Archive for April, 2009

As many of you know we apart of the Acts 29 Network. I (aaron) personally find it a pleasure to be a part of this network of churches. One of the main reasons I like it so much is the the sharing of resources that happens inside this network. If your new to the church world (and by that I mean professional church, where church is a production and an event not a people on mission) people often hoard their resources because if someone uses their stuff they might be out done by another church.

Well, our friends in the Acts 29 Network share all kinds of stuff in hope to advance the Kingdom not their ministry, and I want to share one of these resources with you. One church we are friends with has been very helpful to me personally, Sojourn in Louisville.  The worship and arts pastor at Sojourn   @MikeCosper  (for you twitter folks) recently did an video discussion with with Dr.  Harold Best (author of Unceasing Worship buy it) and Professor Carl “Chip” Stam (Professor of Church Music and Worship at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His picture is funny compared to what he looks like in the video. Nothing but love, if Chip ever reads this). I really think this is a helpful series on music and worship. it would be worth your time to check it out. I will link all 8 parts below. Thanks to the guys at Sojourn  for putting this together. 

PT 1,PT 2, PT 3, PT 4, PT5, PT6, PT7, PT 8


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Bob Thune is doing some great work with Coram Deo, an A29 church in Omaha, Nebraska. Later this year, World Harvest will be releasing some of Bob’s work on gospel-centered living that I’m looking forward to working into our life together at Christ Church.

Here’s a recent post from Bob about what it means for us to be gospel-centered people:

  1. We must know the gospel (gospel message). Most Christians overestimate their own understanding of the gospel message. The gospel is something “into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12). And angels are smarter than you. Which means: if you think you “get” the gospel, you probably don’t. We must devote ourselves to an ever-deepening knowledge and appreciation of the gospel of Jesus.
  2. We must experience the gospel (gospel motivation). The gospel is not just a message to be believed, but a power to be experienced. Until the gospel transforms our motivations, we will obey God primarily out of things like fear, pride, duty, or guilt. Those motivations simply aren’t strong enough to sustain lifelong, radical obedience. Only when we begin to live out of our new identity in Christ will we find ourselves loving God deeply and obeying him freely.
  3. We must live the gospel (gospel means). Popular Christianity has adopted a very truncated view of what it means to “share the gospel” (think evangelistic tracts, outreach events, and Christian radio). But the numbers don’t lie: these methods aren’t working. Why? Because they’re only part of the equation. The gospel demands that we ask: how do we declare and demonstrate the reality of the gospel in everything we do? How can the gospel inform and transform our daily rhythms so that the very stuff of “normal life” becomes a tangible expression of the gospel? What if our neighbors not only heard the gospel from our mouths, but saw it reflected in how we eat and celebrate and listen and rest and express generosity and participate in community?


To be a gospel-centered church, we must understand the gospel, experience the gospel, and live the gospel. Last Sunday we sought to deepen our understanding of the gospel by contrasting the full biblical gospel (saved and sent, by God and for His glory – 1 Peter 2:9) with two common reductions of the gospel (being saved and being sent). Each of these reduces the gospel to something less than it is; each is true, yet incomplete.

The table below might help illuminate the differences more fully.

Nature of Sin Internal/Personal External/Social Idolatry (Personal AND Cultural)
Salvation Saved from Guilt Saved from Selfishness Saved from Self-Worship, to live for God’s glory
Jesus Gets me to heaven Shows me how to live Is the source of my life and the object of my worship
Mission Get People Saved Get People Active Live for the glory of God

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If you’re a part of Christ Community Church, you’re really going to want to watch this interview (42 minutes) that Scott Thomas did with Jeff Vanderstelt, pastor of Soma Communities, and someone who is influencing our thinking and behavior as a church. Their discussion is about forming communities around mission.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jeff Vanderstelt on Missional Communi…“, posted with vodpod

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From JT:

Paul Tripp, in Instrument in the Redeemer’s Hands, unpacks James 4:1-1o and the war for the heart according to the following stages:

Stage 1: Desire. “The objects of most of our desires are not evil. The problem is the way they tend to grow, and the control they come to exercise over our hearts. All human desire must be held in submission to a greater purpose, the desires of God for his kingdom.” (p. 85)

Stage 2: Demand. (“I must.”) “Demand is the closing of my fists over a desire. . . . I am not longer comforted by God’s desire for me; I am threaten by it, because God’s will potentially standards in the way of my demand. . . . The morphing of my desire changes my relationship to others. No I enter the room loaded with a silent demand: You must help me get what I want. . . .” (p. 86)

Stage 3: Need. (“I will.”) ” I now view the thing I want as essential to life. This is a devasating step in the eventual slavery of desire. . . . To ‘chriten’ desire as need is equivalent to viewing cake as I do respiration. . . .” (p. 86)

Stage 4: Expectation. (“You should.”) “If I am convinced I need something and you have said that you love me, it seems right to expect that you will help me get it. The dynamic of (improper) need-driven expectation is the source of untold conflict in relationship.” (p. 87)

Stage 5: Disappointment. (“You didn’t!”) “There is a direct relationship between expectation and disappointment, and much of our disappointment in relationships i s not because people have actually wronged us, but because they have failed to meet our expectations.” (pp. 87-88)

Stage 6: Punishment. (“Because you didn’t, I will. . . .”) “We are hurt and angry because people who say they love us seem insensitive to our needs. So we strike back in a variety of ways to punish them for their wrongs against us. We include everything from the silent treatment (a form of bloodless murder where I don’t kill you but act as if you do not exist) to horrific acts of violence and abuse. I am angry because you have broken the laws of my kingdom. God’s kingdom has been supplanted. I am no longer motivated by a love for God and people so that I use the things in my life to express that love. Instead I love things, and use people–and even the Lord–to get them. My heart has been captured. I am in active service of the creation, and the result can only be chaos and conflict in my relationships.” (p. 88)

So what do you do when desire has morphed into demand into need into expectation into disappointment into punishment? The first step must be vertical, not horizontal. Because relationship problems are rooted in worship problems, James’s solution, Tripp rightly notes, is “Start with God”:

  • Submit yourselves therefore to God” (James 4:7).
  • “Draw near to God” (James 4:8).
  • “Cleanse your hands . . . and purify your hearts” (James 4:8)
  • “Humble yourselves before the Lord” (James 4:10).

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Maybe your community group wants to be a part of the Concert on the Lawn series hosted by Ashford Manor:

2009 Concert Series
Gates open at 5:30pm Concert 6-9pm
May 25th Memorial Day— Packway Handle Band, good ‘ol Bluegrass
June 8th –Sons of Sailors, the sounds of Jimmy Buffet
June 22nd –The Highballs, 70s & 80s Retro Pop
4th of July (Saturday) –Greg Hesters’ Van Morrison Tribute
July 13th –Lazy B and the Recliners, Rhythm & Blues Soul Revue
July 27th – Grogus, Latin Salsa and jazz
August 10th – Randall Bramblett, Southern Americana
August 24th– Mama’s Love, funk, rock, organic jam
September 7th Labor Day—Dirk Howell, ‘60s style rhythm & blues/beach music

Ticket Pricing
$15 for adults, $5 for children under 12, children under 6 are free.
A booklet of 9 tickets* for the concert series: $121.50 (includes a 10% discount)

Contact: Ashford Manor 706-769-2633
Sales tax is included in all pricing; cash, check or credit card accepted
Email at ashfordmanor@charter.net
*Please Note
All tickets for the 2009 series are concert specific and cannot be used for other concerts. Ashford Manor is not responsible for any lost, forgotten, or stolen tickets. You will be required to pay admission at the gate. There will be will-call and ticket pick-up at the front gate.

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Life Together is a blog designed to foster discipleship and community within the church and family. Here are a few recent posts:

If you’re a parent, bookmark them or subscribe to their feed.

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Desperate for Prayer?

As a church, our conversation focuses on three primary themes – gospel, community and mission.

A conversation we need to have is how little prayer goes into equipping and being equipped to live this out. Read this post from Kevin DeYoung and if you can’t go one day longer living in relative prayerlessness, talk to me so we can talk about what it looks like for you, me and the rest of the church mature as people of prayer:

If I could snap my fingers and change one thing about myself, I would ask God to make me more devoted to prayer. Don’t get me wrong, like you, I do pray. I pray almost every morning. I pray at staff meetings. I pray before meals. I pray with my kids before bed. I go on prayer walks. I pray in hospital rooms and in people’s homes. I pray for folks over the phone. My life is not devoid of prayer. But yet, oh how I wish my commitment to prayer were more, much more–more earnest, more faithful, more saturated in Scripture. What to do with Acts 6? I’m not sure what it would look like for me and my elders to hand off almost everything else so we can be fully devoted to the word of God and prayer (Acts 6:4), but I can’t imagine we are looking just like it quite yet.

I desperately want my church to be known as a church of prayer (not known for the sake of being known of course). We certainly aren’t failing in prayer. But I don’t know that we truly believe we would fail without prayer. Several weeks ago I listened to an interview with Ben Patterson where he talked humbly about the prayer meeting he leads at the church he attends and about the four hours he spends in prayer each morning. Hearing Ben, who I know from my days at Hope College, talk about prayer did not make me feel guilty. It didn’t make me feel competitive, like I need to pray as much as he does. And it didn’t make me feel skeptical, because I know Ben and know people who know Ben and I know that he is the real deal when it comes to prayer. Listing to the interview made me feel like I want to pray more. It made me want my church to pray more.

I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt that the church in North American is know around the world as a church committed to prayer. We have money, education, books, a lot of missionaries, and some great teachers. But do we have a reputation for serious, importunate, long-suffering prayer? What if the single biggest answer for the decline of Christianity in America and our paucity of evangelistic fruit was not the lack of a new strategy for engaging the culture or the lack of new music or the lack of new ways of doing church, but the lack of prayer? What if your church, my church, took a fresh look at all we are doing, put everything on the table and said, “Let’s put prayer first and we’ll see what we can fit in after that?”

Of course, we need prayer plus–prayer plus good preaching, good doctrine, good leadership, good strategy. But so often we think of everything else we can do besides pray. We end up minimizing prayer because 1) it’s hard and we aren’t very good at 2) we probably don’t really believe in its power. Deep down I think we believe that if we spend a lot of time praying, we’ll still have the same problems left to deal with. We just won’t have as much time to deal with them. Prayerlessness is the measure of our unbelief. We don’t really believe that God answers prayers. We don’t really believe that we have not because we ask not. We don’t really believe that God can do more than we ask or imagine. True, God doesn’t need to hear from us, but he ordained prayer so that we might be convinced of our need for him and he might be glorified in answering our prayers.

Reformed Christians believe most deeply in the sovereignty of God, the mercy of God, and in the power of God to whatever he desires. And yet, we often lag behind our brothers and sisters from other traditions when it comes to prayer. If the recent interest in and identification with Calvinism is truly a work of the Holy Spirit, and not just a passing trend, then we will see among the young, restless, and reformed a passion for God, a passion for truth, a passion for people in body and soul, and, infusing it all with unction and authority, a deep passion for prayer.

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