Category Archives: The Church – the Body of Christ

THE CONFOUNDING CHURCH

Eighteen million views and counting. Jefferson Bethke posted his well-crafted four-minute video on YouTube January 10. “Viral” might be an understatement.

Bethke uses rapper-like poetry to communicate his message in “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” He begins with the claim, “What if I told you that Jesus came to abolish religion?” He intends to challenge the hypocrisy that creeps into every organized religion, but his broad brush paints a confusing depiction of Jesus v Religion. Continue reading

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GROWING OLD IS STILL GROWING

People are also living longer. The life expectancy at birth in 1950 was 68.2. In 1980, it had improved to 73.7. By 2003, life expectancy figures had stretched to 77.5. Prolonged life supports another trend in the population. Baby Boomers have been merging into the elderly subgroup for seven years now. Census data from 2000 and 2010 reveals a 2.2% increase of adults 60 and over, from 16.3% to 18.5%. Projections indicate that by 2030 persons over 65 will double the number of 2000, to 72 million.

To the individual dealing with the effects of aging, statistics make little difference. A woman told me the other night that it was downhill after 60. She is 68 and maintains an active lifestyle of aerobics and yoga classes, but arthritis and worn out joints defy resistance. Hair coloring and cosmetic procedures may disguise the onset of geriatrics. Replacement parts may increase mobility. But the body wears out – more slowly for some than others, but inevitably and irreversibly. Continue reading

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DON’T FALL ALONE

My wife recently observed that you can illustrate almost anything from the classic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.

For example, have you ever noticed how people who are very good in giving support and encouragement to others, tend to suck at allowing other people to support them in personal crises? Their supply of emotional strength and wisdom overflows into the lives of others. When they encounter difficulty, they rely on that supply for themselves, overlooking the value of shared strength. For these super-givers, the proverb, “Two are better one …. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow,” only applies when the other person falls. Continue reading

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REORIENTING THE CHURCH

The Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit was less than one week away when Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, called to say that he had decided not to speak at the Summit. Gay Rights activists threatened to boycott Starbucks if Schultz spoke at the event. Continue reading

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EVERY NATION, EVERY PEOPLE, EVERY LANGUAGE

The American imperialistic affinity sometimes blurs our vision. We forget that America was not the final destination of the gospel. We forget that the New Jerusalem is not located in the West. We forget that Americans are not the ruling class in the kingdom of God. We forget that Jesus’ words to his disciples on that mountain in Galilee are no less directed to us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” (Matthew 28:19). Continue reading

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ADVOCATING FOR INTROVERTS

The young man talking to me was angry and highly frustrated. He felt ignored and ostracized only because he was socially awkward. He was not gregarious or outgoing. Conversation did not flow easily for him. It was not because he was dull-witted. On the contrary, he had an abundance of thoughts. He loved God and he loved people, but most people expected him to communicate that love along well-defined social paths. But his personality was built more for tracks than highways.

Adam McHugh has written an entire book addressing this problem. Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture thoroughly explores the world of the introvert. The evangelical church has become an inhospitable environment for the introvert. Continue reading

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