Church Beautiful

Have you been reading any good books lately? Reading is an art-form that is sometimes dry and uninspiring and at other times a cascade of wonder and insight. I don’t really talk about what I’m reading when it’s been a bit dry, but lately, it’s been very good. So, after a lengthy pause due to many reasons, I write again. (inspiring background music starts here)

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I re-started to read a good book by Jonathan Wilson called Why Church MattersIn it, Wilson speaks often to the practices of our worship and community. He writes a section on the beauty of worship which touches on the fact that God cares about the beauty of our worship. God desired the unblemished, spotless, and best of the lambs to be offered to him and he chastened Israel when they offered him second-rate, leftover lambs because they were making money on the good ones. Even the presentation (the beauty) of the lamb must point to the one, true Lamb to come. And so it is with us.

Wilson describes beautiful worship first as a plural “we” and keeps the people of God as a whole in mind. In other words, we need to reflect deeply on what we practice as our worship. Second, he says, “Beautiful worship means worship that is shaped by and participates in the telos (the final goal; end of all things) given by God…” This means that it is summed up in the Trinity and has the look of Jesus all over it. Beautiful worship is therefore a people who love God alone.

And then he shares a number of “not beautiful” errors in our worship. Here’s a Gospel and community one:

Another way that our worship is “not beautiful” is our failure to reflect the work of God among all peoples. Our one-color, one-culture, one-class churches are ugly to God. They do not embody the practices of that telos — the redemption of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation…

The beauty of the gospel, its attractiveness and persuasiveness, is in part the glorious reality that in Jesus Christ “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female” (Gal. 3:28). The ugliness of the church is that very little of our practice bears witness to this beautiful, heartrending truth. God have mercy on us. God transform us by your grace.  {p. 46}

Lord Jesus, please help us to be your missional body that revels in your beauty found in the in-gathering of the peoples of the Earth.

 

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A Meal with Jesus – Highly Recommended

A Meal with Jesus  is a book that I’d love for all my friends to read this year. For those here in our ministry, you GET to read it (notice the sense of privilege that conveys)!

What’s it about?

In this case, you actually CAN judge the book by its cover. Brother Tim Chester takes a number of meal scenarios with Jesus from the book of Luke and spreads out a grace buffet for us. Take a look at Tim’s trailer below. Even my buddy, Jonny Woodrow, is in it (shout-out to one of the readers of our blog here).  I’ve almost finished reading it, so I’ll try to write a little blurb about it a bit later.

At this point in my reading, I can say — It’s good! Get it. 

Click here to pick up a copy of the book and the link will take you to Amazon and help out Serenissima a little bit too (completely shameless product promotion)

Meal_with_jesus_v2

 

Here is brother Tim Chester describing his new book
and a link to the original post on his blog.

A Meal with Jesus from Tim Chester on Vimeo.