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Category Archives: Theology

I’m truly shocked that readers are still commenting on this post.

Feel free to chime in. Just play nice even you don’t agree.

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I noticed a bad habit. I no longer read blogs that have a lot of content. I always mark them to read later. So this morning I was wondering why this problem exist? The answer is simple-I’m busy. Life goes fast, work and kids have taken a ton of time and mental energy the past few weeks.

However-I do see a problem. As a leader, I have to always be learning. I keep trying to re-program my mind to slow down. My job as an Elder/Pastor is not to check off a ton of to-do list items. But I love to do that, it makes me feel better, more productive and useful.

But it’s not…I think we pastors forget that our main priority is to be men/women of God. My true job is to hear the voice of God and to make sure we (my local church community) stays on-mission.

A few months ago I shared my story at church. I rarely share my story (who wants to talk about themselves) but I’m still amazed how many emails I get from friends, other pastors, and strangers telling me how much they enjoyed the message and how much of an impact it made in their lives.

I keep asking myself  why. And here is my simple conclusion.

  • Theology gets tired. We argue, we fight, we study and sometimes their is no end. I love theology, but I think we want to see the theology come to life.
  • Church: Lets face it. Church can get boring. There comes a point where we need to stop”hearing” the gospel and starting “doing” the gospel.
  • Prayer: Same as church. We can pray all day. But we truly need to see these prayers become active and real.

I’m sure I can add more. Needless to say, theology, church, prayer are vital to a Christ-follower. But so is action. Sometimes I feel like we are learning how to drive a car, we take classes, get instruction and all that. But everntually we have to get in the car and drive. That is when our knowlege will come alive.

So, my conclusion is this-Modern day Christ-followers need a fresh dose of power from The Holy Spirit. We’ve gotten so far away from that reality (at least I have) and we desperately need it (HS) back. I think I’m constalty trying to create and start a movement that only the Holy Spirit can create and start.

So, what does this mean? How can I allow the Holy Spirit to be more evident and real in my life?

For those of you who missed this past Sunday I shared my story or testimony. Feel free to listen to it via podcast, click here.

Anyhow, I ran out of time to complete my message, so I decided to take this space to bring some closure to James 4:1-10.

Here is what we learned Sunday: James tells us that Grace is more. Yes, we commit adultery on God by trusting in the world more than we trust in Jesus. Yes we pray selfish prayers, you know those prayers that are always about me and my needs. Yes, we are carnal…We talk bad about one-another…We covet…We kill.

Sufjan Stevens has a song about John Wayne Gacy, Jr. In the song, Sufjan sings us the story of this wicked serial killer who murdered 27 boys. Then Sufjan says this; “I’m really just like him, look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid.”

This is how I feel about myself. I sin, commit adultery on God and covet what others have. It’s tough, I wish I was an Angel, perfect you know. I wish I could overcome some of my “junk” that has lingered for far to long.

But James (4:6) says Gods Grace is simply more than my junk. And you know what? God’s grace is more than your junk too. Do you believe that?

God gives us a pathway to wholeness. Let’s read the rest of James 4:6-10

6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

God loves those who walk with a sense of humility. When was the last time you wept & mourned deeply. Let me tell you a story. A few weeks ago I was watching a video from the Invisible Children Organization. It was about a boy in Africa named Emmy. You already know the story-aids, poverty, homelessness, etc. But when the documentary was finished I was crushed. I went into my Mother-In-Law’s bathroom and wept. Why? Because I know there is a problem that Jesus hates and yet I do nothing about the problem.

Its sin…And I repented for it!

Hopefully this fall I will be on a plane to Africa. I will be teaching African pastors “but we all know they will be teaching me, right?” I can no longer stand to “know” and not “act.”

Now, back to my story: James tells us when we repent, He will exalt you. Man, if you heard my story you know I should not be where I’m at. There are many days that I’m in shock and I stand before God and I simply say thank you. Thank you for a beautiful wife, two amazing daughters, a great church, a roof over-my-head and purpose to live life. I’m glad that somehow God could take my junk and make it beautiful.

This is why I love to repent, I come close to God, I walk in humility, and God gets the glory!

Just remember; repentance is your friend.

Shalom

Chris Marlow

As I sit in my office I begin to ponder the Jesus story. Sometimes I wish it would go away. I wish I were content with my version of Christianity, but I’m not.

Jesus was iconoclast figure. He did and always will stand above every other figure in humanity. Even if you think he was just another man coming to teach his propaganda, you can’t deny the importance of whom He is and what He has done. Humanity needed and still needs Jesus.

Why.

Because Love Wins…

And Jesus came proclaiming a new way to live. He claimed that he was and is God. And God is love and love will overcome.

Love is the center of the universe. Love overcomes a multitude of sins. Love brings freedom to those who are in bondage.

Why are we so bored? Why do so many Christians in America claim to live without purpose as they struggle with the mundane?

Maybe it’s because we serve a revolutionary.  Are we are called to start some sort of “love-revolution?”

Maybe the Holy Spirit is longing to be unleashed and the Holy Spirit lives in us and wants to work through us.

Have we boxed-up Jesus? Are we scared what may happen if we unleash the true Jesus and if we follow in His footsteps?

Are we scared of what may be? Are we too content and happy with our current lives that we hope Jesus does not come in and mess it up and cause us to live uncomfortable risky lives that may require true sacrifice?

I don’t have all the answers, but you can feel unrest of the soul. A bubbling of what could be, a revolution of normal people walking in the footsteps of Jesus-the man/God who changed the world.

Hanging out on the patio enjoying this cool crisp late spring Texas weather. Soon we will pay up 🙂

Necole and I just discussed how grateful we are. God has done so many amazing things in the past 3 months.

I think it’s vital that we learn how to pause and stand before God with a sense of humility and joy giving thanks for who He is and what He has done-both good and bad!

Has God blessed you lately? Have you given thanks? If not, pause for a few moments and give thanks for He is good and  His goodness last forever.

I just posted a quick article on culture over at Vista Leadership Blog.

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I sometimes wonder what the world was like years ago. Sometimes life seems so hectic and complicated in the 21 century. I long for the days of “Leave It To Beaver.” Days that seem full of peace and wholeness. Days when we knew our neighbors, parents stayed together and life seemed fun and fulfilling.

I know I’m dreaming. I also know since Adam ate the apple, (Um, was there not a Banana or something?) sin has dominated our world. But never has life changed as much as in the past 50 years. We can now go to space, fly in the air, inhale global news in the click of a mouse and pay bills on online.

Reality is this-Life has changed, we will never go back to the way that it was. Yes, there is a sense of sadness. But also I’m filled with hope.

A big question is this, How does the church respond to ever-changing culture? Big question right? I have good news friends; The Church has always been responding to change. That is the beauty of the gospel. It’s timeless. It’s like water; the church is fluid, but the truth is evident.

Truth does not change, but how we communicate truth must change. And where we communicate that truth is vital. Jesus came for the sick, not those who are whole. It’s messy dealing with sick folks.

This current generation of church leadership in America has experienced a unique shift. In the past the church stood at the center of culture. Most folks thought the Bible was true even if they did not follow Jesus. In many cities the church steeple was the most recognisable building. Times have changed haven’t they? Churches now meet in schools, movie theater’s, clubs, art galleries and many more convenient locations. Remember we are fluid. We change as culture changes, so we can help transform culture for the glory of God!

We now live in a global village that has multiple influences on our culture. We live in an age of relativism and tolerance. We live in the age what most would consider the first Post-Christian age. Christ no longer stands at the center of humanity. Now he is just one of many religious figures and cultural icons.

So how do we respond to this change?

First of all, we can’t run and hide and create our own safe sub-cultures. As Christ-followers we must stand together in the midst of dominate culture. It’s hard to have influence in the world if you only spend time with those who already believe what you believe. Life change happens when we are with those who need to change their lives. Love can only win when we act and “be” the church.

We need to do cultural exegesis. We need to become learners. We need to adapt. Of course we must proclaim the gospel, we must proclaim truth. We must live “different” lives. But we also have to contextualize truth to connect with culture. Think about Jesus, he was a masterful story-teller. He used 1st century cultural metaphors to engage his audience and to lead them into truth.

Therefore we must use 21st century metaphors to connect the gospel to our culture, to help create the future and not always be late arrivals. How do we redeem technology, movies, music and community? How do we spend time in 3rd places (cafes, pubs, sporting events, etc…) and build natural relationships?

It’s vital for the average American Christian to understand that they are now missionaries to their own culture. Therefore we must learn the land, the language and the people. We must seek God for wisdom and understanding so we can clearly communicate the gospel in ways that are effective, yet natural.

So work no longer is “just” work. It’s now a mission field of possibilities. School is not just a time to learn, but a time to see life change. Your neighborhood is no longer a place to just live, but it becomes a place of community and missional opportunities.

I wish I had more time to develop these thoughts. But the bottom line is this, God has called us to become missionaries sent back into our culture to partner with Jesus and to bring life change to those around us.

That’s what makes a good leader, and that will help us redeemn culute for the glory of God!

Well not yet. Necole has a client who is going to hook me up with a “family & friends” discount. Which is somewhere between 20-25%
But…

Why is there always a but?

He suggested I wait till June, which is the next wwjd (big Apple expo). He thinks Apple will lower the prices on the Macbook and add some power.

So I’m hopeful…But waiting. And I hate waiting.

Is innovation overrated? It seems like we church leaders are always trying to innovate right? And I’m cool with that. But how much innovation does it take to teach people how to pray, read the bible, love others, and know their theology?

Has technology got in the way of God. Have we over-emphasized the power and need of technology in the church?  I’m not anti technology. I think we are called to redeem technology for God’s glory.

Maybe we pastor’s are more into innovation then seeking God. If our churches reflect the pastor, what should the pastor being doing? In my weekly schedule I’m going to be adding a lot more time to study, pray, fast and be still. Less is more!

Not to be over-spiritual, but I have this deep conviction that I’m not truly doing what I’m called to do. And what scares me is the fact that someday I will stand before God and give an account.

Occasionally you hear the voice of God with such clarity that it overwhelms you. It’s a “wow” moment.

Today I was randomly searching the Internet. Doing nothing spiritual. When I heard the still small but strong voice.

Hopefully when I flesh it out with some key folks I will be able to share publicly what I think God spoke. Truthfully it’s a confirmation.

Man I want to hear God more!