Posts Tagged ‘church’

Acappella Audition – Voice Singing Vocals – Music Release

– You can send for The Remix Label Acappella Album Audition a Public Domain Christian Hymn or Original Song from Singing Scripture project.

– Warm up before recording! Smile and Sing as you Speak naturally. Do a Humming of the Melody, then a Solo Vocal (optional with Chorus or Choir Voices)

– Make a clean recording at 60 or 120 BPM – 16bit 44k CD WAV or 320k mp3 quality then send it to cris@theremixlabel, contact me for a Skype call or any other details.

– You can be promoted to thousands of organizations (churches, travel agencies, private schools, health clubs, etc) internationally on the official album releases. What do you say?

 

 

Examples:

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Service / Ministry: Why does it Matter?

Why does it matter?

Today we conclude the Ministry series. In Ministry 2 – What? we discovered that ministry is service through gifts. Since everyone’s in the ministry (Ministry 1 – Who?), every member of the body of Christ has something to offer.

Now before I go on, I want you to know I’m not trying to awkwardly imply that everyone is a leader (although we all have influence), or to suggest that leadership structures should be disassembled! There are many scriptures on leadership, and surely we need more, not fewer, men and women willing to lead. Nor do I wish to quibble about words. I recognize that “ministry” is often shorthand for “the ministry of the word” (as in Acts 6:4). I myself was in the ministry (in this sense) for 20 years, and although since 2003 I’ve been a freelance teacher, I’ve never stopped being in the ministry since I became a Christian. I don’t think it’s wrong to use the term when referring to church staff workers. What is wrong is to use this term exclusively of those on staff, referring to others as “non-ministry” people. Why does it matter?

  • Doers and spectators is not a biblical model of discipleship! There’s only one tier — not two!
  • The clergy / laity division has been a perennial problem afflicting church culture since at least the 3rd century. It is directly related to declining standards of commitment.
  • It’s inherently elitist. (Either you are “ministry material” or not.)
  • “Ministry” lingo discourages others who want to be used, but may never be in the fortunate position of making their living from the gospel.

Leaders who call themselves ministers yet do not view others as being in the ministry are often frustrated that the church has become a body of spectators. But is it any wonder, when they’ve created / condoned a two-tier discipleship model?

We enter the ministry when we become Christians. If we have left the ministry, then we are not truly following Christ! Let’s get everyone on board. There’s far too much work to do to leave it to a handful of professionals.

Summary

  • Who is in the ministry? Every Christian, whether on church staff or not.
  • What is ministry? Serving others through using our gifts.
  • Why is the language important? Inaccurate terminology reinforces wrong theology, which compromises the spiritual health of the church and of the individual Christian.

Who’s in the Ministry?

The final study in the current series is Ministry. What is ministry? Who‘s in it? How is it different from other work? Why focus here? We’re seeking the biblical perspective.

Ministry can refer to political as well as to religious work. For example, the prime minister isn’t an archbishop, but the head of government, at least in many countries. During the nine years I lived in the U.K., I’d sometimes fail to be clear. When learning that I was “in the ministry,” people would ask, “Which department?” (Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Defence, etc). Well, since I’m an American, obviously I wasn’t serving in the British government, yet I was serving on staff for the church we planted in London back in 1982. We were evangelists, interns, and women’s ministry leaders.

Now before we get any deeper into our study, let me be clear from the outset: We deeply need men and women who are willing to serve as full-time, paid church workers. Ministry staff play a vital role. In most places they are overworked and under-appreciated. I have the greatest respect for the talented men and women who have foregone rewarding careers in order to serve the Lord in this way.

Who’s in the Ministry?

The questions we need to address this series:

  • Who is in the ministry?
  • What is ministry?
  • Why is what we call it so important?

As a new believer I was taught that every Christian is in the ministry. Three passages frequently referenced were 2 Cor 5:18-6:1 (ministry of reconciliation, ambassadors for Christ, God’s fellow-workers), 1 Pet 2:9 (no priest class in the N.T., since we’re all a royal priesthood), and Luke 9:23 (everybody is called to discipleship, not just church staff). Strong emphasis was placed on total commitment, and that goes out the window when people have a choice between doing the work and simply spectating. I would imagine that nearly all my readers agree that the double-standard prevalent in popular Christianity is both unhealthy and unbiblical.

Some believers feel uneasy when “ministry” is the topic; they may feel more comfortable with the lingo of discipleship. Here nearly the same point would be made: Just as every true Christian is a disciple of Christ (Acts 11:26; Matt 28:19-20), every Christian is also in the ministry.

How about you? Are you in the ministry? If you want to be a Christian, you’d better be! Next week we’ll work toward a definition of ministry (the “what?”). And the following week we’ll discuss the implications (the “why?” of this series).

Church Membership @DouglasJacoby

Today we continue (and conclude) our mini-series on the church. If you’re new to the weekly bulletin, the two previous articles are Church I: Ekklesia and Church II: Universal & Local. Thanks so much for feedback flowing in from all over the world, as you share your support or your concerns about what I’ve written.

Members, membership, & dismemberment (?)

We’re all baptized into the body of Christ, the church universal (1 Cor 12:13). Yet our membership has a local expression (Acts 2:41) — recall that the basic meaning of church is assembly. Church is organic, not merely organizational. In 1 Cor 12:12-31 Paul explains that the body is a unit, though made of many members. Each member is different and serves a different function, whether an eye, ear, hand, or foot. The foot does not easily serve as a hand, nor can a lost eye be recovered. Members are hardly interchangeable, nor are they replaceable. Here we find diversity, not similarity.

Of course in one sense all members are alike. We have much in common: Christ, determination to remain in his word, and commitment to the body of Christ. However, for the purposes of Paul’s metaphor, it is our differences that matter. In most human organizations, all members are alike. (Think soldiers marching on the parade ground, or the mailman in uniform.) I recently re-joined a health club, L.A. Fitness. I have a membership number. If I drop out, someone else will take my number. That’s because I’m no more significant to the organization than the monthly dues I pay. Not so with the church! If you quit, no one can truly replace you.

Expectations
Membership comes with requirements. It’s not enough to pay monthly dues (as in the health club). Membership requires a degree of effort. We may chafe at humanly imposed requirements (e.g., elders expecting members to attend midweek services), yet some requirements are necessary for practical purposes. There are God-imposed requirements as well. For example. one cannot remain in the fellowship while persisting in slander, adultery, or other behaviors destructive to the body. When a member refuses to change, there is legitimate church discipline.

Some years ago a brother in Asia was telling me about a member who persisted in willful sin. “What happened?” I asked. “We dismembered him,” the brother replied. (I couldn’t help but smile.) He was only emphasizing an important truth: membership comes with certain expectations. Fellowship (Acts 2:42) and disfellowship (1 Cor 5:12-13) are serious matters. Although church is a haven, a place of grace. However, if we’ve stopped following Christ there would be something false about being accepted straight back into the congregation, no questions asked. Sometimes local leaders may mistakes, demanding too much commitment. More often (I think) they demand too little. A biblical church holds to biblical standards.

Book of Life?
When we planted a church in London (1982), I kept the books. Not just the financial ones, but also what we called (tongue-in-cheek) “the book of life” (Rev 3:5; Exod 32:32; Ps 69:28). My little red and black book was where I entered hundreds of names — everyone we baptized. Of course we knew there were saved persons in London not in our book, just as there were probably some in our book who weren’t right with the Lord. Ours wasn’t the book of life, a only working list, a tool to help us know who was available, how many people to expect, how to budget, etc. To return to the distinction made last week, God’s book of life pertains to the church universal, our book only to the local church. They’re not the same.

In short
Whereas among most human organizations membership implies sameness, or uniformity, church membership implies difference (of both gifts and function). True unity isn’t a matter of everyone thinking and acting alike. Staying connected especially when we disagree is true Christian unity. And since membership is organic, each of us should strive to function in our niche, serving the body, not ourselves. (More on serving in a few weeks, when we begin a series on Ministry.)

Series wrap-up:

  1. Ekklesia:  Church is an assembly, not an association. Therefore Christianity is not an individual sport. All hands on deck!
  2. Universal & Local:  The church of Christ exists in two forms. One is cosmic (and perfect), the body of Christ comprising all his followers, the other its local (and imperfect) expression.
  3. Membership:  Since church is organic (a body), we strive not for uniformity, but for unity. Members are neither interchangeable nor replaceable. While functionally speaking we are members of a local church, this is not necessarily the same as having our names written in God’s Book of Life (Phil 4:3). Wise leaders know the difference.

Ekklesia with @DouglasJacoby

I hope you’ve been benefiting from the Wednesday bulletins, and especially from the weekly lessons. (I’d be thrilled if you’d encourage your friends to sign up at the website.) Our theme for the next three newsletters is church. Let’s start with the Greek.

Ekklesia

The Greek word ekklesia means assembly. It’s pronounced “eck-lay-SEE-ah.” The verbal form, egkalein, means to summon or call forth [e.g. to the assembly]. The Romans changed the word to ecclesia, since Latin has no ‘k’. Derivatives of ecclesia are Ecclesiastes (assembly leader — also the 20th book of the Bible) and ecclesiology (the study of church).

Ekklesia isn’t necessarily a “religious” word. Acts 19 (the riot at Ephesus) illustrates the basic (secular) meaning:

  • “So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together” (Acts 19:32 ESV). Here ekklesia refers to a riot!
  • “But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly” (v.39). Here ekklesia refers to a court of law.
  • “After saying this he dismissed the assembly” (v.41). The ekklesia is no longer a riot; it’s time to go home.

If ekklesia doesn’t refer to a building, where does the idea of a “church building” come from? The word comes from kurios (Lord), adjectival form kuriakos — as in “the Lord’s house.” Clues about its evolution lie in its etymology. There were no church buildings as such in the first two or three centuries of the Christian era, as God’s people usually met in homes.

But there’s more. In the Bible, ekklesia isn’t only a N.T. word. It appears frequently in the Greek O.T., the Bible of most Jews and Christians in the early centuries. The word shows up in Exod 16:3; Num 14:5; Deut 31:30; 1 Sam 17:47; Job 30:28; Psalm 22:22; and dozens of other passages. It is especially frequent in Deuteronomy and 1 Chronicles-Nehemiah. Ekklesia refers to the assembled congregation of Israel. (Technically speaking, all Jews were “church members” — members of the assembly.)

The word for gathering, synagogé, is a near synonym (Judges 20:1,2; Psalm 40:9,10; James 2:2). Synagogé sometimes even refers to Gentiles; like ekklesia, it was an ordinary word later infused with a religious meaning. A little study goes a long way to clarify the message of the Bible.

Summary

  • The Greek word for “church” packs at least three surprises: It isn’t a religious word; nor does it denote a building; nor it is only a Christian word.
  • Ekklesia is the word in the Greek N.T. and O.T. for assembly. When the Lord’s people are together (O.T. Jews or N.T. Christians), that’s “church.”
  • Church is not a physical structure (like the beautiful cathedral at Lausanne, Switzerland, pictured here), but a spiritual one (1 Cor 3:10-16; Eph 2:19-22).
  • It follows that the common notion that one can be a church member without being present in the assembly is flawed.

Until next week…

Next week we’ll investigate the two meanings of ekklesia when it does refer to church. (Do you know them already?)

Purposeful #Retirement – Elderly on #Mission – The best times of #life ahead!

Retirement with Purpose – Elderly on Mission – The best times of life ahead! http://relate4ever.com/purposeful-retirement

Related – https://paduraru.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/spiritual-retreat-camp-in-the-center-of-the-world/

Please visit the publishing ministry on > amazon ♥ itunes or subscribe for free G-feed.

Revival #Bible Reading #Plan

Download the plan in English + Espanol > visit amazon ♥ itunes + sub feed.

Would you like to have a revival in your group? How about immersing into the word of God to grow in faith, unity, relationships, fruits?

Which are some ideas that enriched this experience in the past?
– Reading aloud and record an audio version then listen to it with your household and share it with your friends and enemies.

– Writing the Scripture with the pen on paper to make the head-hand-heart connection.

– Doing an inductive study on the verses: writing the text word for word in the 1st column, then share what you got in the 2nd column, then writing in the 3rd what you will do with what you got as practical decisions along with some of the people you will share what you learned.

– Sharing your life story also known as testimony just like Paul in Acts 26. Feel free to listen the contemporary chronicles published on Relate4ever site here with other disciples worldwide.

– Starting a prayer ministry. Praying for a whole month for the specific needs and dreams of a number of people. You will be amazed how God can bless you with deep friendships and answered petitions.

– Fasting at least 1 day at the end of each month with the whole group. http://relate4ever.com/?s=fasting
 or https://www.youtube.com/user/relate4ever/search?query=fasting

– Singing the Scripture in your quiet times, using as a starting point the most memorable melody or favorite song, yet using the verses as lyrics. You can send me your audio recordings as demos for future music releases on the remix label in this series!

Join Singing the Scriptures class – https://paduraru.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/class-on-music-composing-and-singing/

I’m constantly praying for this Bible reading plan to revive your walk with the Lord and to build up His kingdom worldwide. Please join in this prayer and vision for His glory.