Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Chief Metaphor
Do you know what metaphor for the church dominates the New Testament? It’s the family.
The writings of Paul, Peter, and John in particular are punctuated with the language and imagery of family. (See Gal. 6:10;Rom. 8:29; Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 5:1–2; 3:15; 1 Peter 2:2; 1 John 2:12–13, etc.)
While the New Testament authors depict the church with a variety of different images, their favorite image is the family. Familial terms like “new birth,” “children of God,” “sons of God,” “brethren,” “fathers,” “brothers,” “sisters,” and “household” saturate the New Testament writings.
In all of Paul’s letters to the churches, he speaks to the “brethren”—a term that includes both brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul uses this familial term more than 130 times in his epistles. So without question, the New Testament is filled with the language and imagery of family.
In stark contrast, the dominating metaphor that’s typically constructed for the church today is the business corporation. The pastor is the CEO. The clergy and/or staff is upper management. Evangelism is sales and marketing. The congregation is the clientele. And there is competition with other corporations (“churches”) in the same town.
But the corporation metaphor has a major problem. Not only is it glaringly absent from the New Testament, it does violence to the spirit of Christianity. Because from God’s standpoint, the church is primarily a family. His family, in fact.
Most Christians have no trouble giving glib assent to the idea that the church is a family. Yet giving mental assent to the family nature of the church is vastly different from fleshing out its sober implications. It would do us well to look closely at the family metaphor and discuss the practical implications that are connected with it. As you read through each aspect, I want to challenge you to compare your church to each one. Ask yourself this question: Is my church living in the reality of being the family of God?
(1) The Members Take Care of One AnotherBecause the church is family, its members take care of one another. Think about the natural family (assuming that it’s healthy). Families take care of their own. Isn’t it true that you take care of your natural blood? And they take care of you? If your mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter has a problem, do you say, “Sorry, don’t bother me,” or do you take care of them?
A true family takes care of its own, does it not?
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14–17)
This passage puts a finger on the meaning of real faith. Real faith expresses itself in acts of love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. To paraphrase James, “If you say you have faith, but you neglect your brother or sister who is in physical need … then your faith is dead.” The “action” James is talking about is not prayer or Bible study, but acts of love toward our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
(2) The Members Spend Time Together
Because the church is family, the members take time to know one another. That is, they spend time together outside of scheduled meetings.
Question: Do the members of your church see one another only during scheduled services? Are you in contact with them during the week? Do you share meals together? Consider the organic instincts of the Jerusalem church at work:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.… Every day they continued to meet together.… They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. (Acts 2:42, 46)
The early Christians had lives that interacted with one another. This was the church’s DNA at work. If we follow our spiritual instincts, we will have an innate desire to gather together often. Why? Because the Holy Spirit serves as a kind of magnet that organically draws Christians together. The Holy Spirit puts within the hearts of all genuine believers a desire for authentic community.
The Bible says that the Jerusalem church met daily. Interestingly, the assembly in Jerusalem wasn’t the only church that gathered together on a daily basis. Some thirty years later, the writer of Hebrews exhorts the Christians to “encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13). And yet today, in most contemporary churches, the only fellowship time that one gets is two minutes when the pastor says, “Turn around and greet the people behind you.”
On Sunday mornings, we clock in and we clock out. Granted, we may grab a little more time in the parking lot as we make a beeline to our car. But can we really call that fellowship? Let’s be honest: For many Christians, the church is simply an event one attends once or twice a week, and that’s all.
(3) The Family is Community not CorporationAgain, the New Testament writers never use the imagery of a business corporation to depict the church. Unlike many modern “churches,” the early Christians knew nothing of spending colossal figures on building programs and projects at the expense of bearing the burdens of their fellow brethren.
In this way, many contemporary churches have essentially become nothing more than high-powered enterprises that bear more resemblance to General Motors than they do to the apostolic community.
A great many churches have succumbed to the intoxicating seductions of an individualistic, materialistic, business-oriented, consumer-driven, self-serving society. And when everything is boiled down, the success of the enterprise rests upon the shoulders of the CEO—the pastor.
In short, the church that’s introduced to us in Scripture is a loving household, not a business. It’s a living organism, not a static organization. It’s the corporate expression of Jesus Christ, not a religious corporation. It’s the community of the King, not a well-oiled hierarchical machine.
As such, when the church is functioning according to its nature, it offers:
• interdependence instead of independence
• wholeness instead of fragmentation
• participation instead of spectatorship
• connectedness instead of isolation
• solidarity instead of individualism
• spontaneity instead of institutionalization
• relationship instead of programs
• servitude instead of dominance
• enrichment instead of insecurity
• freedom instead of bondage
• community instead of corporation
• bonding instead of detachment.
In the language of the apostles, the church is composed of infants, little children, young men, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers—the language and imagery of family (1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 5:1–2; James 2:15; 1 John 2:13–14).
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I am never quite sure how to address a group
of people who we have met and are passionate about the Kingdom of God.
Some of you are longtime friends and we share a history of pursuing
Jesus, others are newer friends who have been partnered in our
conviction that the Holy Spirit is building a foundation for a revival
in the Northwest, some are friends and ministry leaders in other
countries throughout the Pacific Rim region, and still others are
actually related to us! Somehow, a salutation such as "Dear Friends"
just doesn't ring right. A few weeks ago I sent an e-mail to a few
folks with this greeting that pretty much describes you:
I am writing this e-mail to you because:
1. You love supernatural signs and wonders.
2. You are not content with church business as usual.
3. You are committed to relational Christianity, not just in theory but in practice.
I am writing this e-mail to specifically ask you to pray for
Carlene and I over the next few weeks. If you received our recent
update you know that I am headed to South Korea and Vladivostok Russia
for 15 days beginning October 13 through October 28. Jesus said we do
not have because we do not ask. I am want to ask for:
Wisdom and revelation concerning all the details that surround
Carlene's responsibility for her mother, Jean DeLeo. Because Carlene
is a primary caregiver, we want to make the best decisions for her
mother's health and ongoing therapy as well as balancing other
2 Traveling safety along the I-5 corridor between Bremerton and Portland.
3 Balance between ministry, family responsibilities, and rest
4 Continued health for her physical body.
1 Smooth and painless airline connections, passport and visa paperwork, and no travel delays.
2 Holy Spirit inspired connections with pastors and leaders.
3 Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit for the right message of encouragement with the right timing.
4 Perfect health and physical protection in everyplace, and in every situation.
Recently, I was asking the Lord for increased favor in
the Pacific Rim regions. We even printed new name cards with a
satellite picture of the "Ring of Fire".
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions encircling the basin of the Pacific Ocean.
We believe it is strategic, both naturally and spiritually. Within one
week we met key leaders from Alaska and an invitation to minister in 4
Russian cities just a few miles from the North Korean and China borders.
Carlene and I want to thank you for your friendship and support.
This trip is a step of faith, and we are blessed to partner with you in
this adventure. I'd will send updates as these days unfold.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
at the River Watchmen at the River
Newsletter of Pacific
Ministries’ monthly meetings September, 2008
at Glenn Otto Community
Park, Troutdale, Oregon.
and Weather Storms
what the Spirit is saying;
what season we are in ~
the Spirit is leading into.
October 1 (our
Holy Convocation ~ not
a sound to console, but a wake-up call.
What will seem like a
disaster to some, will be life-giving to those who will be awakened.
October 7 (our
Day of Atonement ~
humbling ourselves, waiting expectantly.
October 15 (our
Festival of Booths ~
end of days, intensifying days like birth pangs.
and Expectation ~
Harvest of the Lord.
There is victory
It is wise to learn
from the autumn;
Prepare for the
cycle of the seasons.
to be caught up with the Lord!
to God in His Temple,
with the Drums,
Kings, Lord of Lords, We declare You LORD!
Trumpeting sound, A Sanctuary of His Dwelling,
Voice, Every Sound ~ All the Rhythm of His Creation, Aleluia!
Something stirring, we
will wait on the Lord ~
For His direction, His
This is the season of
new things, new rhythms, new blending, new combinations.
It will not sound like
anything before; it is a new resonance.
We desire to know You,
to discern, to know Your heart.
Would it be enough to
play a chord?
To worship in one
Let go of the stuff,
grow in Christ, be a new creation.
God is releasing
something new in us.
He is asking us do
something we have never done before.
New songs, new rhythms,
new words, in each one of us ~
Visions given to
little ones ~
display the Glory of the Lord ~
Songs of the Lord,
sung in each of us ~
Our hearts play the
music on the crystal floor.
The revealing words,
of wisdom and truth:
Lord, please orient me
to your truth.
urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as
living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your
act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this
world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will
be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good,
pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1,2
then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? As
for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with
gold and fashions silver chains for it. A man too poor to present
such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a
skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple. Do you not
know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the
beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He
sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are
like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and
spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they
planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the
ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps
them away like chaff. ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is
my equal?’ says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:18-25
We receive the
intimacy of the wedding ~ we are the bride
. We are perceiving;
we still ourselves, and wait
for renewal, in His perfect timing.
something forth in purity.
hear the new song of the Lord?
of His heart?
Holy are you, LORD.
Declare the communities
of this land will be saved.
Be the watchmen on the
wall of the Lower Columbia Region.
There is no rest for
The Lord is great
hear my heart for you?
yours; you are mine.
see, I am Good.
Monday, October 06, 2008
In the midst of turbulent and increasingly
negative financial news, believers find themselves running to the
Rock. Not the rock of Gibraltar, not the rock of a secure financial
portfolio, not the rock of the federal government, but the security and
safety of Jesus, the Chief Financial Officer of the Universe. It is Him who we exalt and worship. He is the refuge we run to.
Carlene and I have been to two gatherings the last several weeks.
We attended the International Fellowship of Ministries conference in
Seattle last week, and these past few days, we have been
leading worship in a seminar with Tom and Diane Hawkins,
whose focus is on proper protocol in intercessory prayer and working
with survivors of dissociative disorders. The content of these
meetings were diverse, but the common denominator was and continues to
be our love and worship of Jesus as Healer and our Rock.
I believe the Church of Jesus Christ is in the process of being
redefined and purified, and we will face many more challenges. One
only needs to read the headlines of any major newspaper for
confirmation. Thankfully, believers all over the world are learning to
gather in celebration for one purpose: Jesus. It is the reason we
continue to gather together the second Sunday evenings once a month at
theTroutdale Community Center.
Mikki Yamasaki, who organized the meetings with Tom and Diane
Hawkins, had crafted song lyrics in anticipation of our conference. I
modified these lyrics, and put them to music. We introduced them as a
worship team to the conference, and I believe they have current
prophetic application. I have included these lyrics as well as the
digital audio files (just me and my guitar) for dowload in this Update.
Feel free to duplicate and use them in any way you choose. We'll
introduce them at Worship at the River this Sunday, October 12, at 6
(Darrell) will leave for Korea on Monday, October 13, and David Park
and I will travel to Vladivostik and 3 other cities in Russia for one
week. Please pray as we meet leaders in these strategic cities located
just a few miles from the borders of China, North Korea, and Russia. I
will send out email and podcast updates which will be posted on Pacificminstries.
Saturday, October 11 1pm-5pm.
I Am There
No matter where you are
I am there
No matter what you believe
I am there
I shall care for you
Now and forever more
G /F# /E /D /C# /B A
This is my song I sing for you
I am there
I am there.
|Key: F (Capo 3frets) |
D Em7 D/F# G Bm G Asus
D Em7 D/F# G Bm Asus Em7
D Em7 D/F# G
D Em7 D/F# Asus