I have recently been thinking about our need for medical care/ hospitalization and the money mega-churches bring in. I wonder why these churches and their thousands, yea in many cases millions of dollars, don't invest in health clinics. I have recently heard of a satellite church of a mega church which takes in thirty thousand dollars a week-yet they are more concerned about buying property and buildings than in helping the sick. I just read this blog http://www.evotional.com/ where a mega church within minutes collected 100,000.00 to donate to another mega church...I dont get it.
If you know of a mega church that funds a medical clinic with real doctors etc. please let me know.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
“THE JESUS LIFE: Eight Ways to Recover Authentic Christianity” by Stephen W. Smith published by David C. Cook
The author’s emphasis upon following Jesus as a ‘way of life’ was refreshing. He ask this question, “Do we follow the Way or are we following a denomination, a person, a culture or a program or even a church?” He suggests that many times we have left the Jesus life for the church life.
The confession the author makes can apply to many of us. He says, ”I knew how to live the church life, the American life, and the Baptist life. But I had to face the fact that I did not know how to live the Jesus life.” The author then suggest eight practices that can help us to begin living the Way
One of those eight ways is the ‘way of companionship’. Jesus chose and wanted friends. The author points out that in life we have many acquaintances but as far as any deep friends are concerned we do not have the heart capacity to have that many. Just as God chose us we are to choose friends, but in that choosing we should expect that those friends will disappoint us. We must enter community knowing that no one in the group is perfect. We are an imperfect person in the midst of imperfect people.
Another practice the author brings out is ‘the way of the table’. “We stay alive and enjoy life when we learn to treat the mealtime as more than a meal.” It should become a time of communion as well as consumption. He gives some surprising statistics that show that families who share at least 5 meals together each week provide a shelter against many social vices including drug abuse.
The author also says that we need to practice, ‘The Way of Ritual”. Just as the Jews had many rituals that they followed (the festivals, special days etc) we need to establish rituals into our lives. He says that “rituals are familiar and recognized acts, events and traditions that help us have meaning, tie us together, and interpret through symbols what is happening in and around us.” Some New Testament rituals are baptism and the Lord’s supper.
In reading I was reminded of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The question we may need to ask ourselves is what way are we practicing, the American way or the Jesus way or some other way? Possibly the reason many of our children are not Christians (followers of Jesus) today is because we showed them another way of life that was not of Jesus.
Friday, June 08, 2012
“THE COMING REVOLUTION: Signs from America’s Past that Signal Our Nation’s Future” by Richard G. Lee published by Thomas Nelson
I had mixed feeling reading this book. On one hand the author did a lot of whining and crying about the terrible conditions of our country, which I got tired of reading about. On the other side where the author talked about the founding of our country and the circumstances surrounding it, it was a great read.
The author’s purpose of the book was to help us understand the environment of our countries revolutionary period and thus apply that to our political conditions of today.
The author states that, “The first Revolution was preceded and inspired, I believe, by the Great Awakening…I have come to believe that we are in the early stages of another awakening, perhaps of even greater magnitude.”
The author makes the points that:
- our founding fathers were Christians and that our country must return to our founding principles in order to restore our nation. He quotes from John Adams “…Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
- That our founders understood ‘original sin’ and the danger of unlimited power.
- That the Great Awakening under the leadership and preaching of men such as Jonathon Edwards and George Whitfield was a uniting factor in the revolution. “Before the Great Awakening the colonies had very little in common. They didn’t even like each other very much. But as the Awakening began to spread from town to village… there was a new sense of connection and cooperation between the colonies… This new sense of unity eventually developed into what we would recognize today as the American Spirit.”
- That the pulpit’s (preacher) call for a renewal of faith was also a call to resist tyranny.
- That education which followed the Great Awakening was for the most part Christian. “Fully 106 of the first 108 colleges in America were founded as Christian institutions. By the mid-nineteenth century there were 246 colleges in this country, virtually all of them founded either by Christian denominations or by individuals motivated by their Christian convictions.”
Where I whole-heartedly agreed with (how could I disagree with the facts) and enjoyed reading of the history of our nation during the revolution. In some regards the author fails to go far enough in his relating our history to our present dilemma.
I feel that:
- The author tends to equate a capitalist economy with a Christian worldview. Capitalism is corrupt if not balanced with the doctrine of original sin. If we forget about the sinfulness of man capitalism becomes a breeding ground for exploitation and greed.
- Whereas during and before the revolution preachers were looked at with respect and thus listened to. Today that respect does not exist, thus for the most part preachers are only preaching to the choir.
- Revival must begin in the church. Trying to reach the outsider without first renewing the inside is a waste of time. Those on the outside will only respond when they see that those on the inside our genuine. The church needs to take care of its own sin before condemning the sin of others. It needs to look at itself in the mirror before trying to force a mirror on others.