A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together.”

In Isaiah’s writings, he talks about a new highway.  It is level.  Smooth.  Straight.  In fact, every mountain has been humbled and every valley exalted to make this highway direct and very easy to travel upon.  It is God’s highway to come to his people and for his people finally to return to God.

In Isaiah’s context, this is a road home.  The Israelites, a people that had been cast into a suffering exile could finally return home.  They needed to go home.  So God cleared every obstacle that they might easily return to him and he to them.

When Luke refers to Isaiah, he changes things up a little bit; he makes the road a bit wider.  He ends his reference not by saying that all people shall see God’s glory; rather Luke writes that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God”.  This too is a road home for a people in exile.  This is a road on which we all need to travel so that we can finally return home.

And those of us who are already traveling on this road to home, we have been called out to reveal it to others.  Through our lives.  Through our words.  Through our love.

But this calling begs certain timely questions:
How can we live our lives so that we can best reveal the road home to those around us who live in this culture right now?  How do we walk that road?  And how do we reveal it?  And how do we do so without adding any unnecessary valleys, mountains, crooked turns, rough patches, or other obstacles that hinder  people from joining our caravan?

Our culture is changing.  And while many before us asked these questions and reached the people in their generation and culture until the faith finally reached us today, now it is our turn to do so.  We must ponder the gospel.  We must ponder the culture.  We must ponder the character, beliefs, and actions necessary for us to be faithful to the way of Jesus today.

Pete and I have been talking recently and have decided that we want to open up a conversation about how we can faithfully respond to the call of Jesus to reach out to people, particularly those in a postmodern culture who are rejecting modern church forms and Jesus along with them.  We want to discuss a strategy for genuinely, lovingly, faithfully, and successfully reaching out to these people, and we want to invite anyone in who wants contribute.  We would love to discuss principles, models, examples, real issues in our lives, character traits, actions, beliefs, scripture, culture, and anything else necessary to seed ideas that we might better reach out with the gospel.

We don’t expect to have all the right answers.  What we do expect, however, is to dream together in confident hope that God will shape something inside of our little blogging community.  So, we invite you to join our little conversation and to hope alongside of us.

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2 Responses to “About”

  1. Eileen Says:

    Your vision is exciting, your questions are challenging, and the potential for transformation is incredible. I look forward to checking in often and contributing as the Spirit leads.

  2. Jim Lehe Says:

    If we want to be effective in reaching people with the gospel, I believe we must know three things. First, the root cause of the problem of man. Secondly, what the gospel truly is. And thirdly, how the gospel addresses these root causes of mankind’s problem. Everything else has to do with “hospitality issues”. I.e., how to make people most comfortable when they come visit us. The message NEVER changes, though our methods at hospitality may.

    The root problem of man is spiritual. We are born, as Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience”. This sets us up for a life of self-centered pursuits in life as we try to figure out who we are and what will bring our lives meaning and satisfaction. This inclination does not necessarily mean that we will always gravitate toward a life of debauchery. Indeed, we may even be inclined toward religion or philanthropic deeds. The bottom line is, it’s my agenda and my way, rather than God’s. Of course this approach to life can often lead to a sense of emptiness. And the reason is because God is not in it. Indeed, God is opposed to our self-directed manner of living, and we are under His condemnation as a result.

    The gospel is all about saving us from what we have done (sinned) and well as from who we are (natural born sinners). The gospel not only changes our eternal destination, but also our internal disposition. The fullness of the gospel message is really encapsulated for us in Romans 5:18, 19, “So then as through one transgression there resulted CONDEMNATION to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted in JUSTIFICATION of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were MADE SINNERS, even so through the obedience of the One, the many will be MADE RIGHTEOUS.”

    And in these two verse we have concisely presented to us the doctrines of IMPUTED sin and righteousness and IMPARTED sin and righteousness. Because of Adam’s sin, his guilt was “imputed” to us, or added to our account. But because of Christ’s obedience on the cross, His righteousness is able to be imputed to us through faith. Jesus takes our guilt, and imputes to us His righteous standing before God.

    In the same way, because of Adam’s sin, his fallen sinful nature was “imparted” to us, or made a part of who we are in our spirit. But because of Christ’s work on the cross and our spiritual union with Him through faith, His righteous nature is imparted to us, or made a part of who we are in our spirit. So as Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer i (the old self in Adam) who lives, but Christ lives in me . . .” And as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man is in Christ he is a new creation; the old (the old spiritual self) is gone, the new (the new Spirit of Christ) has come. And here, Jesus takes our old sinful spirit in Adam, puts it to death, and imparts His own Spirit unto us so that we might walk in righteousness before God.

    I find most churches can communicate the concepts of imputed righteousness fairly effectively. But the principles of imparted righteousness seem to be woefully lacking in clarity in most churches. And this is the dimension of the gospel that effects our lives the most in the practical aspects of the here and now. Our root problem is spiritual in nature. Everything else about us is symptomatic of that. Jesus, and the gospel message, goes to the root of our problem to “fix” our “broken” condition. And this then becomes the foundation for our transformation into what God intends for us to be as human beings – people like Christ.

    You want to be a relevant church? Then give people the real cure for what ails them – new spiritual life. And then teach them how to live in that new dimension of life in the Spirit of God. That requires a thorough and working understanding of Romans 7:15-25 (our obstacle in this new life – our corrupted physical being), Romans 8 (the power of the Holy Spirit which was able to raise the physical body of Jesus from the grave), and our response to this gospel message in Romans 12 (presentation, separation, transformation, and occupation).

    If you know how to articulate these essential truths of the gospel to hurting people and are able to encourage them and walk beside them in their journey of faith, you will not be lacking for people. No other religion or philosophy in the world offers a foundation of new spiritual life within by which we can grow and change by the power of God. Every other world view is about how to fix yourself. Something we are powerless to do. We can only makeover the old.

    So, let’s quit making church simply abut going to heaven when you die, and start making about the power of transformation in the Spirit here and now, which ultimately ushers us into eternity in heaven. People are lost and hurting because they are under the power and influence of the evil one. Christ has the means to break that power instantaneously in the gospel message, and then to cause us to grow in the transformation process, as the Spirit of God uses the word of God to transform us into the image of the Son of God.

    This requires no gimmickry or cultural adaptations. It simply requires ordinary people who are willing to BE THEMSELVES, and also be a channel of God’s love to those around them. And leave all the props behind . . . .both old ones and new ones, and operate in the power of the Spirit and the word of God.

    God bless . . . Jim

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