. The balance between heart and mind



Introduction 1.

Two years ago I came back from my time alone with God in Kruger and I shared these thoughts with you. As we are standing on the verge of a possible joining forces with another congregation I need to remind you of these principles, so that we may never forget.

We all know that our goal has to be to develop a church in such a way, that the church would be the church that Jesus Christ intended it to be. Now, obviously we have to turn to the Word and discern from there what God’s plan, God’s purposes and God’s expectations are for His church. Then we of course need to figure out ways to implement it to the best of our knowledge and understanding. Our problem always is that we want to bring about the perfect will of God through imperfect people like ourselves. A further problem is how to keep it before the congregation as the congregation is always changing, and what is old news to some is brand new to others, and some might even be oblivious to what we shared before. That is why I am sharing it again today, besides the fact that I did not have time to prepare a new sermon.

The danger in any ministry is that at the beginning of the new ministry or new ventures like the one we are planning to embark on if it is the Lord’s will, is that we can feel exited and exhilarated with certain principles. But as the church grows and we become used to one another and the way we do things, we can so easily enter into a maintenance styled ministry. We can take certain things for granted, we can make statements that simply become clichés. What we mean with what we have said from the beginning can be lost and filtered down over time as it is polluted by our own walk with the Lord and our own complacencies and mediocrity.

I will illustrate that this morning as share what the Lord has laid upon my heart in 2014.

My desire is that Logos will be a church where we do discover the truth in God’s Word, that we will know the truth, that we will establish it in our lives and ministry and that we will then refine it as time goes by and will extend the truth beyond the walls of the place where we gather. But as I said earlier, all truth statements can become cliché, and this is the concern I want to address this morning, by illustration from what I have learn from another ministry.

I pray that from what I share this morning that God will prevent us from becoming apathetic regarding certain foundational principles and that we will uphold them passionately until our dying day. Oh, how I pray that Logos will not become a club, where we simply gather because it is ‘lekker (nice)’ to be here. Please read the illustration of the Life Saving Station that I put in your hands two weeks ago as part of the presentation for the future, or as posted at the bottom of the sermon on our website. So many churches start well and in the beginning their agenda is the Glory of God, their passion to know God and to make Him known, and after time it is all about practical stuff like comfort, lengths of services, irritating personalities that offend them, how their personal programme and interests are either positively or negatively influenced by the church. Instead of enjoying a nice roast chicken for lunch, they have a roast pastor or they roast another member around the lunch table. Sometimes the sad reality is this that the church has degraded to such an extent that those who are spiritual and spiritually minded have no other option than to roast the pastor.

So, let’s get to the issues and look at some foundational priorities. I will be doing this in a strange way, by using another ministry as an example, but you will understand my reason for doing so.

Now to my real introduction. That was introduction part 1.

Introduction 2.

Michael Griffiths a British writer summed up something of what the church has become in a beautiful manner. It is maybe more profound than when I often say the church has become a building instead of a bride, a business instead of a body, an organisation instead of an organism and a club instead of the church. He says: “Christians collectively seem to be suffering from a strange amnesia. A high proportion of people that go to church have forgotten what it is all about. Week by week they attend the church in a special building. They go through their particular time-honoured routine. They give little thought to the purpose of what they are doing. The Bible talks about the bride of Christ, but the church today seems like a ragged Cinderella, hideous among the ashes.”

The ragged Cinderella has lost her beauty because she failed to understand the priorities in the spiritual life of the church. If we are going to recover that passion, and if we are going to recover the zeal for what the church should be, then we need to re-embrace those priorities this morning, but we need to embrace it in the right manner.

Let me remind you of those priorities as they form critical pillars on which the church is built. Let me first state it in the narrow. They are God, the church, the Bible and the lost. Let me then state them now in a wider fashion. For many years I have journeyed to the USA and have sat at the feet of great men, including Dr John Mac Arthur. Now, they have a large church and a successful ministry. His view that it is not difficult to grow a large church in Los Angeles. I remember him saying one day that “in LA you simply need to grow a long white beard, wear a long dress and call yourself ‘Moses resurrect’ and you will have a following of 10 000 people”. This he said in response to a question asked by a pastor in a Q&A session. The question was: “how do you grow a large church?” However, Mac Arthur continued and said that he believes that what makes Grace Community Church great is that they have a ‘high view of God’, a ‘high view of Scripture’, a ‘high view of the church’ and a ‘high view of missions’. He continued to say that they send out the graduates from Master’s Seminary with that in mind. He might have mentioned another one or two high view issues, I think family was one of them.

I thought much about that over time, and then remembered my journeys where I visited so many of the graduates of their seminary, and pastors who have attended their conferences, who have a high view of God, Scripture the church and missions, but yet my experience of some of the churches is that so many of them can actually name their churches the ‘Refrigerator Community Church’, because all these terms have become is nothing but clichés.  Now, I do not believe that Johan Mac Arthur or Grace Community Church or Master’s Seminary is. to blame for that. The problem is with the heart of the pastor and their members. The statements about a ‘high view’ have become nothing but a formula, a saying that lacks much substance. Some raise the banner of the statements very high, but something is tremendously lacking in their congregations. It is like being an expert in the doctrines of grace but lacking an understanding of the grace of the doctrines. So, many have become experts in the ‘letter’, but there is no ‘spirit’. I must at the same time acknowledge that I have seen a few, but sadly very few where there is something about that congregation that glorifies God well, as you can see the hand of God upon that ministry, and I am not talking numbers.

My plan was to challenge us this morning to return to our foundational principles, let’s call it four pillars for our ministry, namely to have a high view of God, a high view of Scripture, a high view of the church and a high view of missions. And then I think back to so many who claim that and where it is obviously making no difference. Why not?

For so many pastors and churches that which might not have been cliché to John Mac Arthur and Grace Community Church, was cliché for them. It was nothing but a formula, a success recipe, a method or maybe a spiritual prescription to fix the spiritual problems in their churches. The term ‘high view’ for others seemed to be nothing but an intellectual academic statement. It sounds nice to say that our church has a high view of God, Scripture, the church and missions. It can even make one feel superior to those who do not make this statement. But, as I thought about this, I believe there is an inherent problem with the statement, as it actually missed the heart of the issue.

Introduction 3.

Now, if you have been part of Logos from the beginning, you will know that our desire is to be people who have a heart for God and the desires of God for us. Our logo, indicates it as we have the heart and the cross. Our purpose statement namely ‘to know God and to make Him known’, is an issue of the heart. Our ministries have the heart at its center. The ladies ministry is Heart to Heart Women’s Ministry. Men for the Master has as its emphasis to be ‘men after God’s own heart’. Our seniors focus is ‘Young at Heart senior’s ministry’. Our ‘mercy ministry’ under which Prison to Praise operates is ‘Touching Hearts Ministry’. Our Senior Youth ministry has as its name ‘Ignite’ but with its focus being on ‘hearts on fire for God’. The junior youth ministry is ‘Heart Core’ with its aim to see God at the center of their hearts. Now due to a lack of leadership and facilities some of these ministries are dormant at the moment. But, the point I am making is that our desire is for heart based ministries on all levels. So how does it impact on what I was sharing in my first two introductions and how do I present these four priorities in a way, that all this waffle will make sense and that these four priorities or foundations or legs do not simply become cliché? So, let me share shortly. I just don’t have time to unpack this in detail, so try and get behind the heart of my waffle, as I believe the heart of the problem for so many churches is the heart.

Instead of ‘a high view of God’ my desire is that we will.

Point 1. Love God.

Nowhere does Jesus say that we must have a high view of God, even though it is not wrong to say that. But Christ is clear that we must “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength”. That means that we will love Father, Son and Holy Spirit in that way. The word for ‘heart’ by the way is not referring to that blood pump sitting in your chest, but it is referring to the centre of your life, your whole innermost being. So it is one thing to be able to say that God is alive, that He is creator and that all glory belongs to Him. It is also great to be able to articulate all the attributes of God. We can parrot the attributes to hearts content, but Logos family, we must love God. Now, I have preached a whole sermon on this topic. You can visit our website for this. But, if we in any way water down our love for God, we will fail as a congregation. Our obedience, our worship, our willingness to testify about God all emanates from our love for God. So, this morning I am not really interested if you have a ‘high view of God’ and some intellectual understanding thereof. The question this morning is simply this. Do you still love God? Remember the only way you can really attach a price to God, is based on the extent to which you see God as a prize in your life.

I love what Spurgeon says on the love of God: “Perhaps, they who love the Master best are the very people who will be the most likely to have such a high opinion of the love that He deserves, that they will often chide themselves that they do not love Him at all, when they see how little their love is compared with that perfection of affection which he deserves.”

May we be known as those who meditate on His glory, trust in His divine power, seek fellowship with Him, love His laws, are sensitive to how God feels about things, love what God loves, loving those whom God loves, hating what God hates, grieving with God over sin, obeying Him wholeheartedly and longing to be with Him forever.

Instead of ‘a high view of Scripture’ my desire is that we will.

Point 2. Love our Bibles.

You can have a high view of the Bible, name all 66 books, you can be as clever as the intoxicated man who says: “I am a Christian, I have read the Bible from Generations to Revolutions’. Your favourite book of the Bible might even be ‘Imaginations’.  Sure you might know Psalm 23, and ‘the Lord’s Prayer’ and John 3:16, and you might be clever enough to know that Moses did not take salt into the ark, because it was Noah who was in the ark, but do you love the Word of God? You might even know that the Cain that killed Abel was not alcohol, but do you love the Word of God?

My wife Wendy will remember a few years ago how a friend of ours walked out of a service alongside 90% of the congregation at the holiday resort we visit every July. The reason was because the speaker who represented the ministry of Christian Business Men dared use an Overhead Projector to display his Bible verses and songs. When I asked this friend of ours what was wrong with the fact that the speaker used an OHP, his answer was plain and simple: “there is nothing as beautiful for me to see people walk to church with their Bible in one hand and their hymn book in their other and I will fight for that till the day I die, this other stuff is from the devil”.

Christian you can own many Bibles, but remember Bibles must be read. I remember attending the funeral of a young man, who wrote in the front of his bible; “God I pray for my parents who have so many Bibles, but never read it.”

I remember as a kid we had a lady in our church who often beat me over the head with her cane (not the one that killed Abel either). On one occasion I sat down put my Bible and Hallelujah Hymnal on the seat next to me. Now, I am this 10-year-old kid, eager to discover what faith is all about. She walked into the pew behind me and suddenly her cane came down on my head, not too hard fortunately, but hard enough to make a point. My sin was that I put the bigger book the Bible at the bottom and my smaller book the hymnal on top. This was according to her desecrating the Bible and by the essence of her words a sign that I did not have a high view of the Bible. The Bible should always be on top according to her. I thought that only worked for Cremora (For those who remember the advertisement).

Now, again I can ramble on, but the point I am simply making is that many people have a seemingly external respect for the Word of God, sometimes they even have a holy respect for the Word of God, at other times they will defend the Bible on some level, but they have never read it from cover to cover, never studied it, and they yawn at the privilege of sitting under the study and preaching of God’s Word, because they simply do not love the Bible. Can you say with Solomon today that God’s Word to you is ‘sweeter than honey, than the honey comb’, that it is more precious than gold or diamonds?  Can you say with Paul in Romans 7:22 (ESV) 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being…”

Instead of ‘a high view of the church’ my desire is that we will.

Point 3. Love all of God’s people.

It is one thing to have a high view of the church and yet another thing to love all God’s people. Again I just want to ramble on a little on this. There are 13 sermons for you to read on the topic ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ There are 8 sermons that warns against a judgmental spirit, and there are 4 sermons on the issue of slander. If you want to understand the church, then look at all the sermons on our website under the title ‘Jesus the Master Builder’. So let me waffle on this one a bit. Do you love God’s people? Remember that Jesus said that by our love for one another the world will know that we are His disciples. Now, you know the truth, but just think back just over the last two weeks. Did you maybe slander a brother or sister? Did you maybe judge a brother or sister without facts, but simply based on your judgmental spirit towards that person? Have you reached out to a need when you should have but chose not to, because of the discomfort it causes you?

Oh how I pray that Logos will be this loving caring community where we wash one another’s feet, where we care for each other, where we pick up and restore sinners instead of simply judging them and kicking them out at hearts content. When we do need to discipline, that we will do it in such a way that love will draw and not hurt. Do our children in the body know that we love them, or are they seen as the future church, but not the church now?

I was reading a church’s statements regarding leadership a while ago, and in all the statements I searched but I saw nothing of a desire to be a loving, shepherding, caring leadership that exemplifies Christ who served, washed feet and laid down His life for His sheep. There was nothing in their statement of leaders who love God’s people so much that they will restore the fallen sinner gently in love. Everything was about authority, knowledge, the ability to teach, the ability to refute wrong doctrine, and a common agreement with the stated requirements for membership according to the constitution and the biblical mandate for church discipline.

You will even see this on denominational levels, where relationships are governed by the constitution instead of the Love of God that is spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And on the topic of denominations. There is a move today away from denominationalism, and people are simply not as loyal to it any more. At Logos, we are actually on a good wicked in being non-denominational. But let me say this, that if we truly love God’s people we will love those in other churches as well. My disagreement with some on the issue of theology and practice, does not make them less my brother. We might not sit around the same fire theologically, but let’s sit around the same camp fire and sing ‘brother let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you….’

Again I can waffle on and on, and I wish I had the time to.

Instead of ‘a high view of missions’ my desire is that we will.

Point 4. Love the lost.

I can say so much here, but just don’t have the time. Logos family, we looked a while ago at the Father Heart of God. We have seen that God so love the world THAT he gave His only begotten. Oh I pray that we will be a church that not only sends and gives to missions because of the Great Commission, but that we will see the world through the eyes of God, and through the eyes of the cross, and that we will reach out because we love sinners in the same way that God loves sinners, realising that while we were sinners, God loved us and gave His Son for us. We have to be driven by a passion for the lost, and as we are going, we all should make disciples.

In closing.

I can say so much more. I just want you to understand my heart, that at Logos it is going to require more than a high view of God, a high view of Scripture, a high view of the church and a high view of missions, but that we will love God, love the Bible, love His people and love the lost. Oh I wish I had days to unpack that all.

But I want to leave you with a closing thought. While a high view of all those things is not wrong, but needs to be applauded, if we miss the heart, then we have missed all that matters.

Do you realise that the Pharisees had a high view of God? Their view of God was so high that they wanted to kill Christ because He dared make Himself equal to God. Do you realise that they had a high view of Scripture? They defended the law, they searched the Scriptures, but yet Jesus accuses them of doing it with a wrong heart, because those very Scriptures testify about Him, but they refuse to come to Him and to have life. The Pharisees had a high view of the Synagogue. They were meticulous in their observance of the Sabbath, but they did not love the Lord of the Sabbath. They embraced the ceremonies of light, but would not come to the light of the world, they enjoyed their purification rituals, but never came to the one who is the living water. It was all nothing but loveless intellectualism, law abiding and rituals. The Pharisees had a high view of Missions. Jesus says in Matthew 23:15 (ESV) 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” They did not have a love for the gentiles but a high view of themselves and what they represented. They missed the heart of worship, and when the music faded, they had nothing left.

There is a song that captures all of this by Michael W Smith called, ‘when the music fades’ and all is stripped away, we have to come back to the heart of worship.  We are going to sing that together, and may it be our heart and our prayer that when the music fades we still will be a church that loves God, loves the Bible, loves God’s children and loves the lost.


Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church – 24 April 2016



The Story of the Lifesaving Station

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew.

Some members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as sort of a club.

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decorations, and there was a miniature lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities, since they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.