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I am moving this blog over to Nasa Community.  Go ahead and check out the link.

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What would church look like without pastors?

This morning, our pastor was teaching out of Ephesians 4.  This got me to thinking about the role of pastors in our society today.  In my opinion, we have expected too much out of them, expecting them to the be Christians we don’t want to take the time to be.  This limits our growth as disciples of Christ by not allowing ourselves to come to full maturity in Christ.

The Christian life is a journey.  It is a journey of learning to live as a disciple of Christ and this includes coming to full maturity in Christ.  This will look differently for each disciple because of our life circumstances, our unique giftings and the roles that the Holy Spirit gives us within God’s creation.

What we can discern about being a disciple of Christ is that it is not an easy road, but is a road that requires help along the way.  We need help from God to overcome our own fallen nature.  Too often we get in our own way.  Each of us has our own set up baggage that we bring to our relationship with our Creator.  To overcome that baggage, we need to come to our Creator with humility asking for his help to overcome our self-inflicted wounds.  My study of Scripture helps me to see a God who wants to come alongside his creation to help them overcome the obstacles they cannot overcome with their own power and strength.  Sometimes the help that God brings comes out of the life of the community of faith.

Pastors, teachers, elders, etc.  are called for the purpose of cultivating disciples.  Their role within the community of faith is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” and for “building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)  They are called to the task of making disciple and preparing them to participate in the ministry of Christ.  Additionally, they are called to encourage, strengthen and unify the body of Christ.  Their work is not complete until community of faith has reach full maturity and is able to participate fully in the ministry of Christ.

Pastors should strive to work themselves out of a job.  One of my old mentors used to teach me this.  He desired to see the day when he would not be need, as the men and women he discipled became fully equipped to participate in the ministry of Christ.  This makes the task of making disciples the primary focus of pastoral ministry.  It should be the goal of all professional disciples to equip those entrusted to them for the ministry of Christ.  When this happens maybe we can start to really wonder what the church would look like without pastors?

God helps those who help themselves…or does he?

“God helps those who help themselves,”  my dad seems to throw this saying around, especially when talking about my financial inefficiencies.  But recently, I have been thinking how much this statement seems to contradict the ministry of Jesus.  Doesn’t it appear that Jesus helps those who cannot help themselves.

I am reminded of the story of the paralytic whose friends lowered him down through the roof to be healed by Jesus.  There was nothing that this man could have done to walk again.  His only hope was that Jesus would have mercy on him and heal him.  His friends cared enough about him that  everything they could to get him to Jesus.  But when this man was brought face to face with Jesus, he was told to “pick up his mat want walk.”  The hope that this man and his friends had in Jesus’ ability came to fruition.

This story and others like it should serve as reminders to each of us that a major part of Jesus’ ministry was bring hope to those who had no other means of helping themselves.  As the church today, we should realize that it is our responsibility to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and help those who cannot help themselves.  In different communities this may mean different things, but if we take Jesus seriously then we need to make it part of our ministry to bring hope to those who have no hope.  God is not looking for those who are helping themselves, but rather those who have no hope.

Christian Anti-Semitism

I had mentioned that I was planning on talking about Christian Anti-Semitism.  I didn’t get to blogging about it before I finished a paper I was working on.  Here is the paper.  I would be interested in hearing what you have to say.

Lessons on Christian Anti-Semitism from Romans 11:11-32

Shifting Religious Identities

Here is an interesting article from USA Today about the changing religious landscape.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-03-09-ARIS-faith-survey_N.htm

Let me know what you think.

Bring on the Jubilee

It hard to not notice the economic struggles that are plaguing most our our world.  Everyday in the news it appears that we are falling deeper and deeper into a pit that leaves many without any hope.  In Biblical times, there were often families that could not afford to support themselves and as a result some would sell off their land and others would sell themselves and their families to another family that could support them as an indentured servant. If they were fortunate they could pay back what was owed, but most would not be so lucky.

God provided a means for these families to regain what they had to give up and be restored to who they once were.  His means was the Year of Jubilee (see Leviticus 25).  In the Year of Jubilee, the land was given back to its original owner and the those who had sold themselves into servanthood would be released.  (Note: there is no evidence that the Year of Jubilee was a regular practice among the Israelites, but this does not reduce the system that God had put into place as being insignificant.) What this does show is that God knew that humanity would put themselves into positions that they could not get out of .  The Year of Jubilee was a way for those who were in debt we be free of that debt and no longer subject to its burden.

What would it look like if our world today practiced the Year of Jubilee?  Would our world be a better place if the leaders of the world got together and decided to cancel all of the world’s debt?  I would argue that our world would be better off.  We are so dependent on our current financial system that relies on increasing our debt to get what we want.  To get a car, an education, a house or a business, we are put into positions were we must borrow because we are incapable of obtaining these things on our own.  Maybe enacting the Year of Jubilee is the way we can get out of the grips our current financial system has put on us.  Think about it.

Upcoming Posts

Here is a list of some topics I am planning on covering

  • Paul’s understanding of Israel based on Romans 11
  • Christian Response to Anti-Semitism
  • Photos of Johnathan

More Topics coming.  Check back soon!