New Year's Day wasn't such a happy new years for me. I needed to go to the sea.
Friday, January 6, 2017
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Monday, August 1, 2016
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Exposing The Emerging Church – No Church At All
Bass reverberates through the auditorium floor as a heavily bearded worship leader pauses to invite the congregation, bathed in the light of two giant screens, to tweet using #JesusLives. The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafts in from the lobby, where you can order macchiatos and purchase mugs boasting a sleek church logo. The chairs are comfortable, and the music sounds like something from the top of the charts. At the end of the service, someone will win an iPad.
Many churches have sought to lure millennials back by focusing on style points: cooler bands, hipper worship, edgier programming, impressive technology. Yet while these aren’t inherently bad ideas and might in some cases be effective, they are not the key to drawing millennials back to God in a lasting and meaningful way. Young people don’t simply want a better show. And trying to be cool might be making things worse.
Taking Christ out of Christianity
My friend and blogger Amy Peterson put it this way:
“I want a service that is not sensational, flashy, or particularly ‘relevant.’ I can be entertained anywhere. At church, I do not want to be entertained. I do not want to be the target of anyone’s marketing. I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.”
Millennial blogger Ben Irwin wrote: “When a church tells me how I should feel (‘Clap if you’re excited about Jesus!’), it smacks of inauthenticity. Sometimes I don’t feel like clapping. Sometimes I need to worship in the midst of my brokenness and confusion — not in spite of it and certainly not in denial of it.”
When I left church at age 29, full of doubt and disillusionment, I wasn’t looking for a better-produced Christianity.
I was looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity: I didn’t like how gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were being treated by my evangelical faith community.
I had questions about science and faith, biblical interpretation and theology. I felt lonely in my doubts. And, contrary to popular belief, the fog machines and light shows at those slick evangelical conferences didn’t make things better for me. They made the whole endeavor feel shallow, forced and fake.
****My Reply Here: A truer, more authentic Christianity is to follow the Christ of the Bible, not of our own making or want. Jesus died for all. He died for my sin while I was still a sinner.
He calls me now to repentance, to walk in newness of life, regenerated, forgiven. He tells me to “sin no more”. The homosexual people are sinners like me, if they repent and turn, like me, that are saved. For us both to go on in our sin is not to truly be saved, not regenerated.****
In other words, a church can have a sleek logo and Web site,
but if it’s judgmental and exclusive, if it fails to show the love of Jesus to all,
millennials will sniff it out. Our reasons for leaving have less to do with style and image and more to do with substantive questions about life, faith and community. We’re not as shallow as you might think.
****My Reply Here: Again, a Jesus of our own making. The Jesus of the Bible was love and He was judgement. There are absolutes. To not understand this, is to engage in another gospel or not a gospel at all.****
You can be dazzled by a light show at a concert on any given weekend, but church is the only place that fills a sanctuary with candlelight and hymns on Christmas Eve. You can snag all sorts of free swag for brand loyalty online, but church is the only place where you are named a beloved child of God with a cold plunge into the water. You can share food with the hungry at any homeless shelter, but only the church teaches that a shared meal brings us into the very presence of God.
What finally brought me back, after years of running away, wasn’t lattes or skinny jeans; it was the sacraments. Baptism, confession, Communion, preaching the Word, anointing the sick — you know, those strange rituals and traditions Christians have been practicing for the past 2,000 years. The sacraments are what make the church relevant, no matter the culture or era. They don’t need to be repackaged or rebranded; they just need to be practiced, offered and explained in the context of a loving, authentic and inclusive community.
But I believe that the sacraments are most powerful when they are extended not simply to the religious and the privileged, but to the poor, the marginalized, the lonely and the left out. This is the inclusivity so many millennials long for in their churches, and it’s the inclusivity that eventually drew me to the Episcopal Church, whose big red doors are open to all — conservatives, liberals, rich, poor, gay, straight and even perpetual doubters like me.
****My Reply Here: And sinners like me but not living in my sin, not perpetuating the decision day by day that Jesus died to save me from. Living in regeneration, a sinner, saved by grace. Living as acceptable to Him because of Christ’s blood shed for me.
I applaud the “millennials” out there, keep up the rage, search for truth. I pray for the gift of faith and understanding to be yours.
Jesus said “go, and sin no more”.****
Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’
By Rachel Held Evans April 30, 2015
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
As the world around us including the christian church waxes and wanes, where knowledge and wisdom is flying out the politically correct door faster than ever before, it seems all too hard to keep ourselves and those around us focussed on the person of Christ Jesus.
We thank God daily for our faith and the knowledge He has gifted us with, the ability to understand and to obey His Word. Continually around us we see decay and change. It's difficult to focus some days yet we do. In day by day Bible reading, prayer and supplication (asking) we seek to continually sit at His feet to do His will, to obey and to be pleasing to Him. Not because we have to but because we want to.
Change and decay in all around I see,
help of the helpless O' abide with me.
Once we were apart of a community that prided itself on outward appearances in all manner of ways as a temperature gauge for our faith. They would deny it yet their actions spoke clearer than their protestations. Now we are surrounded with almost the opposite problem. Outward doesn't matter and our lazy, sinful selves are indulged and even apologised for. Just this past week I heard "aim lower", "ask God to forgive you for being too hard on yourself .."
If I'm confused and dismayed how much more those of little faith, yet faith indeed, and those who are "seekers" that is, they walk into church for the first time or are sometime comers just lurking at the corners of Christianity?
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
God takes Himself very seriously. He is love and He is truth. There is judgement. It matters what you believe. It matters who you say Jesus Christ is. We can't have it all ways as we seem to want it.
Notice there because I did, Jesus didn't worry so much what others said about who He was, He said "but who do you say I Am".
So who do you say He is. It matters.
It's so rare to have this taught and spelled out and to be led through His Word the Bible on this issue and all that comes from this central truth. The sadness that is the watered down christian church, strong words yet we are just fodder to this depraved, fallen world.
Jesus knew didn't He. He said "I will never leave or forsake you". Over the years of homeschooling and conservative faith we have oftentimes been criticised for isolating ourselves and our children so that "when they get into the real world they won't cope". Firstly the real world is living one day at a time with the Creator Himself, the one true God. Secondly, not living and knowing the truth would make it even harder to try to understand the world and its ways. The best gift we can give our children, the best hope for resilience - that buzz word amongst child raising techniques today - is to have a living hope and belief in a real and loving God.
So what is salvation?
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Why is it, that we celebrate samhain? (otherwise known as halloween? Isn't this is a dark pagan celebration? (Google it). Why do we think it is OK to mix the holy with the profane in the name of "candy or tract ministry"? Does this kind of ministry really bring people to the love of Jesus? When a tree springs up will it produce any fruit not of it's own kind? Are there other celebrations with mixture that we need to examine?
Why is it, that we go through a huge celebration of halloween (I refuse to capitalize this evil celebration) and then skip right to Christmas? What happened to Thanksgiving? When we do celebrate Thanksgiving, are we truly grateful or is it just about the turkey, the eats, the football, and the pre-black Friday sales?
Why is it, that we get so upset about the term Happy Holidays (which actually originally meant Holy Days. Can't we see that only we can take Christ from our own Christmas? Is the intent of our heart really about showing the love of Jesus when we spitefully say "Merry Christmas" to someone just trying to make a living? Why does it make us so angry that the sales people aren't saying "Merry Christmas? Did we forget that we can say it any time we like as long as the intent in our hearts is right. Aren't we, the light bearers to the world, the ones who need to say it lovingly anyway?
Why is it that we are so surprised that the world is evil and dark? Haven't we been reading the scripture about this? Haven't we heard Father God tell us this? Why do we expect the world of people without the benefit of the Holy Spirit to act in love? Did we forget that this is why we are here? Are we not called to bring love and light to the dark world because we do have the Holy Spirit in us?
Why is it, that we get angry, rant on Facebook, argue and protest when we see evil laws and rules being made? Are we not called to share the love of Christ with people who are caught by the evil world? Why do we expect unsaved people to make Godly laws? If we brought those lawmakers into the Kingdom of God wouldn't things change?
Did we forget that the people of the world are not our enemies but our enemies are the spirits that have a hold on those people? How does it change anything for those people if we empower those enemy spirits with our anger, judgement or hatred? Wouldn't it be more effective to empower God with our acts of faith, love, and hope towards those people? If those people came into the Kingdom wouldn't things change? What are we doing to help bring them into the Kingdom? Are we loving them in?
Why is it that we get upset and protest the removal of prayer from public events as if any law or rule or policy can actually prevent us from praying? Are we invoking our right to pray by actually doing it in the secret place? Why is it so important to lose the microphone for this? Does God hear us any better from the microphone? Is it more important that our prayers be heard by others who can not answer them or by God who can?
Why are we so angry about statues, documents, and pictures of the 10 Commandments being removed from courthouses? Did we forget that God writes his law on our hearts? Isn't that where it truly matters? Does the removal of a cross take away the power of the cross at Calvary? Do those statues, documents, or pictures actually win believers to the Kingdom or is it us ministering to them that wins them?
Why do we hate the business owners (Starbucks, Target, etc) or customers (gay, Muslims, pagan,or any other) that hate us? Is that how we win souls for Christ? Can we not still stand on our beliefs without having to pound others with them? When did we become a church of protesters instead of a church of prayer warriors? Why do we entreat the courts of the world rather than the courts of God? Do we really believe in the power of God to save? If we do then why are we hating on those business owners or customers rather than looking at them as someone to be loved into the kingdom? Why do we feel the need to state any reason why we are doing something or not doing something such as making a wedding cake? Does that share the love of God? Wouldn't the lives of some customers be changed if they were truly loved better by Christian's than anyone else?
Why do we believe the reports of the news, the Internet, and the world rather than the Good News of God? Why do we let the facts drag us down when God tells us to believe the Truth instead. Why not demand those facts to bow to the Truth? Why not stand in faith until we see that happen if we really believe the Good News?
I understand that rights, politics and patriotism are the why behind some of these things but when did the scripture or God Himself tell us that our rights, politics and patriotism are more important than His ways? I'm not suggesting that we neglect these things at all but I am saying that we can not become confused and depend on these things. These things will come and go throughout history but the victory and inheritance that we receive from Christ will always stand. If we truly believe that, then shouldn't our dependence be placed on Him and shouldn't our actions reflect Him?
If God is truly bigger than anything and He lives in our hearts, then wouldn't He show through us?
I must confess that these questions hit me hard. I had to repent and change my thinking because it was definitely off. It is amazing how all those feelings of anger, frustration, and just general grrrrrrrrrrr began to change into peace, love and joy as my thinking changed. It is all about perspective. We can be overcomers looking down at the devil from a Heavenly perspective of "this is won" or we can be victims with the devil's foot on our necks pushing us down. We get to choose which just by what we think.
Taken from http://www.texasdaisey.com/2015/11/an-open-letter-to-christians-everywhere.html
My Response to Debbie: Good for you. Amen. But "why" is because His church is weak. There is a famine in the land, a famine of His Word, preaching, teaching and therefore understanding, knowledge. A famine of conversion too. How many aren't saved in the pews. They believe but they aren't saved. Pitifully sometimes because no one has asked them and they don't know any better. We need Christ preached from His Word not our own programs and agendas. Like I said, good for you. Thank you for your boldness. Keep on good and faithful servant, Diane
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Every day for the past 20 years to the praise of God I have had a quiet time with my Lord and Saviour. I miss some days, forget others but He calls me so quietly and reminds me. He never lays guilt on me only the desire to share myself and my day and my time with Him.
As the seasons of life come and go and change, my times of study do too. For the past little while I have taken to morning prayer times in the dark before dawn and the pitter, patter of not so little feet begins and a time of reading the Bible in the afternoons. I leave my Bible in its Bible bag on the coffee table in the family room. It's a witness to the children that this is a viable option of a book to read and not an old fashioned boring text I reef out of my handbag for Sunday services. It's also a reminder of my commitment to read daily.
Bible study also takes place in groups. Over the years this has been a perfect way to meet people and get to know them so much more and better than on a Sunday morning over a cup of tea and nice small, yet inevitably shallow, talk. At present I am not in a group and I am suffering because of it. That may be a good thing to schedule to begin and commit to weekly for 2016.
You see I can notice when I'm not in a group, sharing and caring, praying and relating to other ladies at all stages of their walk with our Lord.
I know that ... "we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." 1 Corinthians 3:9
As I work out my salvation - not by what I do as in good works, but by how I walk daily before God in communion, relationship with Him because of Christ blood shed for me - I am aware of the continual struggle to put Christ first and to face each temptation and trial in this life day by day trusting in Him alone. Knowing, by faith, the outcome is for my good and that what He allows and plans for me is "well with my soul".
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:13
Sunday, July 12, 2015
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD ..
Jeremiah 9:24 excerpt