May 2009 Archives

Jesus likes me! Really!

If there was ever a question with a predictable answer - at least among Christians - here it is: "Does God love me?" Of course He does. God loves everyone, doesn't He? I mean, we all know there's only one acceptable answer to the question. Even if we don't really believe the answer.

A more interesting question might be, "Does God like me?" That, as they say, is "a whole 'nother matter."

As I have asked people these two questions, invariably they answer, without hesitation, yes, God loves me. But very often, when I ask the second question, they get a distant look, sort of a sad expression, and shaking their head, they say, "No, I don't think so."

Memorial Day 2008

Today, as I write, is Memorial Day. It's a day that is important to me, one when we remember and honor those who have died in American military service. It's a moving time for many - myself among them - and a party time for others.

Memorial Day is important to me for a couple reasons. The first is obvious: We owe honor to those who sacrificed their lives in our place. Our freedoms - which we take so much for granted - came at a high cost. Many men and women have shed their blood and given their lives to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to live in the greatest freedom and opportunity of any nation in history. And much of the world looks with longing at the great blessing it is to be an American citizen.

So who's the fool?

I need to blow off some steam for a few moments, about something that just bugs me a lot. Please bear with me.

I am amazed by the number of people who (1) profess to be a Christian, but define the term according to their own whims and convenience, or (2) simply blow off the entire "God-thing" as unworthy of their consideration, which is perhaps the same thing in different words. These groups are large, and the two have some common characteristics. We find many of the first group in churches, but a lot of them are staying away from "organized religion." We also find many of the second group in churches, and others who would not set foot in a church. They have some things in common.

What a wonderful world

I usually write about theological matters, and seldom go outside that for my topics. Some folks like that, some don't, and most don't care. Nevertheless, today is an exception.

Sunday afternoon, Mother's Day, after three days of being sick, then struggling through a fun but exhausting birthday party with about 35 Burmese refugee friends at our house, we went for a ride "up the river." Now, there are a number of rivers in this region - the Illinois, the Meramec, the Missouri, the Kaskaskia, the Des Peres - but around here, "the river" is the Mississippi. The River. We drove up the highway along the Mississippi, giving this country boy a chance to get out of town and regain his sanity.

In my last two posts, I have written, first, about the powerless church, a church that is increasingly irrelevant in an increasingly secularized America. Then, I wrote of the first step in renewing the church, bringing it to life, the first step in becoming a credible factor in society: reclaiming the gospel.

But there's another question - a big one - as yet unanswered: How does all this happen? How does the church reclaim the gospel - the whole, biblical, life-transforming gospel? And how does the church go from being "just words" to living out life-transforming power? How do we move from being an irrelevant subculture of more-or-less nice people to a community of radically committed followers and representatives of Jesus?

I think there are two major factors: our concept of God, and leadership.

"...I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'but the righteous man shall live by faith'" (Romans 1:16-17).

A few days ago, I wrote about the secularization of America, and the powerless American church. While I believe everything I wrote is true, it's incomplete. I have long subscribed to the philosophy that anyone can complain and point out problems, but unless the complainer also brings potential solutions, he's part of the problem.

So, here's part two of my take on the state of the American church.

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  • Larry Baden said:
      Hello Johanes, I'm not certain I understand your comment, but it seem...
  • yohanes wonde said:
      hi LARRY BADEN i am fond in a big problem I belief am not in choice o...
  • Larry Baden said:
      George, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As for your 'humor,' well......
  • Larry Baden said:
      Truth, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially like the last se...
  • Truth Told said:
      Looking into the account of the adulterous woman it is easy to see tha...
  • George Fowler said:
       Jesus said: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”. A rock ca...
  • Martin Rudd said:
      Remember what our Lord and Saviour said. "Its not my will that any sho...
  • Thomas Hatfield said:
       I realize that a humain being has to make difficult decisions in ther...
  • Elder John McCall said:
      Good article and complicated subject, but knowing that he is all knowi...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Dee, Thanks for your thoughts. A couple problems as I see it: First, ...

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