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Category: The Church

Jail Songs and Happy Feet

“Do not let go of your confidence which carries a great reward.” (Hebrews 10:35) Easy to say, but confidence is a slippery thing, it’s always trying to get away. Paul and Silas managed to hang onto it in the darkest part of the Philippian jail where the magistrates had confined them after a severe beating.  Their crime was attacking the lucrative soothsaying market. They praised God until He shook the earth, knocked off their bonds, and threw open the prison doors. In this strange way the Spirit founded the only New Testament church that never gave Paul any grief. What an odd church growth scheme. In Philippi Paul demonstrated what he told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always”. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)  The outcome proves…

The Shadow of the Holy Spirit

God’s sovereignty is such that all things further his purposes. Acts 8:1–8 tells us how Saul “ravaged the Church” committing many to prison. But this only caused the Church to spread via the refugees that Saul produced. He was spreading the church even as a persecutor. One of those refugees, Philip, went to the despised Samaritans who “with one accord, paid attention.” Philip also evangelized the Ethiopian eunuch, from whom the Ethiopian Orthodox Church today traces its origins. What a blessed exile. The same Holy Spirit that had overshadowed Mary at the beginning, overshadowed the Church. Our darkness is the shadow of that same Holy Spirit.

Preferred Company

The company of former felons and drug addicts is preferable to that of the cultured despisers of the Word who now run the old line denominations and their corresponding academic institutions. Jesus still dwells in resurrecting power among those who acknowledge their need, but, as Henri Nouwen observed, that is hard to find at Harvard.

Not Good on My Own

This Brennan Manning quote has become a common claim: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Never mind that he was living a double life himself of an alcoholic when he said this, giving his popular lectures and getting drunk, until it ruined his marriage and killed him – it is false on its own. It implies that if Christians were just more Christlike, the world would embrace the Church. That would mean being better than Jesus who told his relatives “the world cannot hate you” because you are indistinguishable…

Every Wind

Protestants who lead with a wet finger in the wind, and Catholics who attack the secular power but apart from the secular power would not behave responsibly, these are the two great enemies of the Church’s credibility in our day. Add cheap grace to pulpit and pew and we begin to see it as a Holy Spirit miracle that windy doctrines have not blown the Church away without a trace. She endures not because of us, but in spite of us. Her one foundation we do not supply, only, at our best, we rest upon.