The Next Pendulum Swing

I have often said that ministry is a constant tension between opposing forces. The shifts that take place within the church, often need to take place, but the problem is that the shifts that we make are not toward a healthier balance, but from one extreme to another. Often the true need is for a healthy balance amidst seemingly opposing forces.

Within my 30 years of ministry experience, I have seen the pendulum shift many times in many different directions.

The primary shift I have seen has been between the protection and the proclamation of the Gospel. It has been a fight between focusing inward or expending energies outward.

Of late there has been a very strong effort to see the two peacefully exist within the Bride of Christ.

As a leader, I find it hard to keep these two seemingly opposing forces in check with one another. I struggle with this primarily because the people of The Kingdom have a propensity to fall to one side or the other of the spectrum.

In the role of pastor, I always feel the tension of letting some people down most of the time.

I know my obligation is to please the Lord and follow his lead, but there is still regular tension in leading.

I desire to continual promote the balance between being called to worship and being sent to care.

This balance allows for a healthy platform for the Great Commission and the Great Commandment to come to fruition as the Bride of Christ fulfills its call. Another reason for this balance is to usher in the now, continuous and not yet Kingdom of God.

My next number of posts will be on this issue and will focus on the “Sentness” of God’s church while at the same time promoting the idea of giving God the Glory in all things.

Marathon Tragedy and Maranatha–Come Lord Jesus

I have been overwhelmed this week with  amazement over the amount of violence, hurt, hate and tragedy that exists in our world.  It started on Monday with the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, then the report of an earthquake in Iran, series of bombings in Iraq and then last night with the massive explosion in Texas. 

Life is full of tragedy, and while some would use this information to say there is no God, I would state that it is a sign of the world choosing to live as if there were no God.  Choice of self over God has led to a world that consistently reflects life outside of God’s will. 

I have done a number of funerals over the last few months and many of them have been due to tragic situations.  At each of these funerals I needed to address those in the room who would question as to where God was in all of this tragedy.  The answer is that these things were not God’s will and that his heart breaks as ours do at times like this.  I have stated that “due to sin in the world there are many terrible things in this world that are not God’s will.”

We, those of us who but our full trust and hope in Jesus, know that we belong to a different kingdom that will only be fully realized when Christ returns.  Until then we wait and try to make the world reflect this coming, perfect Kingdom in any way we can in the here and now. 

I have a coffee mug that has on it the word Maranatha.  It is from a youth conference that I attended many years ago in Portland.  I looked at it this week and was struck by the word.  I then read a blog post by Ed Stetzer that stated:

There is just one use in the New Testament of the Aramaic word phrase, “Marana tha. Paul writes, “Marana tha
that is, Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). Most translate it as a cry
for King Jesus to come soon. Yet, that one word has become a cry for
Christians in pain, persecution, and much more.

This marathon tragedy drives us again to our Maranatha cry– “come quickly, Lord” and set things right.

Let us continue to pray for those caught up in these tragedies, but let us also pray for those in our neighbourhoods and workplaces, on our streets and on our sports teams,  that walk in the darkness of this world with no real hope. 

Theology, Context and Life Primer

As I have been preparing for our new teaching series for Easter I have been stretched in my understanding and application of the doctrine of the Incarnation.  I have always been intrigued by the meaning and implications of the Incarnation. 

In the Incarnation we find a solid theological foundation for the Gospel and the hope the Gospel brings.   Our study of the Incarnation will bring us to the understanding of the amazing sacrifice that Jesus made in taking on our form and becoming like us.  In this move He became our perfect High Priest who could understand our frailty and He became the one that would accomplish what we could not do for ourselves. 

Jesus also set the pace for what it means to contextualize the truth of the Gospel into the lives of those that He walked among,  Through this He shows us how we need to live life as His representatives.  We must look at the life of Christ as an example of how to live and the Gospels become our primer on how to live life well.