Tag Archives: Church

Monday Picks ~ 10-16-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

How to Develop Authority as a Worship Leader
David Santistevan
Most would prefer to sing, close their eyes, and worship their hearts out…in front of people. The problem with that is it’s not leadership. There needs to be a heart to love, lead, and connect with people in the room. That is why you are a leader. That is why you are on stage…

Many people mistake an authoritative, anointed worship leader as one who just knows how to work a room. Authority is different…


I was helping lead a prayer meeting at my church yesterday evening and one of our elders received this text from Don Tingle, a missionary we know and support:

Please ask the church to be praying for my wife’s family. In the bomb blast in Somalia seven family members were killed, and 11 were injured. One of the injured is a young mother expecting a baby. Thank you.

Bombing In Somalia Kills Hundreds; Death Toll Expected To RiseVanessa Romo
“In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” Aamin Ambulance workers tweeted…

“Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy will stop at nothing,” Farmaajo said, adding a plea to come together. “Let’s unite against terror,” he urged.

“Terror won’t win,” he exclaimed in a separate tweet.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack. But Yarisow told NPR he blames the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the attack. He believes this is the “terrorists” striking back against the government because of its renewed offensive against Al-shabab.


Noteworthy…

Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsKate Shellnutt
Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsThe historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position, as well as the only major evangelical megachurch with male-female lead pastors who aren’t married.


I’m looking forward to seeing this film…

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ Offers a Cautionary Tale for the Instagram AgeSeth Tower Hurd
On the surface, it may not seem like post WWI England has much to say about life in 2017 America. But there are two narratives running side by side in Goodbye Christopher Robin. The first is a more or less straightforward account of how one of the most beloved children’s authors created a timeless world of imagination.

But underneath that is a narrative that pushes the audience to question the price of fame. In a world where dance moms demanding flawless performances dominate reality TV, and “backpack kid” can go from anonymity to starring in a Katy Perry video and appearing on Saturday Night Live in a matter of weeks, it’s good to see a movie that forces you to ask about your contribution to a world where children are pushed into elite sports and extracurricular activities at earlier and earlier ages, often crowding out time for unstructured play.


Epic Backfire…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/ck3/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMTAvWml0cy4yMDE3MTAxNF8xNDQwLmdpZg==
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 10-13-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Why Can’t We Disagree Well? Reflections on Colin Kaepernick, VP Mike Pence, and Listening WellEd Stetzer
Why Can't We Disagree Well? Reflections on Colin Kaepernick, VP Mike Pence, and Listening Well…what has become clear in the past month—and what was driven home in Sunday’s antics by leaders who should know better—is that debate over these protests has spiraled away from Kaepernick’s objective. Those who point out that the protest has forced us to talk about injustice don’t realize that we’ve been hijacked by discussions of patriotism.

My disappointment with the protests has nothing to do with their content—a message we so need. Instead, I am saddened that they were so easily lent to this kind of co-option.

On this point I agree with President Obama, who recognized the cultural import of the anthem and flag:

I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.

Indeed, listening is key…

Unfortunately, people frequently boil down disagreement to: you have to agree with me or you are [blank]. Each community fills in that blank with whatever pejorative term applies: racist, unamerican, ignorant, bigoted, elitist, etc. There are times when these viewpoints do get voiced and need to be called out as such. But often, it is not the content of the disagreement that provokes these responses, but the disagreement itself.


And on a related note…

Seeking SonderSeth Godin
http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/images/og.jpg
Sonder is defined as that moment when you realize that everyone around you has an internal life as rich and as conflicted as yours.

That everyone has a noise in their head.

That everyone thinks that they are right, and that they have suffered affronts and disrespect at the hands of others.

That everyone is afraid. And that everyone realizes that they are also lucky.

That everyone has an impulse to make things better, to connect and to contribute.

That everyone wants something that they can’t possibly have. And if they could have it, they’d discover that they didn’t really want it all along.

That everyone is lonely, insecure and a bit of a fraud. And that everyone cares about something.

Sonder might happen to you. When it does, it will help you see the world in a whole new way. Because, if you let it, the feeling can persist. A feeling that can allow you to see others the way you’d like to be seen.


6 Reasons Pastors and Church Leaders Must be More Courageous TodayThom Rainer
courage courageousThough there have certainly been more difficult times in the course of Church history for pastors, leading a church today is much tougher than it was 20 and 30 years ago. There have been some demographic and cultural shifts that reflect this reality. But some of the challenges can only be understood in the context of spiritual warfare.

So, what are some of the specific reasons pastors and church leaders must be more courageous today? Though my list is far from exhaustive, allow me to name six of the key factors…

Church members: may I encourage you, even exhort you, to pray that your pastors and church leaders will have the courage they need to lead God’s churches?


Every single day…

3 Things to Say to Your Kids Every DayArt Rainer
As parents, the words we say to our kids can make a significant difference in their lives, both in the present and future. I am nowhere near the perfect parent. Many of my days end with parenting regrets, things that I know I could have done better or differently.

But there is something that I don’t regret. Every morning and every night I tell my kids three things…


I love this insight into what happened with Jacob & Esau… and us…

Something Better Than the LandCourtney Reissig
Something Better Than the Land
God gave Esau the land, but sent Jacob down to Egypt. Jacob was part of God’s chosen people. Jacob was the one God picked. Jacob was the one God used to grow his people. Jacob was the one who blessed the nations through his family line. But instead of the land, he went down to Egypt. And we all know what happened there.

Esau got his land right then, Jacob never got it in his lifetime. At first glance, it can seem like Esau is the favored one, the blessed one. It looks like he wins. He isn’t sent into slavery. He doesn’t wander in the desert. He doesn’t face enemies on every side (as far as we know). He gets the land immediately. He gets his best life now.


Collective nouns…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/collective-nouns.jpg
Wrong Hands

 

Thursday Picks ~ 10-12-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Do Christians Have to Care About Everything?Aaron Earls
Should Christians care about everything?
Is it your job to do something about everything? No, it’s not, but it is your’s and my job. Let me explain.

The first thing the cause-oriented millennial or burdened baby boomer needs to hear is, “You’re not Christ. You’re part of His body. And there is a difference.”

Yes, we are to follow Christ who will one day bring justice to every unjust situation, but we are not Him. He’s called us to follow Him and work to bring justice in this world now, but you cannot accomplish as an individual what God has tasked to the entire church.


If you didn’t want to read the whole thing you could skip the intro and scroll down to his six scenarios…

When To Panic and When NOT to Panic When People Leave Your ChurchCarey Nieuwhof
Deep down, it hurt so much every time someone left. I felt like I had let them down, like I let the church down, like I had failed…

 

I realize some of this is irrational and much of it might be unhealthy, but it hurts when someone goes.

However, if you let it fester, you’ll begin to live in fear all the time.

In fact, you can end up with people-pleasing as your main goal. You will lead in a way that you hope is going to prevent the greatest number of people from leaving.

That’s a terrible strategy…

Here are six scenarios that can happen when someone walks out the door…


Trevin makes some important and challenging point here…

Welcome Everyone, Affirm No One Trevin Wax
LightstockSome Christians believe it would be good to remove unnecessary offense by downplaying human sinfulness, but such a move severs the root of what makes grace so powerful. It is precisely because we’re bad, not good, that God’s love in sending His Son to die for our sins is so significant.

The trouble is, grace is unimaginable in a world where everyone believes grace is deserved. And when grace is transformed into entitlement, the definitions change, for both those inside and outside the church.

In a culture that thrives on self-affirmation and self-determination, “showing grace” now means accepting someone else’s definition of their own righteousness. Our age of expressive individualism leads us to find meaning in the identities we’ve constructed for ourselves, and then to expect (no, demand!) that others affirm our self-construction and give us their blessing…

Where does this leave the church? We welcome everyone and affirm no one.

That’s right. We don’t even affirm ourselves. The last thing we need is a club of self-righteous people who pat themselves on the back for meeting their own standards of righteousness.


Only one thing holds them back… 
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-10-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This made the rounds a few weeks ago. I share it again in case you missed it, or just decided to skip it. Don’t. It’s important…

Seek First to Understand: Can Public Discourse Be Saved?
Glenn Packiam
https://mysteryoffaithblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_0068.jpgWe don’t understand each other.

And I’m not sure how hard we’re trying.

This is not a post about athletes or anthems, flags or protests. *Take a deep breath.* This is about how we talk— or more accurately— how we listen to one another.

Years ago, Stephen Covey wrote in his ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, we should ‘seek first to understand, and then to be understood’. So in the effort to aid our understanding of one another, I’d like to offer some thoughts on how controversial and heated topics can become a pathway into empathy, and lead to better public discourse. I want to reflect for a moment on emotions, symbols, and language


My church has been transitioning from “Menu” to “Map” for a while now. The consumers haven’t made it easy…

Menus Create Church ConsumersEric Geiger
Church consumers treat their local churches like a country club; they have paid their fees and deserve a certain level of service in return. They threaten to join another club if things are not to their liking. Church consumers are not motivated by the mission but by themselves. Church consumers gather to evaluate, not to worship…

A menu approach to ministry is similar to a restaurant. People are offered long lists of programs and activities. Often new ones are added to appease someone who wants something new on the menu…

A map approach to ministry is very different. Church leaders want to take people somewhere—toward maturity in Christ—and they provide a process to grow. They articulate a clear direction and they invite people on the adventure….


A good reminder for those who prepare to preach each week…

After a Man Travels to The Furthest Reaches of the Known World He Had This to SayMike Leake
Stairs Beneath the Canopy 2 by Geoff Box on 500px.comJudson was one of the early missionaries. He was the first Caucasian missionary who was a Protestant to travel to Burma to share the gospel. He had been there for some 30 years and came back to his sending church…

I’m glad that they now have the message that a man traveling to the farthest away point in the world had nothing better to tell them than the wondrous story of the dying love of Jesus!

Isn’t this true of us as well? And isn’t this a sobering reminder for us preacher to focus all of our illustrations and preaching on this one great aim—exalting Jesus!


Know your bees…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/bee-identification.jpg
Wrong Hands

Monday Picks ~ 10-9-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

One Uncomfortable Implication of Praying for God’s Will to be DoneMichael Kelley
“When we pray for God’s will to be done, we are implicitly stating that our will should not be done. We are giving over our plans, our dreams, and our aspirations to the will of God. We are, in a sense, dying. Submission to God’s will requires this of us.”


Do you think we’ll ever completely understand the intricacies of God’s creation? Not in this life…

Scientists Somehow Just Discovered a New System of Vessels in Our BrainsJames Hamblin
A transparent model of the brain with a network of vessels filled inYou are now among the first people to see the brain’s lymphatic system. The vessels in the photo above transport fluid that is likely crucial to metabolic and inflammatory processes. Until now, no one knew for sure that they existed.

Doctors practicing today have been taught that there are no lymphatic vessels inside the skull. Those deep-purple vessels were seen for the first time in images published this week by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


Noteworthy for pastors…

Atheists Again Get Pastors’ Best Benefit Ruled UnconstitutionalJeremy Weber
Atheists Again Get Pastors’ Best Benefit Ruled UnconstitutionalOnce again, a federal judge has declared that the longstanding clergy housing allowance violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.


Maybe you need to read this today…

God Is Not Ashamed of YouDan DeWitt
Christian, God is not ashamed of you. You may very well be ashamed of you. God isn’t.

This truth is presented in the book of Hebrews twice. It’s repetition is driving home a point that our hearts desperately long to hear but often avoid. We shrink back from it because we know ourselves too well. God must be ashamed of us. We would be if we were him.

But he isn’t. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And he’s not ashamed of us. He doesn’t regret us. He doesn’t wish he didn’t save us. Hebrews give two reasons for this…


I hate sentences that begin with “at your age”…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMTAvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcxMDA0XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Monday Picks ~ 10-2-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

What You Miss When You Don’t Gather With Your Church
Scott Slayton
…we may think about what “I” might miss. “I won’t hear the sermon today, but I can read a book, listen to Christian radio, or catch up on the podcast.” “I love to sing worship music, but I can do that in the car on the way to where I am going today. I don’t have to go to a building to sing praises to Jesus.” We make these excuses to ourselves and use them to justify how “I” can make up for what “I” am missing when “I” miss gathering with the church…

…When only thinking about what you aren’t getting, you view the church with a consumer mentality. The church becomes another place where you receive goods and services. However, when you begin to see the church as a people to whom you belong, your motivation for gathering changes. The main worship gathering, community groups, and having people over for dinner become a means for you to give as well as receive.


#TakeAKneeDeacon Godsey
Image result for take a kneeInitially Kaepernick chose to protest these injustices by sitting down during the anthem; after speaking to combat veterans who supported his aim, but were troubled by his method, however, he heeded their advice and chose to kneel, an action typically associated with respect and prayerful reflection…

Our purpose here is not to discern whether the #TakeAKnee protest is one you agree or disagree with, but to focus on what it means for us as followers of Jesus – those who have publicly taken a knee before him as Lord, declaring our exclusive allegiance to him – as we listen to and interact with the hearts, minds, perspectives and experiences of our siblings in Christ when they are driven to take desperate measures to address desperate circumstances


https://www.challies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ChalliesOcct1-7-01.pngGod is good not because he gives us answers,
but because he gives us himself.

—Joni Eareckson Tada


What It Takes to Become a Person of Influence
Michael Hyatt

1. Be Present

2. Be Consistent

3. Be Empathetic

4. Be Counted

There’s more to influence than these four behaviors, but they are the foundation. If you’re focusing on volume and views before these, you’re in trouble. But if any leader who adopts and develops these four behaviors will see results.


Class Structure…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/class-structure.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Supernatural

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51d6fb5ee4b0108eefde6503/t/52e002ece4b005e9de02ddba/1390412526539/%3Cuntitled%3E+33.jpgWorship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. If a person enters a gathering to be wowed with something impressive, with a style that fits him just right, with an order of service and song selection designed just the right way,
that person may miss the supernatural presence of God.
Worship is supernatural whenever people come hungry to respond, react, and receive from God for who He is and what He has done.
A church worshipping as a Creature of the Word doesn’t show up to perform or be entertained; she comes desperate and needy, thirsty for grace, receiving from the Lord and the body of Christ, and then gratefully receiving what she needs as she offers her praise—
the only proper response to the God who saves us.

– Geiger, Eric; Chandler, Matt; Patterson, Josh . Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church

Weekend Picks ~ 9-29-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Review of a book that many should read who probably won’t…

How to Think in a Post-Truth WorldAndrew Wilson

Timely, because we’re currently swimming in a sea of punditry, post-truth, partisanship, and perpetual news, which seems to be making engaged thoughtfulness harder and harder. Encouraging, because in spite of all this, Jacobs is optimistic about the possibility of thinking

 

(Click here to read more about this book or to order from Amazon.)


Noteworthy…

Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite Era
Kate Shellnutt
Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite EraThe Village Church, the multisite Texas megachurch led by Matt Chandler, will transition from several campuses across the Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex to individual autonomous churches within the next five years, leaving behind a multisite model for a deeper commitment to local ministry and church planting.


On Hugh Hefner’s legacy…

One Man’s Dream Destroyed MillionsJon Bloom
This is precisely what we humans are so prone to do: to view others, and the world, as a projection of our own fantasies. Even we Christians can lose sight of the world as a battlefield of horrific cosmic warfare, with people caught in its crossfire needing to be rescued, and see it as the place where we want our dreams — self-centered, self-serving, self-exalting, self-indulgent dreams — to come true. The more we indulge such fantasies, the more inoculated and numb we become to reality and the less urgent we feel about the real needs of other real souls…

…on the occasion of Hugh Hefner’s death, let us resolve all the more to abstain from fantasy passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls — and not just ours but others’ souls as well (1 Peter 2:11). When we look at a woman, whether she’s Marilyn Monroe, the girl from Ipanema, a co-worker, classmate, fellow church member, another man’s wife, or our own wife, let us say to ourselves and, when needed, each other: “she is not your playmate!”


2 Lessons from a Bygone ChurchRob Tims
What we can do with our family ancestry we must do with our spiritual heritage. Our faith is not new. We come from a long line of spiritual generations, and we stand much to gain by considering their wins and losses … what they did well and where they failed … if we are to serve the Lord at least as faithfully as they did…

I see two things the church today must emulate from the first church … things that we may be ignoring today.

First, we see a church that embraced diversity, and diversity at the leadership level….

Second, we see a church that gives itself to worship and mission (not one or the other)…


Normal teenage behavior?
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDkvWml0cy4yMDE3MDkyOV85MDAuZ2lm
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 9-26-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Worship Is My Life, Not My RoleBob Kauflin
Leading worship starts and ends with the way I live my life, not what I do on a public platform. Encouraging others to glory in Jesus Christ is an activity that extends far beyond the twenty to thirty minutes I give to it on Sunday mornings.

But how do we realign our hearts and thoughts to that reality?


The Dying Art of DisagreementBret Stephens
Socrates quarrels with Homer. Aristotle quarrels with Plato. Locke quarrels with Hobbes and Rousseau quarrels with them both. Nietzsche quarrels with everyone. Wittgenstein quarrels with himself.

These quarrels are never personal. Nor are they particularly political, at least in the ordinary sense of politics. Sometimes they take place over the distance of decades, even centuries.

Most importantly, they are never based on a misunderstanding. On the contrary, the disagreements arise from perfect comprehension; from having chewed over the ideas of your intellectual opponent so thoroughly that you can properly spit them out.

In other words, to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.


Seven Deadly Statements By Church MembersThom Rainer
To be clear, most church members do not make these statements nor do they reflect these attitudes. But healthier church members should and must speak up when they hear other members making such destructive statements.

Otherwise, the naysayers, cartels, critics, and bullies will have their way in the church. And the church will soon cease being the church.


Just left of Centaur…
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Bizarro

Tuesday Picks ~ 7-18-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This is how it’s supposed to work…

He’s My F*cking Pastor!Gary Liederbach
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/557884bae4b06e95d28f8cfe/576ab449440243082a91e68e/59691795d7bdceddc9d28631/1500266044939/preacher.jpg?format=1000wMy morning office is the Waffle House… Chuck is a man who comes frequently to the WH.  He is a “rough” and crude man in his late 50’s.  He cusses allot and gives the waitresses and customers a hard time and is sharp with them when he is “in that mood.”  Chuck walked back into the WH, saw me sitting in “his chair,”  walked up to me and said coldly “Hey mother F*%ker you are in my seat!”  I turned to him and before I could say a word the two waitresses who were standing there almost jumped over the bar and verbally attacked Chuck.  One said, “Now you listen here you mother F&%ker this man here is a f*#king man of God and if you ever talk to him like that again I will kick your f*cking @ss!!“ The other waitress jumped in, “ Ya you d#ck, he is my f*cking pastor! What the f@ck is wrong with you.!”  Show some f@cking repect!  The waitresses high fived each other and one said to the other. “Sword of the spirit b#tch!”  And Chuck turned and walked out.

I sat there and processed what had just happened!  First, the waitresses have never come to an ODC gathering, though I have invited them many times.  And I never told the waitresses I was their pastor.  But because of my coming into the WH four or five mornings a week and talking, listening, and praying with them it appears that is how they saw me…


Why Attending Church No Longer Makes Sense
Carey Nieuwhof
attend churchIncreasingly, I’m convinced there’s no point to merely attending. You drive all the way in to connect with three or four songs, hear the message and then head home. All of that you could almost do by yourself in a much more convenient way. Slip on Spotify and grab the message via podcast or on demand and boom, you’re covered…

We now live in a culture that’s drowning in options and has 24/7 access to anything Christian.

In fact, I can think of only two compelling reasons to go to church anymore…


SandwichesAlan Jacobs
Image resultYou learn a lot about people by noting what trivial things they obsess over, and today’s David Brooks column is a perfect example. Let me be really clear about this: people are freaking out about The Sandwich Bar Anecdote for one major reason, which is that they know the rest of the column is dead-on accurate and they’d prefer not to think about what it tells us about our social order…

Brooks writes, “Status rules are partly about collusion, about attracting educated people to your circle, tightening the bonds between you and erecting shields against everybody else.” This is true, and true in very important ways; and the intuition that such rules are always in play can make people uneasy or angry when they think such rules are being enforced against them. If you can’t acknowledge this you’re just being willfully blind.


First day of work at the zoo…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDcvWml0cy4yMDE3MDcxOF85MDAuZ2lm
Zits – Click image for a larger view.