Posts Tagged ‘jesus’

“The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus” by Brennan Manning – Introduction

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I recently picked up a copy of “The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus” by Brennan Manning. I have never read anything by Brennan, but have been thoroughly impressed by some of his sermons.

I’m going to blog through the book. Now, some people go through a book because the published sends them an early copy if they agree to blog about it. This is obviously not the case. However, after reading the introduction, i thought that this book might warrant some serious reflection and the occasion outsiders perspective. I think this blog will serve those functions greatly.

In forward is written by Larry Crabb. Crabb gives us a guide to wrestling with the ideas in the book:

“Concepts create idols,” wrote Greogry of Nyssa. “Only wonder understands anything.” The eminent German theologian Karl Rahner, who died in 1985, wrote: “Some thing are understood not by grasping but by allowing oneself to be grasped.” As you read these pages, I pray that you allow yourself to be grasped, and that you “pause awhile” and let yourself be broken.

What Acts 2:42-47 means today

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Here is what I think this passage means for me/the Church today:

We ought to be “devoted to the apostles‘ teaching and to fellowship and to breaking of bread and to prayer.” I don’t think we ought to do this simply because it’s in the Bible, but I think, when looking at how we ought to follow Christ, we ought to observe those who literally “followed” christ. They probalby had a pretty accurate view on how to apply Christ’s teachings. So, does that mean that we need a church service with communion every day? I don’t think so. I do however, think we would do well to move in this direction.

We ought to be “filled with awe and wonder.” In our western culture, beauty is a bit lost. Miracles are less evident and much less publicized. Amazing transformations are happening in our midst. I know high school students who have seen there situations dramatically change. There aren’t too many times when a church will stop and simply marvel at God’s creation (unless you count using a nature scene as the backdrop of a powerpoint slide). Does this mean that if we’re not performing miracles on a regular basis, we ought to give up? Nope. But the Western church would do good to move in this direction.

We ought to be united as believers and have everything in common. Does this mean that we all live in a commune and share are produce, cars, and clothes? It doesn’t have to, but I think churches definitely need to move in this direction. We (me included) are doing a freaking horrible job at this in America (though there are some who aren’t doing such a horrible job).

We ought to sell our possessions and goods and provide for those in need. Does that mean that we have to be homeless? Nope. I do think we’d do well tois at a  sell things that we have and give the money to those in need. I write this thinking of two friends. One friend has a summer car (an expensive car that they joy ride around in the summer) and the other friend doesn’t have a job. So, if we apply this passage (or – frankly – many many other passages) what would the result be? You decide….

We ought to meet regularly. We do this in church services, however, many of our church serves aren’t condusive to community (if they were, why would we sit in rows?).

We ought to “eat together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.” I think this one is obvious.

I think the last part of the passage – “enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – is more descriptive of the results of this Jesus community.

eager to offer the gift of Jesus

Adam Walker-Cleveland has been running a series called “Plurality 2.0.” The whole  series has been wrestling with the multiple religions we have in our society and the faith of Christianity. The intersection of those two places has led to some pretty interesting dialogue. On Friday, Brian McLaren was the guest blogger and wrote some pretty compelling stuff. Here’s a couple sentences that I won’t soon forget:

I am eager to offer the gift of Jesus and his good news to all people, whatever their religion. I am eager to help all people, whatever their religious identity, to “taste and see” how good God is, and to take on Jesus’ yoke so we will experience together his meekness and gentleness of heart.

Student Teaching Pool. Week 2

Today I gathered with 5 students and we dug into Romans chapter 1.

We argued about the point of the chapter. Students argued with me. Told me they didn’t agree. Other students disagreed with one another. I had to work to keep us on topic.

The end result, we sat down and studied scripture in community. We boiled the scriptures down to their point. We dreamed up ways to communicate these messages to our friends.

Perfect.

If you’re in youth ministry, get some students together to help you with your teaching. Maybe just get one student. I would guess that the impact of our teaching pool will extend farther/deeper than the impact of our Sunday nights. Just a guess….

Sunday Mind Dump

On Sunday nights, both sr. high and jr. high students congregate to simply gather and grow. Each night I find myself sitting at home would up from my interactions (i’m an extrovert) and from the millions of ideas that are swirling through my head. I’m going to start a little exercise I’ve seen other pastor-types doing by starting a little Sunday Night Mind Dump. It may turn out to be a waste of time or short lived or incredibly awesome. We’ll see. Here it goes…..

  • Our students took a strong stride in developing a tight community tonight.
  • Several of the students showed off their leadership and influence. It’s great to watch them flex their muscles.
  • I wish we did a better job in uniting in worship together.
  • The leaders God has surrounded our ministry with have been remarkable. I’m SO SO thankful to get to love students alongside them.
  • In a little game of dodgeball, 1 student shattered two separate pieces of glass (a clock and a sign on the wall). Way to go CHRIS!!!!!
  • I would give myself a C- in being “present” with students tonight.
  • All the students really loved Taylor University’s Youth Conference. We’re definitely going next year.
  • Simply having my fiance there is so reassuring. She wouldn’t have to do anything, but I simply feel so confident when she’s around.
  • I think it is starting to become obvious as to who the “leader” students are. They’re separating themselves (in a good way) and driving the group.
  • Hearing the story of a gal who was once lost but is moving towards being found is the most beautiful thing on earth.

Youth Ministry Teaching Pool – Open Invitation

This is an open invitation to anyone who is interested in exploring the usefullness of a “teaching pool” for youth mininstry.

Here are some ideas of what I think this’ll look like, but it can morph into whatever works best. If you’re interested, comment below, or drop an email to adamlames (at) gmail (dot) com.

The Teaching Pool will:

  • study scripture in online community
  • share notes, stories, and ideas about possible message implications for students
  • share notes as we prepare throughout the week

**Each individual will have his or her own lesson developed, these won’t be identicle lessons. We will be helping one another develop lessons.

**This first teaching pool will begin in a 4 week trial. After 4 weeks, we’ll re-evaluate our methods and evaluate whether or not the teaching pool is working.

*contact me if you’re interested.

society has absorbed our action

Nice article over at the Jesus Manifesto blog. This piece peaked my interest:

the words of Jacques Ellul: “Each time the people of God becomes effective according to the world´s criteria, this only implies that society has absorbed our action and is using it for its own ends and for its own profit. …The efficacy we think we have is simply a power in the world´s service, for the perfecting of its own being, for its better organization….”

And I am also reminded that Jesus sent out his disciples, not only poor, but humanly powerless, “as lambs in the midst of wolves.” I recall how he squandered his popular following and fell prey to the religious authorities of his time, because he did not respect the power of the crowd or the power of rulers. Jesus did not need their power to build his kingdom. God had given the kingdom. It existed in the lives of Jesus and his disciples as a gift to them, and they announced it as a gift wherever they went: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”