On Wednesday night this week, at 7 pm, New Life will host a Taize, Ash Wednesday service. I have been praying and pondering this possibility for over eight years. In the summer of 2004, Geri and I, along with our four daughters, spent a week in Taize, France with a monastic community of about 90 men. About 5000 young people from Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic backgrounds also participated. I learned3 simple, powerful truths that week: 1. There is only one church and it consists of people from all three main branches of Christianity – Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant. Brother Roger, a Lutheran pastor, founded Taize during World War 2 to be a prophetic sign in the midst of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians killing each other on an unimaginable scale. What unites us is a personal faith in Jesus Christ and a commitment to Scripture as outlined in the Nicene Creed. This. Read more.
I am finding that I need to speak more frequently about why a proper understanding of our church family history is paramount for growing spiritually. (click to see a larger version) I emphasize three critically important, major truths: 1. There was only one church for the first 1054 years. The first major split happened between the Eastern and Western church then. This was followed by the split of the Roman Catholic church in 1517 when Protestantism was born. Since then we have had over 200,000 other splits with countless Protestant and independent churches. So my particular tribe (evangelical) is finds itself far up into the upper right of the above chart. This is not a bad thing but I/we come from a family genogram. We are not the whole church by any means. And the church did not start with Luther, Calvin and the Reformers. 2. We need to learn from other traditions of. Read more.
Can you imagine with me what it might be like if every Christian in our churches understood their identity as the following: “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a first grade teacher.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a nurse.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a mom at home”? Last week I began a series on Your Life, Your Work and Your Calling. It is one of those truths I have believed my whole life, but recognize that I have not fully integrated into my own life or leadership. The main points of our calling, from Scripture, are simple. 1. Every Christian is fully called. 2. Your calling is your whole life. 3. All your work and life is holy/sacred/spiritual. Everyone, everywhere in everything, by God, to God and for God. The division of sacred and secular spheres has a long, long history (going. Read more.
One of our staff asked me recently my view on what is happening and if I had seen the meetings on YouTube. I have not and do not know too much about it. But I do believe and affirm Paul’s counsel to the Philippians: “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in very way, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Phil.1:15-18). I have had the privilege to participate in many of the streams of God in His mighty river called the church – from the Reformed tradition of my seminary (Gordon-Conwell) to the. Read more.