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April 19, 2006




You know, I like the 'idea' of a curch reaching a 'target group'. But, as this year has gotten worse, I realize more and more that all that matters is God, His Heart, His will, & His people.

As I stopped for coffee, aman and I had a coversation about pain management. He said that he managed his with alcohol. I responded that in ministry I had to be careful and not do that.

After he stopped laughing, we had a short and pleasant moment of witnessing. My pain has humbled me. I don't desire 'me church' and my followers, I desire - His church and His followers.

God bless



I had a conversation recently with someone who had some negative feelings toward a worship leader who just happened to be a good friend of mine. The comments all had to do with style and song choice, you know, the usual petty gripes. However, when this person found out how close I was to the worship leader, they asked me what I thought of his "style." I responded in the kindest way I knew how that what mattered most to me was not the kind of music the guy was leading, but the kind of life he was leading. Since I happen to know the leader personally, I assured my embittered friend that regardless of how he felt about the musical tastes, the leader was a genuine follower of Christ. I'll take genuine over contrived any day of the week. Based upon my study of the Bible, I'm pretty confident that God will too.


Authentic is a GREAT word to describe a true Christian. Lance is right on when he states that authenticity is contrived by most people who call themselves Christians. It is a term that is not OVER-used, but rather MISS-used. Christians MUST be authentic, but only in the way that Scripture suggests they ought to be. Authenticity does not mean using grace as an excuse to behave like the rest of the world. Authenticity means being who you really are. It means not being a fake. People who say they are Christians, but act like the rest of the world are either not really Christians or they are being someone other than they really are. The Apostle John in 1 John tells us that "Anyone who claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus did." Elsewhere he says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? ...let us not love with words or deeds, but with action and in truth." Christians are indeed authentic, but authenticity does not mean living like a pagan. Authenticity means living who you really are in Jesus Christ. Is grace only strong enough to justify us...or does it also have the power to tranform our lives that we might walk just like Jesus?


My point exactly. Sometimes I feel that we are too busy looking good than actually doing good. It's all about image in America, maybe even more so in the church. And I'm guilty also.

It is this syndrome I call "pseudo relationship," we try hard to look authentic but authenticity can not be achieved it simply is. To be or not to be that is the question. The question is not how to be.

Some of my best relationships were built during overt co-suffering. I believe it is an element that is missing for many Americans (comparatively speaking with the rest of the world). But there are some exceptions. Growing up in the black ghetto is no easy situation. Being Hmong, You're both a chink and a nigger. and you get discriminated on bothsides of the black and white. Its a double standard life you are expectated to be an overachiever and a thief. So needless to say, it is the perfect enviroment for things to go wrong. Hates crime, poverty, intergenerational struggle, poor education y mucho mas abound. However, the positive thing is when people suffer together people grow together. Looking back I now realize how dire my situation was. The son of an illiterate rice farmer who had been raped by civil war and exploited by the U.S. as a human shield only to be left for dead in hostile VC territory. The son of a man who came over with no money and worked degrading jobs with long hours for minimal pay. It is only by the hand of God that I am where I am today, maybe that is why I have such great comradery with "my people (inside joke)". It is sad that the relationships I found with suffering sinners in a smokey enviroment was so much deeper than those that claimed to know Christ... Ok rabbit trails my bad. All I'm saying is that real relationships are often grown in adversity and in America we are lacking adversity, people are irrelavant cause they don't know whaddup. C'mon get real, what kind of sacrifices must I make to adhere to American Christianity. Let's admit it, the proof is in the pudding. We the church are creators and perpetuators of nominalism. Likewise, you can never have a real relationship with Christ through nominalism neither with each other. Let's SHARE in the sufferings of Christ and soon you and I will be best friends.

Not only do relationships require trials but also time. No need to explain here. You're probably to busy anyway.

God is our father not our program. People reflect God's likeness, not our project. Discipleship takes place in a relationship not a book. Church is a submissive wife not an optional venue. Relationships take time not money. God values the Mary spirit not the Martha.

We are in right relationship with God because of Christ's suffering. Could it be that suffering can be conducive to relations? Also,should we take the time to love our suffering neighbors AKA the poor, oppressed, fatherless, Mexicans facing repatriation, starving kids in Haltom City...?

I am convinced that how we relate to our neighbors is actually how we relate to God and vice versa. Ok stone me now, I've just opened pandora's box.

Glenn Smith

Lance is right on. In the Western world we are driven by fads. Even the newer emerging type churches are now the "fad." Marketing is about trends and fads. I think we should be aware of them and how they effect society. However, what makes us attractive to the world is authenticity. We must be careful to not be market driven but be driven by authenticity.


Is authenticity a goal, an image, or a by-product. When it becomes a goal it becomes an image.

You see...I'm more interested in simplicity these days. Reduce and consolidate my goals into one value, Christ Himself. Simplify.

When we are one value people (across the board) Christ authenticates our guinuiness and character. Then authenticity is simply a by-product.


It seems as if we make things much more complicated than they are...I do not discredit the intricate nature of God, His creation, and His thoughts. However, is the message of Jesus not clear? It was Jesus' love that made Him unique. It is that very love that made Jesus ATTRACTIVE to those who were in need. It was also that same challenging love that caused the "religious people" of the time to hate Jesus, and wish to kill Him for His radical behavior. So, as Lance suggested, have we become extremely INauthentic in our attempts to be authentic!? I feel like sometimes, in my own life, I make my faith and what it means to be an authentic Christian much more copmlicated than God desires for it to be. He simply commands us to SEEK HIM...I must constantly remind myself that it is the radical, and unconditional love of Christ that attracts people; it is not the latest trend, the "right church model", event, song, sermon, etc. that will draw people into a real, life tranforming understanding of Jesus Christ. I must constantly question my motives in ministry...are my goals to grow in numbers, or in Christians who are willing to be intentional in their faith? May our lives, and the unique way in which we love others reflect something about the character of the God we serve.


It is so easy for us to say as disciples of Jesus Christ that we need to be more authentic in the way we interact with nonbelievers. As we all know, it is a lot more difficult to truly live in an authentic way on a daily basis. Some of the nonbelievers that I have talked with at my apartment complex have shared with me that they feel that we are trying too hard. In our attempt to make the gospel authentically relevant we have become too impatient (they can sense this). Perhaps we like to see immediate results and have a difficult time waiting on God. Some words that we can use to describe authenticity are as follows: "Trustworthy, Genuine, Realness, Original, Truthfulness, Validity and Undisputed Credibility," popped up after a quick google search. Our daily interaction with nonbelievers needs to stem from the authenticity that we first share with other believers in Christ. Let's continue to let Jesus Christ transform our hearts and deepen our faith.


I really appreciated your comments, Lance. I have real appreciation for some of the fresh questions being asked out there, but I see a lot of the "emergent" guys falling for trendy and thinking that's authenticity. One of the reasons I love the T-Life / T-World model is that it is always asking me questions... Am I involved in transparent community? Am I actually serving to bring the Kingdom in some way that is not for my benefit? There's a lot of talk about social justice from people who are making themselves feel like they authentically care, but they've never met a poor person or served a bowl of soup. In America it's hard to divorce our wish-dreams for the church from just loving God and loving people. Wanting to build a successful church tempts me to play angles, and make authenticity one of those. May the Lord help us to have true hearts.

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