I’ve heard it said often, “We’re not a Sunday only church.” I know what they mean. They mean the people of their church get together, fellowship, do ministry, and pray throughout the week as well. Of course, these are important aspects of a faithful church. Pastors should want their people to connect and serve outside of the Sunday gathering. If church members gather together on Sundays, but never show hospitality, pray together, do evangelism, or disciple others throughout the week, then the whole church will suffer. Life in the local church should not be confined to Sundays alone.
Then what’s my problem with the statement, “We’re not a Sunday only church”? Why do I never say it if I agree with it in principle? Because I don’t like statements that have the potential to undermine the significance of the Sunday gathering. Some people speak about “Sunday only” because they don’t think the Sunday gathering is that significant. What really matters to them are small groups or missional communities or more “organic fellowship.” In their mind, “We’re not Sunday only,” really means the Sunday gathering is less important than other ways of being the church.
Continue reading “Why I Never Say, “We’re Not a Sunday Only Church””
Even though roughly 150,000 people die every day in our world, we are still shocked when someone dies unexpectedly. I certainly was when I heard that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. Eight others died with him including his daughter. All nine people were gone in an instant.
The world focuses on Kobe not because the others were less important but because Kobe was a celebrity. Kobe was a household name for over two decades. We feel like we knew him even if we never met him. We watched him enter the NBA straight out of high school; we saw him win the NBA dunk contest as a rookie; we witnessed him battle against my beloved Utah Jazz in the NBA playoffs early in his career; we watched him win championships and become one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
I have watched many interviews with different people paying tribute to Kobe and the people who lost their lives in the accident. Each time my eyes well up with tears because the pain of death is real. Many people are left with questions in the wake of a tragedy. I wonder what kind of response is appropriate when the world turns its attention to the brevity of life and the reality of death. I try to imagine what Jesus would say if the news reporters stuck a microphone in his face and asked him to comment on the nine lives that perished in the helicopter crash. What would Jesus say?
Continue reading “Kobe Bryant’s Death and a Lesson from Jesus”
My wife’s grandmother, Dottie Olson, passed away a little over a week ago. Before she died, she requested that I perform her funeral service. Unfortunately, I contracted a severe illness and was unable to travel to conduct the funeral. To make up for it, I wrote a tribute in her honor. Below is a manuscript of my tribute to Dottie Olson. My wife’s cousin read it at the funeral in my stead.
Dear Family and Friends,
I, Matthew Emadi, am deeply saddened that I could not be here today in person. I would have considered it an honor and a privilege to participate in the funeral for Dottie Olson. When I finally accepted the fact that I was too sick to travel, I became haunted by one of my childhood memories. It was June 11, 1997. I was 13 years old as I watched flu-ridden Michael Jordan score 38 points in game 5 of the NBA finals leading the Bulls to victory over my beloved Utah Jazz. How come he was able to rise to the occasion and score 38 points in an NBA finals game, and I can’t even get out bed to get on a plane to travel across the country? I guess that is why he is considered so great. Continue reading “A Tribute to Dottie Olson (1935–2018)”
This is a good word from my younger and wiser brother, Sam Emadi. His article is titled, “Why You Will Join the Wrong Church.” How can he be so sure? Read to find out and what he says to do about it.
I find myself in more and more conversations with people who profess to be Christians and yet do not belong to Christian churches. They will usually reason something like this: “I am a member of the kingdom, but I will never belong to a church.” Or this one: “I worship God everyday. I don’t need to be a part of a church. I have fellowship with my Christian friends.” Of course I am not surprised by such statements. They are becoming more common in an anti-institutional, anti-authority loving culture. Yet some anti-church membership sentiments stem from the pain of being hurt by carnal church leaders or from belonging to false authoritarian churches or simply from never having belonged to a healthy church to begin with. Others have come to believe that the whole enterprise of “church” is corrupt so they avoid it altogether. This problem is compounded by the fact that many churches in modern-day America do not practice church membership. These churches have no clear accountability structure. People can come and go as they please, no questions asked. The membership-less church is a kind of event that happens each week at a certain location. People show up but with no sense of corporate identity regarding who they are and who they are not. I do not say that as a critique at this point; it simply is what it is. Continue reading “Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?”