Graduate from Church?

Graduate. Time for change.I know a couple of people who are getting ready to graduate, which got me thinking..,

Several years ago, I was encouraging a middle aged couple to host a Bible study in their home. They asked if I was planning on coming. I said I wasn’t. They were clearly hesitant, uncertain they were qualified to host the study. I asked them how long they had been Christians and attending the church. I don’t remember their exact answer, but it was decades. Then I asked them how much longer it might take for them to be qualified. If it were decades more, they might die before they were ready.

As it turned out, they agreed to host the study and, even after I left that church assignment, the group in their home continued. Truthfully, the group wound up being less of a study and more of a Jesus community. I don’t know about you, but I call that church.

When Will You Graduate?

Let me ask a question: When will you graduate from church? What I mean is, how many years of attending services and listening to sermons will it take to qualify you for ministry? Four, as it takes for many college degrees? Six? Ten? Twenty? For the twelve disciples it took three (and being filled with the Spirit). So, how many more years before you strike out with a few others and live the gospel of the kingdom?

What’s holding you back? You don’t know enough. What? Haven’t you been listening all these years? Haven’t you been filled with the Spirit? And, admit it, haven’t you wondered if there wasn’t more to the Christian life than just teaching and being taught? Haven’t you yearned for a faith that was a bit more—how can I say it—exciting, even risky? Anyway, don’t you know enough experienced Christ-followers that you can run to if you get in over your head? And, of course, you do have the Bible. There’s lots of practical advice about kingdom living in there.

Come on. It’s nearly June. Lots of graduations in the next couple of months. Kids moving on with their lives. What about you? Isn’t it time to graduate? Stop just going to church. Be the church.* You don’t need permission for that. Jesus already granted it. What you need is courage.

More to follow…

* Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you must leave your present fellowship. We hang out with some really cool “real churches,” in addition to the house churches. I’m just saying you may need to spend less time there. Moreover, if your present church is more interested in keeping you coming to services than releasing you to do the work of the ministry, then the leadership needs to review their job description (Ephesians 4:12). Just saying…

The Vine and Passover Celebration

Restoration Logo-3Restoration Summit Fellowship invites you to a special Vine celebration to include a Passover Seder, music, dance
and supper.


  • Passover Vine: Saturday, April 23, 2016
  • Worldview Center (60th and Yamhill in Portland)
  • Doors open for dancing and Jesus music: 4:00PM

RSVP, please. Click here.

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Sir, We Would See Jesus

johnalexandericonMy friend, John Alexander of the Church of the Sojourners in San Francisco, is home with the Lord now. He still speaks to me, though, through these words about the church–what I call the church of the heart, or an “allelon community.”* This quotation comes from his book, The Secular Squeeze. (Wipf & Stock Pub -February 28, 2005)

…When God came to be among us he didn’t come as a mathematician or a scientist. He came as a story teller… And he told stories people could live. At bottom, the Judeo-¬Christian tradition isn’t a list of rules or a set of scientific theories; it’s a big long story… But Jesus didn’t stop with stories; he also gave us a way to authenticate them… he told us that you tell whether a story is true by the lives of the people who tell it. You judge a story by its teller. You will know them by their fruit, he said. A good tree bears good fruit, a bad one bad fruit. If the people telling a story love each other and live together with depth and grace, then their story is true. If they don’t, then their story is silliness– or worse. A good story enables people to lay down their lives for each other and become one. To put it in Jesus’ own words, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. A few chapters later he prays that his followers “may be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” A story is authenticated when the people who believe it go to the cross for each other. …Notice that Jesus doesn’t require belief in his story simply on the basis of authority… evidence mattered to him: here’s how people will know that you are my disciples, here’s how they’ll know that I’m from God—that you love each other.

*Greek word for “one another.” Pronounced al-lay’-lone.

Building community in Jesus

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