Friday, June 15, 2007


When the President appoints an ambassador to a foreign country, that person becomes his personal emissary . The ambassador is expected to represent the President in all things, and communicating to the host country the beliefs and policies of the President and the nation. In no instance is the ambassador to interject anything that would be contrary to the stated ideas of his or her country. But the ambassador is expected to do this according to the culture and mores of the host country. In other words, he or she is expected to communicate the ideas of their country in a culturally relevant and meaningful way, without compromising the policies. Failure to communicate in a way that is understood is a failure to explain ideas and a failure to bring countries to your way of doing business.

In 2Cor. 5:20, the Apostle Paul tells us that as believers, we have been appointed ambassadors for Christ. That means that we are instructed to go and communicate the policies of Him who appointed us. And if we are to be effective ambassadors for Him, we have to be able to explain the love and saving grace of God in a way that is heard and understood. The church can be culturally relevant without compromising or watering down the Word of God. When Jesus talked to the woman at the well, He first established a relationship and then told her of the Good News He brought. We would do well to learn from Him.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Didn't See Him Doing It This Way

Remember in Acts 12 when Peter is in prison and God miraculously releases him the night before he was to go trial? It took Peter a while to recognize God was doing a good thing, and he wasn't dreaming.

Then when he goes to John Marks house, little Rhoda goes and tells all the "church folks" God just answered their prayers. And they told the servant girl she was out of her mind. Now here God does what everybody asks Him to do, and nobody can recognize the results of His answering their prayers. I would never miss God on something so obvious as that. Famous last words. Confession is good for the soul. And all those other sayings.

It's been a while since our church has had any sort of youth group. I'm not really sure why, but in the three years we've been here there just hasn't been one. So my wife and I have been praying that God would send folks with youth, just send youth, or how ever He chose to do it, but we felt burdened for the youth of our city. There are churches in town with good youth groups, but there is still a great harvest in the field.

Last Tuesday as I was walking over to the sanctuary, there were three guys skateboarding the ramps around the entrance. I jokingly asked them if we built a half-pipe on the back parking lot would they come to church on Wednesday night and help me reach out to some of the other neighborhood kids. They half-heartily said yes, and they had plans for a simple ramp they wanted to build. I told them the church would buy the lumber if they brought me the plans and let me take a look. Of course they told me they would be back Wednesday.

Well Wednesday came and went, and no plans. I really had given up by lunch on Thursday. Later in the afternoon I was in the sound room trying to trace down a wayward mic, when in walks six guys, all with skateboards and one carrying plans.

I had ask God for something, and He provided. But because He did it in a completely "out of left field" way, I was like the disciples who didn't believe Peter was at the door. I just did not see it happening this way.

The half-pipe is under construction, and I am looking forward to our first in a long time youth service on Wednesday night. Gotta build some relationships, so pray for a 54 year old novice skateboarder. It's a great ride when God puts it together.

Friday, June 1, 2007

What Language Do you Speak?

Have you ever thought about if people really understand you when you talk to them? Like it or not, we all filter things through our own cultural sieve, and things that don't go through the mesh of our filter will be strained out.

Paul was in Athens in the 17th Chapter of Acts, and had an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with a group of "intellectuals" who worshiped every god but the Right One. He spoke to them on their level using their logic and even used an empty shrine to their unknown god to share the gospel with them. Paul spoke to them in the language of their culture, and still did not compromise or change the message that Jesus id the only way. He didn't trash their way, he explained Jesus.

I wonder if we are learning from Paul. Rather than us tear down, we should build up Jesus and let Him to the remodeling. In 1 Cor. 9:20-23 Paul says that in order to gain people for the Lord, he spoke to people on the level they were on.

The world is looking and listening. The church is supposed to be where they can turn when they need answers. If we don't understand the question, or can't formulate an answer they understand, are we really doing what we were left here for?