Kingdom Colonies

23 Oct

Christians should work harder toward establishing colonies of the kingdom that point to our true home. All too often the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way. If the world despises a notorious sinner, the church will love her. If the world cuts off aid to the poor and the suffering, the church will offer food and healing. If the world oppresses, the church will raise up the oppressed. If the world shames a social outcast, the church will proclaim God’s reconciling love. If the world seeks profit and self-fulfillment, the church seeks sacrifice and service. If the world demands retribution, the church dispenses grace. If the world splinters into factions, the church joins together in unity. If the world destroys its enemies, the church loves them.

That, at least, is the vision of the church in the New Testament: a colony of heaven in a hostile world.

Philip Yancey

What’s So Amazing About Grace? Zondervan, 1997, 262

Image

Transparency

21 Oct

The Cathedral of Christianity

18 Oct

In our reckless attempt to make Christianity popular by making it “practical,” we invariably vandalize it by stripping it of its inherent beauty and mystery… We make it practical by adapting it to the assumed values of the wider culture. We figure out what people want, and then offer them a Christianized version of it. We do it in the name of church growth, but it is really the betrayal of a sacred trust. It would be like turning Saint Paul’s Cathedral into a shopping mall to increase traffic…

Christianity is a vast and enormous cathedral built around the astonishing and seminal confession that Jesus is Lord. But most of us worship in particular chapels – whether Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we don’t confuse the chapel for the cathedral.

brian_zahndBrian Zahnd

Beauty Will Save the World (2012), Zondervan, 71, 167,175.

Nature, not Behavior

16 Oct

Just like a lost person’s good actions cannot change their sin nature, neither can a born-again believer’s sinful actions change their righteous nature. Many Christians have accepted one side of this truth, but not the other… Your nature doesn’t become corrupted every time you sin any more than your nature became righteous every time you did something holy before you were born again.

Andrew Wommack

Grace: The Power of the Gospel, 2007, 108-9

Image

Perfection

14 Oct

Don’t Mix the Covenants

11 Oct

God makes it very clear that the two covenants are not to be mixed: “Cast out the bondwoman and her son” (Gal 4:30)… The old covenant operated by principles, the new covenant by promise… The distinction between principles and promise also explains why the Apostle Paul chose not to preach anything to the Corinthians other than “Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). That puzzled me somewhat as I thought of all the wonderful Old Testament truths that were readily available to Paul. He could easily have preached Proverbs with all its wisdom. He could have preached Psalms with its varied and creative expressions of intimacy. Or he could have explored the many lessons learned from the history of Israel. Yet he focused completely on his message on Christ crucified. Why? Because Christ’s death and resurrection represent the highest and most climactic revelation of God’s entire design. It is God’s bringing life out of death and something out of nothing according to his purpose. That really is gospel!

Dudley_HallDudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 128-9.

Afraid of Sin?

9 Oct

For whatever reason, we’ve come to expect that church is a place where there isn’t going to be any sin. It is just not true. If we don’t know how to deal with sin, then we don’t know how to deal with people. We inevitably create a culture of law in order to keep people from sinning. The message of this culture is: ‘Contain your sin within yourself. Don’t show it to me; I can’t handle it.’…

(The Pharisees) were famous for being afraid of sin, largely due to the fact that the only remedy for sin in their day was various degrees of punishment. The fear of punishment ruled their hearts, relationships and culture. Jesus, on the other hand… was not in the least afraid of messes people made in their lives, and letting them happen around Him… Ultimately His love and the way He led people empowered them to rise above their mistakes and issues.

Danny Silk

Culture of Honor, Destiny Image, 2009, 168.

Image

Behavior Modification

7 Oct

What is Resurrection Life?

4 Oct

You have been raised to new life. This is not more of the same; it is brand new zoe-life. Christ is your life (Col 3:4)…

The grace cure is greater than the disease. One sin cell infected the entire human race with the fatal condition of sinfulness; grace not only cures us it inoculates us against re-infection. We have been made new. We have been rewired to resist sin and please the Father. Grace doesn’t just remove all traces of past sins, it empowers us to sin no more! Grace is both favor and divine influence through the Holy Spirit. We’re not just freed captives; we’re kings and priests called to reign with Him. This is not some reference to the hereafter for Paul says we will “reign in life” (Rom 5:17) meaning here and now. Through the power of the Spirit we can reign over forms of death such as sickness and all the things that lead to sickness (e.g., bitterness, unforgiveness). We are no longer victims; we are more than conquerors through Him who called us.

Jesus has not returned us to the Garden, He has taken us to heaven (Eph 2:6)! From the position of rest we rule and reign with Him here on earth.

Paul_EllisPaul Ellis

Last Adam’s Greater Work (2012)

Burnt Out? Good!

2 Oct

How many times have you witness people doing a lot for the Lord, people really ‘on fire,’ only to watch them burn out?… Burnout is all around us… (Burnout means) one kind of fuel has finally been exhausted – burned out – and it’s time for a new kind of fuel altogether. God Himself is the fuel for our lives….
God knows who we have become, so He works to exhaust our singular reliance upon false or insufficient resources (charisma, style, eloquence, talent, strength…) so He can be found and formed in us, becoming visible through us. What’s more exciting than that?

Ralph Harris

God’s Astounding Opinion of You, Harvest House, 2011, 171-2