Saturday, May 3, 2014

Random Thoughts

Some thoughts culled from my random file. Some have occurred to me in moments of quiet reflection, some in discussion with others. Some are aphoristic and avuncular. Some I didn’t know what else to do with, so I put them here. For your edification, inspiration and/or amusement — or your money cheerfully refunded.
  • The language of “going” to church can so often and so easily lead people to think that the Church is a building or a meeting instead of what it really is — the body of the risen and ruling Christ.
  • When we begin to understand our identity in Christ, as His body, then the Church is unleashed to be the world-changing people God calls us to be.
  • It is good for the church to gather together regularly, and we are called to do so. But we are still the church even when the worship hour is over and we walk out of the building to go back into the community outside. So instead of “going to church,” I prefer to speak of the church gathered together and the church sent out.
  • The more the Church is present for the sake of the community, and not focused on its own numbers (“nickels and noses”), the more the community is interested in hearing about the Lord we proclaim.
  • The value of a good creed and a good liturgy is that it points us to Christ. But the problem is that we carelessly mumble the creed, rush through the liturgy and do not look to the One to whom they point: God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then it becomes like the master who points at the moon, but the disciple looks only at the pointing finger instead of looking along the finger to behold what the master is pointing toward.
  • On the cross, Jesus not only made provision for the salvation of souls but also for the liberation of the world and all its aspects — even the physical creation itself — from bondage. Because at the cross, Jesus disarmed the principalities and powers (Colossians 1:15), which are the demonic influences behind the corrupted cultural and political systems of the world.
  • The first part of dominion is the last part of kingdom. The “new creation” has already begun in the coming of Jesus the Messiah and His resurrection from the dead, and we are part of it (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our job now is to announce the good news that the King has come into the world to establish His dominion, so that all nations may come into proper alignment with the King and His kingdom through faith in Him.
  • People often do not think through what they say — or what they believe, or what they say they believe — to know how much of what they say is what they really believe. Often what they say is merely a matter of cultural alignment. That is, speaking in agreement with the culture (or subculture, or counter-culture) with which they most identify themselves. And they are usually not much better at it when they come to the Bible and ask what is in it. Do they come to somehow confirm their cultural identity? Or do they come to be challenged by it — their words, their thoughts, their beliefs tested by the Word of God, and their lives changed?
  • For the first eleven centuries, the Church understood the cross mainly in terms of victory over the devil. Is there something we can learn from that?
  • Sometimes the Holy Spirit may lead us in startling ways. More often, though, His leading is so subtle that we do not particularly recognize that it is Him. It may come as a desire, a burden, an intuition about something, the discernment of a particular need we are able to meet, or some other subtle way. And we respond to it in a Christ-life way. (Yes, I said Christ-life, which is also Christ-like.)
  • Sometimes we need to look at the forest, and sometimes we need to consider the tree.
  • Correct theology is important. And yet, according to Jesus, it is by our love for one another that all will know that we are His disciples. In 1 John 4:8, we read that God is love. Theology is something that is about God, but love is something that God is. If we do not have love for one another, I wonder how correct our theology actually is.
  • Show me your theology by your love, and show me your love by your love. I’ve had too many Christians try to show me their love by their theology — it usually does not work out well.
  • When we fail to act in love, even “defending the faith” does harm to the body of Christ.
  • For some Christians, grace is a doctrine. For others, it is a way of life.
More random thoughts ...

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