Sunday, September 25, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Part 3 - Women In Church? [Wrapping up 1 Tim 2]


Wrapping up 1 Timothy 2 before we move on to other difficult passages about women in the Church.

Be sure to subscribe and follow this channel, and leave questions or comments below.

More to come!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Part 2 - Women In Church? [1 Tim. 2:11-15]


Take 5 minutes and listen as Keith explains what Paul is talking about in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and why we can't just take this difficult passage at face value without first considering the cultural context of the place and time - as revealed by looking at Paul's previous experiences in Ephesus [where Timothy was when Paul wrote him this letter], and as Paul explains his purpose for writing the letter in the first place right at the beginning.

This and more are in today's video post.

We hope you're enjoying this series! Please subscribe, leave a comment and ask any questions you might still have after watching the clip.

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Women In Church? Part 1


What should the role of women be in the New Testament Church? Are many so-called "Organic" Churches still held in check by Institutional ways of thinking? Is there still a hierarchy of Male/Female? 

Sadly, for many, the answer is "Yes", but that's not what Jesus intended.

Take 5 minutes and listen to part 1 of an ongoing conversation about the role of women in the Body of Christ.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

A STRANGE DREAM



Over the weekend I had a strange dream.

I was in a small group of people and we were walking up a flight of stairs which opened up into a room at the corner of a wooden building.

The only thing in the room was a set of rectangular tables set into a square. Each of us sat down at the outer edge of those tables facing the center, and a row of windows which ran along the left side of the room and along the opposite wall. I caught sight of a street down below which ran along the left side of the building. [This will be significant later].

From where I was sitting there were people on my left and on my right. The instructor was sitting directly across from me in the center of this open square.

As we sat down our instructor began to ask us to introduce ourselves one at a time. Each person was remarkably gifted and “special”. I began to realize that we were at a University and that this was a very unique program that was being funded through the Art Department, but we weren’t necessarily all artists. It felt more like a team of chosen and gifted individuals who each had a very special set of skills. Almost savant-level.

The person on my right was a visual prodigy. She had created these beautiful ceramic tiles that were cut into small tablets that were magnetized and displayed on a metal square. She communicated her thoughts and feelings by rearranging the tiles on the board, creating a beautiful work of art that transcended language.

The person on my left was wearing an elaborate musical device that was electronic and I knew he had created it himself. He also communicated and even related to others using music which he composed and performed at will.

There were other people in the room who were similarly gifted and unique. It felt almost like a secret team of super heroes who were assembled for a very specialized mission.

As the musical prodigy was talking, he handed me a device. It was like nothing I had ever seen before but I knew it was technologically advanced. That’s when I realized that I was in the future, and I had no way of replaying the message that was embedded on this device.

The instructor interrupted the young man and handed me another of these same devices. He told me it was very important for me to listen to it. I looked at a label along the side and it had the name “Geoffrey Chaucer” written across it.

Suddenly, I looked outside the window and I saw on the street below that a little black girl, maybe around 4 years old, was playing in the street. She was standing in the crosswalk but cars were speeding by her anyway and narrowly missing her.

Without even a thought I was through the window and down on the street next to her. I took her hand and waved off the oncoming traffic as I walked her to the sidewalk. Then two other children stepped into the crosswalk with pillows which they put down on the street and then curled up and laid down. I quickly picked them up and got them out of the street and back on the sidewalk.

An older woman walked by and asked if I knew where to find her son. He was one of the savants in our program so I escorted her back to the building and up a set of stairs to the room again.

When I got there the young man was still trying to explain who he was and what his gifting was. I sat down again at my seat.

Overall, the feeling of being in that room was very exciting. I honestly did not want to leave. It felt so good to be among these incredible people who were all so talented and gifted and interesting.

After I woke up and started trying to piece everything back together in my mind, I started to ask myself something that never occurred to me in the dream itself: Why was I in that room?

These were all gifted and talented people with amazing abilities, and then there was me. What was I there for?

One thought that came to me as I contemplated this question was this: My gifting was to see those children outside the building. They were in trouble. They needed someone to leave that beautiful meeting and rescue them from the dangers surrounding them.

I shared this dream with our house church family and a few of them thought that the meeting of special people stood for the Church. Some thought the group signified the Institutional Church which was too focused on itself to notice the people outside who were in need of their help. Others thought that the group was the Church in general which is highly specialized and called and gifted, but some gifts are for inside the Church, while others are needed outside.

As I shared the dream with our church family I started to notice the significance of the term “cross walk” which is where the children were playing and laying down. Were they protected by the “Cross Walk”? Was that a symbol of their protection? Or was it a symbol of their faith in something that couldn’t actually protect them – the way an actual crosswalk really is nothing more than a series of painted lines and can’t really stop a moving car.

I’m still not sure about that part.

If the “Arts” metaphor of the people in the room applies, then my “art” should have been writing, but at no time did I have a pen or a pencil or any paper in my hand. Nor did I have a computer to write with. In fact, I’m not sure I was there for any other reason than to observe this group as a guest.

I honestly have no idea about the futuristic device or why “Geoffery Chaucer” should have come up. [I hate Chaucer, for the record. Not sure if that’s significant].

So, any thoughts? Does this make any sense to anyone at all?

I know a few of you have spiritual gifts to interpret dreams, so, if that’s you I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Thanks!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: State of the Church 2016 [Barna Report] Part 1

The Barna Research Group released a report of the Church in America today [9/20/16].

Take 5 minutes and listen as Keith gives you a quick overview of that report with a few reactions and insights.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

IS IT A SIN TO LOVE YOUR COUNTRY?



Is it a sin to love your country?

Maybe that's the wrong question to ask. Jesus never said the exact words, "Thou shall not love thy country", but He did say things like:

"If anyone loves mother or father, or son or daughter more than me, he is not worthy of me." - Matt. 10:37-39

So, is it a sin to love your parents? Or your children?

No, but if you love your parents - or anything else - more than you love Jesus, then you might have your priorities out of line and just perhaps, you might not actually be following the words of Jesus.

The New Testament does have a lot to say about our relationship with our country, however. More so than most Christians believe.

For example, Jesus tells us clearly to "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's." Most Christians are aware of that one.

But Jesus also tells us that we cannot serve two masters, which in context was about trusting in money more than we trust in God, but the principle remains. We really cannot serve two masters.

We're also told that Jesus is our King. That means that our primary allegiance is to Him, and not to our President, or our National authority.

Yes, we're commanded to pray for our leaders [something most Christians only do if the leader happens to be representing their own political party], and we are told to submit to every authority over us, and to pay our taxes and to live quiet lives among the people. But we should keep in mind that those things were written during a time in history when the authority over them was Nero, one of the most cruel, vicious and evil men who ever lived.

If Jesus is our King, and if we are citizens of His Holy Nation [see 1 Peter 2], then our allegiance is to Christ and His Kingdom, not to the nation we were born into.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that we are Ambassadors of Christ. Peter reminds us that we are strangers and aliens in this land. The author of Hebrews reminds us that we are looking for a better country that is from above. John reminds us that the enemies of Jesus are the Kings of the Earth and the Nations of men - not just the "evil" ones, all of them - that all stand opposed to Christ's Kingdom.

So, where do we stand? Are we truly strangers and aliens? Are we actually living as Ambassadors of Christ's Kingdom? Are we looking for a better country that is from above? Are we standing with Jesus, or are we standing with the Kings and Nations of the Earth which oppose Christ's rule and reign?

Is it a sin to love your country? Maybe.

If I were you, I wouldn't take the chance.

One of the repeated warnings given to the early church was about something called "entanglement".

"No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer." - 2 Tim. 2:4

What are "civilian affairs" in this analogy? Anything that isn't pleasing to our commanding officer. How much of what takes place in the political arena would you honestly say is "pleasing" to Jesus: Slandering? Lying? Corruption? Pandering to special interest groups and lobbyists?

There's not much in the world of politics that anyone could say is "pleasing" to Jesus. In fact, I would go as far as to say that none of it is pleasing to Him. Why? Because no one in politics is seeking to please Jesus. Do any of them even give lip service to Christ? Is Jesus ever mentioned? Are they working to promote the values that He spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount?

No, they are not. And why would they? Christ's Kingdom only works when Jesus is the King. As long as men and women are attempting to rule and wield power over others, Jesus is not Lord.

The Apostle Peter also speaks about entanglement:

"If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning." - 2 Peter 2:20

If we have been set free from the "corruption of the world", then we are warned not to return again to that entanglement but to keep our hearts set on Jesus and maintain our allegiance to His Kingdom.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us," - Hebrews 12:1

Entanglement with the world is something we should be very careful to avoid. It's not only politics that we should be wary of, but politics and nationalism certainly qualify as examples of how the world works and we would be wise to avoid them as citizens of Christ's Kingdom.

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." - 1 John 2:15

Is it a sin to love your country?

Maybe.

Especially if your love for your country leads you to believe that your nation is more special, more loved by God than other countries.

Remember, God is no respecter of persons. He so loved the world that He gave His only Son. No nation is favored over another.

In the Body of Christ, we are reminded that there is no longer any recognition of nationality, or race, or age, or sex. We are all one in Christ, Jesus, our Lord. [See Gal. 3:28]

He makes us one. He unites us. National pride divides people. Patriotism distorts our oneness.

We would do well to abandon those things and to embrace our identity as the children of God who have been called out of every nation to be formed into a new, Holy Nation, where our King stands with arms open wide to welcome people of all tribes, and tongues, and nationalities.

Is it a sin to love your country?

What do you think?

-kg