Monday, December 29, 2008

The birds have nests and foxes have multimedia...


A teacher of the law came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
Matthew 8:19-22

Is following Jesus easy and fun, or is it difficult and dangerous?

Modern churches spend most of our time and money on enhancing our worship experience. We pay people to preach and sing to us, and we strive to do everything so well that people will want to come back week after week. We serve up the Word with a smile, and hope that our customers "would like an apple pie with that."

It seems that our approach to making disciples is somewhat different than Jesus' approach. Are we actually continuing the work Jesus was doing? Or somewhere along the way did we just come up with a better idea?

Move over, Jesus. We've got it covered.
Joe B

15 comments:

Tonya said...

but Joe, living that way would mean putting others first ... not being selfish or not trying to get something for nothing. and what about 'the big show' on sunday mornings?! where would you get such a crazy idea?! it just ... might ... WORK!

Joe B said...

Now there you go, taking things too far...

Why can't we just have it both ways?

Gary K. Fair said...

It seems that our approach to making disciples is somewhat different than Jesus' approach.

Could it be because we are trying to make disciples within the walls? Making disciples of disciples? Jesus "went" while we "stay," expecting them to come into our fine facility.

Joe B said...

Your words here say so much, Gary K. But even the basic part of it is huge: Habitat!

Church is a little too concerned with rapturing people from their old lives and planting them safely in church so they won't backslide.

But a house dog don't hunt.

Anonymous said...

If it ain't difficult and dangerous, its cuz u r doin it wrng. And u r probly not havin much fun, not fr long

Jan Kelley said...

Joe, I was a visitor in Newburgh, who was having to stay longer than i had planned to stay. I felt the need to be with fellow believers for the strength and encdouragement they offer. I found the not-unchurch on 261. When i entered, I could hear the praise --I was a few minutes late--the entire focus of the praise was on the Savior. Huge screens with the words of the praise song on the screen. I had to look up to view it. So convenient, so that when my heart became so full of the praise words that i felt i was intimately communing with my Lord. my face was already turned Heavenward so I could feel like I was singing praise to my Lord and looking Heavenward while i sang. Powerful for me. This serice is not all the not-unchurch does, but it does allow for a stranger to enter and know where to sit with a little dirrction from the smiling faces that greeted me. If there was no "large chuch on the hill" i would have not known where to go for the encouragement that one gets from "gathering together with the saints". I say we CAN have it both ways. We NEED to have it both ways. Only having it one way will not satisfy as many needs. We, the ones of us who gather regularly at the church buildings, need to be careful that we realize our very lives are to be a worship to our God. Our worship does not and must not stop when we leave the not-unchurch----when we leave, our true worship should begin.

Christi R said...

And the answer to the question is...

It's difficult and dangerous and it requires FAITH.

You can't forget the faith!

Great blog, Joe! Keep on blogging - I love it!

Joe B said...

Thanks, Christi! Big love to you. By the way, do you remember Tonya (who commented above?) You knew each other in college. You ought to Facebook her!

Jan Kelley said...

I am longing for an in-depth discussion of your question. i miss the mental and spiritual stretching that comes from meaningful discussion and a sharing of ideas. Here's hoping your many groupies come through with additional meaningful thoughts for me to ponder...after all, it is all about me, i think.

Joe B said...

Jan K's backtalk got me thinking.

You see? There really is value in that 'big show' that the original post appeared to be deriding.

Actually, corporate worship as we experience it is a wonderful thing. And finding fellowship at 'the large church on the hill' sure beats NOT finding fellowship, doesn't it? But realize that these two statements were precisely true of the Jewish temple on the morning when Jesus overturned the moneychangers' tables. Am I wrong?

So I am not complaining against the suburban church or the jewish temple, am I. They are gifts of God.

St. Paul observed that the church in Corinth richly experienced gifts of the Holy Spirit in their corporate worship. "But," he told them, "now I will show you a more excellent way."

Loved ones, it is possible to hop on the pony God gave you, and ride it right off the reservation.

So now I will show you a more excellent way...

FOLLOW JESUS.

scott said...

I think the key here is this part of the post: "Modern churches spend most of our time and money on enhancing our worship experience."

Jan indicates that the current model allows a stranger to easily come and find an intimate worship experience with God. This is a good thing (although one might argue that the "easy" model is a misrepresentation of following Jesus).

But is it only possible if we spend most of our time and money (and human resources) on enhancing that experience? Can we only "experience God" through this kind of worship experience? Would we, or strangers for that matter, NOT encounter God if we didn't spend the majority of our resources as we do?

Is this how we follow Jesus wherever he would go?

Anonymous said...

Scott sounds like a coldhearted dude, but his logic is bullseye. Not doing things a certain way is not the same as not doing anything. I think "easy" is nothin but good if your talkin abuit getting in to church. But we gotta should remember the fastest ever church growth ever was the Church in China grew from 50-thou to 50-mil in the 50years of the most intense, systematic persecution ever in the world. And they dint have nurserys cause they dint have any churches. ZIP.

fiber_tech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe B said...

FiberTech's great comment deserves a discussion of its own, so I've taken the liberty to repost it at Java Jesus, a blog devoted to the subject of "how church is done." http://caffecclesiology.blogspot.com

What I really want to do here (and what I clearly wandered from) is focus on the "more excellent way" of Jesus--that is what the unChurch is about in real life. We are not about being opposed to anything, we are about following Jesus "in the new way of the Spirit, not in the old way of the letter." [Rom 7:6]

Driscoll, whom he quotes, is a cool, unconventional dude and a legend: he sucessfully created a mega-church in the spiritual wasteland of Seattle, mainly by stripping away the "cultural barbed wire" that keeps unChristian people away from Christianity.

Jan Kelley said...

OK Joe, take the reins and get this stagecoach back on the intended path. I am looking forward to more posts.

Joe, isnt it something how quickly we believers think we need to make an argument for everthing--myself included? I think it is "fear". Fear of a poluted gospel, or change of any type for any reason. Why dont we trust? Trust that the motive is to help us be better followers of the Way so we will not begin to, or continue to, just check our Christian service responsibilities off the list each Sunday when we attend our churches on the hill.