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?”
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 →
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:
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Imagine that you receive a phone call or email one day, explaining that your uncle passed away and left you their workshop in the will. “That’s great”, you might think. You kind of always wanted your uncles shop.
That is, until you get there, and it looks like this:
Now sure, your uncle knew the system for the shop, but it just looks like chaotic clutter to you. You know that you have a lot of tools and materials in there that you could use. You just need to organize it all a little bit.
Getting appointed or assigned to a church can be a lot like inheriting a workshop. There are a lot of tools and materials for doing ministry. And some people know the system. But looking from the outside in, you can’t see it right away. So here are a few thoughts to help you out when you inherit a workshop. Continue reading →
On Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 catch a glimpse of something that no one else had seen before. The crew was running experiments and studying the impact of orbiting the moon in the build up to landing on the moon. As a part of the experiments, they became the first human beings to orbit the moon, and thus the first human beings to travel to the dark side of the moon. Apollo 8 was about halfway through their mission when William Anders looked out the window and saw the earth rising above the moon, like the sun rises over the horizon on earth.
In an instant, the three man crew of Apollo 8 were the first human beings to ever witness an ‘earthrise’. They had witnessed something that no one else had. They frantically looked for their color film so they could try to capture the picture as best as possible. They understood that they had an obligation to share this sight with as many people as possible when they got home. It was too beautiful, too incredible, too important not to share.
Christians have a similar responsibility. Continue reading →
A while ago, I learned about parkour (which is French for ‘Free Running’). Parkour is, essentially, combining running with gymnastics, with a little bit of climbing thrown in. The internet is full of videos of people who practice it. Parkour can look a little odd to an outsider to be sure, but it’s a really interesting skill set.
The most remarkable thing about it isn’t the general athleticism required (though that is certainly incredible). When someone watches a parkour maneuver for the first time, they usually want to ask how they ‘planned’ the trick. They’re surprised to find out that for a vast majority of the stunts and tricks, there wasn’t a plan. The athlete just made it up as they going. The most incredible thing about parkour is that is it essentially athletic improvisation.
Pastors and church members like plans. I know I do. Plans offer security and stability. Plans can also limit what churches or Christians can do in their spiritual lives. Here are a few things I think we can learn from Parkour for our spiritual lives. Continue reading →