When you hear we need to make sure our church service is culturally relevant, be excited, but approach it with cautious optimism. Both the Christ follower and those who are trying to find out what this Christ following thing is all about understand everything in terms of the culture in which they live. This makes a culturally relevant church necessary. The problem only comes when cultural relevance becomes cultural dominance that dictates the message presented so that the ways of the world become the ways of the church…(more…)
I have used the words “protective covering” to describe the roof, but why have I chosen to create a whole different section and name for the walls when they serve the same protective function? The walls that frame the outside of the building share many of the design basics as the roof, and yet I call it a “wrap,” not a “covering.” The answer is simple. There is one thing that we find in all protective wraps but in very few protective coverings: windows and doors. Necessary but counterproductive, they invite the outside in.(more…)
How different would the parable of the Good Samaritan be today? If Jesus was asked in your country, “Who is my neighbor?” by someone claiming to follow Christian values, would the story be the same? I will take a chance and make changes to this well-known parable. I do not claim to know for a fact how Jesus would answer if He were physically walking the streets of your city or town and was asked this question. All I can say is my observations would lead me to believe that the following parable would not be out of line in Western culture and much of the developing world.(more…)
We, as Christ followers, aren’t so good at loving God fully and completely. If we aren’t so good at it, then the collective of Christ followers must suffer from the same flaw. Did you know that loving God completely is actually part of our nature? God created us that way, and until a piece of fruit and a slithering tempter altered the path of history, that’s the way it was. God created human beings different from other beings. Humans are created in the image of God and are able to think and make choices. Inside this creation was the longing to be tied to God. Outside of it was the sense that…(more…)
People often ask, “Why does life suck?” For those who find the language offensive, please forgive me, but it wouldn’t be a quote if I tried to soften it. Pastors may use more carefully chosen words, replacing the offensive ones and reworking the question this way: “Why is everything a struggle at my church?” I would never go as far as to say the solution to life sucking or a struggling church is Proverbs 3:5-6, but I can say the solution to navigating through these times is not in your hands, your strength, or how you understand things. The solution lies in letting God take over, and He will plot the course. He will carry the weight. “He will make your paths straight.”(more…)
I must apologize for not keeping up with my blog reading and writing. I hope to return to regular writing and reading next week after I am fully settled into my new job as transitional pastor at Covenant Alliance Church in Orangeville ON Canada.
Just so you don’t think I am lazing around doing nothing I have posted a link to my sermon from last week!