PulseTV Episode 8

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In this edition of PulseTV, Bill and Charlie sat down for a short chat. Charlie is the new Church-Planting Catalyst for the EFCC, and it was great to hear him talk about his perspective on the power of church-planting. We’re excited to have him on board, with all of his experience and enthusiasm. I think we will all benefit from it!

Please share this video with your church, your family and friends — anyone you think would be interested!

You can download this clip in the two following formats:
PulseTV Episode 8 for Windows (WMV — ~23MB)
PulseTV Episode 8 for Mac (M4V — ~36MB)

Exponential Conference 2011

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Have you heard of Exponential Conference? It’s claimed to be the largest gathering of church-planters on the planet!

Seminar sessions will be conducted by many well-known Christian leaders, who will be offering instruction covering subjects like the purpose and benefits of church planting, as well as diving into the particulars and specifics.

If you’re a pastor or leader, or are considering pastoral leadership in some fashion, this is bound to be an encouraging and exciting event to attend!

It’s on from
April 26-29, 2011
in Orlando, FL

Find out more by clicking here.

Taming the Untamable God

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“The heavens proclaim His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory. All worshippers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship Him, all you gods! (Psalm 97:6-7)

I love this Psalm. It is one of those great Hebrew poetry pieces that mirror the key themes. In verses 1-6 our awesome God who reigns is manifested as holy, righteous, just, awesome – the judge. In verse 7 the Psalm transitions, indicating that many respond to the God who reigns by trying to tame Him – making Him in their image – boasting instead in idols. In verse 8-12 the Psalmist concludes by indicating our appropriate response as we rejoice in our God.

One of the Psalmist’s key points is to expose our foolish human penchant to tame a “wild” God by worshipping images and boasting in idols. We have a tendency to “re-image” God – to substitute and worship a smaller god that better meets our human expectations. In Mark Buchanan’s words “Your God is too Safe” (one of my favorite books of the decade, by the way).

However, I am not sure it stops with me substituting a safe version of God for the too wild version I meet in the Scriptures. Our God shines His light on us – He reveals Himself to us – in a variety of ways, but especially in His Word. I am becoming more aware of my human penchant to not only make God safe – but to re-image His Word as well. If God is too wild for me – so is His Word. And so I pick and choose the parts of His Word that support the views on life I already hold – and ignore the passages that challenge my thinking. And that’s only one of many ways I have of taming the Word – or as Manfred Brauch names it “Abusing Scripture”. Brauch reminds us that there are many ways to twist the Word to support our prejudices – many ways to look orthodox, but re-image Scripture into something that merely confirms what we already “know”.

Brauch’s book is one that all of us should read – and I am in the middle of another one making me equally uncomfortable – Scot McKnight’s “The Blue Parakeet”. Just as we keep a parakeet in a cage and clip its wings so it is tame and can’t fly away on us, so we can take the Word, clip its wings – tame it so it isn’t nearly so radical and wild. And I think I am poorer for this approach – my picking and choosing of the parts of the text I will grapple with effectively neuters the power of the Word and Spirit to fully transform my life. So, this year, I am planning to let God become unsafe again – to avoid re-imaging Him. And the same goes for His Word – no more clipping and pruning the parts I don’t like so it conforms to my expectations. Should be an interesting year…

Blessings to you as you grapple with a wild God and His unsafe Word!

Serving with you,

Bill

Theological Position Papers (Women in Ministry)

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The EFCC is in a serious discussion centred on women in ministry. It was most recently sparked by this edition of the Pulse. To further this discussion, we feel compelled to provide some examples of scholarly papers that have been presented by writers within the Evangelical Free Church movement.

Please note that these are presented in no particular order:

An Examination of 1 Corinthians 11 — Ron Koleba

Letters of Commendation — Dan Byrne

Ordination of Women — Walter L. Liefeld

The Role of Women in Ministry — Don Gillett

Three Interpretations…About Gender — Kevin Giles

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