Posts Tagged ‘ Daniel Klem ’

My church, your church, our Church

In keeping with the Rally to Restore Unity this week, I am looking at one area that causes division: ministry.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:3-13, NIV

Vibrant and Dead

There are a lot of churches around that cater to something specific. This church offers a homeless ministry. That church has a car repair club. This other church reaches out to abused women and children. That other church has a great addiction recovery program. This church works with that church to reach out to the local prisons.

Everybody does a lot of great things.

The problem comes in that many of these churches offer these great ministries and programs … exclusively. Then they look down on other churches for not doing the same thing.

“You don’t help the homeless! Jesus told us to!” “How come you are not getting into the prisons?! Jesus said visiting those in prison is visiting Him!” “Why are you not reaching out to these people with these problems!”

It is almost a heresy to not do what “my church” does. Each church may have a great specialty, but that specialty often becomes “this is the way church is supposed to be done, and you are doing it wrong.”

I am not saying these churches or these people are bad. Quite the contrary. They are meeting a need that has not been adequately met in their area. GREAT! The problem comes in when our focus is on the ministry more than unity within the Church. The problem comes in when our focus is more on our work than on our relationships. The problem comes in when our focus is on how we are serving more than on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Unity through Difference

I am going to make a suggestion. If you are involved in a ministry, make sure you are in a church that offers other ministries different from your own. If you work with the homeless, make sure your church offers a ministry in recovery. If you work in a ministry of recovery, make sure your church offers a ministry that works with divorcees. If you work in a ministry that works with divorcees, make sure your church offers a healthy children’s ministry.

All of these are suggestions, not definite ideas. I was a part of a church (I still think of it as home, actually) which had a great youth ministry, offered several outreach opportunities throughout the year, supported several missionaries, had some men who offered their car mechanic specialties to those who needed it, and many classes to grow in understanding of the Bible and our Lord. They did not have a college ministry, and this is in a town with two major universities, some community colleges, and several satellite campuses and other colleges. We ended up plugging in with another church’s college ministry. It was working and vibrant, had access to resources we did not, and was already in with the colleges.

The point is we saw needs. We saw ways to meet those needs. We did not start new churches and/or condemn others for not doing anything. We worked together, we met the needs. We found ways to get past ourselves and doctrine to unite.

Like Paul said in Romans (and as it is said in many places in the New Testament) we belong to each other in Christ and each have gifts that benefit all. Our beliefs may not always line up. Our ideas of ministry may not always be the same. Together we can do more than apart. At the very least, make sure you know people from other churches and ministries. It will help you, your church, and the Body of Christ.

Let us get over ourselves and let Christ reign.

One in Heart and Mind

There is a lot going on in the world today. There always has, but there are definitely more ways in which everything can happen.

Also, we often have almost instantaneous access to the news about almost everything.

We are also able to say what we think about everything almost instantly. Sometimes mistakes are made (such as John Piper bidding a “Farewell, Rob Bell” to the wrong Rob Bell), and sometimes toes are stepped on (such as Rob Bell’s, as of late).

Rachel Held Evans talked about this very thing in relation to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. I completely, 100% agree with what she said.

She also is encouraging some fun and togetherness. Rachel was inspired by our nation’s two favorite “news authorities” – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – to declare this week the “Rally to Restore Unity” for Christianity. We are even trying to help our world’s water needs with Charity: Water. I have failed to make a sign, but here is my contribution to the blogging part:

D.O.C.T.R.I.N.E.

People have a tendency to forego reason if for only a moment to voice their opinion. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes they think they are right for one reason that is actually wrong even though they are right. Sometimes … we just can not know.

Sometimes there are good reasons for coming to the reached conclusions. Sometimes conclusions are reached simply to go against what is commonly held. It is never a good idea to disregard history. Many Protestants have done this in the last five centuries, often to their – and our – detriment, but of course not always.

Hank Hanegraaff came up with an idea for agreeing on church doctrines that should work in unifying believers. I have modified it slightly, but you can find the original article here (subscription required). Using the letters of doctrine, he made an acrostic:

  • Deity of Christ
  • Original sin
  • Canon
  • Trinity
  • Resurrection
  • Incarnation
  • New creation
  • Eschatology

Basically, we should all agree that Jesus is God (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, Revelation 1), all humans are sinful (Romans 3:23), we have divinely inspired scriptures on which to base our understanding of God and ourselves (2 Timothy 3:16), being one God is also three (1 Corinthians 8:6, Hebrews 1:8, Acts 5:3-4), Jesus died and rose again and will resurrect believers (1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God became man – fully God and fully man (John 1:1, 14), we are a new creation and all things will one day be made new (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:18-25, Revelation 21), and this world will one day cease to exist as it is – even non-Christians believe this, we just hold that God shall renew it (mentioned in Resurrection and New creation).

We might disagree over what sin is, what “divinely inspired” means, what exactly “canon” and “scripture” entails, or how and when this world comes to an end; but that should be secondary. The only thing that comes from arguing about these meanings is division. The only arguments that are valid are those that bolster truth and unity. If we resort to declaring all angels have wings and only 144,000 people get into heaven and blue carpeting is better than beige (for a couple examples out of countless others) and declare it as ultimate truth, we are saying we fully understand God how His plan works. This is blasphemy and unscriptural (yes, I declared an absolute truth that can offend, and we should not dare to presume we understand God. See also here and here). The first believers were Jews who could not agree on whether or not the scriptures should be read in the original Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek, yet the Bible says that in Christ they were united in one heart and mind.

We should agree our God loves us. Everyone, even Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. Even you. Even me.

We should agree God is God and we are not.

We should agree that we need God.

We should agree that we need each other.

We should agree that only God knows what is truly happening and will happen.

We should stop bickering and fighting: Jesus said so. Paul reminded us. At least twice more.

Love one another. Please, for Christ’s sake. Literally.

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 05/01/2011

Today I bring to you one of the first poems I ever wrote for God, and it happens to be based on one of my favorite passages. The passage is a reminder to me that God works in and changes us to be holy, but He still requires us to do something. You can call it “God helps those who help themselves” (which I might explain my thoughts on this in the future) or “We have our role to play in our sanctification.” Either way, God gives us the freedom to either choose Him or choose ourselves in every moment.

i submit to You  God
daniel m  klem

if i draw near to You
You draw near to me
You will purify my heart
my hands will be clean
i am double minded
i am a sinner  indeed
i will now resist the devil
We will make him flee
i submit to You  God

so You are with me

****

 James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist
the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God,
and He will draw near to you. Wash your hands,
you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-
minded.

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 157.

Scared Running

I jumped

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

God can scare me. I have admitted it.

Verse one up above I have greatly enjoyed for years. Verse two has been offered to me several times as a consolation of my fears in doing many things. “If Jesus can confront death on the cross, you can do surely do this!”

Quite frankly, that has rarely helped. One thing that has crept into my thoughts many times is “Yeah, but He was and is God!” It almost feels unfair to be compared to Jesus sometimes!

What has been of comfort to me is, instead, the entire preceding chapter.

Chapter 11 has frequently been called “The Faith Hall of Fame” for the list of very human (read “flawed and sinful like me … I mean, like I”) people in history who were persecuted for and/or overcame fear/obstacles by their faith in God.

They are the examples of those who do not “shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39, even though I know this introduction to the next chapter is referring to believers!).

I used to be terrified of heights. This meant that, even though I desperately wanted to for the sheer excitement, I was afraid to jump off of perfectly good cliff into some perfectly cold water (see the picture above). Based on that picture you should be able to tell by my body not being on any firm surface that I have indeed jumped off of at least one cliff.

There are two things that “made me do it.”

  1. I saw other people – some people I would say I trust – jump off first … and not die.
  2. After they jumped, I jumped.

The thing about number one is that I saw the empirical evidence to help convince me it was not necessarily deadly. The thing about number two is that I knew I could never know if what my eyes saw was true unless I experienced it.

Application?

I have read about these “Heroes of Faith” who demonstrated their belief and trust in God. Millions, perhaps even billions of people have believed that these people truly demonstrated their faith. God blessed them in some way and they are seen as righteous.

How else do I show people I trust God if I do not follow their example? If all I say is I want to jump off of the cliff, all I want to do is live a life honoring God, where is the proof?

I might be scared, but if I say I believe “God is for us” and “nothing is impossible with God” then I must demonstrate it or be a liar and a hypocrite.

Ouch.

I still sometimes fail, but He is greater than my fear. Hokey? Maybe, but whenever I follow His call, He proves it. When I fail, I prove how much I deserve His grace!

Do you ever get scared to the point you cannot move forward? Do you worry? Do you fail?

At least I am not alone, but remember: He strengthens us with His Holy Spirit and with each other.

Lean on me. Or some other person with the faith you feel you lack.

I Fear God

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10, NIV

I spent my early life looking for answers. I wanted to believe anything that made sense. Fortunately, God found me, and I now seek to know and share this God more and more.

If you believe in Calvinistic election, you would call it my election showing itself. If you believe in God calling certain people to service (for example, Jeremiah), you would call it my calling beginning to manifest. If you believe in the prodding of the Holy Spirit, you would call it the Holy Spirit acting on me in my youth. There are many ways it can potentially be described. No matter what, as I said, God found me.

At the age of 16 I began this journey with God. I was taught to think critically, to know what I believe. This included that “fear the Lord your God” meant a combination of respect with some actual fear since He has the power to do whatever He wants (not in the tyrannical way it might sound, because God demonstrates so much grace and love to be that kind of King). It is not actually healthy to live afraid of God. That kind of fear hinders our commitment and actions.

Think about like mountain climbing. The extreme kind with cliffs and ropes and dangling from stupid heights. Any experienced climber will tell you that if you are terrified of heights or ever stop fearing the drop – basically saying if you stop worrying that you might fall to your death – you need to leave. Too much fear or no fear leaves you more open to lethal mistakes.

Likewise, if we are afraid of God we will not want to follow Him either at all or as we should. If we have no fear of God, we are apt to think of ourselves more highly than we should.

Now for my confession:

Sometimes, God scares me.

The fear that He will condemn me to hell? Well, sometimes, but I have found assurance in His Word that I am saved.

The fear that God may not exist? Not anymore. I have seen, heard, and experienced too much for that possibility.

No, God scares me when I look at the possibility of ministry, when I look at my marriage, when I look at my relationships, when I study for school.

In reverse order, I get scared that God has called me to study His Word and His Church and His world … and I will misunderstand, fail to comprehend, and, most importantly, fail to teach it. I get scared that God has given me friends and family … and I will hurt them, fail them, and disappoint them. I get scared that God has given me a wife … and I will neglect her, hurt her, or disappoint God in my devotion to her or Him. I get scared that God has called me to share His message … and I will mess it up, misrepresent Him, or just plain fail.

I mean on a daily basis. I get scared.

I get scared God could call me to leave everything behind. I get scared God could tell me I have it all wrong. I get scared God could call me to something difficult … which, really, life with God has a tendency to be difficult.

Who wants to love the unloveable? Who wants to forgive the unforgiveable? Who wants to think of others first? Who wants to deny themselves of their wants and desires?

However, it helps me understand a little better “deny [yourself] and take up [your] cross daily and follow me” and that saying “die daily to yourself”. It helps me understand a little better “What is impossible with man is possible with God” and “I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength.”

Fear can push us to love and trust and respect, or fear can push us run or hide or sit still. Sometimes I do the former, others I do the latter.

Fortunately for me – and I would assume most people, nay, every person – God can redeem and work through my failings. I pray He continues to let me help mess it up … I mean help Him!

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 04/24/2011

HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

How do you know this day is important? As Chuck Swindoll says “What other event do we celebrate 52 times a year?” We remember the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth every Sunday, but this week commemorates the actual day (even if it is usually off slightly, it is like communion … in remembrance).

and so It begins
daniel m  klem

Jesus is on the cross
held with my sin
but i am forgiven
for He is risen
the Father revived
the Son to live
and He loves us
even after His strife
He gave His Son
so we may live
and now through Christ
God will forgive
Jesus is the one
that set us free
and i can love
because of He
who died on the
cross for the world
that we can praise
God and His Word

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 99.

risen

daniel m  klem

the curtain torn
the tomb now sealed
God watching as
His angels work
the lights flashing
thunder clapping
the joy surrounds
all in heaven
explosions  cheers
lightning  thunder
flashes  novas

on earth  Jesus
taking a breath
opening eyes
He sits straight up
removes the cloths
folds them neatly
rises and leaves

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 132.

HE IS RISEN!

Special Friday

For this Friday, I posting two of the poems from my first book. You will catch the reason why I posted these.

crucifixion
daniel m  klem

the bottom of the hill
the sun goes black
in the eighth hour
three structures
one man per structure
each with his arms outstretched
the One in the middle did nothing
closing in on the ninth hour
the Man asks for a drink
i place a sponge soaked with vinegar on a stick
offering Him His drink as He dies
i break down grief-stricken

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 61.

it means something
daniel m  klem

i remember the death
and remember suffering
but i can see more
than just the bad things
the cross gave freedom
when He is burdened
He carried all this sin
and will until the end
the cross reminds me
He died to save us
and that i can trust
in the living Jesus

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 159.

I pray you remember what our Lord has done for us on the day we celebrate today. I pray you remember that He is indeed alive again!

Grace and Peace.

Daniel