Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

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“Jeopardy Churches”

January 28, 2009

jeopardy

In 1969 Barb and I moved to Pennsylvania to preach for an established church that needed a pulpit minister. Little did I know that that move would begin my journey out of legalism and into a broader understanding of God’s Grace. We were away from the Bible Belt and in an area with few Churches of Christ. I was fortunate to have fellow preachers within a short driving distance of where I lived. When together with these fellows I began to learn that they did not always see eye to eye with me on my understanding of scripture. The challenges that would follow would send me on a mission to learn the Bible and not just rely on pat answers that I had accepted from our brotherhood preachers, books and publications.

 

Mike Cope’s blog from the 26th. reminded me of those early years.

Len Sweet talks about the passing of the Jeopardy churches: churches that think their job is to answer every question. (I guess more precisely to match the show, they provide the exact question to fit every answer!)

Most people aren’t dying to be with people who think they know everything. It’s much more exciting to be on a journey — where everyone’s insights and everyone’s experiences are valued and then considered through interaction and discernment.

People don’t need to be given a thousand answers. They need to be invited to follow the One who is himself the Answer/the Way. They need to be invited to a life that is other than self-obsession, self-preoccupation, and self-preservation.

The way of the cross. That is the answer.

Those early years of transition from finding all the answers to finding the one who had all the answers opened my eyes to how immature it was for a person or church to think they could have all the answers. I gradually came to realize that I was simply on a journey with others seekers. We had all begun at different points, but our ultimate goal was to find Jesus and His will for our lives. They were not evil “truth” haters, closed minded defenders of evil. They were much like me, filled with preconceived ideas and opinions put there by folks that thought they were doing the will of the Father.

I am a big fan of “The Dog Whisper” on the National Geographic Channel. This guy understands how dogs think. One evening recently he mentioned how important it was not to introduce two strange dogs to each other – eye ball to eye ball. Rather he suggested that they meet and walk side by side for a bit before they begin the other routines dogs have to check each other out.

That made me think. Meeting eye ball to eye ball sounded a lot like the days of debates. Introductions were made and then the fight was on. I wonder if those meetings could have ended differently if first they had walked side by side and discussed what they had in common. What if we had seen each other as equals on a journey together to seek the will of the Father? What if we had seen each other as people with honest motives and intent?

I like Len Sweet’s characterization of “Jeopardy Churches”. It is sad but so very true. I think “Jeopardy churches” are just generations away from death. The declines of the past years will continue to increase and take there toll as more and more members either die or awaken to the reality of God’s Grace. Their children are already voting with their feet. Sadly, it is just a matter of time.

Answer: They don’t understand God’s Grace. Question: What is the reason churches are on the decline?

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Today We Mourn With A Fellow Blogger And His Family

May 22, 2008

His Blog is entitled, “Out Here Hope Remains”, and today that hope is anchoring a family who is going through a parents worst nightmare, the loss of their son. John Robert Dobbs was about to graduate from High School, but a graduation to glory took precedent over his earth one. Here is John in his own words as he speaks about the loss of his son. 

“This is a day of intense pain and emptiness that begins a long journey through the darkness of loss. Maggy and I have lived ever parent’s nightmare … the loss of our eighteen year old son, John Robert. Gregarious and compassionate, John Robert has had enormous influence in his short life. The details of his passing are unimportant when compared to the beauty and joy that his life has brought to our family. This loss will live with our hearts forever. I hope and pray in time that the memories of John Robert will spread a shadow over the hurt we now feel.”

Would you join with us as we mourn and pray with this wonderful family?

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The Picture Says It All

February 22, 2008

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Only two have offered to die for you and me. Jesus for our soul, and the American Soldier for our freedom.

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Gone Home

February 14, 2008

Today one of our Shepherds when home and now enjoys the presence of the Great Shepherd. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sandra and the children.  Pat was a great man with a great heart. He will be greatly missed.

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Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy!

November 28, 2007

My new friend, brother and minister for the Gallatin Church of Christ Noel Quinn lost his father on Thanksgiving Day. Shortly before his death a friend of Noel’s sent him the following video. This is real stuff that will touch your heart.