What makes church “church?”

Very interesting post over at bright and beautiful; challenging, disapointing and yet strangly encouraging all at the same time. Take a minute to read it and then continue:

Observation: When growing up Methodist, church was something we did. In fact, church was something we did all the time. Our friends were church friends. Our church social group went to lake, the adults drank beer, and everyone water skied. I think we ate some type of pot luck, sloppy joes, or chili feed at church at least twice a month. My point; church was about community. 

Then I grew up, got saved and something changed. I wanted to be spiritualy fed and challenged. I have been to many, many churches over the past 25 years since leaving that Methodist church. Many I have loved for a period of time, some I tolerated, and some I ended up trying to figure out what I ever saw in them. Each one taught me something and yet it seemed each one left me wanting more, wanting the church to be better or offer me something different.

Question 1: Is it possible that in my desire for church to be something specific and in the interest of spiritual hunger, I missed the very thing that made, and makes, church “church?”

Question 2: Am I off course wanting church to be something or offer something to me instead of accepting church as it is and for what it is?

Question 3: Have we let church stop being about community?

What makes church “church” to you?

What is the purpose of your message?

Speaking about a Joel Osteen and his message, Mark of Denver in Translation say’s “It’s not a heretical message, it’s just not a powerful one.” I have to question this one, not the heretical part which is silly to me, but the “it’s just not a powerful one” part.

A ministry reaching beyond his immediate church; beyond those who closely share his beliefs; reaching out to the mainstream and beyond; reaching those who might not receive a less “heretical” message; seems pretty powerful to me.

Now, if you want question the spiritual depth of Joel Osteen’s television or book ministries that may be a case where you could say “it’s just not a powerful one.” But this leads to the question “what is the purpose of the message?”

If Mr. Osteen is trying to provide deep spiritual or biblical insight I am not sure he is on target. If on the other hand he is trying to pastor to believers; reach those who are ready, willing and wanting to believe; or reach people who will never step foot into a church, I have to think Joel Osteen is right on target.

What is the purpose of your message, to speak or be heard?

Some things move in unison

It’s interesting how some things move in unison, particularly in the workings of God’s Kingdom.

On my sight I have the RSS feed from One Green Bracelet and it had an update on “So you think you know Worldchild”. I thought I did but it was good to learn the background and real world impact they have.

Then via Judifree, as part of my “chasing rabbits” push (read earlier post), I was scanning Without Wax and find they are talking about the same shoe outreach that One Green Bracelet was running a video on.

I find it interesting how some things move in unison like this. It amazes me how I can listen to my pastor speak on what God is telling him and then through a blog, a friend, or listening to an online sermon find another pastor in another part of the country was giving the same message at the same time. Have you noticed this too?

UPDATE: I was informed that the ministries linked above support different shoe ministries. I assume one is a left shoe and one a right shoe and that this still supports my comment about things moving in unison. Could I be right?

ORCC Bloggers Unite!

Liveblogging the ORCC Bloggers Unite group today. Attending this holiday weekend, (first Husker game!) are:

Overflow of the Heart
Elissa Budd
The River Blog
The Hosh

So far the discussion has been lively about how to incorporate Facebook feeds, linking to others, and having focused content that encourages readership, linking, and comments.

UPDATE: Who uses Livewriter? Facebook feeds appear to work with a hat tip to The Kevlar Beard.
UPDATE2: I was just informed this is also Labor Day weekend, not just the first Husker game. Who knew?

Impact the world, today

How great is it to see that we can impact the world, today, from right here in Denver!

I particuarly like that “they see mom & i on daystar here” and was convicted to follow Judi’s advice and went online here to make sure that those called to go, can go and that TV and technology continues to help develop good soil for when they get there.

I feel somehow more connected with what is going on in Ethiopia on this trip than I have in the past when we would get an “after action report.” How about you?

Confident peace

I think Sue echoes an important set of life lessons for every Christian that Pastor Reece brought out in his powerful message Sunday.

“To survive the wilderness, you must get your eyes off the circumstances and onto God.”

It is so easy to let distractions and very real life circumstances keep us from the real peace of God’s will. When we focus on what God would have us do, take time to hear God’s voice and accept His grace in our lives, we can have confident peace in the midst of every real, but temporary, challenge we may be facing.