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interesting quote about the church from…

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is an excerpt from a well written letter from a source that might surprise you. Read it and then find out who this is at the end of the blog. The entire letter can be read at:

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/letter.html

Addressed to “My Dear Fellow Clergymen:”

“…There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when
the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what
they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that
recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat
that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians
entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought
to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside
agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they
were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in
number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be
“astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an
end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things
are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual
voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status
quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power
structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and
often even vocal–sanction of things as they are….” – This is an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr’s letter from a Birmingham jail…written April 16, 1963.

Whether you like MLK or not, I think this excerpt from his letter could be applied to many issues today. Where is the church? Why do we allow the status quo without speaking out against what is wrong? Who are we trying to please: God or man? (Gal. 1:10). And more questions could be asked.

My thoughts are that following Jesus leads to an unwavering devotion to God to do what He has called you to do. It will look crazy to the world (I Cor. 1:18) and maybe even to church-going Christians but it is the only logical response to the words of Christ. How committed are you?

-Mark (thinking critically about the American church, of which I am a part)

June theme: Critical Thinking about American Church

June 1, 2011 Leave a comment

In June, I want to challenge us to think about our churches in America versus the church we read about in the book of Acts. Where are they similar and where do they differ?

I couldn’t think of a fancy theme or anything that rhymes with June so this month is simply about the American church.

I love the local church and Jesus’ church will prevail over the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18). There is no stopping the body of Christ! So, let’s be sure that when we think critically to evaluate our American churches in June that we are NOT talking about the true body of Christ which is an unstoppable force!

-Mark (loving the local church and wanting to be honest about who we are and where we need to go)

Categories: Church Life Tags:

God is all about 1 thing…

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

God is all about His own glory.

Not your glory. Not my glory. Not your happiness. Not my happiness. God is about His glory in and through all things.

And He wants you and I to be all about His glory, too!

Jesus was all about God’s glory. John 12:28 reminds us of what Jesus said and how the Father responded (ESV): “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”*

-Mark (are you about His glory?)

*The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001 (Jn 12:28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Are you self-sufficient?

December 29, 2010 1 comment

One of the desires of sinful mankind is self-sufficiency. It’s reinforced in modern America. But is it biblical and godly to be self-sufficient? I say “no.” We are to be Christ-sufficient or better yet, we are to find our sufficiency in Christ alone.

We need to depend (trust) in God and not ourselves (Prov. 3:5-8). We need to depend upon God. We are not self-sufficient though we like to think we are and can be, but it’s simply a lie of Satan and this world to tell us that we do not need God or His Word.

Did you realize that Adam and Eve were created to depend and trust in God’s Word even before the Fall of mankind in Genesis 3? Before sin, mankind was created as a being who must depend upon God alone and to obey/trust His Word. Look at what happened when man disobeyed in Genesis 3: consequences to sin and death/suffering, etc. The result in our world today is tragic and we are daily reminded of the sin of our first parents to be “self-sufficient” and trusting in their own ideas rather than the Word of God.

It is hard to live by faith in America but God is allowing us to experience some hard consequences now that will bring us to our knees showing us we are not self-sufficient but ever dependent upon the King of Kings.

-Mark (don’t be self-sufficient and don’t even desire it; desire Christ and find your sufficiency in Him alone)

Helps to post the link: Francis Chan on the church today!

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I didn’t post this link before. Here is Francis Chan on the state of the church today. Good stuff! If the above link does not work, just cut and paste this one below:

http://theresurgence.com/2010/04/15/francis-chan-at-nw-ministry-conference-2009

-Mark (would very much like to meet Pastor Chan soon)

Francis Chan clip on changes we need to make

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Categories: Church Life Tags: ,

Being a Daniel in Babylon

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

This is one of the more important blogs I’ve written. No kidding!

We are all living in Babylon in some way. Everyone has a Babylon they live in whether it’s at work, home, school, or even at church. They feel like an outsider (Daniel) living in a foreign land (Babylon) with foreign values and foreign ideas. As a Daniel, they stand out as “different” to the culture around them but they are just “right” in God’s eyes.

Where is your Babylon? Are you called to be different from your work, school, home, or even church? Are they wanting you to bow down (or join in) with ungodliness?

I think we are called to be a Daniel in Babylon. Daniel was a Hebrew with Jewish values and it was a challenge to live in Babylon yet not be a Babylonian in how he acted, thought, and spoke. As Christians, we are to be in the world but not of the world. In other words, we live in the world so we are familiar with the culture around us yet we are NOT to partake in worldly things that oppose the Lord and His Word. We are to be obedient to Him.

James 4:4 tells us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” which is a strong statement that we should not want the things of this world. So, when you are in a Babylon situation, what do you do? Move out of Babylon? No! Stay there but keep your eyes on Jesus by studying His Word and worshipping Him alone. Glorify Him by living your life in a “set apart” or “holy” manner of living so that others will see your good works and glorify the Lord who is in heaven. In other words, they will see how you are different and be drawn to Christ. That’s the goal – eternal life for others!

Sometimes, we are tempted to leave Babylon. I say that is a wrong view of suffering for the glorify and purpose of Christ. We are to live in Babylon, not as a Babylonian, but as Christians who are called out of the world of Babylon to be different as ambassadors of Christ.

One more thing. I hate to see churches do outreach events without Christ and His Word. What good is that? So you have an Easter egg hunt and invite hundreds of people to the event but if you fail to tell them about Jesus, what good is that? Proclaim Christ because He alone is worthy to be praised!

-Mark (trying to be a faithful Daniel in my Babylon situations)