Monthly Archives: July 2007
The sixth commandment is hardly controversial. Can anyone really argue with a prohibition against murder? It’s a short commandment. In the original Hebrew, it’s just “Don’t Kill.” That’s it. No explanations. No further promises or rewards or punishments. The command stands by itself.Our society in many ways is becoming increasingly violent. School shootings. College shootings. We hear stories on the news about “road rage,” people getting so upset over a traffic jam or the way someone’s driving that they’ll bludgeon someone else to death. Little league parents conspiring to kill the umpire.
On top of all this, our media intake is more violent. Many of the most popular shows on television are violent. How many torture scenes are there on 24? Or how many people have been killed violently on Lost? And the problem is… it’s not just mature adults watching a lot of these shows. According to the American Psychological Association, by the time the average child finishes elementary school, he or she will have watched eight thousand televised murders and a hundred thousand acts of on-screen violence.
No, this commandment is not going away. We need to be reminded of the prohibition against murder. And we need to see where murder starts and how it can be stopped. But before we go any further, we need to see what this commandment means.
First Baptist Church of Shelbyville, TN (the church I am currently serving at as Minister of Education & Missions) is looking for a Minister of Music and Worship. If you are interested in applying, or know of someone who might be, please send resumes to me.
O God Almighty,
who cleansed the lips of the prophet Isaiah with a burning coal: |
Cleanse my heart and my lips.
So grant to cleanse me, of your mercy,
that I may be able to proclaim worthily your holy gospel:
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Visit Trevin’s Prayer Room
True justice has no existence save in that republic whose founder and ruler is Christ…”
Read my contribution to SaidatSouthern’s website this week. Rethinking our Vocabulary: “Personal Relationship with Jesus”
Fernando Ortega offers some tips on songwriting
Young leaders don’t want just ”traditional” hymns. Ancient ones are even better!
How the Lord’s Supper helps a believer “work out his salvation with fear and trembling”
The laughable reasons by we don’t take the Lord’s Supper regularly
The mainline churches are having a moment. Michael Spencer tells us why that is and why they’ll probably miss it.
Be a better blog reader.
Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: Top Ten Moments in Reformation History
Learning to Say “No” in Order to Focus
Simple Church begins by showing how the culture is embracing simplicity in business, fashion, style, and graphics (8-12). Rainer makes it clear that his challenge to the church to simplify does not come from a desire to mirror the culture. Neither does it come from solely pragmatic reasons (15-16). Rainer and Geiger believe that the model for simplification is found in Jesus’ ministry himself and the picture of the early church.
The authors use Jesus’ cleansing of the temple as an example of simplification in action (18-19). But is this truly what Jesus was doing? Was Jesus intending to rid the temple of the “clutter” that had taken the people’s eyes off God? Perhaps. But the New Testament record describes the temple cleansing as more revolutionary than that. His action was a prophetic sign of judgment upon a corrupt temple system. The “clutter” of trade in the temple was only the symptom of a much deeper problem. In seeking to use Jesus’ temple cleansing as an example of revolutionary simplification, the authors stretch the biblical support for their case. But the temple cleansing does raise a question that Simple Church never addresses. Could the clutter and congestion seen in today’s multitude of programs be a symptom of a larger problem? Could cleaning out the clutter be treating a symptom and not the root problem?
Sign the petition or Hollywood is going to make a movie depicting Jesus as a homosexual!
Write congress and tell them to stop Madelyn Murray O’Hair from shutting down all Christian broadcasters!
The list goes on. Our inbox fills up with forwarded messages from well-intentioned people. Sometimes there are urgent prayer requests, petitions, chain letters (you don’t love Jesus if you don’t send this on…), etc.
But the ones that bother me most are the blatantly false messages that gullible Christians believe. As Christians, we claim to be people of Truth. After all, Jesus declared that He is the Truth. Furthermore, we have truth revealed to us in God’s Word. We of all people should prize and uphold Truth.
Why settle for anything less when it comes to email forwards and prayer requests? Why send on an email without verifying the source? Why are we so quick to believe everything that comes our way?
My plea is to well-intentioned Christians who are too quick to hit the “forward” button without checking the truthfulness of the message. Verify. Test. TruthorFiction.com is a terrific place to start when concerned about an email message. Don’t just click “send” without checking. Truth matters.
(Now, if you really love Jesus, you’ll send this message to everyone in your address book.) Just Kidding.
written by Trevin Wax © 2007 Kingdom People blog
The Importance of “Moving” Disciples
One of the most practical areas of Simple Church centers on the importance of “moving” people from one level of discipleship to another. This emphasis on “movement” is badly needed in Southern Baptist churches today, many of which seek to build only one aspect of the ministry (worship attendance, for example) instead of seeing people grow spiritually through an intentional discipleship process.
The authors define “movement” as the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment (139). Most pastors already hope their people are moving to greater areas of commitment, but Simple Church challenges pastors to figure out what the “hand-offs” are by asking tough questions that aim specifically at removing congestion between church programs. How are we moving people from worship attendance to small group participation? How are we moving people from Bible study to mission trips? Rainer and Geiger encourage pastors to have an intentional, specific plan for moving people from one area of ministry to another.
The Vision of a Tour-Guide Pastor
A clear vision statement is essential if a church hopes to simplify and focus on discipleship. Most pastors have a vision for their church, but that vision often remains unarticulated. The authors write about the numerous times they have asked pastors what the church’s vision and have been met with nothing but stuttering (71).
In defense of the pastors, it should be noted that the authors assume that a clear vision is always a short, catchy motto. Not all pastors have adopted this model of mission statement. Perhaps it is premature for the authors to assume that if a pastor hasn’t adopted a memorable phrase or saying, he has no articulate vision for the church. After all, people have united behind visionary leaders without such phrases for thousands of years. If Nehemiah or Ezra had a short, clear vision statement, the biblical authors did not choose to include it.
The Reformation was a political and religious movement in Europe that began in the 1500′s and lasted for roughly 150 years. It is difficult to pinpoint exact starting and ending dates for the Reformation, but we can point to two events that seem to begin and to culminate the Reformation era: 1517 (Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and his protest against the indulgence system of the Roman Catholic Church) and 1648 (The Peace of Westphalia, treaties that ended both the Thirty Years’ War and the Eighty Years’ War and thus put an end to most of the civil disruption caused by the religious movement).
1. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses (October 31, 1517)
It has been argued that the importance of Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg is often overestimated, since all public disputations were promoted in this manner. Furthermore, it is evident from the 95 Theses that Luther’s decisive break with Rome is not yet clear. He upholds the indulgence system, papal authority, and the existence of purgatory. Yet, this crucial event deserves to be at the forefront of any discussion on important Reformation events because it is the spark that led to the flames of revolution. Luther’s 95 Theses were published, printed, and disseminated into Europe, and the publication ignited a religious fervor that exploded across Germany and beyond.
2. The Marburg Colloquy (1529)
Luther and Zwingli’s discussion of the theology of the Lord’s Supper may seem an odd choice for the 2nd …