April 05, 2010

The Irony of Christian Celebrity [EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote an article for Relevant Magazine's ministry mag, Neue, on the irony of Christian celebrity. Here is a brief excerpt. Sections of the article are more fully developed in Secondhand Jesus. For the full article, click the link below.] "We have nicer words that cloak our pursuits, making us believe they are godly. Influence. Platform. The opportunity to reach more people. These seem noble and Christian, sanctioned, nay, commissioned, by God. But in an age where we have more mega-churches than ever before but fewer people who go to church, where we have record-breaking, best-selling Christian authors and yet a majority of our culture who don’t recognize their names, we must ask ourselves a few gut-level questions: What if our desire to “make an impact” is really a form of grasping for immortality? What if our quest for influence is actually another way of chasing fame? What if our efforts to “expand the Kingdom” are really monuments to our entrepreneurial skills? What if, in the name of building platforms to proclaim the Gospel, we have elevated people into Christian celebrities? What if we’ve added God to a crowded house of idols, the idols of fame and success? I have heard people say they want to make Jesus famous. I think that sounds wonderful, but I’m not sure Jesus wants the help. The irony is that while He was on earth, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to become famous, to leverage His influence for the Kingdom. And yet He resisted. It's not enough to do God's work. We must do it in God's way." Read the FULL article here: http://www.mygazines.com/issue/7039/36.
What Easter Means for the Future of the Cosmos Is Easter only something we look back at with gratitude? Does God care about injustice in the world, the pain and suffering we experience, or is He only interested in 'saving our souls'? Should we just hope to "fly away" in glory and escape the wreckage of the cosmos, or does God mean to rescue the whole universe, His good creation? Here is the audio (in dark gray below) and a rough sketch of my outline of a 20-minute talk I gave on Easter Sunday Night on what Easter means for God's defeat of evil and the future of the cosmos: EASTER_ What the Resurrection of Jesus Means for the World The preaching of the early apostles was all about the resurrection Peter preaches about the resurrection of Jesus at Pentecost Peter & John were preaching that Jesus was raised from the dead on Solomon’s porch Paul proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus before a skeptical Greek crowd and before a divided Sanhedrin Acts 4:33 (NIV) “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” Why? Is Easter something we only look back at with gratitude? 1 Cor. 15:12-19 (NIV) “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised....

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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