MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Does This Sound Scary to You?

June 16th, 2015 Viewed 1387 times

Euthanasia Protest by Global PanoramaI was reading Ann Althouse’s post Where doctors perform euthanasia even on non-terminal patients and pronounce it “very magical.” and this part scared me:

[P]eople have… been euthanized because they had autism, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis, blindness coupled with deafness, and manic depression. In 2013, Wim Distelmans euthanized a forty-four-year-old transgender man, Nathan Verhelst, because Verhelst was devastated by the failure of his sex-change surgeries; he said that he felt like a monster when he looked in the mirror. “Farewell, everybody,” Verhelst said from his hospital bed, seconds before receiving a lethal injection.

Really?  Someone was euthanized for anorexia?  I think there’s a problem here, and it’s not Belgium’s Catholic, patriarchal roots.  How could someone go to a doctor with a problem knowing that the doctor could refer you to someone that would suggest that you should just die to solve it?


Image: Euthanasia Protest by Global Panorama

Are We Too Much Fun?

July 26th, 2007 Viewed 1998 times, 2 so far today

One of the hardest questions I think that a church activity has to answer is are we trying to be too much fun.  The question that I believe we are trying to answer, though, is scary in its bluntness:

“Why should someone want to come to my church activity?”

Our answer to this question will say a lot about our ministry, what we think of God and the message that we have to give.  What I find interesting is that traditionally the feature that “sold” Christianity was salvation from sin.  Sure, there’s the promise of Heaven, and the chance to escape Hell, but when a preacher came on the scene and proclaimed the Word, people came forward, lives were changed, and a world was impacted.

Now, we have to hope that we can get a famous person to come.  Or we have to stress about what activities we have planned.  We’re concerned about if children think that we’re fun, and we’re moving as quickly as we can out of the lesson and to the times that we think the kids enjoy more: refreshments, crafts, game time, and openings/closings.  Does something seem amiss here?

Tuesday, Michelle Potter, commented that a community that she was involved with held an all day VBS.  The more I think about this, the more interested I become.  If you start to think about parents sending kids with enrollment forms (relieves the pressure of wondering whether the kids will come back), different classes you could have, more exposure, and leveraging the Christians in the community you think– whew– that’s a lot of work.

But after you get over that, you begin to wonder why we don’t do this more.  Partner churches together.  Maybe make it more than one week.  Esp if you have a church school.

Or are we just not really all that serious about reaching the lost as we say we are?

How Not To Reach Them

July 8th, 2007 Viewed 1841 times, 1 so far today

We’ve recently gone through a series on How to Reach Them and we talked about the different kinds of things that we can do to reach those that are lost.  We are indeed living in different times– defined by two different groups of people.

Christians Tending to Themselves

This first group of Christians realizes that the numbers in the church are dwindling, but doesn’t know what to do about it.  I characterize them by the following ideas:

  • We have to keep the programs that we’ve always had running.
  • We can’t try different classrooms, because the ones we have have always worked.
  • We don’t have time during the week to do anything but the services that we normally attend.  Don’t ask us to attend service on a special night.
  • We have a problem with family so-and-so, or with the way the church is being run, so we may not be back.

It is these people that are forgetting two very important things.  Christ’s command that we love one another as He loved us was specifically addressed to believers about believers.  That doesn’t mean that we love sin, but that does mean that we should go out of our way to try to restore one another, and to look after one another.

The other thing that I think gets forgotten here is that if we’re so busy ministering to each other– who’s out reaching lost souls and discipling new converts.  Christianity was never meant to be a stale, treading-water affair, but was meant to be a vibrant faith that spread.

Christians Justifying the Means

This next category of Christian will do anything to get the message out– including some of the things I showed in a post last week.  It seems that no trick is to low, no idea to far away that a Christian will try it.

Some will use cheap tricks with $20 bills to try to get the Gospel out.  Now, no matter what you think about tract’s effectiveness, trying to hook people by making one look like a $20 just to have it be something else is deceitful.  Or maybe dressing in immodest attire and parading around a sanctuary is more the right thing to do.  Now I know that these are catholic nuns, but it’s just a matter of time until Protestants see how many men are coming in to see the women.

And it’s not just these blatant problems, it’s more subtle ones.  Christians will use gimmicks to get people in.  I have to admit, while writing my series I had to keep thinking about whether I was trying to do a gimmick, or really trying to reach people in a Biblical way.

We Need to Get Back to Basics

What we need is to get back to the Word.  To get back to original Christianity and the power of the Cross.  If we could realize what we’re here to do, and focus on that rather than ourselves I think that we’d see a big difference in our churches.  We wouldn’t have to rely on gimmicks, trickery, or clowns leading a service.  The Word of God and how it impacts lives would be on display as we lived the Word of God in our lives and in our services.

Friend Day

June 10th, 2007 Viewed 2369 times

One thing that we tried this year (to little success, I’m sorry to say) was to have a Friend Day.  This is a day that’s planned well in advance so that you have time to talk to your friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. about coming to church.  The point of the service is to have a strong evangelistic message while going out of our way to make visitors feel welcome.

There are many different ways to do a Friend Day.  One of them suggests the Pastor inviting someone from the local city with some degree of position (i.e. the Mayor, Police Chief, etc) and then showing the congregation a letter that the person will be attending.  Then the Deacons would do the same.

Meet Them Where They Are

April 29th, 2007 Viewed 4930 times

An often misused piece of Scripture is Paul’s statement that he has become all things to all men that he might win some.  I say misused because people have taken this Scripture to give them liberty to do things that would harm the name of Christ and emphasizes a “ends justifies the means” mentality.

Still, it will no longer do to just sit in our churches and expect the unsaved to come to us looking for answers.  Seriously, there are few instances now where the unsaved are turning to the churches for anything. There is no natural respect for the church or what it stands for, and this generation does not have the desire to return to church.  Since this is the case, we need to be out meeting them where they are.

Should a Church Be Incorporated?

September 30th, 2006 Viewed 5456 times, 1 so far today

Harry Bethel has the following as part of his checklist to show us why there are no God-Ordained ministers in our churches today on his site BethelMinistries.com:

A God-sent pastor would accept and apply the doctrines of separation from the world and would not seek a charter from a state or other government, nor would the “church” be incorporated. We are in the world, but we are not of the world and the civil governments should have no control over, or sanction, a scripturally organized local church.

Certainly he’s right when he says that we are in the world but not of it.  However, there’s also this interesting passage in Romans 13:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves [dang]ation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Legalism

September 14th, 2006 Viewed 2428 times

GavelI often wondered if the Christian life would be a whole lot easier if God would just give us direction for everything that we were to do. If we could pray and receive an e-mail telling us exactly what to do, where to go, who to meet, etc. (the reasoning goes) then it would be a whole lot easier to obey Him and we wouldn’t wonder if we were doing the right or wrong thing.

I think this is legalism’s appeal. Throughout the centuries many religions have formed that have told people exactly what they must and must not do. Roman Catholics have requirements about church attendance, prayer beads, and other traditions and formalism that tells them exactly what they must do. In tribal communities there are sacrifices to gods that must be done in certain ways. Jehovah Witnesses have a certain number of hours that they must be reaching out to get more converts.

In some ways, Fundamental/Evangelical Christianity is one of the less stringent forms of Christianity, and I believe that this is why it has a tendency to become legalistic.

The Husband’s Love for the Wife

May 3rd, 2005 Viewed 2329 times

Happy CoupleAnother aspect to this discussion has to be the care for which the man had for his woman in the Old Testament. This is seen in a variety of locations.

In the story of Ruth and Boaz, Boaz takes up the cause of Naomi not having kin and Ruth’s husband’s death by being her kinsman redeemer. Jacob was willing to work for Laban for 14 years to get Rachel, his daughter. Proverbs put a high value on a good wife. The whole Song of Solomon places the physical and intimate parts of a married couple, putting emphasis on the love between the couple.

Global or Known World?

December 29th, 2004 Viewed 2037 times

Wooden NativityPage 7

Summary: Meacham continues his comparison with Augustus but notes that there are no other stories in history/mythology that completely parallel the Annuciation. He goes on to say that Luke and Matthew would resonate with the people of the times because of the familiar stories, and that there were many factions within Christianity at the time. He starts to discuss the heresy of gnosticism and their beliefs. He closes stating that Christians have to know and address these “mysteries” and that Christianity is worth while despite them.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.