Thursday, October 4, 2007

Let's be STRAIGHT UP!




Well, I just got back from Chicago where I attended a Pastor's Conference entitled "STRAIGHT UP". It was unreal. Ravi Zacharius, Joe Stowell, James Macdonald, and Albert Mohler where among the faculty of speakers. All of them were amazing, not just because of their passionate, theologically ignited sermons, but the presupossitions that carry them.




What do I mean?




Well, if your not familiar at all with ministry, there are many ways of doing ministry. Some people believe that culturally relevant ministry means, big screens, loud music, saying words like cool, freakin, and whatever....


Other people in minstry believe that people at the end of the day, dont really need another "Office spoof skit" or the latest secular song being paraded in our worship services, lights, or a sweet video clip. All of these things are cool, and if giving careful attention, done on purpose can be effective. But what people really need is for us to be STRAIGHT UP with them. (This is where the conference gets its name).


People need the word of God preached by unapologetical preachers.
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel" Paul said...

Why Paul?

"For it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes" Rom. 1:16


Some preachers I feel, are almost smuggling in the Gospel along with all their supposed "Culturally Relevant" strategies. Is it because we are ashamed of the simple Gospel message itself? Or does the Gospel sound too foolish" Paul would tell you... "It is foolish." It's only foolish though to those who are perishing. So then why is that so many churches are designing their ministry strategies for the foolish and perishing? The church is for the Church ultimatly, and primarily.


We as Ministers should be more concerend about being faithful to the Gospel then we are faithful to staying up on the neverending fads of our culture. Should we be culturally "unrelevant?" No... and dont write me because this is not what I am saying. "I become all things to all men, that I might win some". daaaaaaa Of couse we study the means and we choose the best possible means to bring about the message. But my whole deal, is that I feel like some churches have sacrificed the message on the alter of the means. People can't see Jesus because of all the "culturally relevant, Jesus is my homeboy, and he is so cool" type crap we give em. Jesus isn't cool. Jesus is God and should be reverenced as such.





More and more Pastor's conferences are focused on teaching pastors how to be more crafty, more strategic, more hip, and culturally relevant. All of this sometimes takes preeminece over the expository preaching of God's word. People need the Word. I honestly believe that with all my heart. I have this presupposition that says, "The Word of God is powerful, like a two edged sword that is able to pierce through all the culturally relevant fads of our day to hit the heart of an 8 year old, and the athiest all at the same time." Why? Because the Word of God trancends culture, ages, race, income, gender, and even the preachers boring sermon. The Word of God is timeless, making it the most relevant thing we got to give our people in our churches. Lets not forget what true RELEVANCY really is. How bout your a sinner, in need of a savior, we have the savior, would you like to know him today? How's that for relevancy? They don't need us, our cool videos, our sweet guitar riffs... at the end of the day they need to be convicted of their sin, shown the cross, and called to bow and worship. How do we get people to do this?
Answer: The WORD.


Don't get me wrong, I love videos, and I love the Office... but Jesus, and the preaching of His Word take on a whole other world for me. Combining elements like this in a worship service for me... make Jesus almost seem Juvenile. Don't you think it is interesting (or maybe STRATEGIC on God's part) that He has chosen the primary way to reveal himself through the written Word (2 Tim 2:4). Why didn't he wait for videos, and podcasts? There is something mysterious when a man of God labors all week over the Word, comes to the pulpit with proper respect, to deliever a message from the Lord filled with passion and tears. IF anything is relevant... it's this.
Be this man.


"The Word of God is authoritative even to those who do not believe in its authority" -James MacDonald


So Pastors who read my blog for the sake of Christ, and His church....


"Let the lion out of the cage and it will do the rest of the work."

In love,
Jonathan

5 comments:

eksellent said...

sounds like it was a great conference that challenged your heart. Good to hear it. Hope you are doing well.

Melissa_Loves_God_4-ever said...

Sounda like you had fun!

tina said...

I love Ravi! So jealous you got to see the guy!!!!

tina said...

I am so jealous you got to see Ravi in person!

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions