The Dream of Hope Community Church

Posted on by Cor in FAITH | Leave a comment

 When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near. ~Andy Stanley

The Dream

(written in 1996)
Hope Community Church is: 

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dream of a church where God is honored as we learn to trust, rely and hope in Him as the only One who satisfies our deepest longings.

It is a dream of a place where people from all walks of life come into a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, beig loved, accepted and valued from the very moment they cross our path.

It is a dream of a place in which all the caricatures of Christianity are broken down and removed in order for non-Christians and Christians alike to grow in a non-threatening environment—a place where seeking the answers to tough, real-life questions is encouraged.

It is a dream of a shelter for those who are hurting; a “new start” for those who have come from legalistic or overly-shaming religious experiences, offering biblical counseling for those who are in need or crisis.

It is a dream of putting people above committees, projects and programs and where lifelong, God-centered, intimate, authentic relationships develop with one another.

It is a dream of a church where the laity are the ministers, where each person is encouraged to enter into service using their unique abilities, experiences, spiritual gifts, desires, and personality, and where leadership is brought up and trained from among our own.

It is a dream of being light in a dark, dying, cynical world. This includes both the University of Minnesota (students, staff and faculty) and also each member’s natural network of relationships.

It is a dream of a church that takes the Bible very seriously yet is also culturally relevant to our times.

It is a dream of a place where corporate and private expressions of worship are highly valued; where both our heads and hearts are fully engaged with the glory of God; where sincerity is stressed, not style; where many multifaceted forms are used such as contemporary and traditional music, fine arts, drama, teaching, corporate prayer, etc.

It is a dream of having a Resource Center for spiritual growth (books, tapes, videos, music, Bible studies, “seeker” books, etc.) and being a resource for other groups of Christians in a variety of ways such as unique gatherings for worship, prayer, instruction, conferences and/or encouragement. We also dream of working together with other Christian groups when appropriate.

It is a dream of sending laborers of love into the entire world, trained to communicate the Gospel message and help new believers grow, and teaching them to follow Christ and minister to others using the gifts God has given them
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It is a dream of having families and singles be united in one community, a place where preschool, elementary, junior and senior high students abound and are brought up in the fear and instruction of the Lord; a place where University of Minnesota students may follow Christ while at the University, remaining after their studies to minister through our church to other areas of the Twin Cities.

It is a dream of personal discipleship relationships being very important, where mentoring relationships and small groups are seen as the most vital ingredients of growth we can offer.

It is a dream of a growing community of believers who continually see numerical growth—primarily through reaching the unchurched, not through transfers. As the Lord leads, we dream of starting new churches around the Twin Cities that share our vision and values.

It is a dream of becoming financially independent with sufficient staff and resources to carry on the ministry three years from inception.

And lastly, but most importantly, it is a dream of being a church where Jesus Christ is the ultimate priority, where we work hard at keeping the “main thing the main thing;” that is, Jesus Christ is our Lord, Savior, and Guide for life; a church where we would be diligent in prayer and faithful to carry out what God has given to us.

Dear Cor #1 || My advice to Workplace Will

Posted on by Cor in LIFE | 11 Comments

Hey COR.

MjAxMi04MTBkZGUzMTMwMTVhOTQyI know you’re busy but I have a question about a work situation that I’d like to get you thoughts on. I’ve been a Christian for 6 years. While I grew up in the church I really didn’t start owning my faith until I went to college. Now I’ve graduated and I’m in my first “grown up” job. And I’m finding it really hard to relate to others. Conversations around the office feel gossipy and back biting. I get invited to go out to drinks after work and I don’t want to. I just don’t want to be a part of that. There’s one guy in the office that I kind of connect with. We can chat sports. And we have a couple mutual friends that go way back. Other than that, I just feel alone. And I want to share my faith and trust God has me here for a reason but I just don’t see it. I don’t know if I have a question. I’m kind of rambling.
WORKPLACE WILL
—-
Hey WORKPLACE WILL.
Thanks for the note.
Your work situation is a common one. I hear from people often about the challenges that come in office situations. It can be an incredibly acidic environment, especially when you’re trying to live for Christ.
I’d give you three things to consider:
  1. coworkers-dream-job-office-workplace-ecards-someecardsNon-Christians live like non-Christians. That’s reality. Your new job doesn’t permit you to pick your co-workers. You’ve got what you got. So unless they move on or you move on, these are your co-workers. So adjust your expectations. Without Christ, I was just like them. And so would you be. So don’t expect non-Christians to act and live as if they had Christ.
  2. Jesus (and therefore, we) hangs out with “non-Christians.” Too often Christians mistakenly treat non-Christians with metaphorical leprosy. While too much time within toxic environments would be unwise, you need to find points of connection. Consider Jesus’s example with the tax collectors. Imagine how unwholesome the conversation must have been amongst tax collectors. Imagine them recounting stories of swindling widows and bribing business owners. Still Jesus hung with them. In fact, their non-Christian-ness seemed to be the very reason why Jesus hung out with them. They needed help. Maybe they didn’t recognize it in that moment. But they needed him. So do your co-workers. They just don’t know it yet.
  3. When life breaks, would they turn to you? For me, this is the big question. Do they trust you? Would they come to you? And they will if two things are true: You’ve seen them do all the crap of #1 above and despite this you’ve still done #2 above. And if both of those have happened, they will view you as a person they can trust.
So whether you asked a question or not, that’s what I think!
Cor
As always, your opinion is valuable so share it below!!

Pardon me while I dote on my wife on her birthday

Posted on by Cor in LIFE | Leave a comment

Not all of you are given to public displays of affection. If so, look away now.

For those that remain, here are a number of birthday memes to unapologetically celebrate my wife, Jill, on her birthday.

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Crowdsourcing the definition of manhood. It is THIS. Not THAT.

Posted on by Cor in LIFE | 13 Comments

Manhood finalA proper understanding of manhood and womanhood is critical.

As such, I believe it is vital to define and communicate what is meant by each.

But this should be a community effort. One person’s perspective is insufficient. It must be the group who defines manhood. It is up to all of us to say “Manhood is THIS. Not THAT.”

So I’m setting this post up as a crowdsourcing project to define manhood. Depending on its traction it would be fun to do the same but for womanhood.

Here’s when we crowdsourced the problem of not enough time

I will get the conversation started (in no particular order). But I expect you to add your perspective.

    • Manhood is not becoming feminine. There is masculine love that is soft and gentle.
    • Manhood is not becoming passive. There is masculine aggression that can be channeled for God’s kingdom, the good of this world, and the blessing of those who are being mistreated or abused.
    • Manhood is not about physical strength. There is masculine strength which can be manifested in physicality. But also through intelligence. And passion. And conviction.
    • Manhood is not about skills (see: Napoleon Dynamite). Men needs skills to hold down jobs, fix things, etc. But it’s not just about skill accumulation.
    • Manhood is not a conference. It doesn’t happen in a day. Or in three. It is a relentless push deeper into the gospel. It is a perpetual reminder to set aside selfish desires in honor of others. It is every day waking up and counting your life as loss if only you may know Christ.
    • Manhood is not objectifying or taking advantage of the women in our lives. It is a continuous commitment to protect and care for the women in our lives.
    • Manhood is loving our wives. Every day. It is not loving them only when it is convenient or we feel like it or they are overflowing with love toward us.
    • Manhood is __________________. NOT _________________.

Help me out. Help US out. You fill in the blanks.

What is manhood? And what is it not? 

Please share your important perspective below!

If you like this topic be sure to check out:

    1. Mark Driscoll on the absence of masculinity in the Church
    2. Where have all the good men gone? Wait! Are they gone?
    3. Women, is your man your standard of masculinity? Should he be?
    4. A legit conversation about complementarians and egalitarians

A better way to engage culture than “In but Not Of”

Posted on by Cor in FAITH | 9 Comments

There-are-some-really-applicable-situations-for-teenagers-in-this-article.Being “In” the culture but “Not Of” the culture is a popular church expression. It’s a rallying cry for Christians to minister beyond the four walls of the church building. It sounds good. 

But most people think of this expression incorrectly. At least when compared to how the Bible depicts it.

Most people think I to go INto the world and then, once there, I’m on constant guard to NOT become OF the world.

Picture a person leaving their house for their office. They perceive themselves to be going into the world. While out there they need to be vigilant to not become of the world. What follows is a series of decisions to stay on guard against the world. Don’t do that. It should be okay to do this. Watch out for that! IN the world but NOT becoming OF it. It seems simple enough.

But there is a much better way (and can I say more biblical way?) to understand “In but Not Of.” And the key is by flipping the two expressions.

Rather than “In but Not Of” we should be saying “Not Of but In.” “Not of” should precede “In”.

Why do I say this?

Jesus twice says he is “Not Of” the world (John 17:14, 16). So if Jesus is “Not Of” the world, how is he not of it?

It says he came from the Father (17:8) and is returning to him (17:11, 13). This means Jesus is in this world temporarily. His true home is at the Father’s side. He is “Of” that world. Therefore, he is NOT of this one. The “Not Of” that Jesus highlights is different than being on constant guard against the world (like we often perceive it). It is connected fundamentally to his relationship with the Father.

not_of_this_worldThen John 17 says we are “Not of this world, just as (Jesus is) not of this world.” So our being “Not Of” this world is due to our connection with Jesus. We are connected to him, who is not of this world. Therefore, we are not of this world.

Therefore, our “Not Of”-ness (can I use that expression?) is NOT because you make the right decision to stay away from this, that, or another thing. Our not-of-ness is because Jesus connects us to a different world, a heavenly one.

And if we have that straight – that we are “Not Of” this world – then we are primed to go “In” the world (17:18). Going into the world even comes a few verses after we are minded that we are “Not Of” this world.

It’s a subtle difference. But I believe understanding ourselves to be “Not Of” this world must precede our going “In” to this world.

QUESTIONS:

1. What do you think? Is there a substantial difference between “Not Of but In” and “In but Not Of” as you’ve come to understand it?

2. Can you see the value in reminding yourself that you are “Not Of” this world, even as Jesus is not of it, prior to going “In” to the world? 

This is adapted from a breakout session I led at my church’s 2014 Spring Retreat.