Friday, July 31, 2009

Diversity Matters

There are reasons to encourage diversity within a church that go beyond political correctness. A highly homogeneous church is as susceptible to disease and infestations (you can call them blind spots) as is a large biological monoculture. "Every farmer knows that when he and his neighbors plant tens of thousands of contiguous acres in a particular variety of wheat year after year, that variety will soon become vulnerable to new diseases or new strains of insects. Ecosystems that are biologically diverse are much tougher and more resilient in the long run than monocultures, and so it is with organizations (churches) that contain a wide variety of people working toward a common goal." (excerpt taken from the book "The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership")

I can think of a few reasons why this is true for the church (for the record, when I refer to diversity I mean race, age, education, socioeconomic, etc):
  1. The more the people around you are just like you, the less likely their opinions and views on life will contradict yours. This is another form of individualism that can lead to big problems because it will cause you to live life with huge blind spots and sin in your life gets more difficult to spot.
  2. Creativity is stifled. If you're all the same, it's difficult for new ideas to emerge that make long-term sustainability possible (just ask GM). Without fresh ideas and perspectives, you end up doing the same old, same old, which gets outdated quickly.
  3. Bringing people together who are different is at the very heart of the gospel. Simply put, sin separates, but it's the gospel that brings us together. The gospel wants to bring everyone together from every tribe and tongue, from every nation, and from every generation. If in your church, everyone is the same, it could indicate that you have a gospel problem. If you have a gospel problem, you won't have a church for very long.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Serving Opportunity

Guest Blogger: Gabe Dunn, volunteer Coordinator for Community Relations

I just wanted to take a minute to tell people about an upcoming opportunity to demonstrate discipleship by serving a great local organization. This Saturday, July 25th a group from Jubilee will be helping do some yard work and brush clearing for the Bevo Area Community Improvement Corporation (a.k.a. the Bevo). For those of you who are not familiar with the Bevo is is located at 4705 Ridgewood, only a few blocks from the Jubilee city location building. The Bevo is a blessing to the community in several ways. It is home to the Alice & Alex Aboussie Senior Citizens Center which offers transportation, meal delivery, entertainment, and community building activities year round to the elderly in the South City area. The Bevo also opperates a large food pantry, works to improve area housing value, and has a field where area kids play ball. In the past Jubilee has helped the Bevo in a variety of ways, for which the personel at the Bevo have expressed their deep appreciation. Helping the Bevo this coming Saturday would be a great way for us as members and attenders of Jubilee to express our desire to nurture the relationship we have established over the years with this service minded organization. It would also be a great demonstration of our Lord's ability to transform and restore the South City area by using us, His hands and feet, to serve those that serve. If your intereseted, below is more infromation...

Meeting Time: 9:30am Saturday July 25th
Meeting Location: Jubilee Building (carpool from there)
Things to bring if you can: Work gloves, tree trimmers, hand saws, shovels, bug spray.
What to wear: Things you don't mind getting dirty! Work shoes/boots and old jeans/shorts.
Type of Work: Pulling weeds, clearing brush, trimming, cutting down, and digging out small trees.
Who we're helping: The Bevo Area Community Improvement Corporation @ 4705 Ridgewood, St. Louis, MO, 63116
Contact: Gabe Dunn phone:616.502.3081

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the mystery of godliness

Guest Blogger: Seth Hein, Worship Pastor at Jubilee Church St. Louis

I was reading in first Timothy this morning, and a verse jumped out at me in an interesting way. It was in verse 16 in chapter 3. Paul writes:

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

I realized that the second bit is about Jesus, He’s the one who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated, seen, proclaimed, believed and taken up into glory. But the part that struck me was how Paul sets it up. He says that this is the mystery of godliness! I was surprised. When I originally read that first sentence, I was expecting Paul to explain godliness in a different way. I expected a standard of living, similar to what is laid out for elders and deacons shortly before this passage. I expected a picture of what it means to live a good life. But instead I got a picture of Jesus. After thinking a bit more about all this, things started to make sense. Godliness isn’t really about being a good person, following lots of rules, or religious codes. If that was all godliness is, you wouldn’t even need to follow Jesus. There are loads of decent people who follow all the rules but still seem empty on the Inside. Real godliness is about knowing Jesus. It’s about finding our fulfillment in His saving grace, and finding ourselves adopted as sons and daughters of the King, God almighty who made all things. Godliness isn’t about me, it’s about Him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tough Subject

There is no question about it, this Sunday's sermon topic from Hebrews 6 is one of the most difficult and weighty that I have had to deal with in my young pastoral career. I have spent countless hours studying this passage and researching the issues surrounding the security of the believer. I have read several books on the subject, listened to several messages by other respected preachers, discussed it with the elders as well as with other friends and mentors and I still feel a bit intimidated (if I'm being honest) at tackling such a subject.

In my study, I have reviewed at least 16 basic (yes, I said 16 and I said basic) ways of interpreting this text. There are two views that are the most common: 1) is the Armenian view that says a once saved person can fall away; hence losing their salvation and be subject to eternal damnation; and 2) the Calvinist view that says you cannot lose your salvation and people who fall away must have not been saved in the first place.

I believe that both of these systems of thinking find themselves in a head on collision at Hebrews 6 and I'm not sure I have found a survivor yet at the scene of the accident. I think both systems of thinking are problematic to what the writer of Hebrews is actually trying convey.

Here's what I think everyone (including me) can agree on: 1) this passage contains a strong warning to maintain an ACTIVE faith in Jesus Christ, 2) God desires that we have an abundant life full of joy and fruitfulness, and 3) we can be sure of our salvation and our relationship with the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So here's my plan for Sunday: I want to be the best teacher I can and offer an explanation of what the writer of Hebrews is trying to convey and then I want to be the best pastor I can by giving us an exhortation and a challenge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Are You Wishing For?

When I was growing up, my dream, my wish was for a 3-wheeler. I had a couple of friends who had one and I thought they were the luckiest kids in the world. That dream lasted for a while until it became a car, a girl, a job and then one day, God completed interrupted my world. He told me through Psalm 81:10, "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." From that day on, my dream (my food) was to do the will of the get caught up with his agenda. What's his agenda? Bringing glory to His name by saving the world from the deadly effects of sin, which He makes available free of charge (to the beneficiary) through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. So he gets a hold of people like you and me, gets rid of our old life and gives us a new life with new dreams. He makes us fishers of men! (Mt 4:19).

So what am I wishing for now? People. My wish is that the people that God has put in my path...people in my sphere of influence (neighbors, relatives, people I play sports with, etc) will come to know the living God...that they would be connected to Jesus. This is also the passion, the dream, the wish of Jubilee Connect People to Jesus that results in a brand new, God-honoring life.

This line of thinking (along with the help of some creative types) gave me the idea to create a book mark called a "Wish List" (see example of the front and back). It's a tool to help you and me keep the names of the people God has put on our heart to pray for, to love, to share the gospel with and invite to Jubilee...all in effort to see them connected to Jesus. They are free to any one who wants one. You can get them at a Jubilee Sunday service (both locations). Hope they help!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July Bible Reading Plan

Sorry this is a few days late. I was in Chicago and I haven't been the same since having to pay $32 to park my car for 12 hours.

July's Bible Reading Plan