Jesus and Jessie

Posted: August 22, 2011 in Personal

I wanted to introduce you to my cousin, and her blog jesusandjessie.

I just read her first blog and decided to share it with you! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

DEAR HUSBAND

I’ve started writing letters to my future husband. I write as though I know him when in all reality, I don’t even know if I’ve met him. I have pages and pages scattered here and there, in notebooks from high school, notes from Ecola, journals for writing messages, and all sorts of loose paper. There’s a lot of “I miss you’s” and “I love you’s” along with “when will you get here?” and “how will I know?” Although I’ve written all those words for all these years, I know there’s still so much more to be told.

Husband, if you’re reading this someday, know I love you and I really do miss you. However, life without you is still wonderful, because I know our One True Love is the Author of our love story. Sharing our Father and loving Him together is my biggest dream. I can’t wait to wake up in the mornings, wrapped in your arms, and hear you begin to pray. I can’t wait to go through the miseries this life will bring us, but go through them together and come out of them stronger. I can’t wait to have a love with you that will defy all other ideas of love. I want to hug you and hold your hand and fall asleep on your chest and hear your heart beat and giggle with our children while teaching them of Jesus’ love. These are the things I long to share with you and so much more.  READ THE REST HERE!

The Twenty-Two Questions Members of

John Wesley’s Holy Club Asked Themselves

Every Day in Their Private Devotions

More Than 200 Years Ago

 

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

What’s in a Tithe?

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Kingdom & Church

I thought about titling this post ‘To Tithe, or Not To Tithe’, but usually when the topic of ‘Tithe’ comes up it is assumed that you are completely on one side or the other. In this case it couldn’t be further from the truth. I personally lean towards ‘To Tithe’, but find myself close to the middle when discussing its relevance and/or requirement for New Testament believers, for me its more a matter of the heart, then an act of following the law. I’ll let you in on an e-mail conversation, and you can decide who’s right, who’s wrong, or maybe you’ll end up right in the middle with me.

—-TO TITHE—-

In regards to “money,” in over one of every six messages Jesus taught, He refers to finances, wealth or investments. I realize that each person must decide what ended at the cross, what began after the cross, and what came before and through the cross, but the following would require an explanation:
 
Matt 23:23 NASB
 
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
 
Luke 11:42-43 NASB
 
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
 
The tithing was so exact, that it went down to the smallest of herbs in the garden – and Jesus said, “You ‘should have done it’, but with an attitude of justice, mercy and faithfulness.
 
God has always required a physical demonstration of that which is spiritual. Therefore, Paul writes, “…present your bodies…”, not simply present your soul and spirit. Water baptism is a physical acting out of a spiritual decision – whereas, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is also required.
 
—-NOT TO TITHE—-
 
Did Jesus the son of man tithe?
Did His disciples tithe while they were with Him? 
Can a person tithe on money according to The Law?
 
If The Scriptures are silent on these things, then anything you and I come up with is merely speculation.
 
I don’t believe the Lord cares if we tithe a dollar or a million dollars, since it’s only money.  He is always interested in our hearts, and not our hands.  Money comes and money goes, but the things our Father is doing in us and through us are eternal.
 
—————————————————————————————————————————————————-
 
There are probably hundreds of other arguments for and against ‘Tithing’, but, where do you stand?
Here are a handful of questions that may help your decision ‘To Tithe’ or ‘Not to Tithe’.
 
Is your money yours or Gods?
Do you give 10% of your money to fulfill the ‘Law’?
Does God love a cheerful giver?
Do I invest in the ‘Kingdom’?
Am I a better Christian because I tithe?
 
I’ll leave you with part of an e-mail response I gave to the subject:
 
All I have is His (Jesus’), am I required ‘by law’ to give back 10%?  I would say no, but, do I think He rejoices when I do give and give more than the law requires? Yes! Does it make me a better Christian? No! 
 
I have experienced supernatural provision when I have been tithing. God loves a cheerful giver.
I also believe we should be tithers of our time, and giftings. Again ALL we have is HIS and HIS alone!
 
In closing, what is in a tithe? My simple answer would be, a heart for the advancing the Kingdom of God. Notice I didn’t say, a heart for advancing the Gospel of the Church, big difference.
 
Thank-you very much for your time, May God Bless you today!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jesus never told us to build the church,  He said, ” you go preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and I will build My church.”

Do you remember Jesus showing the disciples how to pray?  He said, “Pray then,  this way” 

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. 
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)

His Kingdom, and His Will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.  We have been called to advance the Kingdom of God on earth and He will build His Church. We are His Church, you don’t go to church, and you don’t have your own church. We need to change our minds (repent) about what we think the church is, and see the Church the way God see’s His Church.  Look in your Bibles, the ‘Kingdom of God’ is mentioned 63 times in the New Testament, and the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is mentioned 31 times in Matthew alone.  Jesus’ central message is the ‘Kingdom of God’ throughout the epistles.   How many times do you think the ‘kingdom of the church’ is mentioned?  UHM, it’s not.  Yet the Western/American church has embraced the ‘Gospel of the Church’, expecting God to advance His Kingdom.  This is completely backwards. The Church needs to be the by-product of advancing the Kingdom, not the other way around.

I believe that the American (Western) church has veered far from a biblical base of truth and light (advancing the Kingdom), into a corporate daycare model of bigger is better, more bodies equals more money, with feel-good non-offensiveness, and the gospel of political correctness. That being said, we need to remember that we are the church, we are His body, and His bride. The church is not a building or Sunday meeting, like most Americans think. So, let us be careful how we toss the word ‘church’ around, and make clear that the critiques of the church are usually, church as an establishment and/or the gospel of the Western (American) Church. Part of advancing the Kingdom is the act of overturning tables in the market place, and I (a son of God) take part in overturning tables, advancing the Kingdom for His Church, against Americas Church. Pray for His church! Love His bride!

Peace, and God Bless!

Just Another Donkey

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Kingdom & Church, Personal

Do you remember the beginning of the Easter story, when Jesus enters into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey?

In John 12:13  it says a large crowd, “took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” 

So here we have a picture of Jesus on the back of a donkey, with many people on both sides of the road laying palm branches down in front of their every step into Jerusalem, and shouting praise,”Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”  Put yourself in the hoofs of the donkey, all you see is a carpet of palm branches, and the crowd praising you.

Do you think the donkey thought it was all for him?

Do you think that the donkey forgot that someone was on his back?

Have you forgotten that you are ‘just another donkey’, bringing Jesus to the lost and blind?

Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s not all about us, not our giftings, not our great Sunday messages, or our revelation of scripture. It is so easy to forget that, especially when God is doing awesome things with and/or thru us.

I pray that today’s blog leaves you encouraged and motivated to give God all the glory that He is due, from one donkey to another! “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”

Top Ten Bible Verses

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
 

1. John 3:16

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2. John 1:1

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

3. John 14:6

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

4. Matthew 28:19

 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

5. Romans 3:23

 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

 6. Ephesians 2:8

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –

7. Genesis 1:1

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

8. Acts 1:8

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9. 2 Timothy 3:16

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

10. Romans 10:9

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

…….Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner, with three entries. The book of John is the big winner. Also, my favorite book of the Bible.

……So, what’s your favorite bible verse?…..Is it one of the Top Ten?…..What’s your favorite book of the Bible?

The question of communion has come up recently in a number of conversations, and recently blogged about here.  Most of what we know about communion comes solely from the practice of it at our local churches. The practice of communion is one of two ordinances/sacraments (most people don’t like the word sacrament, because of its Catholic roots) we are called to practice/observe in the New Testament, the other is baptism. My brother Donald Borsch dives into the discussion focusing on the silence of scripture in these ordinances, noting, “My spiritual father, Jim McNally, taught me that in issues where The Scriptures are silent, I need to be silent”.  Today, I want to dive into the differing thoughts about the communion ELEMENTS (bread, and wine), the four predominate views in the American Churches, and how I personally view/practice communion.

There are four predominant views when it comes to the parts of communion.

The first view is called “transubstantiation” (substance transformed), which states that the substance is transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The traditional Roman Catholic view is that the bread and the wine are supernaturally transformed, by the blessing of a properly ordained priest, into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, and then the elements are distributed. In fact, Martin Luther was upset with the Catholics, because in his day, although the Catholic church distributed the bread to the laity (to the folk), they would not distribute the wine. The wine was considered too important for common people to receive. They all might spill the blood of Jesus, and that would be a really bad thing to do. For this reason, the priests in Martin Luther’s day would drink the wine on behalf of you commoners. You could receive bread, however, because you are not going to do a lot of harm to the bread.

The second view is called “consubstantiation.” This is a traditional Lutheran view of communion. Consubstantiation says that Jesus’ body and his blood are contained in the bread. The bread does not fully transform into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, but the bread and the wine contain the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. That is sort of a middle ground view.

The third view is called the “spiritual” view. This is associated mainly with reformed traditions, with Presbyterian churches. This view says that in a very special way, the spiritual presence of Jesus is with us during communion. In a special way, Jesus is spiritually present with the bread and the wine during the communion ceremony.

The fourth view is the “representative” view. It says that these elements are merely tokens, symbolically representing the body and the blood of Jesus Christ — that there is no supernatural transformation in the form of these. The body and the blood of Jesus Christ are not going to come here with these elements. Jesus was killed, he rose again, and he is seated at the right hand of the Father right now. That is where his body and blood are. They are not here physically with us. They also do not believe that Jesus is more spiritually present in the elements during communion than He is with you and me at any other time during the week. Being filled with the Holy Spirit of God, you are always in the presence of God. Jesus is not spiritually in our presence more during communion than he is at any other time of the week.

Whatever you believe about the elements, scripture has made it clear that we are to ‘do this in remembrance of Him‘. As my friend Frank would say,”Communion is all about PROCLAIMING his death, his blood poured out”.

Luke 22:19-20
..And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”And in the same way, He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

In Luke, we are given this picture of the Last Supper, it’s in this picture that we see clearly how to take communion, and the represented elements. Notice that it is a full meal that they take part in, and the communion starts at the beginning of the meal with the breaking of bread, and ends at the end of the meal with the wine. When is the last time you have had a communion dinner like this? For most, probably never. Granted this would be difficult to do in a church service, considering time and the number of people in the service. So, I suggest doing it at your home, with close friends, or alone with your wife. In most denominations it is forbidden to take communion outside the church walls, or without a Pastor or Priest distributing the elements. I cannot find this in scripture, and you will not find it either. I encourage all christians to take communion regularly, it is the only ordinance in the NT that we are commanded to do that is not a one and done sacrament (i.e. baptism).

As for my view on the elements, I fall right in between the third and fourth view. So, I guess I have a spiritual-representative view on the elements of communion. The best thing about not being part of a denomination, is not being handcuffed to their theology.

What is your view?

In light of the car I saw parked outside the grocery store a couple of months ago warning me of the impending ‘Judgement Day, May 21st 2011’, and the fact that when I googled it, I read:

….May 11th–Rapture

….May 21st–Judgment Day

….October 21st–END OF THE WORLD

I decided to write my blog one day early, just in case I was to be raptured.  As I searched some of the sites today, I noticed that they have removed the May11th date and have combined it with May 21st. So I don’t have to worry about not being here tomorrow, according to Harold Camping and Family Radio.

Which leads me to the question, “How many times has there been Judgement Day prophesies?”. Thanks to Google I have done some of the foot-work for you and compiled a short list of failed ‘Judement Day Prophesies”.

…Micheal Baxter, an early 20th century prophesy teacher, pinpointed the date on March 12, 1903 between 2:30 and 3:00 am. I just wonder if he was able to keep his teaching job.

…Jehovah’s Witnesses, they got smart and just announced a year, 1914. Then another year, 1925, and another, 1975. Three strikes and your out-of-there, I guess they just gave up.

…Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, in 1978 he proclaimed that the rapture was coming in May 1981. I think he learned from the JW’s not to pick an exact date, but did narrow it down to a month.

Edgar Whisenant, NASA rocket engineer turned prophesy teacher, predicted Jesus return between September 11th to September 13th 1988, then on the 14th of September updated it to October 3rd of the same year. He also wrote a book entitled ’88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988′. I wonder if he was a better rocket engineer.

…Hal Lindsey, prophesy expert (uhm?), like Whisenant prophesied the return of Christ in 1988, maybe he read Whisenant’s book.

Lee Jang Rim, a Korean preacher announced the rapture to come on October 28th, 1992. Subsequentally he was sent to jail, and sadly many of his followers committed suicide.

…Benny Hinn, Florida Assemblies of God preacher predicted the rapture for 1993. Well he also said that God would destroy all homosexuals in America by 1994 or 1995 at the very least.

Harold Camping, civil engineer turned radio broadcaster, stirred up the world when he calculated ‘Judgement Day’ to be September 6th 1994 (oops), and now says that it is on May 21st. Everyone before him, including himself, have been 100% dead wrong.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” —2nd Peter 2:1

It has come to my attention that when I quote a source of information, I should follow it with a link. I recently quoted the Washington Post, and could have left the impression that I just made it up. So, I wanted to follow it up with the full copy of the story and a link directly to the source. I couldn’t make this stuff up!

Evangelical Author Puts Progressive Spin On Traditional Faith

 By Caryle Murphy

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lyndsay Moseley was no longer inspired by the evangelical Christian faith of her youth. As an environmental activist, she believed that it offered little spiritual support for her work and was overly focused on opposing abortion and gay marriage.

Then the 27-year-old District resident discovered Brian D. McLaren of Laurel, one of contemporary Christianity’s hottest authors and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in upper Montgomery County.

“He always talks about the environment as a priority when he talks about the church being relevant to the world,” Moseley said. “He’s leading a [spiritual] conversation that needs to happen,” one that “I’ve been hungry for.”

McLaren has emerged as one of the most prominent voices in an increasingly active group of progressive evangelicals who are challenging the theological orthodoxy and political dominance of the religious right. He also is an intellectual guru of “emerging church,” a grass-roots movement among young evangelicals exploring new models of living out their Christian faith.

Progressives, who range from 11 to 36 percent of all evangelicals, according to various polls, are still overshadowed by the Christian right among evangelicals. But the steady popularity of McLaren’s books over the past eight years signals an expanding diversity of thought in this important political constituency.

McLaren, 50, offers an evangelical vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice. He contends that people can follow Jesus’s way without becoming Christian. In the latest of his eight books, “The Secret Message of Jesus,” which has sold 55,000 copies since its April release, he argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just “Kingdom of God” on earth than about getting into heaven.

Along with such other progressive evangelicals as Washington-based anti-poverty activist Jim Wallis and educator Tony Campolo, McLaren is openly critical of the conservative political agenda favored by many evangelicals.

“When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels,” McLaren said in a recent interview.

Scot McKnight, a professor of religious studies at Chicago’s North Park University who has studied McLaren’s career, said that “he wants there to be greater cooperation among Christians, and he thinks evangelical Christians have aligned themselves too closely with the Republican Party. He wants to see Christians . . . pursue what is right, regardless of the political party’s platform.”

What makes McLaren’s ideas attractive to progressive evangelicals appalls the more numerous conservatives. Noting that he fails to condemn homosexuality, one conservative Web site called him “A True Son of Lucifer” for ignoring “absolute biblical truth.” And last year, Baptists in Kentucky revoked a speaking invitation after McLaren said that followers of Jesus might not be the only ones to gain salvation.

“If you have some person or movement coming along calling into question the non-negotiables of Christianity, then those who espouse Christianity find such a challenge dangerous,” said Donald A. Carson, professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, who has criticized McLaren’s theology.

Though a “creative, sparkly writer,” added Carson, McLaren has “got so many things wrong in his analysis that his work is not going to last that long.”

Modernizing the Message

 
“Emerging church” is a loose network of mostly young evangelicals who believe the Christian message needs to be made more relevant in a time of rapid technological and societal change, particularly to those who’ve never been part of any church. Participants refer to their interaction as a “conversation,” much of which takes place on the Internet at sites such as http://www.emergentvillage.com and blogs such as pomomusings.com.

“We are questioning a lot of presuppositions of conventional Christians: What should a church look like? How do we really understand Scripture in a modern context?” said Tony Jones, the conversation’s national coordinator. “To conservatives, we seem like relativists, and to liberals, we seem like Jesus freaks.”

The movement has no membership rolls, set beliefs or creed; liturgical diversity is encouraged. There is no way to know how many congregations are putting “emerging church” ideas into practice, Jones said. But “thousands of churches and pastors are . . . listening in, coming to hear Brian and reading my weekly e-mails.”

McLaren said the name “emerging church” came out of a 2001 discussion he had with Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, about “why the megachurches were not attracting young people.” The reasons, experts said, were becoming evident in the 1990s: dissatisfaction with the rightward drift in evangelical politics; worship styles so contemporary and casual they had no spiritual uplift; a lack of emphasis on social justice; and a theology that some say reduced Christianity to a recipe.

“The modern Christian formula of ‘I mentally assent to the fact that Jesus died for my sins and therefore I get to live forever in heaven’ . . . is entirely cognitive,” said Ken Archer, 33, a D.C. software entrepreneur who is studying philosophy at Catholic University. “It’s a mathematical formula [that] leaves the rest of our being unfulfilled.”

McLaren’s 2001 book, “A New Kind of Christian,” captured the dissatisfaction. “I felt like someone had read my mind,” said Michael Lamson, 31, an evangelical youth pastor in Mercersburg, Pa. Three years later, in “A Generous Orthodoxy,” McLaren elaborated his theological outlook, which became a major influence on the “emerging conversation.”

“What Brian is contributing is excellent questions that expose the modern roots of our spiritual angst,” said Archer, who has had long conversations with McLaren. “He sees the answers coming from others, and he has encouraged thousands of people, including myself, to find the answers.”

A Fellowship Expands

Cedar Ridge, the congregation McLaren founded, is a far cry from the religious environment in which he was raised in Rockville. His family belonged to the ultraconservative Plymouth Brethren, which also is the childhood church of activist Wallis and radio celebrity Garrison Keillor.

As someone who loved books, music and science, “I was on the way out from the Christian faith” in his mid-teens, said the balding McLaren, who wears glasses and a closely cropped grey beard.

But that changed with the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, whose anti-establishment spirit attracted him. “I’ve always had the sense that Jesus’s message is not a chaplaincy to the establishment,” he said, “but that it is countercultural.”

In 1982, while he was teaching English at the University of Maryland, McLaren and his wife, Grace, started a small “fellowship group” in their College Park apartment. “We’d have prayer, I’d do a little Bible study, then we’d have dinner. It was mostly grad students,” he recalled.

The group met for several years in homes and school buildings until it ended up at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Beltsville and took the name Cedar Ridge. McLaren left teaching — and his unfinished doctorate studies — to be pastor. In the late 1990s, the congregation of about 250 bought a 63-acre farm in Spencerville and moved there in January 1999.

The church now has an average attendance of 600 at Sunday services, and members say a big reason for the growth was McLaren’s openness to ideas that are unconventional in evangelical circles.

“I don’t see the issue of homosexuality as the simple black-and-white issue that some of my fellow evangelicals make it out to be,” said McLaren, who last year was named by Time magazine among the “25 most influential evangelicals in America.”

And while not happy about widespread abortions, he added, “to just say ‘Okay, let’s pass laws about it’ seems to me to skip a number of important steps, like honest and open dialogue, persuasion and seeking to remove the conditions that make abortion so prevalent.”

McLaren, who never attended seminary or divinity school, said his congregants’ questions made him realize that the old answers no longer worked. “I remember thinking these are a different kind of question, and I didn’t have good answers,” he said. “I went through a real period of doubt . . . about the form of Christianity that I’d inherited. . . . In many ways, that struggle is what gave birth to my first book.”

A Bigger Mission

The scent of summer grass hung in the steamy air on a recent Sunday morning as a parade of Toyota and Honda SUVs turned off Route 198 into the bucolic compound of Cedar Ridge. The onetime farm’s brick silo stood in front of the new church — built to look like a barn, complete with loft door. No religious symbols adorned the exterior.

Volunteers stood at the door greeting young families, elderly couples, singles and teenagers with studded ears. In the lobby, coffee and bagels were available. “Make yourself a nametag,” invited a sign next to pens and labels.

The sanctuary is a huge open space with folding chairs circling a platform that serves as a pulpit. Behind that is an altar covered in purple cloth with a two-foot-high wooden cross. Behind that is a stage with two electric guitars, a keyboard, drums and tambourines. Two large video screens display words to contemporary hymns. The liturgy, which includes Communion, is casual but reverent.

Beverly Farmer of Silver Spring, a traffic reporter with WUSA (Channel 9), has attended Cedar Ridge for five years. “The big, metal building, the folding chairs, was not my idea of church . . . but it appealed to me,” Farmer said. “I felt I was at home.”

With McLaren’s books drawing increased international attention, he asked to step down last year so he could travel more. Matthew Dyer took over as pastor in February.

But McLaren returned on a Sunday in July to preach on the theme of his latest book. Farmer, who was in the congregation that day, said she misses her former pastor but understands.

“Brian’s mission is bigger than just Cedar Ridge,” she said. “I know he has more work to do in this world.”


A CALL TO BE ON YOUR GUARD

ACTS 20:29-31

I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

31 So be on your guard (“Therefore be on alert” NAS)

The apostle Paul clearly states that from among our own, men will distort the truth.

McLaren, Emerging Church, offers an evangelical vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice. He, McLaren, contends that people can follow Jesus’s way without becoming Christian, and argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just “Kingdom of God” on earth than about getting into heaven, and said that followers of Jesus might not be the only ones to gain salvation.

(quotes from Washington Post)

 

Jesus says  John 14:6-7

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Matthew 7:15-16

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

Acts 20:28

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Each believer has the responsibility to strengthen other believers. This is especially true of those who shepherd the flock. Jesus died for the church. Christians must live to strengthen it.

FINAL THOUGHT

 Acts 20:13-38 is the apostle Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders. We are not all pastors, or local church leaders or elders, but those of us who are adults in Christ, we are the shepherds of our families and friends. We cannot abdicate our responsibilities to study the word of God, and to know Jesus intimately. “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32 NAS) 

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength. Proverb 24:3-5