Tag Archives: Church

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…
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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”…
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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…
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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.

The Way

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/500a5bc9e4b016a023c0a9de/t/568bd1501115e0d0bc193a8b/1452003669875/climbing-up-mountain-with-helping-hand.jpg

“It’s possible to claim the name Christian without being Christian at all – that is, without following Christ.
Jesus is far more than a theological icon to believe in;
he is a person to follow.
He is not just the truth; he is the way.
But those who follow Jesus are constantly in danger of getting lost,
for we live in a culture that stands in huge contrast to Jesus…
Jesus shows us how to live this gospel-based life,
but he doesn’t give us a how-to manual.
Rather, the local congregation,
the company of praying men and women,
is the primary place where we discover the way of Jesus.”

Eugene Peterson
The Jesus Way Study Guide

Tuesday Picks ~ 7-11-2017

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

Nothing new here, but sometimes a fresh reminder is needed…

Why Is It Important to Be Part of a Local Church?
Dan Reiland
Church has changed a lot since I was 18, but the essence is the same. The methods are radically different, but the message is the same. The current culture is dramatically different, but the human condition remains the same.

We need Christ, and we need each other, that truth won’t change. The Church is the greatest force on earth to that end.


Ten Thousand Reasons For a Thousand Tongues Forever and EverJamie Brown
The best kind of worship leading – all across the musical, denominational, and liturgical spectrum – is the kind of worship leading that saturates the congregation at every service with fresh reminders of the reasons why God deserves praise.


Five “Fake News” Stories That People Believe about Early ChristianityMichael J . Kruger
There is quite a bit of “fake news” out there regarding the person of Jesus, the origins of the church, or the development of the Bible . Even though such “news” as no factual basis, it is believed by an uncomfortably large number of people.

So, here is a sampling of some of the leading stories…


Important for any leader, and really any human relationship…

One of My Biggest Ministry MistakesDarryl Dash
ConflictNobody likes conflict, and if you do you have other issues we need to discuss. But when we avoid conflict, we hurt relationships and damage the church.

Don’t like conflict? The best way to get more conflict is to try to avoid it.

Pastors don’t have the option of avoiding conflict. Run into the issues you most want to avoid. Don’t make the mistake that I did. Call a meeting, close the doors, and refuse to leave until you make progress.


Hemingway Spoilers…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 7-6-2017

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

The ‘Church’ of Facebook?Alex Duke
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/made/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/church_facebook_1200_700_c1_.jpgI’m deeply thankful for Zuckerberg’s desire to leave the world better than he found it. I’m even more thankful he sees the need for humans to connect to communities and even institutions in order to do so. His intuition about our need for relationships is exactly right…

But with all its grandiose plans to change the world, this kind community sets a remarkably low bar for us as humans in relationship; it’s strictly opt-in, strictly self-directed, strictly un-real, and available only for a few…

Real churches on the other hand—they’re hard…

And though it sounds quaint, these real churches are also actually here. They exist in space and time, and they’re filled not just with second-hand stories but with open-armed bodies that we’ve collapsed into after yet another miscarriage, yet another “no” after a job interview, yet another unexpected death. What’s more, these churches are open to all—no e-mail address or internet connection required—and they make known their beliefs to the world through sounds more magnetic than the dull whir of a modem or the clickety clack of a keyboard. These real churches simply sing and preach and pray—and in it all we find something far grander than even man’s most optimistic hope to change the world. We find the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).

Can you believe such a thing is within our reach?


Why Trump’s Vengeful Tweeting MattersDavid French
http://c4.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/donald-trump-mika-brzezinski-vengeful-tweets-degrade-american-political-culture.jpg?itok=z-88D5QXWords still matter, and the president’s words are often reprehensible. Even those who say, “Talk to me about what he does, not what he tweets” know this to be true. How can I tell? Because these same people incessantly point to liberal words and are unceasingly outraged by liberal tweets. Indeed, they often act as if a random news anchor’s comments are somehow more consequential than the president’s. I know. I see the clickbait everywhere.

A conservative can fight for tax reform, celebrate military victories over ISIS in Mosul, and applaud Trump’s judicial appointments while also condemning Trump’s vile tweets and criticizing his impulsiveness and lack of discipline. A good conservative can even step back and take a longer view, resolving to fight for the cultural values that tribalism degrades. Presidents matter not just because of their policies but also because of their impact on the character of the people they govern. Conservatives knew that once. Do they still?


On CoastingDarryl Dash
CoastingI’ve seen plenty of average preachers who’ve applied themselves and become competent preachers. And I’ve seen some gifted preachers apply themselves and become excellent. The ones I worry about the most are the gifted preachers and pastors who’ve decided to coast.


Simultaneously funny and sad…

NPR Tweeted the Declaration of Independence on July 4 and Some People Flipped Out
Every year, NPR reads (and lately, tweets) the Declaration of Independence to celebrate the Fourth of July. It’s a time-honored tradition but, this year, for some reason, a truly depressing number of people took it the wrong way. The Declaration was, of course, a call to arms—a rallying cry to overthrow tyranny and establish a new government in its place.

Given that modern American culture is wildly politicized and all too often poorly informed, it’s perhaps not surprising that a lot of people interpreted the tweets as a publicly funded media outlet encouraging citizens to rebel against President Donald Trump.


Historic Status Updates…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.