Showing posts from August, 2012

Oh, My Goodness?

Faith. It's a little word with HUGE ramifications. Or at least, it should have. Whenever Jesus' followers wrote their letters (e.g. Paul, Peter, John, James, et al), they were written to other Jesus followers. That's important to keep in mind. Knowing that the audience was already on board can really change how we read their letters. It becomes obvious that the earliest believers needed additional instruction on things like baptism, marriage, worship, Christology, etc. I think this means that you don't have to know everything before you can know Jesus. All this other stuff seems, indeed, secondary to the life, ministry, and redemptive power of Jesus Christ. That being said, faith is always assumed, at least at some level. But even faith itself has to be explained more in depth (see Galatians 3-5 and James 2:14ff). This also seems to be the case with 2 Peter. Faith is assumed and indeed present, but it's an incomplete faith, lacking in something . It seems that

Faith: You're Doing It Wrong

Have you ever felt that your faith, your walk with God, your prayer life, your whatever of an existence was ineffective and unproductive? No? Then you must not be a minister... I think one of the biggest challenges, one of Satan's greatest tools against ministers is self-doubt. Okay, so I can't speak for all ministers, but I know this is definitely the case for me! I can't tell you how many times I've laid awake at night with thoughts of self-doubt flying through my head like the Tasmanian Devil in Looney Tunes. Am I making any difference at all? Are my class lessons getting through? Am I leading worship like I should? Why were there only three kids in class last night? Am I spending enough time with my family? Am I devoting enough time to the ministry? Why did I eat so much pizza? Why did I drink that coffee at eight pm? I just have to snap myself out of my funk, pray, and give all my worries and doubts to God. Good thing for us is that God, in his infinite

To Hell with Responsibility

Honestly, this is a story that I believe has no business in the national spotlight. BUT since it is, this might be a good time for all of us to step back and look at where we are as a nation. Parents, talk to your teens about this. Teens, ask your parents what they think. Let's talk about that big, profane word: "Responsibility." It all started with a girl giving her valedictorian speech at her high school gradation in Oklahoma. She submitted her speech before hand, got it approved, and then decided to change the word "heck" to the word "hell." Read the full story and watch her interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show to get caught up. The principle is withholding her diploma until she issues an apology. But here she is on national television touting her first amendment right to free speech. She says she is going to stand her ground, and she doesn't feel sorry for what she has done. What's more, her own dad is right by her urging

Here's Your Sign

What does your church sign say about you? Why did your church pick those colors? That font? That name? That marque? That slogan? Why do you have a sign? Why do you have a name? In the churches of Christ, capitalization and syntax speak volumes about who you are as a people. There's C hurch of Christ - c hurch of Christ - a church of Christ - The Church of Christ at... You get the picture. I've read a couple books recently by Neil Postman. His two most famous books are Amusing Ourselves to Death  and Technopoly . In these books, which deal with how media and society interact, he plays off of a mantra used by Marshall McLuhan, "The medium is the message." Postman tweaks it slightly, though. He insists that, "The medium is the metaphor." Applied at large in culture this can clearly been seen as the evolution of technology and the evolution (or devolution) of society parallel each other. From the printing press to the telegraph to the television to t

The Voice

On Sunday mornings, I am beginning a new class series called "The Voice." Yes, it is very much a play off of the hit singing competition show. But it's all about 1) hearing God's voice, and 2) finding your own voice. I've been listening to a lot of messages recently about the history of the Restoration Movement, mainly through Patrick Mead and his podcast through the Eastside church of Christ. Patrick also has a blog on which he has been discussing the ins and outs of how we actually got the Bible. I'm also going to begin a Wednesday night series over Timothy Keller's book "The Reason for God." In preparing a little for that one, I watched on of his panel discussion with 6 atheists/agnostics. The topic was "Is the Bible a Myth?" And boy, let me tell you. I am SO glad that the Bible doesn't save me. Don't get me wrong - I love the Bible. I love studying it, discussing it, wrestling with it, and teaching about it. But the Bibl

The Church of Benign Whatever-ism

Sometimes the truth hurts. It's like a slap in the face or a punch in the gut. The truth can take knock wind right out of you. In reading Almost Christian, by Kenda Creasy Dean, the question is asked: Do we practice the kind of faith we want our children to have? I hope my answer is YES in relation to my son. But think about your church as a whole and the children of the church. Alarmingly large numbers continue to walk away from the church after graduation. Even those still in it during high school don't take it seriously. Faith plays little to no role in their Monday-Saturday life, and only does so partially on Sundays. They don't have the vocabulary to talk about their faith. They think the ultimate purpose of Christianity is to be nice to others and to feel good about yourself. They don't reject religion, but they certainly do not commit themselves wholly to it, either. Very few of them even attempt to live radical lives driven by their love for God and thei