Tag Archives: Church

My Picks for Tuesday 12-1-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

This simple post resonated pretty deeply in me for some reason…

A Simple Rule That Can Make Life More Fun
John Richmond
Photo Credit: Loren Kerns, Creative Commons“Kids generally do not get in trouble for being silly—they get in trouble for being silly after an adult asked them to stop. It is often that last kid to stop that bears that brunt of the punishment.

This rule applies at every phase of life.

Knowing how to stop makes eating, drinking, investing, exercising, spending, skydiving, hang gliding, and everything else more enjoyable.

Interestingly, knowing how to stop is sometimes the best way to start.”


Following Rob Bell: The Edges of Faith and the Center of the Zeitgeist -Dustin Messer

“In a world where pastors wait with bended knees and clenched eyes for their heads to roll down the sandy slopes of a Libyan beach, the complacent, comfortable, Western church must reset her vision of bravery as it relates to the pastorate. There was a time—even in the West—where cultural capital was gained by being a Christian…

These days, the real adventurers are those who set sail for the risky land of Christian orthodoxy. The real brave men and women are those who consistently go to church, observe the sacraments, hear the word, and submit themselves to the discipline of the church. In an age of autonomy, it’s those who subject their thoughts, behaviors, and passions to an exclusive Sovereign that are the brave few. Those may not be the memoirs we’re interested in today, but they’ll be the ones that last tomorrow.”


Advocating for Life, After Colorado SpringsTrevin Wax

Colorado Springs Continues To Recover After Shooting“What does this do for “the cause?”

That is a question that presents itself to both pro-life and pro-choice people following last Friday’s rampage…

We should not be surprised to see pro-choice cheerleaders among the mainstream media and Planned Parenthood’s well-endowed politicians exploiting this tragedy, weaponizing the tragedy against the wider pro-life movement and painting all pro-life people as wild and zealous fanatics.

But our response should be different. We should grieve with those who grieve, mourn the loss of innocent life and consider the victims – the families who will pass through the weeks, months, and years ahead with a sense of loss and longing that will far surpass the volcano of words in our 24-hour news cycle.”


This is a beautiful little tribute to 20 years of Pixar animation…


Grandkid pic of the day:
Me and Oliver Lloyd work the HUB at WOCC Colerain
Capture

My Picks for Monday 11-30-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

So far, I haven’t heard a definitive motive for the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. I’ve heard plenty of speculation, inferences and attempts to tie it to a “radical pro-life” agenda. There was at least one person involved in that day whose “radical pro-life” stance was on full display, but we haven’t heard very much about him…

Swasey’s Last Sermon-Jordan Standridge
garrett Swasey“Swasey was shot while saving people at a place he abhorred. He was an elder of a church that believed in the inerrancy of Scripture, and that abortion is evil.

Let that sink in.

A man who hated abortion and hated murder–who gave his life helping others–didn’t hesitate about going to Planned Parenthood to save lives.”


Church Growth:
Feeding the Flock In a Count-the-Sheep Culture
-Karl Vaters
Church Growth: Feeding the Flock In a Count-the-Sheep Culture“We want numbers to verify our successes.

There are two huge problems with that sentence – and they’re found in the words numbers and our.

First, not all successes have numbers to verify them.

Second, the successes of the church are not our successes.

We need to start getting comfortable, in the first instance, with Success Without Numbers and in the the second instance, with Success That’s Not Ours.”


The Christian Century No One Predicted  -Justin Taylor
9780801097461“No scholar—or as far as that goes, not even a madman—predicted that at the end of the twentieth century Christianity would not be recognized even as a cultural factor in Europe by the nations that today compose the European Union.

No prognosticator predicted that more Christians would be worshiping each Sunday in China than in Europe or North America.

And, what might be surprising to us today, even the greatest mission leaders at the Edinburgh Missionary Conference in 1910 had pretty much given up on Christianity in Africa. Most of the missionary leaders, even in their most optimistic moments, thought Islam had the upper hand and believed Africa would become a Muslim continent. Fast-forward and we find that the opposite is true, for there are more Christians than Muslims in Africa today.


What am I…?

8f86a1806ef001331d1b005056a9545d
Source: Off the Mark

My Weekend Picks 11-27-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

When Culture Leaks  -Danny Franks
“Is it possible that what we have gained through experience, we have lost through habit, and that what we have gained through organization, we have lost in enthusiasm?”


Why Controversy Is Sometimes Necessary-Albert Mohler
“The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise…

To our shame, the church has often been divided over the wrong controversies.”


Bleak FridaySteve Dennis
https://stevenpdennis.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/cropped-o-shopping-bags-facebook.jpg“Get ready. The stories about Black Friday will start ramping up today. And by the time you awaken from a tryptophan induced haze on Friday morning,  you can expect your TV to be chock-a-block with shots of reporters standing outside Walmarts and Best Buys and Apple stores and within some big fancy mall opining on what it all means.

Spoiler alert: it means nothing. Absolutely nothing.

For consumers, it’s mostly a con.”


The vulnerability of ‘thank you’  –Seth Godin
“Thank you as in: I couldn’t do it without you. As in: I don’t want to do this alone. As in: I was afraid. And mostly: I would miss you if you were gone.

Thank you brings us closer together.

Thank you is a limb worth going out on.”


This Unusual Child
“If you were going to start a revolution that would change the world forever, how would you go about it?”

I’m really looking forward to this new series beginning this weekend at WOCC

 

Remember when we used to _________?

remember-when2

“Remember when we_______________?”

“Man, that was great.”

“How come we don’t do that anymore?”

Have you ever been part of a conversation like that? I was a worship minister for 30 years. I’ve had that same conversation approximately a billion times. The blank has been filled in by different things at different times over the years but it was the same conversation. Here are a few of the things that have been inserted in the blank:

Had a Sunday night church service.
Did a Living Christmas Tree (Remember those?)
Had a handbell choir.
Used an organ.
Wore choir robes.
Wore ties when we served. (BTW-Research has proven that the first century Christians never wore ties.)
Did Broadway-style Christmas productions.
Sang the old songs.
etc.

The blank varied but the insinuation was always the same.

The implication was that what we do now is inferior. We think that the church has lost its former glory. We remember the way things used to be, the important place some of those things had in our lives and in the life of the church, and we have trouble seeing the wonderful things that are being done right now, and the way God is moving in our people and activities right now.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

The Israelites were in captivity for 70 years in Babylon. When they were finally released and allowed to return to their homeland they undertook the huge task of rebuilding the temple. There were some older folks who were alive before the earlier temple was destroyed and they remember what it was like.

Ezra 3:10-13
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

There have been times in my ministry when it seemed like the same thing was happening. There were people who would be moved in powerful ways by the things that God was doing through our church while others could see nothing but things that upset them. The shouts of joy and the sound of weeping were occurring simultaneously. The celebrants couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand the complainers and the complainers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see what the celebration was all about.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

God had something BIG in mind for the new temple. Listen to this:

Haggai 2:3,6-9
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

Lloyd

 

My Picks for Monday 11-9-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

“Nobody knows who the four evangelists were, but they almost certainly never met Jesus personally. Much of what they wrote was in no sense an honest attempt at history. . . . The gospels are ancient fiction.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

If Dawkins is correct, one might imagine Matthew, Mark, Luke and John enjoying a couple of drinks together and having  the following conversation…

If Richard Dawkins Is Right -Bernard N. Howard


The Atlantic has an interesting article here and refers extensively to Al Mohler‘s approach…

Hating Queerness Without Hating the Queer–Emma Green
“It’s a somewhat novel approach to being an evangelical in public life: engaging debates about sexuality on their own terms. As Mohler himself admits, this hasn’t always been the case. ‘While Christians were secure in a cultural consensus that was negative toward same-sex acts and same-sex relationships, we didn’t have to worry too much about understanding our neighbors,’ he said. ‘We did horribly oversimplify the issue.’ Now that norms around LGBT issues are changing, evangelicals can no longer afford that kind of glibness, but it’s tricky to balance civility with steadfastness. Mohler said he’s not ‘trying to launch Culture War II,’ but he also doesn’t want evangelicals to back down on their beliefs. ‘Christians have not had to demonstrate patience, culturally speaking, in a very long time. The kind of work and witness we’re called to—it could take a very long time to show effects.'”


There is a delicate balance that every worship pastor and every creative type person involved in church ministry needs to keep constantly in mind. It’s very easy to get the balance off in either direction…

The Question Every Local Church Creative Team Needs To Ask -David Santistevan
Thequestion“As we approach the Christmas season, we worship pastors are thinking about special music, productions, songwriting, and bigger and better creative elements than last year. The last thing we want to do is fall in love with our own creativity and miss the point.”


Apologies to my millennial friends, but this did make me grin…

Merit Badges for Millennial Life Achievements

Take Off Your Shoes

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IGDYAhMvvaQ/VGQgEMwEhDI/AAAAAAAALVU/heizLMZdcH0/s1600/holy-ground.jpg

“If your local church is doing things right,
it will be seeking to provide a spiritual environment
for your growth predicated on God’s terms—which is to say, not yours. Let’s not neglect to approach that holy ground,
and take our shoes off in reverence when we get there,
even if it means shoving one of them in our mouths.”

–Jared Wilson


From his excellent article, What We Talk Like When We Talk About God

My Picks for Thursday 11-5-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Ed Stetzer has a lot of good stuff to say here. May we listen well…

Three Ways Christians Can Be Like Jesus Amidst a More Polarized Culture-Ed Stetzer
Three Ways Christians Can Be Like Jesus Amidst a More Polarized Culture“As we Christians watch our views become ever more unpopular in an increasingly polarized culture, the temptation to defend ourselves in vitriolic, even hateful, ways will grow. As we interact with others virtually or in our communities, we must remember our call to live like Jesus. We must not adopt secular rules of engagement regardless of whether culture is religious or irreligious.”


How many times have you heard someone say, or perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, “I’m not being fed by my pastor’s sermons”?

Bob Russell does a great job addressing this common complaint…
Bob Russell


Seth Godin has a way of saying a LOT in a few words. Here’s an example. No need to follow the link because this is the whole post.

“It’s not your fault, but it might be your responsibility. That’s a fork in the road on the way to becoming a professional.”
–Seth Godin


And now for something completely different:
Breaking news from Bizarro Land…

http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bizarro-10-25-15-WEB.jpg
(Click image for a larger version.)

 

My Picks for Wednesday 11-4-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

I can often relate to how she feels…

Thoughts Lisa Spence
Lisa Spence“I once thought thoughts. You know, deep and meaningful thoughts, thoughts I pondered and wrestled with and deliberated over and contemplated and, well, thought and sometimes wrote about, sometimes not. “I don’t think stuff anymore,” I told my husband awhile back…”


http://www.mazapoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/love-and-marriage-quotes.jpg
I’ve always felt uncomfortable with that sentiment. Here’s why…

My Spouse Is My Best Friend -Mark Jones

“It seems weird to me, mainly because my wife belongs in a category that goes beyond friendship. How does a man compare his wife with several of his male friends, as if she is first but there is a second, or third best friend behind her? He doesn’t. He shouldn’t. We take away something from our marriages when we talk in this way, and we take away something from our friendships with people of the same sex when we speak like this.”

Seven Myths of Contextualization-Bob Kauflin
shutterstock_184172318_Fotor“In the past few years, much has been written, advocated, and modeled to help us understand why we should be concerned about leading services in ways that people actually comprehend what we’re doing and saying so that they are impacted in the right ways (Mike Cosper’s Rhythms of Grace is one example). That might mean changing your music accompaniment, liturgy, communication methods, and more.

But I’ve seen contextualization misapplied at times. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful to keep in mind when thinking through how to connect with people…”


If the opportunity ever comes up for a retired worship minister to visit the ISS, sign me up! Some amazing photos here.

International Space Station: 15 Years In 50 Pictures…
“As of this week, humans have spent 15 continuous years living off the Earth thanks to NASA and the orbiting International Space Station…. “It [ISS] has taught us about what’s possible when tens of thousands of people across 17 countries collaborate to advance shared goals,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.”

 

On Family and Church

Hamiltons – Christmas 2013 Photo by Katy C Photography

Let me tell you about my family.

My name is Lloyd. At the time of this writing I am 62 years old, the oldest child of parents Bob & Faye. My dad is 83 and my mom is 80. They were both very young when they married in 1952 and I was born the following year while Dad was in the Air Force. Four years later my sister Rhonda was born and eight years after that (Surprise!) my sister Ginger was born.

In 1974, at the tender age of 21, I married Kathie, my high school sweetheart. We had been married for 7 years when Liz was born. Two years later Kate was born and our little family of four was complete. Well, that’s what we thought until our grandkids were born!

Kate married Timm in 2006 and our family began growing some more. Iris was born the following year and is now 8 years old (I can’t believe it!), Asher came along 2 years later and little Oliver was born just this summer on the Fourth of July, 2015.

Also, Liz began dating Trent a few years ago and he has become very much a part of our family.

If you’re keeping track, that’s a total of 13 people ranging in age from 83 years to 4 months.

But wait…there’s more.

My sister Rhonda married in 1981. She’s divorced now, but while they were married they had 3 children: Chris, Becky and Mike. Chris is married and he and his wife, Mary have 2 beautiful daughters: Elliot and Harper. Becky married a handsome young man named Josh about two years ago. No kids…yet. And we recently took a road trip to Baltimore for Mike and Kristin’s wedding.

My baby sister Ginger eloped with her boyfriend Bob in 1993. Their daughter Sara is now a college student.

Twenty-three people.

Single people. Divorced people. Newlyweds. Oldlyweds (63 years!). Boomers. Gen-Xers. Millennials. Republicans. Democrats. Jazzers. Rockers. Headbangers. Country music lovers! Video gamers. Musicians. Writers. Artists. Teachers. Public servants. Medical professionals. Accountants. Techies. Care-givers. People in need of care-giving.

When you think about it, we have more differences than we do similarities. What do we have in common? Nothing.

Well, there is one thing:

DNA.

Also, we are each somewhere along a path from utter dependence on others in the family, to being responsible for others in the family, and back again to dependence. As we travel along this path, I think we can look at our role in terms of need, contribution and responsibility.

Early in our lives our need is great. We are responsible for nothing and our contribution is measured in terms of the joy we bring to our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents as they see to our needs and watch us grow and develop.

As the years pass into our teens, if things develop normally, our need lessens and our contribution increases. We begin to learn what it means to have responsibility for things and ourselves. Certainly, we still have needs, and others are ultimately responsible for us, but we’re learning.

When we move into adulthood we find that we now shoulder real responsibility. We are not dependent on others to sustain us. In fact, we are the ones responsible for the well-being of others who are younger (or older) and have greater need. Our contribution during this time is great, even to the point of sacrifice at times for the need of others.

Then, of course, as we grow into old age we find our personal need increasing. Our level of responsibility begins to subside and our contribution is mainly in the area of mentoring and the sharing of wisdom gained over the years. The rest of the family begins to see us as their foundation, and if our life has been lived well, they love us and appreciate us for being a positive example and influence in their lives. They may be filled with gratitude that we have built this family into something they can be proud of. We will find, however, that while our family respects us, cares for us, and is there to help when needed, their lives no longer revolve around us.

I believe that’s as it should be.


White Oak Christian Church – Colerain Campus, December 2, 2012

Now, let me tell you about my church family.

Single people. Divorced people. Newlyweds. Oldlyweds. Boomers. Gen-Xers. Millennials. Republicans. Democrats. Jazzers. Rockers. Headbangers. Country music lovers! Video gamers. Musicians. Writers. Artists. Teachers. Public servants. Medical professionals. Accountants. Techies. Care-givers. People in need of care-giving.

When you think about it, we have more differences than we do similarities. What do we have in common? Nothing.

Well, there is one thing:

Jesus.

Also, we are each somewhere along a path from utter dependence to responsibility and back again to dependence.

Early in our spiritual lives our need is great. We are responsible for nothing and our contribution is measured in terms of the joy we bring to the rest of the church as they see to our needs and watch our lives change as we grow and develop.

As the years pass into our spiritual adolescence, if things develop normally, our need lessens and our contribution increases. We begin to learn what it means to have responsibility for things and ourselves. Certainly, we still have needs, and others are ultimately responsible for us, but we’re learning.

When we move into spiritual maturity we find that we now shoulder real responsibility. We are not dependent on others to sustain us. In fact, we are the ones responsible for the well-being of others who are younger (or older) and have greater need. Our contribution during this time is great, even to the point of sacrifice at times for the need of others.

Then, of course, as we grow into old age we find our level of responsibility begins to subside and our contribution is mainly in the area of mentoring and the sharing of wisdom gained over the years. The rest of the church begins to see us as their foundation, and if our life has been lived well, they love us and appreciate us for being a positive example and influence in their lives. They may be filled with gratitude that we have built this church into something they can be proud of. We will find, however, that while our church family respects us,  cares for us, and is there to help when we have need, their lives no longer revolve around us.

I believe that’s as it should be.

Don’t you?

Lloyd

 

The Only Proper Response


“Worship 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