Monday, October 19, 2009

1st Letter of Clement-"Greater things have yet to come..."

I was reading the 1st letter of Clement today as a study of the 2nd generation of church fathers and it struck me how the present day church faces many of the same challenges that the church of Clement's time faced. By the time Clement entered the scene in the Third century, the church had already become embroiled in meaningless arguments and had largely fallen away from the spirit of Christ's teachings and works that characterized the church in the Book of Acts. They had become dogmatic, regimented and territorial. In fact, the Acts generation was dying off as Clement spoke up in these two epistles that bear his name.

Although they are not considered to be inspired, I was struck by a key phrase that stuck out to me as I read. Throughout the letter he describes "lowliness of mind" as a prerequisite to getting the church back on track. It seems to be a way of life that gives others the benefit of the doubt and refuses to draw unnecessary lines of distinction between people with different beliefs and manners, customs and traditions. It always assumes the best and never takes record of wrongs...sound familiar? 1 Corinthians 13..., anyone...?

I believe that "lowliness of mind" is a starting place for revolution in the church, and I have the goal in my sights. May God once again resurrect the Acts generation in our time and may Christ's love be the underpinnings for the greatest move of God the world has seen yet. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

"God, I am asking you to reveal what it means to be meek and lowly of mind in this generation and raise up everyday leaders who exhibit this characteristic as a general rule. You can start with me if You want to..."

Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done...


Friday, October 16, 2009

ACTS 10- God's Justice...

So, Cori and I were reading Acts 10 this morning and we have some things that stand out to us in regards to how the church should operate in the world today. With unemployment at an all-time high and people everywhere struggling to keep afloat in life, the church has an opportunity like no other to extend God's justice to those who hurt most. The bottom line is that we are living in the perfect age to begin a new kind of Christian crusade that will give rather than take, heal instead of destroy.

Looking at Cornelius in this story, we see:
  • He was already praying and taking care of those in need around him (God's justice)
  • These daily habits in his life attracted God's attention and favor
  • God knew that he would be obedient to the word God had for him
  • God used this man's obedience to open the door for the Gospel to come to a whole new group of people
What can we, as a church, learn from this passage? Cori and I believe that we need to restore the understanding of "works" in the church today. You see, in our urgency to be defined by grace, we have had a tendency to sweep works under the rug. When Jesus shares the story of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25, he makes it clear that the only thing that separates the two groups of people is what they did (and didn't) do.

Of course, I do not want to downplay the role of grace and salvation, but I think that we have lost touch with the theology of works in relation to grace. Let's become a church that is known for it's works of mercy, compassion and justice....a church that attracts God's attention, every day.