A Royal Priesthood | Ep 42

Priesthood

In this episode we’re talking about how all Christians are actually made to be part of a real priesthood. We had a friend share a story about how she took on the duties of a pastor for a family member who was passing away. She talked about how she prayed for that family member and with other members, anointed him with oil, led and issued communion and just generally cared for the hearts of her other family members. All that while a person she loved was dying. And she’s not a pastor. Well, she isn’t a vocational one, who is paid to do that stuff.

Your Priesthood

In Eph 4:11 we’re told that God gave certain gifts to the church so that we might be trained to do the work of the ministry and build up the body of Christ. Those gifts are Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, and Teacher. It is in these gifts that we are taught and brought into the fullness of our priesthood.

Many Christians are content with allowing a small number of people, typically in church leadership, assumes these roles. In doing so they never have to be responsible for actually making disciples. But, if we take Jesus’ commission to go be witnesses and make disciples, we cannot ignore our role as priest.

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Photo: Flikr/Don McCullough

Growing Up Christian & Leaving Church | Ep 41

Church

In this episode there really isn’t a lot to write for notes. Really Thomas and Bruce spent the episode telling their stories. They shared how they became Christians and what that looked like through their childhoods and into adulthood. Then they let that conversation lead into why they are both working toward leaving institutional church.

Church

We haven’t kept it a secret that we’re working toward leaving traditional church. Right now Thomas is a little farther along, but we’re both moving forward. Probably the best way to wrap this up is to just get to the stories. Enjoy.

What’s Your Church Story

We would love to hear your stories. How did you become Christian? Are you still? Are you going to Church? If not, why? You can share in the comments or contact us and share privately.

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Photo: Flickr/Quinn Bombrowski

Should the Church Build Leaders? | Ep 40

Church Leaders

In this week’s episode, like a chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream cone, Bruce and Thomas are back and together in the same place. In the last couple weeks the podcast has seen their wives show up to review The Shack and an interview with James Roberson, 516 Project, about the upcoming 8 Days of Hope event in Lafayette, LA. In this episode we discuss church leaders, or more specifically, their infatuation with developing and building leaders.

Leaders versus Disciples

When Jesus gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) He instructed us to make disciples. Somehow the western church has turned that into a leadership development calling. What if we focused on making disciples instead and in doing so, we created disciple makers. By the very definition of “making disciples who make disciples”, we are making leaders. What if we focused on disciple making? What would change?

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photo: unsplash/David Eragusa

Does Loneliness Cause Us to Make Poor Relationship Decisions? | Ep 32

loneliness

With St. Valentine’s Day being just two days ago, this is easily one of the most lonely weeks for some. Mostly because everything surrounding this holiday involves being with someone you love. But, not everyone has someone. In fact, so many deal with loneliness. Not only do we have to deal with loneliness, we often struggle through different levels of loneliness. It’s this loneliness that causes us to seek out relationships with others and can often lead to unhealthy decisions surrounding who we spend time with and who we chose to commit ourselves to.

That’s what we’re talking about in this episode. Thomas mentioned the importance of understanding the role that loneliness plays in bringing us to church, drawing us into a dating relationship and eventually marriage. We go on to talk about how being lonely can be the foundation we use to make excuses to allow ourselves to consider divorce as an option. So, let’s talk about being lonely…

Why are Christians Lonely?

We talked about a couple different reasons. The bigger reason lies within the separation created from Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. That event created a gap in our relationships that we have been trying to close ever since.

The other reason is a bit closer to home and, we believe, has to do with the way that mainstream (institutional) church is structured. Unfortunately, church, as a system, does not often lend itself to offering authentic and close relationships. Some of the loneliest Christians are those sitting among a 2,000 person congregation. Sadly, the way we structure traditional church actually feeds the needs of the organization, but fails to fulfill the needs of the organisms within the walls.

So people come to church hoping for connection and believing they will find it in the group. But, when the superficiality of that connection becomes evident, they decide that maybe the group isn’t intended for connection and their loneliness convinces them that they can find fulfillment in an individual. So they find someone, and date, then marry… even if they don’t get along with the person, being with someone is better than being alone. Until it isn’t.

The Second Level of Loneliness

The second level of lonely occurs after marriage. It often comes with the realization that the person you married cannot fill that desire for connection. Really only God can, but at this point you’re less concerned with that and more concerned with how to get out of the misery. This is typically when people, who may have never previously considered divorce, talk themselves into it being the “only way” or the “best decision for everyone involved”. So we ignore the bible and do what we feel will alleviate our suffering. (To be fair, sometimes divorce may be a necessary thing. We’re not broad stroke painting divorce.) 

God Doesn’t Leave

God’s message to everyone, all the time is, “I will never leave you.” We may feel alone, but if we’re in Christ, we’re not; in fact, it’s impossible for us to be. God’s word is clear…

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

A Note to Singles (But really to the church)

Church, two things.

  1. Stop expecting single people to figure out where they fit into the body. Go find them and welcome them in.
  2. Stop making marriage the highest form of worship or holiness or whatever we make it. There’s a ton to this, but stop acting like the thing singles should aspire to is marriage. Just invite them in and be companionship for them.

 

Mentioned in the show:

Gene Edwards: The Divine Romance

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photo: El Espejo Gotico

Train a Child Up and the Real Way They Should Go | Ep 29

Train a Child

Train a Child

This week we are back on the serious topics train. And when I say serious, that doesn’t mean there is no joking involved. There’s always joking, mostly. This week we are discussing parenting. More specifically we want to talk about what it means to train a child. Even more specifically we are addressing Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

What if they don’t go?

We do not really have a problem with using Prov 22:6 as a verse to guide our parenting principles. Our issue is when that scripture is used as a guide from an Old Testament context. When that proverb was written the Israelites parents would have understood it to be directing them to teach their children the OT law. Contextually they would have believed that obedience to the law would have maintained them on the righteous path and kept them in favor with God. Subsequently they would have taught their children every letter of the law. That proverb would be tied, in parallel, to Deuteronomy 6:7 which said, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

The issue with taking this context is what to do with that scripture if your child does depart from it. I know enough people that really tried to raise their children to understand the Bible, go to church and know God, and some of those kids still quit going to church. When that happens, from an OT context, you have two possible considerations. Either you didn’t train them the way you should have or the bible was wrong? Obviously neither of those can be true. So what do we do with it then?

A New Testament View

Without giving the entire episode away, there is a way that allows our children to experience and take responsibility for their own relationship with God. It has to do with Jesus. But you’ll need to check out the episode to get the rest.

I will say this… The OT view places emphasis on training by telling, while the NT places emphasis on training by showing (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Links:

Phil Vischer

Skye Jethani

g(O)dd Couple: Selfishness, Unity & Social Media | Ep 27

MarriageWe decided to continue with the marriage topics, because we had a long list of them. But, this time it’s just Thomas and Bruce. I know we’re not married, but we’re kinda married. Think Turk and JD from the TV show Scrubs and you have us (of course, without the doctor stuff and cool theme music, but we are working on theme music).

As funny as most things are to us, we chose a few pretty serious topics. The topics we selected are selfishness, unity and social media.

Selfishness

We all know, and most would agree, that selfishness will quickly ruin a marriage. Unfortunately it isn’t until we get married that we realize just how selfish we can be. The hope, however, is that we can move from a place of selfishness to a place where it is “us” against the world. Left unchecked, selfishness can lead to asking dangerous questions about whether or not your marriage is what you “signed up for.”

Unity

The second topic we discussed was unity. In the beginning of every marriage, as selfishness is undone every marriage should be moving toward unity. But unity takes continued work and dedication.

Social Media

The last topic we talk about is social media’s impact on marriage. Social media can easily be a point of tension, but if you are focused on building trust and unity, it doesn’t have to be.

In the end, selfishness is easy, unity takes work, but is the best, and social media can, but doesn’t have to be, a slippery slope.

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Photo: Panda Whale

g(O)dd Couple: Coitus, Comparing & Communication, but First, Dating… | Ep 25

coupleWe thought it would be fun to a couple’s episode, well a couple couple’s episodes. This week my wife, Sarah, and I will discuss a few issues and next week Thomas and his wife, Angy, will discuss some.

In this episode Sarah and I tackle some pretty important, and touchy, subjects. We are not experts in marriage, but we have been through alot, sought counsel from wise married couples and have done our best to follow Jesus in a way that brings Him glory and honor. In all that, we have learned a thing or two.

Dating

All I’ll say on this is, the longer you can date, and maintain the purity of relationship and respect and honor for each other, then do it. The longer you are able to date, then the deeper you will know each other and the more emotional, spiritual and intellectual intimacy you are able to build.

Sexpectations

The most important part about this is that you have these conversations early and often. If you have baggage surrounding sexual issues, get help by talking to someone. Sex is the physical expression of intimacy built in those all those other areas of intimacy.

Comparison

Comparing yourselves, as a couple, to other couples can be a very damaging thing. It can easily lay the groundwork for resentment. Sarah said, “Comparison is the sister to envy.” Comparison can be healthy when we use it as a point of reference rather than a model to follow.

Communication

Communication as a couple is critical. As a couple we should be looking to learn how to communicate in healthy ways. Part of that healthy communication is learning to speak your spouse’s language. I’m not talking about learning their literal language, although if your spouse speaks Spanish and you don’t learning their would probably help communication. I’m talking about learning their love language. It is good to know what your love language is, but better to know theirs, as it helps in you serving them.

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What if Your Life IS Ministry? | Episode 23

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As Christians we often put a ton of pressure on ourselves to realize our “calling.” We act as if in not discovering our calling we are unable to “do” anything for God. What if it is less about “calling” and more about how we understand “ministry?”

What is Ministry?

The greek word that is commonly translated as “minister” is diakonos. Another way it can be translated is “servant.” Various translations of the bible translate it one of those two ways. What could happen if we begin to translate ministry in the context of servanthood rather than vocation? Maybe ministry is simply giving to and serving others. But what do we give them?

Our Life Poured Out

Eph 4:11-13 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”

and

2 Cor 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Biblically speaking we are all ministers; given the work of building up, in love, a unified church and bringing the message of reconciliation to the world.

What if our LIFE is ministry? What would the world look like?

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image: Calvary Church Planting Network

What is Spiritual Maturity? | Episode 21

empty-plate

In this episode we tackle a subject that, inside the church, can mean very different things for different people. We are addressing spiritual maturity. Neither one of us want to make it seem as if we have all the answers. We surely do not. But, we think we have a solid idea about what the bible says about maturing spiritually.

Spiritual Milk

The Apostles are pretty clear that when we first come to Christ, we are to consume spiritual milk. 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.” But what is also clear is that we should not be drinking it for our entire Christian walk. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Cor 3:2, says, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” And the writer of Hebrews expounds on that by saying, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food…” (Heb 5:12) Basically, we should mature to spiritual “meat”; and when you don’t, you become malnourished.

Spiritual Obesity

The other side to that is constantly over-consuming biblical knowledge. On the surface it seems as if this may not be a bad thing, but it is. The problem is that too much knowledge, not acted out, can trap the person in legalism or religious intellectualism. It creates a person that has attained a cognitive understanding of scripture, but has not experienced a heart change by it. This results in a “Christian” that never allows the Holy Spirit to lead them into the active part of the Gospel.

Spiritual Health

Maturing Christians result in healthy Christians. Healthy Christians result in a healthy Church. A healthy Church produces mature Christians. Here is the secret…

Nutrition, Exercise, Rest, & Repeat.

You will need to listen to the episode to get what that process looks like.

Additional Reading

Here is an article that Bruce wrote on his blog about the subject.

Breastfed Christians

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image credit: Today’s Christian Woman

Event Driven Christianity | Ep 9

The Godd Show

On this episode we tackle the topic of event driven Christianity. What is event driven Christianity, you ask? It’s all the concerts, conferences, gatherings and even Sunday mornings that we depend on to “refill” us spiritually, until we can make it to the next event.

On the surface there’s nothing wrong with attending any of these events. It’s when these events become our primary means for connecting to God that they become a problem. When we seek the emotional high of these events as a means to define how close we feel to God, really what we’re doing is depending on someone else or something else to make us feel good about Jesus. When this happens our Christianity becomes shallow and has little to do with Jesus.

Instead, we should be looking to grow deeper in Christ on a daily basis. Our identity should be found in Him, rather than an event about Him. Attending events should be geared toward building on and confirming what Christ is doing in our life on a daily basis. Sunday morning services should be a collective celebration of the rest of your week that was spent in Christ. Things like spiritual disciplines and Gospel centered community can lead us to that place.

 

Links to stuff mentioned during the show:

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Spiritual Disciplines

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