grips with how meaningful this language really is.
In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus is with His disciples one last time on the Mount of Olives. They ask Him a remarkable question: “Lord, at this time are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” This is revealing because it exposes their belief that Jesus was now ready to assert His full authority and begin the process of extending His reign on earth via His physical kingdom. James and John had already tried to position themselves for maximum influence when this day arrived, and when He resurrected from the dead it seemed obvious to the disciples that His physical reign was now beginning. But something shocking happens next. Jesu…