Speaking So You’re Heard

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Blog | 5 comments

The church in the US is in a post-Christian society, which is the equivalent in many ways to a pre-Christian society only more difficult because Christianity/Church mean something in a post-Christian society, but almost always something negative that has to be overcome.

In a post-Christian society, the Church and its representatives must earn the right to speak to the culture and its representatives.  It must begin that conversation in the language of the culture and then lead into a Christian conversation.  The Christian missionary in the United States (that's what you are if you are a Christian living in the USA) must not adopt a Christian sub-culture mindset (different language, different hangouts, etc.–think Christian radio stations and Christian bookstores) but rather discern how to speak the local language and dress in the local clothing without selling out the ancient Christian faith (think Acts 17 and the Areopagus).

This is the ultimate challenge of doing effective mission work in any culture and is more true than ever in our US setting.

For that reason, I believe that Sunday mornings must be "evangelistic outreach experiences that are worship services" as opposed to "worship services that are evangelistic."  They should lead with prophetic voices speaking truth but in a way that leaves the listener not belittled but rather cut to the heart.  They employ the local communication methods and craft the message in the language and colloquialisms of the community.  By adopting this mindset we are able to draw the unchurched person into a worship experience with no hurdles.  It speaks to them in words and images they grasp, drawing them deeper rather than making them change or adopt before entering into the presence of the cross.  The cross does not demand change before receiving; it creates change in the receiving.

Nota Bene: Do NOT discard all of the ancient forms/traditions/etc.  But rework and contextualize them so that today's radical heathen, totally-biblically-illiterate American does not have to leap through a mental hoop so that God's Spirit can work in His heart.  Embrace the ancient but decorate it with music, visuals and words from today's cultural language so digestion happens.  Wrap a high, holy view of baptism and the Lord's Supper in a very 2013 package.

Read More

What is the FiveTwo Network?

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve seen what happens when a congregation is willing to speak the language of the culture as it reaches into the community and as it worships with the community.  I’ve seen what happens when all sizes and shapes of “new” join together with ancient sacramental theology.  If I’m not providing an opportunity for the natives to worship Jesus in their language, then I am no better than the Pharisees of whom Jesus said, “You need a new paint job.”

I saw the power of this in south Austin when a former missionary to Japan was called to a start up church.  I saw the power of this in central Illinois when a 125 year old church in the most conservative circuit of the most conservative district of our denomination started a new worship service for people who didn’t have a church home.  I saw the power of this in west Houston when a small group of people started a congregation designed specifically for unchurched natives.

When ministries take seriously the First Article reality of taking on the look, feel and language of the indigenous community — of being God’s sacrament to that community in ways the community can understand and embrace — people previously stumbling through the dark become followers of Jesus.

FiveTwo wants to help your ministry accomplish this.  We are a network of sacramental church leaders — lay and professional — who have a heart for lost people and a heart for ancient, sacramental theology.  We believe they fit together quite well.  How God ordained the Church to work in Matthew 28 form.

One of our best resources is relationships.  Actually, relationships are our lifeblood.  Our network provides the relationship structure and relationship connectivity so that those who have been called into leadership of the sacramental church have an opportunity to find camaraderie and friendship with those who share their same passion for reaching God’s lost people in their community. We believe that if we can get people together on a regular basis around a common passion and common vision, introducing new insights and personal “how-to”, we can ignite a bonfire out of smoldering embers. Too often our institutional ways of relating pour water on the coals. We want to pour gasoline. We want to pour courage and knowledge and trust.

We want to help you be a part of something bigger than your local congregation, but we also want you to bear fruit in your local congregation AND local community. Everyone wants to make a significant contribution to a successful cause.  At FiveTwo, that successful cause is starting sacramental ministries for God’s lost people.

We need more people on the bus of starting something sacramental for lost people.  We want to ignite a movement of churches willing to adopt the godly values of their communities so the community can get to know the God who designed them.

Join us in a FiveTwo Local near you and join us at our annual WikiConference this September in Houston.

Common passion.  Common calling.  Camaraderie.

Read More

Do you believe?

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Do you believe Jesus is able?  The suffering we go through, the events that pull us to our knees either to serve or to pray, there divine formation takes place.  There a life that matters is being shaped in us.  That’s the experience Jesus is using in our lives to deepen our dependence on Him, our belief in His abilities.

Do you believe Jesus can bring healing to your broken body, that He can arrest the cancer, reconcile the marriage, restore the sight?  That He has authority to unstop the ears, remove the paralysis, mend your back?  Do you believe the resurrected Jesus continues to walk beside you, that through your baptism His Spirit lives within you, that same spirit that raised the centurion’s servant from his sick bed, raised the young man from his funeral bier, and raised Jesus from 3 days in the tomb?

A life that matters believes in Jesus’ abilities, and so it gives generously, appreciates authority, and serves selflessly, every day, right here, right now.

Read More

Face Your Doubts

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

It was only natural that when I first launched into leading people to follow Jesus, I dug into learning about the bible and the Jesus it promotes.  Because after all, you’ve got all of these people—billions throughout history—who have embraced the resurrection as true, and Jesus as the Son of God sent by God the Creator to redeem His creation, a creation that still retains the fingerprints of God all over it but is no longer on the course originally set by the Creator.  You have all these people who believe The Creator originally set the Creation – that would include you and me – on a course to glorify Him and bless others, to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves – but we have been sucked into a selfish eddy that spins and spins us around on our own needs, stuck in self-centeredness, worshiping our own selves.  You have all these people who believe, then, the need for a perfect God/man Jesus to keep a foot in both worlds of divine and human and pull those worlds back together, to reconnect them you might say.  Billions of people believe this about Jesus and His purpose and seek to extend that message throughout the world. And they base their faith on the words of the Bible.

Now while I was one of those people, I realized my faith was based more on how I was raised and what my peers did than upon what I believed and I knew to be true.  So since I’m the kind of guy who’s wired to not take things at face value, and I love the intellectual, I decided to bring all of my doubts to my study and see how the God of the bible stood up.

If you want to talk theological terms, you and I can learn a lot about God by simply studying His creation.  This would be called “General Knowledge of God.” But the Bible teaches us what Creation cannot.  That would be “Revealed Knowledge of God.”  They’re not at odds as much as they are they are “discoverable on your own” vs “discoverable only with God’s help.”

And that’s what I’m challenging you to do.  You owe it to yourself to bring whatever doubts you have about Jesus and His claims to the forefront of your wrestling.  Don’t wrestle with them in silence.  Don’t lock them in some closet, thinking they’ll die in the dark.  Darkness breeds doubt.  Bring them out.  Introduce them to my doubts.  Set them a place at the table.  Because that’s the only way you’ll move beyond them.

Read More

Searching for meaning….

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

We all want to matter. We were designed by our Creator to change the world, at least our little corner or cubicle or cul-de-sac.  We were created to contribute. We want our lives to matter.

But we also  know that a life that matters isn’t just about making a difference, We all want to matter to someone. We want to belong, to be cared for.  We know how each of us matter to God.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus testify to that. God loved the world, including you, so much that He sent Jesus as a sacrifice for the world. You are now a friend of God.  You no longer bear the label “enemy.”  Easter irrevocably gives you that, and your baptism irrevocably guarantees you that.  You matter to God.

And if that’s true—if your life truly matters to God—then the only way to live A life that matters is to follow the One who makes life matter, namely, the resurrected Jesus.  The resurrection of Jesus is the single-most life-changing event in the world’s history.  This Jesus is alive; He is walking alongside of you on whatever journey you’re on.  And His heart for you is to realize that and to learn from HIM, to listen to HIM, to live with Him on that journey.

So A Life That Matters is a life that follows Jesus.

Read More
Page 1 of 212