He better be joking

One of my comments in this weekend’s message, Interesting Places to Worship, was that we, as God’s people, should stop going to church.

We considered the story from Daniel 3 of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.  You may remember that the three young men were threatened by King Nebuchadnezzar because they did not bow down and worship his over-sized golden statue.  There defense was no defense at all.  They just weren’t going to worship anyone or anything other than God.

You’ve probably seen this before: Stop going to church. Start being the church.  I agree with that, but my take was a little different. 

Essentially, going to church has become the end all of ministry.  We’re so desperate just to get people to go to church.   We’re even comfortable just going to church ourselves.

And there you have it.

The 3 young men understood what their worship was, and we need to as well.  So, instead of going to church, let’s learn how to stand in awe of God.  Stop inviting people to go to church with you.  Invite them to experience the grace and love of God.

I didn’t mean to preach to you again, but I wanted to make sure you understood what I meant when I said we should stop going to church.

There was one young soul that may have needed a bit more time to think about what I meant.  When I first said we should stop going to church, a young girl in our congregation raised her head in disbelief.  She scowled and declared, “He better be joking.  We’re supposed to go to church.”

Amen.

Thankfully, we’ll have more time to continue to train her in the way she should go.

Oh, and if a visual reminder of the story of Daniel 3 is helpful, how about this one:
++If you’re reading by email or news reader, click here to watch.++

Stay blessed…john

Broken Hearts

Broken Hearts

Broken hearts need time
they need their space
to be broken.

Broken hearts don’t need
you to fix them
or to help them.

Most times we just need
the space we need
to be broken.

And trust healing comes
when we cannot
trust it will come.

when we are ready
we will join you
and trust with you.

 

Stay blessed…john

Sharing Bible verses

You’ve seen our bumper stickers and bookmarks.  Oh, don’t forget our doormats and Facebook posts.

So, obviously, you know that us Christians like to share Bible verses.  It’s an extremely common thing.  We’re used to it, and we know you expect it.  That’s why we do it even if you don’t ask us to.  We know your heart.

Another common place I’ve seen Bible verses referenced is in cards.  Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, get well, you’re-the-best-pastor-I’ve-ever-known, or just a simple hello card, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a passage of Scripture referenced.

I say referenced because it’s usually never written out.  I believe the assumption is that I know every Bible verse; that’s fair.

But what about someone who doesn’t?

Try this next time.  Go ahead and reference the verse, but make sure to tell your recipient why you included it.  Is it a favorite passage of yours?  Does it have a special meaning to you?  Is it related to a life experience you have endured?

Let people know.  You might find they appreciate the verse more, and it may become an important passage for them, too.

Stay blessed…john

 

 

Don’t lose it

I told this story in my message last Sunday:

A pastor visited a couple at their home.  They enjoyed good conversation and a wonderful dinner.  When the pastor left, the wife turned to her husband and said, “He stole my good spoon.”  “No, he didn’t,” her husband replied.  The wife kept this to herself for the next year, until the pastor was able to join them again for dinner.  As they took their seats to enjoy another dinner, the wife spoke up, “Pastor, you took my spoon last year when you were here!”

“No, I didn’t,” the pastor said.  “I put it in your Bible.”

As you probably guessed, the message was about reading the Bible.  Of course, there’s more to it than merely “reading the Bible.”  I talked about inspiration, joy and the importance of reading scripture together.  For now, though, I’ll just highlight the final sentence that applies to how you and I read and study scripture together.

May you always find Christ when you read the Bible, and may you never lose your spoon!

Stay blessed…john

Beyond

Recently, I was asked to help build engagement around an existing Facebook page.

If you don’t know, one of the first stats to look at when it comes to evaluating a Facebook page is the number of page LIKEs.  The page I was asked to contribute to had approximately 345–a very modest number.  My first goal was to reach 400 by the end of the weekend.

It didn’t happen.  In fact, the page barely got to 400 LIKEs tonight, just over 3 weeks after I began my work with the page.

Today, before we hit the 400 milestone, I went to share some pictures of a recent event and noticed the page was at 396.  My thought was to figure out how to get 4 more to be at 400.

Facebook had a message for me. This isn’t verbatim, but it essentially read: Great job with the page; you’re almost to 500 LIKEs.

Did you see that?

Facebook helped me look beyond where I thought I needed to be.

We need that from people sometimes, don’t we?  It’s easy to get comfortable with what’s right in front of us.  Don’t be afraid, though, to have people willing and able to keep you thinking of what is beyond.  What is next?  You can’t always see it, but other people can.

Stay blessed…john