Church

rejesus-cover-v1-199x299Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost have written a new book, Rejesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church, in which they call the church to “reconfigure itself,” and “recalibrate its mission, around the example and teaching of the radical rabbi from Nazareth.”

Here is an interview with Alan Hirsch on this new book, it is an interesting read, check it out.

Church Leadership Book Interview: Alan Hirsch

I am Looking in 2009 for a Unstoppable church to be part of, the church seen in the book of Acts. I am looking for a church filled with passionate people, a people who are passionate about God. Passionately in love with Jesus, who’s love can not be contained.

A people, a church that says and lives like you can reticule me, imprison me, stone me, torture me, kill me, nail me to a cross, do what ever you want, I will hot stop. Even in the mist of doing these things to me I will praise and worship the Lord, I will still proclaim His word to you, announcing the Kingdom of God, we will not be stopped. Because we found a love greater than life its self and we will not be stopped, for us to live is to live for Christ alone.

I want to be part of a people who are striving side by side to proclaim the gospel. Nothing can cause them to shut up, keep them from talking about Jesus, they do not care if they get beat up, thrown in prison, fired, or killed. Like Paul they are unstoppable, like the first church they are a unstoppable force. A people who are striving together for the gospel, for the kingdom of God, for Jesus. A people that says I would rather be tortured and put to death for the cause of Christ, spreading the gospel than retire at an old age with a fat 401K.

A people who says I must be like, live like Jesus. I must be in a church like the one in the book of Acts, have church like they did, live like they did, turn the world upside down like they did.

A people who believe Jesus when He said unless you are willing to pick up a cross and be crucified together, if you can do that then you can follow me. If you are not willing to do that you are not worthy to be my disciples.( Mat 10:38, Mat 16:24, Luke 14:27 )

I burn to be part of a unstoppable church like the first century church, the underground china church today. I want to be part of something like that, a people like that.

A church that knows what Paul said is true that it has been granted, given to us that we are to suffer just as Jesus did, live with the same conflict Paul did. (Php 1:29-30)

Frances Chan has the same passion for this kind of church, life, he explains it very well, listen to his message, download it here .

I so desire to find such a church this year, be part of a people like that.

bad boy 2 womenLooking back over my life I can not help but wounder why is it that the best women, the most incredible women I ever met, I met during my “Bad Boy” years. And why is it the only women worthy of marrying, that I would want to be the mother of my children, I have meet outside of the Church. Why is it I have never found the proverbs 31 woman, a women I wanted to marry in a church. This is a great mystery to me. I can honestly say I have not even meet a girl at a church in the last 19 years I would have married. I could count on one hand and have fingers left over ones that I even would have asked out on a date. But yet I meet women outside the church daily that are incredible that I would ask out on a date, and that is a said testimony for the church, for Christian women.

Why is this I ask?

Alan Hirsch considers himself a “missional activist”. This article from LeadershipJournal.net is a helpful read aimed at bringing definition to what being missional really means. I think it’s a good reminder that churches that use an “attractional” weekend service are becoming less and less effective as the pace of cultural change increases. Do you have any examples of churches that prove or disprove the theory? Follow the link for the full article.

The attractional model, which has dominated the church in the West, seeks to reach out to the culture and draw people into the church—what I call outreach and in-grab. But this model only works where no significant cultural shift is required when moving from outside to inside the church. And as Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, the attractional model has lost its effectiveness. The West looks more like a cross-cultural missionary context in which attractional church models are self-defeating. The process of extracting people from the culture and assimilating them into the church diminishes their ability to speak to those outside. People cease to be missional and instead leave that work to the clergy.

Defining Missional | LeadershipJournal.net.

From: J Colber

1951-xmas-ignorance-wantWhen watching A Christmas Carol, the 1984 version with Gorge C. Scott, one of the scene that really grabbed me was Scrooge’s dead business partner Jacob Marley said to him about His life.

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

How true this statement is and should be at the heart of everyone who claims to be a Christian. That is according to Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 when He tells us

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?…………..And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

And Jesus says of those who do not do such things, take mankind as their business as Marley said;

“Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

A plight much worse than Jacob’s Marley’s eternity dragging a chain with weights on it.

As well I like the scene with the ghost of Christmas present under the bridge when he opens his robe and reviles the two starting children and says to Scrooge:

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

Christian take note of the words of Jacob Marley, they are Charles Dickens rendering, life application of the words of Jesus, His warning just as the ghost of Jacob and Christmas present, take head before it is too late.

Read my Post on Another Day, it very much relates to business of mankind what Jacob Marley referring to and who the boy of Ignorance and the girl of want are the ghost wae referring to, read it here.

boy hunger 250xIt is just another day:

Another day in which 6000 children will become orphans due to AIDS
Another day in which over 123,278,670 people died of abortions.
Another day in which more than 8000 people will die due to HIV.
Another day in which 1.4 billion people lived in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.25 per day.
Another day in which 840 million people in the world are malnourished.
Another day in which 2,700 will be children taken to be used in sex trafficking
Another day in which Every 10 minutes, one person is trafficked, taken as a slave for sex or labor usage.
Another day in which over 27 million people will live is some kind of slavery.
Another day in which 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 will work as child labors.

It is just another day:

Another day with over 15,111 people died of hunger in the world. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger
Another day with over 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes–one child every five seconds
Another day in which while you are sleeping tonight another 6000 children will die of hunger.
Another day in which 137,287 people died from water related diseases
Another day in which 1,465,843,978 people with no access to safe drinking water
Another day with 4,292 babies will be born to teenage moms
Another day with one child dying every minute from HIV.
Another day with 11,667 Americans will loss their jobs in this economy.

It is just another day:

Another day in which 25 churches will close their doors in the US.
Another day in which church attendance in the US will decline.
Another day in which the fields are ripe but the workers are few.

It is time to change these statistics.

Another day you and I have a chance to make a difference.

Because the population is growing and church attendance isn’t, even the number of church in America is declining at an accelerated rate. It Seems like We are in a significant trend towards POST-CHRISTENDOM (some would say DUH, others resist the notion) — YET, mega churches are everywhere.

This is a interesting read about mega Churches.

Read the full article at Out of Ur…

Just heard Brian Houston statement of his vision of what church is. And it inspired and motivate me, it fired me up because this is the is the church I long for, burn with passion for. (I added two personal additions in parentheses.)

“The church that I see is a church of influence. A church so large in size that the city and nation cannot ignore it.

A church growing so quickly that buildings struggle to contain the increase, (so it multiplies and spreads across the city, nation, and world).

I see a church whose heartfelt praise and worship touches heaven and changes earth. Worship which influences the praises of people throughout the earth exalting Christ with powerful songs of faith and hope.

I see a church whose alters are constantly filled with repentant sinners responding to Christ’s call to salvation.

The church that I see is so dependent on the Holy Spirit that it moves only in unison with it, that nothing will stop it not stand against it.

A church whose people are unified, praying and full of God’s Spirit.

The church that I see has a message so clear that lives are being changed forever and potential is fulfilled though the power of His Word. A message beamed to the peoples of the earth through their television screens.

I see a church so compassionate that people are drawn from impossible situations into a loving and friendly circle of hope, where answers are found and acceptance is given.

I see a people so kingdom-minded that they will count whatever the cost and pay whatever the price to see revival sweep this land.

The church that I see is a church to committed to raising, training and empowering a leadership generation to reap the end-time harvest that all its ministries are consumed with this goal.

I see a church whose head is Jesus, whose help is the Holy Spirit, (foundation is the word of God) and whose focus is the Great Commission.”

This is the church the disciples started and built, the one Jesus ordained and spoke of, that we see in scripture. Every pastor, church planter, every Christian should take note, take this to heart, be their blueprint for church.

I recently read about a book called Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The book revolves around this metaphor: if you’ve seen one brown cow you’ve seen them all. But a purple cow, now that would catch your attention. One statement in the book has profound implications: “If you aren’t remarkable you’re invisible.”

While this truth could be applied to a persons life in so many ways, it also applies to churches in every way. Every church needs to paint itself purple. I’m not talking about gimmicks or being weird or braking from the truths of God and what church is suppose to be, like the ones that are leaving out the gospel and Jesus like the emergent movement has done. I’m not talking about braking from the biblical church the one we see in scripture.

Brown churches sit on the sideline and invite the community to come to them. Do every thing they can to look like, sound like, be like the world around them. Purple churches are always going, compelling, and are an agent of transformation in the world. They seek to not look anything like the world, but to look like Jesus and the Kingdom of God. To stand out as something different, be an alternative to the world and its ways. And they are making such a big difference that they become a highly visible part of their community, everyone takes notice in a good way.  People drive by the brown churches, the churches that are invisible on their way to go to the purple church the ones that stand out from the world and its ways.

Purple churches are not a mirror of the world, but rather a window into the Kingdom of God. A refection of Jesus high and lifted up in a community of Christ like followers who live in community that is a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. When a church looks like Jesus, it stands out from the rest of the churches and the world because it is a purple cow in a brown herd.

A brown church look like the world, it’s a church that looks just like the society that surrounds it, it blends in with the same music, teachings, way of life, so no one notices the brown cow in a heard of brown cows.

After all isn’t the purpose of camouflaging something to make it fit in, go unnoticed, so that it will not stand out as different from the world around it. Well pastors have done a good job, they have made the church look, sound and function just like the world, made them brown cows, and well it worked no one notices them, sees church as different from the world.

So how do we paint ourselves purple? For starters, dare to be different from the world and look like Jesus and the Kingdom of God, make the good news, the Gospel the news.

Purple churches are where people can go to see God, get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, see the transforming effect of the gospel in the lives of real people, changed lives. See that God is alive and His power at work in the lives of people, see it demonstrated in the lives of God’s people. See a people of faith living in oneness with God. See Gods love in action, in the love God’s people have for Him, and each other. It’s a church of a different color, it stand out from the rest of the churches today, and from the world around it.

What color is your church.

A note for church planter, I read a post that got me thinking about the definition of Church, as it should be key for church planting, so I am doing my own rendition the other post, of what the word church means, my own tweak, lets start he did with how that Miriam-Webster defines Church:

1: a building for public and especially Christian worship

The number one usage Webster is listing is simply defining church according to how the word church is used by people, defined, by churches themselves. Just ask the typical Christian to define church and you will here things like, A building, A place you go to on Sunday, and institution you belong to, something you attend. And ask the people what part do they have in church and they will tell you, attend. And sadly the leader put more importance on, money, time, planing, care and into the buildings than the do the people, really giving even more credence to the fact the definition is right, the church is a building.

But, when Jesus used the term “church” He had a very different meaning in mind. The word in the Greek text is ???????? (ekklesia) a word that is defined as “those called out” or “a called out assembly of people”, this is the original definition of the word used in the Greek text, quite different from Websters. But even more different is Jesus’ usage of the word though implied something much more, He described “church” as those people walking in allegiance to him, living a certain way, people who were following Him, living with a Kingdom purpose. A people that would ultimately be known by their love for one another, as His followers called out for a purpose, His purpose. Not as a building, nor was it in His definition of church that it is something that you simply only attended, especially not a country club you come to be entertained at.

Although Jesus did not really say much about how it was to be organized or how to do meetings. But rather His focus was on a lifestyle of loving others and obeying Him: saying things like “Go into all the world…” ” Heal others…. “Let your light shine…” “Wash the feet of others…. “Do what you see the Father doing…” “Love one another…” “Make disciples….”My house shall be a house of prayer… “Preach the Gospel… Church, as defined by Jesus, was simply His followers living life for and with Him. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:15 The things that obvesly were core to what church was about, what matted most to Him.

I believe this is why the Apostle Paul chose not to use the word “synagogue” a word he was most familiar with, and had used his whole life. Synagogue was the word used by Jews at the time to define where they gathered for study and worship outside of the Temple. But the word by definition referred to a building used for an assembling together. Synagogue (1) always was used to refer to the place, building where they gather together, not the people themselves or even what went on inside because the building was used for so many other things. So I can see very well why Paul used a different word, because church to Jesus, to the disciples and Paul was never to be a building or a place, it was a people so he used a new name for it, based on the what the real definition of church was according to Jesus. A called out people with a purpose, to follow the Life of Jesus on God’s mission.

But today only a minuscule number of churches embrace Jesus’ definition of Church, with the these things I list above as the core of what they are about, why they exist. This I do not get it, one can simply read the scriptures as to how both Jesus and the Apostle Paul define church, pick up a Greek dictionary and lookup the word ekklesia and read the definition, and find Church is not a building or an institute or even a set place or time. Because the place and time are fluid, it can be anyplace and any time two or more gather together, and it does not require a building or paid staff or set of programs to happen ether.  We must read everything Jesus said and did, read the description of the first church gatherings and read what they where doing. Read all of Paul’s instructions to the church and body telling us what it is all about. And get our definition from Jesus, the scriptures Not Websters or even the American Christian church for that matter.

So how did we ended up with this thing we have and are trying to pass off as church? Why can’t church planters simply pick up the owners manual, the blueprint of what church is, that is the Bible and do, plant what it says church is.

1. Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, Macmillan

My post inspired by a post in the simplechurchjournal titled: Defining Church Websters has it wrong.