Saturday, August 24, 2013


Comic Art


Friday, August 23, 2013


Why Is Spontaneity Important?

Todd Rhoades:

Wow… Steven Furtick is getting some bad blog press from some of the watchdog blogs about publishing a resource kit for churches on how to host a ‘spontaneous baptism’.
You see, Elevation Church baptized 2,158 over two weekends recently, giving people the opportunity to get baptized on the spot.

And they’ve published a guide and learning piece showing what they needed to do behind the scenes to make this happen.

Logistics, you might say.

But one blogger finds the document proves that the goal was ‘clearly numbers, and an opportunity to create excitement, get people in the community talking, hence new people keep coming through the doors.’


It’s called being prepared for what God might do.
What it is dear friends is show business! Pulling off a service is show business, let's be honest. It's performance.

I think the critic here has the right idea but is taking the wrong approach. If your going to do show business services, then yeah, you need to get them right.

But is that really what worship is supposed to be like? YOu can feel a part of a sow, but I think you participate in worship and those are two different things. I mean anymore worship has adopted the language of show business, there are sets and breaks and just plain old stagecraft.

Look I don't deny there has always been elements of performance to a church service. Where I have a problem is the embrace of that fact. It was a tendency that we tried to overcome. No more, now its something we celebrate and critique.

That's not good.


Friday Entertainment

So, back in July, I posted a Friday Entertainment indicating I was in points north on vacation. That vacation did not happen and I did not have time to fix the post. I'm on vacation now. Care to guess where?

Thursday, August 22, 2013



Jeff Dunn makes a prescription for helping the Evangelical worship service:
First of all, we must must must remember that the focus of the service is Jesus, not me. Not my “felt needs” (which is purely manipulative from a marketing standpoint). Not my purpose or destiny. Jesus.
He has some specifics:
And the announcements lead us straight in the collection of the offerings. In the Baptist church in which I was raised as a believer (I was born into a Presbyterian church where my father was an elder. Woody Harrelson and I were in the toddler class together. He was not nearly as funny then as he is now…), the pastor did not want to interrupt the service by passing plates to collect the offering. So he had two chests—called Joash Chests—constructed and one placed by each door. Tithes and offerings were dropped in there. He claimed that giving increased greatly after the church went from passing plates to the chests. A note was always in the bulletin explaining how the church received offerings, and what they were used for. Sometimes the pastor would make a brief mention of this just before his message. Very little time was spent on money.

I’m not sure this is the best way to receive offerings. In one way it’s a good alternative to the mini-sermons on how God will prosper you if you give to the church. But in another way, I would like to see giving as a true act of worship. Make this a fun time. God loves cheerful giving. But—once again, here is my refrain—keep the focus on Jesus. This is not about me and how my needs will be met and how God will open the windows of heaven and pour out on me. This is about making a joyful sacrifice of what I have earned and giving it gladly to the Lord. If there is going to be any entertainment in the service, this would be the place for it. A song by the band. A video about a recent missions trip. Only … keep the focus …

For a people who put so much emphasis on the Bible, don’t you think it odd that very few evangelical services incorporate Scripture reading? I don’t mean the verses peppered throughout the message (if even then). I mean a reading from the Old Testament and a reading from the New. It doesn’t even have to follow the lectionary. But a formal reading—even a responsive reading, if you like—from the Book of Books surely should not be out of place. So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. Yet many churches resist because, well, it is not spontaneous.

Which brings us to the main event. Ladies and gentlemen, if you will direct your attention to the center ring, it’s time for …

The sermon. In other expressions of the faith—Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Orthodox—this is no more important than any other part of the service. It is certainly shorter than any card-carrying evangelical preacher would deliver. In most evangelical services, everything else is simply leading up to the sermon.

I don't agree with all of this in detail, but I do agree withteh general idea. Th idea is we are to focus on Jesus not ourselves. That means there must be SOME air of formality and discomfort involved. Ask yourself this - do not not think it would be a bit foreign to actually approach God's throne?

What Dunn is railing against here is a service of evangelism, which is a fine thing for a church to do, but it is NOT worship. In evangelism we attempt to meet people where they are and move them into the church, this means meeting "felt needs," etc. But We also want to move people beyond that into genuine depth of faith. Where the focus is beyond themselves. That's where we are failing.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013


In All That We Do?

1 Cor 10:31 - Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God
So, in light of that is this guy Todd Rhoades pointed out good or bad?
Bryan Davies, an evangelical Christian with a long, drifting beard, is the CEO of a family business that doles out marijuana and spirituality in fragrant, faithful harmony.
His Canna Care dispensary, one of Sacramento’s longest operating medical marijuana providers, is as renowned for its political activism at City Hall and the state Capitol as it is for its calls to prayer.

California’s medical marijuana industry has drawn people from mortgage brokers to car salesman, from hippies to computer geeks, into the marijuana trade. But Canna Care may well stand out for its singular devotion to serving up cannabis with Christ.
I mean, on the one hand:
Gal 5:19-22 - Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
On the other hand Jesus made wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2).

The line I see is one between imbibing and altered mental states. Is it possible to smoke grass without altering your mental state?

But the questions are really deeper. They are twofold. For one even if the use of pot is not a direct sign of sin, it is frowned on by the world (more or less) so this damages, in some sense, Christ's image. Secondly, do we indulge sin to reach the sinner?

In the end I think the answers to those questions are deep and individualistic. I think this guy is doing things pretty wrong, but I do not think I am prepared to condemn him to hell. I am absolutely certain I could not change his mind - so arguing with him would be pointless. What to do?


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Monumental Change.

Chaplain Mike @ iMonk has high praise for a book called "The God of the Mundane." He lists many things he likes about the book and it sounds like one I would like as well. Among his points was this:
He repents of being a pastor who preached a God who is “waiting for each and every believer to do something monumental.” (Me too, Matt.)
I may be playing semantics here, but I do think God wants us to do something monumental. It's just that I think
  • A life lived dependent on God's grace is monumental
  • A life lived in thanksgiving for all that God has supplied is monumental.
  • Achieving even the slightest hint of humility in our lives is monumental.
  • "Considering the other as more important than ourselves" is monumental.
My point is, of course, that we have a very wrong headed idea of what God expects of us and what is a truly monumental achievement. God does not expect us to change the world, he expects us to allow Him to change us in ways that are so profound that it is much harder to accomplish than merely changing the world. There is nothing mundane about learning how to be a good bank teller. And I am not talking about doing the teller job well, I am talking about being a good person doing the job well.

And you know the amazing thing? If we were each to achieve these individual monumentals task -t eh world would be transformed in ways we never imagined.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, August 19, 2013


A Little Different Than You May Have Thought

Mark Roberts on Ephesians 1:18
But the actual language of verse 18 points to another interpretation, one that seems, at first, to be less wonderful than what we expected, but turns out to be even more glorious after all. The Greek phrase under consideration reads very literally, "[that you may know] what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the holy ones" (1:18). Now, "his inheritance" could mean, "the inheritance we will receive from God." But the more natural interpretation of the language would be "the inheritance he will receive." And what is this inheritance? Us! You and I and all of God's people are his inheritance. What we learned in verse 11 about being God's inheritance is reiterated in verse 18. Paul prays that we know God, and, in particular, that we know we are God's own inheritance.
Mark then goes on to describe why we should not be disappointed that instead of getting something, we ARE the something.

That just makes me sad.

Are we really so self centered that we are disappointed that we are wholly God's? In a world that seems to want to do little more than sit on its behind and collect public payments, what could be better than being God's where He will supply richly.

I cannot help but reflect that we really have become, as the serpent said in Genesis, "like God." We expect God to pay homage to us, not the other way around. I recently heard a story about someone in their 30's still living with their parents that complained when the parents decided to start charging rent. What incredibly ungrateful creatures we are. What incredibly self-centered creatures we are. I am honestly dumb-struck here.

God owes us nothing and yet He has given us everything, and we have the unmitigated gall to try and renegotiate the terms.

God, please save us from ourselves.


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