Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
I was at a small conference last weekend, which I suppose deserves another post entirely, but in summary, God used that conference to stir up and provoke me to love and seek him more.
At the conference, one of the speakers (Rick Walth) talked about his experiences over the last couple years working in Mississippi, helping people get their houses and lives straightened out after Hurricane Katrina. He said it has been (and continues to be) an excellent time of serving God, seeing God work in all sorts of people (they have set up a sort of camp, where people go and volunteer for a week or a month or whatever). I think the general idea is that they work during the day, and then pray and fellowship together during the evenings. They have seen God heal a number of people, and (at least some) people have left filled with the Spirit.
One of the things he mentioned was how great it was to be joined together with various Christians, working side by side, even though they disagreed on various points of doctrine. He said how great it was that cessationist Baptists and charismatic Pentacostals were working and worshipping together. I was a little uncomfortable with how he explained it, and so asked Andrew Strom the next morning what he thought about it, since he was one of the people with Rick. I said that I wondered how far that should go, ie. how small should the number of doctrinal points be before you aren't really agreeing on anything, and it is just some happy social club, rather than Christian fellowship.
I think he explained it well. He said that insofar as the doctrinal point doesn't affect how you live, it isn't worth arguing over. He said that he wasn't really that thrilled [my words] with Rick's example of whether the Holy Spirit could do anything in this day and age, as an example of an insignificant doctrinal point that didn't need to be agreed upon, since whether you believe God and the Holy Spirit work in our lives does affect how you live and how you pray.
He said that one's end times theology is something that he wouldn't bring up or split hairs over, although he did clarify shortly thereafter that if a Christian was living a luke-warm life based on his beliefs in the end times, that would be cause enough to discuss it, but if a Christian was living a life seeking after God [I can't exactly remember how he described it] then he wouldn't feel a reason to bring it up.
I thought that was a good distinction, and it has helped me think about what issues and doctrines are important enough to pursue with others and which can be left alone. Note, that doesn't affect which issues I pursue on my own, or at least there is a slightly different set that I would pursue on my own that I wouldn't pursue with others, and no, I don't have a bullet-point list of which items go in which box.
Second note, I know about Andrew Strom through John Kuhns, and a mailing list he has been on for a number of years. I am planning on joining the list, based on my interaction with Andrew, and the rest of the speakers last weekend. When I searched for his website, I came across a number of people objecting to him, and suggesting that he is a cult leader, etc. I certainly wouldn't say anything that strongly, and I suppose there are lots of people who have people who object to what they say (I am probably too weak in my theology to have people object too strongly to me), so I will need to look into it further. I doubt that I will be running off to New Zealand any time soon, so you don't have to worry about that.
Some of the things he (and others) said, are similar to George Barna's book, "Revolution", which I recently enjoyed, and am planning on getting others to read it as well. (There are lots of people who disgree with Barna too, although the major misunderstanding is due to definitions of "church", "Church", and "local church"; the first two Barna explicitly defines in the book, although people seemed to still not get it. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding Barna as well, but most of the objections people have to Barna don't fit my reading of the book. More to come on that.