Archive for October 2016

Covenant Renewal: Spiritual Practice 3 – Develop a Personal, Conversational Relationship with God

October 26, 2016

christdoorAs we continue our journey toward Covenant Renewal Sunday, this week’s spiritual practice is “Develop a Personal, Conversational Relationship with God.” Some people might read this and think, “Ah…Christianity Light.” It’s true that some people talk about a personal relationship with Christ in a way that privatizes their faith and avoids the costly discipleship of engaging with a broken world. Yet, it is a personal, conversational relationship with God that provides the necessary direction, transformation and power for doing ministry and mission. We take Jesus at his word when he said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). (more…)

What’s Worship?

October 20, 2016

dancersIn my last post I talked about how worshiping together – physically and weekly – builds up the body of Christ. But there is a problem with making that the focus — we may miss the actual point of worship. Stopping where we left off yesterday, we might get the impression that worship is more about us than it is about God.

Apart from whatever it does for us individually or as a body, God simply deserves our worship. In fact, God is the only One who deserves out worship. And worship is happening, all the time it’s happening. Take in this scene from Revelation 4:8-11:

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

So why do we gather for worship on Sunday mornings? First and foremost because God deserves it. This is our opportunity to corporately and publicly acknowledge his worth and to praise him for it. His “worth” includes both who he is and what he’s done. It’s a blessing to us to savor this knowledge and to love him for it. Yes, God wants our knowledge of him to bring us joy and to make us feel secure going into the future. But this can only happen if we focus on him rather than our feelings during worship. Feelings fluctuate. God’s character and promises don’t. (more…)

Covenant Renewal: Spiritual Practice 2 – Gather with God’s People Weekly for Worship

October 19, 2016

churchsunriseThis week’s spiritual practice for building up the body is “Gather with God’s People Weekly for Worship.” Let’s take that statement apart.

First, we gather. One meaning of the Greek word for “church” is “gathering.” In other words, coming together and being together is fundamental to what it means to be church. Ultimately, this understanding of church grows out of how we understand God, especially God as Trinity: three Persons so “together” that they’re one God. It’s this actual, practical, physical togetherness on Sunday mornings that helps us hold on to our sense of being one body when we go our separate ways. Jesus got physical when he took on human flesh. He gathered around himself men and women who physically lived with him.

Then he sent them out.

We gather with God’s people. Our’s isn’t a random gathering. In other words, we don’t just gather with whoever happens to be at worship on a Sunday morning. This is our family. These are our people. More importantly, this is God’s People, and we are Christ’s body. (more…)

Covenant Renewal: Spiritual Practice 1 – Meet God Daily in the Scriptures

October 12, 2016

TimetoGrowDecember 4 will be Covenant Renewal Sunday at BRC. Our theme for that day and the weeks leading up to it is “Building up the Body.” Each week we’re inviting people to reflect on one of Nine Spiritual Practices that the Scriptures tell us are important for the functioning of a growing, healthy “body,” or what the New Testament calls “the body of Christ,” Christ’s church. At BRC we believe that being the body of Christ is an extremely high calling. We feel both honored and humbled to part of a community that is intentional about playing our part in Christ’s mission to the world. Obviously, in order to make Christ known, we have to know him ourselves. In order to make disciples, we need to be disciples. (more…)

No Offense

October 5, 2016

Friends holding hands outdoors

A line from this morning’s gospel reading: “Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” So why would anyone take offense at Jesus? Frankly, I can think of a number of reasons. Here’s a couple of them.

In this instance the “someone” is John the Baptist. He’s pining away in Herod’s dungeon, no doubt wondering why Jesus hasn’t done anything to remedy the situation. Then there’s the fact that John’s reputation is on the line. John had predicted that the one coming after him would come with a winnowing fork in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, and then burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. John probably figures that if Jesus was in fact the Messiah, there should have been some winnowing and threshing by now. (more…)