Thursday, August 30, 2007

A New Law

One artist I am especially looking forward to seeing at LifeLight this weekend is Derek Webb. Derek used to play in Caedmon's Call but now has a successful solo career. Derek is a very deep thinker and uses his lyrics and the stage as a platform to talk about his faith and how that collides with the world. He never ceases to challenge me and I find myself listening to his cd "Mockingbird" at least once a week.

I recently preached about a song he wrote called "A New Law". The song speaks of the church trading the old law, the Old Testament Law that so often weighed down the Israelites in a life of rules and regulations, for a new set of laws. Churches today tend to create all sorts of rules and regulations for themselves that are typically far from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach that you must think a certain, or not at all, and we tend to emphasize things that are not as important as others, like the type of music you should listen to, homosexuality, etc.

Jesus came to offer a life of freedom. Paul writes in Galatians 5, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Christ speaks of overturning an old way of doing life, a life of bondage. He uses all sorts of phrases like "you have heard it said" to show a new way of following God.

I pray that I will be the kind of person who will honestly seek out the truths of Scripture and will seek to follow Christ with all I am. I pray that I will take Christ for his word and not make his gospel anything it was never meant to be. I pray that the church will get serious about being the Body of Christ, His bride. I pray that Christians will get serious about the kind of life Jesus has called us all to, the abundant life.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

No More Buffets...

Lately God has been teaching me a lot about what it means to be a disciple with all of my life, not just some. As Dan Brown writes in The DaVinci Code, Christians have become "cafeteria" Christians, where we pick and choose what we want to follow and what just isn't convenient enough. Jesus doesn't call only part of us to be sacrificed, though. He wants all of us. So for me I desire to be a follower of the Way who is doing all that God has called us to.

I have felt especially convicted in the area of social justice of late. We sit comfortably in our American lifestyle and claim to care about ending the problems of the world. I want more than that attitude.

My wife and I were talking about these very things the other night while we were sitting down eating a nice meal at an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Sioux Falls. I got about half-way through my meal and realized that I might be part of the problem. Millions of people go to bed hungry at night and I comfortably stuff my face with food and fail to finish my plate before going to get another one.

Mandy and I decided (and agreed not to be legalistic or judgmental about it) that we never needed to eat at a buffet again. We decided this based on three things. Firstly, it can be a step in the right direction toward partnering with the poor and oppressed of our world, to no longer be part of the problem. Secondly, it costs a lot and we simply don't need to spend that much money on food we don't need. And lastly, we end up eating way more than we need and is healthy.

I pray that we would start to embrace lifestyles that would honor the gospel Jesus died for. I am committed to finding ways to change the world and I hope that you and the American church are in for the ride.