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Archive for March, 2010

Before The Party…

Before we celebrate Jesus’ experience of resurrection 2,000 years ago on Easter Sunday, we must walk through Good Friday.

Good Friday – a somewhat perplexing way to describe the most horrific, unjust event in all of history – forces us to confront the depths of our sin and the ferocity of God’s wrath.

This is not the night we want – give me the happy ending, please – but we desperately need this one night of the year where darkness creeps in and brings life back into focus.

So before we enjoy the bright lights of Easter, I’m asking you to join us in a dark alley on Good Friday. 7pm on the campus of Faith Presbyterian Church in Watkinsville.

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Plus One…

Looking forward to seeing what God does during our Easter Gathering through our Plus One micro-initiative.

It’s pretty simple…invite who you’ve invested in. As you’re around friends this week who normally don’t do church, ask them what they’re doing for Easter and let them know you’d love for them to come to our gathering.

Odds are they’ll at least keep the door open to that possibility. Check with them later in the week to see if they can make it.

I had someone ask me if this is social manipulation – a spiritual version of Amway where you use someone to sell a product.

My response – ‘I just think this is what friends do for each other. We talk about the things that matter most to us and invite people to share experiences and make memories together.’

So maybe it’s obvious why you’re marginally-churched friend needs to hear me talk about who Jesus is from I John on Sunday. What might get lost is that my resistance to loving people well enough to know them and/or get them around God and his people exposes that I’m not sure about who Jesus is either.

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In his book Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship, Alan Hirsch writes:

If male porn has to do with looking at people’s private parts, the female version has to do with looking at people’s private lives. We call this ‘social pornography.’ It fills women’s gossip magazines and does enormous damage to the women addicted to them…if women insist on men not looking at Penthouse, we suggest that women might want to give up on People magazine as well. Either way, unredeemed male and female sexuality is a major cause of human brokenness and a major reason why many walk away from following Jesus.

While agreeing with Hirsch that this is a stereotype cast along the lines of gender, I find his comments about feminine porn to be spot-on with what I see in the culture of our community and our church.

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Mars Hill in Seattle made a 30 minute film for Good Friday in an effort to show the visual horror of the cross.

We’ll host a Good Friday gathering (7pm in our new facility in the Faith Pres building) to tell that same story – with nothing more than Aaron and his guitar and me and my Bible.

Lesson – use what God gives you…that’s always enough.

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Back in March, I unveiled our intention to be a church that makes much of God by making disciples – ‘little Christs’ as CS Lewis put it years ago.

The process of discipleship takes place in time and space – so one of the reasons that we take this one day that we call Easter and focus all of our attention on the implications that Jesus experienced resurrection is that we need regular reminders and rhythms.

And because Easter is the most important day of the year for the Church (which means we should throw one heck of a party!) we need to reignite a passionate focus on the cross and the empty tomb.

To help you in that endeavor, let me suggest three different books based on how well you read and/or your spiritual maturity:

  • ‘I don’t love to read’/’I need to keep things simple’ – 50 ReasonsĀ  Why Jesus Came to Die (free .pdf) by John Piper
  • ‘I’ll read something if it’s good’/’I know enough to know that I need my heart and mind to grow’ – Scandalous by D.A. Carson
  • ‘I like big books and I cannot lie’/’I love to wrestle with complex theological questions’ – Surprised By Hope by NT Wright

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‘And this is why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.’ (John 5:16)

What do I do in the name of Christianity that inflicts damage on Christ and his body, the Church?

Jesus exposes the parts of life that I call Christianity that are nothing more than self-empowered, self-righteous husks – and he does it by working in places, people and ways that I simply don’t like and would never approve.

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I read a lot of blogs. Here are posts from this past weekend that I was most interested in.

Topics include:

  • Resolving conflict in your community group
  • How should a missional church deal with the idea of salvation?
  • A brief bio of St Patrick (since his big day is this Wednesday)
  • Why it’s no longer enough to ‘invite people to church’
  • Why we’ll never have enough church staff – and that’s exactly how we want it.
  • How we find God’s grace in the cross
  • Acts 29’s brand new website

Take charge of your learning – get started with Google Reader by signing up here.

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