March 7, 2010

I am not a proponent of Rick Warren's methodology. I don't believe the so-called Saddleback Mega-church pattern is the best way to start, build and grow a church.  And I have observed over the last thirty years that those pastors and churches which employ the Mega-church modal are 9 times out of 10 prone to become an emergent church. (See my series on the Emergent Church Movement).

There is one major aspect in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven plan that is very Biblical and is of the utmost urgency. That is that the Church, or rather Christianity as a whole, needs to recover a "great commitment to a Great Commandment."

Jesus reiterates that Great Commandment in Matthew 22:36-40 wherein He says: Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and Prophets hand on these two commandments.

To love God, according to Warren, means Worship. And worship, coming from the old Anglo-Saxon "wuroscip," means to regard as most worthy, or granting a place of honor above all else.

Living in today's society, we are bombarded with material things from high-end entertainment centers to luxury boats, dream homes and fancy cars. Placing a new Lexus, a created thing, ahead of the Lord, the Creator, is all too common.  And since Agnosticism and atheism are growing faster than Islam and Christianity combined, God is either deemed irrelevant or non-existent. Why waste your time if there is no God, or He is not worthy of our consideration.

To love neighbor, according to Jesus, means to love the unlovable. One of perhaps the three greatest stories told by Jesus was the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus gave this lesson in response to a somewhat sarcastic question from a Jewish lawyer who, in response to Jesus asking him what the great commandment was, asked and who IS my neighbor?

In short, the parable was about a Jewish man who was accosted by thieves, was robbed and left for dead. A religious leader came upon him and did nothing, a religious layman later passed by and offered no help. But a half-breed, one of the most despised person's in the Jewish mind, came up on him and rendered aid and paid for his recovery.

Jesus then asked that lawyer, Who do you think that man's neighbor was?

Answer: The one we can't stand. It may be the middle-eastern family who recently moved into your neighborhood who just happen to be Muslim, or young man next door blasting his hip-hop music til the windows break. It very well might be that woman whose fender you accidently hit and smashed up and whose lawyer has just slapped you with a summons to court to answer for a million dollar lawsuit.

The world is your neighbor! And until Christians wake up and realize that God is the only One worthy of our adoration and that the unlovable person next door is the object of your love, then there can be no real Christianity. The Christian life becomes muddled in the quagmire of worldliness. 

Loving God is Worship; loving your neighbor is Ministry. The most important thing for a lover of God to remember is every Christian is a minister....Not just the pastor!

Love is a term that is often thrown around like it is a pair of dice in a crap-shoot. The Biblical concept of love (agape) is one that involves the mind, not the heart! You can't fall into this kind of love. You have to will it. Call it WILLPOWER!

This is what separates the Christian from the rest of the world (Muslims included). Whereas only the Christian is capable of performing agape love, the rest of the world can only practice discrimination and hate.

The only way Christianity can thrive in this growing world of hate and atheism is to make a great commitment to the Great Commandment. Worship God, Love you neighbor! Anything less is not Christian!

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