False Advertising

30 Jun

Here’s a clip from a story in Ministry Today:

The staff and congregation at the United Pentecostal Church of Harvey, Ill., are convinced you’ll like their church–so convinced that they offered $25 to the first 75 visitors who showed up at each of their Sunday morning services….

I am amazed that a church had to resort to paying people to come to their church. Then after reading the complete article, I started thinking about it a different way. How many times have you heard from a church that they have a “dynamic children’s ministry” or a “contemporary worship” service only to go there and find that what passes for a dynamic children’s ministry is a new coat of colorful paint and contemporary worship is ancient hymns played on an electronic keyboard. Then the preacher gets up and talks about anything but Christ’s gift of salvation and our need for it!

Are most churches today guilty of False Advertising?

My Dad wrote a piece in his church’s monthly newsletter recently that asked, “Why don’t we really worship like we have been miraculously healed?” He tells the story of the crippled man miraculously healed by Peter and John. He had been lame his whole life and now all of a sudden, he could walk. He was so overcome with thankfulness and joy that he followed Peter and John into the temple, walking, leaping and praising God! (Acts 3:1-9) As sinners, we all know our punishment should be death – eternal separation from God – but because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection we are saved from certain death and will join Jesus in heaven for eternity! Doesn’t that warrant a little leaping? I think you would be hard pressed to find a church in suburban-America where people feel comfortable walking, leaping and praising God! Why is that?

Is your church boring?
Can you dance during worship?
Raise your hands in admiration of His wonderful gift?
Do your kids really want to go to Sunday school?
Are you looking for authenticity?

If you’re in the Omaha area, please come visit the church that I attend, Grace Community Church. You can find out more information at the church’s website and if you want to listen to a few recent sermons, check out our Grace Learning Center site where we post our weekly podcast and devotionals.

I’d like to hear your opinions. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Link to the full article: False Advertising

Choices

27 Jun

Recently, I ate at a Chinese restaurant. As is common practice among most Asian restaurants, I was given a fortune cookie along with my bill. I always look forward to the little, almost flavorless cookies. I’m sure it is that kid in me that likes to discover the “prize” inside of the cookie.

(On a side note: Have you seen the prizes inside Cracker Jack boxes lately? Pitiful. I remember getting rings inside the boxes that we would then promptly give to a girl that we kind of liked….I digress….)

Back to my story…

I broke open the cookie and as I placed a piece in my mouth, I read the fortune –

“You can’t choose how you will die, but you can choose how you will live.”

I thought about that for a moment. I suppose, outside of a small percentage of people who actually take their own life, most of us will not have a choice about how we die, but the choices we make on a daily basis affect the rest of our lives. Even some of the most seemingly inconsequential choices we make could save our life.

Most of us have heard of the story of the guy who was late for flight 91 on Sept. 11. He didn’t make the flight. He’s still alive. One day, I took a wrong turn onto the interstate. It meant the long way around Omaha but I kept going. As I neared the intersection of the interstate that I was supposed to be on, I noticed that it was backed up for miles. I cruised on by.

There is one decision that you have to make that will affect you beyond death.

What do you believe about Jesus?

Your answer to that question will not only affect you here on earth, but it will affect you for eternity.

On the back of the fortune, was a Chinese word: Peng-you, when translated, means friend. So, I ask you, peng-you, do you choose Jesus?

Want to talk about this some more? Send me an email or leave a comment…

I’m My Own Grandpa!

26 Jun

Here’s silly story by that infamous “unknown”.  You may have read it already.

I’m My Own Grandpa!

Many many years ago
when I was twenty three,
I got married to a widow
who was pretty as could be.

This widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her,
And soon the two were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother,
For she was my father’s wife.

To complicate the matters worse,
Although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle,
Though it made me very sad.

For if he was my uncle,
Then that also made him brother
To the widow’s grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother.

Father’s wife then had a son,
Who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson,
For he was my daughter’s son.

My wife is now my mother’s mother
And it makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife,
She’s my grandmother too.

If my wife is my grandmother,
Then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it,
It simply drives me wild.

For now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw.
As husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!

I HATE YOU

5 Jun

Hate. Such a strong word. Just say it. HATE. It is a powerful word. Just saying it, you can feel that raw emotion. When we say, “I HATE”, we feel more powerful. There’s ugliness about that word too. Hate makes people strap bombs to their bodies and blow themselves up. Hate makes people burn other people alive. Hate seethes, it reeks. Hate devours. Where love desires attachment, hate demands detachment.

I HATE YOU

Why do those words come out? Have you ever said that or had that said to you? It’s actually quite powerful. Nothing will suck the life out of a relationship faster than those three little words. Sometimes it is a purely emotional outburst. But, I contend that if it comes out, it wasn’t far from the surface to begin with.

I HATE YOU

How do you recover from that? Do we just go on? Pretend like nothing happened? Do we forgive and forget? Move on? Do we turn the other cheek so that it can be bloodied also? What do you say to the parents of a young child, kidnapped, abused and killed. What do you say to children who lost their parents because of a drunk driver? Is it OK to hate? What do you say to the wife of a convenience store worker killed in a botched robbery? Is it OK to hate?

————————————————-

Jesus could have hated. He was framed for crimes he didn’t commit. He was beaten until he was unrecognizable. He was humiliated, made fun of. Mocked. He was forced to carry his own execution device to the top of a hill so everyone could see his death. Imagine if you were made to build your own electric chair or tie your own noose. Then they drove nails into his hands. The other common thieves didn’t even go through what he had to endure. He hung there for hours. When he was thirsty they gave him a bitter wine. They couldn’t even give him a glass of water. Is it OK to hate those who did this to them? Where was his hate? Surely that warranted a little hate!
NO, Jesus didn’t hate. In fact, he showed love. His actions on the cross that day speak volumes on why He was and is God. The Man who could raise people from the dead, said, “Father forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”

Father forgive them.

Jesus was saying – “Dad, don’t hold this against them. I love them. I want them to turn from their hatred and learn to love. Even now, as I hang here on this cross, I’m doing it so that they will know how much I love them and how much I love you. When that pang of hatred starts creeping up inside, I want to be the reminder of how to act.”

Father forgive them.

I LOVE YOU…

Jeff Baker: Contending for the Faith

4 Jun

I produce the podcast for the church that I attend, Grace Community Church in Omaha, NE.  This  sunday, we had a guest speaker, Jeff Baker from Kearney NE.  While cutting his message, I thought I’d include Jimmy Bratcher’s song, Bad Religion because I thought it went well with the message.

So, I haven’t got my own podcast up and running yet but for now, here’s a link to this weeks podcast at Grace.

 Grace Learning Center – Contending For The Faith

Jimmy Bratcher on the Podsafe Music Network