Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Feeling Alone

I'm feeling alone today. I know that I am not.  But I can't help feeling that way.

I know it's largely my fault.  I'm not surprised.  I put a lot of different thoughts out there. Sometimes I am pretty blunt.  I doubt there is anyone on the planet that agrees with everything I write about.

So I think people respond to me with a bit of hesitation at best.

But I know I'm not alone. On every topic I discuss, I know there are others that are coming to similar conclusions.  Many of these people are highly respected writers, theologians and brothers and sisters.

Yet in my world, I feel alone.

I have enough good friends that I am thankful for. In that way I don't feel alone.

However when it comes to the matters of faith that I am sorting through, I don't think most of my friends understand me.  I've gotten enough blank stares and silence. So I tend to avoid talking about these things in public.

I put myself out there. I am open to dialog.  I am not judging you, or assuming you need to agree with everything I say.

I don't even think everyone needs to engage in these topics. If you have a simple faith - keep it and guard it.  In many ways my simple faith is growing... I am seeing a lot of things simpler... but the journey there hasn't been simple.

I blog my journey for myself - it forces me to work through topics with some level of credibility.

I also blog to to encourage those who are students of Scripture to take a second look at the teachings of Jesus.

That is mostly what my journey has been about, and I have found it to be overall good for my soul.


But I know that it's not good to be alone.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stop Calling The Bible The Word Of God

If you believe in the authority of the Bible, please quit calling it the Word of God. Please read it and see what it says about the Word of God.  Many Christians believe the Bible is the final authority for faith, religious practice, and morals.  Yet for some reason they call the Bible the Word of God.

Where am I going with this?

Please consider this question if you call the Bible the Word of God.
  • Why do you call these 66 books the Word of God?
  • Does the Bible tell you to call itself the Word of God?  Or did tradition?
  • Did the Holy Spirit tell you to call the Bible the Word of God? Or did someone else teach you this?

I see the Bible teaching us that Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1-14)

There are other cases where the terms "Word of God" or "Word of the Lord" simply means that God is speaking to someone. (1 Kings 12:22, 1 Chronicles 17:3, Matt 15:4-6, Luke 3:2, Luke 5:1, Luke 11:28, Mark 4:33). 

The "Word" also seems to be a message that believers shared with others (1 Cor 15:2, Col 1:4-6, 2 Tim 4:2, Acts 13:44-49, Acts 15:35)

The Bible teaches that the Word of Christ lives in us and speaks to us. (Rom 10:8-9, Col 3:16, James 1:21-24, 1 John 2:14)

The Bible also teaches that the Word is something that is alive and active.(Heb 4:12, 1 Pet 1:23)

But I don't see the Bible teaching that the Word of God is a book that people read, study and follow.



So if you believe in the authority of the Bible, please quit calling the Bible the Word of God!

If you think tradition should trump Scripture on this one, keep calling it whatever you have been taught by those around you. :)

I do believe God speaks to us as we read the Scriptures with a listening heart. But He also speaks to us at other times. I think the Word of God is simply whenever God speaks to us. Jesus is also called the Word. He was and is God's message to us. Is that the Word we are listening to?

My concern is that by calling the Bible the Word of God, some have promoted the idea that Christians should follow a book instead of living in a natural relationship with a living God.  Following the book called the Word of God  will lead you to a religion.  Following the person "Word of God" will lead you to everlasting life.

Related Posts:

Friday, April 27, 2012

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

A moment of tweekness? I'm tweetking the way people can follow my blog.  Supposedly this fad has caught on and a few people are using twitter to follow each others random thoughts.  I can be random. So I can tweet.  Tweet this! 

I even added a nice follow by Twitter button. 

Kingdom Taken Away

Continuing my series on the secrets of the kingdom.

Matthew 21:33-46  (HCSB)
“Listen to another parable: There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. When the grape harvest drew near, he sent his slaves to the farmers to collect his fruit.  But the farmers took his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.  Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first group, and they did the same to them.  Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.  “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’  So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.  Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”  “He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told Him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his produce at the harvest.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit.  Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whoever it falls, it will grind him to powder!” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they knew He was speaking about them.  Although they were looking for a way to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.
Here is another parable where Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God. 


the kingdom of God will be taken away from you...

I welcome your feedback.  Does Jesus take away the kingdom, or is this simply a natural result of how the story goes?  I can't say I fully understand this part.

The farmers repeatedly rejected the landowner. At some point it makes sense that the land is given to someone else who will submit to the will of the owner. In the same way the priests and religious leaders repeatedly rejected Jesus, so it makes sense the offer of the kingdom would go to those who would submit to the rule of the kingdom.



... and given to a nation producing its fruit.

Some translation say "and given to a people producing the fruit of it".

So what type of people would "get" the kingdom of God?  I can't help but think of Gal 5:22 - 23, a familiar verse about what the  "fruit" of the Spirit is.  I'll make the connection then that those who produce the fruit of the Spirit are also those who are part of the kingdom or reign of God. Those with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Here are some other verses that speak to who 'gets' the kingdom:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:3 NIV)
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:10 NIV)

 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20 (NIV)

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 18:3-4 NIV)

"Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" James 2:5 (NIV)
This parable speaks of people who were  given responsibility, and the task to produce fruit for the master.  If the Priests and religious leaders were somehow the keepers of the kingdom of God in the days before Jesus, it sounds like things were going to change.  God had entrusted these men to care for His kingdom, but it seems they wanted to claim the kingdom for themselves.

So when Jesus comes things change.  A different type of people are given the responsibility of caring for the kingdom and producing fruit for the master.   He doesn't just replace the old religious leaders with a new set of religious leaders. It seems this time he entrusts His kingdom to the least, the poor, and the lowly ones.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Eric's Dirty Worship Service

I just read about a dirty Worship Service at Eric's house.  Well actually most of the service took place outside with an old car. The service was done as an act of worship.  If this doesn't sound like a typical 'worship service' you can read Eric's post here: Worship Services at Our House

I wrote a similar post called Two Types of Worship Service after considering what service and worship means to me, and reflecting on two worship services I enjoyed in Paris.

Romans 12:1 talks about this true and proper worship:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. " (NIV)

How One Another

Finally part six of a series of the Five W's of One Another. I've been working through the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the one another passages in the New Testament. Please take a look at the first post before reading further.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another 
Part 6: How One Another

So we now look at a how question.

How are the one another actions done?

As I've been going through these one another verses, I keep thinking they can all be summed up in the love one another command.   Isn't love the greatest command after all?

So here is John 4:7 - 19 (HCSB) that I believe sums up well how we love one another.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.  No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.  This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit.  And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God.  And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.  In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us. "

 The love we have for others comes from God.  If we know God, and if God's spirit lives in us, He will love others through us.

If we love one another, we will also likely be living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, humility, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, and showing hospitality to one another.

So there are my thoughts on the five W's of the One Anothers. Please feel free to comment and interact with one another on this topic.  :)




Sunday, April 22, 2012

The New Conversion


A friend passed along a Christianity Today article they thought I'd find interesting, and was curious what my thoughts were on it.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/aprilweb-only/new-conversion.html 


How is it that a respectable magazine like Christianity Today can publish some of the same crazy thought's that I've been having.  Does this mean I am not as crazy as I thought? Or does it mean there are lots of crazy folks out there?  Likely the latter.  :)

"Conversion was viewed to be a punctiliar experience: persons could specify with confidence and assurance the time and place of their conversion, by reference, as often as not, to the moment when they prayed what was typically called "the sinner's prayer."

I agree.  I used to think the sinners prayer was the way to become a Christian.
However I realize now that when people asked Jesus `What must I do to be saved`, I don`t see him responding `repeat this prayer after me`. For example Mark 10:18-25 and Matthew 25:34-45 don't mention a specific prayer as moment of conversion.

"The focus of conversion was the afterlife: one sought salvation so that one could "go to heaven" after death, and the assumption was that "salvation" would lead to disengagement from the world. Once converted, the central focus of one's life would be church or religious activities, particularly those that helped others come to this understanding of salvation that assured them of "eternal life" after death."
 I have also converted and repented (changed my way of thinking) on this as well.  :)

The gospel message that Jesus and His disciples preached from town to town was that of the Kingdom of God. This reign or rule of God is one that started in those days and can be a present reality for us today. God's power is available to us each and every day. He wants to defeat sin and death in our present lives.  He wants to heal and restore our lives to what He intended them to be. We can choose to live in the kingdom of darkness, or in the kingdom of light.  I believe there will be a future form of the reign of God as well, but that does not need to be our main focus today.

Further, the church was often defined as in the business of making conversions happen; its life and mission were oriented toward getting more people converted through whatever means possible. Successful congregations were characterized by numerical "conversion growth." 

I am discovering that Jesus was in the disciple-making business, and that should be my focus as well.  The focus shifts away from an agreement of some doctrine, statement of faith, and a prayer. To become a disciple means to follow the ways of Jesus, and that should also involve finding other followers to journey together with.

The article lists different scholars, theologians, historians, philosophers, and others that are contributing to movement on these topics. I found it interesting to see all the different sources of change within the evangelical community. Change is in the wind. 
This begs the question of what it means to be the church. The evangelical tradition is at a fork in the road and, given this sea change in the understanding of conversion and redemption, the most crucial issue at stake is what it means to be a congregation. Evangelicals will only be able to navigate these waters if they can formulate a dynamic theology of the church that reflects the Triune character of God, the means of grace—Spirit and Word—and a radical orientation in mission toward the kingdom of God.
Rethinking what the term 'church' meant to the early church is also changing my role with church. 

Yikes, yes this article sums up a lot of the process I've been going through. 

Related Posts:

Are Your Ears Itching?

A good friend of ours was recently telling us how he really appreciated a video he watched from a well known pastor.  Our friend knows we we have been turned off by other things this pastor has said in the past, but wanted us to know that this man does have some good things to say, and we shouldn't write him off completely.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIRV)
The time will come when people won't put up with true teaching. Instead, they will try to satisfy their own longings. They will gather a large number of teachers around them. The teachers will say what the people want to hear. The people will turn their ears away from the truth. They will turn to stories that aren't completely true.
 I was reminded of this passage.  Other translations speak of people listening to things that their itching ears want to hear.

Is this passage speaking about me? Is this passage speaking about the reformed camp? Is this passage speaking about the emergent camp? Is this passage speaking about specific denominations or movements within Christianity.

I think the fact is we all like to listen to people that we agree with.


This happens outside of church as well.  Think about what news sources you choose.  You may think some news sources are biased in certain ways, so you avoid them.  But there are other people who think your news sources are biased in other ways.

The danger of course is that we write off people we think we disagree with, and don't allow them to influence us.  Over time people become very polarized in there thinking.

If you look at the church today, I fear this is happening.




For awhile I really enjoyed listening to The God Journey podcasts of Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. I heard them say many refreshing things.   I can't find an exact quote of one thing, but I believe they said something along these lines. That they believed something was wrong if someone was still listening to them for over a year. They believed they had a message to share, but they didn't want people simply switching from following some other people to later become dependent on following Wayne and Brad.

So what can be done?
  • I think we need to be careful of the sources we choose to influence us.
  • We need to be listening to the Holy Spirit who guides us.
  • Be prepared for growth. The Holy Spirit will likely nudge you at times to be influenced by ideas you are not comfortable with.
Maybe I need to watch this video my friend liked... 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why One Another

This is part five of a series of the Five W's of One Another. I want to consider the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the one another passages in the New Testament. Please take a look at the first post before reading further.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another
Part 6: How One Another 

Today I'll consider a why question.


Why should we do these one another actions?
 
Well, I think there are many reasons.  I'll take a quick scan through some of the one another verses and come up with a few reasons.  But I'm sure there are many more.

Reason #1:  If we love one another, the world will recognize us as disciples of Christ (John 13:34 - 35). We can have good theology, get together and listen to great speakers, sing songs together.  But if we don't demonstrate love to each other... I'm sorry, but we really don't look anything like followers of Christ.

Reason #2: Loving one another seems to consistently come up near the top of the list of commands for the way of Jesus. (Matt 22:36-40, Rom 13:8, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23, 2 John 5)

Reason #3: In order to bring praise to God. (Rom 15:7)

Reason #4: So that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Cor 1:10)  This one is tough to imagine, but it is definitely a good reason to strive to love one another.  When I love and respect someone I find it easier to move past the differences we seem to have.

Reason #5: We are to follow God's example.  (Eph 4:31 - 5:2)

Reason #6:  We should make use of the gifts God has given us by serving others . (1 Pet 4:9-11)

Reason #7: We are members of one another.  (Eph 4:25)   Why not live like it?

Reason #8: So the body of Christ is built up and matures toward unity and becoming more like Christ. (1 Cor 14:26, Eph 4:11-16) Yeah, sorry these passages don't say 'one another', but I think they fit.  I think these passages talk about when believers got together to do these one another actions.

Some of these are big topics, I know my summary here is just scratching the surface.

I hope it is clear that there is good reasons why Christ followers should be living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, showing hospitality, humility and the especially loving one another.

Please feel free to share why you think these one another activities are important (or not).

Related Posts:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When One Another


This is part four of a series of the Five W's of One Another. I want to consider the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the one another passages in the New Testament. Please take a look at the first post before reading further.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another
Part 6: How One Another 

Today I'll consider a when question.

When are the one another actions done?

Do we think most of these actions should take place at a special time or scheduled event?

We know some believers did meet regularly together. Some daily and some on certain days of the week. But I believe these verses were not only related to regularly scheduled gatherings.

I think it is safe to say they took place whenever the believers interacted with each other.

I believe these one another actions are best done when believers get together.

When do believers get together? Well Sunday morning is one common time for believers to get together. But is the setting on Sunday morning really the best to practice these one anothers?

You may want to consider times that work best for practicing living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, showing hospitality, humility and the repeated call to love one another.

I don't believe the when is important.

Whenever you interact with other believers, consider how you can participate in these one another activities.

What about now? Feel free to interact by making a comment, even if we are not face 2 face. :)

Related Post: Sabbath vs Day of the Sun

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Where One Another


This is part three of a series of the Five W's of One Another. I want to consider the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the one another passages in the New Testament. Please take a look at the first post before reading further.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another
Part 6: How One Another 

Today I'll consider a where question.

Where do these one anothers apply?

Most of these verses don't really specify a location for the actions. There is likely many possible settings for these verses.

For example John 13:34-35 takes place while Jesus is sharing that last supper with his disciples. But I wouldn't conclude that Jesus wanted His disciples to love each other only when they were sharing meals together.

When Paul tells the Romans to live in harmony with one another in Romans 12:16, it implies that they were living life together. Likely multiple locations and times.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 we read that the believers were known for their love for all the believers throughout the region of Macedonia. The where in this passage covers a lot of territory.

Hebrews 10:24-25 is an interesting passage. It speaks of believers assembling or getting together. We know believers in the early church regularly got together. With these gatherings in mind we see two one another instructions. They are told to encourage one another, and to spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Let's also consider possible locations for Ephesians 5:18-19. There is instructions not to get drunk with wine, so a likely setting is a home or some casual setting where this would be possible. I can't imagine this problem occurring in a setting where people were sitting in rows of pews. We then read instructions about speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and singing together.

1 Peter 4:9 speaks of offering hospitality to one another. A common location for hospitality is in your home.

A few conclusions:
  • Many of these verses don't specify where the one another actions should take place.
  • Believers would have gathered in homes, public spaces, markets, wherever.
  • I don't believe the early church built a special building so they could do these one anothers
  • Houses would have been a common location for most of these one anothers.
I don't believe the where was really important.

Should the where be important now?

Do you think special buildings make it easier or harder to carry out these one anothers? Showing hospitality, humility, living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, and the repeated call to love one another.

Wherever you happen to interact with other believers, consider how you can participate in these one another activities.

I even believe some of these one another actions can occur online. Even though that where was not mentioned in Scripture. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Who One Another


This is part two of a series of the Five W's of One Another. I want to consider the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the one another passages in the New Testament. In my previous post I listed a bunch of verses to consider what the one anothers is all about. Please take a look at that post before reading further.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another
Part 6: How One Another 


Today I'll consider 3 who questions.

Question #1: Who are the one another verses for?

Scanning through the passages I see Jesus addressing his first disciples. I see Paul addressing believers in Rome, Corinth, and other towns. I think it is safe to say these instructions were directed towards all believers in the early church.

For those of us interested in carrying on in the way of the Jesus and the early believers, I think it is safe to say these verses are for us too.

With the exception of greeting each other with a Holy kiss. For myself I'm going with the idea that the kiss was a normal sign of friendship in that culture. Seeing Christian brothers kiss did not creep people out as it would today. I will try to find other ways to show love to my brothers without making people uncomfortable.

But I think the rest of these are for us: Showing hospitality, humility, living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, and the repeated call to love one another.


Question #2: Who are the recipients of the actions listed in the verses in the previous posts?

Me. I think you or someone else is supposed to do all of these things for me.

OK, maybe not. :)

The Greek word used for 'one another' in most of these verses allélón describes a back and forth, mutual partnership. The recipients are many, and the recipients and donors take turn. The recipients are you, me, he, she, they, and we.

Question #3: Who are the donors/givers of the actions listed?

I think I've already answered this. These one another actions go both ways in a mutual relationship. It is not that some do more and others are on the receiving end.

Are you comfortable with mutually sharing in this list with others? Showing hospitality, humility, living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, and the repeated call to love one another.

Some of us may not be as comfortable with teaching one another, instructing one another, and admonishing one another. I have come from a background where it is usually a select few who do most of the teaching, instructing, and admonishing.

Often the teaching, instructing, and admonishing, has been more one to the others, than a mutual teaching one another.

Some may not be comfortable with teaching in more structured settings. But I'd encourage you to consider looking to the examples we see in the New Testament where the majority of teaching was done in more interactive and less structured settings. See this post for more on that: Interactive Teaching in the New Testament. I believe God can use each of us in different ways to teach the others of us.

I don't want to diminish the other items in the list. Serving one another is another thing God has been speaking to me recently on. It's not that I am so much against serving in programs, but I feel a renewed call to consider how I can serve other people. Simply people serving other people. I believe that is simply what I see modeled and instructed in Scripture.

I think showing hospitality is a great place to start with many items in this list. You can practice serving others, find opportunities for mutual teaching, show kindness, love, and encourage each other.

I'll get to the Where, When, Why, and How later.

Feel free to practice some of these one anothers by leaving a comment here. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five W's of One Another



I'd like compile a list of the "one another" verses from the NT and consider the five W's: Who, What, Where, When and Why? And sure we can even ask How.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another
Part 6: How One Another 

I'll start with the what.

What one another verses?

What instructions and examples are given regarding one another?

The New Testament has a lot to say on the topic of one another. Take a look at what it says.

John 13:34-35 (NIV)
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
More love one another verses:- Romans 12:10, Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Hebrews 10:24, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11-12, 2 John 1:5

Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:16 (NIV)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 14:13 (NIV)
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Romans 15:7 (NIV)
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:14 (NIV)
I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 16:16 (NIV)
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
More on kissing one another: 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Peter 5:14

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Link
Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
More on encouraging one another: 2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:18, Hebrews 3:13

Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
James 4:11 (NIV)
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
(Edit: Thanks Tim for doing your part to teach one another and pointing me to this important verse I overlooked. )
Ephesians 4:25 (HCSB)
Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.

So what are the instructions in these one another verses? Hospitality, humility, harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting, singing together, kindness, compassion, bearing with, serving, accepting, and the repeated call to love one another. (I'm going to ignore the kissing part for cultural reasons.)

I find this list fairly challenging. It is a good reminder of the many ways I believe I am called to interact with other believers. Some are easier said than done.

What do you think about this list? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I'll get into the other W's in future posts.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Interactive Teaching in the New Testament



I stumbled across an interesting study by Paul Warby. He took the time to comb through books in the New Testament looking for examples of different types of teaching. Is the church following the example we find in Scripture when it comes to teaching one another?

Here is what Paul Warby found:



"I took Jesus' ministry prior to his arrest and crucifixion (Mark 1-Mark 14:42) and identified 63 teaching events.

  • 7 are unclear as to being either interactive or non-interactive (these are generally sweeping statements, e.g. "Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of God" Mark 1:14)

  • 10 are non-interactive. Here we have taken the text as it stands although interaction is sometimes implied (e.g. the calling of disciples found in 1:17-20; 2:14). I also noticed that some non-interactive accounts like the telling of parables required interaction later in the story for the disciples to understand the message (e.g. Mark 4:26-33 of. vs34).

  • 37 teaching events were initiated by others.

  • 31 teaching events had verbal dialogue. These may be the same teaching events as those initiated by others (e.g. the story of the paralytic Mark 2:1-12) but in this category we are looking for recorded verbal dialogue in the text of Mark.

  • 25 teaching events were also action events. These are healings, miracles and the like where teaching is associated with physical experiences (e.g. Mark 1:39; 1:40-44; 3:1-5 etc.)"

He did the same with the book of Acts:

  • 33 have dialogue

  • 28 are unclear as to interaction

  • 14 are initiated by persons other than the main speakers, e.g. an opening question.

  • 11 are action events

  • 5 have non-interactive monologues

http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/423
http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/book/export/html/321


The example we see in Scripture is one where teaching occurs in many different ways and locations. Most of it was also unscheduled. There is no record of Jesus or the early church sending out bulletins or flyers informing the people what topics would be taught at specific gatherings. The gatherings were informal, mostly unscheduled, and the conversations mostly interactive.

Consider some non-spiritual types of teaching.

How would you teach a child to ride a bike? Would you schedule a time and place. Prepare a lesson. Have the child sit and listen as you present a lecture on how to ride a bike?

No. The lessons are mostly unscheduled, require interactive teaching, active demonstrations, active assistance, and require followup instructions on safety for years to come.

What types of teaching work best in a classroom setting today? Teachers are encouraged to use a variety of teaching activities, and recognize that the lecture format produces some of the poorest results. The more of the following the better: Questions, debates, field trips, role play, project work, hands on activities and practice practice practice.

So, how should the church teach one another as we read in Colossians 3:16?

Should we value certain less interactive methods higher than other informal interactive methods?
  • Sermons?
  • video lead studies?
  • prepared Bible studies?
  • book studies?
Or can we place a greater emphasis on less structured teaching opportunities. Can we seek to teach each other in more natural relational ways? Whenever we gather with other believers, can we find opportunities to build each other up to become more like Christ? (Heb 10:24-25)

What do you think? Are we following the book on this one?

Related Posts:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Essentials For a New Disciple

Someone recently asked me what things I thought would be key for a new disciple. I think that is a great question for any Christ follower to consider. If/when you disciple, where do you start, what essentials do you need to pass on to the new disciple?

I've recently shared some simple thoughts in a post titled Disciple Making 101. In that post I considered how Jesus made disciples, and how it wasn't primarily an academic process. The disciples lived life with Jesus, got to know Him, and learned how to follow His lead.

But I hadn't really put my thoughts together on what would be some key ingredients for a new disciple. Here are my initial thoughts. I'd love to hear feedback.

I think discipleship is all about following the lead of someone, learning to follow their example and instruction. To be a disciple of Jesus it is important to know who Jesus is, and learn to follow His will and hear His voice. There also seems to be a pattern in Scripture where a new disciple also follows the example of other more seasoned disciples. The goal shouldn't be to become a disciple of that other believer, but to learn from them how to be a disciple of Jesus.

So some key things for a new disciple would be:
  1. Have a relationship with another disciple of Christ who will help model what following Christ is about.
  2. Understand who Jesus is - studying the gospels is a great place to start.
  3. Seek to hear our Shepherd's voice, and learn to trust that voice with both big and small decisions.
You may notice I haven't included list of essential doctrines or teachings that a new disciple must learn and agree to. I am interested in disciple making as modeled by Jesus and His disciples.

So this is all that comes to mind at the moment.

What do you think? What am I missing? I am not an expert on this topic at all, so I am open to being taught on this topic. Thanks!

Related Posts:


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fools Day Quotes From Jesus

Here are some long lost quotes from Jesus.

"You should come visit my church this Sunday."

"My church has the best worship band."

"You should give 10% to your church."

"You should serve in your church programs."

"Make sure you pick a church that belongs to an evangelical denomination."

"Make sure you celebrate Christmas every year as the best holiday of the year."

"My Father and I can't hang around with sinners, so my Father will kill me. I will pay the price for your sin so you can go to heaven when you die."

"I'm a 5 and a 1/2 point Calvinist."

"You should only listen to Christian music."

"Don't drink wine... unless it's the good stuff I make."

"Read this tract. "

"Repeat this sinners prayer after me."

"Here is a book I've written for you to follow, you should call it the Word of God."


Happy April Fools Day! :)

Have I missed some?