this.

…otherwise orthodox evangelicalism is dead. It’s dead to oppressed folks in our back yards who need to hear the word of God spoken into their situation with all the prophetic unction our Lord would give. It’s dead to grieving parents required to have closed casket funerals for their children because racist systems and people so disfigure the body it can’t be shown.

Orthodox evangelicalism is dead to the marginalized because it’s so allergic to the margins. It wants its mainstream, its tree-lined streets of cultural acceptance, its reserve and respectability. So it’s dead.

read more here: Ferguson

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Acts 29 & Mark Driscoll

Today, the leaders of Acts 29 asked Mark Driscoll to step down from active ministry. They also removed Mars Hill from their leadership network until Mark is removed from leadership.

This is what biblical church government looks like, and I really appreciate Matt Chandler’s courage to lead Acts 29 in this direction. I also hope this step breaths new life into proper church governance and accounibility for pastors. Over the last few decades we in the North American church have failed to hold our leaders to principles of godly accounibility. I hope this is the turning point for many churches and church networks.

Here is a good, but sober quote from Kyle Firstenberg, one of the past pastor’s of Mars Hill:

This action from Matt Chandler and the other members of the board of A29 is one of the most loving acts I have seen in leadership in the Church world in recent years.

I do believe that these men love Mark and Mars Hill just as I and countless others do. I agree with their findings and pray that Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskus would repent and step down. I believe this would be the most God honoring thing to do as it would show their love for Jesus and the Gospel is greater then their position, authority and influence.

Read more here

why there is such a strong pushback against ‘justice’

— most pushback happens when we treat the marginalized with compassion, equality and justice.

‘acts of charity’ are not controversal in today’s church, but a christ-like life of #justice is. because that kind of life challenges the status quo.

thankful for pastor’s like Eugine Cho who are leading the church into a more ‘rooted’ understanding of who we are called to be

blog post by Eugine Cho

how wolves change rivers

Chris Randall
City Centre Church
March 9th, 2014

1 Peter 2:9
we have all been called individually to collectively form the people of God

as His Body, and as His people we cannot represent Him individually but collectively

The gospel challenges the individualism of our North American culture

we are called to be a people.
we are called into community
we are called to be a body
we are called into His family

Ephesians 1:18-23
Christ is the head of the church
the church is the fullness of Christ in the earth

the church is the one true hope of the world — billy graham

there is no salvation outside of the church — church fathers

John 17
the one prayer that we have recorded from Jesus – it is His prayer for unity

unity is not conformity; unity is not uniformity

1) unity is a work of the Spirit

2) unity is of the heart before outside signifiers

3) unity values diversity; true unity is always built upon diversity

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

the body is one unit — many parts
– recognize that our parts are many
– recognize how we form one body
– don’t exclude yourself
– don’t exclude others

the temptation is to either exclude others on the basis of differences & diversity of gifts, or our temptation is to exclude ourselves

gifts of the spirit are given to each one — for the profit of all

I need what is in you for my profit
you need what is in me for your profit

the body will grow in Christ-likeness as everyone contributes their gift

what are the spiritual gifts you are called to contribute?

what would the body look like if you were free to contribute your gift?

what would the body look like if you failed to contribute your gift

Matthew 7:15
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15 NKJV)

/// Isaiah 11:6
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6 NKJV)

in scripture we certainly see warnings in scripture about wolves; however we also know that wolves are part of His good creation — and therefore have purpose.

in Isaiah 11 we see that in Christ’s kingdom even the wolf has been redeemed.

also, I would argue that in Isaiah this wolf is of a different type then the false teachers of Matthew 7:15

video /// how wolves change rivers

we need to take our place in the body
the body is incomplete without us
in this video, every part of creation was effected by one member’s absence

we need one another; we are not the complete body without one another

‘hard times require furious dancing’

Palm Sunday
City Centre Church
April 13th, 2014

(Matthew 21:1-16 NKJV)

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”

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today is the day the church has historically celebrated as palm sunday
palm sunday is known as the triumphant entry into Jerusalem

palm sunday is a day of spontaneous and extravagant praise
it was a day when Jesus entered the city of jerusalem — the city he stayed away from during the majority of his ministry

as he entered his disciples broke into spontaneous praise. the kind of praise that was normally reserved for a triumphant emperor

in one culture palm trees were associated with nike, goddess of war and victory.
a goddess that was associated with and reserved for the roman emperor
so, to observing romans, Jesus’ followers seemed to be declaring a new King had arrived

in jewish culture, palm was one of the four species reserved for sukkot (the feast of tabernacles)
during this feast it was used to signify the moment of great joy and rejoicing (leviticus 23.40) & zechariah 9.9 also made it clear that jesus was declaring himself to be king

fulfilling prophesy jesus turned the cult of empire on it’s head.. his triumphant entry wasn’t as a warrior king, but as a saviour-king
the donkey in most eastern cultures and traditions is an animal of peace. the horse is a animal of war (he came as the prince of peace, not a war waging king)

jesus’ triumphant entry was dripping with prophesy..
prophesy that spoke to both the dominant culture of empire, and prophesy that spoke to the temple institutions and their dreams of power and control

in the middle of this were his followers.
they sparked a day of extravagant praise that spontaneously swept the city

palm sunday can be viewed as a pre-celebration of resurrection victory
through the history of the church, it has been the day of praise

in historic liturgy, palm sunday the praises sung on that day are seen to

‘confirm the resurrection of the universe
wherefore, we like children,
carry the banner of triumph and victory,
and we cry to thee, o conqueror of love,
hosanna in the highest!
blessed is he that comes
in the name of the lord’

palm sunday was the culmination and fulfillment of jesus’ earthly ministry
everything thereafter was related to his final assignment — which was more spiritual then earthly — the call to go to the cross

so if palm sunday, this time of extravagant and spontaneous worship, was the completion of jesus’ ministry — let’s look at what he came to do:

———————————————————————–

(Luke 4:18, 19 NKJV)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

and a fuller picture of it:

(Isaiah 61:1-11 NKJV)
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast.

Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, And their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, That they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.” I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

———————————————————————–

prophetically our praise on this day marks the dawning of resurrection in us
the completion of jesus’ earthly ministry is marked in our lives through an outward display of praise

there are so many interesting parallels here
the garment of praise parallels the garments of praise the multitude of disciples spread on the road — garments of extravagant worship symbolizing jesus’ ascension to the ‘throne of victory’ in their hearts, further: his ascension to both emperor and triumphant king of their city

jesus has always wanted to ascend the throne of your heart — to bring you into a place of praise during your struggle

“hard times require furious dancing”
what we sometimes fail to understand — is not that we praise only during the good times,
we sometimes feel that praise is a denial of the realities we are facing
there is a false joy — a put on mask. this kind of praise is not that.

the other thing this passage tells us is that in praise, we dance with jesus, our saviour-king who came to be our shame-bearer.

often the greatest thing holding us back from praise is shame
shame is the swamp-land of the soul
shame has nothing to do with guilt — it tries to speak to identity
shame will try to tell you: ‘who do you think you are?’ and that you are never good enough

jesus’ came to break shame off us. he came to be our shame-bearer
‘instead of shame you will have double honour’

outward praise is the manifestation of a joy-filled soul
you were created to be clothed in the garments of salvation and praise
shame is an ill-fitting garment /// but praise looks good on you (psalm 33.2)

imperial church, state religion & christendom

“The development toward an imperial Church and finally toward a state religion was almost a matter of necessity, given the constellation of late antiquity. Perhaps the Church had to take that road. It was a grandiose attempt to create a Christian ’empire’ and thus to unite faith, life, and culture…Only a careful look at the people of God in the Old Testament, their experiment with the state and the collapse of the experiment, could have preserved the Church from repeating the old mistake. But it was not possible in late antiquity or in the Middle Ages for people to read the Old Testament so analytically. Political theology was, instead, enraptured with David and Solomon. Only the history of the modern era shattered the dream…Today the experiment is truly at an end and can never be resumed.”

Gerhard Lohfink, Does God Need The Church? pp. 217–218 /// via Brian Zahnd