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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)

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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:

Not leading your family? How can you lead the church?

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

God instituted marriage before He instituted the church. That marriage unit is what makes the church function properly. Why don’t we understand this?

Look at what the ESV says in I Timothy 3:4-5 about an elder (overseer, pastor, or bishop) in regard to his OWN family: “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”

In other words, if you cannot manage the persons in your own household whom you are supposed to love, how will you manage the persons in the local expression of the body of Christ who belong to God? How will you love these people in your faith family when you do not love those in your blood family?

Strong stuff. But the admonition is clear: look at your pastor’s family. How is he doing with them? If not good, then he should strongly consider stepping down from the pastorate since this is a requirement for leadership in the church. Of course, every situation is different and must be determined by the governing body of leaders in a church so I am not the one who can make that determination. Just challenging you to think about it!

If we don’t do what the Lord says in His Word, how do we expect to see Him work in our lives, our families, and our churches?

-Mark (grateful that the men I know personally who are serving the Lord as elders meet this qualification and the others in I Tim. 3 and Titus)

Categories: family Tags: , , ,

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: ,

Rom. 12:2 – in the church!

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I find myself teaching biblical truths to Christians who mistakenly think it’s heresy because they are so conformed to the pattern of this church world. In other words, sometimes the Gospel seems like heresy to people who are not used to hearing it and watch more TV than they read their Bibles! Just a commentary on how distracted we all can be in our society since we have sports, hobbies, and other activities to pre-occupy our time and take us away from spending time with the Lord alone.

So, when you tell people that mankind is sinful and in desperate need of a Savior, and then that the Holy Spirit indwells a new believer to enable them to be transformed into the image of Christ, sometimes people are hearing this message for the first time. They did not realize that they did not have to stay stuck in bondage to sin.

Therefore, sometimes I must apply Romans 12:2 to Christians: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”**

Some Christians are conformed to this world and must be transformed in their thinking to find that perfect will of God. This is the primary message of compassionate, biblical counseling. People are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in partnership with God’s Word of truth.

-Mark (so grateful that God has transformed me, is transforming me, and will transform me – all for His glory alone)
**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ro 12:2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Church happens the least on Sundays

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

When I Corinthians 10:31 says, “do all things to the glory of God” it means all things. Think about it. When does church really happen? On Sunday morning during a one hour corporate worship hour? Is that when most of “church” happens?

I don’t think so.

Most of “church” happens every other day of the week. Church is not a one hour, one time worship event. That’s PART of it. But church is bigger. It’s the fellowship of believers. It’s encouragement. It’s a challenge to serve. It’s the actual actions of serving others in foreign and local missions. Church is the “called out ones” of God worshipping together and working together for the glory of God and to the benefit of others.

So what day does church most happen? If it’s only happening on Sundays for you, you are missing out.

-Mark (glad that we can worship God in spirit and in truth every day of the week, even on Mondays!)