Get out of the Ghetto
Are there times when you feel isolated and alone? Even amid family, friends or y our church community? When you hear your pastors preach and teach about outreach and hospitality and servanthood – do you feel a lack of resources prevent you from taking our calls and admonitions seriously? Do you feel ill-equipped to obey in all that God has called you to do through your ministers? Do you keep people at a distance because you have experienced pain or difficulty in relationships?
Have people let you down? Abandoned you? Sinned against you? Judged you? Or perhaps you are so judgmental, that people aren’t worthy of meaningful friendship because they are prudish, arrogant, self-important and self-righteous? Pretty much, do you keep people at arm’s length where it’s safest?
Isolation. A lack of resources. Ill-treatment. These are all characteristics of a community, which since the sixteenth century, has been referred to as a ghetto. Modern use of the word tends to mean an ethnic, racial, low-income and inner-city. We don’t refer to trailer parks as ghetto – the word now as certain connotations. But the more accurate definition of the word is an isolated community turned inward from a city that is hostile toward it.
We did not set out to build ghettos. Suburban churches in our denomination are small, generally 30-100 people. We don’t have access to the wheels of cultural or political power. We are spread over a vast geographic area, in Seattle, we are in one of the most expensive regions to live in. We like big families. Continue reading “Escaping the Christian Ghetto of “self””
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” – Romans 1:21
How did they become futile in their thinking and foolish in their hearts? Not by denying that God exists, they can’t do that. It says quite clearly that they knew God. But how did they become futile in their thinking and foolish of heart? By not thanking God.
Mistakenly, we think that people are grumpy and ungrateful because of their unbelief. But the opposite is true. Grumpiness and ingratitude leads to unbelief. Ingratitude leads to futile thinking and a foolish darkened heart.
We have it all backwards. We want to lecture and instruct – but our mission in the world ought to be gratitude.
Christ commanded us to disciple the nations by teaching them about Christ, and we project our modern theories of education and psychology onto this. We think outreach in its various forms is a matter of head knowledge or behaviorism. We strenuously attack atheism, liberalism and Darwinism while instructing the masses in an ethic of noism. But the root problem of disbelief is ingratitude.
Jesus taught by example. On the night that He was betrayed, the eve of his trial and brutal execution, Jesus held up the loaf and He gave thanks. Broken hearted and teary eyed at the door of Lazarus, as the rolled away the stone Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven and said “ Father, I thank you….” Rejoicing in the Father’s abundant provision, he lifted up the single loaf and fish and gave thanks. Jesus taught by example and so should we. In the midst of excruciating circumstances. In the face of loss and tragedy. In the grip of miraculous blessing. Jesus was grateful. Continue reading “Gratitude is the Serious Business of Heaven”
In the Kloss house, fairy tales play a large part in our ethical instruction. Fairy tales play a large part in the relating of truth: generation to generation and culture to culture. Good fairy tales echo the truth of God’s word. Really, what is the story of the bible if it isn’t, “slay the dragon – get the girl?” Therefore, St. George and the Dragon has been talked about a great deal with our five boys. “Boys… you’re either the self-indulgent, nasty dragon or you’re the brave knight saving the fair maiden (virtue, wisdom, sister, etc.).”
The fairy tale of the hour, not only for my boys, but for you and me as well, is the Emperor’s New Clothes. Seattle is that town. You mean because “In the great city where he lived, life was always gay.” No…well yes…but…not that part. I think gay used to mean something else.
And neither am I referring to Seattle’s naked cycle ride on solstice or the poof parade. Those people know they are naked and long for us all to acknowledge it.
Seattle is the fairy tale town from the Emperor’s New Clothes. The story begins with a gay town and gay emperor and goes on to say that the effeminate emperor and all his fawning courtiers were too afraid to say he was naked, because they were told by the enterprising clothiers that the, “clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.” They were shamed into accepting lies as truth and bowed to the fear of man. No one had the courage to say the plain truth; the emperor is naked. It’s not until a small child finally has the good sense and moral fortitude to state the plain truth, “’but he hasn’t got anything on.’” Continue reading “Seattle is The Fairy Tale City of Heroin and Home Invasion”
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. – 1 Timothy 4:6-11
The passage before us is about practicing what you preach. It casts a light on what we practice and exposes the idols and sins so common among Christ’s ministers. Paul exhorts Timothy to “put these things before the brothers” in v. 6. What things? 1 Tim. 3:15 “how one ought to behave in the household of God.” That’s what the whole book is about – the aim of our charge in 1:5.
How do God’s children behave? Those nourished and trained in the words of faith and good doctrine? Paul says put the answer before the flock, which is a matter of both word and deed. This is a theme for Paul throughout his letter to Timothy.
Chapter 1, verse 16 says Paul received mercy from Christ so that Christ might demonstrate His transformative and saving work in Paul’s life, as an example for the flock. Jesus puts Paul and Timothy and you before the flock so that you can put Jesus before the flock.
We are messengers who are the message. God is love. God’s loving kindness and faithfulness are certainties. The minister’s life ought to be his primary example. How do you overcome sin? How are we healed? What is the aim of our charge? How do we love our wives as Christ loved the Church? What is submission? What is selflessness? What is service?
Behold the ministers who say, “behold the Lamb of God!”
Continue reading “Only Good Christians make Good Pastors”
I know… hang with me. I don’t know where you were or what you were doing. Maybe it was a sermon on their website. Maybe it was at the Ballard campus or UW campus. Maybe you went simply to check out the girls or guys. Maybe you heard a CD of the music or attended a community group.
I don’t know how it started for you. For me it was 2003. A hot chick, I was totally into, sent me a link and said check it out. So I checked it out. At first, I didn’t like it, but if it impressed this girl, than whatever. I didn’t like it because the guy preaching kept describing me in unflattering terms. There were reasons I lived in my mom’s basement and didn’t have a car or a job. Yeah, so, I was 23 and had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn’t want to grow up. And no, my intentions with that hot girl were not honorable. Continue reading “Seattle needs more Mark Driscolls”
In Genesis, God says that it was not good that man was alone. Adam, upon meeting His wife, spoke the first recorded words of man – a poem: “this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Essentially, this woman is me.
Husbands, it is better that you are married. But we have to understand that marriage is not the reward for responsible men – marriage is the means for God to make responsible men. Without your wife you are incomplete.
And that completeness isn’t like icing on the cake. It’s not about having a cook or a housecleaner or extra income or something pretty clinging to your arm as you go about impressing everyone. A wife completes you because she brings into your life all the glorious qualities that make men higher beings than the animals, as well as, hardening us into creatures that are images of Christ. Marriage is the oven for soft clay. Marriage is a long obedience in the same direction and God uses it to shape men into little Christs.
Gentleness, Patience, kindness, self-control – all the things you need to handle the weaker vessel. And the weaker vessel is the weaker vessel like gold is the softer metal. Gold is soft so that it will be malleable –able to be shaped, molded and altered by the forces applied to into adorning objects of Beauty.
You are that force. So, by learning to shape that gold you are being shaped into a gentle, patient, kind, self-controlled craftsman.
Continue reading “Wives of Gold and Their Craftsmen”
In the Nashville statement recently published online, leading evangelicals stated their biblical convictions about same sex marriage, gender bending and homosexuality. It’s a bold and prophetic word to the culture and should be commended. But as we attempt to recover the mission of the church at redeemer, preparing bold prophetic ministries to our local culture, I wanted to address something in the statement that I want us to avoid. The preamble of the Nashville statement begins with, “Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being.”
First, we don’t find ourselves here. We are not marooned on a strange shore after a shipwreck. Its not random. Cause and effect exist. If the Christian life is a long obedience in the same direction, then disbelief is a long disobedience in the same direction. Historic transition? No. Try, “the natural consequence of history.” Continue reading “The Problem with the Nashville Statement”