#TBTB#TBT – 11/5/15

ThrowBack Thursday TBT

The crowds surrounding the Savior on His entry into Jerusalem and His ascension to the cross are very similar to the crowds pouring through your church doors every Sunday.

The similarities are both painful and potent.

AMBrewster discusses the matter in detail in his article “Not Unlike Church.” Find yourself among the crowd. What are you shouting?

crowd

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Balanced Approach to God

The So-Called “Balanced Approach” to God

Balanced Approach to God

How do you view God?

Do you see Him as a Holy Judge-King?

Perhaps you view Him as a Loving Father-Savior.

Or maybe you like to take a “balanced approach.”

I ask because an acquaintance of mine recently wrote an article entitled “Should We Dress for Church Like We’re Meeting with the President?” In the article he makes the observation that,

“There is a kernel of truth that surfaces when comparing a meeting with the president to our ‘Sunday’s best’ for God. The disturbing reality of this parallel is what it actually does reflect — a sterile meeting with a stranger and the complete absence of any real relationship and transparency. This illustration exposes the nominal Christian’s relationship to God — distant, infrequent, formal, absent of any true affection, and void of any real relationship apart from an official appointment on Sunday morning. I wonder if those who use this argument wear their ‘Sunday’s best’ when they meet with God through His word on Monday morning or Thursday evening? It leaves me wondering who they are really dressing up for? Perhaps it’s a high view of the corporate gathering, or possibly it’s a disconnect stemming from a false dichotomy.”

I am very passionate on the subject of worship because not only is it something I take very seriously in my own life, but also because how we worship God reveals what we believe Him to be. That revelation should be a dramatically important grapple-moment in our lives – especially when “what we believe God to be” does not fit His revelation in Scripture. When Who God is and how we view Him don’t match up, we have a profound problem with sweeping implications – not only for worship but for every facet of our lives.

Let me lead into this short discussion with the observation that I agree with most of what Steve Hafler wrote in his article. And something tells me that he would agree with mine. Of course, that’s left to be seen. I think the difference of application grows from a misunderstanding of what a “balanced approach” to God actually is.

Continue reading “The So-Called “Balanced Approach” to God”

Christian Quote

“The purpose of your gifts . . . .” – Quote

“The purpose of your gifts is the edification of the Body. But if you’re not engaging the body, your gifts are wasted.” Click To Tweet

The purpose of your gifts - Quote

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But It’s Easier NOT Going to Church

But It's Easier Not Going to Church

I didn’t go to church this morning. And by church, I’m not referring to the building, I’m speaking of participating with the Body of Christ in corporate worship.

I’m sick.

My choice was motivated primarily out of two considerations:

  1. I will increasingly have a harder time doing my best for God the more ill I become. I need to recuperate.
  2. Subjecting others to whatever yuckiness I may have to share is unkind.

This is not “forsaking the assembling.” In fact, I agree with Dr. Rand Hummel that sometimes sleep is the most godly thing you can do.

But there are plenty of other people not at church today, and many of their reasons are not as advisable.
Continue reading “But It’s Easier NOT Going to Church”

“Remove the Head from the church . . . .” – Quote

“Remove the Head from the church, and what do you have? A dead body.” Click To Tweet

Remove the Head - Quote

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I Held Hands with a Man

I Held Hands with a Man

Yesterday I published three articles all pertaining to homosexuality in America.

  1. The first dealt with the lead singer of Jars of Clay and his foolish comments on gay marriage.
  2. The second was a video from a man who’s attracted to men and his admonition to Christians.
  3. The third was the fulfillment of a prediction concerning the diversification of “alternative lifestyles” in our culture.

I’ve posted such things before and have been veritably crucified on social media for it.

I’ve been called a homophobe, hater, intolerant jerk . . . and plenty of other more colorful variations.

But is that true?

Am I afraid of homosexuals? Do I hate them?

I believe this article will answer those questions permanently. Continue reading “I Held Hands with a Man”

“Same-Sex Attraction in the Church” – Nick Roen

Same-Sex Attraction in the Church

Nick Roen did something very hard.

Nick did something most of us have spent our entire lives trying to avoid.

He was honest about his temptation.

This video cannot circulate fast enough because it speaks to both sides of the equation:

  1. For those struggling with temptation of any kind, heed Nick’s admonition.
  2. For those relating to people struggling with temptation, point them to God.

“Be Most Dead”

Be Most Dead
"Be Most Dead"

Like a king meeting his death
On the road he took to avoid it,
So the church will breathe its last breath
When it tries to dictate its own worship

By implementing plans God denies.
For this can only happen
When men and women do not rely
On the truth the Lord has given.

In three days the temple had glory
By God's own hand.
And unless Christ sustains the body
It will fall under the plans of man.

Decapitation brings decay to every living thing.
How do you suppose to continue living
When you've severed Christ, our head?
The church, though full, will be most dead.

-AMBrewster-

Written for "How to Destroy Your Church."

“Destroy a Church in 4 Simple Steps” – Tim Challies

How to Destroy a Church I’ve seen it done. I’ve witnessed the destruction of a church, and despite the picture you have in your head of the church being attacked by some external strong arm of the devil or the world . . . the reality is that a church cannot be destroyed from the outside.

“True church-death comes only from inside.”  Click To Tweet

Tim Challies does an amazing job summarizing Paul’s admonition to Timothy in II Timothy 4. Here Paul unveils the four simple steps that will lead to church-death. But before you read his article, I want to make one sobering observation.

A born-again believer cannot lose their salvation. The people Paul describes in II Timothy turned away from God to myths. These people – the people who inevitably attended church and worked in the nursery and sat under healthy preaching and undoubtedly taught Sunday School – these people were never saved. Their eventual rejection of truth proved it.

Our churches are often filled with more unbelievers than we realize. We must reach them as deliberately as the rebel who walks in for the first time. If the number of faking-unconverted starts to outnumber the converted, destruction is imminent and this article beautifully lays out for you how it will happen . . . step by horrible step.

Please read “Destroy a Church in 4 Simple Steps.”

For Your Consideration:

"Be Most Dead"

Like a king meeting his death
On the road he took to avoid it,
So the church will breathe its last breath

When it tries to dictate its own worship
By implementing plans God denies.
For this can only happen
When men and women do not rely
On the truth the Lord has given.

In three days the temple had glory
By God's own hand.
And unless Christ sustains the body
It will fall under the plans of man.

Decapitation brings decay to every living thing.
How do you suppose to continue living
When you've severed Christ, our head?
The church, though full, will be most dead.

-AMBrewster-

Fluffy Children’s Ministries

Fluffy Children's Ministries

I like fluffy bunnies.
I enjoy wearing fluffy socks.
And I love fluffy cotton candy.

But should our children’s programs be fluffy?

Kids4Truth wrote a great article about this phenomenon here:

But I’d like fluff-in for a minute, if I may.

Have you ever really considered the spiritual efficacy of singing “Deep and Wide”?

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a very involved parent. I remember the first Sunday my son told me he sang “Deep and Wide” in Sunday School. I said, “That’s great! Do you know what that song means?”

After about a minute of blank stares, I clued him in.

There’s No G-Rated Version of the Bible

Have you ever noticed that though God has some specific instruction for children, there’s no kid-version of the Bible?

The Gospel’s the same.
The Spirit’s empowerment is the same,
The responsibilities for spiritual growth are the same.
With the exceptions of relationship-specific commands, the entirety of the Bible applies to children as it does to adults.

So why do our children’s ministries differ so much from the others in the church? Why do we feel the need to fluff our kids’ programs? Why do we even have children’s ministries?

Consider This

Have you ever heard someone say, “But she’s only four.” as if that somehow excuses her brattiness? What about, “He’s going through a phase.” Am I allowed to use that excuse to sweep my behavior under the rug?

It’s obvious that children are different than adults in many ways (height notwithstanding), but do you realize that when it comes to God’s truth . . . there’re very few differences.

But,” you say, “the Bible tells us that foolishness is bound in the heart of children! See, there are intrinsic differences!

Yes, but every other example of a fool in the Bible refers to adults. Foolishness resides in their hearts just as much. And just as the rod of correction will drive out the child’s foolishness, so does the rod to the back of the bigger fool.

In my years of ministry I’ve noticed that almost every single reason or source we cite to defend that children need something that adults don’t, or that we should treat them differently, comes from extra-biblical sources. It’s impossible to argue for a fluffy children’s ministry from Scripture.

None of the biblical injunctions for our mini-people can be used to argue for flannel boards or circle-games. Should children honor and obey their parents? Yes. But the only thing I can extrapolate from this command is that children should receive instruction from and submit to their parents. It has no bearing on their ability to understand the Bible or my necessity to use cute morality tales.

In fact, Jesus Himself told the group of men who followed Him that unless they became as a child they could not be converted! He told the apostles that unless they humbled themselves as children, they wouldn’t even understand God’s truth. Perhaps the adults are the ones who need flannel boards.

My point in all of this is simple. Many of the reasons we have a children’s ministry are simply unbiblical.

Don’t misunderstand me . . .

I’m all about a children’s ministry that exists for Christ-honoring, biblical reasons. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s a glorified baby-sitting service because mom and dad don’t want to have to deal with the children they haven’t taught to listen to and understand God’s Word.

Fluffy children’s ministries stand in opposition to the truth that God gives us everything we need for life and godliness from the pages of His Word and the power of a His Spirit . . . and it doesn’t matter how young the believer is! The Father still loves them in His perfection. The Son still died for them in His holiness. The Spirit still works in them to His fullest. They have the same gospel. They have the same responsibilities. They have the same Bible.

How do I check my ministry’s Fluff-Rating?

Do you avoid reading the actual words of the Bible? Isn’t paraphrasing good enough?
Do you find more value in an event or game than you do a lesson? Children won’t want to come to Sunday School if they won’t enjoy themselves!
Do you sing songs with little-to-no understandable spiritual application (“Father Abraham”), or do you sing songs with spiritual depth but forget to explain the concepts (“Deep and Wide,” or “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock”)? Everyone knows “Father Abraham” was written to wear kids out before the lesson! How else can we expect them to pay attention?
Do you teach more missionary stories and Billy/Suzy illustrations than biblical truth? But missionary stories have more adventure than the Bible!
Do you promote morality without emphasizing the deeper reality of a relationship with God? Veggie Tales teach kids how to behave. Who needs doctrine?

Do you know what I find really interesting?

Churches with the most biblically sound children’s ministries promote kids sitting with their families in the main service, and the kids’ service times they do have resemble the adult services with informed worship, biblical exposition, and appropriate application . . . and they know how to have fun too.