Well before Pentecost, but appropriate, from Alan Knox.
What is a church? Two lists, from Leighton Tebay. Bet you can guess which one I prefer :)
And, what about the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers?
Guy Muse at M Blog has some insight:
A/P’s [Apostles/Prophets], in particular, have been marginalized to almost be considered an “endangered species.” Legitimate A/P’s are the hardest to find or identify within the Body of Christ. A/P’s by nature do not often carry the proper credentials and dislike titles like Pastor, Rev., or Dr. They aren’t usually known for their slick blogs or prolific Tweeting. When they do speak, their voices and actions make us uncomfortable. A lot of their ministry sounds like it is coming out of “left field.” Seldom do A/P’s coincide with the standard “right-wing” S[sic]/T [Pastors/Teachers] church views. In a church not meant to have factions, A/P’s would be considered the left-wing “liberals” of the church–loved and tolerated, yes–but kind of weird, disruptive, and even dangerous for our youth!
Some more good stuff from
Guy, quoting J. Lee Grady on a meditation on II Kings 6:1-7 where the ax head falls in the river (part of the Elisha cycle):
It illustrates how desperately we need to recover what we've lost. Perhaps you've noticed that our blade is missing. I don't know exactly when it fell off the handle, but it seems as if we've been trying to build God's house without the sharp edge of His genuine anointing. We've traded the real for the phony. We've cheapened Pentecost to the point that it's been reduced to dry religious programs and circus sideshow antics.
We've mastered the art of hype. We know how to fake the anointing. We push people to the floor during our altar times. We know how to manipulate music and crowds so that we can create the atmosphere of the anointing. But in so many cases the real anointing isn't there. In its place is a hollow imitation. Some charismatic leaders today are even selling specially handcrafted oils that promise the Holy Spirit's power. Others sell scented candles that claim to bring God's presence. And last year one brother was traveling the country with feathers in a jar— claiming that these belonged to an angel with healing powers.
Lord, forgive us for our charlatanism. We need the blade back! We must cry out to the God Who has the power to raise iron from the bottom of a river. We are not going to advance Christ's kingdom, or build His victorious church, using scented oils, fake charms, ear-tickling prophecies and goofy charismatic gimmicks. This is all wood, hay and stubble destined for the furnace. What we need today is the sharp blade of the Word that is empowered by the Holy Ghost and fire.
Thoughts on the cross from Scot McKnight:
The disciples want a glory discipleship but Jesus shows that the essence of life is sacrificial and not ruling. And here he gets to the very core of Mark’s theology: “If at the very heart of your worldview is a man dying for his enemies, then the way you’re going to win influence in society is through service rather than power and control” (149).
The saving cross is the paradigm for the serving cross.
And, how about this
Now I know the answer that would be given by many conservative American Christians. They consider their private property to be inalienable as a fundamental human right, and that even a democratically elected government has no right to deprive them of it.
But the Bible offers a rather different picture. In the Old Testament the collection of tithes, to support the priesthood and the poor, was commanded and enforced under the Law of Moses. The rules for the Jubilee also involve regular and massive enforced redistribution of wealth from those who have acquired it, so that “there need be no poor people among you” (Deuteronomy 15:4, NIV 2011 – clearly alluded to in Acts 4:34 quoted above).