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Archive for June, 2012

The Weekly Roundup: Don McAllister

June 30, 2012 1 comment

Don McAllister is someone who I have followed on Twitter for a while.  I have just really begun following his blog and look forward to getting to know him through his writing in his coming posts.

Don has begun a new series called Killing Sacred Cows Of Blogging.  I read his post yesterday and loved where Don is going with this series.  He is dealing with myths many of us have bought into regarding our blogging.

One of the things I like most about Don is that he makes it plainly known that what he is doing is to honor Christ.  He is not producing implicitly Christian material, but he is definitely not shy about letting his readers know who he is following.

You can check out Don McAllister’s blog here.  If you haven’t checked it out, please do.

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Does Church Ever Wear You Out?

June 29, 2012 7 comments

Does your church ever wear you out?

What I mean is do you ever leave more tired than you when you left?

I know someone who sometimes leaves for the restroom during the fellowship time.  Why?  It’s not because that person doesn’t like people.  It’s because it absolutely wears this person out to shake hands with so many people at one time.  This person happens to be an introvert.

There are other things that make this person tired.  Lots of loud, exuberant music with no soft, subdued music that leads toward introspection causes this person to continue the slide toward exhaustion.

Does anything  cause this person to gain energy?

Yes.  Introspective services that causes them to think inwardly to where they can tap their energy.

How about the extrovert?  Quite, introspective services where they aren’t able to express themselves outwardly where they can gain their energy.

Do you know people who are worn out by church?  It may be because of their personality and how the service was structured.

Does church ever wear you out?

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The Power Of Story

June 28, 2012 5 comments

 I have a friend named Chris.  Recently he sent me a tweet telling me he realized that he goes to church with someone I work with.

 I ran into this lady shortly after and mentioned this fact to her.  She laughed and said that, kidding, Chris told her not to say anything because I had too many stories that I could tell about him.  I assured her that because we survived those stories, Chris and I would treasure those stories between us.
 

That event made me pause, though, because of the power of those shared experiences.  Memories flooded my mind.  Good and bad times swirled before my eyes.  Waves of nostalgia cascaded over me.

 

The wonderful thing, like I said, is that we survived those stories.  Even though we are linked forever by the stories we were writing during those years, we are part of greater stories now.

 

We have both been married for two decades to the loves of our lives.

 

We both have children that mean the world to us.

 

We both have jobs of enormous responsibility.

 

Most important, we are a part of His story, each in our own way.

 

We claim a common Savior.  This is a better story that has more power than any other that connects us.

 
What kind of power does your story hold?
 
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Repaying God

I recently heard someone thank God in a prayer recently.  I don’t think that is unusual, but it was what they said next that caused me to pause.

They brought up trying to repay God for His goodness to us.

I didn’t quite do a Linda Blair head spin, but I did immediately wonder about what this person believed about God.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think many people think this way.  I think we all have at some point in our lives.

I just think it’s wrong.

Thinking that we have repay God for his goodness and grace is simply not Biblical.  Here’s what I mean.

If we believe, like Paul writes, that salvation is the free gift of God then there is no way that we can repay Him.  If we believe that we can repay God, then salvation quits being a gift and becomes something that we can buy.  You and I cannot buy salvation.  Only Christ could do that for us.  Our wages are death.  The only thing we can buy is an eternal punishment.

I understand that this flies in the face of how we are wired.  We simply don’t want something for nothing.

The fact is, though, that we cannot repay God.  He doesn’t want us to and we don’t have the ability.

Have you ever thought about repaying God?  Do you realize that you can’t?

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Agent Colson’s Not Dead, And So Are You

June 26, 2012 6 comments

You may have seen The Avengers by now.  If so, there is no need for a spoiler alert.  If not, you may want to quit reading if you plan to go see the movie.

In a pivotal scene in the movie, Agent Colson, who has been Nick Fury’s right hand man in gathering all of these heroes together, is killed by Loki.  Stabbed through the heart, we watch him die.

There’s just one problem with that scenario.

Agent Colson’s not dead.

I read too many comic books as a kid to believe that he died in that scene.

I don’t know exactly how they will pull it off.  That may not have been the real Colson.  It may have been a life-like decoy.  Maybe someone with a healing power showed up.  Somehow, someway, Colson lives.

If you’re a follower of Christ, it’s the same for you.  You were dead.  He has made you alive.  When you die on this earth, it’s a false death.  It’s transition time.  People are gathering around in sadness, when they should be celebrating.  You’re going home.  You will soon be more alive than ever.

Agent Colson’s not dead.  And so are you.

Are you a follower of Christ?  Do you have this eternal life on your side?

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First Church Year #23: When The Honeymoon Is Over

If you have been following my Monday posts for the past few months, you have been reading of our adventures in our new church.  2012 has honestly been a great year.

Now, though, the honeymoon is over.

That doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad.  In fact, it could be just the opposite.

It doesn’t mean we are suddenly mad over anything.

It doesn’t mean there is some source of conflict.

What does it mean?

It means that the new has worn off.

It means that people are the same everywhere.

It means that basically, when it comes down to it, churches are often the same.

It means that if you live with some idealized version of what a church should be, you are bound to be disappointed.

It also means that it may be easier to find where the Lord wants us to work in the church.

One of the benefits is that it is a reminder that there will one day be a honeymoon that will never end.

 How was your church experience this week?

Learning From The High Priestly Prayer, Part 3

Jesus continues to pray for his disciples in  John 17.  This week we tackle verses 13 thru 21.  There are six requests Jesus makes of the Father in these verses.

JOY

Jesus tells the Father that He is praying this prayer so that they will have His joy made full in them.  They are about to face a traumatic time with Christ dying on the cross.  His time with them is growing shorter and shorter.  Their lives are going to change forever.  What does He want for them?  Joy.  His joy.

CHANGE OF STATUS

Jesus declares to the Father that the disciples are not of the world any longer, just like Jesus is not of the world.  He has given them the Father’s word and the world hates them now, just as the world hates Jesus. (By the way, this is the same world that God loves so much that He sent His only begotten Son.)

KEPT FROM THE EVIL ONE

Jesus then asks that they not be taken out of the world, but to be kept out of the power of the evil one.  I imagine that the saying I have heard much of my life, “In the world, not of the world” comes from.  The implication is that the world is run by the evil one.  Jesus is praying that the world will not have any hold over His disciples.

SANCTIFICATION

Jesus then asks the Father to sanctify the disciples.  Sanctify is a delightfully old-fashioned word that most of us don’t use on an everyday basis.  It means to set apart and make holy.  Jesus is asking that the disciples will be made more like Him.  He even tells the Father how it can be done.  How?  Through His word.  He had previously said that the Father’s word had been given to them.  This word had power to make them holy, to set them apart.

EXAMPLE

Jesus then says that He is sending them into the world as He has been sent into the world.  He describes that He has been sanctified for their sakes.  What Jesus is saying is that He is not asking the disciples to do anything that He has not already done and set the example for. 

UNITY

Finally, Jesus once more asks that the disciples be unified just like He and the Father are.  The wonderful thing is that He says that this prayer is not just for these remaining eleven disciples.  It is also for those who believe in Him through their words.  So, this prayer is for all followers of Christ throughout the history of the Church.

How does it make you feel to know that Jesus prayed these things for you 2000 years ago?