This week in magazines...here are some thoughts:
From Christianity Today...a Hillsong Article. My relation to hillsong started back in the day when Bobby Crum was starting the contemporary music scene at ABC, but before that, brought in some early hillsong tunes to the youth worship on Wed nights. Now, Jill is there and Mel is going - why does everyone want to go to Oz? Anyway...their music is all over the place and you probable sing it in your church whether you know them by name or not. Most of their music is correct theologically, although some I skip on the CDs because it seems like they write some songs for the lyrics to rhyme, instead of to be biblically correct. But, I take the good stuff. They probably have the most music titles on my iPod, so I definitely like them.
Their church is 20 years old and stretching across the globe - with United doing their first worship conference in Orlando next month (another thing I have to miss b/c I'm outside the state of FL).
This was an article on their fame and churches going world-wide...
"The church is Christ's body in which he speaks and acts and fills everything with his presence." Christ is the head of the local body - I wish more churches lived like that. Instead we get to hear of church splits and denominational catastrophes and marriages of pastors that end in divorce. Oh, if more of our churches lived out this above statement.
"To build something beautiful that reflected God in a beautiful way." That was the Houston's desire as they kept plugging into Hillsong. So many of our churches in many different denominations have other motivations than to lift up the name of Jesus and proclaim His salvation and His alone in a dark world.
"Can people flourish under your ministry?" This is a great question to ask no matter what ministry you do - whether you are a boss of an organization, a Bible study teacher to 3 women or 40 women or 10 3rd graders. Are people growing in the Truth and knowledge of God's Word by them being in your ministry? This has got to be answered - especially in discipleship/teaching ministry. By God's grace, I love looking back on girls' lives that I've plugged into and see what God is doing in their life today. God allowed me to have only a small impact in their life - just as so many has had on mine.
Hillsong is making a difference in many spheres outside the "religion world". That is important. God called us to be salt and light. Are we doing it here in America - or do we just sit on our cushioned pews and sing hymns, pray, go home...
There are some great things about hillsong: worship, small groups (I've heard they are amazing teams of serving together, doing life together, etc), and changing the culture around them.
But, there are also some not so good things: like women worship leaders and pastors. The Biblical model of male headship is not purposed there - they are more of a co-ed. I love Brian's preaching - but I wish they had complete male headship in the pastoral staff - mostly the worship Leader.
Ok - onto another one...What God Has Joined... by David Instone-Brewer; also from Christianity Today.
Ah, the question of divorce and remarriage. It is definitely one that is so involved in our churches than we should ever want. One of those questions that pastors should never have to answer - but sin entered the world almost at the beginning - doing things our way instead of God's way.
"Many have welcomed such stretching of Scripture because they couldn't accept what they believed the text apparently said." This is a sad reality about many subject of what the Bible teaches on. We would rather go on in our sin then come to terms with what the perfect Word of God says - as it cuts to the marrow of who we are. That is a hardness of the heart, something I'm currently reading about in The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (17th century Puritan).
This article is very much like my pastor's sermon recently from Matthew (www.fbcorangecity.org). Goes through the historical cultural aspects of d/rm before Jesus and during Jesus' earthly ministry.
There is grace and mercy in divorce and remarriage. The fact is - it does happen. Whether it is right or not. How are we going to relate to those who are? Let them be a part of us, or ostracize them because they don't have the "perfect" marriage with 2.5 kids and a dog?