Jun 20, 2013

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

When I die and stand before God, one of the things I believe God will ask of me is, "So, what did you do with your leadership gifts to be about your life mission?"

I don't think God will be concerned about how big our budget was, how many people in our pews, etc. But I do think God will be measure my faithfulness to him by examining how faithful I was to being about his main mission.

The last thing Jesus commanded his disciples before he ascended into heaven is: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

There is no clearer call for why the church exists than this passage.

Jesus didn’t created the church and then figure out what her mission might be. God created the church because the church of Jesus Christ is the most effective vehicle to carry out his mission.

When churches function as God plans for them to, there is no greater vehicle in creation to reconcile broken and sinful people to God, and to establish God's kingdom here are on earth as it is in heaven as the church of Jesus Christ!

That's the church!

Let’s look at the specific parts of the mission:
  • “Go” - The church is a sent organism. We are to be in the world and the world is supposed to be a better place because Jesus is present through his church (the people of God).
  • “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” - The first thing that the church is to be about is making new disciples.
  • “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” - The second thing that the church is called to do is to make faithful disciples.

The pastors and leaders of LCOP will be exploring in the weeks to come:
  • How are we doing in making new disciples?
  • How are we doing in making faithful disciples?
  • How are we doing in making our world a better place?
  • Is what we’re currently doing the best ways to accomplish the above goals?
  • How can we best accomplish the above goals?

We are praying, listening, discerning how God wants us to start a new ministry that can come along side what we are currently doing to help us to be more effective as a church to accomplish what God is calling the church to do.

We appreciate your prayers. 

Jun 12, 2013

Masquerading as an Angel of Light

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 
- 2 Corinthians 11:14-15.

There is so much that is passed off as political correctness...

There is so much that looks like fairness and equality...

There is so much today that passes as people's rights and righteousness..

Not everything is what they seem.

No matter what people say, there is absolute truth. There are absolute standards. There is absolutely a God to whom we are all accountable. 

Jun 11, 2013

300 Mile Ride Through the Cascades

Went on a 300 mile motorcycle ride yesterday through the Cascades.

What a beautiful day for a ride!

The plan was to ride to Mt. Saint Helen's. Everything was going to plan until I made a wrong turn. So instead of going up to Mt. Saint Helen's, we ended up on the wrong side of the mountain. It wasn't all bad because there is a way up Mt. Saint Helen's up the back way and we were told that the views were even better!

We climbed up some bumpy roads for an hour only to discover that the road up to the observatory was closed due to snow.

Here's the crazy part. We read 2 signs along the way up the mountain saying that the road was closed due to summer. But did we pay attention to them? No...

After backtracking and adding another 100 miles to our ride, we decided to make the best of it and went up to Mt. Rainier instead. Even though I had been up to Paradise numerous times, this was the first time I had gone there on my bike. It's so much more fun to ride up there.

All in all a great day for a ride.

Lessons of the day:
  • Know where you're going.
  • Ignore the signs at your own peril.
  • Even when you're lost, make the best of it.

Jun 4, 2013

I Want to Be Asked

Remember in elementary school when they used to line us up on opposite sides of the cafeteria - boys on one side and the girls on the other? Then they would instruct the girls to go over and pick out their boys to dance with.

No boy wanted to be the last boy chosen.

God forbid. No one asked and you had to dance with the teacher because she was the only one left.

Every single boy wanted to be asked.

There's something that is quite affirming about being asked.

1 Peter 3:15 says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you."

One of the interesting things about this verse is that the Bible assumes that Christ-followers and the church would live a life that is so different than everyone else that:
1. they would notice that the life of Christians are lived differently
2. the difference would be so remarkable and hopeful that they would enquire of the source of hope

The Bible assumes that the Christian life is supposed to be different...so different that others would notice and would ask Christians of the reason for the difference.

So let me ask you.

When's the last time anyone asked you to give them the reason for your hope?

When's the last time anyone noticed that the people gathering at church do life so differently that they can't help but notice and be intrigued that they would ask for the source of our hope?

The issue in our world today is that the values of the churchgoing people are so much like everyone else that you can hardly notice a difference.

The simple fact is that Christians are supposed to be different. We're not supposed to be like everyone else.

How we manage our money, our time, our sexual ethic, our hopes and dreams, how we treat others, how we invest in others, etc. - it's supposed to be different.

Our lives ought to point people to Christ.

God, I pray that I can live in such a way that draws people to you. Help me to live a life that causes others to wonder about you.

God help our church to live in such a way our community can't help but notice the difference you are making. 

Jun 2, 2013

Miss-Communicating What the Church is About

David Arcos is one of the pastors of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles. He shares the following story.

Living in LA, David figured it would be good for him to learn Spanish to make himself more marketable. He learned just enough Spanish to be dangerous. His first job was being a bilingual kindergarten teacher.

He figured he knew enough Spanish to get by and the kindergartners wouldn't know any better and teach him what he didn't know.

On of the first open house with the parents, instead of just talking about where the crayons are and where the kids sit, and the daily routine, he thought he would make a speech.

He started his speech by saying, "I'm really glad that you're here today," all of it in Spanish of course.

"My hope and my goal this year is that I would help your children succeed." But he used the word "sucideo" for succeed, which means suicide. So what he ended up saying as, "My hope and goal this year is that I would help your children commit suicide."

The parents were getting little nervous, but he continued on in confidence.

"Every day, your children come in and pay me for lunch. They don't need to pay me, they need to pay the lady in the cafeteria," he said.

But instead of using "bagar" which means to pay, he said, "begar" which means to hit.

So what he actually said was, "Every day your kids come in and they hit me. What they need to be doing is to hit the lady in the cafeteria."

You think that's bad? It gets worse.

He said, "When your children are absent, they can't just come straight to the classroom. The next time they come to school, they must get a note from the office before they can come to class."

But instead of using the word "oha" which means note, he used the word "hota" which means lesbian.

So what he said was, every time your child is absent they need to get a lesbian from the office. Some of you have been trying to sneak into class without a lesbian from the office. It's very simple - lesbians are easy to pick up in the office. They are all there!"

Needless to say, he didn't last long in that job and is now a pastor at Mosaic.

I share that story because I think that's what's happening with the church today. We keep miss-communicating what the church is about.

We think we're saying to the world, "God loves you," but that's not what the world is hearing.

We think we're saying that God has a wonderful plan for us, and without seeing ourselves in the plan of God we are forever going to be lost. But what instead comes out is that Christianity doesn't make any difference to real pain and real lives. Christianity is all about Christians doing things for themselves and building bigger buildings for themselves.

Let me ask a simple question. Hundreds of thousands churches gathered in worship on Sunday this week in America.

Do you think anyone in our community even has a clue that the church gathered for them? That the church exists to share God's love with them?

The church has to be about more than the gathering. The church has to be about being and doing the ministry of Jesus Christ in our world.

The purpose of the gathering is to get everyone on the same page so that we all know what we're supposed to be doing the rest of the week. The purpose of the gathering is for equipping and encouraging acts of ministry. The ministry of the church of Jesus Christ is lived out 24/7, 365 days a year.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded!!!