Money Can’t Buy Me Love: 'We Can't Serve God and Money'

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls . . . – The Sounds of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel. If we pay close attention, we will find that the secular artists (poets, musicians, authors, etc.) of a culture often speak kingdom values and insights to the people of God with a clarity not found among the people of God.

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The Power of Love in a Christian Community: 'What a Healthy Local Church Looks Like'

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

The Power of Love in a Christian Community

If you have followed me any length of time, you know I am not shy about critiquing the corruption and short comings in institutional and organized forms of Christian religion. I know many of you, like myself, have experienced not just poor church experiences, but scarring and damaging ones. Many are wary, rightfully so. Many are in extreme forms of reaction, both theologically and emotionally to anything formally structured or organized  in terms of following Jesus with others–being the people of God together practically. Frankly, some have lost hope and given up.

That is why this post is so important. I have permission to share it and have blanked-out personal names to maintain privacy.  

I believe this real-life, real-time letter from a pastor I know personally embodies the values and the transformative power of what can happen in a local church REGARDLESS of how it is STRUCTURED, when Christ is exalted and central at all times, where the good news of the gospel is relentlessly preached in a simple yet powerful way, and where loving and serving each other is all that matters practically.

 I believe it will be worth your time to read. 

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Reality is in the Meal, Not the Menu: 'Monday Morning Musings - October 26, 2020'

Just because you have memorized a restaurant’s menu, does not mean you know anything about the reality of what the menu represents. The reality is in the meal, not the menu. Within Protestantism we have had 500+ years of “preaching the Word.” It is assumed that in so-doing we have faithfully discharged Christ’s mandate. If better or more preaching was necessary for the kingdom of Jesus to grow in Western cultures, we would be far better off spiritually and civically than we are today. The world is not waiting for another sermon. The world is waiting to see some people who resemble and act like, the Firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:28 ff). The world does not need another lecture. It is high time that those who espouse a message and expect others to conform their lives to that message, bear a family resemblance to the One whom they preach. The essence of Christianity is incarnational, transformational, and manifestational, not informational.

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

It’s Just a Symbol . . .: 'What does "symbol" mean in the New Testament?'

In our world, the word “symbol” means something that represents or points to something else that is the real thing. This would be thought by many to be a self-evident no-brainer. We then proceed to bring that understanding to the Scriptures and we think “that’s that.” Well it’s not. “Symbol” does not mean that in Scripture. This has great importance when considering the matter of the Eucharist, or in some places called Communion or the “Lord’s Supper.” If someone is telling you: “It’s just a symbol, or just a that, or just a this . . .” your warning alarm needs to go off.  In many so-called “organic” church environments the centrality of the Eucharist in both Church history and practice is ignored. It is, at best, an afterthought. 

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

The Eucharist: In Adam and In Christ: 'Four Hour Video Seminar Now Available'

Eucharist - An Anthropological perspective

How the Eucharist relates to our being in Adam and in Christ.

It has been my experience within Protestantism that for many, the Eucharist is a meaningless ritual. It is often done in a perfunctory way out of sheer obedience, if at all. Teaching, if there is any, can be pretty stale. Rehashing familiar views of the relevant Scriptures and debating 16th century metaphysical arguments is normal fare.  Over the years when I pastored traditionally, we tried different things to bring more meaningful experience to folks. There were occasionally moments of wonder, but generally it was a wholly dissatisfying experience.  What has it been like for you?  What if there is more to it than many of us have been taught in our traditions? This seminar is designed to provoke primarily those from Protestant backgrounds to reconsider some things regarding the Eucharist, communion, or the so-called “Lord’s Supper.”

 

 

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Dear Christians: Your Behavior Matters: 'The Perils of Christian Celebrity - Meditations on Living or Dead Faith'

Failure, Sorrow, and Redemption

Christian Celebrity and Our Responsibility

So, another Christian celebrity’s egregious behavior has made the national news.  He has “fallen” in sexual immorality. Sadly, there is no real news here. This will always happen in a “give us a king (celebrity)” culture that values fame and talent more than character. But it is not just an individual responsibility issue.

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Gentleness, Humility, and Meekness: 'They're Not What You Might Think'

They’re Not What We Might Think They Are

When simple terms like gentleness, humility, and meekness take on modern cultural definitions rather than culturally sensitive biblical ones, we will end up creating God in our own image. We will also likely create faith communities that reflect cultural values rather than biblical ones. We do not have to become Jewish nor import their culture into our world. But neither should we export our culture into the text and think we are being “Biblically faithful.” Jesus and the apostles were not white Americans from Nebraska in 1954. Gentleness, humility, and meekness can become grossly distorted in our day if we do not at least understand what the terms meant to the people of the day, before we try to live out an ethic that may have no biblical foundation at all.

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Why Stephanos Ministries is Not a 501-C-3

Why Stephanos Ministries is Not a 501-C-3 Tax Exempt Corporation: 'Legalities and Spiritual Convictions'

In this blog I explain (for those interested) why as of July 2015, Stephanos Ministries ceased to be a 501-C-3 corporation with IRS pre-approval of donations. For decades we were a 501-C-3, so what follows is surely not a judgment or condemnation on anyone who currently maintains that status. For years I believed being a 501-C-3 was a benign and mutually beneficial exercise of Christian liberty. I do not judge those who maintain that conviction today.  However, in the light of recent political and legal trends in the world, I thought an explanation for our conviction and action in terminating our status might be helpful. Most believers I have met are very naïve and ill-informed on the “legal” aspects of operating a “church” or “ministry.” This is my attempt to inform and educate.

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Servanthood – The Highest Calling: 'Guest Blog by David Fredrickson'

The Highest Calling

Servanthood – The Highest Calling

Professional Christian “ministry” attracts insecure people looking for validation and significance like flies to manure. In this guest blog by my friend David Fredrickson, he shares what real servanthood is about and where real validation and significance come from.

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Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part One: 'What is Happening to Us?'

Next to death of a loved one or a divorce, fewer things are more emotionally and psychologically challenging than changing a “church” association. Often when people begin to question their church experience and consider “leaving,” they feel alone, misunderstood, accused, disoriented, and perhaps even crazy or thinking they are losing their mind. They often feel unloved and unsupported.  In this first session of an  eleven-part series called the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I introduce the topic and provide a frame of reference for understanding that you are not alone.

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