Aug 27 2008

Church Size

clay

Recently I re-read an article by Dr. Tim Keller on church size and how the culture and style of a church changes at different stages as the church grows.  Keller is a pastor, author, and theologian that I have a lot of respect for.  After spending time as a pastor and seminary professor, Keller planted a church in New York City, Redeemer Presbyterian, which has grown to over 5000, ministering especially to urban professionals.  I’ve been inspired by some of his sermons and articles.  He doesn’t prefer to be called an “evangelical” because of stereotypes of fundamentalists and because of the term can be a loaded term politically.  He calls himself “orthodox” because of his strong belief in the full authority of the Bible, but he is very sensitive to the issues that are important to the people he is trying to reach such as social justice, poverty, and the environment (also biblical issues, by the way). In all his teaching there is a strong gospel message of grace, combined with an intellectual edge that makes you think.  His book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism rose to #7 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Best-Seller list in March of this year and inspired me to do the series I did in the spring, Doubt Your Doubts.

 

I knew all this about Keller, but didn’t realize that he was such a student of church growth, structure, and leadership.  I guess I should have known he had some insight in that area since his congregation has helped start over 100 churches in the New York area and around the world! I have recently posted an article on my blog site under “Theology” called: Process-Managing: Church Size -Tim Keller. I read this article some time ago, but didn’t realize who the author was.  Upon reading it again, it really addressed some issues that we have been wrestling with at Grace Place over the last couple years.  It shows that some of our struggles are common to all churches as they go through different times of transition and it categorizes some issues that we need to study and work through as we move forward.  I would like to hear some feedback on it!

 


Aug 16 2008

Making a House a Home

clay

 

Selene and I have had some self-imposed extra stress placed on us this summer.  We rather suddenly and unexpectedly sold our home in July after living there just over three years.  It was a bitter sweet situation.  Bitter, in that we poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that place.  I framed it and basically co-contracted it with a good friend.  It was a beautiful house in a very nice development.  But it also was big house on a big acreage with big payments.  We started praying about that when our son moved out and started college, but it really isn’t a good time to sell a house right now and we did love it.  Then a gentlemen came and made a cash offer when it wasn’t even listed.  He had purchased some adjoining land and wanted to put it together with our land.  Wow, that was our answer.  The sweet part is it was a good move from a stewardship perspective since it enables us to be debt free (except for our house payment); but have half as much debt as before and a 15 year mortgage. 

 

We found a home in the Berthoud area that was in a bankruptcy. It was built in 2005 but has never been lived in.  The utilities have been off so the grass all died, weeds were waste deep, pigeons built nests and pooped all over the front porch, mice and black widows occupied the house, and every smoke detector in the house was beeping.  It took some vision to see what the house could become.  It also took some patience.  It took almost two months to get an answer from the banks regarding our offer.  But we closed yesterday.  Now comes the big work of making a house a home.  It’s a lot of work, but fortunately I’m married to an extremely hard working woman who knows how to do it and is good at making sure I do my part! to help out!


Aug 6 2008

Breaking Down Strongholds

clay

 

There is a very real warfare happening in the spiritual realm and Christ followers are called to engage in the war.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4, TNIV)

Whether they realize it or not, everyone is involved in this war to one degree or another.  There is no neutral place like Switzerland for you to run to in this world war.  You are either a prisoner of war, in bondage to Satan, or you are part of the resistance forces.  If you’re a decided follower of Christ, than you are a rebel, a contra—opposed to the controlling regime of Satan—involved in guerilla warfare.

Notice the text says that are weapons are not “of this world” – in other words; rifles, grenades, missiles, bombs, tanks and jets – “On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (v.4)  Or, as one translation reads, “mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”  Think about that word “stronghold” for a minute.  What is a “stronghold”? A stronghold has walls and is built to keep someone in or out.

Satan surrounds his captives with “strongholds” (prisons) – built by circumstances, choices, relationships, habits, addictions, etc.  God says that we can use spiritual weapons to pull down and demolish those strongholds so that prisoners can escape if they choose to!

God won’t force anyone to be saved, but sometimes he will do some pretty dramatic things to get people’s attention.  When you pray for lost loved ones, don’t always pray for safety.  Pray specifically for God to intervene in their lives and do whatever it takes for the strongholds to be demolished!


Aug 1 2008

Christian the Lion

clay

If you know me, you know I’m not a cat lover.  But lions are cool.  They seem like they are a lot smarter than house cats!  If you haven’t seen the story of Christian the lion, you have to check this out.  Very moving.  The reaction of the wild “wife” lion is amazing.  This story really shows the lasting impact of meaningful relationships.