Go check it out HERE.
As you browse, read and share the many articles, our hope is that you may find this site an encouragement to your faith and Christian life.
We were created to worship. And we are to worship God with every aspect and area of our lives - presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
The bride of Christ can often times be difficult and messy - but it is Christ's beautiful mess - to which He is the head and chief cornerstone.
Our faith comes out from a rich heritage and history. It was during the formative years of our faith that creeds, confessions, traditions, and liturgies were developed. These practices and traditions recaptured will not only anchor us but move us forward in our faith.
There is freedom in the gospel as it proclaims that in Christ we are sons and daughters of the King. The importance is learning to preach those truths to our heart and life everyday.
1. They make me look smarter.
2. They give me interesting fodder for conversation with my husband.
3. I read more blog posts in one week by Seth Godin than I had in the last several years. I don’t mean to neglect Seth. He’s smart. I like him. I learn from him. But I stray from reading blogs in general because I can’t seem to find the time. Reading feeds over eggs and coffee carves out time to learn from the masters.
4. I learned about new paths to productivity.
5. What I read in feeds last week had either a direct connection or impact on what I do every day for work. It remains to be seen if I can keep up with my feed reading over time. In the meanwhile, I’ll absorb as much knowledge as I can to expand my understanding of this ever-changing industry and to improve what I do and how I do it.
“Are you able to genuinely say, from your knowledge of God and your relationship with Him, that He is indeed a beautiful Being? If not, let me graciously encourage you to ask God to take you to that point, so that you will fully appreciate His gentleness and kindness, so you will be able to say just how good He is, and so you will know what a delight it is to God’s heart to do good for His children. The closer we come to this point in our inner being, the more willing we are to leave ourselves in His hands and the more satisfied we are with all of His dealings with us.”Wow, let that sink in. Is God a beautiful Being? Too often I treat and see God like a "useful" Being - what He can do for me. But to see Him as a "beautiful Being" - I will be chewing on this for a while.
But many spiritual leaders through the centuries got it right. We need to recapture some of the truths they taught. In the words of A.W. Tozer, 'A state of emotion always comes between the knowledge and the act...God intended that truth should move us to moral action. The mind receives ideas, mental pictures of things as they are. These excite the feelings and these in turn move the will to act in accordance with the truth...But be sure that human feelings can never be completely stifled. If they are forbidden their normal course, like a river they will cut another channel through the life and flow out to curse and ruin and destroy.'One cool addition in Elliot's book are the "Blog" comments and real life testimonies at the end of each chapter. That feature gives the book an interactive feel and personal touch.
USAToday -Evangelical: Can the 'E-word' be saved?Who's an evangelical? Until last year the answer seemed clear: Evangelical was the label of choice of Christians with conservative views on politics, economics and Biblical morality.
Now the word may be losing its moorings, sliding toward the same linguistic demise that "fundamentalist" met decades ago because it has been misunderstood, misappropriated and maligned.
And the upshot of his research - there is cause for concern.
For instance, despite some optimistic polls that otherwise suggest the American church is thriving, Olson writes,
"On any given Sunday, the vast majority of Americans are absent from church and if trends ccontinue, by 2050, the percentage of Americans attending church will beI know that in Metro Atlanta, in the heart of the "Bible Belt", there are over 70 Mega-churches (defined by 2,000+) and one would think that almost "everyone goes to church". And yet in our county, only 15.7% of the population actually go to church. We are not as "churched" as we are often led to believe.
half (of what it was in 1990)."
2. The transition from a modern to a post-modern society;
3. The transition from a mono-ethnic to a multi-ethnic society.
According to Olson, it's not only what's needed; it's the future.
"In the mono-ethnic world, Christians, pastors and churches only had to understand their own culture. Ministering in a homogeneous cultures is easier, but mono-ethnic Christianity can gradually become culture-bound....In the multi-ethnic world, pastors, churches and Christians need to operate under the rules of the early church's mission to the Gentiles."But this is the "money" quote:
"As the power center of (global) Christianity moves south and east, the multi-ethnic church is becoming the normal and natural picture of the new face of Christianity."This is the NEW FACE of CHRISTIANITY in AMERICA. If you are threatened by the idea of a church that is going to be less Anglo and more diverse, then this won't perceived as good news. But if you believe and know that the heart of Christ and the gospel is a church for the nations, then it becomes exciting to see the church transformed from ethnic and cultural parochialism to seeing it transformed into a multi-ethnic mosaic.
Courteous? Not drivers around Atlanta -Survey says we are No. 1 in several sins of the road.
Driving too fast, tailgating, making cell phone calls while driving, making obscene gestures to other drivers. According to a national survey, no one does these things more than metro Atlanta drivers.
"...the man to whom little is not enough will not benefit from more."- Columbanus, Irish, 7th century
In the 1920’s, a reporter asked John Rockefeller: “How much is enough?” His answer was fascinating: “Just a little bit more.”-Quoted by Albert Mohler
"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment..."
- 1 Timothy 6.9
As individuals we are important, very, very important. But we need to continually celebrate the individual but we must do it within the context of community. Our world is so individualized that we’ve lost a sense that there is something greater than ourselves. In our culture, this is a challenge because we are so good at isolating ourselves and disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world. Our priorities can easily become very selfish and insulated.From Consumptive to Cooperative
When you live in a world that holds individualism as a god you naturally going to find that consuming is a higher priority than cooperative. If the most important thing is me, than I am going to do my best to take care of me. But, if the most important thing is me, in the context of community than we can start thinking about cooperation together for a common goal.
Event to Family
We need to rethink our definition of “church.” When we come to “church” as an individual who is primarily a consumer we begin to view church as an “event” where we can consume spirituality or religion to meet our own personal needs. The alternative here is to move from church as event to church as family. When we approach “church” as individuals in a community where we are cooperating together for a common goal its almost impossible to think of church as an event. Instead a better metaphor for church, as we have talked about at The Well a lot recently, is “family.” A family cooperating together to care together for the individual needs, all for a common goal.
The idea of a common goal then leads us to the final movement. The challenge of the family metaphor in the church setting is to not become all cliquish and even worse cultish. But, when you take a group of individuals, who are here to consume and think of the “church” as a event, you end up with a “church” that is sucking in rather than sending out. We’re all drawn into a Sunday event and leave behind our primary mission field. But, when we view the “church” as a community that is dependent on each other and cooperates together, it is not naturally seen as something that sucks in but instead sends out.Re-read Acts 1:8, “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.”
This is the mission that drives the early church (and should drive our churches as well!).This cannot be done if the church is an random collection of individuals who are coming to an event to consume Christianity. But, this mission can be accomplished if “church is defined as a family that cooperates together for a greater purpose.
At Big Creek Church we celebrate communion weekly, you can read the theological and practical reasons are from this series of posts on the Lord's Supper, part 1; part 2; part 3.
These are our communion meditations that we post on the screen to provide an opportunity of meditation and contemplation during the Lord's Supper.
Malachi 3:5 (NIV) "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.
Luke 20:46 (NIV) "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.47 They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."
Only that fellowship which faces (such) disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God's sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together.
1 Thessalonians 2:6-9:
We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
Author and preacher Tony Campolo said that when his wife, Peggy, was at home full-time with their children and someone would ask, "And what is it that you do, my dear?" she would respond, "I am socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation." Then Peggy would ask the other person, "And what do you do?" -John Ortberg and Ruth Haley, An Ordinary Day with Jesus(Zondervan, 2001)
The simple burnout deterrence mantra:
Reminding yourself of these brief sentences will inoculate yourself against the temptation of trying to do it all in one's own power. All of these are key, but number 4 particularly resonates with me. Pastors are some of the loneliest and isolated people.
1. I am not invincible. I can get sick, sin, and weary.
2. I am not immortal. I am going to die.
3. I am not indispensable. The kingdom keeps going without me.
4. I am not an island. I need friends around me.
"Mission of the church is nothing more or less than the outworking, in the power of the Spirit, of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. It is the anticipation of the time when God will fill the earth with his glory, transform the old heavens and earth into the new, and raise his children from the dead to populate and rule over the redeemed world he has made”- N.T. Wright
The Bible is holding conservative Protestants back financially. So says Duke University Sociologist Lisa Keister. According to data analyzed by Keister, the median net worth for conservative Protestants in 2000 was $26,000, compared to the national median of $66,200. Keister accounts for the gap by pointing to the nearly 2,000 verses in the New Testament that touch on the topic of money such as Jesus’ injunction to not “store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” For Keister these teachings mean diminished net worth for followers. “The one big difference is the conservative Protestants’ assumption that God is the owner of money and people are managers of it. They are doing with their money what God wants them to do with it, so that does mean that it is not sitting in their bank accounts.”(ht: usatoday.com, 4/24/08 )
Do you not know?God does not grow weary, yet I am too often weary and tired. Why? Because I am operating out of pride, which manifests itself in self-sufficiency. It says, "I can do it all!" "I don't need anyone, or anything". I repented of that pride and knew that I had been economizing my relationship with Him. I was having "drive-by" devotionals. I've been letting my busyness overtake me. I have become weary and tired.
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
“O God, be thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee.Needless to say, it was a time of refreshment and renewal. Every time I leave there, I am always glad that I made the investment.
Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, `Hosanna in the highest’.”
Recent surveys indicate more than half of the baby boomer population wants the rest of their lives to count for something more significant. They want to invest the rest of their lives for the betterment of their families, their communities, and their world. This segment of the population is not only huge, but more than half of them want to give back to others.
For the church aware of these realities, the boomer could well represent the largest labor force for the kingdom the church has ever seen. These men and women probably will serve willingly in the traditional ways (ushering, greeting, sitting on boards, teaching classes, etc.), but if these are the only offerings you have, then many of them will find greater opportunities to give back to the community outside the church. This is what the baby boomer means when he says to the church,
"Use me or lose me." They would prefer to get involved in something significant in the church, but if the church has too little to offer, they will find opportunities elsewhere. (Leadership Network Advance 3/25/08)
Did you hear the story about Kinetic Church in Charlotte, NC? A few weeks ago, a thief stole a trailer containing 75% of the church’s equipment.
Obviously, the church body took the loss hard. But what’s interesting are the ways in which Kinetic Church responded through both old media (these billboards) and new media (the YouTube video below). What do you think about Kinetic Church’s campaign to communicate with the person or persons who have done them harm?