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Faith Week – Brian Zahnd

March 12, 2009

bzI really enjoy Brian Zahnd‘s ministry. I need to get the Word of Life podcast going again. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy a Zahnd sermon.

And last night was no exception. Brian told us he was addressing us as Church in the Word, more than as individuals, which was ironic ’cause Pastor’s in the middle of a series on Sunday mornings about who we are as a local church.

Brian (We’re by no means on a first-name-basis, but we’re friends on Facebook so I figure I’m allowed to call him “Brian.”) exhorted us to be a Shelter from the Storm, as Isaiah prophesied of the Church time and time and time again. There are a lot of scriptural metaphors for the Church in scripture, but he suggested that now would be a good time to dial down the “Army of God” descriptors and work on the “Shelter from the Storm” ones.

Jesus talked about being a house that will stand through the storms at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. He said the key to doing so was hearing and doing His words. So Brian took us back to the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount and suggested that if we’re going to be a Shelter, we need to get good at the beatitudes.

  1. Welcoming those who are poor at being spiritual. Let God meet people in a way that is … normal. This is probably more of a problem in Spirit-filled churches, but we tend to be spiritual elitists. Not good.
  2. Comforting those who mourn. Comforting is not the same thing as cheering up. Let people have bad days when they’re having bad days. Cry with people. Brian reminded us that there was a giant that David couldn’t kill and a cross that Jesus couldn’t carry. It’s okay.
  3. Being meek. We don’t even use the word “meek.” Ever.
  4. Desiring righteousness. The word for “righteousness” is the same as the word for “justice.” It’s not about a personal righteousness before God; it’s about genuinely desiring the world to be make right again – and not in a way that contradicts the other beatitudes.
  5. Giving mercy. The evangelical Church in the U.S. is not known for being merciful. Whether or not we are merciful is not the point. We’re not doing an outstanding job of extending mercy.
  6. Having pure hearts. Stop being so cynical.
  7. Making peace. “At the heart of peace is not agreement. It’s forgiveness.”

It was a challenging evening.

(On a slightly unrelated note, he started with a poem and went on to mention that much of scripture is poetry. “Poetry is one of God’s primary tools for changing the world.” Can I – I mean “he” – get an Amen?)

What do you think? Which one is the Church the worst at? Where should we start? What is your home church doing to model one of the beatitudes?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. seekingrecklessabandon permalink
    March 14, 2009 12:03 am

    on a less than Holy note…I went to his church once for a free concert. They had a fountain inside the main entrance of the church…

  2. Lex permalink
    March 16, 2009 2:26 pm

    Thanks, Captain Random. ;)

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