And they were called Christians . . .

What makes a Christian? Glad you asked. That is a wonderful question in our present American and Western Culture. Does going to a “church” service once or twice a month make a person a Christian? Does renouncing all worldly happiness and becoming a Catholic nun or priest make one a better Christian than others? Does picketing abortion or signing a petition against same sex marriage make a person a Christian? What about feeding the poor and working to eradicate world hunger? That’s a good one that both my right and lefty friends like. Does that make one a Christian? What’s on your list of your personal requirements for being a “Christian” in the West? I wonder how the Christians in persecuted China and other parts of the world would answer that question.

Going back 2000 years, the first question was probably not, “what makes a Christian” but rather, “who are these people who live so differently?” Answer, “Those are the folks who follow Christ” and thus the term was born. In sermonizing for Sunday, I camped out a bit on Acts 11:26b which states that the “Disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Looking at the greater context what we find is that this group of early believers were so marked by the character of Christ that people took note. Some scholars debate as to whether this was a term of endearment or ridicule. To me that doesn’t really matter a whole lot. The point is that these people were just doing life seriously devoted to Jesus and change happened. Who were these first Christians in Antioch? From the text here are a few points to ponder. (more…)

Ancient Evangelism. Part II. The Message Proclaimed.

Ok I’ll admit it; I’m a Tebow fan.  Yup, despite all the hype, I’m in.  Is he the best quarterback in the league?  Probably not.  Is he good enough to even be in the league at all?   Some of his fans say yes even though they don’t know a thing about the game.  On the other hand some of his critics say no even though Tim is better than other quarterbacks already in the NFL.  If I had my pick, I’d trade him off to Dallas instead of NY.  Then my favorite team would now have my favorite QB. Sorry Romo; nothing personal.  Just business you know.  But with the huge divergence in opinions on the guy, it would seem that there’s more to the story than just football.  Even if he’s not that good now, he’s still early on in his game with time to improve.  So why the fuss?  The answer is obvious; he’s an “outspoken” Christ follower. Yes, there are other Christians in the NFL.  But Tim seems to have taken the spotlight because of his starting in the 6th game of the 2011 season for the Broncos and winning while still living for and speaking out for Christ in a public way.  That’s the rub that people don’t know how to handle.  People ponder about how outspoken a Christian should live today.  Some believe he ought to just keep it to himself as this is a “private” matter.  Unfortunately those who believe and teach such things really don’t understand the essence of being a disciple of Christ at all.  Actually, the actions and spoken message of Tim really illustrates for us the second part in this study of Ancient Evangelism. (more…)

Reading the Reliable.

“Lighten up; it’s only a book!”  Have you ever heard that about the Bible?  Have you ever thought that about the Bible?  For me, I’ve actually based my whole world view on the Bible.  Why?  Because I have an assurance that “All scripture is God- breathed” and therefore I set eternity and all that I do and teach on that truth.  I know that everyone doesn’t agree with this.  A lot of folks question the validity of scripture and speculate whether it can be trusted or not.  Many people suggest that “because the Bible was written such a long time ago and was translated so many times” that it just can’t be reliable for us today.  If that is true, then the Bible rightly should be questioned.  But there are many good reasons to trust the authenticity of the Bible and its inspiration by God.  Below I’ve posted a summary list a friend and I put together which offers 8 major proofs for the authenticity of the Bible.  What else would you add?  How does this affect your view of scripture?  How does this affect your view of God and His Kingdom?  How does it affect the way you do life today? (more…)

Searching for Men of Gold.

Tokhon 1865-1925

I was thinking about politics again this morning.  Not to worry though, I’m not planning to announce my candidacy or anything like that.   Rather, my political bemoaning really had more to do with a cultural concern than a particular platform.  At the heart of my frustration was a feel that a whole lot of folks are more concerned about gold than good.  Indeed, self-security, self-preservation, and self-glory have become the master.  (more…)

Church on Mission.

Have you seen this clip?  It was made a couple of years ago.  But I came across it again the other day while researching a church planting organization.  Though the clip is not new, I believe it’s worth checking out again.  Jeff Maguire did a fun job describing the authentic Kingdom life which he refers to as Missional living.  The point being that authentic Christ followers are all called to live out the Kingdom of God in their own daily lives.  Sharing the message and love of Christ is the call of every Christian and not merely the domain of the decorated.  Remember, the CHURCH is not a building; but the people.  So whatever your niche in the Kingdom, be sure to be “missional” about it today.  Enjoy and implement!

 

Getting Ready for 2012

Are you ready for 2012?  I sure am.  This year New Year’s Day actually falls on a Sunday and we will indeed be meeting at The Crossings.  The plan is to just have one service at 11:00.  The main text that we will be looking at is Psalm 90:12 where Moses prayed; “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  That is a challenging text in many ways.  When we take stock of our potential life span and realize we only have so many days allotted to us, we begin to rethink things more seriously. I suppose it’s kind of like when my kids were younger and a couple of older men told me to enjoy these years because they would be gone before I knew it.  I didn’t believe it then, but I can really relate to that now because my oldest will be graduating from High School in 2 and a half years.  Where did the time go?  In truth, all of us have a short amount of time on this earth.  The question is how are we going to spend that time.  To help us get further along with that road, I’ve listed three challenges below. What else would you add? (more…)