Before becoming the lead pastor of Creekside Bible Church I was in charge of our ministry to high school students for six years. This week I remembered a sermon on donkeys in the Bible that I once delivered to the students…Yes, the donkeys of the Bible. Since Palm Sunday is here, and the event it celebrates includes a donkey, I figured it might be fun to share the sermon here. Before posting it, I figured it was smart to listen to it. Two things are important to share with you before you give it a listen. First, please don’t judge my preaching based on this sermon. It is full of “uhs” and has multiple incidences of me being unsure of the information I am presenting. While all of my points are scripturally accurate, they are only loosely connected to the passages I teach. The sermon was intentionally fun. This was not a normal sermon for me as a youth pastor and is nowhere near a normal sermon for me as a lead pastor. I realize that many people visit this site with the purpose of deciding if they want to visit our church; if this is the case for you, please listen to another sermon. Second, the sermon actually makes good points that are important to the topic of church – the topic this blog is focused on. In it I share five stories where donkeys play a prominent role. Through these stories I show how the donkeys are used by God for his glory/honor and why they were able to be used in these ways. In churches today we have far too often given the impression that only certain types of people with certain types of gifts and personalities can truly be used by God. This goofy sermon reminds us that God can use anyone and anything for his worship. It is my conviction that God wants to use all Christian people in a church for mighty purposes. His ability and willingness to use donkeys shows us that if we are willing and focused, he can and will use us. What I said to a group of high school kids several years ago is true of all people in church.
I had the privilege to write a guest post for a friend who has been blogging much longer than me. His blogging has lead to the publishing of his first and second book. The post I wrote is a follow up to the Defining Church blog series that I recently finished. It presents three areas where modern churches have been blatantly disobedient to God. I believe that this disobedience has lead to God’s lessened presence in American churches. I hope that you will read that series, my post, and Tyler Braun‘s other writings. He is an excellent writer and thought provoking person. You can read my post by clicking below.
On Wednesday my grandma had open heart surgery. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak for her, but it seemed that the support of our family made the experience much easier. The church is often referred to familial terms, but the implications of this reference are not always realized or lived out (perhaps this is connected to the crumbling of families in America).
While some may disagree, I believe this image of church is positive. Not only is it positive, but it also has biblical support. Early Christians, including biblical authors, referred to themselves as brothers and sisters. Jesus shows describes his followers as family (Luke 8:19-21). Hebrews 2:11,12 talks about Christians being of the same family of Jesus and quotes an Old Testament passage containing the word “church” (Greek ekklesia).
Why does the descriptoin of church as family matter? I have only begun to think about this and am unsure of all the implications. Here are some things that come to mind: Church should be a place where people can find support during the difficulties they experience. Church should be full of people who willingly come to the aid of others in the congregation. Church should be a place where people can find love despite their flaws. Church should be a place where we find spiritual sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers. Church should be a place where we all pitch in for the good of the group.
I think there are other ways the church would benefit from living out the family nature that is often ascribed to it. I haven’t thought extensively about everything this means or what the Bible says, but I plan to do more in the coming weeks. Look for a blog post (and maybe a sermon) solely devoted to this topic. Until then, check out the first five minutes of the video below; it is a section of a sermon by Mark Driscoll.1
1. I don’t agree with many things Mark Driscoll believes, but I think he hits a homerun in this video.