Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Can Christians Change Views? Part 2: CTJ #42

This is the second half of our discussion about Christians changing views throughout our lives.  We continue the topic and talk about maturity in our faith and how maturity lends itself into growing past some views while becoming more firm in others.  The challenge to each of us is to focus on the commands of scripture and how to apply them to every aspect of our lives.  Join us as we finish out this interesting conversation.

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Can Christians Change Views? Part 1: CTJ #41

When we are new Christians, we develop absolutes as to what we think is 100% right and 100% wrong rather quickly.  Without a doubt, some truths in the Bible are very clear and remain this way throughout life.  What we discuss in this podcast are perhaps some of the “secondary truths” that as we mature, we learn more about grace and have an open mind of various interpretations.  Join us as we discuss changing views, the local church and worship, and so much more in the first part of this two part series.

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CTJ #8: Music and the Church: Ft. Jesse Renaud

In this episode of Coffee Theology and Jesus, special guest Jesse Renaud joins Tim as they dive into music and the Church. Where is the line with musical excellence and a heart who wants to worship? Is it wrong to have a Sunday morning worship set look like a concert? These are just a few questions they dive into. If you’re a musician and you play in the Church then you’re going to love this episode!

Sunday Mornings, Why Are They Always The Same?!

By this time in my blog, I’ve made it pretty clear that I started this not to bash, tear down, or negatively criticize Christianity and the Church.  Granted, I’ve had my moments perhaps of being overly critical, but I assure you the reader it’s out of a heart that loves the Church like crazy.  It’s on my mind every day.  Thinking about ways to be more like Christ, ways the Church can love the world, ways to disciple each other and to live more in the gospel than just a few times a week.  Keep that in mind during this post.  I’m not here claiming to have the corner on the only way to be the Church, I’m simply throwing my ideas and reasoning behind my ideas.

I’m going start off blunt and honest.  I am bored to tears on Sunday mornings more times than not.  I’ve been attending the Sunday service consistently for 20 years and rarely have I seen a church body do a Sunday service radically different then the normal.  It’s boring, it’s drawn out, it’s static (the opposite of the God we serve), and   it’s repetitive.  I’m not trying to sound rude here, I’m just being honest about my view of it.  The Sunday service is pretty much unchanged from Sunday to Sunday. Even “special” services hold to the same rigid format of a Sunday morning service.

Every week millions of people go to a building, sit in seats that face the front stage, listen to announcements, a couple worship songs, a reason why you should give the Church money, a sermon (usually around 3 points), a closing prayer and then a dismissal.  This is how we do Sunday mornings (for the most part).  Your local church might add or take away a few things, but this is the structure we participate in.

My question I’m asking myself is this: “Is this the only way?”.   Now before I go further I don’t want you to misunderstand me.  I’m not saying that the traditional way is bad, or evil, or wrong.  I’m simply asking why can’t we be free to worship our living God in unique ways every Sunday? Why does it only seem like Church service counts if there is a sermon and worship songs?  Why do we the Church feel almost trapped into doing Church the same way every Sunday?

In this post I want to focus on one aspect of the Church service in particular.

This thought I have been thinking through over the past few days.  Specifically the sermon.  I was in a Church service Sunday and the pastor was giving the sermon for the morning service.  As I was listening my mind wandered (it does this all the time, the pastor is a great man, it was not because of him or his message) and I thought to myself “do we need to have a sermon preached for the Church meeting to be counted as an official church meeting?”.   As I began to dive in to this I started thinking about other ways people can be taught the Word.

My point isn’t to say that preaching sermons or bad or we need to stop doing so.  My point is to wake us up out of our trance! To be creative and imaginative in the way we preach the the Word of God.  Sometimes practical examples are easier to communicate.  Sometimes people need to practically experience what we are trying to teach them.  Imagine this example with me.

I’ve heard many people preach/teach on the subject of community.  What it looks like, how it works.  The problem with this though, is that community must be experienced.  It can not be just taught, community is not a concept, it’s a tangible expression of the Kingdom of God.  Could you imagine if you walked in to your church building and instead of pews or chairs there were tables set up.  Long ones, and every table was full of breakfast food.  Bagels, eggs, coffee, the works!  Then your pastor got up to the mic and addressed the congregation and said something like this; ” Today we worship God by celebrating His Son dying for us so we can live forever.  As we eat and celebrate this together talk about what He has been doing in your life.” Can you imagine this? Imagine the celebration? Imagine the conversations that people would engage talking about the Lord, what He is doing in their lives.  I know this works because I’ve been a part of things like this.  I’ve sat down with 20,30,40 believers around tables of food and talked about how good God is, what He is doing in our lives.  They have been some of the best church services I’ve ever been a part of because I was a part of the church meeting, not just a passive spectator sitting down watching a performance.

I want to close by saying this.  I’m not saying to replace what we do with things like this.  I’m saying to add on to what we do with things like this.  We can not be afraid to change our Sunday morning meetings up a little bit.  It’s ok to get out of our buildings on a Sunday morning and to serve the community by living out the Gospel of Christ.  It’s ok to teach congregations in a different way then giving them three take home points.  It’s also ok to use those three points when the times call for them, but it’s not the only way to teach people about the Kingdom.  Jesus spoke in parables, Jesus also healed people, Jesus also preached.  Jesus taught in many ways, not just one static format.  We as a church should live in this freedom, using our creativity to teach sound doctrine to people who are starving for it.

The Man, The King, The Son of God (A Worship Thought) – Rob

This has been on my mind recently; reading through the accounts of the crucifixion in the gospels we have three phrases that I have personally really enjoyed. These phrases were spoken by men who were actually involved in the action. Two of them were made by Pilate and one by a centurion.

“Behold the man” – Pilate
Pilate had no idea the truth involved in those words. He really never fully grasped the magnificence that this individual before him was indeed a man. We often sing “Verily God yet become truly human, Lower than angels to die in our stead.” Jesus was a man and it was a requirement for the plan of salvation. Pilate desired everyone to look at Christ that day as “a man” and have pity upon Him! Maybe if they could see that He was one of them (a Jewish man) they would let Him go. He was recently beaten and had a crown of thorns and a mock robe. Pilate was only looking for some pity as they gazed upon this man, but none was found. Despite their reaction, they were indeed looking upon the man. Can we not apply this to our lives and worship? Christ became a man for our sake; to die on a cross. We read in John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” meaning he “tabernacled” or made His dwelling/home among us. The God of eternity who had eternal glory in Heaven made his dwelling among men. That should motivate us to a life devoted to service for Him and worship from hearts of unspeakable joy as we “Behold the man.”

“Behold the king” – Pilate
Again, I don’t believe Pilate knew exactly what he was saying. I do believe he was attempting again to appeal to the masses. A bruised, beaten, and disfigured man stood before them and in his innocence he cried “behold the king.” The Jews replied with another rendition of “Crucify Him!” Perhaps the discussion with Christ about truth made Pilate realize who Christ was and he again tried to plead with the crowd on His behalf. Pilate must have heard many things about Christ and I’m sure one of them was that He is “the King of the Jews.” He tried to persuade the crowd with these words but it only fueled their thirst for blood as they cried out “We will not have this man to reign over us!” However, was not Christ the true King of Israel? Was He not the King of all creation? Should this also not affect our lives and worship? As we live here on earth are we aware of our King? If I had my eyes constantly on the King I would be so much more willing to live for Him and submit every part of my life to Him. And my worship? Well I would see Him as King and the one who deserves all of my worship and it would alone go to Him.

“This was the Son of God” – Centurion
I think this phrase is the one that impresses me the most. This centurion may or may not have known much about Christ but he witnessed that crucifixion first hand. He saw the three dark hours and felt the earthquake. I’m sure he heard each of the cries of Christ on the cross. The forgiveness, the love, the obedience, and the sacrifice were all seen by him. What was his impression? He proclaims that the man who was cruelly treated and crucified was none other than the Son of God. What a statement! What a realization! I can’t wait to talk to this man in Heaven (yes, I’m sure he will be there). Will he be equally impressed with my life and worship? When I view Christ does my heart proclaim “This is the Son of God!” If only I would have my eyes on that my worship would be all the more meaningful.

Let our lives and worship be augmented by these three simple phrases as we behold the man, the king, and the son of God.