The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Friday, June 20, 2008

LEFT BEHIND

BACK IN MY JESUS PEOPLE DAYS, we used to sing a little chorus that went something like,

Life was filled guns and war

And everyone got trampled on the floor

I wished we’d all been ready…

There’s no time to change your mind

The Son has come

And you’ve been left behind

What it lacked in musicality, it made up for in relatively good mid-trib, premillennial theology. Hey, it even lead to a good title for a series of eschatological novels, if not at least a bunch of “you’d-better-get-your-life-together” sermons.

But this little ditty, and the sermons and books related to it’s theme, often left us so caught in the fear of being “left behind” that we would often walk right by those who were. To put it another way, we were so concerned about Jesus’ future return that we forgot His present reign. It’s subtle, but it makes a difference in how we live our lives, today.

This subtle difference can lead to our focus of ministry as a local church. It defines the relationship between prayer and practice, between doctrine and doing. When faced with fires racing over ridges, destroying homes and displacing families, our doctrine calls us to pray, but it must also call us to act. As those who hope in His promised return, we are therefore those who must pray with our eyes wide open. Not just so we will see His return, but so we can respond to His reign.

Come to think of it, we have been left behind, and left behind on purpose. I invite you to join us as we pursue fulfilling the purpose for which we have been left behind.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Richer Blend

THE LABEL ON THE BAG OF STARBUCKS©

coffee read:

Kopelani Blend

A blend of African, Latin American,

And 10% Kona Coffees

Juicy and Refined

As I contemplated what the aroma and taste of this new coffee blend might be my thoughts were drawn to an exciting reality taking place in Christendom. The reality involves the moving of Christianity’s “center of gravity,” from the northern hemisphere to the south. Christianity’s center has always been on the move.

It started in what we now know as the Middle East and progressed to the north and to the west, settling for centuries in Europe and then, at least the Protestant brand, migrated across The Pond, and found a welcoming home on the shores of the New World. But now we are discovering that the mission and theological middle is moving to the south and east, settling places like the Orient, Africa and Latin America. In fact, if you think that most evangelicals are white and know Rick Warrren of Saddleback Church, you’d be wrong. Maybe the new Starbucks© blend is prophetic. J

I am excited about this new movement. (Though not everyone joins me in that excitement). I believe this movement will add new depth and flavor to the church. The church in the southern hemisphere, as Richard Starcher (previous Free Church missionary) pointed out in a recent article in the Biola Magazine, the African church brings a strong mixture of reformed theological understanding and a charismatic worship-life. It is a church that is flourishing in the midst of great trial and tragedy, and out of that crucible a vibrant church is growing. And we have much to learn from these brothers and sisters.

Care to sample a new cup?