Category Archives: fellowship

worship

Lamenting is Worship Part 1 (but there’s 6 more parts – so if you like it see the related videos)

“Through Paul God tells us we should weep with those who weep. Enter redemptively with them whether we are suffering or not…  How do we create a safe sanctuary for those who are suffering?”

Where is the place for this? Why are all our worship songs so “happy”? I really struggle with this in current corporate fellowship at “church”.

Background: this was Michael Card speaking back in 2009 at a Worship Summit. I was connected to him when he came to Richmond and my dear friend Tim in some way mentioned it, and I came with him. Beautifully he played the piano and worshipped God at the same time as telling the story of the Bible. For me, by far one of the best worship “experiences” I have been part of. So many of Michael’s songs resonate with me, especially El Shaddai – live with Michael Card and Amy Grant.

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finding my way back to Jesus

I’m just starting to read “Mere Churchianity” … which follows in the line of other books I’ve read and written about, such as “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore”. This actually I probably recommend more too.

There was a particular part that resonated with me, not only at this time but looking back as well for what I’ve longed for, but didn’t really think it could happen (which begs me to wonder why):

What I need is a personal transformation by the real Christ, not the one that is manufactured by organized Christianity.

I need a ragtag family of Jesus-shaped disciples to pull me out when I’m floundering and teach me how to swim with the Lord of the universe in these putrid and dangerous cultural waters.

I need to read and hear the Bible taught with the passionate integrity of Jesus, not the manipulation and misrepresentation of modern Christianity-lite.

I need a commitment to the Bible that is unapologetically Jesus centered. I don’t need to hear about a magic book of life principles for suburban success.

I need some truthful talk – not safely scripted chitchat – about what it means to follow Jesus. I want a place where I am allowed to raise questions and verbalize my struggles, a place where I can mess up and be prayed for, and I want to be able to stumble and still be accepted on the team. I need to see and know real human beings who have walked the path of hard choices and hard times in order to remain faithful to Jesus.

I need a cadre of friends who pray like Jesus, who step across the lines to include outcasts, and who open the Lord’s Table to those who Jesus invited to that table.

I don’t need a contrived experience, but a fellowship and a family. I simply need brothers and sisters who will start me on the journey, encourage me along the way, and keep the map right there where I can see it and we can talk about it.

Yeah I really liked a lot on those two pages, but really – I want that. To be continued I hope…

PS – why is it that I have a category for “church” but not “Jesus”? Sad, isn’t it?

taking the time and trouble

“Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit” – 1 Timothy 4:7

from Mike's Blog Journal (mikechujournal.blogspot.com)I like this translation (Philips) for this verse, in particular over the matter of how it identifies that you’re going to need to “take trouble”. It is interesting because as far as I’ve read this verse in other translations, the ‘trouble’ part is completely lost… (although I did like the Message translation)

When I initially read this it seemed odd that you’d need to involve trouble, but certainly it made sense that you’d have to dedicate time. Of course it would seem to me that in matters of spiritual fitness and discipline, one must set aside time to read the Bible, prayer and (which is where I noticed this verse – the g-group) joining with other believers and sharing struggles, praises, encouragement and more. But what’s this about trouble? Continue reading

to be a neighbor

The past few months though there’s really been something pretty awesome between us and a neighbor. It started with their daughter (who’s a few years older than our oldest) hanging out with our kids playing around inside and out. Sometimes eating dinner with us, too. A few months ago, my wife started talking more and more with her mother; and just recently I’ve been getting to know her dad too. Past few weeks we’ve spent several hours working on cutting down trees, moving leaves, and just talking. [Another neighbor started working on their yard a LOT, which got me re-energized … which this neighbor said energized him to do some stuff as well]

This past Friday they watched our kids for the night, and we had a night out. Last night we had their daughter over to spend the night as well.

Sometimes I’ve felt odd knowing people really well when I can’t say I feel the same with those that live near me. Why is that? I can recall when I was a kid that our family knew quite well a few families near us; I know my wife and her parents are close with their neighbors as well. I’m thankful to have had this opening, this opportunity.

I’m aware that neighbor simply means ‘one leaving near another’, but I’ve always thought that it should mean more. I read Jesus ask the question “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor …?” with regards to the story of the Good Samaritan and wonder if it doesn’t imply that being a neighbor means more than just living near another… clearly most know of the verse that says to “Love your neighbor as yourself”

I don’t think loving them in the way that I think of loving my family is exactly appropriate, just as I don’t think loving other men is the same. So what is it?

  • Caring about them (knowing what they are going through)
  • Helping when in need (might be as simple as sharing sugar/milk or much more)
  • be together (share dinner, hang out, etc.)
  • be encouraging
  • be honest

I think of the community mentioned in the Bible; the one body of believers; the church. I’m sure all of this applies to the church but doesn’t my neighbor too?

Our time might be short. Things might change.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

fatherhood

pb1107561From Dynamic Dads (a book I recently finished reading):

Once we realize it’s impossible to be a perfect father, we can redirect our energies toward fathering effectively. However, in order to get there, we need to take a somewhat painful step. We must examine the specific areas in our fathering skills where we fall especially short.

AUTHORITY

  • discipline – clear rules explained, child understands the violation, apply punishment calmly, restore & reinforce with love and acceptance [yeah… calmly isn’t my strong point]
  • share – democracy [yeah… I’m not that great at sharing either…]
  • listen – everyone
  • lead – with grace; not demanding; a servant leader of the family [and I’m a bit demanding…]

ENCOURAGE (these kind-of all blend together…)

  • adoration – sincere verbal praise in their presence
  • praise – recognition and attention
  • encouragement – focus and praise strengths; compliment!
  • acceptance – unconditional approval; affirmation!

APPLY (but don’t only think about yourself but the whole family!)

  • identity – know who you are, where you came from and be it!
  • community – authentic, open and encouraging group of other guys for support … like my G Men … I liked this paragraph in the book:

Real fellowship can and does occur when God’s grace guides a group by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. Walls are broken down and true encouragement is given and received. If you’re hesitant to jump into a men’s small group, let me say that trying to live the Christian life alone simply doesn’t work. The heart cry of much of the New Testament is that we live in community. I urge you to become intentional about forming solid male friendships with like-minded Christ followers. Once you get a taste of true community, you’ll never go back to your old Lone Ranger days of living the Christian life in isolation…

Jesus Christ was the epitome of masculinity. He was caring, courageous, and kind. He fearlessly took on the phony religious leaders of His day and lovingly ministered to outcast women. He surrounded Himself with twelve men for fellowship and community. Jesus was no Lone Ranger. Are you?

  • integrity – not perfection but wholeness; at peace. work in progress!
  • ministry – gifts->purpose->energy->mission

FATHERING = main gift of service to God

… and most important! I can’t claim that putting it as ‘most important’ has really been my view; most certainly not if you looked at my involvement in a bunch of things. Here’s hoping there’s a change… well, maybe just ‘progress’ in some areas.