Monday, October 26, 2009

A Quest for Vengeance:

Just last night our house was Rolled. What that means is the trees rain down with toilet paper usually just harmless fun. Here in the South it is deemed a compliment. I do not know why.

This time it was different. Not a compliment but a vicious attack. Using spray paint they painted the words, "Hail Satan" along with other vulgar words and satanic symbols across the cement driveway and on the front lawn. It was a malicious attack against our family and our God. Upon seeing the damage I was expectantly angry. Why would one do such a thing? To be such a coward to attack in the middle of the night hiding their faces and their wicked deeds. What do you do? The cowards have left. They have no dignity to come to you face to face. Then the anger quickly turns into a thirst for vengeance. A natural reaction you are attacked and you want to strike back.

Just a few weeks ago in our Sunday School class we studied Psalm 56, which I would like to point out verse 7.

Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, bring them down.
Psalms 56:7 (NLT)

What we learned in the lesson is that David was not asking for vengeance, which we would expect one would ask for. Instead we learn how David gave it up to God asking for justice from the Lord upon the wicked who seek to destroy His children.

I pray for those who attacked our home the other night. They will face the Throne of Judgment. They face God’s wrath. If I am to expect my Lord to forgive me then I must forgive those who seek to persecute me. For I know their fate unless they repent and accept Christ as the Lord of their life they will endure for all eternity pain and suffering the likes of which we cannot possibly imagine.

One thing is for sure by this attack. They realize that we are Christians. Confirming that they see Christ in us even though it offends them. Pray we serve Christ and not ourselves.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The House Church Book

I just finished reading Wolfgang Simson’s new book entitled, “The House Church Book.” Right from the start is does a great job in pointing out what is wrong with our modern congregational church model that was established in the later part of the 3rd century. He defines the congregational system as, “plot plus building plus pastor plus salary plus programs.” Which in a nutshell does describe the modern church of today.

If you are looking for a “How To” book on establishing your own House Church this is not the book and Simson is the first to tell you that. He does a great job in telling of the history of the church and how we have moved away from the first church in the Book of Acts. Before we were known as Christians we were know as, “The Way.” It was living the way Christ had instructed us. Thousands if not hundreds of thousands paved the way for us with their very lives. Today would we be so willing?

The author spends much time comparing the differences between cell groups and house churches. While cell groups are part of a larger congregation house churches are fully independent and operate without a hierarchy. It is this lack of hierarchy that confuses such as me who knows nothing different than the established congregational church model.

Here in the South when you mention House Church we think foreign missionaries getting together in a home to avoid persecution from an anti-Christian government. Has America become any different? Surveys show that people in the USA are interested in God but not church. House church as Wolfgang shows is a growing outreach truly based on Christ’s teachings the church going out to the people instead of the people coming to the church.

The author points out that when a house church reaches 20 members it is time to establish a second house church and so on. Unlike the congregational church model that focuses on ever expanding its flock. House Church is a lateral expansion as we see in the Book of Acts. Planting of churches within the communities. Working and serving those communities in a way today’s modern church cannot or has forgotten how too.

Can someone like me establish a house church? One who has been brought up in the modern congregational church model? The author points out that would be difficult since there is no established hierarchy within a House Church. In other words a regular church member might have too much baggage with them for such a ministry. Yet House Church does not always mean in one’s house. Church can be in an office, restaurant or meeting hall. Is there a difference between a bible study group and House Church? Yes, and the author does go into great detail about it.

Being established in the congregational church model and a recent graduate of seminary I had my predispositions before reading this book. It was hard during the first few chapters but I highly recommend reading this book. It does not take a lot of head scratching to realize the congregational church model is broken. Fewer souls are being won for Christ and it appears the evil one has the upper hand. House Church is a growing movement around the world and here in America. There might be a house church in your neighborhood and you do not even know it. House Churches run below the radar same as in foreign missionary work. Focusing on Christ and engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15 (NLT)


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Me and My Broken Wagon

If you were to see the car I drive then you would agree the name “Broken Wagon” sure fits. You have heard of walking by faith but driving this vehicle is truly driving by faith. It is not much but it is all I have.

The other day I was driving to work and had to stop at a light. I had to keep my foot on the gas just to keep it running. Praying to God for help so I can just make it to work. Then along side of me a guy in a brand new Dodge pulls up besides me. Talking on his cell phone not a care in the world. You would think he has it made. I started thinking that I sure would like to own a car not having to worry about making it to the next stoplight. Looking back just a few years my life was once like that. Seemed like everything I touched turned to gold. Success was the norm and business was the game. But wait! Back then like that guy in the car next to me. God was the last thing on my mind.

How blessed I am for my “Broken Wagon” of a car. Each day is a struggle. Asking God for help to carry me through yet another day. Only now do I truly realize that there is no way I can make it on my own. Without God I cannot even breathe let alone make it through to the next day. Sure there are times when I ask Him to let this day be the one He takes me home. I thank Him for all the blessings He has given my family and I. Might not be the success and riches the world has us believe as accomplishments. I am just a visitor to this world. That is why I must always have God first on my mind and in my heart.

Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? James 2:5 (NLT)

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