Monthly Archives: January 2019

When We Have Dreamed Too Little

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

A prayer by Sir Francis Drake, 16th century

Before you judge…

It doesn’t take long on social media these days to find outrage. We think we see, watch, or read about a situation and quickly make a judgement about it then post our opinion. Many times, however, a few hours later we realize that we took the click-bait and the story is bigger and more detailed than what we originally ascertained.

Recently I watched an episode of The Orville that addressed this phenomena of 21st century life. People were rated, judged, sent to prison, or lobotomized according to societal consensus and outrage via social media. I found it to be a very insightful episode.

The problem is that our society judges harshly, yet I doubt we would want to be judged by the same measure by which we judge or display our outrage at others. It is one of the least appealing or Christ-like things we can do. I have said for a while that we are living in an age of “non-grace.” This has to change, especially with our harsh judgement upon each other. Too often we quote moral leaders but neglect to apply their teachings on peace, love and forgiveness. 

We often make fools of ourselves when we judge the intentions of another…Our own intentions or prejudice are easily revealed in our outrage. The heart is deceitful and so wicked we don’t know the evil in our own hearts.

There is hope. We just have to remember before we react, and see like Jesus sees. He saw everyone as a potential disciple and friend, that was his baseline, not to see anyone as an enemy but as a child of God, however imperfect.

“Father help us to be kinder to others, giving the benefit of a doubt, not pre-judging but believing the best about others whenever possible, for we would seek the same on our own behalf when they encounter us.”

Rediscovering what it means to be the church

Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? …It worthless.”

“You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

  •  It’s not about buildings, it’s about people
  • It’s not about membership, it’s about discipleship
  • It’s not about performance, it’s about presence
  • It’s not even about success, it’s about obedience

Looking Deeper:

1)It’s not about buildings, it’s about people

We’d all love to have great buildings b/c people like great buildings & cool spaces, but remember the early church, where did they meet? Wherever they could. Homes, under trees, the steps of the Temple, caves, wherever. No one had a building that was referred to as a church till about the time of Constantine in 4th century. In many ways the church is beginning to return to these early roots. Anchor Mission churches meet in coffee shops and schools, and basements, and storefronts more than we do in actual church buildings. Non of that matters because it’s about the people & not the building.

2) It’s not about membership, it’s about discipleship

It’s been called the ABCs of ministry, (attendance, buildings, cash) America’s church often has fuzzy vision that resembles the materialism and values of the corporate world model; but our call is the call of the early church; to real discipleship, to make disciples. All other things serve that goal, not vice-versa.

At the end of the day did we take Jesus at His word and “Go, make disciples” or did we grow our membership? There is a difference. As disciple-makers  we seek to encourage each other not to buy into the corporate church model.

3) It’s not about performance, it’s about presence

Of course we want to do all we can to do a good job, do things well, “professional”, decently and  in order; but at the end of the day we need the spirit leading and anointing what we do. As Paul said “I didn’t come to you with men’s wisdom but with the spirit”.

An example of what I’m talking about is music and worship in the early church. Paul, James and others instructed that the church support each other with songs, hymns, spiritual songs, words of wisdom, and scripture. But by the 4th century congregational singing was quickly diminishing, being replaced with performance chiors, which required  up to 9 years of training to sing in Latin. It had become about performance and not necessarily about presence. For 1000 years that’s pretty much how it was. One thing the reformation returned to the church was congregational singing, thousands more voices praising God. This trickled down via hymns, to the camp meetings, and then to Calvary the new expressions of worship of today.

Things should be done well. It’s important to do all things as best we can, but it’s more important to do so seeking Gods presence, seeking intimacy with Him, being focused on Him & not ourselves. It’s about presence. As a group we seek the presence of God.

4) It’s not even about success, it’s about obedience

We all want to be successful, to pay our bills doing what we love, to be known and respected for what we do.

According to the world’s standards John the Baptist was a failure, Isaiah-failure, Jeremiah-failure, Paul-failure. The early church, leaders of the early church were not called to be successful; they were called to live by the truth, and to make disciples. Often this meant death, persecution, or at least suspicion by a jaded and un-trusting world.

You’ve not been called to succeed, you’ve been called to be obedient, to try, to pick up your cross and follow him. Bonhoeffer says you’ve been called to DIE. You’ve been called to obedience, not necessarily success. As church planters we encourage each other to obedience.

At the end of the day all that matters is if you were obedient. All that matters is if it was all about presence and not performance…about discipleship and not membership, about people and not about a building. At the end of the day all that matters is if you took God at his word and encouraged people along their path to go forward on their journey with Jesus. Did you call them forward on that journey or not? That’s all that matters.

In the words of Saint Francis: “We’ve been called to heal wound, unite what has fallen apart, and bring home those who have lost their way…” We need to return to this simplicity often;  just what it means to be the church.