Common Perceptions about the Church

22 Sep

Dan Kimball just posted a list of perceptions about the church he has heard from mainly 20-somethings who either dropped out of the church, or grew up outside of the church and want nothing to do with church. Read these, and then leave Dan some feedback.

One thing that I think is important is that as I read the list, I keep saying to myself, “Why in the world would they think that?” Then I realize that today, that is how Christianity is portrayed in the pop culture media. The perceptions have been cultivated over time and there will always be “examples” to hang their hats on. The only way to reach these people is to develope personal, intentional relationships with them. The old addage stands true – “They won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

It’s Not Your Stuff

14 Sep

How does your behavior change if something isn’t yours? Do you treat that rental car the same as your car? How about renting an apartment? Do you treat the rental differently than the house you own?

Let’s say that someone gave you a million dollars to give away and the rules are that if you gave it all away, you would get another million to give away. As long as you gave it away, you would always have that million to give away. Would you give it all away? What if someone just gave you a million dollars as a gift. It is yours to keep and use however you want to. Would you give it away? Why or why not?

When we believe that we own stuff, the stuff starts controlling you. We feel a need to clutch, don’t we. What if something happened and we needed the money? How much freedom is that?

God owns everything and we are managers of His resources. His supply is endless. If we don’t own anything, shouldn’t we be generous with the resources we have? In fact, if His supply is endless, isn’t that endless freedom?

Something to think about…

One-Eyed Love

13 Sep

Have you ever done something soooo stupid that it makes you laugh everytime you think about it? Well, I had one of those moments Monday afternoon.

I was listening to KLOVE on the way home from work Monday night and I heard a familar song. The only problem was that I didn’t recognize the words. They were singing about “one-eyed love”. I thought it sounded a little strange to have a song about “one-eyed love” but maybe they were having a program on people with disabilities or something. Who knows. I knew the melody so I started singing along…

“Beautiful one-eyed love, beautiful one-eyed door…..”

Then it hit me. I busted out laughing right there in my car. If anyone was beside me, they would have thought that I was crazy. I can’t believe how stupid I was. I half expected someone to lean in and say “here’s your sign!”

I still chuckle at the stupidity even now when I am typing it.

I suppose there is a lesson in this. In Luke 8:18, Jesus says, “So be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them.” Jesus said to pay attention to what you hear. If you don’t you could miss the “One I love”.

For those who haven’t figured out the actual words to the song, it goes something like:

“Beautiful one I love, beautiful one I adore, beautiful one my soul does sing!”

Does anyone have a Q-Tip?

The River

12 Sep

Last night I attended the first service of a new church being planted in Papillion, NE called “The River”. Their kick-off event was centered around an art show and 9/11 Memorial service. They had 10th Hour Calling as the worship band and used video’s and interviews to remember the events of 9/11. It was a real nice service. After the service, I talked to Pastor Dan Courtney and he reported that there were about 140 adults there – 170 total when you include the kids. That is an awesome showing!

Next week, Dan is begininning a new sermon series entitled, “Will the real Jesus please stand up?” 10th Hour Calling will be there again and will have more of a concert following the service.

If you are looking for a different kind of church – a church for tHIS generation – then check out the River at the Rock, 225 S. Washington, Papillion NE. For information call Pastor’s Dan Courtney or Dietrich Winter at 402-408-6438. You can visit their website at http://www.riverfromtherock.com

How can I help?

5 Sep

I am thinking about the disasters in Mississippi, Louisiana, et. al., wondering what I can do to help. I have a goal in mind – To find a way that I can most efficiently and directly help those in need. I begin my analysis by listing all of the possible solutions, factoring in variables like geographical limitations, time, expense, efficiency, who’s involved, existing organizations, costs, materials and many others. I cross-analyze this by Jesus’ command to “help the least of these” and what He meant by that. I also factor in the things that don’t know – danger, disease, etc.. Once I start developing this list, I start a comparative analysis of all possible solutions, ranking these solutions in order of impact and efficiency. As the solutions develop, they are added to the comparatives to produce an dynamic list of possible solutions on how I can best impact the lives of those in need due to the effects of hurricane Katrina and the storm surge that followed.

Ok. I need to stop this insanity. I could spend years analyzing possible solutions and once I come up with just the right one, the need will be different. Isn’t this just what governments do? I am surprised, yet not surprised, that people would wonder why it takes the government so long to respond to crisis situations. Yet, within hours World Vision (a Christian relief organization), had trucks rolling to the devastated area. Locally, a few people here have left with truckloads of supplies gathered within a few days of the hurricane. Already, more trucks are being readied. Just by sending out an email, they collected over $32,000 and 3 truck loads of supplies. People volunteered to drive trucks. Business donated supplies and trucks. All from a small town in Nebraska.

Patti and I had considered the possibility of Patti going on a mission trip to Africa. It would cost about $2,300, maybe more if you include spending money for a two week mission trip. Most of that cost is for air fare to get her there. How much could that $2,300 help people right here in America? I realize that we need people and resources in Africa but how much of an impact would we have on a 2 week mission trip? Is paying that much for transportation costs a wise use of God’s money? See my dilemma?

Two verses that pushed me off my analysis and onto action:

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Mathew 25:35-40)

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, (Titus 3:1)

There are organizations that are already on the ground – helping those in need:

My brother Darin is working with a group of others to open their homes to refugees from the region. You can read more about what they are doing here.

Keep Us From Temptation

31 Aug

In my devotions this morning, I was reading Bruce Wilkinson’s book “The Prayer of Jabez”. I had always heard about it but never had read it. It is a small book and I knocked it out in about an hour of reading. I gained a lot of insight into God’s blessings that I will have to think about more, there is just so much to reflect on. But one thing that really stood out for me was the point that we need to ask God to keep us from temptation.

Keeping us from temptation is different from asking God to help us deal with the temptations that will come along every day. We should be asking God to just keep temptation away from us. Some of you are saying, “Yea, right, temptation is always going to be there… deal with it.” I think Dr. Wilkinson’s statement puts it pretty good:

“Without temptation, we would not sin. Most of us face too many temptations-and therefore sin too often-because we don’t ask God to lead us away from temptation. We make a huge spiritual leap forward, therefore, when we begin to focus less on beating temptation and more on avoiding it.” (The Prayer of Jabez, pg. 67-68)

You might still have doubts. Where in the Bible does it teach us to ask God to help us avoid temptation? Actually, Jesus told us to ask God to help us avoid temptation when he gave us an example of how to pray.

Matthew 6:9-13 (New International Version)

9″This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'”