Friday, January 23, 2009

Can we be Christian without being like Christ?

In my reading this morning was challenged with a thought - the author mentioned that for many Christians today being like Jesus/following Him is not required to be "Christian." Instead we can say we "believe" in Jesus, making that an intellectual assent to a set of core beliefs "about" Jesus, but leaving the actual following/behavior part behind. The author referenced this to the way Jesus hung out with the poor and marginalized of society. 8 of 10 Christians believe Jesus did this (the other 2 must not be reading the Gospels ...), but only 2% of this 80% say they do the same thing.

Can we be Christian with being like Jesus?

(I'm not pointing fingers here ... I'm concerned with my own life of discipleship!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Personal Jesus

Remember the song "Personal Jesus" (Depeche Mode, also Johnny Cash's rendition)? Lyrics have been rumbling through my head as I think about my message this Sunday during a series my church is in called "American Jesus." Series is exploring the cultural version of Jesus in America with the Biblical version. Similarities, differences, etc.

Anyway, it's interest that one of the key phrases of the Church has been "a personal relationship with Jesus." Yet - this phrase is not found in the Bible. Now I believe in the concept of a relationship with God (creation/Creator), but there is a huge danger in our culturally formed idea of a "personal Jesus." For one, He becomes anything I want Him to be. We each have our own Jesus, and my version is valid, your version is valid, etc. Another danger that is rampant, in my opinion, is that we abandon the Gospel message of COMMUNITY. We say things like "I have a relationship with Jesus, I don't need the Church community." But this kind of thinking is anti-Gospel. In fact, the entire message of the Bible is COMMUNAL in focus. This is radical for our time. Because if we take it to the extreme (which I believe we should) it means that MY LIFE impacts YOUR LIFE and vice-versa. Because we are a BODY, as the Bible suggests. Jesus speaks communally about the Church, Paul does, as well as the other NT writers.

Something to think deeply about ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We live in a such a "connected" world these days. Yesterday as I was picking my kids up from school was listening to a podcast from a author/culturalist I really vibe with. So weird how I've only met him a couple times, read several of his books, etc...but through a podcast I feel connected to him in some way. Like we're "friends." Am I fooling myself? Are we really "connected"? What does it really mean to be connected today?

Just a few rambling thoughts in the middle of my day ...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kingdom Theology

Been camping out in "Kingdom" theology as I'm preparing for an upcoming message this weekend at my church community. Talking about the "now" and "not yet" of the Kingdom and how the American church seems to focus most heavily on the "not yet" (future reality of "heaven") ... missing out on the realization of the Kingdom in the now/every day. But the thing that has grabbed me this week - more than anything else - is that THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF JESUS' PREACHING AND TEACHING IN THE GOSPELS IS "THE KINGDOM OF GOD." Man - I've missed this. The Church has missed this. How often do we hear the Kingdom preached and taught? How often do I teach and preach it directly?

Heavy week ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009


A friend introduced me to "twitter" the other day. So now I'm twittering (the verb form of twitter, of course). Go to to find out more. My twitter name is JohnKenneyQuest (all run spaces). Twitter is a micro-blogging site ... pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jesus is my ticket to heaven

Started a new series at our church called "American Jesus." Talking about the cultural version of Jesus that exists (there are many more than one version, but we're exploring some of the basic characteristics of American Christianity).

This Sunday we're talking about the concept of a "Jesus" who gives us heaven through a prayer and one-time decision. Although I believe a decision must be made to follow Christ, and that this does happen in a moment in time, the Gospels demonstrate a Kingdom-theology that goes far beyond an easy prayer and a future reality (heaven). Jesus demonstrates a radical call to a PRESENT recognition of the Kingdom demonstrated through the LIVING OUT of our "belief" in Jesus. So there exists a tension between the "now" and "not yet" of the Kingdom. We tend to focus on the "not yet" of the Kingdom. While heaven does exists and I hope to be there someday, Jesus calls me to Kingdom-life NOW. And the Kingdom is demonstrated in living out the mission of Jesus. Love, peace, justice, etc.

The Church needs to move from a static view of salvation and the Kingdom to a process view. Where the Kingdom is worked out in every day life.