Hello again blog fans, existentalists, luddites,and Jonas Brothers fanatics- it's me again, the agrarian agitator stirrin up the kettle again. Out here on the farm, the harvest has been plentiful and we've been cookin up somethin special, so I thought I'd share some of it with you. Today we are going back in time again. It's another trip back to the early church in Jerusalem. Today we will visit the First Church of Jerusalem( I LOVE those Guys). The year is a.d. 68- and some frightful things have been happening- Lets join the Elder's meeting in progress-
Elder James- Ok men, I call this meeting to order. Things are really looking good! The Praise Team is looking good in their new tunics- I LOVE the new Lyre player that we have now- He is really drawing in the young people. He used to play at Nero's Palace and he was part of the " Let's Fidddle and let Rome Burn "tour- I understand they really packed out the coliseums.... so things are good in the music department- Elder Simon is going to give us a report on some disturbing news
Elder Simon- Yes Brothers, some of you may aware of some books that have been "making the rounds" in the congregations of Christ Followers all over the Empire- It seems that a Brother in the Lord has been stirring up things a little.. He has written some books that seem to imply that being part of a local organized Body of Believers is... well... dare I say it.... OPTIONAL!!??? YES thats right ... He is a gifted writer- and some of the books that he has written are filled with lots of GREAT points about God ALWAYS LOVING US, NEVER FORSAKING US, JESUS IS ALWAYS WORKING IN OUR LIVES-NO MATTER WHAT!!! So, sometimes this guy is right on... but in ALL of his works, he leaves you with the feeling that it's ok( and even preferable) to "bail Out"of what he calls," ORGANIZED RELIGION"... yes, thats right... He has LOTS of his readers thinking that the "institutional" church with it's leaders, worship services, mission efforts, organization, is not God's plan for his people. He criticizes the local church in a round about way in all His writings... My question to you is.... what do we say to our members who are getting excited about this guy's books???
Deacon Simeon- You know ... I read this guys books.. and I gotta say. I really enjoyed, " Yeshua Loves Me"! It was a great reminder of God's unconditional love. But, I must say... lots of his writing is very "anti-church" - no doubt. SO, I have been thinking... HOW DID THIS GUY MISS THE TRUTH about the LOCAL ORGANIZED BODY OF BELIEVERS. We ALL know that the Apostle Paul's letters to the churches are universally acknowledged as SCRIPTURE BY ALL the CHURCHES- The Apostle Peter reminded us in one of HIS letters that Pauls writings are inspired. Well, in SO MANY of Pauls letters, he reminds believers everywhere what they are supposed to do about ELDERS, DEACONS, what to do with the OFFERING, How to OBSERVE the LORD's SUPPER, Things to remember about Baptism,how to implement church discipline, things to do in a WORSHIP SERVICE... I mean this sounds VERY ORGANIZED to me... I think I have figured out the attraction and fascination with this guy's books- You must remember that LOTS of people who are on this anti-church "wagon" have been hurt ... yep. they've had a bad experience with some one at a local church. so naturally this mentality appeals to them. You see it's SO MUCH EASIER to go down to the Jerusalem Starbucks and sit around talking to your friends about Jesus. No committment, No committees, No Elder Board, No Worship "team", it's so LAID back and RELAXED.... it's the perfect atmosphere for great conversation and friendship.... but it's NOT A PLACE TO GROW IN YOUR FAITH. You see, it's true that at the coffee shop, noone is going to get upset because the LYRE player is twanging the strings a little too loudly in the Praise Band... and noone is going to get angry because their favorite Psalm was not sung at the worship service, and not one single argument is going to occur because Miss Martha wants the children to have unleavened "goldfish" for Sunday School snacks... yep.. your right... but here's some OTHER THINGS that ARE NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE COFFEE SHOP: The HOLY Word of God is not going to be expatiated upon by a teaching ELDER- ONE that has been set apart for the ministry by the laying on of Hands, The SACRAMENTS of the LOrd's Supper and Baptism are not going to be observed, The BIBLICAL practice of CHURCH DISCIPLINE is NOT GOING TO BE OBSERVED, .... ALL the things that HELP us to grow are missing with the Coffee Shop Christianity Crowd.... Noone has to be STRETCHED..or . challenged...- as the old folks used to say.. there's no "iron sharpening iron" ( but I will have a double mocha Latte,,, and Please.... NO DOCTRINE )You see the Lord KNEW what he was doing when He planned for us to be in a LOCAL organized body with Leaders. He wanted us to grow... he didnt WANT us to be laid back.... He wants us to be STRONG... IN HIS NAME, we are to be salt and light in EVERY AREA of society... we are to march forward in the power of the Holy Spirit... The POWER is given to us thru the sacraments - and the SACRAMENTS HAVE ONLY ONE HOME, You can "find" them at the local assembly of believers.... They ain't at the Jerusalem Starbucks.... ok guys, thats my report- lets go down to the Judea Java Juice shop- I'll have a double expresso with a shot of MYSTERION.