Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Accidental Ministry"

(6) Ministry often occurs in ways that look incidental or accidental. Christians seem to have a “stained glass” concept of ministry. We think of ministry in very formal, structured, and planned terms. And yet the Book of Acts speaks of much ministry as though it were incidental, unplanned, and even unexpected. When we look at the events described in Acts 24, they look chaotic, out of control. Paul’s ministry seems terminated, and his life endangered, but in the midst of a maze of wrong motives and sinful actions (on the part of Felix and the Jews), God arranged for the gospel to be preached to this ruler and his wife. God was in control, although it did not appear to be this way. Ministry is doing the right thing when everything around us seems to be going wrong. Ministry is living in obedience to God’s commands, in the midst of sin, opposition, and confusion, out of faith in the person of God and in the certainty of His promises.
God is in control when the world seems to be out of control. What a message this has for us today, as we seek to live godly lives in a chaotic world. May He find us faithful, trusting in Him and in His promises, and living according to His Word, faithfully proclaiming His salvation to a lost and dying world.  Source

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Wide Or Narrow"

Start here:  I am not an official member of Pathway Church, an Evangelical Free Church;  the church formally known as Chippewa Evangelical Free Church (CEFC, E-Free).  That is not necessarily an attempt at full disclosure, it’s just a statement of fact. 

Here’s another statement of fact, there are a lot of people at Pathway who predate our attendance there, and there are far far more who postdate our attendance there.  I say “our” because my wife and I started attending “regularly” in 1998.  For two reasons:  1.  To find a home church in an attempt to break away from attending the church where my parents attend; this not as an attempt of rebellion, but as an effort to own a little bit more of our faith.  2.  We were searching for a place to marry; once again an attempt to move out of the shadow of mom and dad. 

In fact, we began attending Pathway while they were between Senior Pastors.  And quite ironically, no current staff member at Pathway has been there prior to our beginning of “regular” attendance.

Continue here:  As a non member, only “regular” I did not attend any session of discussion on the whys, why nots, hows, ifs, ands, buts, etcs concerning the need or non-need of a name change.  I did read items issued to the congregation via mail and in church writings explaining the thought processes behind such a move.

All of this being said, this will be my last talk concerning the subject; one that I agree is sufficiently behind us.

Why I disagree with the move:

  1. Tag line included, who uses one?  I mean really.  We use catchy phrases marketers shove down our throats.  We all know “Just do it”, “A Diamond is Forever”, “Got Milk?”’ “Don’t Leave Home Without It”, etc.  But as pointed out here, who knew the Gideons had “Bible Distributors” officially in their title?

  1. #1 leads to this:  The erasing of the Evangelical.  Yes, Pathway does remain associated with the EFCA; never was it considered to move away from them.  But to remove (which has somewhat been down with the use of CEFC or E-Free) the Evangelical via the drop of the tag line, Pathway removes the stigma society has placed on the word in attempt, in my opinion, to make it every slightly easier to be light in the surrounding community and beyond.

  1. #1 also leads to this:  The loss of the Free; another casualty in the eventually disuse of the tag line.  Free… Freedom.   “For Freedom, Christ has set us free.” 

Why I will move forward with the move:

1.      I trust Jesus.  Period.

2.      I trust those commissioned the serve God at Pathway.  Knowing the amount of prayer that goes into all things Pathway and trusting that God is faithful to answer prayer, I move forward.

3.      Someone once preached a message that included this quote:  “The King has another move.”  I wrote it in my bible then.  And I still believe that today.  I wish I had written down the day I heard that, but I still remember who preached that.  God is doing a new thing.  Who am I to say to question the Master Potter?  Not I.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14