Monday, June 28, 2010

Do you know your neighbor?

Do you know your neighbor? Before moving to Raleigh my wife and I discussed how we wanted to live intentional within the community where God provided for us to live and be missional amongst our neighbors. Although, we had the best intentions and it is not that we have not put forth some effort, but in some ways we do not know many of our neighbors. This was clearly brought to my attention today when I waved to a neighbor two doors down, but decided this time to walk over and introduce myself. We introduced ourselves and then she said, "I wish you could meet my husband, but he has been in the hospital for the last three months."

Immediately I recognized that good intentions only go so far and in order for good intentions to become reality we have to act on those intentions. I thankfully know this neighbor now and we were able to spend about fifteen minutes getting to know each other and I learned how I could be of assistance to her and pray for her and her husbands health. The tragedy is that people no longer know their neighbors in our society and Christians as a whole are generally know different or prefer to "protect" their families through the sin of busyness with church activities 24/7.

To be intentional and missional is going to look different for all of us. For some it will be getting to meet your neighbors for the very first time. For others it will be inviting some neighbors over for dinner this friday night. For others it may be offering to help a neighbor with a project or some yard work. It doesn't specifically matter what it is, but what does matter is that you do something in order to share the message of Jesus Christ.

Here are a few ideas from an Acts 29 pastor Jonathan Dodson in Austin Texas on missional living:

1. Eat with Non-Christians
2. Walk, Don’t Drive
3. Be a Regular
4. Hobby with Non-Christians
5. Talk to Your Co-workers.
6. Volunteer with Non-Profits.
7. Participate in City Events
8. Serve Your Neighbors.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Reading List

I constantly read, in part because I enjoy it, in part because a Masters degree requires it. Here is my summer reading list:

1.Evangelism Handbook: Biblical, Spiritual, Intentional, Missional. Alvin Reid

2. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Robert Coleman

3. Reinventing Jesus. Komoszewski, Sawyer, Wallace

4. Living By The Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible. Howard and William Hendricks

5. An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. Kaiser and Silva

6. Building a Theological Library. Daniel Akin

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gays & Lesbians in the Church

A continuously rising subject within the Church is gays & lesbians, which I will be the first to admit that the response of the Church as a whole has not been the correct biblical answer. The majority of church-goers carry around the attitude of one of my former pastors who once said publicly as he was preaching, "I don't want to be around them, I am disgusted like the rest of you." This is a sad and unfortunate response to gays & lesbians, but the opposite response of the church is just as bad, which is to embrace the lifestyle and accept it.

On the front page of the Life, etc. section of The Raleigh News & Observer was about Pullen Memorial Baptists Church in Raleigh, where I live, voting on a new "pastor" who is openly a lesbian. Scripturally, there are two issues here: First, the Bible is very clear that while men and women are created equal, they are also created with different roles, elder/pastor being exclusively reserved for men (but that conversation is for a future post). Second, Scripture is clear about practicing homosexuality being sin, which would disqualify one from the position of elder/pastor as would any continual unrepentant sexual sin.

The article goes on to mention that Petty's desire is to carry on "the tradition" of this particular church, which tells me that in this church as it is in many that tradition is elevated above Scripture. The article also refers to the rareness of women leading Baptist churches, which there is a reason for that if those few churches would just look to the Scriptures. The article ends with saying, "She's the person the church needs at this point in our history." The way the article ends points directly to the culture we live in where a lot of the church is attempting to read the Bible with the views of the culture, but the reverse should be happening where churches are reading their culture from the views of the Bible.

Now, for starters this is not a church I would ever attend for the two reasons I stated earlier in this post, but the response to gays & lesbians as a whole is not what is should be. Practicing homosexuality is a sin, just as looking at pornography, just as adultery, etc. Churches should be full of gays & lesbians, porn viewers, fornicators, adulterers,etc. because all are in need of Jesus and without Him they are stuck in what is called sin.

Instead of churches ousting gays & lesbians, there should be a biblical response of welcoming those in who identify themselves with the gay & lesbian lifestyle offering resources and providing biblical support to assist those who desire to overcome this lifestyle. My fear is that this news article is a reflection of our culture and many churches that are opening the door for an array of other sins becoming acceptable based solely on the fact that culture as a whole embraces them.

For more information regarding male eldership and homosexuality:
- (Gen. Eph. 1&2 Tim. Titus)