Hear the Voice

A new voice for a postmodern generation.
There is a new version of the Bible out. You can download a copy of the Book of John here. I got my copy and like the way it reads. It is a little more artistic and less scholarly. Check it out and let me know what you think.

If you like, you can order a copy at CBD real cheap, like $14. If you go to RetailMeNot you may be able to get it a little cheaper.

“Reimagining Church” Frank Viola

“Each year, one million Christians leave the traditional church. Why?”

 

Author Frank Viola gives readers language for all they knew was missing in their modern church experience.

 

Following up the popular “Pagan Christianity”, Frank Viola has provided a useful resource in understanding a less institutional congregation. If you struggled with his first book, I wouldn’t even pick this one up. Otherwise, it becomes a great insight in how to capture a Biblical perspective on corporate worship.

 

“Reimagining Church” walks through 2 areas of capturing organic community. The first section concentrates on the Community and Gatherings through concentrating on:

Church as an Organism

Church Meeting

Lord’s Supper

Gathering Places

Family of God

Church Unity

Church Practices

 

The second section has to do with Leadership and Accountability:

Leadership

Oversight

Decision-Making

Spiritual Covering

Authority and Submission

Denominational Covering

Apostolic Tradition

 

What I like about this book is that it becomes a practical picture, a guide, of how we can “re-imagine church.” I found this most helpful along with the various other books. He stays away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach and reaffirms that “church” won’t look the same everywhere. It runs very counter to the big-box church sets and reclaims a more grass-roots movement.

 

The pictures that are presented with each chapter a woven with a deep Biblical understanding. Though he piece-mills Scripture together (something he argues against in other books) he still tries to keep a consistent picture.

 

I found these pictures very challenging to the current was we are doing church. I prefer the Biblical pictures and desire deeply to reclaim those. Everything we do as an act of worship should reflect Scripture and not perpetuate tradition for the sake of perpetuating tradition.

“The Forgotten Ways” Alan Hirsch

“If there is a known and successful cure for an illness, patients generally prefer the doctor to use the known cure rather than seek to design a better one. It is rightly asked how we are ever to find a better cure if at each critical moment we always opt for the traditional treatment?”

I have felt this recently. In attempting to change the culture of the church from within, there are many who would rather reside in the comfort of the predictable and safe. Unfortunately, we are still dying and I desperately want us to not only survive, but thrive. A group of us have been attempting to embark on a journey of discovery of what it means to be an Organic Missional Church.

Alan Hirsch has tapped a nerve in his book “The Forgotten Ways.” I picked this book up as a recommendation to better understand the Organic Missional church. Little did I realize that this book could almost be the text book understanding the inner working of what makes an Organic Church contrast with the Traditional Church that we have come to love and fear losing.

The problem is that our fear is paralyzing us these days. “Following Jesus into the mission field is either impossible or extremely difficult for the vast majority of congregations in the Western world because of one thing: They have a system story that will now allow them to take the first step out of the institution in to the mission field, even though the mission field is just outside the door of the congregation.”

The focus of Hirsch’s work seems to be on exposing the Missional DNA (mDNA) of an Organic Missional church. I like this picture of DNA. It really speaks of an organism as opposed to our modern use of terms that promote an organization. We are challenged to no longer think in terms of CEO or offices, but instead we think in terms of relationships and reproduction. And having DNA links us much closer to the Biblical picture of creation and more importantly, our Creator. The beauty of this picture then becomes that we are alive and vibrant, yet dependant on every breathe from the Lord.

The mDNA takes shape in 6 areas:
1. Jesus is Lord (This is the Core)
2. Disciple Making
3. Missional-Incarnational Impulse
4. Apostolic Environment
5. Organic Systems
6. Communitas

The idea is that these parts are birthed and raised up in a community and then are easily passed on (reproduced) as the organism grows. “In some mysterious way, when we are incorporated into the family of God, we all seem to become seeds bearing full potential of God’s people within us. If you or I were blown like a seed into a different field, God could create a Jesus community out of both of us. This is the marvel of a true movement. And where it is unleashed and cultivated, world transformation takes place.”

Fireproof the Movie

There is a good looking movie called Fireproof that is coming out in September. It is from the same people that made Facing the Giants (as well as the crap movie Flywheel) Fireproof tackles the challenges of marriage. I am looking forward to this. I think that there are a lot of people around us that need the conversation opened up about how to invest better in a relationship. I know that I and my wife needed it a few years ago, and it sure wouldn’t hurt to take a fresh look today. I can see this being a great reason to have some group dates and then starting some much needed healing or deepening (BTW a great Missio Dei opportunity for the youth to take all the kids so that parents can go out and rediscover each other for an evening!) . Can’t you see it now, five or six couples going out, having dinner and going to a movie, then starbucks afterwards! From there, starting a journey of restoration, healing and oneness.

Not only can this be great in helping those in a marriage, but it may help young people have a better understanding of commitment before they step into things. I am working with a couple right now that seem to think they have everything figured out and can’t conceive that anything will go wrong in their soon-to-be marriage. Boy are they in store for a reality check.

I am sure that there will be more hype in the coming weeks, but in the mean time, you can at least enjoy this little teaser. Please be aware that it takes a little while to load.

 

Is Your Website Mobile

I have the Cingular 8525. One of my favorite things to do with my PDA is surf the web. I love mobile Cingualr 8525Myspace, mobile T.V. guide, mobile ESPN, and so many other sites that are created just for mobile phones. They seem to load fast, have the essentials, and don’t cause me to stare at an uploading page for hours.

I have experimented with a few mobile applications. The audio player that I posted about allows you to download MP3’s through a mobile site.

Anyway, I ran across this article. I think it points out some great things about having a mobile site. With all the kids living through their phone, and many quickly entering the adult world, we are going to need to accept this challenge and find creative ways to engage with it.

“Church Re-Imagined” by Doug Pagitt

It’s an imagi-nation.

“The time has come,” Jesus said. “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News!”

I had always understood the “Good News” as summed up in the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return of Jesus. After reading this almost innocuously short passage, I started wondering. What was the Good News Jesus was referring to all those years before his death, burial, and resurrection? Could it be that the Good News Jesus talked about was less a call to believe in the things that happened to him or would happen to and through him and more an invitation into Kingdom Life?

Great book! I like that you basically walked through a week with this gathering. It wasn’t a bunch of “how to’s” but more of a “this is what we do, maybe you can shape it for you” kind of thing.  

This book basically follows the life of Solomon’s Porch. If you haven’t heard of this church, it is pretty cutting edge in the Organic Missional movement. They don’t appear to follow the traditional church pattern. There pastor, Doug Pagitt, takes you on an insider’s journey of the community. What is cool is that so much seems to revolve around “normal” life activites like meals, yoga, and community.

I have heard this guy speak at Mars Hill and have enjoyed his messages. He can be a little controversial in some cirlces. But, his holistic appraoch to faith captures me.

Doug argues that “many Christians find that their fellow congregants play no more crucial a role in their daily lives than the people they walk past in teh grocery store.” This has become more and more clear to me in the past few months. I believe that it was out of this longing for a deeper community that SP gots its mission. From it they were set on the path of “becoming people who are concerned with more than our own salvataion – people bent on practicing a Christian faith that is useful in the world.”

 

All in all, this journey through the week in the life of SP was pretty unique. I liked how Doug summed up their activities:
Instead of having a special place unlike any other where we try to make the things of God seem normal, we have tried to create a normal place that gives us permission to dicuss the unique things of God.”
The journey through the week takes you through each day
Sunday – Worship
Monday – Physicality
Tuesday – Dialouge
Wednesday – Hospitality
thursday – Belief
Friday – Creativity
Saturday – Service
and then back again
If you want a great view of a more organic appraoch to churching together, this will provide some great insight.

Church Planting Resource

A link was emailed to me today that had some resources for those interested in church planting. It is called the “Omega Course.” It is a five file download, all PDF’s. Someone that is heavily involved in planting new churches has been using it, and he seems to like it.

I haven’t looked at it yet, but I thought I would put it out there for evereyone. If any of you have used this, would you please share your thoughts about it. Or, if you have used something that was more to your liking, let me know as well.

Just a note: I am not big on “programs,” I don’t believe that some packet that you send out to everyone will work for every situation. But, I do believe in learning from what others are doing and gleaning off of their successes and even more importantly, their failures.

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