Several events have come up where I can see that I need to be ordained. I need to have some backing behind my name so that I can walk into a congregation or a group and they’ll know that I’m orthodox, or at least I’m backed by people that are the same kind of orthodox as they are in a few points.
As I was preparing to figure out how to make this happen, I began to look into what it means to be ordained. One aspect of it is showing that you are educated in the Word, that you know and understand the Bible in a manner that you can teach, discern, and represent Christ in a great way. Another part of that is delving into church history and tradition and understanding classical fields of study such as Ecclesiology (study of the church), Bibliology (study of the Bible) and Pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit). Some of that sounds good to me, some of it sounds like a bunch of nonsense.
At the same time, finished the book Linchpin by Seth Godin. Near the end, he says that the main point of a resume is to show how you are just like everyone else. It’s a form of showing your achievements in a bland, lifeless, search-bot friendly manner so you can be weeded out.
This is the opposite of that. This is where I’m going to go after some heady stuff, wring out the scriptures, and look at all of the drippings. I’m putting it here because it’s easier to collect in a single place and because, someday, I might ask some guys to look at it so they may consider laying hands on me and standing behind me.
33 So they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey. And
the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them three days’
journey, to seek out a resting place for them.
34 And the cloud of the
Lord was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.
35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and let
your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before
36 And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten
thousand thousands of Israel.”
As Israel wanders in the desert, it’s another part of the Bible where actual historical events are happening and in a bigger picture it’s a forecast of our life in Christ.
Here are half a million people, wandering towards a destination that they have heard of but not visited. They are led by a god that they are still becoming acquainted with.
Then comes this line
“The ark of the covenant of the Lord when before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.” Numbers 10:33
At the last supper, Jesus told the disciples,
“There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too.” John 14:2-3 NET
So Jesus is going ahead of us, to prepare a place for us, just like the ark of the covenant went three day’s journey ahead of the Israelites to seek out a resting place for them! Oh yes, and Jesus was in the grave for how many days? Three. Three days ahead of us to prepare a resting place for us in an unknown land.
And there is one more cool bit. He didn’t leave the Israelites alone and unprotected. The ark didn’t go on without them with nothing left behind to guide them.
There was a pillar of fire in the night and a pillar of smoke and clouds during the day. It says that this was their protection and their guide as they traveled. It is also referred to as the Presence of the Lord.
On the day of Pentecost, God sent His Holy Spirit onto the disciples and it looked like fire. From then on those that believe in Jesus, that have left their life of unbelief (like the Hebrews left Egypt) are filled with the Holy Spirit to guide them and protect them as they go through life!
So here it is, like so many other places in Numbers, where the entire Christian life is laid out. Jesus has gone before us, God the Father oversees us and guides us, and the Holy Spirit is within and among us.
I was moved this past week by the way Peter says “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” This is what I had to say at Westminster about Acts 3.
Two of my sons and I went to the Easter Vigil with our community. It was good and brought up a lot of great conversation before and afterward- and a couple hilarious statements. I told my 11 year old that I was proud of him for staying awake to the very end, and he said, “Yeah, especially with the pope talking in his lullaby voice.”
I had to correct them about 286 times that this was the Bishop and not the Pope. I’m still not sure they get that part.
The other great part is when you are sitting there with kids that have memorized all of the books of the Bible and the first reading is from Genesis, then the 2nd reading is from Exodus, and then their eyes get real big. “Are they going to read from every book of the Bible tonight!?” one of them asked me the first time we went.
Here was the noteworthy quote from the night. I’m not sure if Bishop Thompson was saying it himself or if he was still quoting the Pope, but it’s good and true whoever said it:
At the end of this, my brain was mush. I think it was more the fact that they had the band come out, sing worship songs and have a prayer time and then surprise us with another 30 minute speaker when it was supposed to be over that wore me out. Knowing how to pace yourself at these conferences is the difference between getting something out of it and just wanting to get out. I dismissed the guys at the mission as soon as Michael Frost was done talking, even though Verge still went on for unknown amounts of time.
That might also be the webcast aspect of it. It might be amazing in that room full of people worshipping and singing and getting on their knees praying, but as people watching it from home it’s different.
As I look over my notes, I notice the impact of having 5 speakers go “just a little bit over”on their time. I learned this the hard way once. Whenever people give you a chance to speak, it is your responsibility, as the one serving your audience, to not go over the time they’ve given you.
I look forward to the excerpts being posted on Youtube in the coming months.
Here are my notes from OneLife West. Bret Nicholson taught on spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12-14. I’ll post links to the media of the sermon after they are posted at http://onelifechurch.org/messages/
Here are my notes from our prayer meeting Monday night. The topic was “How can we do mission work together if we are from all different churches?” There were a couple very good points in here to think on, but you just get a few notecard quotes from me here.
I have not gone to church on a Sunday morning the same way ever since I moved back to the United States. Granted, there were days in 1996-1999 that I bounced around from church to church, but that was for different reasons.
When I was in college, and then after I graduated, I spent a lot of time around people that lived the Christian life together on a day to day basis. Church, if attended, was only about 25% of the complete Christian life. The other 75% was daily prayer and Bible reading, evangelism out on the streets, and discussion discussion discussion with others about what we read, what we did, and what God was teaching us.
My wife and I now refer to those days at the “Cherry Court Days” as do many of the other people we were doing life with. I have heard pastors describe those days as “better than seminary” and others refer to it as a revival. Several of the people involved in that experience now work in the professional ministry 15 years later.
It permanently ruined many of us for any substitutes.
Fast forward to the present time, and my grumblings. My wife used to hate Sunday afternoons because we would go to church on Sunday mornings and I would gripe and complain all the way home. Eventually we quit going to church altogether and we began to try to exalt the Lord and seek Him in our day to day life. Some people worried about us, like we had fallen away. Others didn’t bring it up, because my criticisms were so visceral that I didn’t know how to explain them with grace. Some of my bros stuck by me even when I said some pretty negative stuff about the people they loved.
In that time, we grew in the Lord by leaps and bounds. We took responsibility for our children’s discipleship like youth pastors want people to do. We reached out to our neighbors, contacts, and our sphere of influence because we loved our Lord and we loved others beyond a scheduled event organized by someone we didn’t know at a location far far away from our front porch (where real life happens for us).
It was very very good. I should say it has been very very good, because we’ve only recently changed our act.
For the last year we have fallen in with a group of people doing that same thing in the neighborhood next door. The People of Praise is a covenanted Christian Community that shares life, time, possessions, and Jesus together on a daily basis. A little over a month ago we decided to join them and we began the 3-6 year process of discerning if joining the People of Praise will help us in our walk with Jesus.
One requirement to join the People of Praise: go to church.
Now the POP isn’t a church–it’s an ecumenical community. Everyone in the POP goes to their own church and is a part of their own church. In Evansville there are AOG folks, Catholic, Protestant, and Baptist folks. So here we are, my wife and I, what I would call disenfranchised program church folks. (A program church is what people used to call a megachurch, but now churches of all sizes follow the megachurch model whether they have 50-50,000 members.)
As were were “not going to church” we had visited a few places where our friends went on Sundays, and so we didn’t have to shop around.
We went, and we loved it. After I got home I realized why. You know how on the commercial for fruit loops, after the cartoon adventure and the toucan saving the day, they show a breakfast table of awesomeness and say “Fruit Loops is part of a complete breakfast” and they show eggs, orange juice, some toast, a glass of milk, and an apple? That is what Sunday morning church was to me. Part of a complete breakfast. It was sweet and awesome and I wanted 2 bowls but I wasn’t expecting it to be my complete breakfast. Where the Sunday morning church, even with it’s structured activities and programs, fell short, the para-church Christian Community filled in the gaps. And now I go to that church in a whole new way.
Links of interest:
The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:18, 19 NASB)
It was when the Egyptian magicians could not imitate God that they surrendered and believed. This has a message for us too. If followers of Christ can only do the things that the magicians (people) of this world can do and nothing more there is no reason for people to surrender to our God. If we are worldly, divisive, mortal, selfish, etc. then we aren’t showing the power we have from God to live life to the fullest. There is no reason for people to believe we are any different with or without God.