The Church-Intro

In Articles, Church, Leadership by ChrisMarlow3 Comments

So these past few days I’ve been pondering this idea called the church. For some reason this thing, this movement, this beautiful mess causes me to stay awake at night, losing sleep, so desperate to try and find what it means to be the church that is truly effective. A church that truly lives out the story of Jesus. A church that helps transform dominate culture and a church that helps bring peace, truth, love and blessing to the world.

To be frank, when I look in the mirror I’m getting a true reflection of the church, ya, it’s me-scary right! Is it me, or do I just feel a disconnect from the church of today as compared to the church in the ancient narrative book of Acts. Somehow I’m dreaming of a pre-Constantin church. Damn Constantine, he really screwed up the ethos of the church. He created a religious institution as opposed to an organic (yet organized) movement of Jesus followers who were looking to freaking change the world; and they were doing just that.

Then somehow, the Jesus story just became another religious story. The Jesus story is not that great if it does not look and feel like Jesus; it can be rather hollow, weak and dangerous. I mean, think about it, how boring is it to get up early on Sunday, the so called Sabbath, dress up (like the other 5 days of the week), get the kids ready (like the other 5 days of the week), drive to church, deal with parking issues, drop a check in the offering bucket, listen to passionless worship and boring speaking. Folks, I do not want to have to pay to be bored on a Sunday morning, do you? BTW-When we gather for church, should it not be off the hook, should not the presence of God be so overwhelming, should not the glory of God be so awe-inspiring that we can care less about football or if the gathering went over the allotted time? If God is in the room does ANYTHING ELSE REALLY MATTER? Trust me, I’m the dude who is looking at the clock-preacher better bring it or else I’m jumping on my Treo and surfing the net while I act like I’m taking notes. But if the preacher brings it, I can roll with him/her. If God is truly speaking, is there a better place to be? If heaven is coming to earth, if the Holy Spirit is walking up and down the aisles, if lives are being changed, Is there a better place to be? I think not, especially of those folks who are encountering Jesus are determined to leave that place of corporate worship with a missionary mindset…They leave the church building to go and be the embodiment of the church within their neighborhoods, places of work and family, and they allow the very essence of God to flow through like a vessel; dominate culture is bowing down to the Jesus culture; light overcomes the darkness, and the darkness flees to its rightful place.

Is not this thing called church suppose to be exciting, risky, dangerous and world-changing? Is not the church suppose to be filled with worship, the place where heaven and earth meet; like the temple, the “Holy of Holies.” Except everybody can walk in and experience the very person of Jesus Christ. We do have full access, but why do I feel so locked out? Why does church seem so darn boring, why does my own version of Christianity seem so civil, so domesticated?

The word boredom may be the worst way to describe my generation, we hate that word, we hate the thought that our lives are boring. We are world travelers, activists looking to make a difference, graphic artists building their own websites, pod-casters doing their own radio shows, bloggers letting their opinions be known to the world. We want experience, we desire experience and we expect experience. Therefore, the very thought of the church portraying Jesus as civilized, safe and boring is absolutely tragic to a generation looking for hope, something greater and bigger, something worth following.

Now here is the kicker, Jesus was the same way; A world changer, a demon fighter, a peace giver, a community lover and a religious hater. Jesus was into extreme sports, like walking on water in the middle of the storm. He was down with UFC, he fought the devil for 40 days and kicked his butt, he hung out at parties and pubs, with friends and family drinking wine and laughing.

He loved little kids, hung out with the outcasts, mocked the religious, and built a community of friends who wanted to make the world a better a place. I think my generation would love Jesus…But they can no longer see him…Because the church is now standing in the way. Or better yet, I’m standing in their way-ouch!

Therefore we must asks ourselves, how can we get out of God’s way? What is the original intent of the church? What are we suppose to do, how are we suppose to look, much less act? What are the characteristics of a church that can help change the world? So I’m hoping to do a series on how I see the church; my personal dream for the church. And to be clear when I say church, I’m looking more towards church as a community. Church that includes corporate worship and preaching. Another words, I’m seeing this church through the filter of the good old western Christianity. The very thing that is standing in the way of the Ancient Christ.

Over the next few weeks I hope to discuss the mission of God, and the fact that we are all theologians who are called to worship God and use our gifts to fulfill the call of God on our lives and to step into the role that God has given us. Please feel free, agree and or disagree. These are my open thoughts, I hope to learn, grow and have a space where conversation can take place. I hope you learn from me and I learn from you!

Remember, Love each other, love God and love life.
Peace & Love from Austin!

WordPress Is Good

In Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow1 Comment

So I’m really happy I moved my blog to WordPress. It’s really night and day.

A few things I like:

  • I love how I can have “pages.” You will notice them at the top right side of my blog. (about, stuff I dig, contact, etc.) Those were built into my template, I did no coding.
  • Also, my template allowed me to add a personal banner (which is a local cafe here in Austin). Therefore, I do not feel my blog is generic. Also, I didn’t have to do any personal coding for the image; just cut and paste.
  • The built in stats is pretty in depth. Plus, I can keep track of all the comments I leave on other wordpress blogs.

Even better, it’s all FREE. I’ve spent no money on this blog, which is cool.

Book Review

In Book Review, Books, Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

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First, let me say that I really enjoyed this book. Mark brings a fresh voice and perspective to the church.

As we grow older it seems harder to chase lions, even if it was a sunny day and the lion had no teeth and was locked in a cage. Life can sometimes be too mundane, and so can Christianity, which Batterson points throughout the book. He blends a mixture of theology, psychology, ecclesiology and personal narratives to drive his points home.

I think the strength of the book lies within the “one-liners”. Mark has a way of really communicating deep complex issues in a simple, easy to understand way. Plus, I love the humility factor; Mark shared his own personal failures. This is important, I think we have to be cautious and bring a balance. Not everyone will kill the lion all the time, but we all need the courage to chase the lions of our lives and not live a lame, boring and mundane life.

So in the end I would recommend this book-it’s good, encouraging, thoughtful and funny.

Below are some of the one-liners that I mentioned.

 

“Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase.”

“God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time.” “But here’s the catch: The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time.”

“God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.”

“When we don’t have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to him.”

Ikea

In Austin by ChrisMarlow1 Comment

So tomorrow Ikea finally opens up in Austin. I think we are the smallest city in the states to have an Ikea. And if rumor is true, somewhere is S. Austin is a discount West Elm store. ( I have yet to confirm this)

The first 100 people in the store gets $80 chair for free. Therefore, folks have been camping out since SUNDAY night-Yes, they are nuts.

Anyhow, having an Ikea will be big for the economy of Austin and Round Rock. And now I do not have to Dallas to get stuff.

UPDATE: For Mrs. Ashdown 🙂
Nor do we have to go to Houston (Which is actually shorter drive for us!)
ikea.jpeg

The Mother Of All Elections?

In Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow1 Comment

Rudy Giuliani has filed paperwork for a potential run at the presidency in 2008.

Could this be the mother of all elections? Rudy, John McCain, Barak Obama, and Hilary Clinton are all possibilities, (plus John Edwards & Al Gore). These are some big time players, I hope they all run. It would make for an interesting campaign season

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Cafe

In Austin, community, Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

So this morning I took Bailey to school and headed to Seattle’s Best Coffee to get a jump start on the week. I walked in and was greeted with a “Hello Chris” from the barista.

I got my coffee and powered up the iBook. A few minutes later I was greeted with a “Good morning” from my friend Kevin, who runs a war strategy consultant business. So after a little chit-chat I begin to try and get some stuff done…But, then another “Hello” from motorcycle harley dude; I do not know his name and he does not know mine, but we often sit next to each other while at the cafe.

Then I got another “What’s up, do you like your Mac?” from another dude who is a Real Estate agent. So we had a conversation and exchanged business cards, yada, yada, yada.

I got here at 7:50AM and it’s now 8:10AM. So in 20 minutes I’ve had 4 legitimate conversations. It just seems so healthy and right. Community really does drive our culture. We really do want to go to a place, “where everyone knows your name.”

Peace & Love From Austin

New Banner Image

In Austin by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

So I already replaced the coffee cup image with a new image. The Spider House Cafe is probably the most well known cafe here in Austin. (although, their website is lame) I found this image of the web.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy it.

Peace & Love from Austin

Does Church Suck?

In Church, Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow3 Comments

So we headed out to church this morning. Now, for the most part i do not like going to church. Why, you ask? Well for me I hate being bored and church can be the mother of boredom at times.

Of course, some churches tend to over-compensate. They try to “entertain” the whole service, which is almost comic. So I’m always leery when I attend a new church.

So last week we went to the Vista, and it was really good. Then we went today, and it was even better.

Here is a few reasons why I like Vista:

1. Justin Cofield Band led worship. Now these guys travel like 150 times a year (or something like that) leading worship at other churches, camps and venue’s. Usually when I hear bands like these are leading worship for a church plant I get a little worried; you know, I don’t want worship to feel like a concert.

I hung out with Justin this past week and this dude is the real deal. He really cares about the church and wants to see God do something great here in Austin.

So this morning was the first time I heard them lead, they did great. The worship was more about God than the band; I dunno, they just did a great job keeping the focus on Jesus. Mad props to those guys. Great worship.

2. Jeff speaks well. He’s funny, theologically on target and brings knowledge and wisdom in his message. What I love is his passion, he really believes you can do something great. I guess I feel like he really cares and means what he says. He’s not just going through the emotions of pastoring and preaching.

3. It was not just a service but an experience. The church is simple, no bells and whistles to impress anyone. All they do is worship and speak, but they do it well. That being said, I felt like today at church was an “experience.” I did not just hear worship songs (boring) and another sermon (boring). Instead, I felt like I hung out with a bunch of people that really care and really want to see God do something.

4. The people. This is a multi-generational church. They are real, friendly and caring. I do not feel like I have to put on my Sunday mask when i walk into the place. If you know me, you know that my life can be somewhat of a MESS. *SIGH* And I do not think the people at this church really care about that. They embrace messy.

5. Culture. I honestly think the church cares more about how they can help me then how I can help them. There is a good chance that someday down the road, we might become “official” partners in ministry. But the culture seems to be very outward focused…A “how can we help you” culture.

6. Kids ministry is great. My kids enjoy going to the church. They even helped Bailey memorize Ecc 4:9.

Anyhow, it seems strange that I went to church in the “suburbs” at an elementary school, but it just felt different. And different is good. And it did not SUCK!
Peace & Love from Austin

Well Said

In Bloggers, Leadership by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

We all have people that we connect with…For whatever reason there is a kindred-spirit. Mark Batterson is one of those guys for me. I do not know Mark, but he just seems to strike a nerve when he writes.

And this morning he did it again. He just posted on his blog 7 Leadership Reminders. Very thoughtful and encouraging. Check it out and learn.

Peace & Love from Austin

Ah…You Made It

In Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow3 Comments

Welcome to the new digs. Feel free to take a look around. It’s still a work in progress. But, I really enjoy WordPress. Since my coding skills are VERY limited, and Blogger Beta was disappointing. I decided I needed a change.

Also, I have a new feed for those who who read via a newsreader. (bloglines, google reader etc.) Just click the link below, and it will give you various options to choose from.
http://feeds.feedburner.com/MusingsByMarlow

Peace & Love from Austin