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Posts Tagged ‘Church’

How Big Should Your Church Be?

March 14, 2016 2 comments

Andy Stanley raised a bit of ruckus lately.  He made some comments in a sermon telling parents not to be selfish about their church wants.  Instead, he told them take their children to a bigger church where their kids could be in a larger youth group.  While I can understand people being upset in how Mr. Stanley said his comments, there is a lot that I understand and agree with in what he said.

Today, more so it seems than in any other time in history, we have choices when it comes to church.  Maybe in the past we were limited by geography and our choices were the Baptist, Methodist or some other brand of church.  Now days?  It’s not unusual for people to drive for an hour to go to the church of their choice.  It seems to me that what Stanley was really saying is that parents are all too happy to find a church that they like and park there, not wanting it to change.  They don’t take into account what their total family needs.

A few years ago, my family attended a normal sized church.  Average Sunday school attendance was around 80 each Sunday.  There were some youth, but virtually nothing going on.  My daughter began attending another church’s youth group with her boyfriend.  It was about 30 minutes away from where we lived and she spend Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights there.  While we didn’t face a ton of criticism, there was some heat that we could feel beneath the surface, as though we were traitors for letting our daughter do this.  Among many issues, I think this one helped in the situation that led us to leaving that church.

The problem with many of us in the church is that we find one that we like.  We become comfortable with the people and settle in.  Then we truly settle on that church being that way forever.  Sometimes it’s subtle, when it’s said that the church is just the right size.  Other times it’s blatant when someone says that they don’t really want new people to come in.  Even then, some people want new folks to be on some sort of secret probation until they are allowed to participate in the direction of “their church.”

Imagine, for a moment, someone saying that a 10 year old was just the right size.  No need to grow anymore.  Just stay the way you are.  Ridiculous, right?

Let’s agree that the Church is the Body of Christ.  A body needs to grow.  The Church needs to grow.

Let’s not have the mindset that things need to stay the same forever.  What if we were still driving Model T’s?  Would that good for us?

Instead, let’s prove that our local bodies of believers truly are part of the Body.  Let’s push for growth.  Let’s not settle for remaining the same.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

One Week Until Christmas

December 18, 2015 5 comments

It’s one week until Christmas.  Folks are beginning to finish their shopping. The world, in some ways, is beginning to slow down. Blogs, definitely, slow down this time of year. After all, who really has time to focus on everything we ship out on a daily basis?

So, I just have one question today.

How are you going to be spending the next week?

I am going to buy the last few things for Christmas. I have three days of work left after today. There will be some church things going on. More than anything, I am going to be spending time with family.

Categories: Christmas, Church, Family Tags: , ,

How To Hear God Speak Today

October 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Sequels are part of Hollywood.  One the things studios try to do is to create a franchise where further adventures of their characters can be told.  Marvel, of course, has mastered this where each movie is a sequel, of sorts, of each movie that came before it.

Today’s post is a sequel.  I reread yesterday’s post about Moses and realized that I left one point out.  This was rather fortunate, guided perhaps by the Hand of Providence, as it really didn’t fit with what was discussed.

Just to recap, if you didn’t read yesterday, Moses ran into an issue where he was wearing himself out. Jethro, his father-in-law, helped him out and gave him a plan.  This benefited Moses and Israel as they moved forward.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read that story, but I have missed something that had been staring at me each time.  I just happened to get it this time.

We’re used to God speaking to Moses in a burning bush.  We are amazed that God delivered the Law to Moses on top of Mount Sinai.  God would meet and speak to Moses in such a way that he had to wear a veil on his face.

Did you notice what happened here though?

Moses faced this problem and God didn’t give him the solution.  At least He didn’t speak to Moses directly.

Instead, Jethro gave Moses a plan, a system and direction.  The Lord didn’t seem to have anything to do with it.

Or did He?

We sometimes wait for the Lord expecting a bolt of lightning or pictures in the sky or something.  We seem to think that the Hand of God will appear and write out what we should do step by step.  It just doesn’t really work that way.

So, how do we hear from God?  Let me list out a few ways that we might hear from God today.

The Bible.  Seems like an obvious one, doesn’t it?  Yet too many of us seek Him every which way but loose instead of turning to His preserved word.  I’m not saying that strep by step direction for every decision in life will come from the Bible, but we would be amazed at how many steps of life could be found if we just took the time to read.

The Church.  I don’t mean simply by going to church, though that’s not a bad thing.  I mean the you might hear from the Lord through His Church.  I hope we all agree that the Church is Christ’s Body.  We probably agree if we read the Bible (see above).  Doesn’t it make sense that He might communicate to us through said Body?

Circumstances.  God may try to get your attention through what goes on around you or, sometimes, to you.  All of us would want these events to be happy and joyful, but that’s simply not what happens every time.  Sometimes bad things do happen to good people.  Or around good people.  Awareness of what’s happening may clue us in to what God is trying to say to us.

How about prayer?  Let’s get one thing straight about prayer.  It isn’t simply creating a grocery list of wants to present to God.  Prayer is a time of worship, where we can adore God, thank Him, listen to Him and, yes, make requests of Him.

Remember what I said yesterday about taking an audit of our lives?  Seeking out specific guidance is sometimes necessary.  And yes, I believe that God can speak through the guides in our lives.

The last thing I will say about any of these is to be cautious.  Sometimes w can hear God’s voice tell us something because we want to hear it.  We want God to give us the direction we want to go.  Before I decided for sure that God was speaking to me, I would test each of these ways for signs that God is speaking.

Are we going to hear God speak in an audible voice?  Not based on my experience.  Will every time we think we hear God be His voice?  I don’t think so.  But this is one thing I know.  The more I hear Him speak, the more I recognize His voice and know when He speaks to me.

How do you hear God speak to you?

Categories: Christianity, Church, Faith Tags: , , ,

Working On A Building

Last week we saw that once we were dead, but now Christ has made us alive.  Today, we see another result of the salvation that Christ gives us.

Since God  has saved us through Christ, made us alive and prepared us for good works, He now wants to unify us in Him.  Once we  were not separated from Christ.  It doesn’t matter if we were Gentile or Jew, we all faced that same separation.  We were excluded from Israel and strangers to the covenants of Israel.  We had no hope and were without God in the world.  But Christ intervened.

He had brought us close through His blood.  He became our peace, by uniting both God’s chosen, Israel, and Gentile.  Instead of there being Jew and Gentile, He has created a new group, the Church.  He broke down the barrier.  He abolished the enmity that the Law brings.  He reconciled us and created one new man through the cross.

Now we are no longer strangers and aliens.  Instead we are now fellow citizens, we are part of God’s household.  We have been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.  Christ is our cornerstone.  The whole building is being grown into the temple of the Lord.  We also are being built into a temple of God in the Spirit.

God is a master craftsman.  He is working on a building, one in which all his children can live in.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

Furious 7

April 15, 2015 3 comments

I can honestly say that I didn’t get on the Fast and Furious bandwagon until just a few years ago.  Andrew caught one of them on TV and decided that he liked them.  We began getting the DVD’s and watching them in earnest.

The fact that this series has made it this far is incredible.  Who would have thought that a franchise that had its roots in street racing would transform itself into one of the best action franchises in history?  Who would have thought that this seventh installment would be racing toward one billion dollars?  I think even Dr. Evil would be astounded at that figure, but we won’t get sidetracked.

It would be easy to just give a standard review.  You know, a synopsis of the movie, what was good about it and what wasn’t.  This movie definitely is not perfect.  None are.  However, it ranks up there among the best of the seven.

I was a little surprised that Kurt Russell ended up not turning on the team.  I had him pegged as working with the main villain.  It was refreshing to see him remain one of the good guys.

The tribute to Paul Walker was done with class.  You could tell that there was a lot of emotion and love that was on display while remembering one of the main stars of the film series.

However, all of that is not what I want to focus on.

After we left the theater, Andrew asked me what I liked best about these movies.  I paused for a minute and thought about it.  I was able to give him one word for the answer.

Family.

Family is one of the themes that has run through these movies from the beginning.  Yes, the concept of family in unconventional.  It’s multicultural, bringing Hispanic, Black and White culture together.  Yes, they have questionable morals, but so did many of our heroes in the Bible.  So do many of us.

I love the picture, very flawed that it is, that the Fast and Furious movies give us of how our churches should be.  Granted, in some areas it’s difficult for our churches to be multicultural.  The zip code I live in is 99.99% white.  Yet, somehow we have Cubans who attend our church, as well as Haitian, African-American, and some plain old African.  There is even a pastor from India that considers us his home church when he is in American.

The Church is family.  The Church is multicultural.  Even more so than the world of Fast and Furious.

Have you seen Furious 7?  Are you going to?

 

Something I’ve Been Guilty Of

January 22, 2015 6 comments

Yesterday I wrote about a small group paradox.  You can read about that if you happened to have missed it.

Jan and I talked about this a bit.  You could say that small groups are on our mind a bit, leading me to think that we really do want to be a part of one.  As I’ve thought about it more over the past twenty-four hours, I realized that I’m guilty of something that I didn’t even realize.

I have thought that my approach to small groups has to be the same as everyone else’s .

You see, my situation is unique.  Jan and I have our own schedules.  We have our own lives that don’t exactly mirror any others in our church.

Yet I have thought that we have to shoehorn ourselves into the existing small groups within our church.

I’m not sure why I’ve thought that except that it seems that is the way it all seems to work.

This isn’t a criticism of any of those existing small groups.  It’s just that they have been created and grown and become cells of our local body.  There are probably people who can easily assimilate into those existing structures.  However, everyone shouldn’t follow that same approach.

Jan and I work differently than others.  Every other week I am unable to make it to our Wednesday night service due to my job.

Jan and I are in the final stages of our time as parents of kids who are involved in a ton of activities.  That doesn’t seem to mesh with the existing structures.

So what do we do?

We need to think outside the box.  We need to seek out others with unique situations like ours.  We need to think outside the box.  Maybe we shouldn’t meet weekly with others.  Maybe we should meet every other week or even monthly to begin with.

We both trend toward being introverts.  The larger a group is, the harder it is for us to feel connected.  Four to six people are about the max for us to feel real comfortable.

There are just so many options that we need to explore to make gathering together with brothers and sisters in a small group workable.

We don’t have to be guilty of doing it just like everyone else.

What do your small groups look like if you are involved in them?

Categories: Christianity, Church Tags: ,

Small Groups Paradox

January 21, 2015 11 comments

I have a confession to make.  It’s not something I’m proud of.  In fact, I wish it wasn’t true.

I’m not currently part of a small group at my church.

This is tough for me to swallow.  Just a year ago I was asked to take on being the small group leader for the church.  I’ve written before about how that didn’t work out.  It’s just strange how it has worked out.

We were part of a group for a time.  For various reasons that have nothing to do with any individuals, we dropped out.  Since then, we just haven’t been able to get back into one.

The think about it is, we really want to get into one.  There are few things that we want to add to our lives more than being a part of a group of people to study the Bible with and share our lives with.

The problem is that the groups that meet during the week are hard for us to commit to.  I never really know when I will exactly get off work and I don’t feel like we would be able to attend enough.  The cool thing is that we were invited to one the other day by the host.  The bad thing is that, you know, it was a time that isn’t good.

Another problem is that we are both introverted.  We need a few people that we know fairly well to be involved in order to have a comfort level when we attend.

It’s a paradox.  We want to be involved in a small group, but can’t seem to be able to really find one to join.

What’s going on with your small groups these days?

Categories: Christianity, Church Tags: ,