Thursday, October 11, 2007

Suffering is a Privilege

I just got done praying this morning and hadn't really had an occasion to weep... until now. My friend just learned that her daughter had recently been sexually abused by a relative. She is also going through a very difficult trial at the church her husband pastors. She is so discouraged by the trial she is going through right now. Here is the advice I gave to her in light of what we have been going through over the past two years and what I believe the Lord has revealed.

Dear Sister, I'm going to say something that may sound strange but please consider meditating on this thought as it is what I have been doing ever since this word from the Lord was given to me. Here it is: The suffering you are going through right now is a privilege.

As strange as it sounds, but through the extreme suffering that you are going through right now, have you ever had a moment in your life that you could identify with Christ more than right now?! He had things said of Him that were untrue, could not to defend himself, and had right called wrong and wrong called right to His face and behind His back?! This is the very situation you are in now- Are you identifying with him yet? My husband and I are being taken through a refiner’s fire with our double house payments and challenges of parenting a wounded child. But over and over I have seen that my mistake was asking Christ to make me more like Him! LOL! (Just trying to lighten the mood with my goofy humor because I know you're dragging, sister).

Right now, you are going through the refiner's fire. I'm sure you're well acquainted with the references throughout the Bible. But, let me remind you about the refining process. When they smelt the gold they turn the fire up and the impurities rise to the surface and then they are scraped off. Then they increase the temperature of the fire even more! The last few impurities that have been lurking in places that were unseen, but would definitely ruin the gold at a later point if not removed, are brought to the surface. The smelter knows when the gold is PURE, REFINED, and without CONTAMINATION when he can look and see his reflection in the surface of the gold as clearly as a mirror.

Our Heavenly Father is looking at you, His gold, and refining you and making you pure! What a PRIVILEGE to be drawn closer to the Father at HIS request!!! Hold on to this for it is Biblical and not feel-good theology. Today's churches are so obese with feel-good theology that they wouldn't know something BIBLICAL if it jumped up and slapped them in the face! We are in the days of the church of Laodicea where all they want is what their itchy ears want to hear. They can't be disciplined because they can’t handle it! They are false converts lurking in the house and the Lord is cleaning the house. But, we sometimes get refined in the process.

I ask that He refresh you while you're going through this fire and that you not miss the opportunity to receive the depth of knowledge and experience that are wrought only through suffering of this magnitude! WHAT A PRIVILEGE THIS SUFFERING IS!!!!!

Spurgeon said it best when he said, "I do not think that we ever pray with such fervor of supplication in our prosperity as we do in our adversity. And then how precious the promises become!...I might talk on forever about the sweet uses of adversity, and not exhaust the subject...You will find that, if you want the most Christ-like saints and the most deeply experimental believers, and the Christians who are best acquainted with the Word of God, you must look for them among those who are the most intimately acquainted with the fiery furnace and its burning heat."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Books and Websites for researching Emergent Church

Bibliography of Emerging Church Research
Books used in researching the Emerging Church

1) Carson, D. A., Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2005.

2) Gibbs, Eddie and Bolger, Ryan K. Emerging Churches, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 2005.

3) Jones, Alan., Reimagining Christianity, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons), 2005.

4) Kimball, Dan.,

a)Emerging Worship, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan) 2004.
b)The Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

5) McLaren, Brian.,

a) A Generous Orthodoxy, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2004
b) Everything must change, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2007
c) Finding Faith: a Self Discovery Guide for your Spiritual Quest, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 1999.
d)The Last Word and the Word After That, (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass), 2005
e) The Secret Message of Jesus, (Nashville, Tenn: W Publishing Group), 2006.

6) Pagitt, Doug and Jones, Tony

a) An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books) 2007.
b) Church Re-Immagined, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

7) Phipps, Brian. ed., The Church in Emerging Culture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

8) Smith, R. Scott, Truth and the New Kind of Christian, (Wheaton, ILL: Crossway Books), 2005.

9) Sweet, Leonard. ed., The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

10) Webber, Robert. ed., Listening to the beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five perspectives, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2007.

11) Yungen, Ray, A Time of Departing, (Silverton, Oregon: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Company) 2006.

Websites used in researching the Emerging Church

taken from Matt's bibliography citations from CARM