Francis Chan is moving on

On Sunday, Francis Chan (Cornerstone Church, Simi Valley) announced that hene will be leaving his church for something as yet undetermined. (Article in Christian Post)

Yesterday I watched an interesting interview with him that was taped last week where he first made the announcement. You can see that here.

Today though, I watched a video clip from one of his messages back in 2006, titled “Balance Beam”. It could well be that he was starting to think about new direction back then. Regardless, it’s a great message on stepping out of our comfortable little bubbles and taking some risks. After all, if we aren’t taking some risks, what is faith?

At under 4 minutes, it’s well worth watching:

Did Jesus speak out of both sides of his mouth?

I read a great post by Tony Morgan today, titled “Is it hard, or is it easy?“. He has been struggling trying to reconcile two passages.

First, the passages:

(1)  “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it’” (Matthew 16:24-25, NLT).

(2)  “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

Tony has wrestled with these for good reason. In his words, “Does taking up my cross mean there’s sacrifice and pain involved? Or, when I take up his yoke, is the burden light?” Do these contradict each other? Is there a tension we should live in? Surely, there is benefit in thinking this over and wrestling with the meaning.

Tony goes on to say that he’s currently at a place where he holds both in tension. In other words, both are true, but they seem to oppose one another in a way. He would say it is important for us to recognize that we will experience pain (1st passage) but that we’ll also have peace and joy (2nd passage). I encourage you to read his post here.

I don’t disagree with his thoughts.  And I’ve enjoyed my own thinking and wrestling today.  I had a few initial thoughts though, and I’m curious what you think.  Here is what I came up with and posted as a reply:

Great thoughts Tony! I should be working, but you’ve made me think. I’m sure I’ll be chewing on this for while, but here are my initial thoughts:

The first (Mt 16) is speaking to the selfish. The second (Mt 11) is speaking to the weary. The first group need to be broken, the second need a break.

The first speaks of carrying a cross. This is really hard work! Crosses are not designed for ease of carrying – they are designed to destroy us. The second speaks of taking on a yoke. A yoke is a beam designed to connect two oxen together for hard work such as plowing. If we are “taking his yoke on”, who is on the other side? He is! The burden is easy because he is doing the heavy lifting!

I wonder if the cross in the first passage speaks of sacrificing our life and giving it to him, while the yoke in the second passage speaks of the process of us working on our life.

The literal cross in Roman times signified the end of life. The figurative cross signifies the end of our living for ourselves. (I wonder if the figurative yoke could equate to discipleship.)

Great topic! I’ll be watching for more developments.

So, what do you think?  Am I on the right track?  Wrong track?  Additional insights?

So Jennifer Knapp is a lesbian…

Tonight I asked on my Facebook page“So, Jennifer Knapp came out. How long until the church crucifies her?”

Here’s the article that I read: Christian Singer Jennifer Knapp Comes Out

I was then asked “So, what is the appropriate response?”
That’s a great question!

Here’s my attempt at a reply:

I don’t have all the answers for sure! Off the cuff, I’ll tell you some things that would be inappropriate responses…

  • Wiping her off of Christian radio playlists tomorrow
  • Anything knee-jerk
  • Pretending we are sinless

 We see bands like U2 and Creed that make no claims of faith, and we raise their songs as anthems in our churches. Why are they elevated, yet Jennifer will lose many contracts tomorrow?

We tolerate pompous, prideful Christian singers, but Michael English had to go. Did his songs lose their impact overnight?

Is a gay Christian worse than a Christian who is a glutton? How do we tolerate the “prosperity preachers” who are addicted to money, but a singer with a different issue is excommunicated?

Does her entertainer status make her a fair target and nullify the plank/speck rule?

Is Jennifer’s now-public admission worse than the private struggles that other musicians and preachers would lose their families over if they were known?

I think we need to first start by being honest with our perspective. I don’t know how to respond to it directly. I know a lot of ways to alienate people from the church though. I’ll try not to do those while I’m thinking it over.

What do YOU think?

FWIW, found an article in Christianity Today too.  CLICK ME

Calling vs. Potential

We hear a lot in our culture about reaching our potential. But is that what we are supposed to be doing?

How much are you able to do? Is the fact that you are equipped to do something, or have the potential to do that thing, sufficient reason for you to do it? For example, if you have great skill in surgery, and have the potential to repair or save many people, does that mean you should work all hours and neglect your wife and children?

If you did everything that caught your attention, and that you knew you could achieve, would this lead to a fulfilling life? Would you accomplish the things you should do, or merely the things you could do?

Even corporations realize the importance of focusing on their niche. They identify the things that they do better than anyone else. Call it “their calling”. They feel that a specific product or service is their purpose for existing, and they do it to the exclusion of all other things. Could they do other things? Certainly. Should they do other things? No – because their primary purpose would be left unfulfilled, or at least not done as well as it should have been done.

How does this apply to us? We all have a calling. We may know what it is, or we may not, but it is there. Your calling is what you were uniquely created to do. If you do not do it, you are missing the boat. Could we do other things? Sure – and we usually do! But are we doing the right things?  We have a limited amount of time and resources.  How important is it then that we spend them on right things?

As Mark says in the following clip, “if we don’t do the right things, we are trading busy-ness for fruitfulness.”  Can we do good things that aren’t right things?  Absolutely!

Could Jesus have preached to the entire world? Yes. Did he? No.
Could Jesus have healed all sickness? Yes. Did he? No.
Jesus knew his purpose, and he never got sidetracked from it.  He was called to preach, to serve, and to save.  Even though there were times when he did not want to, when it would have been easier to do something else, and when he asked God for some other way, he stayed true to his call.

We should have the same attitude that he did when he said “I have come not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me”. (Jn 6:38)

Check out this 7-minute clip from a message by Mark Driscoll on the topic.

Are you fulfilling your calling, or merely pursuing your potential?

You Are Not Naked

Excerpts from a post I just found on Jonathan Acuff’s great blog “Stuff Christians Like“.  It’s a great message on shame, discouragement, disappointment, and not measuring up.

It’s worth the read.  Here’s the opener, and a few lines from the end.  You should click here to read the whole post and see how he ties it all together.

“Easter is about grace. And when I think about grace, one of the things that stops me short of believing in it is shame. This post, written last year, is about shame and grace and the reason we’re not naked.


In Christ we are not worthless.

In Christ we are not hopeless.

In Christ we are not dumb or ugly or forgotten.”

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