Archive Page 2

03
May
09

Grace in the 21st Century part 2

The Post-Christendom world is in turmoil. The church is losing its grip on being the anchor that holds this world to the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The roots that were once vast and deep are now weak and venerable. The grace and love of Jesus is the only anchor that can redeem this world. If God is dead everything is justifiable.[3] We focus on the failings of the church or maybe even go as far as to argue for the absence of God. Another revolution could transform the post-Christendom society, and it would be a revolution of grace.

The church has misunderstood the real transformative power and meaning or grace. Swindoll writes ‘For too long grace has been misunderstood as punishment avoidance.’[4] But God’s grace was flourishing long before the first sin was ever committed. The grace crisis has plagued the western church and it is this crisis that we will try and address here. Lets firstly try and address the term itself. You maybe surprised to find that Jesus never actually used the term grace. He just taught it, and more importantly lived it out. Furthermore the bible itself never gives us just one definition for the term, however, it is littered throughout the pages of the bible. [5]

The church has turned inward in its understanding and dispensing of grace. It believes that only place that grace is dispensed is inside the walls of the church and that everything and everyone outside are heathens and don’t deserve the grace of God. Yet God gives people a different image of grace when in Matthew he tells the parable of the ‘crazy farmer’. The farmer paid all his employees the same whether he employed them at the start of the day or at the end of the day (Matthew 20: 1-16).[1] This divine generosity is one that still scandalizes the church. The second example of a different view of grace can be see in the parable of the prodigal son, when the son arrives home after wasting away half of his father inheritance and even before the father finishes his first sentence he is embraced and loved by the father, yet the older brother after all his years of being good and faithful I appalled at the father foolish love (Luke 15: 11-32). Both of these instances allow us to see how important the role of grace is in the church and how, if understood properly, and dispensed correctly with the love of God, could start a revolution, just like it did in the days of the reformation.

 


[1] B Manning, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Revel, 2004) p.20

01
May
09

Grace in the 21st Century

The church has a substantial problem at present in the institutions of Churches in the 21st century. The Christendom toolbox that the church has been left with is not going to suffice in this age called post-Christendom. Christians are left with a church that is rapidly declining and the church structure that has been left is simply not going to work.[1] In the struggle to grasp the new realities of concepts, the church feels lost and unsure of itself. Some churches have retreated into the safety of its building. Some of these churches have huddled together reminiscing about the days gone by and grieving over the days when the church was in a stronger position.

Christianity in the words of Leonard Sweet in his forward to the Forgotten Ways says, ‘the Christianity has undergone untold crashes and clashes in the past two thousand years.’[2] Sometimes our hard drives need defragmenting. Data entered onto hard drive is not always entered cleanly and then more files have to be added to keep computers up to date. The more files added the more the hard dive gets scrambled and confused. It therefore slows right down. Many people procrastinate over the defragging process and leave this until the computer is basically ground to halt and crashes, stalled programs and power outages are happening all to often to complete this process. Once complete however the computer is back up to speed and becomes a full speed processor again. The church is at a point in time where the defragging process is taking place in its understanding and dispensing of grace.

While I spent a year in a church in Columbia, Maryland, I was struck by a certain instance that enlightened me to a major flaw in the church’s 21st century understanding of grace. In our youth group there was one child who was so full life and energy, but he was so full of energy and life that he was sometimes too much for people and annoyed and upset certain members of the Church. I heard one of the more elderly members of our church telling the young boy, “God only likes good little boys.” Although this evidence is anecdotal it points us to the truth that we as a church in the 21st century are unsure of how to dispense God’s grace because we do not fully understand it.

 


[1] A Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006) p.17

[2] A Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p.11

[3] M Lucado, In the Grip of God’s Grace: You Can’t Fall Beyond His Love (London: Word Press, 1996) p.19-20

[4] C Swindoll, The Grace Awakening (Milton Keynes: Word Publishing, 1990) p.8

[5] C Swindoll, The Grace Awakening, p.9

30
Apr
09

Grace in the 21st Century

Over the coming weeks I will post up a paper I am wrote on the understanding and dispensation of grace in the 21st century post-Christendom world. Hope it helps us to see the importgrace_candle_logo2

28
Apr
09

Monday with…..Martin Luther King Jr.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. image_6

 

This quote inspires me to look out of the confines of myself and into a much larger world of injustice and need.

23
Apr
09

Inspiring a Prophetic Community….Action

Martin Luter King Jr said “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice”. He really lived this out in his life, he took action when he saw injustice and look what happened literally off his back? 

Moses in Exodus 3 and 4 has intrigued me for sometime now. You know I wonder what it really must have been to see a bush burning and yet not really burning….Am I going insane? Must have been high on his list of thoughts. This guy who is a fugitive because he killed a man is called to go back to the Pharaoh. This guy has massive credibility issues, its not like he is this all perfect man of God, he is a ragmuffin like me and you. You know I think Moses gets a really bad wrap at times for the question in verse  “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” To be fair on the guy he has a point, he isn’t exactly going to get the best reaction when he asks Pharaoh do you mind letting go of well roughly about 1 million people because well God told me to tell you and of yeah can we just forget that you want to to kill me cause I killed a man. I love what God tells his to use to complete this task when he asks him the question “What is that in your hand?”A staff.” This staff that became the most famous stick in the bible, that parted oceans, became a snake, and did many other things. 

God asks us the same question as Prophetic Communities what is in your hand? Is it your money? Is it your church building? Is it your homes? Is it your car?

You know God did some mighty things with that stick imagine what he can do with a Blackberry or an I Phone. 

What is in your hand? And what will God with it?


23
Apr
09

A quick apology

I am a little crazy with my huge task of finishing a paper that has been little baby for about 18months now so hope it will appear on my blog o so soon!

20
Apr
09

Monday with….Shane Claibourne

“I asked participants who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time wit the poor, and less than 2 percent saishane-claiborned they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.” 
— Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)

 

I love this challenge to the understanding and depth of relationship between poor and rich…great book too.