Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lord, Renew Our Hearts!

The Church I'm privileged to pastor is in a unique community. Eight years ago the village of Binbrook had 200 people. Today, we are sitting at about 8,000, with another two thousand projected newcomers in the next two years or so. We are now a part of the city of Hamilton. What was once a little country town, an intersection, really, is now White/Light Blue Collar suburbia. It's exciting that our church really wants to be on a mission to the growing community around us. We know that we need to grow and change, and we are actively praying/thinking/talking to see just how to do so, to better reach the unreached who are literally moving to our doorstep. As I've been thinking through these issues in my own studies (so I can give leadership in these things), one resource I've been devouring is the Redeemer Church Planter Manual. Granted, pastoring a 170 year old church is the farthest thing from church planting. But the insights that Tim Keller piles on continue to be a blessing to me in my own 'established church in suburbia' context.

Here's one example. In a chapter on corporate renewal/revival, Keller begins by saying that right doctrine is the first essential to any authentic revival. His second point is equally true, but from my perspective, much more pervasive. He writes:

"The second condition for renewal is to be deeply aware that doctrine is not enough. Smugness in doctrinal accuracy leads to dead orthodoxy. Ironicaly, the doctrinal accuracy becomes a 'work' which replaces Jesus as Saviour. The result is spiritual pride. Instead, what makes us Christians is doctrinal truth spiritually applied to a spiritually illumined heart (1 Thess 1:3-5)" (pg 200-201).

Keller then speaks of the Christian's need to anticipate the presence of God 'coming down' during corporate worship. He offers quotes from the Welsh revivals to show just how experiential truth was to these blessed men.

Lord, do this in Binbrook - at our church and all the others around us!

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