Monthly Archives: June 2007

The inverted Parable of the lost sheep

When a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one wanders off, he lets it go to the world, such that he can focus on the care and feeding of the remaining 99, lest they feel any discomfort or uneasyness with their shephard being gone for a bit.

Contrast this with what Jesus said:

1 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent

And then, lets think about contemporary Christianity and its excuses

1. We can’t go there… last time we were there, the offering only covered half our expenses.

2. We need to watch our resources, we are spread too thin, homeless ministry is too expensive, we need to cut back.

3. We are to be separate from the world, we are to be safe, we are to be pure, we are to strive for righteousness. Can dark and light co-exist. We need to take care of our own and protect them.

4. They don’t repent, they won’t ever be like us, we can’t waste anymore time on them. They only say they will change, but we know its just a game with them.

Many years ago, I heard of a young preacher with a heart for the homeless, the drug users, and the downtrodden. He was making a difference, yet folks were critical. He ministered and gave shelter, food, and money to those in need. No one was left out. Folks were critical, he’s wasting his time they said, he’s waisting our money they said, those folks will never change.

The thing was, is that for the most part, those critical of the young preacher were correct. Folks didn’t change, despite his preaching, and his showing the love of Christ. Yet, a few did, and there was much rejoicing by the preacher, but not from the rest of the flock.

Over time, the young preacher changed, he still head a heart for the lost, but he saw the worlds wisdom in being careful with his limited resources. He started restricting to whom he would minister too, and who he would give shelter too. If folks resisted change, well, they were out of luck. People applauded the change. Donations increased, his success grew. By the worlds standards, he had done great things, and people applauded. Folks were getting saved, folks were getting ministered too, and getting food and shelter. Yet, the 1 lost sheep was left out in the cold, no food, no shelter, and an admonition: change, and I will let you in the door. This is the worlds way, the ministry grew and grew, many people liked the pop psychology of anti-enabling……

What about the 1 lost sheep?

Unity in Christ

What it is:

1. To recognize All Christians are grounded in Christ

2. The core is Christ, despite congregational, doctrinal, social, geographical, moral, age, and language differences.

3. Differences should not be glossed over, but acknowledged. A means to foster understanding is key. It may be that the differences are irreconcilable, and that is ok.

4. Corrective witness to one another should not be squashed, but should be allowed if expressed through love for one another, never condemnation.

Ways to achieve it:

1. Significant differences should be open for honest discussion and mutual growth.
2. Varying congregational and/or doctrinal points of view must never be compromised for unity.
3. Varying congregational and/or doctrinal points of view should never be silenced.
4. Persecution and pain should be expected, this could create a negative impact on new believers, and possibly fatigued older ones. Therefore a place of relaxation, rest, and recharge of like minded individuals in a safe haven can be a good thing, but it should definitely not be the only thing as it is counter to the mission.
5. Levels of separation nor exclusion should never be made, but the goal should be to find a common language, such that the truth of the Gospel overshines all.
6. Participants should be sensitive to social, geographical, political, moral and language differences. What is considered Christian in one sector, may be anathema in another as well as the revese. Rather than absolute censorship or favor granted to one side over the other, such subjects should dealt with in Christian love and sensitivity on all sides.
7. Recreation and play build relationships, which lead to dialog, which is a stepping stone.

8. It is likely that there will be some disagreements, where in the disagreement is so sharp, that no reconciliation is possible, and much ill will can result. Thus, the path chosen by Paul and Barnabus in Acts may be a good option, ie to separate for a while as long as both paths are leading towards unity, and rejoin at a future date.

9. The Gospel overshines all

Are safe havens justificable by scripture, experience, or comfort

 Some initial research, more to come later, this is my scratch pad. 🙂

John 17:12-20 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify[a] them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

“What began as a way of reaching a generation for Christ has turned into a private event for a growing number of Christian consumers looking for a safe spot in which to hide from a dangerous world.”

A man decided to wear an overt Christian t-shirt to “witness” to people. Guess what? The shirt failed to provoke any spiritual conversations; in fact, people tended to avoid him. He later observed that when he wore his Fender t-shirt he successfully struck up conversations with strangers about guitar and music, which occasionally led to discussions about God and Christianity. Obvious conclusion: The Fender t-shirt witnesses better that the (supposedly) witnessing t-shirt.

Whats your theological worldview?

  You scored as Emergent/Postmodern, You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don’t think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern
 
71%
Neo orthodox
 
64%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
 
64%
Roman Catholic
 
64%
Modern Liberal
 
50%
Reformed Evangelical
 
50%
Classical Liberal
 
50%
Fundamentalist
 
14%
Charismatic/Pentecostal
 
7%

What’s your theological worldview?
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