March 31, 2014

What it Says... What you See?

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
(John 6:37 ESV)
What do you hear when you read this statement from Jesus?
The vast majority of Christians today... read the statement of Jesus this way: 'All who come to me the Father will give me.'
In other words... we come... we decide.
'Then the Father recognizes our decision and makes us gifts to his Son.' But that is not the way Jesus taught it. Jesus said, 'The ones whom the Father has given to Me will come to Me -- every one of them."
Sometimes the teachings of Jesus are difficult. Will you listen to them, re-interpret them, or just plain ignore them?

(I preached on this passage of scripture this past Sunday. More than one person walked away questioning... but what I loved was that they weren't questioning me... as far as I could tell... they were questioning Jesus. In a good way!)


March 25, 2014

May God's grace speedily shatter such dreams...

You may have to read this quote twice.

This is so good and so important. I want everyone who is a part of the Edgewood Baptist Church Community to read and understand this idea. I added some emphasis to help get across the point. Read this a couple of times and let me know what you think.
Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christians life together should be and to try to realize it. But God's grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.  
By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God's sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.  
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together)
Come to Edgewood... get your dreams shattered... and (by the grace of God) may we all discover a better/truer Christian Community.

March 20, 2014

Resist the Impulse to Pay For It

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
(Isaiah 55:1-2 ESV)

The Gospel Transformation Bible's notes for this passage include this wonderful thought:

His bounteous goodness is only for those who resist the impulse to pay for it. His love and grace come to us not because we have been so good but because he has been so gracious. 

March 18, 2014

Eternal Community

Ok, I am attempting not to bombard you with quotes from this book I am reading, but I am finding it to be exceptionally challenging to prohibit myself from blogging every other paragraph. The only thing keeping me from doing that is then I would be forced to also include the paragraphs I have skipped, and the next thing you know I would be blogging the whole book. And even though Dietrich Bonhoeffer probably wouldn't mind, I am fairly certain that blogging entire books isn't allowed by someone, somewhere.

Nevertheless, I need to share this quote on community. A light bulb went on over my head as I was reading it. I have often wanted to find a way to describe to those who are newer to church the reality of true community. This explanation fueled that understanding, and I couldn't wait to share it with someone.
"Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to both of us. This is true not merely at the beginning, as though in the course of time something else were to be added to our community; it remains so for all the future and to all eternity. I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, and for all eternity."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together)
Come to Edgewood Baptist Church... this is what we are trying to do.

March 17, 2014

Who would have been spared?

I just started a book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer called Life Together, and the very first two paragraphs of the very first two pages knocked me over.

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1). In the following we shall consider a number of directions and precepts that the Scriptures provide us for our life together under the Word.  
It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privelege of living among other Christians. Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. "The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?" (Luther)

Who would have been spared?