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Archive for August, 2011

There’s an interesting article over on the Anglican 100o site entitled Bad Reasons to Plant a Church. It offers an interesting glimpse at a secular perspective on church planting as well as a challenge to examine the real reasons to plant a church.

Planting a church is not an endeavor to be entered into lightly. There are many hazards along the way. There is uncertainty and sacrifice, not least of all by the sending church. It is hard work that demands all that you can give spiritually,  mentally, and emotionally. It is entrepreneurial but for the kingdom of God. I cringe at the thought of it being considered a franchise in some consumeristic way.

In the course of the discernment process to begin planting Holy Trinity, and even now, it has been  important to constantly hold this mission loosely, openhandedly before God and our community. It is vital to earnestly examine our hearts and be skeptical of our motivations. Planting a church is apostolic work. It is noble and it is important. But we do not seek to plant a church for power, authority, or some foolish desire to have it our way. We plant a church, which is the fullness of him who fills all in all, to see Christ glorified and his kingdom come.

As we continue, may we constantly hold before us the reality that this church is not  for us to have a local franchise of faithful Anglicanism. There are people we do not know who will come and encounter the living God here. There are many unknown to us who are being summoned even now to come and encounter the reality of our Lord and his grace at his table.  There are many with gifts and passions we don’t have, who will come and join in with what God is doing here. As we press on in obedience, praying, fasting, and trusting in his grace, we continue to hold this all loosely, knowing it is the Lord who is the Great Shepherd, the maniacal Sower, and the faithful Harvester. May he bless this work and give us joy as we serve him.

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There’s an interesting article on the BBC > World site entitled, “Dutch Rethink Christianity for a Doubtful World.” Here are the opening lines:

The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he’s not the sort of man to sugar the pill.

The Exodus Church is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands. An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.  It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord’s Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse’s sermon seems bleak – “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”.

“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.” Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.

Postmodernism is alive and well in the Netherlands!

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Bishop Phillips Brooks was well known in his life for his preaching. As rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia,  he preached to large congregations. He gave a famous sermon (still well worth a read) on Abraham Lincoln the week after his assasination while his body was visiting Philadelphia.  It is an interesting example of one pastor not only ministered to his own flock during a time of national crisis but to the entire country. Interestingly, he also wrote the words to the well-loved Christmas hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” after having served at a Christmas Eve midnight service in  Bethlehem.

Brooks died just 18 months after being consecrated bishop of Massachusetts. He also wrote a book entitled The Joy of  Preaching that was used to teach seminarians on both sides of the Atlantic.His Lyman Beecher lectures on Preaching at Yale (1876 – 1877)  are still considered standard-setting. Here is an excerpt:

“The relation between preacher and congregation is one of the very highest pictures of human companionship that can be seen on earth. Its constant presence has given Christianity, much of its noblest and sweetest color in all ages. It has much of the intimacy of the family, with something of the breadth and dignity that belongs to the State. It is too sacred to be thought of as a contract. It is a union which God joins together for purposes worthy of His care. When it is worthily realized, who can say that it may not stretch beyond the line of death, and they who have been minister and people to each other here be something holy and peculiar to each other in the City of God forever?”  — “Brooks, Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching,” p. 216.

 

He preferred to preach in his academic gown but would vest in surplice and stole when presiding at the Eucharist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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