Perhaps you’ve heard of or seen pictures of the Lego Church.
It took a year and a half to plan, build and photograph this church.
There are 75,000 Legos that make up this church.
It stands 7 feet by 5 1/2 feet by 30 inches and has 3,976 windows.
The Lego Church seats 1,372 Lego people.
There were several questions that raced through my head as I looked at the Lego Church. But one stood out more than any other.
Do we go to a Lego Church?
This church is perfect, isn’t it? You can tell that the person who built it gave great attention to detail. Every possibility has been thought of. There are just a couple of problems when I wonder about this church and compare it to those we go to.
The people are all alike.
When you get to it, everyone in this church is just alike. They are all plastic and smiling and “perfect”. That’s what we often get, isn’t it? We get people who are just like us who put on smiles and pretend that everything is perfect. Oh sure, they will voice an occasional issue or problem. But when it gets down to it, few really open up and are transparent with each other. Our churches should be safe places where we are able to let the ”real” us come out.
Where is the Holy Spirit?
The Lego Church was planned and programmed, as our churches often are. There is nothing wrong with planning and programs. However, if we aren’t careful, we begin to rely on our plans and our programs. We forget about the Planner and the Programmer. Our churches should be places where we take our plans and programs to the Lord and make sure that they are His plans and programs. Otherwise they are all for naught.
The Lego Church is a curiosity. It is an amazing work of skill, detail and passion. Our churches can be too, with nothing really happening in them. Let’s pray that we don’t become like the Lego Church.
Have you ever gone to a “Lego Church”? Are you still there? What led you to leave? Tell me, I would love to know.
It’s Twiterrific Thursday, where I write 140 words or less about a subject. Today it’s vacation.
I need a vacation. You might have seen me tweet that if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Yes, I need a vacation.
It’s been four years since I’ve really gone somewhere on vacation. I just realized that the other day. I don’t think that is healthy. Sometimes you just need to get away. It doesn’t count as a real vacation if you stay home and do yard work. Or anything else for that matter.
I think God designed us for vacations. Well, He didn’t call them vacations. He gave Adam and Eve and Israel a day off every week for rest. A day off to rest and spend time with God. Time for God. Time to rest.
I think that’s what our vacations should be. Time spent with God. Time resting. God and rest go together.
Do you need a vacation? Do you need to spend time with God? Do you need rest?
I’m a runner. I have been all of my life. When I was a little guy, I would have my grandma time me as I ran around her house. When I played football, my favorite part of practice was when we ran “to the pole and back”. Same goes for baseball. I loved warming up by running around the field.
I ran my first 5K when I was in the sixth grade. When I was in seventh grade, my middle school formed a track team. I signed up and ran track through high school, as well as cross-country.
Since high school I’ve run off and on depending on the season of life that I’m facing. The bottom line is that I consider myself a runner.
There’s just one problem. I haven’t really wanted to run much over the last year. I ran for a few weeks a few months ago, but I just lacked the desire to continue. I questioned why I seemed to suddenly not care about something I’ve loved all of my life. I think I figured it out.
I have sleep apnea. I was diagnosed about a month ago. Jan had been concerned about me for some time. I went to a sleep center and had a sleep study conducted. I was found to have sever sleep apnea. The reason I didn’t have much energy and felt the way I did was discovered. I believe this is the reason I don’t want to run much anymore. I just don’t feel like it. I’m now being treated with a contraption like in the picture above and I can feel the desire to run coming back. I feel better.
I wonder if what I’ve gone through physically lately is much like what we go through spiritually sometimes?
How often, once we ar born again, are we on fire. Our love for the Lord and His church are strong. We can’t get enough His word. We love to hear all sorts of preaching. We read our bibles daily. Our prayer life is vibrant. We’re active in serving in our local church.
Then something happens. Slowly our desire fades. We just go through the motions. Things change.
If you know anything about sleep apnea, it’s caused by an obstruction to the airways causing you to have difficulty breathing. You wake up (though usually not consciously) several times a night gasping for air.
Is that what happens to many of us spiritually? Do we develop spiritual sleep apnea? Is there an obstruction preventing us from breathing the deep things of God? Does this drain our spiritual energy to the point where we don’t have the desire for anything else to serving and loving God?
What’s the solution?
I don’t know of a mask we can wear that will take care of this. But I do believe that there are two places that we need to start. I believe that we need to start with prayer. We need to just begin praying. Pray about the situation. Pray about your life. Pray about everything. Start your day in prayer. End your day in prayer. Simply pray.
The other thing is simple as well. Read the Bible. Read it daily. Read it in the morning. Read it in the evening. Think about what you’ve read. Mull it over. Chew on it in your mind. Meditate on it.
I believe that those are the two best ways to treat spiritual sleep apnea. I believe that praying and reading God’s word will restore the spiritual energy that is being sapped by obstructions in our life.
Have you eve had a period in your life where you have had “spiritual sleep apnea”?
If you have followed me and my blog for long, you will notice that I am a huge University of Tennessee fan. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, I pull for UT. Unfortunately, the last couple of years have been tough, especially in basketball.
Bruce Pearl, our head basketball coach, committed some infractions. He initially denied them, but then confessed. For his trouble, he lost his job and received a three-year show cause, which means a school must show cause to hire him. Effectively, he is banned from college basketball for a while.
Another coach employed a different strategy. Jim Calhoun head coach of the University of Connecticut, faced a similar charge. What did he do? He denied, denied, denied. And denied some more. He ended up winning the national championship last year.
Somehow this reminds me of an episode in the Bible. I was reading about it the other day.
Peter denied Christ. You can read about it beginning in John 13. Jesus foretold that Peter would do this. I’m sure Peter scoffed. Unfortunately, before the night was over, Peter denied Christ. Not just once. No, he denied, denied, denied.
When I read this, here is what I wondered: In what ways do we deny Jesus today?
I’m not talking about us saying verbally that we don’t follow Christ. No, I’m talking about with our lives.
Do we, even in the midst of church activities, deny Christ with our attitudes and actions?
Do we, in our attempt to live a great “Christian life”, miss out on the important opportunities to proclaim Christ in our lives?
Do we miss out on opportunities to stand up for justice and mercy in Christ’s name?
Do we miss out on opportunities to love by trying to be likable?
Do we, with our lives, scream out “Deny, Deny, Deny”? Do we do this denying before the rooster crows?
Fortunately, like Peter, Christ doesn’t give up on us.
Have you ever denied Christ in any of the ways above or in other ways?
I was listening to the Jackson 5 one day recently. It wasn’t I’ll Be There or Baby, Give Me One More Chance. No, it was ABC. What happened when I heard it? I immediately thought about the ABC’s of Salvation.
You know the ABC’s of Salvation, right? It’s A for Admit that you’re a sinner. B for Believe that Christ is God’s Son. C for Confess your sins. It’s a neat little formula for salvation. There’s just one problem from my perspective. I don’t see in the Bible what I’ve heard all of my life as the “Plan of Salvation.”
I know that someone just spit out their Diet Mountain Dew. Someone’s head just started spinning around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. “What do you mean you don’t see the Plan of Salvation? Haven’t you read the Bible?” Yes, as a matter of fact I have. It’s just that I don’t see anyone laying out a neat three, four or twelve step plan for salvation in the Bible.
Did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he had to do the ABC’s to see the kingdom of God? No, he told him he must be born again.
Did Jesus tell the woman at the well that she had to know the ABC’s to drink the Living Water? No, He told her He had living water which if she drunk she would never thirst again.
Did Jesus tell the rich, young ruler that he had to learn the ABC’s to inherit eternal life? No, He told him to go sell everything and follow him.
Did he tell the woman caught in adultery to do the ABC’s and sin no more? No, He told simply to go and sin no more.
Did He tell the disciples to make disciples through the ABC’s? No, He told them to make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching.
Did He tell them that they would witness the ABC’s throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the rest of the world? No, they would simply be His witnesses.
Did Peter tell everyone in Jerusalem it was as easy as ABC to repent and believe?
Was Paul called to be the apostle to the Gentiles and take the ABC’s to the world?
Did Paul explain the ABC’s to those gathered at Mars Hill?
I say all of this because the ABC’s, I think, has become something of a sacred cow in the denomination I belong to. It’s just that this isn’t how I understand the Bible to describe the Gospel we believe.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 that this is the Gospel he preached: Christ died for our sins, was buried, was raised on the third day, he appeared to Peter and the twelve, 500 hundred others, James and the apostles and finally to Paul. And it is through belief in this that you are saved.
Yes, that is a bit more detailed than the ABC’s. It’s not a simple formula. And maybe the ABC’s will give some a formula to share the gospel. I just don’t think the gospel is about a formula you share to save people. It’s about what sharing what Jesus did and that it takes belief to be saved.
How about you? Is the Gospel a simple formula for salvation to be shared? Is it as easy as A-B-C? Or is it much more?
Many of us will gather in churches to worship across the land today. I will too, though it will not be in a traditional format. Currently, I am between churches, so to speak.. As I have thought about this over the last few weeks, a question has come to mind that I want to ask those of you who read my blog.
Is Your Church Safe?
Let me explain what I mean. Few, if any of you, will face persecution today. We don’t really have to fear that here in the United States. Most of us will gather in a nice building that keeps us safe from the weather, so we will be safe from the elements. No, I mean something completely different.
Is Your Church Safe Enough To Ask Tough Questions?
Can you ask tough questions in your church? Can you do this without fear? Are you able to really open up and ask something that has troubled you for a long time? Do you fear what will happen if you ask a question that may be outside the box?
Is Your Church Safe Enough To Be Different?
What happens if you think differently than the pastor and the deacons? Or your Sunday school teacher or small group leader? Do you fear being ostracized? What happens if you don’t vote the party line? What happens if you aren’t a yes man?
Is Your Church Safe Enough To Challenge The Status Quo?
What happens when you challenge the “We’ve always done it that way” mentality? Do you feel comfortable sharing your ideas about what would make your church better? What happens if you ask tough questions? Do you fear you will be shoved aside if you do?
I believe that church is the place where we should be able to ask tough questions, where we should be able to be different and challenge the status quo. Why? Because the church is made up of many members just like your body. The finger is different from the pancreas. The eye is different from the ear. They are different, but they make up the body. I suppose none of us would want to be an appendix, which doesn’t seem to do anything but rupture and make the body sick. But each member of your body feels safe being there. So should we in our churches.
Have you ever been in a situation where you did not feel safe to do these things in your church?
Last week this time, I was heading to Lauren’s third cross-country meet in three Saturdays with the family. We have a break this week before running in Alabama next week.
My Vols lost to Florida. I just hated typing those words. I love the team and Coach Dooley. We need a few more horses to run where we needs to run.
I took Andrew to a therapy session for his knee that has been sore all football season. I think it hurts because he has grown six inches over the last year. There was no structural damage and it already feels better.
Now, for what happened in the world of Deuceology.
The most viewed post of the week was 140 Words (or less) About The Christian F-Bomb.
The Southern Baptist Convention: A New Name proved popular.
The Greatest Love Of All??? proved to be the least viewed post of the last week. Show it some love if you have a chance today.
A big thanks to those of you who visit my blog and read my musings and rants. I would write this regardless, but I appreciate your support.
As you might know by now, especially if you follow me on Twitter or are a friend of mine on Facebook, I went to see Jon Acuff Wednesday night. If you don’t know who Jon Acuff is, let me tell you. He is the creator of the Christian satirical blog, Stuff Christians Like. Beyond that I will not attempt to explain it. Follow the link and check it out.
I found out about Jon Acuff about a year or so ago. I read his book Stuff Christians Like and began following the blog. I found Jon on Twitter. Recently, I read his book Quitter. Finally, on Wednesday I heard him speak. After all of that, I came to this conclusion.
Jon and I are now best friends.
I know, I know. Some of you have doubts about Jon Acuff and I being best friends. However, let’s consider the evidence.
Exhibit #1: A photograph. Notice the sidehug.
Exhibit #2: A conversation
When I met Jon the other night, he immediately quoted a tweet that I had posted earlier. I had tweeted that I rarely go anywhere with my family and that it takes something special to pull me away. Wednesday night was such a night. Jon Acuff was speaking. And he knew that I had tweeted this to him. Who else but a BFF would remember such a thing?
Exhibit #3: An autograph
My friends, Matt and Dave, took their Jon Acuff books with them to get autographed. I left my it in my truck. I asked Jon to virtually autograph mine. He pointed to his heart and said that it was there that it would take place. From his heart to mine.
There ladies and gentlemen. I rest my case. Jon Acuff and I are best friends. I can’t wait to hunt unicorns with him.
Of course, all of this is ridiculous. I love to read Jon Acuff’s works. I enjoyed hearing him speak. He was a very nice and gracious guy. But best friends? Sure!!! We have a tendency to idolize people, don’t we? We put people up on pedestals. Especially us Christians. We make Super Christians out of our celebrities. And Jon is certainly becoming a celebrity. After all, he shows up on Fox and Friends every few weeks.
We build them up. We imagine that they wake up every morning and pray on the cold, cold tile of their kitchen floor. We almost expect them to walk on water. Does Jon Acuff walk on water? Not a chance. And he will agree with me.
Jon is a great guy. He makes us laugh. He makes us think. However, he is not what we build him up to be in our minds. He is a regular guy, albeit a talented one. He wants to point us toward God and Christ, not himself. He needs our prayers. He needs our friendship. He needs all the things that we need. What he doesn’t need is for us to idolize him.
Let’s make a pact. Let’s not idolize those that God has given what we deem to be special ministries. Let’s support them however the Lord leads.
That’s what Jon Acuff expects from his best friend.
What Christian have you idolized in the past? Have you ever set them on a pedestal only to knock them off?
It’s Twitterific Thursday. Here are 140 words or less I write about a particular subject.
Forgiveness is a big deal to those of us who follow Christ. We have been forgiven–everything. Faults and failures are forgiven. Fights are forgiven. Of course, all of these trace back to the original one that is forgiven–Sin.
The question becomes: How forgiving are those of us who are forgiven much? We either forgive or we don’t. We like to say, “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.” Let’s not waste our time. That’s not forgiveness. That just allows us to throw whatever sin, failure, fault or fight back into someone’s face and still feel good about ourselves.
Christ forgave. Period. Even those who were nailing Him to the cross. He asked His Father to forgive them. What other choice do we have?
How easy is it for you to forgive those who have wronged you?
***For a bonus on forgiveness, check out my friend Rob’s post from yesterday***
I had planned on posting another blog post today, but I had to interrupt my regularly scheduled writing so that I could address an important issue. The Southern Baptist Convention is thinking about changing its name. There are so many reasons, going all the way back to the convention allowing slave owners to be missionaries to being limited by the regional implications of the name. I am a lifelong Southern Baptist, albeit an irreverent one at times. So I thought I would chime in on some possibilities for the new name. With no further adieu………….
The Biggest, Baddest Baptist Denomination. The Southern Baptist Convention was descriptive of what the denomination was at one time. It was Southern. Baptist. Has a yearly convention. It’s kind of like Belk. Modern. Southern. Style. We always hear about how big we are as a denomination. Let’s just go ahead and tell everyone what we really are. We can even call ourselves 3B or B Cubed.
The Baptist Convention Between Canada and Mexico. We no longer wanted to thought of as a regional denomination. Let’s go ahead and take over the entire United States. This tells everyone in the world exactly where we are.
The North American Baptist Convention. We already have the North American Mission Board. We could just co-op a name we already have and use it to describe the entire organization. The only problem is that we have an International Mission Board. What will they have to say?
The International Baptist Convention. The entire reason we have denominations to fund missions. Our International Mission Board administers our foreign missionaries. We may luck out and get both it and the North American version if the two split over the name.
The Conservative Baptist Convention. Since 1979, the Southern Baptist Convention has been known for biblical inerrancy and conservatism. Let’s go ahead and tell everyone what we are about.
Let’s face it. None of these are really good names to change to for the SBC. Worse than that, these are only even funny if I’m trying to write a humorous piece. However, here is my favorite possibility for what the SBC should change its name to:
The Convention Formerly Known As The Southern Baptist Convention. Here everyone would get what they want. It’s not the SBC anymore, but the old timers would still have what they want in its name. It’s Southern. Baptist. A Convention. I’m just not sure what kind of strange symbol would become the name of the group. Hey, don’t laugh. Prince did it for a while.
All of this is intended to have fun with what is going on in my denomination. From what I read, the main reason is so that we can evangelize more people. If the Lord uses us changing our name for that, I’m all for it. Good luck to those who are involved in making this decision.
Do you think the Southern Baptist Convention should change its name? If so, what should it be changed to?