A recent blog post from Michael Perkins encourages us to stop wasting time. In it, he points out how easily distractible we are, how easy it is for us to get caught up in the fluff of the world around us, and to waste time that we should be spending focusing on the important things going on in the world today:
Everyday people are dying and literally going to hell.
Everyday the poor goes without the necessities to live.
Everyday people die of a treatable disease.
Everyday people are sold and abused in sex slavery.
We have all gotten engrossed in a story here or there, we have all gotten distracted by current events, but where do we draw the line between being completely unengaged in the world around us, and being so up to date on pop culture that we have lost all of our redemptive influence?
How do you create a healthy balance?
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Let these words of Paul Tripp penetrate your heart and speak to you today:
Ministry had become my identity. I didn’t think of myself as a child of God, in daily need of grace, in the middle of my own sanctification, still in a battle with sin, still in need of the body of Christ, and called to pastoral ministry. No, I thought of myself as a pastor. That’s it, bottom line. The office of pastor was more than a calling and a set of God-given gifts that had been recognized by the body of Christ. “Pastor” defined me. It was me in a way that proved to be more dangerous than I would have thought.
No one celebrates the presence and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ more than the person who has embraced his desperate and daily need of it. But in ways I now find embarrassing, ministry told me that I was not like everyone else, that I existed in a unique category. And if I was not like everyone else, then I didn’t need what everyone else needs.
At home it was all too easy to mete out judgment without grace. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity), and I looked to it to give me what it never could (my inner sense of well-being).
A bad day in court recently for Hui Son Lye.
She had brought a lawsuit against the city of Lacey, WA. She was convinced that her consitutional rights were violated because police arrested her as she tried to enter Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
It seems that the woman was upset that the mass was not being conducted in Korean, even though she claimed the Archbishop had instructed it.
According to the church, the woman had disrupted services before, so they issued a ‘no trespass’ order and told her to worship elsewhere. She was told that should would be arrested if she returned.
But she returned.
And was arrested.
A Washington federal district court rejected her claims.
QUESTION: Have you ever had someone be a real problem in your church?
Ever had someone disrupt services?
How did you deal with it?
Would you EVER issue a ‘no trespass’ warning?
How would you deal with this situation?
This clip has been making it’s way around the internet. It’s from First Baptist in Hammond, IN. It’s a short clip… just about a minute… but shows the attitude that comes from the pulpit there. It’s the same culture and attitude exhibited by former pastor Jack Schaap.
Take a look:
I’m not sure if this message from Larry Smith was before or after Schaap left, but I think it’s a good example of the abuse that can occur in churches like this. As you can hear in the background, the amens continue throughout the showdown.
I grew up in a church like this. And it was not uncommon for someone to be called down from the pulpit… even by name.
Given… most of the people that were called down were teenagers.
And most of us deserved it.
And… most of the group I was in at that time are no where near a church on Sunday these days.
Ray Pritchard has some advice for pastors that steal sermons:
Sorry. But there is really no nicer way to say it. Your excuses are stupid. Especially when it comes to your relationship with Christ. Yes, you may have a had a rough childhood. Yes, you may have a busy schedule. Yes, you may think you’re giving up too many opportunities and experiences.
Same goes for us leaders. Our excuses are stupid.
Stop being scared.
Stop worrying about your security.
Don’t misplace your priorities when it comes to leading the church.
Do what needs to be done.
Because your excuses are stupid.
The work is TOO important.
When the College of Cardinals vote on who will be the next leader of the Catholic church, what standards and qualifications will they be looking at?
According to an article this morning at CNN, the standards are ‘remarkably loose’ for choosing a new Pope.
In fact, any baptized man in good standing could be elected pope.
But no women (since they can’t even become priests).
So… according to the CNN story… that really opens up the range of options. Here’s are some possibilities:
House Speaker John Boehner
U2 Lead Singer Bono
Comedian Stephen Colbert
Or, how about a Canadian pope, like Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former archbishop of Quebec?
Other top contenders: Peter Turkson, a cardinal fro Ghana.
It’s extremely rare that a pope is chosen that is not a bishop or cardinal, but it could happen.
But a reality check… it hasn’t happened since 1379.
Just for fun… here are some other catholics that might make interesting popes:
Steve (that’s what she said) Carell
Dom DeLuise (oh stink… he’s dead, but would have made one heck of a pope)
Harry Connick, Jr.
Earlier this month, the Arkansas State Legislature voted to pass a measure allowing the concealed carry of firearms within houses of worship. The bill was passed in an effort to increase personal security and safety within churches, which were identified as “soft targets.”
Is this a necessity in churches, or is this an over-reaction to the nationwide gun debate?
Does YOUR church allow people to carry concealed firearms?
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The Northeast got hit with a HUGE snowstorm over the weekend. Some places got over three feet of snow.
For churches that are not able to meet on the weekend, that means a week without an offering.
And if your church is close on it’s budget… this can be a HUGE deal.
Is there something you can do about it?
Mark Brooks shares some thoughts:
Is there anything you can do? Yes! The following are some key ideas you can do right now to make up the loss of a cancelled service. I recommend the following…
Make the “ask” about maintaining ministry. Don’t sound desperate. Remember, guilt never works in the long run. I would be saying something like, “The snow may have stopped our services but missions and ministry continues on here at Our Church. This week we are continue our planning for (list some ministry initiative) that is why your faithful gift now means so much.”
Respond to the immediate need now but plan for the future. If you are a church in the Northeast you are simply trying to get past this crisis. However, if I had a church in the Snow Belt I would have in place a set strategy for snow weekends. It is not IF they will happen but WHEN. So, have in place the basics you need.
Here is my must have list of action items to prepare for the next blizzard…
Just wondering. If you’re in a part of the country that suffers from having to cancel services… how big of a burden does it put on your church’s cash flow and budgeting? Do you usually make up the shortfall, or is it usually a longer-term hit?
TMI = Too much information.
I think it should be a real medical diagnosis for some pastors I’ve met over the years. Here’s how to tell if you’re a TMI pastor:
1. Do you chuck so much content into a sermon that it really should be three sermons? People will only remember so much. I like how Rick Warren says he wrote the Purpose Driven Life. He tried to use as few words as possible. He took paragraphs and made them sentences. He took 10 words and made them into five. Wordsmith your sermons. Many sermons could be half the length and be spot on (and not really lose a thing in the translation).
2. Another diagnosis for pastors could be PWLTHTT. This stands for ‘pastors who like to hear themselves talk’. Here, the problem isn’t too much content at all, it’s not an issue of content… it’s a matter of filling time and enjoying the sound of your own voice. Maybe you sermons are long, not because you have way too much content, but because you like the sound of your own voice. This is a question that only you can answer. If you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, then I think a diagnosis of PWLTHTT is in order. Stop that.
3. The last diagnosis that I think many speakers and pastors could have is the RCR disease. This stands for Repeat, Circle around, Repeat. This is when you, as the speaker state your point, then rather than give great illustrations of your point, you just re-state your point using different words. Give some solid illustrations that give some meat to your point rather than just repeating it.
OK… so maybe this is a list of my pet peeves as I get to listen to a ton of different speakers (most of them really, really great speakers). But everyone once in a while, I’ll hear a TMI, PWLTHTT or RCR conflicted pastor.
Do a self-diagnosis for these conditions. Ask for some input from those you trust.
But as I like to say… don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer!
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