How to pray w/out stopping…

Way back when, the apostle Paul wrote a couple of letters to the Thessalonians (Thessaloopians if you’re a Veggietales fan). Near the end of the first letter, Paul tells the reader to “pray without stopping” (1 Thess. 5:17). And without fail, every time this phrase gets brought up at a Bible study or Sunday school, everyone in the class turns to me and asks: “Preacher, how do we do this?”

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The implication is that we as people don’t have time to pray throughout our entire day. We have families, careers, and numerous other things that all clamor for our attention, so we can’t just stay home and pray all day, every day. What about when we’re eating, or sleeping, or going to the bathroom?

So here are a couple of my thoughts on praying without stopping: Continue reading

Four Ways to Connect w/God…

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When I was in college, I participated in the Army ROTC program. One of the fundamental skill sets we learned early on was Land Navigation, which consisted of map reading, orienteering, and plotting out a course over the terrain to find different points on the map. We would often use a variety of skills and tools to hike through the woods to these points. We’d use compasses, protractors, and different techniques to find our points.

When I think of trying to better understand or connect with God, I think of this hiking or map reading imagery. So here are four things that you can use to connect with God:  Continue reading

The Gospel according to ‘Dr Strange’…

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For a while now, I’ve been looking forward to seeing ‘Dr Strange’ in theaters for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason was the integration of Scott Derrickson serving as the director and one of the writers. I talk a little bit more about Derrickson here, but the short version is that he is a Christian who uses a secular medium (movies) to tell the Gospel story.

I know that ‘Dr Strange’ is going to be seen by a huge number of people. And that gives Christians and church leaders a great opportunity to have a common reference to discuss the Gospel with people who saw the movie. So I want to talk about a couple of places where I saw the Gospel in ‘Dr Strange’. Hopefully parents and church leaders can use this as a starting reference for discussions and conversations with their kids or non-Christians in their churches.

I have to warn you though, I cannot do so without spoiling the movie. So this is your [SPOILER WARNING] Continue reading

Making the roof fall in…

A few years ago, Mel Gibson, the worldwide movie star, had a very public and very terrible breakdown. He used racist, misogynistic, and sexually violent language talking about people, both in broad groups and specifically targeting a few, including his then girlfriend. After the dust of settlements and court hearings died down, Gibson essentially went into hiding.

Until this week, when he began to do the press tour for his new movie.

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One of the stops was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Now, I know Colbert to be mostly a comedian, but I also know he does not like to leave proverbial elephants in the room. I’ve watched him ask people some rather tough questions for a goofy late night talk show. So when Gibson came out, they eased the conversation to the topic of this very public breakdown. During the conversation, Colbert said something that struck me with such gracious poignancy, because I, and many others need to be reminded of it. He said:

“No person is their worst moment” Continue reading

Doing an inventory…

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In my last post, I compared becoming a church’s pastor to inheriting a workshop. You have a lot of tools and materials to help make disciples, you just may not understand the set up of the workshop yet. It will take you a little bit of time to learn the organization.

Today I wanted to talk about one of the things I wish I had done when I had arrived at both of my two churches – an ‘inventory’ of ministries. Going back to the workshop imagery, imagine that you have dozens of tools, an entire room full of lumber, and what seem like a countless supply of nails, screws, glue, and so on. At some point, you’re going to want to know what you’re working with. So here are a few thoughts and questions to ask as you inventory your church’s ministries:
Continue reading