Church Lounge: My Church is on my sofa

In the next of the “Church Lounge” series, Aidan from the More Than Brothers Blog introduces us to The Jesus Army:

My Church is on my sofa. My church has gone sofar.

I believe that the original Church in Jerusalem is our best model for a Kingdom of Heaven shaped society, the most direct demonstration of the body of Christ, because it’s the one that the Holy Spirit initiated at Pentecost before anyone had any idea of what Church was supposed to be like; it’s where it’s at! The first 3120-ish men and women were filled with the Holy Spirit with Jesus’ words and life still in their heads, in their hearts. The core 120 of them knew him as man to man. They knew his heart for humanity and his intention for his people, and from that sprang the community that we call Church.

So what was the early Church like? We’re told the early Church was “of one heart and soul”, so much so, they made a thing of selling their valuable assets (Tithing? So Old Testament. Chuck it all in!) They put the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles for them to distribute to the poor. This was so successful that it was said “there were no needy people among them”! Talk about Christian praxism & charity, eh!

Another thing I’ve noticed from reading Acts is that the Church would regularly meet in the homes of it’s members. In fact, it seems that the extended households of that culture were each ‘Churches’ in each City. There’s fifteen direct references to the church in the home in the NT, from:

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”

and then further on:

“Likewise greet the church that is in their house”

Up until persecution broke out after Steven’s stoning public spaces were important gathering points for Jerusalem’s household-Churches, so we do see a good case for mass fellowship gatherings. However, Churches were primarily house-based, as they shared their most important meal together, the agape communion meal, in their houses.

My third thought on the example we have of Church is that Jesus himself said that when a couple of people are gathered in his name, he’s there too. So according to Jesus, a bunch of Jesus-people together is all it takes to be a Church. No bells & whistles, no incense or lecterns, no big screens, fancy lights or drumkits. Though all of these can be useful, like the temple courts they’re not what the Church is made up of, they’re just useful.

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Weekly RoundUp: The End (of the News Of )The World Edition

Wow… The blogosphere has been CRAZY busy this week:

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Church Lounge: How daft are sports team owners?

Let me introduce you to the first part of the Church Lounge Series, where Ben Searle looks at the relationship between the love of money, God, and sports teams:

 

I am a big sports fan. I love many mainstream and non-mainstream sports.  I enjoy watching my family play rugby and cricket, and I love talking about ‘the game’. Yet what has been happening on the business end of sport has me having to stick up for ‘the game’.

The legendary Los Angels Dodgers Major League baseball team has filed for bankruptcy. The second most recognisable baseball team in the world (second only the New York Yankees) – through poor financial management, broken business/personal relationships, and a flawed business model – are now broke with a pessimistic future.

The new owner of Birmingham City football club, Carson Yeung, is in a Hong Kong prison on money laundering charges.  This is the majority share holder of the club worth £87 million.  There are also claims that some of the appointees have had run-ins with the law also.

The American football (NFL) and basketball (NBA) leagues are having a ‘Lock-out’ (effectively a union strike) until negotiations on greater financial share of the respective sports revenue. It takes the mickey that these bargaining are happening during one of the worst recessions in history.

When I see some of the ancient writings on financial responsibility seem more relevant than ever:

The wicked borrow and never pay back, but good people are generous with their gifts – Psalm 37:21

Poor people are slaves of the rich. Borrow money and you are the lender’s slave – Proverbs 22:7

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you Let us be bold, then, and say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6

The reason I bring these ideas to attention (which a few of many) is because they are principals that would benefit the many.  The phrase Oligarch could be used with quite a few of these owners: Where all power and opinion comes from one sources, maybe even one person.  The business-only outlook of such men and women excludes the people whose contribute the most to the owner’s team: the fans, the local citizens, and the sports fans everywhere.  A cold and aloof image with minimal press does not help the sport either.

The Biblical principal of not being enslaved by our debtors, seeking to contribute to the good of the world, and to not be solely money-led in life is of benefit for all of us.  Knowing that God is for everyone, wanting to help you whenever and where ever, takes the power out of money.  We can aim our lives to serving God and humanity, where our income sustains our household and for the greater good.  This might be ideological stuff, but these ancient texts (amongst many others in the Bible) give these sports teams a far greater deal.

Ben can be found at BenBlogs, and is a lay preacher at his St Annes Church in Oldland,Bristol.

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Working on a Sunday?

A Story from NotAlwaysRight:

(A customer comes through my check-out line looking agitated.)

Customer: “How dare you work on a sacred day of rest!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Today is Sunday! Why are you here? You should be in church, you blasphemous heathen! Why are you here?”

Me: “I’m working on Sunday because there are customers that want to buy groceries on Sundays.”

(The customer immediately shut up and didn’t speak for the rest of the time I rang up his groceries).

 

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Weekly RoundUp – Dear Mr Driscoll

Its Saturday. Its time for the Church Sofa Weekly roundup:

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Do you want a Church Notice Board?

Do you need to build yourself a Church Notice Board?

Have you got the need to explain to the public what you get upto?

Well ChurchCare has supplied the a number of hints and tips.

Personally I was intrigued by:

The passer-by must be able to understand the message it is conveying, and the size of the lettering is important. Many people are not now familiar with ‘churchy’ language. For example, ‘Morning Service’ may be more easy to understand than ‘Mattins’, ‘Solemnisation of matrimony’ less clear than ‘Marriages’.

‘Mattins’? I didn’t even realise that was a word..??

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Are you a #Digidisciple?

I’m almost hearing you think “Whats a #Digidisciple?”

Well one definition of a disciple is:

A Disciple is one who grows in Christ and in so doing models and teaches Christians the precepts of the Bible, prayer, doctrine, relationship, Christian living, service, and worship, to name the main ones.
A Digital disciple is a someone who seeks to live out the above in a world saturated by digital information and access, or as the Big Bible puts it:
A ‘digital disciple’, or, as we are calling it, a #digidisciple is someone who seeks to live out their Biblically-informed Christian faith in the digital space, whether they are dipping a toe in, or are fully immersed in the digital worlds … and, yes, there are lots of different digital worlds, including some more well known ones: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Second Life, the increasingly mobile and interactive nature of the digital space… just as the online world has moved from read, to read/write, to immersed.
The ChurchSofa lads are going to be joining with others at the BigBible site  in trying to work out what being a #Digidisciple really does mean, and how we can live as one.
We’re going to be blogging on “My So Called Digital Life”. While we’re getting our heads around what that means, I’d suggest heading over to The Big Bible Blog and getting stuck into the discussion that’s started so far.

Married. Dad.

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