Monday, August 22, 2005

Packed, but still empty

"Contemporary" churches aren't attracting many contemporaries By: Gene Edward Veith

Clint Rainey, a journalism student interning at The Dallas Morning News, is put off by the "seeker-friendly" approach to church that—he contends—does a good job filling up massive church buildings but leaves many feeling spiritually empty.

In his opinion piece for the paper—"The younger crowd has had its fill of big, flashy churches" (July 25, 2005)—Mr. Rainey recalls how the church he grew up in transformed from a small congregation of a few hundred members into a megachurch of nearly 10,000. He says that the contemporary touches are designed to appeal to baby boomers, not to today's young people. "These churches attract middle-age adults like iron filings," he says. "But my generation isn't in such awe."

Mr. Rainey finds the new churches too materialistic and "impersonal in every way." He says that young people today are not impressed with technology, big buildings, and commercialism. ......

Read the whole article

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'll complete what I promised GOD I'd do

Psalm 116

I love GOD because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him.

Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn't know which way to turn; then I called out to GOD for help: "Please, GOD!" I cried out. "Save my life!"

GOD is gracious--it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. GOD takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

I said to myself, "Relax and rest. GOD has showered you with blessings. Soul, you've been rescued from death; Eye, you've been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling."

I'm striding in the presence of GOD, alive in the land of the living! I stayed faithful, though bedeviled, and despite a ton of bad luck, Despite giving up on the human race, saying, "They're all liars and cheats."

What can I give back to GOD for the blessings he's poured out on me? I'll lift high the cup of salvation--a toast to GOD! I'll pray in the name of GOD; I'll complete what I promised GOD I'd do, and I'll do it together with his people. When they arrive at the gates of death, GOD welcomes those who love him.

Oh, GOD, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service! I'm ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of GOD. I'll complete what I promised GOD I'd do, and I'll do it in company with his people, In the place of worship, in GOD's house, in Jerusalem, GOD's city.

Hallelujah! al

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Saving Grace

Bob Dylan If You find it in Your heart, can I be forgiven? Guess I owe You some kind of apology. I've escaped death so many times, I know I'm only living By the saving grace that's over me. By this time I'd-a thought I would be sleeping In a pine box for all eternity. My faith keeps me alive, but I still be weeping For the saving grace that's over me. Well, the death of life, then come the resurrection, Wherever I am welcome is where I'll be. I put all my confidence in Him, my sole protection Is the saving grace that's over me. Well, the devil's shining light, it can be most blinding, But to search for love, that ain't no more than vanity. As I look around this world all that I'm finding Is the saving grace that's over me. The wicked know no peace and you just can't fake it, There's only one road and it leads to Calvary. It gets discouraging at times, but I know I'll make it By the saving grace that's over me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Get Naked

“Do you see what this means--all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running--and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”

Hebrew 12: 1 & 2 (The Message)


“Forgiveness, honesty, generosity: hardly a particularly glamorous triple cocktail,… It’s the small steps that count, the ability to know, trust and obey God. These are the jewels worth treasuring, the prizes worth chasing. Forget all that stuff about status and success: With God in charge of the destiny, we only need to worry about the direction. So, how about it? Why don’t we start by stripping off some of this excess baggage? How about we get naked?”

Craig Borlase The Naked Christian

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Attempt At Connection

"Life's more story than it is aphorism; more riddle than slogan." -Don Chaffer

O Jesus, who art thou?

By: Jason Boyett

Relevant Issue #15 July - August 2005

This article deals with the following sub headings:

  • What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  • Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild
  • Republican Jesus
  • Christ Hippified
  • Romanticized Boyfriend Jesus
  • The Wild-Hearted Jesus
  • Jesus Is My Homeboy

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Romanticized boyfriend Jesus

Contemporary worship music has done a lot of good things for the Church over the last 30 years, not the least of which is enlivening the worship experience for a generation that had trouble relating to centuries-old hymns and might as well be that ole Gaither choruses. However, the modern worship movement brought with it an unfortunate by-product: the extreme to which we’ve taken the “Bride of Christ” metaphor. Song of Solomon was one thing. John Donne and Teresa of Avila took it a step further. The classic hymnster Isaac Watts even threw his hat into the ring with “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”

But us? We’ve driven the Love Truck over the edge. You won’t get far in contemporary worship music without running into achingly intense expressions of desire for the Son of God. Critics have called it the “Jesus Is My Boyfriend” syndrome, in which the Bridegroom has become the object of our romanticism. Oh, how we love Jesus. We long to be with Him. We want to touch Him. We want to see His face.

Sing with me now, and be sure to scrunch your eyes up with emotion: “Jesus, I am so in love with You.”

Good: God so loved the world that He gave His only son, and believers are instructed to love Him back with all their hearts, minds, soul and strengths. Magnifying God through worshipful music is a good place to start.

Bad: But it’s the magnifying God part we often forget about. Because when we sing songs about how much we loooove Jesus, the main focus isn’t on Jesus; it’s about us. About our love for the Son God. Next Sunday, count the number of self congratulatory songs that talk about what we, the worshippers, will do. We will worship, We will lift up our hands. We will shout, stand, sing, clap etc. The majesty, holiness and glory of God? The Savior who rescued us from sin and death? Not so much the focus there.