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Friday, July 01, 2005

Jesus Christ and the Church of LCD--Part 2

LCD (Least Common Denominator) is not meant to be a reference to any person. People are of upmost value. Luke 12 reminds us of our tremendous value. There is no scale of greater and lesser value of persons in the church. James 2 warns us very sternly not to play favorites.

Instead, LCD is referring to our approach. Suppose you place me on a team with Manu Ginobili, Ivan Rodriguez and Ben Rothlisberger. If we are to accomplish some athletic feat, I am certainly going to be bringing the least physical prowess to the table. Does that make me less valuable as a person? Certainly not. But it may mean that for us to accomplish a given task, the load isn't spread out evenly, but that those guys move a little beyond me to get things done. If we all just play at my level, the other guys will actually become stunted. But if they are pushed physically, I may even develope some greater athletic skill in the process.

At times, it appears we fear "leaving others behind" so much that we never call them to advance. I'm intrigued by the words found in Hebrews 5: "11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." I just don't know that we spend much time on solid food. The author explains that he has more he wants to say, and wants to call people to more, but their stunted growth prevents him. Scary thing is, they've been on milk so long, he says he's going to have to teach them the "elementary truths" all over again. They haven't maintained their position, they've actually regressed. I'm not saying that a person speak beyond the audience or we have no respect of the spiritual maturity of those we minister to. Notice the author says he wants to teach more, but can't really do it. The people aren't ready. But he at least calls them to more.

Have we become spiritual milk men, dispensing simple thoughts every week, and never call people to a deeper understanding of truth? Are we so worried about speaking to the audience, that they are able to listen to a sermon and not be challenged to reach for more? Do we seek to make them so comfortable, we actually allow for complacence?

How do we turn lactose obsessed sheep into carnivores? How can God use us to help them develop a hunger for deeper truths? How do I make sure it's happening in my own life?

Tomorrow: LCD's effect on the gospel.


  • At 11:04 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Preach to the chairs. The church is where people come to get "fed." So they sit down at the table, and the Pastor is the "dude with the food." He prepares the food for his three guests...

    (1) The spiritually mature.

    (2) The spiritually immature or brand new believers.

    (3) The seekers or unsaved.

    You do NOT have to pick which group(s) to speak to. Great, effective, biblical teachers can and do connect and teach with all three groups. People who disagree with that have definitely not heard the preaching of guys like Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, Andy Stanley, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Mike Breaux, Gene Appel - or - as is my prayer and hope every week - Gary Underwood.

    Serve milk and steak at the same dinner. Doesn't have to be one of the other.

    Serve only steak, and knowledge puffs up.
    Serve only milk, and people don't grow.

    Serve both, and you get your calcium AND your protein. Then again, we should mix in some carbs for everyone, from the sermon chef who once said, "I am the BREAD of life."

    (Note: The illustration of three groups sitting down at one table to eat from the Word comes from a guy who is fantastic at serving that kind of meal - Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX).

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    preach to the chairs? what does that mean?

    i guess this is not for this time in the discussion, but I'm not sure I list all of your famous pastors as great expositors of Scripture. Some of them surely are. But we may have a difference of opinion on some of the others...that's not the point however.

    you have to admit though, the majority of the Christian influence, and the majority of the Body of Christ does not sit under these famous preachers. the majority are listening to guys who aren't on the radio or writing books.

    i wasn't attacking any particular person. but as finite beings, we have a tendency to emphasize one over the other. how have you found the balance? how do you guard yourself to make sure you are offering substance to your mature believers in a way that even non believers may be able to "taste and see that the Lord is good?"

    I know we don't have to do one or the other. But appears many are doing just the one or the other. How do we keep from making the same mistake?

  • At 1:13 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    sorry, one more thought about your post.

    i'm not so much intrigued by the list of guys you give who are great, effective, biblical teachers...but more by the names omitted from you list. No mention of John Piper, James MacDonald or John MacArthur?

    "Biblical Teachers." There's few finer. These guys really exegete a passage and provide incredible Biblical content. They certainly aren't afraid to dive into the deep issues of the faith as the text calls for.

    "Effective." Well, the Lord alone will be the One who says, "Well done good and faithful servant," but the churches these men pastor in are seeing disciples made and souls converted.

    "Great." Now this one's subjective. Maybe you didn't list those guys because you don't think they are great. Maybe you find them dry or boring. That's OK. But then we are disagreeing about style, not substance.

    I have no problem with highly creative preaching that accurately handles the text. Like you, that's my goal. My question is more about the content we preach when we handle a text, and how we decide what we're preaching on anyway.

    For our church, we put a high premium on expository preaching, so we let the passage decide what we're preaching on. However, there are varying depths you can go to in a passage. How do we determine that?

  • At 4:17 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i wonder if all the new converts in macarthurs church feel ignored.

    i'll try to not be biased against hybels expository preaching (which i've never heard the wednesday service) because he focuses most of his sunday service on the seeker...

    if you'll not assume macarthur isn't reaching tons of unsaved people with his expository style. if you check, you'll find out these have been tons of people (especially catholics) come to know Christ through his ministry.


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