I just stumbled across this article...it's lengthy, but worth at least skimming over. Here's the first few paragraphs - see if they pique your interest as they did mine!
"Redefining the Church"
by Bob DeWaay, pastor of Twin City Fellowship
“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18)
Several months ago a friend of mine, who puts on seminars, publicly pointed out the errors of several well known teachers who promote mystical practices. Shortly thereafter he invited me to attend a meeting with some leaders of his church to clarify his relationship with the church and determine whether his ministry was welcome there. This discussion made some important issues clear for me.
The leadership told him that his teaching did not comply with their practices. They do not practice correcting false teachers. In the course of the conversation, the leaders cited the basic mission of that church. It was a good mission and had to do with bringing people to Christ; but it did not include correcting error or false teachers. Thus my friend’s seminar is not compatible with their purposes.
As a result of the meeting I found myself pondering that situation in light of the many emails I have received from people around the country. These people often are unwelcome in churches in which they had been members for many years. What seems so strange is that the unwelcome members were not accused of sin or heresy; they were accused of not supporting the church’s mission or program. In some cases the mission and program had recently been changed and the long standing members had resisted the change. Ultimately most of these people left willingly, but with sadness of heart. Some who decided to stay and fight were eventually removed from fellowship.
What has happened that evangelical churches are willing to lose solid Christian members who have not fallen into sin or heresy? In this article I will propose that evangelical churches have changed the way they view themselves and their organizations; and that this change has lead to practices and emphases that build large visible churches, but neglect and abuse Christ’s “little flock” (Luke 12:32) -- the true body of Christ.....
FOR THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE, GO HERE: http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue85.htm
Well, I'm about halfway through this book. It's not what you would call an "easy read" by any stretch - D.A. Carson is a true theologian, and this book has a real scholarly feel to it (which is thus far my only complaint about the book - not too "layman" friendly at all) There's just a lot of meat to it, and a lot of big, abstract theological words and concepts addressed. I think it'll probably take me at least another full read-through to really get it to sink in...honestly, right now if someone were to ask me about it, I feel like I could only explain the book in "broad brushstrokes". That being said, I feel like I AM gleaning some good information from it and maybe excercising the ol' brain cells a bit. It's basically an exhaustive analysis and critique of the emerging church, as well as an explanation of what "postmodernism" is (and how it is different from "premodernism" and "modernism", which are also explained.
In other (related) news, today I finally had the chance to listen to the much talked about debate-errr, "conversation" :) between Doug Pagitt (Solomon's Porch) and Bob Dewaay (Twin City Fellowship) that took place last January. Honestly, I found the first half (where they each took turns speaking individually) rather un-inspiring. However, the second half, which was quite literally a conversation between the two of them, was both fascinating and revealing. The contrasts were so visible. It left me with no doubt in my mind which viewpoint I agreed with, and no doubt in my mind that the opposing viewpoint was even more off-base than I'd originally thought. I was also struck by the great "pride in the name of humility" that was SO evident by one of the participants. At times it was a difficult debate to listen to, since one person was obviously very well spoken and the other was not, however as the conversation continued those differences seemed to fade. Anyway, very interesting! I think I'll need to give this another listen before sharing more thoughts on it, just as I'll have to give that book another read...(could you tell reading and listening comprehension were my worst subjects in elementary school? :))
Strong & Brave
Every once in awhile at my store I have the chance to have a conversation with a customer that is a little deeper than your typical clerk/customer interaction - one cool thing about working at a Christian-owned bookstore is that sometimes people just come in the store looking for a "refuge", or just needing to pray or talk with somebody.
This morning I had the chance to talk to a "regular" customer named Kevin. Kevin is forty-something years old, and is in a wheelchair. He is also one of the most outgoing people I have ever seen...in fact, he's so outgoing that it's made some of the staffers uncomfortable. He's never said anything inappropriate at all; he's just incredibly talkative and friendly, which sadly in our culture, we just aren't used to, I guess! He's been a customer for a year or two now, and every time he comes in he excitedly starts chatting about the inner city kids he works with at Hospitality House and how he gets to share Jesus with them. Then, without fail, he opens up his bag and pulls out his latest "tricks" and tools he uses to tell kids (and others) about Jesus...Bible verse cards, symbolic trinkets, etc. He'll go on and on about it all...in fact, he's so talkative that he tends to forget/ignore the line of people behind him at the check-out counter. :) I admit that for a long time I was in the "this guy is so talkative it makes me uncomfortable!" camp, so whenever he'd talk to me at the check out counter I tended to just smile and nod and hope that he would be on his way soon. The last couple times he's come into the store, though, I've sort of felt convicted about this. I started to wonder what his story was...as though God was sort of tapping me on the shoulder and saying "ahem, you could probably learn something from this guy's story!". So today he showed up in our music department, and (of course) immediately began talking my ear off. This time, however, I decided to engage in the conversation a little bit beyond just smiling and nodding. It ended up being a very interesting conversation. He started by telling me about a little card of verses he'd typed up and laminated and how he uses it to tell people about what Jesus has done in his life, and then he started telling me his story. Turns out he was in a skiing accident 7 years ago that left him a paraplegic. He was a chiropractor with 3 kids who were all under the age of 7 at the time. He also had a heart completely hardened to Christ...but his accident is what "broke" him, in more ways than one. He's now devoted his entire life to telling people about Christ in one way or another...one thing he said to me that stood out was "I've got nothing to lose". He also quoted this passage to me from Psalm 138 :
When I called out to you, you answered me.
You made me strong and brave.
4Lord, may all of the kings on earth praise you
when they hear about what you have promised.
5Lord, may they sing about what you have done,
because your glory is great.
What an inspiring little conversation that was. Here was a man who had every reason to be bitter or feel sorry for himself...but instead of self-pity, he radiated sheer joy. He told me that he experiences great pain and discomfort all the time - he wasn't in denial of the challenges of his plight - but he chooses every day to trust God and His purposes. Wow. What faith! I hope that encourages you as it does me...
More meaningless American Idol Thoughts...
1). Did Ace get voted off because of musical inability, or because of the fact that he looked like the bad guy from Karate Kid III on Tuesday's performance?
2). I was just reading an article and realized that Chris Daughtry is a year younger than me. Wow, do I feel old.
3). I will hand it to Ben and all others with the "McPheever" that Katharine did a great job on her song the other night. She's in my top 4. :)
I will post something more enlightening later on, but for now this is all I got!
Franch...bread. Franch...dressing. And to drink...peru! (name that movie)
|You Belong in Paris|
You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.
You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.
(Right now my husband is across the room furiously typing on his computer, and I have no doubt we're blogging about the same thing. But, no matter, you'll just get 2 Wallace perspectives for the price of one...er...something...). We just returned from Club3Degrees where (thanks to my NWB comp tickets) we saw Sanctus Real & the Afters. It was a rockin' show...the Afters were pretty good, and Sanctus Real was really good. We sat at a table up in the balcony, directly overlooking the massive sea of young people swarming in front of the stage. It was everything a rock show should be (well, except for the Gilbert Gottfried-meets-Richard Simmons MC, but that's another blog :))...there were flashy lights, loud guitars, kids jumping up and down, just rockin' out. There was a lot of other great stuff going on there too - positive lyrics, Compassion International promos, etc. As the charismatic frontman of Sanctus Real scurried around the stage and into the swarm of kids, belting out his songs with great passion, and as the lights flashed and the music blared and I looked at all the teens in the crowd, I thought "Man, I wish they had this when I was a teen!". When I was a teen, Christian music consisted of Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, the Newsboys, and maybe Dc Talk and Jars of Clay. Any other rock bands were either really obscure, really bad, or both. We didn't have Christian clubs, we didn't have nearly the variety of good Christian music that exists now. Now, don't get me wrong - people like ME liked Michael W., Dc Talk, etc....but, let's face it, to the rest of the world, it was a joke. Liking that kind of music went along with being a little...different. That's not the case anymore, which in many ways is really cool. On the other hand, another thought it me tonight: it doesn't take as much courage to call yourself a Christian these days. The "Christian" culture is finally, in many ways, cool. We've got the music, we've got the lights, we've got the show. Not that any of this is bad - it's not, and I praise God for the way He uses alot of that stuff in kids' lives. But saying "I'm a Christian" is no longer necessarily the kiss of death to your coolness status. No, it doesn't take courage to say you're a Christian - but it still does take courage to live it. That thought came to me as I was watching the show, and stayed with me as we exited the club onto the street...
If you've been reading Mark's blog, you know he just read this book called "Under the Overpass". I first heard about this book when all of these middle aged women started coming into my store asking for it because they'd heard about it on Focus on the Family. :) Usually this means it's something good, or at least interesting. It piqued my curiousity, so I picked it up, gave it a read, and was inspired. I won't give a full review of it or anything, but it's the story of 2 young guys who decide to live as homeless men for 5 months. It wasn't the guilt trip I half expected it to be; but It left me with the reminder that no matter where someone is at in their life, or what sin may have led them to where they are at now, they were created in the image of God, Jesus died for them, and the least we can do is be a reminder of that to anyone we encounter. So that's been a topic on our hearts the last couple days...just last night we were tossing around the idea of getting dollar Bibles and thinking of alternatives to cash that we could carry in case we run into anyone in need. Well, of course you can probably guess what happened the minute we got onto the street outside the club. There was a crowd of people, but through it all, a young guy wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap looked straight at us and asked if we had $4. (Um, can you say divine appointment?) Normally I'm sure the answer would have been a polite "sorry", but this time Mark stopped, shook his hand, asked his name (Ryan) and asked him what his story was. It was a short conversation, but I felt like I could see in Ryan's eyes that it meant something that someone would stop and talk to him. At least I hope it did. I have no idea if what Ryan told us was true, but the bottom line is that SOMETHING - sin, hurt, or both - led him to that very moment, where he was asking for money. We were together and in a setting where we could talk to him for a couple minutes, so we decided to do that. What a feeling of joy it was leaving that little encounter - only wishing we could have done more.
I'm not saying that everyone needs to stop and talk to every single person that asks them for money - obviously, for example, if I were by myself, as a woman, it may not be the best idea to stop to converse -- however, at the very least, when we run into situations like that, I find myself challenged to remind myself that Christ died for this person, that there are no chance encounters, and finally to ask myself "What is something I can I do in this situation?".
Anyway, that's just one example that hit home for us tonight of what it means to walk as Jesus did. Not just wearing the t-shirts or singing the right songs, but living it too. We got a little taste of that tonight, and were blessed by it. I'm challenged to think of other ways to really live for Him, and inspired by those all around the world and in our country, who are doing that, on many different levels. Feeding the poor...taking the gospel to unfriendly cultures...saving babies...smiling at the tired looking clerk in the grocery store...sitting next to the lonely kid in the lunchroom...
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children...and live a life of love, MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY, for the days are evil..." -Ephesians 4
Tonight we're going to a concert for some good ol' rock & roll. I'm excited! I've really liked The Afters for awhile now (even before they were signed, back when they were called "Blisse") but have never seen them live. I don't know Sanctus Real's music as much, but what I've heard I've liked. This should be fun. :)
From the larknews.com archives...
FRIENDS NOT FRIENDS FOREVER, EVEN IF THE LORD'S THE LORD OF THEM, FORMER PALS SAY
SALEM, Mass. — Two former "best buddies" from Saratoga Nazarene Church say they learned the hard way that a lifetime is too long to live as friends, despite the claims of a popular Christian song.
Theresa and Dalia, both 13, became best friends the day they met in third grade. They soon realized they were the only serious Christians in the school, and both had major crushes on Michael W. Smith.
"We used to bounce on my bed using hairbrushes as microphones and singing 'Friends' to each other," says Theresa. "I'd sing Amy Grant's part and she'd sing Michael W. Smith's part. Then we'd laugh and roll around. We knew our friendship was forever, like the song said."
But at the end of eighth grade, things hit a rough patch. Dalia quit wearing her Amy Grant Hearts in Motion Concert Tour T-shirt to school on Fridays, as she and Theresa had done for years.
"That felt like betrayal," Theresa said. "I was totally alone."
Then both girls developed a crush on the same boy, Brad Loudermilk, the only decent-looking Christian in the school. Out of spite, Dalia switched her crush to a non-Christian guy, and the friendship with Theresa was effectively severed.
Theresa went home after school and ripped the Michael W. Smith poster from her wall, then crumpled onto her bed and sobbed.
"I guess friends will say never and the welcome does end," she said bitterly. •
As you may or may not know, my taste in movies tends to be limited to the happy, lovey-dovey, feel-good types. Usually I am not a scary/suspense movie type person. However, this film - "Wait Until Dark" - is an exception. I first saw it in high school, and then Mark & I watched it last night. Good stuff! If you have not seen it, you should. Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who is terrorized by a group of con-men trying to locate a doll full of heroin that they believe is hidden somewhere in her apartment. Little do they know she is one smart cookie, and that it doesn't necessarily take eye-sight to outwit them! It will give you the shivers. Good stuff.
Isn't getting sick on a Saturday the worst thing ever? Especially such a beautiful day like today. It started yesterday with a slight sore throat, then I woke up with a full fledged burns-to-swallow sore throat and the aches. (It was bad enough that it woke me up in the middle of the night, so I decided to watch some TV to try to take my mind off the pain. All that was on was "Bosom Buddies", which I happily watched. Now that's sick.). Fun fun. So I've been doing a lot of laying around the house today, just chillin.
Anyway, last night I had the last minute opportunity to go see Sara Groves with my mom, aunt & cousin. It was a really nice concert. I was impressed with her down-to-earth style, both musically and as she spoke. I'd almost forgotten what a great songwriter she is; it sort of re-awakened me to her music. Good stuff. I was inspired. :)
Anyway, one point she made was that she sometimes feels like the Church today is "all dressed up, with nowhere to go". We've built beautiful buildings, a great "worship" revival, Bible studies, Bibles, devotionals, books, and all kinds of discipleship resources at our fingertips. That's all great - but what are we doing with it all? That resounded with me last night, as earlier in the day I started thinking about how I sometimes feel like I'm "hoarding" my faith. I think it's really easy to do that here! Case in point for me is the sheer number of Bibles in my possession. I have a LOT of Bibles. Seriously. I like to say that I really use them all, but the reality is that 99% spend 99% of the time on the shelf, collecting dust. I feel like one step for me is to be on the lookout for someone who may need a Bible, which leads me to the question: what am I doing to put myself in a position to reach out to someone? A number of years ago I did a Bible study called "Experiencing God", which, in a nutshell, says that to experience God, step one is to see where He's working, and step two is to meet Him there and let Him use you. So I guess that's my challenge to myself: to be ever-asking God that question: "Where are you working?".
(sorry, my browser won't let me make that a direct link...you'll have to cut & paste :))
Check out "Air I Breathe"
So for the last several days I thought I was a loser because no one was commenting on my blog. Then my dad informed that he tried commenting on my blog, but it wouldn't let him. It seems I had inadvertantly turned on "comment moderation". So...I've now turned it off. I may still be a loser, but at least you can comment on my blog now. :)
Trying to Cook with Nikki, V1: Poppy Seed Chicken
OK, inspired by my mom's blog, I'm going to completely switch gears here topic-wise and share one of my all-time favorite recipes: Poppy Seed Chicken. This recipe came from my sister in law, Ranel, who was gracious enough to put together a replica of her personal cookbook as our wedding gift (one of the coolest wedding gifts EVER!). It was one of the first recipes I made for Mark, and has quickly become one of our favorites. I make it a lot. A LOT. If we ever have you over for dinner, chances are this is what we will have. :) The best part is it's QUICK, EASY and DELICIOUS. It's made up of ingredients that (for the most part) you'd probably have lying around the kitchen anyway-- nothing too gourmet or unusual. So, without further ado, here goes...:
POPPY SEED CHICKEN
4 - boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 oz. can - cream of chicken soup
8 oz. bowl - sour cream
2 TBS - Poppy seeds
1/2 cup- butter, melted
1 sleeve - Town House crackers, crushed
1) place chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish
2) mix soup and sour cream together, and then spread over chicken
3) mix poppy seeds, butter, and crackers together, and then spread over soup mixture
Put it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes, and you're good to go!
I think I'll go make some for dinner right now... :)