Tag Archives: Rhett Canipe

HE PREACHED WHAT?

As I walk further along the road of life with the Lord, I have notice a troubling trend. The church (the body of Christ) has become guilty of allowing the traditions of men to become as the commandments of God. Jesus warned us of this in Matthew 7.

Along the way, we have made the hymn book equal with the Word of God. If we use drums and guitars instead of pianos and organs, we are somehow dishonoring God. Now where exactly is that in Scripture.

We have taught and been taught that “where two or three are gathered in His name,” God will, definitely, answer our prayer. Now where exactly is that in Scripture?

We have taught and been taught that there are “certain” clothes that we must wear to church on Sunday morning. (I guess Wednesday’s do not matter. For God must give us liberty during “prayer meeting.”) This is called our “Sunday best.” When, again in reality, many people that are wearing their best would be turned away or shunned from many churches today. Who is to say that their “t-shirt” isn’t the best they own? But I digress, where exactly is that in Scripture?

We have taught and been taught that if someone drinks a beer they are in sin. Now where exactly is that in Scripture?

We have been taught that we must ask forgiveness of sin daily, because we are nasty sinners that will be out of fellowship with God if we don’t make things right. Now where exactly is that in Scripture?

We have taught and been taught that the two of each kind of animal went on the ark, there were three wise men, those same wise men came to the stable, that prayer can change God’s mind, and so on. Now where exactly is that in Scripture?

I contend that God could care less about hymn books or drums. “Where two or three are gathered in His name” is actually a church discipline text from Matthew 18. Jesus teaches “come as you are now,” not after you change clothes. Actually, the Bible teaches that drunkards will not enter the kingdom of God. Hebrews 10 teaches that after Jesus defeated sin on the cross, “He sat down!” A reference to one of His remarks on the cross, which was “It is finished!” The fact of the cross was complete forgiveness, So much so, that God does not remember our sins anymore. Why should we keep asking God daily to do what He has already done?

I believe God is simply concerned with preachers preaching the truth. Not traditions, not what we have been taught, but the truth of God’s Word. Even if it pushes the mark! Men of God must study to show themselves and not be ashamed to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

It is time for preacher’s to “Preach the Word, not the traditions of men!

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The New Fetish: SELF!

Have you ever noticed how quick people will let you know how miserable their life is? All you have to do is “open a door” for them to speak and they will jump right in!

I have begun noticing that people are consumed with themselves. I have always known that we, by nature, are a selfish people, but I just never saw it as blatant as it is today. It is obvious why Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Because He knew we would have no problem with looking out for number one. Now, let me be honest, I also fall into this trap many times myself. However, I have been seeing more and more Christians that fall into this trap on a regular basis.

Facebook has become a valuable tool for connecting with new friends or reconnecting with old ones. And I enjoy keeping up with friends from the past and “socializing” with new people in my life. But this “social network” has also become a place of self-grumbling about how bad life is in the present.

But the key things I have noticed are the common denominators. While looking at our church member’s statuses, a trend has developed. The members that are sold-out to serve God, the church, and their fellow man are usually upbeat about life and encouraging others. But the ones that just “show-up” at church on Sunday morning, never serve in the church, and never serve others become chronic complainers about life and others.

For example, Peggy Morris, a sold-out believer and church member, recently had surgery. Not once has her status been about how pitiful her life has been because of the surgery. Her statuses have constantly been about Scripture or encouraging others. Don Hall, another sold-out believer, constantly encourages others and never speaks of self.

Do these people have problems that arise in their life? Sure they do! But they have found the key to overcoming problems is faith in Christ and investing in others. Because when you invest in others, you take the focus off of self!

It is true what grandma said: “You can always find someone worse off than you!” My challenge to you believer is “Go Find Them!”

The Bible says to outdo one another in honor, esteem others more than yourself, and to encourage one another. It never tells us to compete to find whose life is really the most miserable.

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Begging Verses Exhorting!

The definition of begging is, simply, pleading that something be done. The use of the word is usually meant for the begger to attain something for themself.

However, the word exhort means to inspire or encourage strongly for someone to attain something for themselves.

As I was preaching Sunday, I realized that many preachers fall into the trap of begging. We beg people to give, serve, or commit to a life of Christ. Our ministries reflect that Christ has no power because we have to beg people to live for Someone who, supposedly, gave them life.

However, Paul exhorted people. Yes, he reminded them of what the Lord had done for them, but why would he have to beg believers to sellout to a God that died and rose again to give them eternal life. Would Paul beg? As Paul would say, “Certainly not!”

As pastors, we must continue discipling new believers to mature in the Lord. This includes inspiring, encouraging, and exhorting.

But should we have to “beg”, so-called mature believers to a surrendered life. I would say, “Cetainly not!” They should have the Holy Spirit residing within their heart to encourage them to finish well.

The point is: A person whom must be “begged” to serve the Lord has never truly known the Lord.

Yes, we all need exhorting and encouraging from time to time. But should our life represent one that has to be begged. Absolutely not!

Step up Church! Be the believer you were called to be. For you have been crucified with Christ.

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Liberal, hum?

I listened to a local pastor preach recently on the church. The final analysis was that these new churches are watering down Christianity so much that God is dishonored.

The problem is that his definition assumed that jeans, black backgrounds, flip-flops, bands, and piercings equaled liberal preaching.

He made me think of a part in my doctoral dissertation I wrote last year. Hope you enjoy!

Churches are called to be on-mission, but Alvin Reid writes, “Churches are not interested in reaching the world because they’re involved in such ‘important’ issues as whether people should clap in church, or whether guitars violate Scripture, or whether the carpet should be green or brown.” Believers easily confuse their preferences for biblical convictions, argue about the non-essentials, and then wonder why the outsider does not come.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, is convinced that missions begin at home. The pastor believes that the local church must take the gospel to the streets to win the world and that it will be effective when the gospel, along with the church involves the culture. In other words, it takes all three; the gospel, the church, and the culture. The church cannot be fully effective until it works with all three simultaneously.

Jesus confronted the culture. His first miracle involved turning water into wine. Jesus hung out with Samaritans, adulterers, thieves, and obvious sinners. It sounds odd, but Jesus embraced the culture in order to change the people within the culture, and He began at home in His natural culture.

However, there is difficulty when embracing culture. People have questions, and they do not assume what always has been, should always be. Many are simply unchurched and have a need for answers. The local church must become intentional and professional at creating the gospel language that more reflects the culture of this present day. Again, this language is not a different message, simply, a different way of presenting the same message.

As free in Christ as the church is, it has often been guilty of trying to change the culture where it resides, instead of allowing Christ to change the people within that particular culture. It is also amazing how the church is guilty of regularly seeing its culture, the church culture, as the correct Christian position. The challenge is that believers have to become missionaries to those they find unpleasant and that God has placed right across the street. Driscoll writes, “To be faithful in reformission, we must embed ourselves in a culture and develop friendships with lost people so that we can be informed and avoid making erroneous judgments.” The friendships that are made within the unchurched culture actually help to teach believers about the culture they are trying to reach. Dan Kimball writes, “We need to make sure we are not trying to see them ‘born again’ into our Christian subculture and changed into one of us instead of being transformed by the Spirit into a disciple of Jesus.”

This is very important because today’s culture does not understand what the church is saying. As the church is trying to reach the culture around them, they must have a healthy understanding, as a local church, about their culture. Just as the church does not understand the world at times, the world often does not understand the church. Driscoll writes, “The better we understand a culture, the better prepared we will be to reach that culture so that God can transform how people think, what they value, and how they experience life.”

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What a Church!

Inspired by Perry Noble, pastor of Newspring Church in Anderson, SC, I couldn’t help but ponder how blessed I really am. He stated the following, “I believe in the church today, there’s been a major breakdown in communication between Jesus and His people. And I believe the communication breakdown that exists in the church in America today is instead of trying to build His Church, we’ve been asking Him to build our church. When in actuality we are called to lift up the name of Jesus Christ! IT IS HIS CHURCH!”

I am so thankful to be part of a church that is concerned, no totally consumed, with building the kingdom of God more than their personal kingdom.

I am amazed of where God has brought us to thus far, and can’t wait to see where we will be at this year’s end. How many more souls will be saved, marriages restored, relationships healed, and addicts recovered this coming year. Only God knows! But I am glad that there is a church that loves seeing salvation and sanctification in action!

I love you, Heights Church! Let’s Rock!

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Ready or Not here It Comes!

What a great year 2009 has been! However, the turn of a new decade is upon us. I look back and see all the changes in my personal life in this past decade and am, simply, blown away.

Since the turn of the century, I have finished a master’s degree and a doctorate. Both my children have received their driver’s licenses and have graduated high school. My son has married. I have become a grandfather twice. I have been a senior pastor for the past six years. I have also spent more than half my life married to the most wonderful woman in the world.

The question is: Where will the next ten years take me? That is a great question for anyone? What will we do with the next ten if God wills that we should even have it?

Do I now go down the homestretch preparing for retirement? Do I focus all my energy on my grandchildren?

I believe God has me here to focus on others coming to Christ. My sole purpose is to tell others about the love and grace that this man, Jesus Christ, gave to me fourteen years ago.

I am convinced that without Christ, none of the great things in my life would have come to pass. He has blessed me and calls me “highly favored” in His Word.

Will I neglect that? Will I turn inward and focus on self? It would be so easy. However, my goal for this decade is to pick up the pace, finish strong, and tell as many as I can about a Savior. “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Lord, please never allow me to be counted among the few!

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CHANGE? Part III

A typical church member today believes that everyone knows how to act in church, knows to wear their Sunday best to church, knows that church people only listen to certain types of music, etc. In other words, “secular stuff” does not belong in the church, because the church will look worldly, instead of reverent!

Every human being has their own physical perceptions in life. Some perceive that overweight people need to quit eating so much. When in reality, they may be sick. It has been perceived that people with long, weird hair are troublemakers; those with tattoos are gang members, and so on. It can be perceived that people with skinned heads are radical racists, when they may simply be Marines who are home on leave.

However, people also have spiritual perceptions. Some members hold that church people should look and act a certain way; only certain music should be allowed in the house of God; true Christians only read the Kings James Version of the Bible; deeply spiritual people pray in King James language; and a respectful, Bible-believing church is actually quiet and reserved. Then when another church attempts to do ministry in a more relevant way is accused of selling out. Kimball teaches that the church must quit accusing others of “selling out” who use different methods for reaching the unchurched culture. Driscoll agrees with Kimball that the church is quick to condemn other Christians who do not do church the way they do.

The body of Christ’s perceptions must change. Humans are not an omniscient people; therefore, most perceptions by them are normally wrong. However, great churches are not afraid of reality. Therefore, leaders and members alike must take a fresh look at the local church, be honest, and change what must be changed. If a local church’s ministry is effective and people are being saved, churches should still take a healthy look on a regular basis and eliminate what is not effective any longer.

James White writes that there are five different groups in every church when it comes to change. He lists the innovators, opinion leaders, early adopters, late adopters, and the resistant. The innovators, roughly 2 percent of the body, actually are the ones who come up with the good ideas for change. The opinion leaders, 14 percent, are the ones who actually communicate these ideas to the body, whether for or against the new idea. The early adopters look to the opinion leaders and typically fall right in line with the anticipated transition. The late adopters normally come onboard when they are no longer in the majority. Then the resistant, approximately 16 percent, are those who absolutely do not want to change a thing.
The late adopters feel like things are fine the way they are and have always been. They declare if it was good enough for them, then it should be good enough for everyone else. This group is a demanding force that often feels much bigger than it really is. However, God, in His wisdom, uses this group to keep the church from moving too quickly in the wrong direction. At other times, they can become a major stumbling block in a significant move of God. Sometimes they hinder a move of God, and the church misses what God had for them. The God-given opportunity may be gone forever. Change is good and needed, but leaders must lead through all attempts at transition for just a slim chance of seeing different results.

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