On Convincing … the World?

The ancient people of God no less than the first Christians lived their lives in a pluralistic world.  In fact, it is only recently that we have come to a place, where after generations of having it “our way” more or less, in a kind of Western, modern, Judeo-Christian  ghetto (from a more global perspective), that it strikes us as odd and challenging to live in and deal with the dynamics of a multi-cultural, pluralistic world.  Much of what strikes us as so strange and profoundly challenging was expected and normal for the historic people of God.  I’m referring to such things as the presence and relative vitality of several spiritual thought and life systems which people around us consider …

WHY WE MUST REFUSE TO BE ANGRY

  We live in an angry world, both inside and outside of the church.  Everywhere you look or listen people seethe and smolder over the many things that displease them.  Church people rage against the culture, of course.  But also against each other whose differing views of the culture and how to respond to its non-Christian values and practices cause bitter divisions.  Out in the world, away from the church, it is the same story.  Political and social divides cut across every segment of the population and every sphere of endeavor. In view of that context, let me tell you why I am refusing to be angry.  First, though, I admit that I am sometimes a little, and sometimes more …

GOD WANTS A “PENTECOSTAL” CHURCH

God wants the church more “Pentecostal.”  The world needs the church more “Pentecostal.”  And, we will never be more than a faint shadow of “church” until we ourselves become way-more “Pentecostal.”  Thus, I am praying and hoping the church becomes more “Pentecostal.” If I wrote this 40 years ago, I wouldn’t be writing it now.  That’s because if I wrote this then, I would never have been ordained in my own church and might well have decided to do something else with my life.  I’m confident this is true for at least two primary reasons.  First, among the leaders of the church “Pentecostal” would have meant speaking in tongues, extraordinary signs and wonders, or at least claims for such, and …

PRAYING FOR AUTHORITIES “MISSIONALLY”

One of the most blatant and common ways Bible-believing people sin is when they (we/I) fail to pray for governing authorities.  The Apostle Paul urges, as a matter of priority, to pray for kings and all in authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2).  Later in the same passage he says, “I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting holy hands (suggesting sincerity, passion, urgency) without anger or disputing,” (v. 6). As I say, most Bible-loving Christians I know—myself included—disobey at this point with regularity.  Most of us do not pray consistently for leaders, but many of us do regularly express our anger and disagreement, and so lift up (un)holy hands in disgust over the outrageous things the government is doing now.  We …

Risen From The Book!

Does Easter make a difference?  Did the flurry and frenzy of Holy Week activity become an expression of the power that raises the dead?  Or was it more like a Memorial Day weekend?  Was it only that we recalled the One who made the supreme sacrifice for which we will always be thankful, but which remains essentially in the past—either the distant past of the actual event or a more recent past when perhaps we witnessed something like resurrection power?  Or did we celebrate something, or Someone, who demonstratively makes a difference today, this week, in our and the world’s story from now on? I have thought in recent years that just as Jesus rose from the grave in the …