Saturday, June 28, 2014

Acts 17.1-9

This coming Sunday we will be focusing on Acts 17.1-9.  In this passage Paul & Silas go to Thessalonica.  While in Thessalonica they go to the Synagogue and argue for 3 days about how the Messiah was to suffer and rise from the dead.  Many people believed what they were saying ----- and not just the Jews ----- but also the Greeks.  Because of this many of the Jews became jealous (v5), and formed a mob and set the city in an uproar.  They went to the city government officials and said: "These people have been turning the world upside down" (v6).

Imagine just for a moment being the people that are accused of turning the world upside down?  What a great compliment that would be in today's day and age.  The church would be living into its peculiar and radical nature of proclaiming that there is another King ------ and it is not Caesar, or President Obama, or Shimon Peres, or Senator Kay Hagan, or Senator Richard Burr.  Instead our allegiance is to the God who overcame death, hell, and the grave.  Imagine the powerful establishment throughout our cities forming mobs to thwart this proclamation.  What a compliment that would be!

So my question is ------- why does this not happen? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

One Year

I have been contemplating a lot lately what a year can do.  We moved to Wilmington, NC on June 18th, 2013.  As a family we have thoroughly enjoyed the friends we have made, and the many doors of opportunity that have opened for us to be actively involved in the life of our community.  I feel like starting in a new place as a family has granted us a time to grow closer with each other. 

As a pastor I feel like this has been a year to grow in faith.  To peal away the many layers of what it means to be the church ------- and attempt to get down to the core -------- it is an intriguing and exhausting process.  Continuously I have people ask me how it is going?  I have learned that I don't even have the language to answer that.  For my vocabulary has changed ------ and that is mostly due to the fact that I can't use words like buildings, land, and money.  When you stop talking about buildings, land, and money ------- what are you left with? 

What you are left with is discipleship, but it is not a discipleship that is programatic or didactic or top-down management.  Instead it is a discipleship that is relational, compassionate, restorative, and eclectic.  It is a discipleship that has to do with following Jesus ------- because followers of Jesus actually follow Jesus.  Therefore, we do not follow buildings, land, money, programing, smoke machines, laser shows ------- which in many ways are just an expensive ad for something cheap.  Instead we follow a revolutionary Messiah who calls us to lay down our own lives for the benefit of others ------ for the common good. 

As I reflect upon this last year I have hope.  Hope for what the church universal can be.  For we are called to a life that is radical ------- but at the same time so simple.  We are called to a life that looks like Jesus ------- not to a life that is a never-ending committee meeting.  The Holy Spirit fills us with the power to embody hope to the world.  And in that calling to lay down our lives, we will find who we are truly to be.  This is the place where we have peeled back all of the distractions of what people have made the "church" ------- and instead we can go and be the church by being a sent people ------- for God so loves the world that he has sent us.