June 29, 2011

The Great Commission...Accomplished in 10 Years

The other day I listened to a small part of a video from a conference. The speaker announced that within the next 10 years the Great Commission would be accomplished. They had teams working non-stop around the world to tell others about Jesus.

I found the statement amazing and completely unbelievable. I'm not trying to be a pessimist, but I wondered if he and I were reading the same Great Commission.

Matthew 28:18-20 says,
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
How can that be accomplished in a lifetime; let alone 10 years?

It seems he may be confused with the popular understanding of "sharing the Gospel"as the Great Commission. Getting someone to pray the "Sinner's Prayer" or just having them hear "the Gospel" has replaced "go and make disciples" as the call of the Great Commission.

Jesus calls us to make disciples not acquire conversions. The problem with conversions is that so many of them are completely inauthentic. There is no real desire to love and follow Jesus...to be transformed and pursue Christlikeness. The real desire often seems simply to avoid hell or make it into heaven when we die.

Being a disciple is so much more difficult...and it isn't always fun. We have to pursue a life of obedience and holiness...taking up our cross...being persecuted for righteousness...stuff like that.

Conversion is often the easy part...disciple-making...that is difficult.

June 23, 2011

Deep Preaching

I found this to be a very good explanation. I think Rick Warren gives a clear understanding of the difference between truly deep preaching, simple preaching, and simplistic preaching.

Watch the video...what do you think?

June 22, 2011

The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:1-12

After his baptism, Jesus is tempted in the desert for 40 days. He returns to the towns of Galilee and begins his ministry by preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17). This is the same message that John came preaching. Repent...turn from your sins...because God’s Kingdom is near!

Jesus then begins calling followers, disciples, to follow Him, to learn what it means to live in this new Kingdom of Heaven. He invites them to leave the security of their jobs and homes and become part of something completely new.

Matthew 4:23-25 says,
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.”

There was...there is...something different about Jesus. He invited people to come in while the religious leaders of His day debated who had to stay out. Jesus spent time with the hurting and the broken while the religious leaders preferred the cleaned up people.

June 20, 2011

The Eucharist

Some emotions...some thoughts...can only be expressed in action; not words. In fact, words would only make a mess of things or be insufficient for the moment.

An elderly couple, having spent their entire life loving and serving each others, grasps each other’s hand as one passes into eternity.

A parent attempting to use the words “I love you” to express everything in their heart toward their child.

The newlyweds who’s passionate desire and love for one another would be ruined if someone spoke...share a passionate embrace and kiss.

The grieving son who finds true comfort in the tear-stained embrace of his friend rather than trite and meaningless words.

There are times when emotions should not be spoken, they should be acted.

June 18, 2011

Urban Legends: Sin Myths

This message was preached on May 22, the day after Harold Camping predicted the Rapture would take place on May 21.

Well, this morning is a bit awkward. Either there was no rapture and the Christian church looks like a bunch of idiots or charlatans...or we are the ones left behind. Either way I’m a little unprepared this morning. I was thinking I wouldn’t be here today with the rapture yesterday and all...so I didn’t prepare anything. I was expecting to be sipping lattes over brunch with John Wesley and St. Peter right about now...so...I feel a bit awkward.

These sorts of things make us look foolish as followers of Jesus, and yet our beliefs, even without the predictions, sound crazy to many.

June 4, 2011

Urban Legends: God Wants Me To Be Happy

A few years ago Lori and I were getting to know this couple that had move in next door. We decided to have dinner at our house and then watch a movie. We thought that a comedy would be a good thing so we started watching Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail. I don’t know if was because they were from Tennessee or they just didn’t get dry British humor...either way, from the look on their faces, our laughter was incomprehensible to them.

“You don’t get that? He’s got two halves of coconuts and he’s bangin’ ‘em togetha!”

So I took the husband with me to the local video store to quickly pick out another movie. We searched and searched, but couldn’t find anything. Then I saw Braveheart. I explained the premise of the movie to him, and he said it sounded like a great movie.

What he failed to tell me is that his wife only liked movies with fairy-tale endings! So when Braveheart’s wife was killed...she went ballistic! If looks could have killed we would have been dead! She had only just recovered from that shock when Braveheart himself was killed...and so the evening ended on a not so good not.

As they walked across the driveway back to their house I heard her say, “How could you have let him pick out such a horrible movie!” And so it continued for him for the next day or so.

I get where she was coming from though. Life stinks sometimes, and for her movies were an escape from reality. Fairy-tale endings in movies were just a distraction from the fact that endings aren’t always happy in real life.

Today’s myth is a VERY popular myth. Many preachers, teachers, and televangelists have adopted today’s myth and many people flock to it. They are falling for this because it feels good. It fits well with the American Dream and our love for the “fairy tale ending” where every body lives happily ever after.

The myth says,

Myth: God wants me to be Happy.