Back in the saddle

Posted: August 5, 2007 in Church, Music, Perspective

Got back from the beach last night at about 5:00, and hit the ground running (finishing up multimedia stuff for this morning).  Amazing how tired you can get (and how fast) after a week of rest!

Will did a GREAT job singing “Beautiful Letdown” this morning.  Brent and J-mo also did great with their respective parts on bass and drums.  I love it when a powerful song comes together like that.

We concluded the short “Letdown” series this morning by talking about those times when you feel like God has let you down – and how those times are usually the times when God is right there with us in our pain.  In fact, it can be at those times when God is most ready to help us and turn tragedy into an opportunity for something amazing (hence, evey letdown is an opportunity to be a “beautiful” letdown).  Read Joseph’s story if you want to see how God works in the life of someone who suffered more than his share problems (Joseph, as in Genesis, lineage of Abraham Joseph…) and how God did amazing things through Joseph.

Songset:

  1. All We Need (Charlie Hall)
  2. Oceans from the Rain (Seventh Day Slumber)
  3. Beautiful Letdown (Switchfoot)
  4. Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone (Chris Tomlin).

…..

We re-launch Crosspoint next Sunday (Aug. 12).  There are lots of people going around today in the extreme heat and humidity to put door hangers on people’s doors.  And Dave mentioned this morning that the “hate mail” has already started arriving.  Why is it that people (usually churched people calling themselves Christians) will come out of the woodwork to oppose you for being innovative, yet you NEVER see them out there doing anything else on their own to reach people?  I mean, you only hear about them or from them when they’re angry at other Christians.

Okay, I’m generalizing (unfairly), but that’s how it feels at times.

I understand the fear of things non-traditional, especially in a relatively small town that already has 120+ churches who’ve been doing things mostly the same way for 20 or 30 years (or 100, who knows…).  I even understand that there are people who are frightened and shocked by the things in our culture (by anything from what’s on TV to what’s on the stereo), so they are afraid when Christians dare to engage that culture and understand its language and mediums (whether MTV or Hollywood).  I’ve read enough books by people like Jacques Ellul and H. Richard Niebuhr to know that how we should engage our culture is the cause of centuries of debate.  I know the difficulty of being “in the world and not of it.”

But what I do not understand is the sheer anger and hatred this fear evolves into.  We’ve been accused of being heretical, demeaning, sacreligious, and even gluttonous.  Watchdog blog groups have hammered our pastor with utterly hateful and demeaning e-mails that show very little understanding of what we do and/or very little grace or love.  Heck, even if we WERE sinning, we wouldn’t deserve that kind of response from people claiming the love of Jesus.

Unapologetically, we will do whatever it takes – anything short of sin – to reach people for Christ.  We will never compromise the Gospel, our morality, or our vision, but we WILL strive to creatively carry the message and love of Christ to those that don’t know him.  Our baptisms will be celebrations.  Our music will be rocking.  Our message delivery will be innovative.  We will use video, multimedia, and set design to grab people’s attention.  We will dare to discuss the topics that are relevant to our culture, and look at those things from God’s perspective.

We want church to be fun, thought-provoking, and memorable.  We want it to be more than just a Christian duty that is nothing more than a footnote to the end of the week. 

We want Sunday mornings to be the most exciting time of the week.

And we won’t waste time defending ourselves against the onslaught of opposition.  There’s simply too much work to be done to reach people than to get bogged down by criticisms from self-appointed prophets who, apparently, would rather spend an inordinate amount of their time bashing other Christians rather than actually getting their hands dirty with us to love the people Jesus loved – to dare to connect with the broken, foolish, hurting, misguided, angry, promiscuous, defeated, and sinful people who need to know Christ.

Love, or get out of the way.

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Comments
  1. Hey,

    I’m currently doing some posts on Niebuhr that you might enjoy:

    http://tinyurl.com/2y93sb

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