Tag Archive: church


cliff

i can’t remember any time recently when i wanted to kill the pastor of the church i was in [Ben the Priest is kinda cool!]. In fact it’s probably more likely that there were people thinking those kinds of thoughts about me during some of my more challenging or hectic messages back in the day. Continue reading

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This will be the last share of the chapter from Ron Sider’s super-challenging book, ‘Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger’ [do yourselves a favour and get hold of a copy and let it ruin you in the best of ways!]

We ended the last post with:

The threat of a curse always accompanied the promise of blessing Continue reading

As we continue to seek out A Carefree Attitude Towards Possessions through the lens of Ron Sider’s challenging book, ‘Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger’ let me go back a paragraph to remind us where we are and then continue with words i hope you will wrestle with and share with your friends:

rich

= = = = =

Matthew, Mark and Luke all recall the terrible warning: “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”(Luke 18.24, Mark 10.23, Matthew 19.23). The context of this saying shows why possessions are dangerous. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples immediately after the rich young man had decided to cling to his wealth rather than follow Jesus (Luke 18.18-23). Riches are dangerous because their seductive power very frequently persuades us to reject Jesus and His kingdom. Continue reading

Cos that is what everyone is thinking on a Sunday, right? How can i make this longer? Ha. i doubt it.

church

This morning i will be preaching at my buddy Rob’s church, Mercy Vineyard, in Bergvliet.

My biggest hope is that when i end the message, the message doesn’t end. Continue reading

With thanks to Nick Frost aka @Nick_Frost for this pic

With thanks to Nick Frost aka @Nick_Frost for this pic

Dear Church in South Africa,

i am not known for my brevity, but let me give this a try.

Firstly, i hope you know just how much i love you. Continue reading

bare feet church

i was busy painting my block for the uThando leNkosi wall painting project as part of our 67 minutes and a bit for Mandela Day yesterday when things got a little interesting.

A lady i had just met, assuming i guess, that we were a bunch of christians helping out with this project, decided to break some ice, by turning to those closest to her and asking, ‘What church do you go to?’

My friend Megan, one of my fellow improvisers, who had jumped at the chance to get involved, proudly exclaimed, “i am an enthusiastic atheist!” or something to that effect.

Not wanting to appear completely thrown by that little speed bump, my fellow painter declared, “Well that sounds like fun.” Again, my day-after-the-effect paraphrase. Painting resumed.

wall2

TAKE TWO

A while later Megan had moved on to another part of the wall and my new friend decided to try again and so i started to explain the most recent dynamic of visiting a bunch of churches since returning to Cape Town as opposed to particularly committing to any one. The conversation moved to the fact that she had Catholic roots and what did i feel about the Catholic church? i explained that i believe that the rest of the church has a lot to learn from the Catholic church in terms of holiness and respect and awe for God with the tendency of more modern day churches to adopt more of a Jesus-is-my-buddy approach.

She seemed to resonate with this and said that the one thing she couldn’t stand about a lot of the other churches she had visited was the lack of respect. “I really can’t stand it when people don’t wear shoes for example.”

“I was a pastor for six years in a Vineyard church and i never wore shoes,” i quickly and gently responded.

By way of back-peddling, i guess, she said something about the need for honouring the space and the occasion, like for example, weddings.

“I have conducted three weddings and did each of them barefoot,” i responded.

i went on to explain how i did it intentionally, using the story of Moses and the burning bush and the idea of taking off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. The picture of a marriage being something that God sees as holy ground, despite how the world has typically done what it can to reduce the idea to something more me-focused and consumerist.

i can’t remember what happened next, but i don’t remember continuing that conversation and so she very well might have found another part of the wall that needed urgent attention.

barefoot in church

TRUTH OR TRADITION OR BOTH?

For those of us who are part of the church, i believe it is so important to regularly take a step back and look at the things we do [and possibly also the things we like and appreciate about what we do]

Are there things we do which are simply tradition, done because everyone always did them since that time the first person did them, but not necessarily biblical or Godly things? And should we perhaps stop doing some of those?

Are there things we don’t do that might be things that are really good to do according to God and the bible and the history of the church?

Are there some that maybe fall kinda in the middle – fun and good things to do but not particularly called for by God or the Bible and we are free to make a choice as to whether we want to keep doing them or not?

Do we question? Do we critique? Do we regularly test the things we do? What affect might they have on outsiders, on visitors? Do we take time to explain some of the weird stuff and traditions when people are visiting?

Does what happens on a Sunday [if that is when we meet together as church] strengthen, encourage, equip and empower us for the work of being the church for the rest of the week as we work, as we family, as we sport and as we relationship?

If so, let’s keep on with it… happy churching!

Just over a week ago, tbV and i spent five days on two houseboats with about 20 incredible people, mostly younger than me. Here are some of the guys:

hb

We lived together, we ate together, we read the bible and sang some worship songs together, we confessed some struggles and some sin and prayed for each other, we sat in silence for three hours and were just still and knew that He was God, we laughed together, we swam and pokered and joked and crazied together. We had one on one conversations and were challenged about money and life purpose and decision-making and following Jesus in all aspects of our life.

In short, we churched. We were church. God’s people doing God’s stuff together in love. And yet, if we came home on Saturday and then didn’t ‘go to church’ that Sunday, i know a lot of people who would be concerned because ‘we didn’t go to church’.

i personally think God would have been okay with it, though, as He certainly seemed to be smiling down on us churching for the rest of the week.

Church is important. It is crucial. But it may be a little bit bigger than your definition of it. Certainly if it is the identity contained in the images of ‘bride of Christ’ and ‘body of Christ’. Then maybe it’s that bit more important as being something we are as opposed to something we attend.

May you church well this week.

[To read the poem ‘To Church’ that i wrote on houseboats this week, click here]

[For a post looking at the first martyr Stephen as an example of being church, click here]

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