Showing posts from August, 2012

Itchy Ears

This is rich. And don't for one second think to yourself "this is good for "those" churches..." This is for you. HT: Tim Brister via Justin Taylor .

Community is Messy

I am very excited about the new book from Heather Zempel , Community is Messy . If you have spent one minute as part of a community of people, especially people trying to be more like Christ but fully aware of their sinfulness, you know that the statement is true, community is messy. It is hard, it requires effort - but it is what we are called to do and so worth it. Zempel has written this great read for those thinking about small group ministry. I wouldn't call it a how-to but instead a reflection of what has and has not worked for Zempel's church in Washington, DC. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, partly because I was reminded of my time serving with Heather as I learned a ton from her - but mostly because there is great wisdom in the book for those doing this ministry and attempting to build community among believers. Among the most important take-aways from Community is Messy  is the experimental mentality that flourishes at National Community Church. They are willing to try

The "why" in application

I am on a bit of a "why" kick (oh for the last three years or so) and was challenged and blessed by Jeff Brewer's article on Pastoralized . Brewer unpacks the importance of preaching "why" we do things. "It’s tempting to only give the  how  when you preach on verses your church is familiar with and loves. Too often preachers leave out the  why . This is a mistake because the  why  contains inner parts of obedience. The  how  only contains the external parts." Brewer touches on three parts of obedience (behavior) that are left out when we only do the "how" in our sermons. " 1. Right practice, by itself, doesn’t teach right doctrine.  When you tell people how to obey without the reason, you teach blind obedience. There is no vision of the character of God. That has more in common with a cult than it does with the true and living God..." " 2. Right practice, by itself, doesn’t necessarily come from the heart.  Obedience from the h

Childlike Faith

  Having a two-year-old teaches you a lot about our relationship with Christ. Take for example this morning. While having breakfast  with Iona I told her to stop putting her feet in the slats in the back of the chair. "But why?" I replied that it was dangerous. "But why?" Because she could get hurt. "But why?" You get the picture. My daughter, in her childlike way, is now questioning everything. But I like the question she is asking; "why?" There is no doubt that as Christians we are prone to neglect the "why" behind what we proclaim and do. We are human so we are drawn toward rule and systems. But in our leaning to acts to be done we neglect why we pursue obedience or holiness. We do it all because Jesus acted first. He sacrificed himself for us when we could never deserve it. Our "why" should be so firm that we base everything we are and do off of it and we should remind each other in the faith of it - as a child asking &quo

Hospitality should be second nature

As Christians I wonder how much we pursue a cloister of "safe" community over sharing our lives with "strangers." We are called to be hospitable, without grumbling, yet we are at times the least of hospitable people. In a world of isolation and loneliness, how are we inclusive and loving? Nate Branson has a great article on Relevant about being willing to be hospitable and it is worth a read. "The advice in 1 Peter 4:9 says Christians are to “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” In the original language, the word “hospitality” is translated as  philoxenoi  or “loving strangers.” Yet what would make someone hesitate or “grumble” about being hospitable? Did the Christians Peter was writing to have misanthropic or anti-social tendencies? That sort of uneasiness about unpredictable social situations makes people stay in and watch television. But there is a way Christians can practice loving strangers and fight against loneliness..." "Thos

Passion and Purpose

Risk. Boldness. Whole-life-sacrifice. Others. "If God is real, I wanted to be part of that realness" What will you do... [vimeo] I love this. HT: Joe

The Hardest Words as a Preacher

"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." Acts 20:26-27 Too often we preach as if we are afraid of man and the criticism we might receive or even the people we will "hurt." It is as if we are saying "here is the truth not you deal with it I am done with you." We don't want to be innocent of their blood, we want to convince them and draw them in. But, we are called to declare the whole counsel of God - the whole truth of our sin and who Christ is. We dare not shrink back from doing this in our proclamation. Sometimes the hardest words for the preacher are the ones that must be said to be faithful to our call.

A Christian Legacy

This is my Mother's testimony. I am blessed by how God has changed her life and used her for his glory. [vimeo]

The Unknown Hours

I am just back from a great few days of networking and dreaming with mission organizations and the team at Go Corps (a mid-term mobilizing agency for those just out of college). During our time, Lindsey, a staff member at Go Corps, shared a devotional on Luke 19:7-8. It is the oft told story of Zacchaeus. Here is the story: "He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and sai

Sometimes We Neglect to Hear the Words

This is an appropriate song this week.

A New Normal

Weird was once normal. Now a new weirdness is prevailing. The cultures of Portland and the Tri-Cities are very different but good coffee and an even better God can bridge a lot of difference. It was good to tour some awesome coffee shops in Portland yesterday and I am excited what the Sharehouse team is cooking up for their launch in a couple of months.