Quote of the Day

The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life…. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.

–Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

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Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sent: Living the Missional Nature of the Church

Here’s a brief 8 minute Sent audio file by Ed Stezter discussing the Missional nature of the Church.  From his discussion do you agree or disagree with his statement that the Church has lost its “sentness.” If so, what do you attribute this to?  Second, how would you describes Jesus’ mission? What texts of Scripture support this?  Why is recovering the nature and mission of the Church essential in our post Christian society?

Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

10 Essential “Must Reads” for Christians

Coming up with a top ten list of essential “must read” books is difficult.  My proclivity is toward the great “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us. One of the most difficult things is deciding what category of books to include in the list: theology? spirituality? fiction? biography? Well, you get the picture. books So here it is in no particular order.

The Brothers Karamazov~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Confessions~ Augustine

The Cost of Discipleship~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Practice of the Presence of God~ Brother Lawrence

Mere Christianity~ C.S. Lewis

The Ragamuffin Gospel ~ Brennan Manning

The Politics of Jesus~ John Howard Yoder

Desiring God~ John Piper

Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ ~ Jeanne Guyon

What’s So Amazing About Grace?~ Philip Yancey

What does your list look like?  Who are your favorite Christian authors (fiction/nonfiction)?  What books have influenced you the most?

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Latest Barna Survey

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The Barna Group has just recently released (03/09) their latest research report surveying the religious pulse of America.  The study explored how many Americans hold to a “biblical worldview.”  What does Barna consider a biblical worldview?

For the purposes of the survey, a “biblical worldview” was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.

Their research reveals a startling fact:  only 9% of Americans adhere to the stated biblical worldview above.  The survey reflects a consistent trend for the last fifteen years.  In 1995 7% shared held such a worldview, compared to 10% in 2000, compared to 11% in 2005.

For those in the Mosaic demographic Barna reports that, “The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of adults in the Mosaic generation – i.e., those aged 18 to 23 – have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults.”

A Closer Look

  • One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.
  • Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.
  • Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.
  • Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.
  • A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.
  • Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.

Implications

Barna concludes his study by noting several implications for the Church and society.  Here’s a link to the article Barna Article.  What are your thoughts on the implications of Barna’s research?  How does this research ring true with Bonhoeffer’s words of man becoming “radically religionless?”  What are some suggestions on how we can respond to Barna’s data?

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Prophetic Words by Bonhoeffer


bonhoefferDuring his latter years in a Flossenbϋrg concentration camp Dietrich Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned these riveting and prophetic words leaving an indelible imprint for the future of Christianity, “But if one day it becomes clear that this a priori [Christinaity] does not exist at all, but was a historically conditioned and transient form of human self-expression, and therefore man becomes radically religionless- and I think that it is more or less already the case…what does that mean for Christianity…What do a church, a community, a sermon, a liturgy, a Christian life mean in a religionless world?” (Letters From Prision, 280).


Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Barth on the Being and Task of the Missional Church

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As His community it points beyond itself. At bottom it can never consider its own security, let alone its appearance. As His community it is always free from itself. In its deepest and most proper tendency it is not churchly, but worldly—the Church with open doors and great windows, behind which it does better not to close itself in upon itself again by putting in pious stained-glass windows. It is holy in its openness to the street and even the alley, in its turning to the profanity of all human life—the holiness which, according to Rom. 12:5, does not scorn to rejoice with them that do rejoice and to weep with them that weep. Its mission is not additional to its being. It is, as it is sent and active in its mission. It builds up itself for the sake of its mission and in relation to it.  (CD IV, 725)

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 8:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday’s Compline from the Northumbria Community

A prayer from the Northumbria Community, a community committed to a “new monasticism” of exploring a new way for living Christianity. They are a community committed to a contemplative stream of faith, and the perennial need to make faith relevant to the world. The following prayer is the Compline (pronounced Komplin) prayer office that is prayed at the end of the evening before retiring.

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Calm me, O Lord, as You stilled the storm.

Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.

Let all the tumult within me cease.

Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.

Father, bless the work that is done,
and the work that is to be.

Father, bless the servant that I am,
and the servant that I will be.

Thou Lord and God of power,
shield and sustain me this night.

I will lie down this night with God,

and God will lie down with me;

I will lie down this night with Christ,

and Christ will lie down with me;

I will lie down this night with the Spirit,

and the Spirit will lie down with me;

God and Christ and the Spirit,

be lying down with me.

The peace of God
be over me to shelter me,

under me to uphold me,

about me to protect me,

behind me to direct me,

ever with me to save me.

The peace of all peace

be mine this night

in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Praying with Charles de Foucald

Father,

I abandon myself  into your hands;

do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you;

I am ready to accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,

and in all your creatures.

I wish no more than this,

O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;

I offer it to you with all the love

of my heart,

for I love you, Lord,

and so need to give myself,

to surrender myself into your hands,

without reserve

and with boundless confidence.

For you are my Father

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment