Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rethink Church?

As I was Blog surfing tonight I cam across this post by Jeff Slater. I have included my comment on the post below...

It's a radical idea to sell the building and figure out how to serve our community with the X00,000 dollars we get.

The authentic change is what will pull in people. I see our church try and do such stupid things to attract young people. (I am a young people, and they are stupid) then I see them run them off by being annoyed that 20 somethings have needs like nursery care. These surface changes are fake, they are a fresh coat of paint on the same old tired walls.

I am ready to TEAR DOWN THE WALLS completely and not build new walls. Instead, I want to be in a community that comes together on Sunday to have worship and service, not a worship service.

So far, I have no luck bringing others to the place I am at. All in all I babbel to say, "Yes, you are right!!!"

Transparency In Ministry

The Atlanta Newspaper has launched an attack on Bishop E.D. Long about his seemingly poor financial decisions with a Non-Profit company. I am not one to comment of whether or not the attack seems legitimate. I am more inclined to comment that all of who serve as leaders in any form in the Lord's church need to have a transparency that is above reproach. I think that the money probably did come through legitimate sources, but in his decision to funnel it through a Non-Profit he allowed that money to be held by a certain standard. That is where he was not above reporach.

An intresting read, and a thought for me.... What areas of my life are not above reproach?

Christian Hedonism

I remember being told the story in Western Civ. of a great Greek Narcissist that was so obsessed with pleasure he told Alexander the Great to get out of his sunlight when the great military leader had come to overthrow his city. Now this is a man committed to pleasure. A commitment usually refered to as Hedonism.

Hedonism is a bad word in the Church. Many a people have a puritan mindset that if it feels good it must be sinful. God did not create us for such a lifestyle. God created us for pleasure. He created us to take pleasure in him above all else.

John Piper in this fabulous article encourages people to embrace the true filling pleasure that comes from an intimate exclusive relationship with God. We are called to take delight in our God, the great and mighty God, are you doing that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

He Already Knows That

My oldest daughter is sick. Yesterday her and Christi went to the doctor and got some good medicines to help her get better, but previous to that she had not slept through the night in about a week because she kept waking up hacking and coughing. This of course meant we had not slept either.

Anyway, she has not really been herself because she has been getting so little sleep. She has been lethargic and moping about. As a result of this we have not been reading our Bible and saying prayers at bedtime for the last several nights. Instead, we have just been getting in a WAR over her cough syrup and going to bed.

Until 2 evenings ago. On Sunday night she had been well medicated, and seemed to be feeling basically good so we went through our night time story, Bible, prayer ritual. We prayed that God would heal her among our other prayer items and when we had finished off she went to bed.

Last night, as we were praying again, we came to the part where I said, "God, please heal me" and waited for her to repeat. "Dad!!!!", She exclaimed back to me breaking the flow of the prayer, "He already knows that."

Oh, my heart was pierced. That simple faith, that simple child's understanding of what Christ says in Matthew 6:7-8 "When you pray, do not keep talking on and on the way ungodly people do. They think they will be heard because they talk a lot. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask him."

My daughter get's what I so often forget. God wants to be my strength, my provider, my shepherd. God wants to give me ALL things. God suffered, died, and in the ressurection allowed me to recieve adoption, sonship, and his eternal inheritance. I do not need to beg God for grace, because he wants to give me "all things" I do not need to hope for the crumbs of God's time, because I am his child. Matthew 7:9-11 "Suppose your son asks for bread. Which of you will give him a stone? Or suppose he asks for a fish. Which of you will give him a snake? Even though you are evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

No matter what pain, no matter what struggle, no matter what obstacle I am facing when I come to God and ask, I do not come as a pauper requesting the mercy of a despot king, I come as a son asking his daddy for help, and I am reassured by knowing when it comes to my needs, "He already knows that!"

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don't know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Nooma Rain - 001 Rob Bell

I watched Rain the first of the Nooma video's by Rob Bell. This is actually the second of the videos I have seen, since I saw Lump and said, I have to own this set. Anyway here are my thoughts on Rain.

Christianity Suffering-
"When the Rain's come, it's not like the might, they do, It Rains in our lives a lot." - Rob

A. Christ Death - The Suffering Of God Was Our Path To Salvation
1. Matthew 16:21 Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. (Christ suffering was the cross -the sin (the fear, seperation, and death) that resulted from that burden)
2. 1 Peter 2:22-25 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (His suffering was a ransom, a redemption, a blood money for ME)

B. Satan and Old Self Seeks Constant Comfort
1. Matthew 16:22-23 Peter took him in hand, protesting, "Impossible, Master! That can never be!"
But Jesus didn't swerve. "Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works." (Immediately the "shackles of the comfort of the couch" twist the body with justification against a path with pain)
2. Phillipans 3:19-19 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. (It is ungodliness to live for comfort)

C. Protecting Ourselves From Suffering Shields Us From Experiencing God
1. Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? (We are invited to Suffer WITH Christ as path to Shalom peace)
2. Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (This shalom peace is our evidence of God's love)

My Summary On Suffering

To Many of us, who even call ourselves Christians, have never actually experienced the REAL LOVE power of God because we have never suffered. We have lived in a Christianity of comfort and convience. Yet the Cross itself is an instrument of death. A Capitol Punishment that resulted in the ultimate suffering as it killed. We are invited to this path to experience God's love. We must understanding that the most profound love of the father in seen in the circumstance of our suffering.

A person who has never suffered under the penalty of law. We know that our "wage", our life's earnings is eternal death. The law of God convicts us to an eternity of unending suffering. We undertsand God's love, we embrace that love when we accept that we do not deserve the "peace" of God, but our salvation is found in his righteousness that brings deliverance from that suffering. He "Bore" our suffering that is Love

A person who has never suffered for the cause of Christ. When we live for only Christianity that meets our needs, instead of a faith of sacrifice and sleflessness, we can not know the "peace" from being given the strength to accomplish that which was impossible for man. We must suffer for Christ to be available to see the love that is miracle of deliverance.

A person who has never had personal suffering, has never seen the father who is there to comfort and provide for his children every need. If we have never had need, whether that is physical or emotional than we can never understand the point of God's love that jeremiah is experiencing when he writes, "The Lord is My Portion Says My Soul"

Friday, August 26, 2005

God Doesn't Like Tinkering

A great post from John Alan Turner on how to bring change to our churches.

Do You Google Talk?

Have you Google Talked Yet? It is the newest IM client from everybody's FAVORITE search giant. Designed to compete with MSN messenger the Voice / IM is pretty cool in the fact that it actually rings the other person's computer like a phone.

Rings other computer
Direct Connection to Gmail Account
VERY GOOD Audio connection (Better than a Cell Phone)

Users Must Have Gmail

Well if you do decide to Google Talk I am kevinjbowman


Thursday, August 18, 2005

An Article For Leaders

Perry Noble pastor of New Spring CC in Asheville, NC and he has some fabulous ideas for leaders of churches. Everyone needs to read his thoughts and continue on in the work of the Lord despite the efforts of small minded people to undercut those who are "doing" for the Lord.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My Home Videos and On Your TiVo

Network world points out one of the amazing cool new features that would be possible using TiVo and TiVo Anywhere from Orb Networks if the pundits are reading the tea leaves correctly.
More TiVo goodness | Community

Monday, August 08, 2005

Soul Lift Chicago

I spoke at a youth Rally this weekend and I wanted to upload my 3 outlines. The theme was convicted.

The first talk - The Hearing - dealt with the problem and result of sin. We discussed this on both a macro and personal level.

The Second talk - The Trial - dealt with personal need to not be comprimised in our lives. The conviction that sin is not a world wide problem, it is a personal problem that should convict us personally.

The Third talk - The Senetencing - dealt with the cost of sin on Jesus and our response to that cost. The conclusion to this talk was a great allegory by Ray Comfort which is on the bottom of the outline and is one of the best illustrations to motivate evangelism I have ever been able to use.

I think I will have some video clips to upload from one of the mother's camcorder.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Art of Church - Chapter 1& 2

Last week I wrote a post called Sun Tzu and The art of Church. I wrote one sentence that has bothered me since I read it as a post.

"The key to victory as a church is to understand the enemy."

I think "Understand the Enemy" would be chapter 3 of the book. Chapter 1 would be "Know the Father". Chapter 2 would be "Serving Alongisde" I think that spending too much time on the enemy would be an idolatry of it's own.

The Shema is "Love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind, and strength" and that is the secret to chapter 1. When we are FULLY consumed by the father we do not have time for the trivial tangents of the enemy. Chapter 2 is the same when we look at our brothers and sisters for oppurtunities to SERVE them we will not have the strngth to battle them.

The old ancedote of the Secret Service agent studying the money is so very true.Know what is authentic more than anything.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Church at The Movies

A creative pastor at the Ridgestone Church has published a top 10 list of reasons their church is moving to it's new digs in a local movie theatre. It is cute and well worth the read. The situation here is they are a growing church who has outgrown their current location, but I think MANY churches could follow their lead.

Sell the buildings or make them a tool of evangelism. I read a quote on a church (I usually detest church signs, but this one moved me) that said, "Don't pray for rain then complain about mud." I think this is how most churches approach evangelism. I say, "sell the buuilding, or make it open everyday to all groups who can benefit, make it a part of the community." The church says, "Great, we've been praying God would help us grow!" Then people start to show up, maybe they are Hispanic, maybe they are young and have children, maybe they are just children. People show up who wear shorts and a tee on Sunday morning. People show up who would like to know their children are competently cared for. People show up who know very little of how "Church" is supposed to be and people don't want to deal with the mud. The actual prayer is "God grow and churches, and fill it with good assimiliated donors!"

I have grown up in the church, I know how church is done. I am a preacher and a very involved member and donate my tithe to the Lord's work . On the other hand, I also wear shorts and tee shirt and am the father of 2 energetic little girls. Although our family closely matches what the church "CLAIMS" they are looking for, we are OFTEN made to feel unwelcome by members of church leadership.

It is clearly a nuisance they have to staff a nursery for me on Wednesday night so I can teach the preschool-elementary age class. It is a nusicance that I have to plan meetings around a sitter for my children, or my children have to attend with me and generate the noise that children generate. (Please be clear, I am not talking about basic social ettiqutte, like taking your screaming baby out of a room, I am talking about just the noise generated by children.)

If I am a nuiscance for wanting to teach Bible class and participate in meetings, how much more of a bother is the person who just wants to listen to message of gospel as it is taught, how much more of a bother is the person who needs some items from the food pantry to help make it through the week. The blessing of rain in the form of new members is quickly forgotten in the nuiscance of the mud of people's needs.

It is amazing how quickly we complain about the mud. I think until more churches are really ready to adapt to the mud that the rain generates we need to sell the buildings and find more movie theatres th "have church"