The Worst 3 Point Sermon

3 point semron

There are a lot of bad sermons.  And since I’m a professional sermon-giver, I tend to think of myself as a connoisseur of good preaching.  And in my listening to sermons, there are plenty of preachers who just come up with garbage.  There are dull and boring preachers that at least still preach the truth.  And even worse, there are engaging and creative preachers that boldly preach things that are not biblical and hardly helpful.

Harmful preaching can be hard to detect behind a veil of clever phrases and enthusiastic shouting.  And it’s not because the listeners are unintelligent, but simply because harmful preaching often disguising itself in spiritual language.

The preacher Robert Capon suggested that the worst kind of 3 point sermon was, “Here’s what you should do.  You are not doing it.  Try harder.”

And I couldn’t agree more.

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The Marks of a Church

Marks of church

What makes a church a church?  There are all kinds of things that we can use to describe the ways that we prefer our churches to look, sound, smell, or feel, but what are the things that define the Christian Church?

Martin Luther described the church simply when he said, “A seven year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.”

From preaching to the band, from membership to sacraments, from worship to the parking lot, the practices that shape the life of a congregation are endless.  So what matters most?

What are the marks of a Christian Church?

Martin Luther listed seven marks that we can recognize the church by.  His list is incredibly helpful and I thought it would be helpful to re-state many of the themes that Luther suggested but to say it in different words and add some nuances that are helpful for our own conversations.  At the heart of my list is what you could find in Luther’s work “On the Councils and the Church, 1539.”

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Ordinary Radicals

Ordinary radicals

We need more ordinary Christians.  I know that sounds boring and will hardly start a movement, but I’m serious.  We need more Christians who live their everyday lives, doing their work, loving their families, and being a good neighbor.

The problem with this is it’s not very sexy.

People don’t like the stories of the people who are engineers working hard to provide for their family and come home to care for their wife and children both physically and spiritually.  People like the stories of a radical giving up of something to follow God’s call.

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4 Ways to Help Your Kids Grow

4 ways

One of the primary desires of any Christian parent is to see their kids grow in their faith.  Parents are the primary disciple-makers in the lives of their kids; when Jesus says “Go and make disciples,” this begins in the living room.  So as parents, one of our primary vocations is to disciple our children.  I’m by no means an expert of this, but there are some things that I’m doing that I enjoy and that I think are helpful in our home.

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God’s Calling When You Hate Your Job

Hate your job

It’s fun to talk about God’s calling when we are talking about a career we love or even our future dreams.  But what about when you don’t like your job?  What is there to talk about when you are stuck in a job you hate, that seems menial, or that you makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork.

Does the doctrine of vocation still apply?

Can you be called to a place that makes you miserable?

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2 Biggest Lies About Homosexuality that Threaten the Gospel

Homosexuality

In our culture, the biggest problem and threat to the Gospel being preached to the homosexual community are the false beliefs that are perpetuated by both those within the community and those outside it.  People within the homosexual community and outside of it often falsely belief that “they are not like us” and that “our sexuality is our identity.”

This is dangerous for us as we understand the message of forgiveness.  This is dangerous for all the people throughout our country who come out to friends and family and falsely believe things about themselves and their identity that are simply contrary to what the Gospel proclaims.  And I write this not to point out what those who struggle believe, but to primarily point out what many of us who don’t struggle with this issue falsely believe.  [Read more...]

Simply Preaching

Simply preaching

In a recent interview with Tullian Tchividjian, he recommended that young pastors learn to “Comprehend high and communicate low.”  For pastors and theologians that give their live to studying a library of complicated theological works, this can be difficult.

We’ve all experienced at some point or another being in a conversation with somebody that knows so much about something that it seems like they are talking in a foreign language.

It happens when pre-teens start talking about Minecraft.  A bunch of pre-teens gather around talking about their servers, texture packs, briefing, or something else that I really don’t understand.

Meanwhile you are standing there like, “So you build stuff?”

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Drifting East of Eden

East of eden

Our family often goes on a vacation with a number of our friends to a cottage up north.  One of the activities our families enjoy is taking the ridiculous number of kids we have and piling them onto a pontoon boat.

And then we hang out on the water.

A couple of times this ended up with our families beaching the boat at a sand bar so we could let the kids out and play.  And inevitably, because the boat was beached and not anchored, one of us would look over at the boat and see the boat was beginning to drift away.

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Vision-Casting: There Are No Vision-Less Churches

Vision casting

Vision.  Churches, organizations, non-profits, and even sometimes families all talk about vision.   And these conversations around vision are often, although not exclusively, helpful.  As Christians, we believe that the God is at work in this world both in the work of believers and unbelievers.  Because of this, there is a lot that we can learn about the organization of a congregation and leadership from those who have no interest or appreciation for Church.

And vision is a common business practice and strategy.  And so it is helpful consider, is vision-casting Biblical?  And if so, what should it look like in our churches?

It depends.

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Happy 4th Birthday!

108H

My blog is officially 4 years old today.  After 400 of posts over the past 4 years, it has been fun to see how the blog has changed, grown, and become what it is today.  This blog wasn’t the first time I had blogged.  I had a livejournal back in the day and even blogged while I was an intern for a short season.  But four years ago, I decided to venture back into blogging.

Here was my first paragraph I wrote on rjgrune.com:

I’ve thought about blogging for a while now; I’ve struggled with the idea of why I’d do something like that, wondered if I’m arrogant to think that anyone would care what I have to think, and ultimately put my reservations aside and decided to go for it.  Since I have spent a lot of time trying to decide if I would blog, I figured I should share my thoughts going into it.

When I started blogging, I initially blogged primarily about youth ministry and technology, occasionally adding in some random theology posts.  At that point, I would’ve considered my blog primarily a youth ministry blog and also a way to promote some of my app development work.

I blogged because I wanted to, had no strategy, and slowly began to have people reading and interacting with what I wrote.

Now, four years later, this blog has grown up a little bit.  I’m still motivated by my love for writing and sharing my ideas.  And I still love the things that I have previously spent a ton of time blogging about.

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