31 May 2009

I like this...

Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA says:


The church was never meant to be withdrawn, isolated or exist only to meet its own needs. Instead, the church is to be in the world, but not of the world (John 17). Being “missional” means that we will exist for the sake of inviting others into Kingdom living and eternal life. Vintage Faith doesn’t have a missions department; it is mission.

“..you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  - Acts 1:8

To grow our MISSION:

  • We will take the commands of Jesus seriously and do whatever it takes to see others experience the Kingdom of God and the good news of Jesus
  • We will remain pure and holy, yet never disconnecting from the culture around us
  • We will passionately strive to see those who have rejected the Christian faith experience the light and love of Jesus through us
  • We will see missions as holistic -- both local and global and involved in social justice issues
  • We will continue to develop the Abbey Coffee, Art and Music Lounge as an art gallery, coffeehouse, and music venue in order to be a positive light in the area

27 May 2009

I like this...

Somehow I recently found this as a values statement at Wayfarer in Spartanburg, SC.

Christ before Christianity
… because following a person is different than fitting in to an institution

Rhythm before Regimen
… because greatness must be inspired before it can be managed

Wrestle before Settle
… because easy is not always best

Go before Know
… because sometimes the Promised Land is only visible as you begin to walk

We before Me
…because I may be good but we are better

I'm anxious to see how it is worked out in the church life!

25 May 2009

Could you read (and be impacted by) a book when the author's name is straight out of Star Wars?

I am reading with great relish Skye Jethani's The Divine Commodity. I am reading it with relish and a consumptive attitude even though the subtitle is "Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity." The irony of it all!

And I find it a great and wonderful read, not because it challenges me, not because it confounds me and not because it causes me to think. Mainly I am enthralled by it because it affirms all that I know and believe about the mystery and wonder of the Church.

And my lament over where we find ourselves today.

One of the quotes that I keep reading over and over:

The influence of consumerism has led us to confuse institutions for people, means for mission, and programs for the Spirit's power. (p.103)

(I should have written that! Or maybe I did somewhere else. Or what I said was really close!)

I am so concerned about the whole reification process in the church over the last 50+ years. The church rather than being mysteriously a united body of different parts joined spiritually to the Head - Christ Himself - has become a lumbering institution of programs and attractional strategies that somehow are supposed to induce spirituality.

"Come. Sit. Watch. Listen. Give. It will make you spiritual."

But then if skipping hell "making heaven our home" and getting our great Care-giver in the sky to meet out needs (read that "wants")becomes the goal, what else can we expect?

Forgive me. But read the book.

Everybody gets to play!

Recently spoke at Harvest Church in Pensacola, FL on "Everybody Gets's to Play." (click on Focus series) The audio begins with an interview with Bill and Chris Robinson (IGM graduates '08) who have now gone to be with the Lord... in Costa Rica!

It was a quick look at why everybody gets to play, more than a how everybody get's to play.

It was a fun morning...

I finished by giving these points:

If in deed everybody gets to play – including me…

  1. Everything I do must agree with the Mission of Jesus…Redeem (REDEMPTION)... Reconcile (RECONCILLIATION)... Restore (RESTORATION)
  2. My ultimate intent must be to "Glorify God – reflect who He is – and to benefit others..."
  3. Somewhere there must be a certain element of sacrifice? The laying down of our life...
  4. I must play as a disciple…
  5. Playing involves a certain amount of faith
  6. Does my part agree with the Kingdom Principle? (Lordship of Jesus, Kingdom of God)
  7. Is may part bigger than me and mine? Are the results long-term or short-term?

Between the BIG THINGS that I cannot do, and the SMALL THINGS that I will not do, there is the possibility that I will actually do nothing…

So, everybody gets to play! Will we? Can we?

12 May 2009

So what is Spiritual Maturity?

I have moved a posting from Facebook here so we can perhaps discuss things better...

I began by saying:

I'd be interested in how you define "Spiritual Maturity." For years - in a pre-consumer, or at least quasi-consumer world - I said it's when you produce more than you consume... But I'm not sure that's adequate...
But look at the research...

Many Churchgoers and Faith Leaders Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity

Casey Corbin

Casey Corbin May 11 Good to think about. I emailed it out to get other's thinking about it too and get their responses.

George Alexander

George Alexander May 11 I know it's not a complete answer, and I can object to it too, but I find it helpful, just the same, to define maturity as the balance of knowing the word and implementing/doing the word. If "knowing" is along the horizontal axis and "doing" is up the vertical, then maturity is the 45 degree line. By that definition, someone who is saved a short... Read More time and lives it can be more "mature" than someone who's saved a while, knows a lot, but isn't a "doer" of it. Such a person typically feels mature because of knowledge, but in reality is just old!

This brings up many things that a wrong with the way we do our faith...

Here are some of my thoughts...

Spiritual maturity is not a place you arrive nor a state that you achieve. Spiritual maturity is being at the place you should be in your spiritual journey. You can't get ahead of yourself (interesting picture in my head!) but you can certainly lag behind where you should be in the journey.

The immature look for a stopping point, a summit, a place to camp. But the truly mature - though often tempted to slow down and even stop - see the whole of life as a dangerous, intriguing but amazingly fulfilling journey into self-knowledge reflected in their knowledge of God.

And "knowledge" in a Bible sense is not about something known in theory, but something known through experience. You can't grow spiritually by reading about it. The "reading" tells us what to expect as we step our. The "reading" helps us to "understand" but does not actually give us the "knowing" that we see as maturity. Maturity comes from stepping out in faith to experience God's direction, purpose and life. As George says, it's about both "knowing" and "doing."

Many of us are content with knowing about spiritual things, but have never experienced them.

Sometimes we equate "spiritual maturity" with "holiness." But more and more I understand "holiness" not as a state of being, but an act and understanding of "mission." To make something "holy" in a NT sense, is to set it apart for a special use. We are made holy by the blood of Jesus, and consequently set apart for his purposes. (I also see "righteousness" as a "relationship" word... but that's another story...)

And sometimes we see "spiritual maturity" in terms sanctification, the process by which our justification is worked out in our lives. But if we're not careful, we begin to think linear and lose the great mystery of sanctification - God interacting in our lives!

Just some thoughts. Certainly not exhaustive. But enough to open up for discussion.