This is my 24th Wedding Anniversary. WooHoo! Marriage isn’t for “wussies”! But if two people stick with it, it really can get better. Thank God for His grace and Shelley for her perseverance. I was a little rough-cut when you married me, and still am … but thanks for all these years, Girl -- you still Rock! God has taught me love in our “love.” He loves from choice – we love out of need. So, the closer we get to loving each other by choice, the more our love looks like His. Thanks for still choosing to love me after all these years! (You barely look 24 to me!) I still need you! (There’s a reason God said, “it is not good for Man to be alone.” I think He meant Men!) I need you more than you need me. But I choose you as well. “I only wanna be with you!” And I can’t wait till we’re both with Him!
Happy Anniversary baby!
e·van·gel·i·cal; also e·van·gel·ic adj. 
· Of, relating to, or in accordance with the Christian gospel, especially one of the four gospel books of the New Testament.
· Evangelical Of, relating to, or being a Protestant church that founds its teaching on the gospel.
· Evangelical Of, relating to, or being a Christian church believing in the sole authority and inerrancy of the Bible, in salvation only through regeneration, and in a spiritually transformed personal life.
“The above is the dictionary definition of “evangelical.” However, it is not the truth that often prevails. It is always the perception we must be concerned about – not ours, but those we are attempting to reach …”
My wife and I and two other couples started TurningPoint Community Church in 1996. At that time the “Community” word in our name meant something different to us than the usage of that word I grew up hearing. Mostly that word meant that the church was in a community, a town, a city of area – and were going to be reflective of those regions and reach people from those regions – many of which were very homogenous. But to us back in 96, “Community” referred to the Church growing in unity as people came to faith in Jesus Christ and traded in their rugged individualism for a humble common-unity because of Jesus. Because of Jesus, we have the information and the power to choose His unity over our diversity; to choose His unity as our common practice. Comm-unity. We were and are idealistic, but we still think that comm.-unity is to be our target. If we’re going to fight, that’s what we’ll fight about.
            We decided not to put our denominational/associational title on our sign because we were convinced that God called us to reach those outside of Christian spirituality, not just our own brand. It was a really cool sign too! We were told by denominational leadership that we needed to be like McDonald’s restaurants, so that anyone coming into town looking for a Big Mac and fries could get the same hamburger at our church that they enjoyed in their previous ministry experience. If we did not clearly state who we were we might attract those of other doctrinal persuasions. 
I understand this better now. I was so idealistic. Those leaders were worried about false teachers infiltrating our ranks and leading us all astray -- you know, those guys who ride into town and set up a tent to serve maybe a Burger King, Texas Whopper or worse, kind of church. I now realize that no matter what group we are in we like to get people in that group to stay in there with us. Like the crab pots I have seen sitting on the Des Moines Marina dock – they don’t need a lid! The crabs already in the pot keep pulling those back down that are attempting to escape! We weren’t trying to escape, but it may have appeared like it to those dedicated leaders.
We just remembered that Jesus said He was “not called to the righteous but to sinners.” We thought that these “sinners” should be our target as well. If Jesus came to reach people separated from the love of His Father and we are here in His name, we should operate with His mission in mind. I think that maybe the metaphor for the Church shouldn’t be patterned after some successful American corporations anyway, unless of course, we were really in town to make financial profit. No matter what McDonald’s and other corporations tell us, they are not in our towns to make our lives more affluent and comfortable. They really sell hamburgers to make money – not so that we can really have it our way. We determined that God called us to reach people who didn’t eat at McDonald’s. (To Be Continued …)
Monday, June 19, 2006
Confessions of a Bad Evangelical Pt 3