Category Archives: incipiosermo


Who is your life rooted and built up in?  Who is your church rooted and built up in?

If you have been a follower of Jesus for any length of time, you know what the answer should be – JESUS.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” 
Colossians 2:6-7, NIV

Sometimes we are like the child in Sunday School who was asked, “what has fur, lives in a tree and collects nuts?”  The child’s response, “I know the answer should be Jesus but it sure sounds like a squirrel.”  Like the child in this story, when we are faced with questions we should know, we often answer with what we think is the right response rather than the one that reflects the true reality.

Although the question of whom we are rooted or built up in may seem like an easy question to answer, I would suggest that, for most of our lives and churches, this isn’t as definitive as it should be.  Too many of our lives and our churches, if we were to be honest, are built on something different than Jesus.  For example, our lives and churches are often rooted and built up in:

  1. Strategy – For the most part, in our lives and in our churches, we love to plan; the need to plan and to trust a plan is engrained in us.  We have emergency plans, savings plans, retirement plans, career plans, vacation plans, etc.  We love to plan, and when things get difficult, we turn to our plans for security and safety.  In our churches, we do the same thing.  We have a plethora of plans, methodologies and strategies. Because of our focus and trust in plans, strategies, and methodologies, when things get difficult, we turn to them, hope in them, and place our trust in them.  Although there is nothing inherently wrong with plans, methodologies or strategies, if they replace Jesus we have tragically and dreadfully missed the mark.
  2. Pet Theology – We all have pet theologies – minor theological beliefs.  We all have things we believe about the end times, about predestination, about spiritual gifts, etc.  None of these are bad; however, if they begin to take the place of Christ as being the most important thing in our lives and churches then we begin to become rooted and built up in them rather than in Jesus.  This reality is more prevalent than many realize, creating tribal warfare in the Church at the expense of mission and the Church’s collective witness.  When we become rooted in our eschatology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, etc., rather than in Christ, we have radically missed the mark.
  3. Celebrity – In our culture, our churches love to follow celebrity voices.  I think we like to listen to someone tell us what to believe and why.  With endless information, it is easier to trust a voice than to discern the truth ourselves.  As a result, we are addicted to celebrity leadership.  The problem is that all celebrity leaders will do one of three things.  They will all, eventually, either fail, fall or die.   They will not sustain.  If your life, or your church, is based on a person other than Christ, you are destined to fail because they will not sustain, last or endure.

I want to be clear, I am not against strategies, pet theologies, or strong leaders but when they begin to take the place of Jesus as our only hope and the Head of the Church, we end up lost in a desert of our own desires.

So, how can we tell what our lives and churches are based on?  When the next storm comes, look carefully at what happens.  Just like the roots of a tree or the foundation of a building, a storm will reveal the solidity of its roots or foundation.

  1. Strategy – If your life or church is based on a strategy or methodology, when something goes wrong, where do people turn?  Do you look to the plan or do you look to Jesus?  Do you hone in on the methodology or do you hone in on Jesus?
  2. Pet Theology – If your life or church is based on a pet theology, what happens when someone questions it?  Do you welcome the pursuit of truth and the ability to think and grow or do you demonize them, push them away, and stop listening?
  3. Celebrity – If your life or church is built up on celebrity, when something goes wrong where do you turn?  Do you turn to a celebrity or leader or do you turn to Jesus?  Is your first response a falling to your knees in submission to Jesus or is it turning your head to look at the leader for what to do next?

In your life, who are you rooted in?  Who are you built up on?  Is Jesus your way, your truth and your life?  Is Jesus your Chief Cornerstone?

In your church, what happens when things go wrong?  What happens when there is a conflict?  What happens when there is a challenge?  Do you look to a leader, a theology, a strategy, or do you look to Jesus (The Head of the Church, the Chief Cornerstone, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords)?

Who is your life rooted and built up in?  Who is your church rooted and built up in?

Can I Get a Witness?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

The Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit and led by Jesus (the head of the Church), is called to be Christ’s witness in the world.  To that end, I would suggest that followers of Jesus, individually and collectively, are called to be, at least, three kinds of witnesses:

  • Character Witness – We are called to be Christ’s character witness and, like all character witnesses, we are to share about someone other than ourselves.  We are called to share about Christ – who he is, what he is like, what he has done, etc.   We have, typically, done a poor job at this.  We often err in one of two ways.  First, we like to tell bear witness to our own accomplishments and boast in ourselves rather than Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Second, we like to focus our witness on other people’s failure, sin and mistakes rather than bear witness to Christ.  Too often, the church is known more for what it is against rather than what it is for.  
  • Expert Witness – We are called to be expert witnesses, testifying to what God has done in and through our lives.  We are called to share the story of God at work in us.  We are the experts and we need to bear witness to our family, friends, neighbours and the world.  There are two kinds of temptations in being an expert witness: Perjury (testifying to something that hasn’t happened – bearing false witness) and Hearsay (testifying to something that happened to someone else).  We are called to authenticity in our lives and bear witness accordingly.  We do not have to be afraid of honesty.  The church needs a more honest witness.  Sometimes the story of longing, suffering, and pain is the very witness we are called to bring.  The church needs more honest expert witnesses.
  • Eyewitness – We are called to bear witness to what God is doing all around us.  Leonard Sweet talks about this in his book Nudge, arguing that evangelism is less show and tell and more shut-up and listen.  Therefore, listen to what God is doing and bear witness to it.  Join in to where God has already been working and help people see and act on it.  Furthermore, we are called to be eyewitnesses of beauty and truth wherever and whenever they present themselves.  We need to have eyes to see and ears to hear beauty and truth in our world and draw people’s attention to it.  We love to say that the church is the hands and feet of Jesus, which is true, but she is also his eyes and ears.  She should be constantly on the lookout for beauty and truth and bearing witness to it.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to bear witness to the ends of the earth.  To GO into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19 & Mark 16:15).  Unlike popular belief and practice in North America, the Church is NOT a witness protection agency; rather, it is a witness sending movement, working towards bearing witness to Jesus everywhere.

Jesus is asking: “Can I get a witness?”