Archive

Archive for January, 2012

Is Your Pastor Being Fed?

January 25, 2012 4 comments

One of the excuses that I hear for being dissatisfied in a church is that the person is not being “fed”.  They are not happy with the pastor’s sermons.  They are not “getting anything” out of the sermons.  There are a million ways to say it.

How do I know?

I’ve probably used most of them.

I’ve got a question for you.  For all of us.  When you have that feeling.  When you just don’t think you’re getting anything out of the message anymore..  When you’re not “being fed”.

Is your pastor being fed?

Is your pastor focusing on the things he really needs to focus on?   Does he have the opportunity to spend time in the word of God and in prayer so that he can do what he is called to do?

Do you and your church allow him to do the things that are most important for his ministry?

Or is he tied up in tons of meetings?

Do you expect him to make all of the visits?

Do too many people drop in on him at the office because he “doesn’t have anything else going on”?

A friend of mine is a world-class mandolin player.  When he was growing up, he would wake up in the morning and play mandolin until it was time to go to school.  When he got home, he would pick up his instrument and play and play and play.  When he looked up, it would be around 1o pm.  He would go to the kitchen where his mother had left him a plate of food.

He neglected everything except what was most important to him.

What a lesson for our pastors.

What a lesson for all of us.

We should expect that our pastors are primarily too busy for most things other than spending time in God’s word and in prayer.  Do you want to be fed?

Make sure your pastor is being fed.

What kinds of things do you or your church do to make sure that your pastor is being fed?

First Church Year #1

January 23, 2012 12 comments

Welcome to my new series.  We are not in Church Search mode any longer.  We have found a church where we feel welcome and where we believe we can worship.  We believe that the Lord has led us here.

I’ll be honest.  I was distracted during Sunday School.  Jan stayed home due to the surgery she had Friday.  I felt just a little out-of-place without her since I still don’t know many of the people there.

I had lunch with a couple of the staff members this week.  I was told that there is another couple that wants to begin a home bible study.  I’m looking forward to getting to know this couple and seeing if this is something we can participate in.  We will need it since I will not be able to be in Sunday School for half the year.

One of the strengths of our church is the worship through music.  It is definitely planned, but there is enough latitude and spontaneity to veer off from the path if it seems right.

The sermon was about Sanctity of Human Life.  Just before the sermon began, a lady gave a spontaneous testimony about a time earlier in her life when she had an abortion.  She testified to God’s forgiveness and grace for this event in her life.  Another person came up and testified to her being pregnant as a teenager before marriage and keeping her child.  Both spoke to mistakes in their lives and how God loved them despite this.

A time of prayer at the altar continued from there.  Many people went down and prayed together.

The sermon was a good challenge to value all human life.  It ended with a video called 99 Balloons.  It was about a little boy who lived 99 days and 99 balloons were let got at his funeral.

The thing that is greatest about this church is that despite some issues and problems that have occurred recently there is a sweet spirit of love and caring there.

On a side note, we have been going there for four weeks.  A couple prepared us a meal today since Jan had her surgery.

What attracted you to your church?  What are its strengths?

Faith, Hope and ……

January 22, 2012 9 comments

One of these days I’m going to write a novel.  Two of the characters are going to be named Shirley Goodness and Mercy.  They are going to be stalkers who follow the main character around all the time.   Some of you will get that in a minute.

Lots of people name their children with biblical names.  I did.  My daughter’s middle name is Elizabeth.  My son’s name is Andrew.  Good biblical names.

There are lots of others.  Mark, Peter, Paul.  You don’t find many Zaccheus’ these days, but if you did they would probably climb trees.

There are a lot of Faith’s, aren’t there?  And lots of Hopes.  However, you don’t find the third of that series getting much action for a name.

You don’t find many Loves out there.

Why is that?

Of course, I am referring to these in 1 Corinthians 13;13.  Paul writes, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I wonder.  We love to name a little girl Faith.  We love to name a little girl Hope.  We just don’t seem to love to name a little girl Love.

Could it be that if we had three girls and names them Faith, Hope and Love that we are declaring that one of them is greater than the others?

Do we subconsciously know that Love is the greatest of these three so we leave Love out as a name?

Do we somehow know that we really fail at Love sometimes and we don’t want to place such a burden on someone?  They are supposed to be the greatest.  We don’t want them to fail at Love and not live up to that high standard?

I don’t know if that’s the answer.  Perhaps it just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

Or perhaps it’s because someone else already has that name.  After all, God is Love.

What do you think?  Why do we have girls named Faith and Hope, but not Love?

A Church By Any Other Name

January 22, 2012 3 comments

What is the name of your church?

Churches have a variety of names, don’t they?  I found myself chuckling in the middle of a terrible story recently because of the name of a church.  Here’s what it was.

( Fill In the Blank) Original Church of God.

Wow!  The original church of God???

I have to admit that this was a new one on me.  I had never heard of a church that labeled itself as an Original.

All of us have heard of or may attend this or that First Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian.

You don’t hear about too many Seconds, though Second Baptist in Houston does stand out.  Never mind Third Baptists.  Folks can deal with being second.  Few can deal with being Third.  There is a 5th 3rd Bank around, but if a church had a similar name wouldn’t it be just as easy to call itself 15th?

There is a Ninth and O Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky.  Can you imagine being the Ninth Baptist in a town?  You might cry O! (Not really.  I’ve been there and it was named after its original location at the intersection of Ninth and O.)

Now days, churches are getting creative in the names of their churches.

Elevation.

Epic.

Sojourn.

When I see some of the names of those churches, though, I’m not sure what they are.  Sometimes it takes me a little bit of time to figure out that they are a church.

The church that I am attending and getting plugged into is Calvary Baptist.  That’s nice, traditional and churchy, isn’t it?  Don’t let that fool you, though.  What worship!  What love among the people.!

I think that, no matter what, to paraphrase Shakespeare, a church by any other name will smell the same.  It isn’t the name that matters.  It’s what’s going on and Who it’s all about that really matters.

I will say that there is probably one name that none of us ever want to see on any church, much less our own.

Ichabod.

Do you know of any unusually named churches?  What is the most unusually named church you have heard of?  Does the name matter to you at all?

The Weekly Round-Up 1/21/12

January 21, 2012 2 comments

It’s that time again.  Time for the weekly round-up of what happened on the blog.

Traffic was up compared to the previous week.  I’m not sure what is driving it, but I’ll take it.

Church Search #8 was the most viewed post of the week.  It was also the last as I begin a new series of posts that discuss our first year of assimilation into our new church.

Thoughts On Martin Luther King Day drove a lot of views.  I discussed a couple of book, Guns of the South, which I’ve read and Bloodlines, which I want to read.

(Possibly The Last) 140 Words (More or Less) On Lists discusses how we make lists of what will please God.  I also threw out the possibility of this being the last Twitterific Thursday 14o Word post.  It ended up being the most viewed 140 Word post in a while.  I decided that I won’t retire it completely.  What I may do is make it a semi-regular post that is not really tied to any particular day.

Throw The Baby Out was my favorite post of the week.  I discussed how we have the tendency to discount any good someone does because of the bad they do.

Whatever?!? took a phrase used by a character on Full House and asked if I  take a whatever approach to people or do I treat them as God’s treasures?

Yesterday’s post, Waiting, was written because yesterday I spent much of my day waiting while Jan had surgery.  God wants us to wait on Him and gives us plenty of other opportunities to practice.

God Is Not A Gentleman

January 20, 2012 6 comments

I heard someone recently refer to God as a gentleman.  This sounds like a wonderfully plausible statement, doesn’t it?  The idea is that God is a gentleman who will not force Himself upon anyone.  This person was trying to convey what he thought was a beautiful picture of God.

However, is it biblical and accurate?

Did God sit back and let Noah think about whether he wanted to build the ark?

Did He tell Abraham that if he felt like it he could move to the land He would give him?

He wrestled with Jacob.

He showed up in a burning bush to Moses and when Israel didn’t obey He wiped several of them out.

I know, though, you have some objections.  You want to say Jesus wasn’t like that.

Jesus told his disciples to follow Him.

He told one man to sell everything he had, give it to the poor and follow Him.

He called the Pharisees hypocrites and snakes.

Jesus told Zaccheus to come down out of a tree because He was going to eat with him.  He invited Himself to dinner.

Let’s fast forward.

He struck Paul blind and sent Ananias a message that he was a chosen instrument of His to go to the Gentiles.

Simply put, I don’t think that God is a gentleman.

I think God is God.

He does things His way.  Who are we to argue with it?

What do you think?  Is God a gentleman?  Or is He simply God?

(Possibly The Last) 140 Words (More or Less) On Lists

January 19, 2012 16 comments

It’s Twitterific Thursday, where I write 14o words, more or less, about a subject.

Go ahead and admit it.

You make lists.

Maybe you don’t write them down, but you make mental lists.

These lists consist of people you don’t want to hang around with or want to avoid.

They are made up of what you think makes people square with God.

Who can be in certain positions at church.

The bottom line is we make lists according to how we value people.

Lists of people to exclude.

Let’s make new lists.

Lists of who we need to meet.

Lists of who we need to love.

Lists of people to include.

Go ahead.  Make your list.

As you can tell from the title, this may be the last 140 Words post.  I love doing this every week, but they are some of the least read posts that I do.  I’m also going to be doing another series called First Church Year, so I’m not sure I really want to continue two series.  What do you say, faithful readers?