Chicago Emerging Baptists

This site is intended to allow a forum for those in the NextGen Network of the Chicago Metro Baptist Assocition to continue their dialogue online and produce a resource for those interested in emerging topics.Please join in the conversation.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Check out what Tony made for the New Work Team,
Praise God for a great team member!

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Ok guys, Tony reformulated some things, what do you think?

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Jars of Clay New Christmas Album

Cool little video of one of their songs.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Greetings guys, I am having Tony work on some layouts to promote our network... these could be used in brochures, blog templates, etc. What do you guys think?

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

What to Do with Sunday Sermons on Monday, Part 3
(or: Sunday to Monday 'til He Returns- Disciplines for Not "Wasting" Lord's Day Preaching)

If you are just joining this blog, I have been talking about how to get Sunday's sermon into weekly practice. This part 3 is the salient part of the series that I intended to write about in one shot. As I outlined the post, it seemed necessary to cover some preliminary points that connect corporate worship (Sunday) with "all of life" worship (24/7). See Part 1 & Part 2 for those connections.

We have seen thus far that to take our corporate worship experience into all of life, [part] 1) We must get from Saturday to Sunday, and [part] 2)we must get the most we can out of the Sunday sermon itself. Finally, (borrowing the words of the Divinely inspired sage), we must "get understanding."
Proverbs 4:7 states, "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding (NIV)". The interplay between Old Testament wisdom and understanding are very close, and it is not my purpose to expound the differences here. For our purposes, this verse really hits the "bull's eye" of connecting truth and practice, and it captures for us what ought to be happening when we hear the truth. If wisdom is the skill to apply truth, then getting wisdom and understanding is the end of listening to God's word preached.

A few suggestions...
First, make it a point to review the sermon notes for your Word time on Monday. Especially if you struggle for consistency in the Word or you do not have a reading "plan" per se, this is a great way to start off your work or academic week. I try to build this into my weekly reading plan. It really doesn't take a long time to go through the notes AND the text (!). Think hard about what this teaches you about God, about sin and/or about yourself. There is something about the text that you can take away whether as a reminder or a charge to change your thinking, speaking or conduct.

Second, in conjunction with the first point, note your thoughts in a journal or diary. This is a good form of meditation. Sometimes, we read mindlessly, but when we write, we have to think about words and logic. I think it is healthy to keep a journal going as a chronicle of God's dealings in your life. For some, this might mean you should blog about it. I generally don't post my devotional meditations for public display (nothing against those who do). For those who are "tight" with the technology, excercise care that when you blog your devotional thoughts; maybe wait until after prayer or later on in the day to blog. We all know how easy it is for technology to crowd out our attention to the basic Christian disciplines.

Third, pray through the text/your notes for yourself, your family, the elders of your church and friends. Here is another way to reinforce the truth of the text in your mind and heart. In a sense, it is healthy to pray the words of God back to God. A few weeks ago I was praying w/ a brother in the church. I noticed in quick retrospect that I had basically prayed the theme and outline of last Sunday's sermon (and this was a couple days after the Sunday sermon!). In so far as that the theme and outline were biblical, then my prayer was pleasing to Christ.

Fourth, as alluded to in a previous post, apply the text corporately. How does the text apply to our "life together"? What I do not mean here is finding out to obey in the same way because obedience looks different from person to person. Simply drawn out, call or email a friend(s) about the sermon. Talk about what it means for them this week. You could start an online group or blog about the sermon. Think rigorously of how the text applies to you first. We all need each other in the body of Christ. After I have done such scrutiny, I still need the input of others to cover my "blindspots." Even more ideally would be to weekly follow the sermon in the small group (if your church has them). This corporate aspect of biblical application is alone worthy of a book , imho.

Fifth, sing about the gospel truth you have heard preached! Find a song to reinforce the text. In churches that deliberately structure the sung part of worship around the preaching, reviewing the songs sung in the worship service can assist in reinforcing the Word in your heart. This may mean (as it has for me recently) learning a lot of new songs, choruses and hymns. I had the privilege of visiting two of the churches that famous John Newton pastored. It was said of Newton that in one of his parishes, he would write a hymn every week to complement the sermon he had just preached as a means of assisting those in his congregation to remember the sermon. If no song exists that you know of, compose one! I highly recommend Sovereign Grace Ministries and the ministry of Indelible Grace for fresh renditions of old hymns and/or new compositions. The songs pumped out by these ministries have aided in my sanctification greatly.

Last, memorize the text. This could be hard to do but not impossible. I recommend a memorization system taught by Rev/Dr. Andrew Davis of First Baptist Church, Durham, NC.

Keep in mind that by virtue of our finite nature, we are forgetful. Furthermore, we are sinners whose wills still don't mind "forgetting" the Word. Putting into practice some of these suggestions does not necessarily guarantee practice perfected. The truth is that we all need to hear the same texts pounded into our heads and hearts throughout our Christian journey. You know how that eureka experience goes: "I have read this passage a hundred times in my life and I never saw it that way before. The lights finally came on!" The truth is that sometimes not all sermons you hear will take root the first time. Most likely, you will hear other sermons on the same text by other justified sinners that will elucidate more clearly what your duty to God is. The point of all of this is that until Christ returns for us, we are embroiled in a battle to remember his Word and do it. We will forget the words of God. We will often forget sermons and lose sermon notes, but we must persevere in the faith. We must embrace more seriously our responsibility to not be a "forgetful hearer." Truthfully, we must fight to not waste what God in his mercy and grace has given us--a more sure word of prophecy.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


It is that time of the year again! Time for a party to celebrate the new thing God began to do 2000 years ago. Who better to celebrate this wonderful truth than those involved in speaking this Kingdom "fresh start" to the great city of Chicago? This is an invitation to anyone who is on or leading a church starting team for the CMBA, or anyone who is involved in any way in ministering to those in the Next Generation (birth - 35) to join us for a very special an meaningful celebration of the birth of Jesus. This will be a time of gathering together in prayer, fellowship, games, and breaking bread. Please RSVP by December 1st (you can RSVP by adding a comment to this post or emailing Hope to see you all there!


Friday, November 02, 2007

What To Do With Sunday Sermons on Mondays
Part Two

Last weekend, I made the point that in order to get the sermon in your heart from Sunday to Monday most effectively (being a doer of the Word) requires anticipation and preparation on Saturday evening &/or Sunday morning before you leave home. I even started to recommend how our minds should be bent during the actual worship service. I'd like to draw that out a bit more in this post.

Second, Get the most you can out of the Sunday message.

As a preface, for many of us, one Sunday worship service is the only corporate worship (preaching being the climax of that worship) we "get" all week. My use of the word get betrays even in me that fallen tendency to juxtapose or match up Sunday worship with my "ideals." So it is important how we listen to the oracles of God being expounded.

Have you ever thought about how you listen to people? How do you listen to other public speakers or in the classroom? When God's infallible, inerrant, perfectly sufficient Word is unpacked for you every week, how responsible do you "feel" for what you hear? Are these expositions the words of God for you today, tomorrow and every other day? Is Sunday worship just an inspiration time or a recharge (it should be all those things)? What is your attitude toward the preacher and his office?

With these questions in mind, I challenge all of us on how we go about retaining the words of life? Keep in mind that God's covenant people, Israel and those in the first few centuries A.D did not tote their scrolls to the temple or congregation, but they were just as responsible to look into the 'perfect law of liberty' and take stock of their lives. I'm not sure if they took notes or not and brought them home to meditate on and study. They did have public reading (1 Tim 4:13). So, for us, in the post-printing press, info-tech age what can we do to retain and apply (hide?) God's Word?

First, take notes of the sermon. Some people like to take notes in a notebook; some use the paper or space in the bulletin provided by the church; others like to write in their Bibles. There is no hard and fast rule as to where you should note so long as you can find it on Monday. My guiding principle is to try to catch the key statement or theme of the preacher's message. I also try to follow and note his outline. I love words; so, if he uses a word I don't know or use often, I just jot it down. Trying to write as much verbatim as possible can be exasperating and actually reverse the point of the spoken word. Some people take copious notes while others just sit and do nothing at all. I opine that we should all have a pen on hand at least to underline something in the biblical text or jot a phrase in the margin of our Bible. While taking notes, remind yourself why you're doing this: "I want to be a doer of this Word."

Second, if you have the opportunity and money, buy the sermon on CD or download it onto your media player. There is nothing like reinforcing the word of God preached on Sunday throughout the week. These technological media are advantageous to us because we often do not catch everything the first time it is said.

Finally, purposefully plan to discuss the exposition over Sunday lunch. This is one way to really continue the "effect" that the Sabbath day is to have for believers. This can be as easy as: "What did you think of the sermon?" Or (more specifically): "How do you plan on applying today's sermon to your life tomorrow and the rest of the week?" This is where our discussion should go. It can be easy with some people to get lost in the details of theological controversy--which is ok-- but it ought not to end there. Praxis is the point of theology. If you lunch with an unchurched person, the message is a wonderful springboard into presenting their need for the gospel. I would like to hear further tho'ts from those of you who have regularly engaged the unitiated after a worship service.

I will finish this topic in two more posts: suggested disciplines for not "wasting" Lord's Day preaching after Sunday and reminders for those of us who preach.