“Reformation? What is that?”
I did some impromptu surveys on some folks asking what they knew about the Reformation? Nearly every person couldn’t connect the dots regarding people, places, times, reasons, etc. from the church event that changed history on Oct. 31, 1517. So this past week I went on a tear and read more about those series of events than I ever had before. There was a determination to get some info on the subject out to our CRBC family. I had never done a “Reformation” sermon, or really heard one myself, so I gave it a shot.
For years I thought that church history began with Jesus, Peter, and Pentecost, there was a gap, and then, boom, Billy Graham. I wasn’t aware of all the stuff in between. Such naivete.
Synergistically, several components had to be in place for the reformation to occur. Those components culminated throughout Europe in many places. The Holy Spirit was speaking to men and women in lots of countries. Fortunately, they heard and responded. Who knows what the church would look like today had the events not gone the way they did. If it were not for the courage by a few interesting characters, a church promoting incredulous proposterosities (new word), and masses hungry for something real, the events of “the reformation” would not have taken place.
I don’t want to ever lie from the pulpit. Either knowingly or unknowingly. However, there have been times when a story sounds so good it just had to be shared. Only to find out later that maybe there were parts of it that didn’t quite line up. Or we share something about the Bible that may bring conviction to the hearer, but has no truth to it. Those kinds of exaggerations don’t glorify our Father at all.
On a blog I read pretty often, an article appeared on this very subject. The original is found here. Let me know what you think. Here it is:
Those of us who are entrusted with the task of expositing the Scriptures in a local church must take care to verify our sources, illustrations, and stories. No matter how helpful an illustration may be, it is dishonoring to God if it is untrue.
Here are a number of urban legends that get repeated in sermons. Some are more pervasive than others, even appearing in commentaries and scholarly works.
1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
I have always been a strong proponent for a family staying faithful to a church body for a long period of time. In our time as strong Christ-followers of about 26 years, 21 of those years was serving at 2 churches. Even though we have a short tenure of 2.5 years at CRBC, we plan to navigate the issues of life with this group of Christ-followers for a long, long time.
Staying at one church for a long period has so many benefits. In an age of church-hopping for the craziest reasons, faithfulness is to be the norm, not the anomaly. In running through a blog roll today I came across a post on why one should be a faithful member of a church. It was so impacting I thought I’d throw out the reasons rapid-fire fashion, let them reverberate in your spirit, and hopefully, solidify your faithfulness to the church you now call home. Here they are:
1. You follow a pattern established in the New Testament.
2. You have a greater opportunity to use your spiritual gifts.
3. You become a more committed part of a spiritual family.
4. You insure a balanced Christian life.
5. You avail yourself to a multitude of Christian counselors.
6. (Maybe the best one) You experience the joy of serving others.
If the points capture your attention, check out the original post for scripture references for each and a bit of detail to go along with them.
In an age of consumerism in churches, easy-offendedness, lack of fortitude, minimal numbers of friendships or shallow ones, it is easy to not be faithful to ones local church. If you are in a local church, be faithful. If you are stagnant in attending somewhere because of a hurt or something, forgive those who hurt you and try again. We are all busy, business is not a good reason. Prioritize appropriately. Teach your children well. A sniffle shouldn’t keep others from benefiting from your presence (unless of course you work in the nursery at your church).
Whenever I follow cars that have bunches of stickers on them, I feel like I am being yelled at. Ever feel that way? Sometimes I will take the time to read some, other times I just ignore the volume of verbiage. I will wonder about the person and agenda behind the plastering of perfectly good paint with paper and sticky glue. Has anyone changed their minds about a particular topic because they read a bumper sticker on a car? Maybe the next time I see a “My kid is on the Honor Roll at South Elementary,” I’ll run up to the car at the next stop light, shake their hand, and congratulate them. So cynical, I know.
What happens when someone reads a “Christian” bumper sticker? Does the same synecism flow? I ran across this article on the subject.
“Jesus is the Reason for the Season.“ It is evangelicals who have cried out the most against the commercialization of Christmas, but then became co-opted by turning the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” into one of the most commercialized phrases of all time, blazoned across t-shirts, coffee mugs and yes, church signs. They can be purchased at any local Christian book store, 10% off if you pick up a precious memory angel along with it.
“Free coffee, everlasting life – yes, membership has its privileges!” or “Walmart is not the only saving place.“ Do you hear what lies behind all of these messages?
If I got a dollar for every time I heard this statement, “I don’t get anything out of the service,” I’d have a bunch of dollars. The deliverer of the statement has come in many shapes and sizes, ages, so-called “religious experiences,” seminary degrees, and religious forms. There are a multitude of reasons why some have experiences with Father and some do not. IMHO the reasons are not extrinsic, but intrinsic. If one does not have an awe for the Majesty, it is difficult to get past the formalities of a church worship service in order to engage the speaker and his/her text to have a life-changing experience.
Nevertheless, here is a fun article by David Fitch at reclaimingthemission.com regarding some of the ins and outs of this age old dilemma. Here is the website. Here is the article:
I have a six year old. Truth be told, if we would let him, he would sit in front of the television for hours consuming hours of programming about sharks. But we (Rae and I) don’t allow it. “One hour a day!” we say. Why? Because, if we do let him watch that much TV, the child’s brain will turn to mush. He will never learn how to engage the social world. He will be become passive. He will probably gain a lot of weight. He will learn to live life from the vantage point of the remote control.