Sunday, December 25, 2011

Advent past and Advent future

At the first Advent the message of the angels to the shepherds was;
Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:9b - 12 New Living Translation)

And Jesus spoke these word to the eleven and to us as we await the second advent;
 18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 
19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Matthew 28:18 - 20 (NLT)  & Acts 1:8 (NLT)

Let us do these things until He comes!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I find myself struggling to see the forest for the trees!  I am wondering (without much wandering) why people say they want to body to grow but do not do much to bring that growth about.  To me that is like saying I want a child and then not spending time with you spouse or doing the paper work (and funding) to adopt! 

I see the church being willing to reach out to Samaria and the ends of the earth; at least funding the out reach to these places. Judea again if I can pay some one to do it OK!  Now Jerusalem, where we should be doing the out reach on a daily basis and helping our fellow missionaries reach folks well does God really want me to do that?  Yes, Virginia God does and God may desire that you go instead of another who is aware of the need but for whatever reason is not equipped to meet that need or maybe you (or another) are the ones God desires to meet the need!  I think the idea of a team approach to most out reach is a wise idea!  I also think that at times a person who is outside the team may see a need that the outreach team can meet.  Also  a team member may see the need and not be the one to meet the need for many reasons; none of which has to do with giftedness of said team member.  I see the need for a team as many fold; the first is then it is the church doing the outreach not one individual.  I am not sure how to put this into words; but here I go in an attempt to try; there is  person or family with the need.  This person/family has no relationship to the church except the one member of the church who is aware of the need.  If the person/family with the need receives ministry from the person (church member)who is aware of their need ; what is the person/family with the need going to think?  I know what I would think ---  thank you "john" for meeting my need; I am happy YOU CARED ENOUGH to help in my time of need!  Now, had some other(s) of the church gone to the person/family (especially if a number does so/had done so) would that not reflect more on the church caring than just the one person who is aware of the need --- even if both said that it was a church base ministry? 

The need I speak of was a death in a family that is not part of the church except that a child in the family comes to the children's ministry programing.  I think that we lost an opportunity because some felt that the person who was already connected to the family through bring the child who is a nieghbor to the person's grandchild should have just taken care of the need.  While I am sure that the person could have done so; we the body of Christ had an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to a family in stress and grief and that just might have brought a person/family into the kingdom; forget they may have come into the church and enriched it as well!!  [rant off]

Friday, December 16, 2011

Have an Attitude 2

I wonder what would happen if the organized church had this attitude;
You’re welcome just as you are.
Your thoughts are welcome. Your doubts are welcome.
We’re all in this together.
The first one I think most churches (i.e. mainline churches) feel they have this attitude.  I am not quite sure that this is true.  Yes, we are willing for new people to come and be part of the gathering; we may even be willing for them to join but at some point they need to look like the rest of the ducks!  We want the wood ducks to become mallard ducks; those new comers need to assimilate and look like us, talk like us and especially worship just like us!!

I happen to be part of a denomination of which some one said "You can worship Buddha; as long as you say 'Jesus is Lord'!"  Well that may be true in some of our churches but I  can tell you it is not true in all of them.  If you want a good church fight just bring up the idea that a persons baptism is not an issue.  To join the church of which I am a member you are to be immersed (I think that the constitution reads that it has to be a baptist baptism but we ignore the baptist part as long as you have been held under the water.)  We especially have an issue if you doubt certain teachings of the baptist doctrine!

I do think that the idea of we are all in this together is done well; we are willing to do ministry with the other churches in the community; the building is used for a weekly community dinner.

Now for the last part of this statement "God is here, ready to connect with you in a fresh way."  All God's people would say "YES!  AMEN!" to the part up to the comma; God is here!  "Connect in a FRESH WAY!?!" "Wait a second here buddy!!"  Fresh way means we may have to do things we are not comfortable with!  I might have to do something that I am not comfortable doing!!

I do think this is the attitude we need for the mainline churches, our churches, to grow.  I think that the body of Christ need to move out of their comfort zone and do ministry in this attitude.  The minimum we must do is support ministries within and without the four walls of the church that have this attitude!  Here it is in it fullness

You’re welcome just as you are.
Your thoughts are welcome. Your doubts are welcome.
We’re all in this together.
God is here, ready to connect with you in a fresh way.

This is a sign inside Lifetree Cafes or Lifetree's site

Friday, December 9, 2011

Forgetting and straining

Philippians 3:13b (NCV)  Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead,  

As I was looking for something else the other day this verse came up on my search.  Forgetting the past; has a lot of things in it for us.  There are the failures of the past.  We need to remember the lessons learned from past failures yet we need to forget the disappointment of the failures that  hold us back from doing what God calls us to do.  We need to forget the hurts, the put downs, the people's comments and the differences of opinion that will hold us back from the calling God has for us.  There are a number of thing that will hold us back; keep us from our full calling that we need to put behind us as we learn to live a missional life.  That is what Paul is speaking to here; those things that make us wonder if we are GOOD ENOUGH for God to use.  Paul says forget the past and look ahead.  Think about Paul's life before he came to Jesus!  He had been killing the Church; the Followers of Christ!  I am sure that there were those, at least during his early ministry year, who remembered Saul/Paul and just could not forgive him for his past.  I am also sure that Satan reminded Paul daily (if not more) of what here had done!  We all have those nagging thoughts!  For Paul I bet that at least one of Satan's attacks was "Why would they want to listen and believe a guy who killed Christians?"  Or, "They can't trust you!  You killed (had killed) people like them!"  Also Satan could use Paul's past against those he was ministering to with things like "Can you trust him?  He might just be claiming this to get in to you movement so he can arrest you too!"  We, like Paul, need to forget our past and look ahead.

Speaking of looking ahead that is what Paul said he was doing "straining toward what is ahead".  In fact Paul was doing a bit more than looking ahead; he "straining toward" it.  To me that is a head down going no matter what attitude!  Paul is going for that which he desires to reach " the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above."  Paul had a goal "the life above".  I also think he had a goal of reaching people for the cause of Christ!  We too need to have both goals; "the life above" and reaching as many people with the Hope and Love of Jesus as we can before we die!  Look at Paul; he did not let getting locked up stop him.  In fact I think he looked at the guards as a captive audience!  Think about it Paul at one point in his ministry had a new person to witness to chained to him every four or so hours and where could that guard go?  I hope that Jesus does not have to give any of us that kind of audience for us to reach people for Christ!  We need to be about reaching people 24/7/385!

Join me in the rest of 2011 and in 2012 to be people reachers for Jesus!!  Forgetting out failures to do so in the past; forgetting the stuff that would keep us for being people reachers and straining toward the prize of seeing people come to know Jesus and seeing them join us in living for Jesus for the rest our our eternal life!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We have a HOPE!!

1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18 (New Living Translation) 13And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  14For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.  16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.  17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.  18So encourage each other with these words. 

The above passage is one that I have used for years as I did funerals; especially for believers funerals.  I see it as a comfort for the family, both blood and Spirit.  I would comment about the fact that Paul does not tell us not to grieve but that we are to grieve as a people of hope.  That hope is the knowledge that we will see the loved one when we see Jesus face to Face.

When I returned from a vision committee meeting Sunday I began to think on the vision statement we had arrived on; "Bringing the HOPE and LOVE OF JESUS to [insert city's name here] and the world.  This passage and how I and many pastors use it struck me.  If we have a hope that changes how we grieve, should not that same hope change how we live? 

I see the "sermon" starting with the passage as usual but then putting a missional twist on the passage, which I have only done at one funeral (and only backhandedly at that).  That twist would be if we have a hope which changes our grieving and we believe in that hope of Jesus then should we not be sharing that hope with others.  Meaning, are we not obligated by that hope to tell people that Jesus want to have a relationship with them?  Should we not tell them that Jesus want to know them and lead them so that at some point with when the person dies and go to heaven or when we meet Jesus in the air; that person will  also get to meet Jesus as well? 

It has been funny (not in the Ha ha concept) that in the last couple of weeks I have been able to get a word in about knowing where I will go.  On both occasions a person said something about my going to Hell.  I responded with "No thanks, I have reservation for the other place!"  Both people just looked at me and laughed but knew what I meant.

We have a hope!  Why not share it with the hopeless?!?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Can't We Just Get Along?

Ephesians 4:31 - 5: 2  (TMSG) 31Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.  32Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.  1Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  2Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language Copyright © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

When I read this part of the passage "Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you"
as part of a devotional from the Church at which I am a member; I asked myself (and I may have said it out loud) "Is this possible?  To forgive in this way.  All the time?"  The Wednesday November 16th, I ask the men's group as we looked at the devotions  of the November 6th through 13th; those same questions.  I said that I felt it was nearly impossible!  While yes Philippians 4:13 does make it clear I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH  CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME; I also know that most of us are not living that verse out daily like we ought!

Having looked at the verse before the one I reacted to does help me a bit.  If we were to follow the words in verse 31; others would need to do a whole lot less forgiving like God forgave us!! If the rest of the church would also engage in the Don't and Nevers; we need to do less forgiving like God forgive us!

What would my church or your church look like if we Simply followed verse 31 & 31 above?  Paul is asking a lot there but then Paul goes and tells us "We should watch God and then DO what GOD DOES!!  Other versions say to imitate God like children.  As a father I know the good and the bad of a child's imitating my behavior; and we will not go there today!!  We have all had the experience of one of the teachers at the school where my mother was a paraeducator.  The teacher  chose to speak to the parent of a child who could color his sentences with words that an elementary age child should not know let allow speak.  When it was point out that Johnny could make a sailor blush; the parent was reported to have colored their remark equally as well!  Unlike this parent; God shows us how to speak, to make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk;  to be gentle with one another, sensitive and to forgive one another quickly and thoroughly!  God is the prefect parent and shows us the way to perfection as His children!  I echo Paul's statement in Philippians 3:12

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. (New Living Translation)
Here is the challenge.  Look at God's behavior toward you in Christ and then behave that way toward those around you!  I will guarantee that we will bless a lot of people we meet!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Do you want to know God's Will?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 18 (NLT) 16Always be joyful.  17Never stop praying.  18Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 
Here is God's will for those who belong to Jesus the Christ.  We are to be always Joyful; always Prayerful and always Thankful.

Always joyful; this is a hard one for me.  I do not like mornings!  I work the opening in Fast Food business (we open at 6a.m.!).  Some people say "Good Morning" at they come to the Drive Through window; about half the time my responce is "Well it is morning!"  I sometimes say "Morning" as I reach out to take their payment.  Some folks look t me weird, some of it is me I am a bit weird but I think some hear the word "good" without me saying it and wonder, like I do, "just how good is it!"  I usually respond to the look with say something like "I did not place a value judgement on it!"  God has shown me and is still working on me that I need to be joyful always!!

Always Prayerful, sometimes we think of prayer as when we "talk" to God.  You know "Here's Bread, Here's Meat!  Good Lord let's eat!  Amen!"  Prayer really is a conversation we have with God.  If one is having a conversation both people in said conversation take turns speaking.  Therefore being Always Prayerful, involves our speaking to God but it also involves our listening to God speak to us.  That may be as we drive the car to work; as we sit listening to others speak in a meeting or gathering; it may be sitting in the  deer woods,  like a friend of mine taught me;(miss those times with that friend!!) or taking a walking to shed unwant pounds.  The thing is we must listen as well as talk.  I once heard some one say we needed to listen twice as much as we spoke because we have ONE MOUTH and TWO EARS.  While as a person drawn to public speaking (or in this case public writting) I am not sure I buy that idea; I do know that we, the followers of Jesus, need to do more listening at times than we actually do!!  Again, remember that a preacher speaks as much to the preacher (sometimes more) than the preacher does to the congregation!

Always Thankful, I have written on this on Novemeber 23, so I will says that I like how  the Message says it "1 Thessalonians 5:18 (TMSG) 18thank God no matter what happens." Again easier said than done!!

Do you want God's Will?  BE Always joyful, Always Prayerful and  Always Thankful!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Question WE Need to Ask Ourselves

While Wax aims these question at Pastors, I would like to propose that any person claiming the name Christian needs to ask the same question as we look to share Jesus with the mission field to which God through Christ has called us!  His title is a link back to his article

11 Questions Pastors Should Ask Themselves

Asking good questions will make you a better preacher -- and a better hearer -- of God's Word.

By Trevin Wax, Oct 10, 2011

Good questions prod us toward greater effectiveness in fulfilling our calling. Here are some probing questions I've found helpful in pastoral ministry, separated into the categories of Preaching and Church Mission.
About Preaching

1. How can I show the congregation how this passage or topic fits into the grand narrative of Scripture?

This question reminds me to connect the dots of the Bible's storyline, so that the people in our congregation see application in light of the great story of God's redemption.

2. As I preach from the Old Testament, is there anything in my sermon that a faithful Jew could not affirm?

This question reminds me to consider whether I am approaching the Old Testament from a distinctly Christian perspective. It increases my desire to show the congregation how the gospel is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.

3. As I preach from the New Testament, is there anything in my sermon that a Mormon could not affirm?

This question reminds me to examine whether or not my admonitions are rooted in the gospel or in morality. It points me toward Christ as Savior, not just Christ as example and helper.

4. Am I addressing this topic or cultural issue from a distinctly Christian point of view?

This question challenges both conservative and liberal talking points and forces me back to the gospel of grace as the message that makes Christian preaching unique.

5. What is there in me/us (preacher and congregation) that will rebel against the truth of this text and how can I move us beyond that rebellion?

This question reminds me that God's Word must capture my heart and affections before I can properly proclaim it to the congregation. It also helps me to look for obstacles that would keep us from obedience.

6. How does the truth I am proclaiming equip Christ's church to be on mission for the kingdom of God?

This question helps me look past doctrine for doctrine's sake, and causes me to focus on missional application of biblical truth.

About the Mission of the Church

7. If our church were to cease to exist, would anyone in the community be affected? Would anyone mourn the loss?

This question challenges a view of the church that exists only for itself and its members. It forces us to ask hard questions regarding our impact as a body of believers in the world God has placed us.

8. What would the result be if everyone in our church shared the gospel as often as I do?

This question challenges me in regards to personal evangelism. Am I asking church members to do something I myself am not doing regularly? Am I modeling evangelistic faithfulness?

9. What are the unique needs of our community that our church members could address as part of providing a platform for proclaiming the gospel?

This question challenges me to see community engagement as an opportunity to build a platform upon which to present the gospel faithfully. It also causes me to look for the ways God has gifted individuals in our churches to faithfully represent Christ in areas of need.

10. Are the programs and activities of our church the best way to spend our time, money, and energy to spread the gospel locally and globally?

This question challenges us to look at our programs and ask difficult questions related to our church's mission. We shouldn't be satisfied with relying on the good things we do if those good things do not aid us in fulfilling our primary calling: to fulfill the Great Commission.

11. Am I focused primarily on training people to bring the lost to church, where I will present the gospel? Or am I focused on equipping people to share the gospel throughout the week in their workplace, neighborhood, and schools?

This question challenges us to see evangelism as a life-long exercise, and not merely an event-driven practice done by professionals.

What about you? What questions do you ask yourself regularly as you seek to faithfully fulfill your calling?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Whoevers of the World

John 3:15 - 17 (NKJV) 15that whoever believes in [the Son of Man] should £not perish but have eternal life.  16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
There are three things I see in this passage.  Two are actually the same; the idea of WHOEVER Believes.  Jesus twice states that WHOEVER believes will not perish but have eternal life.  So, who are the WHOEVER Jesus refers to?  My old Websters New Collegiate Dictionary says this about whoever "what ever person : no matter who". 


[hoo-ev-er] Show IPA
pronoun; possessive whos·ev·er; objective whom·ev·er.
1. whatever person; anyone that: Whoever did it should be proud. Ask whoever is there. Tell it to whomever you like.
2.  no matter who: I won't do it, whoever asks.
3.  who? what person? (used to express astonishment, disbelief, disdain, etc.): Whoever is that? Whoever told you such a thing?

So from this I would say that WHOEVER is ANYONE WHO BELIEVES!  So; to whom is our mission?  ANY ONE!  WHOMEVER!

This idea most have been important to Jesus in that Jesus uses the phrase twice in His speaking with Nicodemus and answering Nicodemus' questions.  Therefore if we are followers of Jesus Christ the WHOEVERS must be important to us.

The third thing I see is that God loved the world, the WHOEVERS, so much that God was willing to give up God's only Son for them to have eternal life.  So, God loves the WHOEVERS; should not those who say we follow God and God's Only Son Jesus be willing to love the whoevers also?  God and Jesus did not define those whom they loved; why should we?  Do not hear me saying that I have this concept of loving the WHOEVERS down or that I am doing the loving of the WHOEVERS in my mission field perfectly; I am not doing it perfectly if at all; but with God's power and the Holy Spirit help I will and we can love the WHOEVERS!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Harvest is Ready!!

Luke 10:1 - 9 (NKJV) 1After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.  2Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.  3Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.  4Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.  5But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’  6And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.  7And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.  8Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.  9And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 

As I look at this passage I see Jesus giving wise counsel to the 70 and to us.  People need to feel loved and cared for by us before they will allow us to minister to them. There are things in this  passage that we as a missional people need to do in order to minister to a lost world.  The four things below that end in "lost" were shared with me a number of years ago; by whom I do not remember and for that I am sorry in that I would like to give them credit but as a preacher once told me when I said I might just "steal" his sermon and not give him credit "Give God the credit; it wasn't mine in the first place!"
  1. Bless those who are lost.  Jesus says to " first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ While we may not always be dealing with people who do not know Jesus this practice would still be a wise one.  If the house/person to whom we speak is a brother or sister in Christ then we have blessed a member ofthe family with God's peace and that person may just be in need of that.  If not we have begun the process of bringing a BIGGER blessing to this persons life.
  2. Fellowship with the lost.  At this point you are going "WHAT?"  Jesus says "remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give."  Not only are we to eat and drink what they set before us (O Boy?!?) but we are to live with them!!  I wonder; what that would look like?  Does that mean; going to the places your co-workers go after work?  Going to bars and clubs?  I do not know remember this blog is called "Old Man's Wonderings" for a reason!!
  3. Meet the needs of the lost.  Jesus says that NOW we are ready to start what we call ministry (I think Jesus would say we started at point one but again I think a bit out of the box!) Jesus says "heal the sick there [in  that city]".  I think that feeding the hungry there; clothing the unclothed there; helping the addicted there; would fit here are well
  4. Proclaim the GOOD NEWS WITH the lost.  ". . .say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’".  We may simply say that the reason we have done what we have done is because we love Jesus and Jesus loves them and desire to have a relationship [a friendship] with them.  We might even get a chance to tell them that Jesus is the one in control of our lives and that they could allow Jesus to be in control of their life as well.
There is another thing I see though; most of the church [the Body of Christ] are in the barn [the church building].  How does one cut the harvest when one stays in the barn?

I encourage us to get our sickle sharp and then get out of the barn and go cut the harvest; because as Jesus said "The harvest truly is great . . ."

Friday, November 25, 2011

An atheist gives words of wisdom to us Missional folks!!

This is a good video on how we ought to handle ourselves as missional people.
Penn of "Penn and Teller" make a great point; while I am not in agreement with him on God; his word will make us think about what we do and what we should/need to do.  Thanks to Casey's Critical Thinking for blogging this video.  

The Bible, the internet, the iPod or iPad, nook or kindle and living Missional

Lisa Miller on the CNN Religion blog speaks of the increase in digital Bible apps and how these just might pose a threat to the church as we know it; she says;
Just like the 500-year-old Protestant Reformation, which was aided by the advent of the printing press and which helped give birth to the King James Bible, changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.
This blogger is not sure that this could or will happen yet wonders that if it does is it  bad thing?  If the church "as we know it" is brought down by Bibles on Ipads/Ipods/smartphones, I would have to wonder just what shape the church was in, in the first place?  I do think that this addition to the churches resource base is a good thing.  The Bible on your phone, tablet or whatever devise that is in your pocket will make/give the missional Christian a tool for
  1. Sharing the message of Jesus 
  2. Building up the Body of Christ
  3. Improving one's own relationship with one's God
As the developer of the  Youversion realized as he sat in O'Hara wishing he had his Bible; those with the Bible app will be able to read anywhere anytime they wish.  How can this be a bad thing?

She later  states:
In that vein, digital technology gives users the text, plain and simple, without the interpretive lens of established authorities. And it lets users share interpretations with other non-authorities, like family members, friends and coworkers.
And I ask what is the problem here?  A believer or a seeker, with the Bible, reading and interpreting God's Word?  What a novel idea!  I wish more of my congregations, those I have pastored and the one in which I am now a member, had more members and attenders who were willing to do just this, "read, mark and inwardly digest"1 God's Word.  Then share that "inwardly digested" scripture with "like family members, friends and coworkers"!
With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures - otherwise known as “church” - in favor of a more individual connection with God.
Well Ms. Miller if this scripture on your iPhone and iPad is what it takes to get you to have a "more individual connection with God" works for me!  We all need a "more individual [personal] connection with God"; that connection is called a Personal Relationship with Jesus!!  If we have that and are REALLY CLOSELY CONNECTED then just maybe we can keep this world from going to hell!  Just maybe, we, the Body of Christ, will, if we are "more individual connection with God", start to take the invitation of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 to heart and we will GO! Make converts!

Just a thought!2 and a old man's wonderings!

1. A saying from one of my favorite Seminary Professors; usually indicating the presence of said material on a test or quiz!
2. A remark commonly made by the Reverend Doctor Arthur Jaggard III; when making an obviously simple point that needed emphasis!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have an Attitude

Philippians 2:5 - 11 (NKJV) 5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Not long after moving to Southeast Kansas, I had an experience with a rabbit which I will not forget! I was not hunting at the time but I and my wife were returning from a trip to the mall i a larger community.  We saw a pair of rabbits sitting in the road and as we approached I slowed to all them to get off the road.  The smaller of the pair did run into the ditch but the larger rabbit stood her, at least I assume a female, ground.  The rabbit began to jump straight up and in two jumps that rabbit was windshield high; attacking this thing, a 1995 Chev, coming to kill her and her baby.  Now that is an attitude!  This rabbit chose the wrong time to have an attitude but yet I have to respect her attitude of her ability to fight this two ton beast!

This passage calls us to have the same attitude or mindset as Christ.  The attitude is one of while knowing who He was Christ was willing to give up the godhead in order for us to have salvation.

What are you willing to give up so someone can find salvation?  Time?  Money? Reputation?  Position in society?  Your/my pew in church?  The style of worship we prefer?  The way the worship center/sanctuary looks?   For whom are we willing to die?  For what  are you (or I) willing to die?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NCV) 18and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, my pastor; The Reverend Doctor Joe Hyde, used this verse along with the two ahead of it as his text.  He pointed out that we needed to give thanks for the Obvious things; those things that happen every day that we may not think that much about.  We just expect these things to happen; like breathing, getting up, having a job, or a home.  The things that are always there and we do not miss but that we would miss if suddenly those things were missing!  Give thanks for the obscure things.  These are the things that go on around us that we have think about in order to see yet we also take for granted.

The last thing he spoke of were the Objectionable things.  These are the things we spot within seconds of them occurring.  An example he gave was from Corrie Ten Boom's life.  The fleas in the housing of death camps.  This example, for me is the most telling of what the objectionable things can be.  Fleas, make one itch; their bite are annoying and all in all they are a pain to get rid of!  Yet, the fleas for the Ten Boom sisters did a couple of things; without the fleas they would not have been able to keep their Bible; they would not have been able to read their Bible nor could they have lead the Bible studies in the death camp housing.  If you to not know or do not remember the story; the guards were afraid of/did not desire to be infested with the fleas therefore they did not do the greatest search of the prisoner coming in the camp and the guards also did not enter the housing because of the fleas; which meant what went on in the housing for the most part was unseen by the authorities.
As I look at the giving thanks for the Obvious things I see a need to improve.  I do not have a really thankful attitude at 5 or 6 a.m. as I start my work day; I really do not have that thankful of an attitude at most hours some days.  As for the objectionable things, while I do not have to deal with fleas or Nazi Death Camp guards, there are those things in life that are the fleas.  Customers who are a pain; co-workers who are worse than the aformentioned customers!  Days when things just are not going as planned.  Yet those things are there for God to use to shape and change my life. 
A guy I know blogged about John Piper's essay on cancer.  Rev. Piper takes an objectionable thing, cancer, and gives some advice that to me is mind blowing and it will definately expand one's thinking on the "objectionable thing" of life.  I see many things that could replace the word "Cancer" in Piper's booklet!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I have My Rights!!

How many times have we heard those words "I HAVE MY RIGHTS!!"?  We Americans, at least those of us in the United States, like our Rights.  I have heard people say that certain things are our God given rights! 

We have the Declaration of Independence which reads in part:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, . . .
From the Supreme Court discision in Miranda Vs. Arizon (and others) we get "The Miranda Rights" we all hear on police shows and/or heard if arrested or detained by Law enforcement.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Have you every thought about our  rights as believers?  I had not really until we started a program at church aimed at a couple of things which I will not go into but the title of the program is "Fresh Start".  One of the devotionals for the week include this passage
Genesis 26:17 - 33 (NCV) 17So Isaac left that place and camped in the Valley of Gerar and lived there.  18Long before this time Abraham had dug many wells, but after he died, the Philistines filled them with dirt. So Isaac dug those wells again and gave them the same names his father had given them.  19Isaac’s servants dug a well in the valley, from which a spring of water flowed.  20But the herdsmen of Gerar argued with them and said, “This water is ours.” So Isaac named that well Argue because they argued with him.  21Then his servants dug another well. When the people also argued about it, Isaac named that well Fight.  22He moved from there and dug another well. No one argued about this one, so he named it Room Enough. Isaac said, “Now the LORD has made room for us, and we will be successful in this land.” 23From there Isaac went to Beersheba.  24The LORD appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. I will bless you and give you many descendants because of my servant Abraham.”  25So Isaac built an altar and worshiped the LORD there. He also made a camp there, and his servants dug a well. 26Abimelech came from Gerar to see Isaac. He brought with him Ahuzzath, who advised him, and Phicol, the commander of his army.  27Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to see me? You were my enemy and forced me to leave your country.” 28They answered, “Now we know that the LORD is with you. Let us swear an oath to each other. Let us make an agreement with you  29that since we did not hurt you, you will not hurt us. We were good to you and sent you away in peace. Now the LORD has blessed you.” 30So Isaac prepared food for them, and they all ate and drank.  31Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them away, and they left in peace. 32That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug, saying, “We found water in that well.”  33So Isaac named it Shibah£ and that city is called Beersheba even now.
This passage gives us an example of our rights; look at verse 18; the wells Isaac was reopening were dug by his Daddy!  By all rights the wells were his by inheritance!  Yet; each time the locals argued that the water was their's Isaac moved on and dug another well again the locals argued that the well was their's and Isaac and his people moved on.  They dug a third well; which they were able to use and keep.  You might at this point be saying "Old man what in the world are you wondering about?  What are you saying?"  

Well let me give you another example from the New Testament!  That would be the example of Jesus.  In the hours before and while on the cross we see Jesus give up his rights to His Godship and His Rights as an inocent person; remember Jesus was WITHOUT SIN!  If you want to see this example read Starting at Matthew 26:47.

Philippians 4:5 Give us another way to look at the idea "Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand." (NKJV)   We are not letting our gentleness be known if we are demanding our rights.  How can you let your gentleness be known in the coming days and months?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Missional Blogs

Thanks to Blind Begger and Brother Maynard and others for the list
I am in the process of verifing and up dateing links --- The Old Man

Brother Maynard has a good idea. He is interested in finding under-rated, under-appreciated, or under-valued emerging/missional blogs. He has started a list and asks that we add a couple of names. I’ve picked up the latest list and added the last four names.

To participate, copy this list into a new post on your own blog, and add the names you have to the bottom of the list, and encourage others to do the same. It could get fairly long, but that’s part of the point — helping us all discover those undervalued blog’s profile. Include these instructions with your post. When you’ve done that, leave a comment at Brother Maynard’s blog so he can keep track of who ends up participating.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thoughts promoted by another blogger about how Christians communicate with Others

I found this while reading the blog HOLY SOUP.  The whole of the post makes sense to me as I have been where Mr. Schultz speaks of the church representative in his post being!  And doing both of the things in lists in his post
Some church representatives react in a couple of common but unproductive ways:
  • They freeze. They seem stunned, bewildered and tongue-tied.
  • They argue. They attempt to dominate the conversation with crushing apologetics.
I have been and have seen other Christian in both of the above situation!  The question is how do we as missional people avoid these two extremes and speak to a world that  is at death's door?

Mr. Schultz gives us some good advise when he blogs:

So, if we care about reaching the community, we need to befriend the community—in meaningful, truly relational ways. Here are some simple ways to start:
  1. Get out of the church building, spend time with non-churched people, and form real, ongoing friendships with them.
  2. Challenge (and train) your members to do the same.
  3. Don’t view non-believers as your projects. Simply be friends.
  4. Listen, with genuine interest, to their views. Without judgment.
  5. Ask good questions. Doug Pollock, author of God Space, advocates “wondering questions,” such as, “I wonder how you came to that belief.”
  6. Earn respect and trust. Then be ready to receive the honest questions from your new friends. This is your chance to share how God works in your life.
The first to are a must if we are to meet those who do not know Jesus.  We the church have been too long hanging out in our big building, "knowing" we have the cure for the eternal death of the world.  All the world needs to do is come in and we will gladly tell them how to live!  Well first they, the world, are not going to, for the most part, come and break down the doors of the church to "find" the answer and the world does not know they NEED our answer!!

Number three is the only way we will ever get a chance to share "our answer, our cure" with the world.  Be their friend; let them see us, the Body of Christ, as normal people (OK as normal as any human can be!) and sooner or later they will ask a question to which Jesus is the answer (See #6).  First though we have to be a friend!!  #4 is like unto #3;  a friend usually does not judge you; is interested in you and your views.  Again the question will come and we can in love share why we would not do or why we do not believe that way and why we do and believe the way we do. 

Back when I was doing my training in Pastoral care and counseling #5 was called active listening.  We were taught to ask open ended questions.  The question(s) posed in #5 are also question that would assist us in non-judgemental responses and that would help us gain insight in to our friends who need Jesus.

We need to be in the world; part of life so we can bring health to those who need healing.  The first healing balm may not be that some one needs a relationship with Jesus (as strange as that may sound).  The first healing balm may be meeting a need for food on the table; clothes on the back; a way out of an abusive life.  As we meet the physical needs sometimes people realize the spiritual needs on their own.

Let us get out among the world and listen to them and find ways to meet their needs.  Physical and spiritual!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Life styles

About two years ago I made a lifestyle change.  The cause was stepping on a bathroom scale and seeing the number "290" appear in bright red numbers.  It was my weight!  I knew I was over weight, I had been ALL MY LIFE!  I had been creeping up for 260 to 265 to 270 from a low of 220 back in the mid 90's.  I had high blood pressure; High cholesterol  and diabetes.  I was literally eating myself to death!  So I made a life style change.  I made up my mind that I would not every DIEt again; instead I realized I needed to go on a LIVE-IT (thank you Richard Simmons for the term).  By that I mean that I would live a life of healthy eating and exercise.  I knew I had to
  1. Eat less
  2. Eat healthy
  3. Move more
Thank you to the person on Bike forum for the above simple but correct statement of a healthy life style.  To a point the change was simple; I began to log on a computer program what I ate, this helped in the area of eating less and the area of eating healthy.  I also started to walk on a daily basis.  The whole change thing is was also hard in that it required time; loging took time (my wife and I think that this is part of the reason a person loses weight!?!) and walking took time (this also helped in the eating less in that I did not have the food in the cupboards at home when I was out walking!!!!)  This lifestyle change is going/has gone well.  I am down to 180-185; most of my health issues are under control; as is my eating habits for the most part.  We will see if the change continues or not!!

As of last Sunday Morning I realized (again) that I have another lifestyle that I chose at around age 16.  That is the lifestyle of missional living; being an ambassor for Christ.

God made it clear that just as God had pointed out that I needed to have a lifestyle in the are of health; I also needed to have a lifestyle of missional living.  That I was called of God to be a missionary to the community in wich I live.  Not because I am an ordained pastor but becasue I am a believer; a follower of Jesus.  You see every person who claims the name Chistian has that call on their life. 

The question I ask myself and that I am asking you is " What are you willing to do with about this call?  We, you and I,  have two choices
  1. Ignore the call of God and DO nothing while a world goes to Hell
  2. Answer the call of God and get about sharing God's love with a world that is going to Hell
Now answering the call is up to us; what are WE GOING TO DO?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

JESUS' Marching Orders

Matthew 28:18 - 20 (NCV) 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me.  19So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  20Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.”

At the church I attend (and am also a member) we have been attempting to find God's mind on what our church, also known as the body of Christ that meets at 17th and Main in a certain community, needs  do to bring God glory.  I have seen a couple of things over the last week.

One is that we need to look at if those outside this group would "Know we are Christians by our love!" Both for those within and outside the group.  At times I am sorry to say that our love within is lacking and therefore OUR love without is not into good of shape either.  As I think about and pray about how we love those outside the group I have to say that we must not be doing a great job in that our rate of converts is not at all that good.  I we believe that the world is going to hell as we say we do and we chose a path that would keep us from going to hell; why would we not want to keep every one from going?  I am as bad as any other within the group about not having the passion to share (read the guts to share) Jesus with a dyeing world.  This leads to the second thing I have seen over the last week.

The second is that of Jesus' Marching Order to the Church; GO! Making converts of everybody!  Why? Because Jesus said; "All power has been given me in heaven and on earth.  This gives the people of God the energy, and ability as well as it should given us the desire to do what we are asked to do.  Jesus told his church to make converts; baptize those converts and then teach them to MAKE CONVERTS!  Jesus even goes on to say that He is with us to the end.  What are we waiting for?  We have the engraved invitation!  Why aren't we as a large group doing what Jesus (and God) has called us to do?  The reason may be we are scared?  We do not know how to make converts?  We may just simply not care!

So; if you have read this far into my non politically correct statements here and you claim to be a follower of Jesus the Messiah; I have one question: "What are you going to do about these orders?

Monday, November 14, 2011

On Being a Sacrifice

Romans 12:1 - 2 (NCV) 1So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.  2Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

Romans 12:1 - 2 (NIV) 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 As we began the Gun season for deer, a number of years ago, one of the guys, I hunted with lead us in devotion about being a sacrifice.  Truthfully, I did not think much about it that day or any other day sitting in the tree stand.  The idea did drift through but have much impact on me at that time.  Though it did work on me or should I say in me enough I wrote this piece at some point in the past.  (Just found it in a desk draw as I looked for something else.  The funny thing is God is again working on me in the same area; but that will me another post!!)
 The person God used did not use this passage but spoke of the Old Testament sacrifice and how we were called by God to give a sacrifice, ourselves, for thekingdomofGod.  This thought was dealing in me enough that it came out in the Bible Study I was leading as a Pastor of a small Southeast Kansas Church.
 The concept that plagued me was (still is) “What input the Sacrificial animal has in being the sacrifice.”  When I shared this thought with the church during the Bible Study I did so in the form of a question; “what input does the animal have in being the guest of honor?” kind of thing.  The group could not come up with an answer.
 In case you are having the same issue, problem; the animal has NO INPUT!  The animal is chose, set apart to be the sacrifice and then KILLED DEAD!
 God calls us to be a living sacrifice!  Living in the sense, we are still breathing and walking on the earth.  Sacrifice in that we are DEAD to OURSELVES; to OUR wants; to OUR Desires!
 Prayer: Father, we give ourselves to you as a SACRIFICE; willing to be killed dead to ourselves; to our wants to our desires.  LIVING to YOU; to YOUR want; YOUR DESIRES.  Living to share YOU with a world dying in sin.  In Jesus Name --- Amen