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Archive for March, 2008

A Few Things

Hello blog world! Here are a few things.
For one, I just turned 32 today.
Two, I went to a preachers’ lunch deal with my Dad yesterday. There we learned about Missions Resource Network (mrnet.org). There are a lot of teams that are presently on the field right now and a few more that are about to leave for their fields. Please pray for all of them.
And third and last (but not least), please pray for the AIM students and my friends.
Thank you all and God bless!
Zack

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AIMers and missionaries

Greetings everyone! Today is Wednesday, so please especially remember to pray for the AIM students who are on their mission fields and those who are in Lubbock preparing to leave for their respective fields. In fact, I think the AIM students are done with school now. They are currently having Camp Adventure now at the Sunset Church. Next week they have a mission and recruiting trip. I think that includes going to the Tulsa Workshop (if someone knows other wise, please put that on the comments page and I will correct myself). Then the teams go on their AIM challenge week. Then they go back to Lubbock and meet together a few more times as a class with their teachers and to clean there apartments. Then they will leave Lubbock to go home to raise their necessary support for their mission field apprenticeship. Sometime during May and June they will all leave home to go to their mission fields. Please keep all of these men and women during these next few weeks and months. And especially for their field times on the mission field all over the world.
Also please pray for my friends Rob and Denyce Hindman, their family, and team as they prepare to go to Moscow, Russia (see their personal blog at robhindman.com).
Please pray for my friends Elijah and Kristan Peters and their team in Auckland, New Zealand (see their personal blog at lijandkris.com).
Please pray for Craig Peters and his family as they prepare to go Sydney, Australia to work with a Sunset branch school there (see their website at australiaforhim.com).
And pray for all missionaries all over the world who are faithfully preaching and teaching the whole gospel in their parts of the world.
Thanks and God bless!

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You are God Alone

Greetings everyone! This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a few days now.
The song You are God Alone I think was written by the Christian group Phillips, Craig, and Dean. I don’t know all of the lyrics of the song, but the chorus is really cool!
You are God alone
Since before time began.
You were on Your throne
You were God alone!
And now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone!
I get chills all over listening to and singing this song! It helps me remember God is on His throne and is in control at all times. In the good times and bad times. He was on His throne when the Oklahoma City bombing took place. God was in control when all those horrible things happened on September 11, 2001. He was on His throne when the tsunami hit Thailand and other places. He was in control when the hurricanes hit New Orleans and Mississippi. And He’s in control right now too.
Even when it doesn’t seem like it, God is in control and is on His throne!
God bless!

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Green

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! Better wear something green today or risk getting pinched!
Green me!
God bless!
PS. More posts on Blue Like Jazz are coming plus posts on other random things. Stay tuned.

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Greetings! I will go a head and finish blogging about A Gathered People here. The last part of the book is the Epilogue. Here they talk about some of the questions that they anticipate would come. They list several topics that are hotly debated among a lot of our churches. Most of the things they listed are not worth dividing over. It is very sad that some of our churches have split over some of these issues. These things are certainly worth talking about. Great learning can be gained through discussing issues as brothers and sisters seeking to learn from others who have a different point of view on different issues.
But these issues weren’t the reason this book was written. I completely agree that “Assembly as transforming, sacramental encounter that calls us to participate in the mission of God is the foundation for discussing all other questions about the assembly. It is the ‘weightier’ matter”. That is the most important topic to discuss. This book sets the floor for future discussions for discussing such things as they listed.
“We realize, of course, that our position regarding the assembly as sacramental encounter is itself controversial- though it is the historical position of the church”. I greatly appreciate the three brothers who wrote this book and stepped out and write this book. I am indebted to each of them. I am thankful they seek bring “… the peace of Eden rather than the confusion of Babel within the assemblies of God; we pray for encounter rather than dissension”. Thanks John Mark, Johnny, and Bobby for writing this fantastic book!
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I also want ask for everyone reading this to pray for the AIM students. Pray for those who are on their mission fields around the world and for those who are in Lubbock preparing to leave home to go serve God on various mission fields all around the world to serve and work along side missionaries. All of these are stepping out on faith. Please pray for them.
Thanks and God bless!

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Greetings! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged again. Chapter 7 in A Gathered People is Contemporary Gatherings: Assembling Worthy of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote the Philipian church the following words, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ …” (1:27). The biblical narrative points us in a worship sense to the Christ Event (the life, death, resurrection and exaltation of our Lord Jesus).
Too often churches look down on other churches because they don’t do “church” or “worship” in the same way. There are many issues. Instrumental music has always been a big one. One cup or many in the Lord’s Supper. Praise teams. The list could go on and on. Hicks, Melton, and Valentine give “a way of framing the question of ‘regulated assembly’ that, hopefully, provides a helpful and biblical context for dialogue”. Here are some ways to Divinely Regulate our Assemblies.
The Nature of Scripture says that scripture tells of all of God’s mighty and saving acts and all that Jesus did for us. It is all in a narrated style and written in such ways that everyone in that day and age could understand it. I really like how they say that “the nature of scripture is covenantal”. The Bible is relational and regulatory in function. It bears witness to and for us. It has it’s roots in God and His saving power for us.
Regulative Worship says that all of life is worship (see 1 Cor. 10:31-11:1 and Col. 3:17). Our whole lives are under the covenant rule of God and must be shaped by Him. All we do is to be done “in the name of Jesus”. “All worship – all life- is regulated”. First Corinthians 10:31-11:1 suggests three questions that we should ask ourselves about worship. One is does it glorify God? Two, do we please ourselves or others? And three, do we point unbelievers to God? “In all of these questions, Paul calls us to imitate him as he imitates Jesus, who is the true worshipper of God”.
The next part is Regulative Principles. “How does the gospel function to shape our assemblies?”
is a great question to be asked. Neither the gospels nor epistles give a program that must be followed like what Leviticus did in Old Testament days. Paul’s epistles do though point that worship is for “edification (concern for others) to the chaotic situation in Corinth (1 Cor. 14). Paul applies the principle of the gospel meal (1 Cor. 11). These applications result in the contextualized rules …”.
Another really good section here is Contextualizing The Gospel in our Assemblies.
Enculturated Assemblies says, “worshipping assemblies function within culture”. This can be pushed to bad extremes, but we have to take culture into account to some degree so the people you are trying to reach out to will understand what is being said and done.
Diverse Enculturations talks about inter-generational, multi-cultural, and multi-economic churches. All of these can be really good for the churches that have them. But they will have problems. Worship wars is certainly one of them.
Diversity like this is really good. It will be a great selling point for the church. It will certainly bemand “mature discipleship”. This will mean at least four things. One is tolerance. Two is mutual edification. Third, appreciation. And forth, appropriation.
The next section is Gospel-Regulated Assemblies. A gospel-regulated assembly will be Theocentric. This means we focus on God, meet with Him, engage with Him, and delight with Him in a sacramental encounter.
It is also Christocentric. We also meet with Jesus through whom we go to God the Father. Jesus is our mediator (2 Tim) and High Priest (Heb.). We go to Him and through Him to the Father.
A gospel-regulated assembly is also table-centered. Through the table we meet and eat with the triune God. He is our host. He invites us and we eat with Him.
It is also Word-Shaped. “The assembly is a time for instruction and exhortation. I guess it would be like a pre-game speech before a big game by the coach to get the team fired up. It helps the team remember what they prepared for and perform well during the game. The assembly for the church helps us meet with God and we get “fired up” (for lack of better words) for the week ahead.
It is also Praise-Saturated. We get to praise God in the best ways we know how through prayers, songs, and studying His Word . It is up to great debate on our posture during these times. A lot of times we stand when we read God’s Word, or pray, or sing. Sometimes we sit during those times. And sometimes we get on one (or two) knees when praying or singing.
It is also Gospel-Enacted. The assembly is how we enact God’s redemptive story. “God speaks and we praise, He invites and we dine at His table”. Baptism is how we enter into the covenant relationship with God and the Lord’s Supper helps us renew and remember that covenant.
Lastly, tt is Gospel- Embodied. This helps in the way we “do” church. We help and serve the poor, out-casts, sufferers, and those who need encouragement. We are to bring the good news to those who have suffered so much with bad news.
Finally, the Assembly functions to help us be communally conscious. We focus on the Body of Christ during worship time and the Lord’s Supper.
It functions to help us be transformed. We meet with God and He meets with us to transform us into the people He calls us to be.
It also functions to help us be Missional. That means we are missionaries in our own zip code (as it says in another book I was reading some time ago). We, like Isaiah, say “Here am I, Lord, send me” (see Is. 6).
We also meet Authentic Encounter. We, like the Psalter, seek to meet God face to face.
And lastly we have Doxological Evangelism. Assembly is where we meet with God and He with us, but we also help the lost encounter Him through the assembly as well. We can use that as the starting point where we can talk to a lost person about their relationship with God.
In closing, the church and assembly will look different in different cultures and places. We need to let them do “church” and “assembly” differently.
One more post for this book. A few more to go with Blue Like Jazz too. There are some other ideas and topics flooting around in my head to blog about in the future too. More on all of that later to come.
Thanks for tuning in for this post. God bless!

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Greetings from the Great Chicken Fried Nation! Sorry it’s been so long since I last blogged. I was going to blog yesterday. But then realized I had already done what I was going to do and was supposed to blog about something else.
But, anyhow, I have now read the next two chapters (9 and 10) in Blue Like Jazz and will now blog about them here. Chapter 9 is called Change: New Starts at Ancient Faith. Everyone at one point in life or another has a crisis of faith. All believers come to a time of doubt and wonder if what we believe about God and Jesus is really true. This is a time to deeply and truly investigate the Bible and what we believe and see for ourselves if any of this is true.
In chapter 9 of Blue Like Jazz Miller tells of his cross roads of faith in his life. He was a Bible class teacher and says he was saying and teaching the right things, but didn’t think he meant them. He said he felt like a fake. And that he needed to get out and find himself again.
He said that he and his friend got in a car and drove out. They went to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and walked down into the canyon. He said he was tired and sore. Then he just started praying out load to Him as he looked up at the sky and stars. That seemed to be were he found himself and found God again. He realized that man kind suffers because we live in a fallen world, a world that largely chooses to follow Satan, but that God wants to rescue us wants to find us if we will search for Him.
Chapter 10 is Belief: The Birth of Cool. In this chapter Miller talks about some of the things people choose to do because it is the “cool” thing to do or because the “cool” people are doing it. He doesn’t seem to like that very much. If we choose to do something it should be because we are convicted by it and thus choose to do something about it.
He says that most of the world doesn’t care or listen to people who say what they think if it isn’t backed with conviction or belief. They might not care what you believe regardless, but they will listen if we are convicted by it and are doing something to solve it.
I love this statement by Miller, “I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth, and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them”. That is what we need to be about too.
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I have come to realize there are other blog series’s that I have started that haven’t been continued in quite some time. I am almost finished reading and blogging about A Gathered People (2 or 3 more chapters to do there) and have 10 more chapters to read in Blue Like Jazz (5 more blog posts there, since I do 2 chapters per post). Than I will start finishing those other blog series’s. So please stay tuned in for those.
Thanks so much for reading. God bless you all!

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