(From The Foundations Archives) Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with us! We've got music, joy, and the fullness of the Gospel in a unique presentation of the events of that fateful Passover almost 2000 years ago.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Once again, the Lord intervenes. After preparing a program for today, the Holy Spirit lead me to change it at the last minute. Reading Facebook posts on the cultural topic of the day as it became heated arguments caused me a grief unlike anything I had felt after reading anything on social media. How do we approach this line in the sand and still fulfill the ultimate law of love? Where is Jesus in all this?
Monday, March 25, 2013
How do you know if you're dealing with a Pharisee? More importantly, how do we recognize the Pharisee in the mirror? Breaking this stronghold we all must deal with can dramatically change how we approach disagreements and change within the church of Jesus Christ.
Monday, March 18, 2013
There are times when the old, tried and true methods fail us. Actually, it's more often than not that how we've done things for years are not connecting with people anymore. Without tearing down traditions, is there a need to communicate the Gospel differently? A profound experience at church service the weekend served as a reminder of just how important it is to find a way to reach the unchurched and the de-churched who are not able to connect with more conventional styles of "doing church."
Friday, March 15, 2013
(From the Madman in Crazytown Archives) Free Exercise! No, this isn't about the latest weight loss scheme or a gym membership. Our Constitutional liberties as Christians are under assault. One of the few programs from MiCT that dealt directly with faith, this show is as timely now in the growing oppressive culture as it was when originally broadcast, perhaps more so. Remember what the Constitution actually says and Who we actually serve.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
Alcohol and the Scriptures? No, this isn't the Gospel according to Jack Daniels or Anheuser-Busch. We do need to have a very serious discussion about the consumption of alcohol in the church in this country. The debate may have consequences that are more than you expect.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Monday, March 4, 2013
While watching Willy Wonk and The Chocolate Factory (The original), I was struck by how similar the children are to how Christians behave. Each of them, extreme though they may be, is a fine example of a bad example of how we view church and one another. If we really want to face the truth, there's a little of each of them in all of us.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
When the Lord began to challenge me about Jesus' Outsider, I must admit I was more than a little shaken up. Doing a podcast has become such an integral part of my life that if He told me to put it down I don't know if I could without a gut-wrenching struggle. Between Jesus' Outsider, A Madman in CrazyTown, and Foundations, I've been broadcasting almost continuously for nearly five years. The only time off I've taken has been to shift to a new program. I truly enjoy sitting behind the Big Boy Mic and spending time with my audience, striving to proclaim truth to them. As the Lord whispered to me about the program, I finally laid it fully on the table. If He told me the season was over, it was over. I would stop. This is one of the reasons there weren't any new programs for the end of last week (2/27 & 3/1). Until I had a resolution, I would not broadcast.
As I prayed this week, the Lord did give me clarification on what He was trying to tell me. He asked me some very powerful questions. The first thing He asked me was, "Are you drawing your self worth and measuring success from how many listeners and followers you have or from Me?" Ouch. I was forced to admit I put huge stock in the number of listeners, followers, and Facebook fans and measure more by those numbers than I should. What's really sad is that I've been here before and laid it on the altar before. It hit me very hard that I had fallen back into a trap I had been in before. I measured the success or failure of the program on these numbers more than obedience to His will and His message. If an episode had below average listeners I felt a sting of rejection.
Jesus' next question built upon the first, "How has this affected the program?" Double ouch. He struck me to the core with that one. I prayed more and asked the question back to Him, begging Him to reveal the answer. When He did open my heart to my folly, I almost gave up the program. He revealed that I had begun to change the content of the episode and even make topic choices based on not offending listeners or on what they would find interesting to catch their eye. I was drawing on my experience as a broadcaster more than going to Jesus' in prayer when making programming decisions. Years of studying media and how to build an audience was working against me. The desire to have a popular program with the associated rush of acceptance that comes with it had become an overpowering part of my life. I looked back over the last six months of episodes and saw fewer and fewer topics that would be considered controversial, challenging, or possibly offensive to potential and existing listeners.
The final question Jesus asked was the kicker, "What did I give you as the purpose and vision for Jesus' Outsider? Are you still 'In Christ, but out of the box?'" I was hit with how I was missing what the Lord had called me to do. In the beginning, when I only had a handful of listeners to each episode, it was so easy to follow the Lord's guidance for the program. Topics were unusual and frequently very edgy. the content of each episode was full of straight forward truth and humor. I was joyful sitting behind the mic. I had to admit to myself that doing the show wasn't as easy to do as it was in the early days. Even though I still enjoyed doing the program, it was becoming a chore. The quality had really slipped from the first several months. I was preparing less for each episode than I used to and was thinking more about the numbers. I had lost focus. If I can't overcome this now, I will never be able to pastor a church that challenges the status quo as Jesus' Outsider is supposed to do.
A couple of weeks ago as I sat in the services where we are attending, the Lord spoke to me very clearly that the program's tagline/motto was to be the same for the church we are preparing to start. To do that, I had to remember what it means to be "in Christ but out of the box." If the last several months of Jesus' Outsider is any indication, I had lost a lot of that in my life and in my message and the Lord is convicting of that loss.
When Jesus' walked the earth, He embodied that principle. At every turn, Jesus challenged people's preconceived notions on religion, faith, and, most importantly, who the Messiah really was. The religious authorities that strove to put man-made restrictions on God's people felt the brunt of His correction and challenges. Many of the people who followed their teachings without question were presented the opportunity to accept the words of Jesus or continue with the Pharisees and Sadducees. While we know about all the ones who followed Jesus, we often forget how many chose to reject Him and remain in their traditions, regulations, and the other religious instruction of the day. They chose to stay in the box.
To be 'in Christ but out of the box' means to be faithful to the Word of God without compromise. The truth of scripture must always be paramount in the minds and hearts of all who seek to follow Christ. The Gospel hasn't changed since the beginning and we have no right to change it now. Sin is still sin and must be addressed even when the sin is popular with the masses and will offend people. "The Cross is an offence to those who are perishing." (I Cor 1:18) We cannot forget that. If we do, there are people who will find themselves in Hell that we might have been able to share the Good News of Jesus with and give them the opportunity to choose eternal life.
The other side of that however is to be willing to challenge any tradition, method, or model that can get in the way of people coming to Jesus. There are no sacred cows in following Jesus. It's too easy to fall into old patterns and methods because that's how things have always been done or it worked in the past. It is possible to be fully obedient to the Word and still culturally relevant. There will be criticism and people will be resistant to the idea of change. It has always been the case. We cannot be afraid of being opposed, ridiculed, or unpopular.
Jesus had to remind me of that. I'm still learning to walk in this lesson. The course correction needed for the program and me personally will take some time but I know I don't walk in it alone. I will continue to produce programs through the journey and work to restore the Lord's original intent for the program. I hope you'll walk with me.