Wanted – Christianity, Very Used…

facebook-garage-sales

You can do a lot in the world of online garage sales. You can have auctions, sell some of your own stuff, and even place a ‘Wanted’ ad if you’re in the market for something. It’s recommended that you include a ‘condition’ (usually new, gently used, used, etc.) in the description to help people figure out if they should respond. So, for example, if I wanted a dining room table, and I was comfortable with a couple of dings or scratches, I might put out an ad like this:

‘Wanted – Dining Room Table, New or Gently Used’

Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Christianity and culture seem to get further and further from each other. And while I certainly don’t know all of the reasons why the walls of the church get higher, so to speak, each year, I do have an idea or two.

Many in the church seem to be trying to ‘collect’ their Christianity, in the same way as any other collector would. Churches seem to serve as large display cases or china cabinets for pristine figures, comics, or dishes. They seem to be concerned with preserving the quality of their wares instead of fully using them.

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Here are a couple of thoughts on ‘collecting’ Christianity: Continue reading

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The Gospel According to ‘The Magnificent Seven’…

Over the weekend, I went to see the latest version of ‘The Magnificent Seven’, a remake of the western classic of the same name, starring Yul Brenner (which itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’). And it was exactly what I thought it would be and wanted it to be.

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Western’s, as a genre, have experienced some hit or miss success in recent years, but there is still a large swath of people who enjoy watching them, and I think there are good reasons why. The main character is almost always someone we, as the audience, can identify with. The main villain is usually the worst kind of human being, with nothing worth redeeming. The stakes are usually an innocent person/population being treated horribly. It’s a classic good vs evil arc.

Now, God and I have the kind of relationship where He shows up in movies for me. And this was no exception. So here are a couple of ways I saw the Gospel in ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (without spoilers)  Continue reading

Care 101

2014-Pastoral-Care

One of the core skills of being a church member is being able to offer care and comfort to others. And contrary to cultural precedent, this is not the sole responsibility of the pastor. In fact, most “pastoral” care can be offered by non-clergy or laity.

The problem is that many church goers feel under equipped or ill-prepared for those conversations. (As a side note, so do I, despite having literally hundreds of hours of pastoral care visits). So I wanted to offer a few basic steps to offering care to someone you know in your church. These won’t make you a counselor or therapist, but they should help you be a better friend and church member. Some of them are fairly obvious, but worth restating.  Continue reading

Mentor For Life: A Book Review

So, I’ve been reading a lot this year. I have a goal of averaging one book per week. But I had a stark realization in the last couple of weeks. The reading has been helpful, but only to me. The books haven’t really begun impacting my congregation or you readers at all.

So, here is a quick overview of the things I took away from ‘Mentor For Life’ by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. Please note, these are my interpretations and impressions, and so they are subject to my biases.mentor-for-life-book-cover.jpg Continue reading

6 Apps to Help You with Spiritual Growth…

Guest Writer – Abigail Yeazel

In this day and age, technology keeps growing in popularity, practicality and usage. This means that apps are being used more and more. Christian culture has utilized the popularity of apps to create apps for spiritual growth. I’m thankful for the reasoning many have done it. Just like Jesus, they seek to meet people where they are.

Personally, I use several of these different apps during my morning devotional times. I thought it might be helpful to share those with you. I stand with the leadership in the goal for personal growth in each of you, so if this can help you in your morning quiet times or with motivation to have a quiet time/ morning devotional time, praise be to God.

With each app I have listed the description given by Google Play as well as listed why and how I use it. Continue reading