If I go “door-to-door” in our little church’s community, it’s not to grow the church club–it’s to build the Kingdom of God. When I look at a person, I don’t want to see a potential new church member; I want to see a new citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. Because I happen to believe that, without God, we can’t live life the way it was meant to be lived.
I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children. I am moved to write this by watching young children pay no attention to their parents’ requests, with no consequences. Parents tell a child two or three times to sit or stop and come or go, and after the third disobedience, they laughingly bribe the child. This may or may not get the behavior desired.
If you want to ensure the death of your church, then concentrate on playing defense.
And here is how I define defense. don’t lose what is ours.
Sometimes that gets translated into keeping things the way they have always been.
Sometimes that gets translated into worrying about how we can “keep” our own.
So we are afraid to try anything different. Or we feel compelled to try everything different.
And all the while, it is all centered on us.
Defensive churches focus on themselves.
As young men and women break-up with Churches of Christ, they are not saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.” They’re saying, “It’s you!” The hidden distress inside the church is not merely that she is losing younger people, we are also losing younger ministers, if we are developing them to begin with. More and more, universities within my denomination are reporting fewer and fewer young men and women training for ministry, most opting, instead, to work with or begin non-profit charities.
Although there are stages in life where fasting would be foolish (childhood, pregnancy, nursing, sickness, old age), most of the time most of us are candidates. Perhaps one of the reasons the western church is so weak is a result of its neglect of the spiritual discipline; it’s something our spiritual forbears, like Calvin, took very seriously. Fasting isn’t just a good idea, or something that really holy people do, or a lifestyle if you’re into that sort of thing: it’s God’s gracious gift to His people who are in desperate need of it.
Should we try to increase our power through Barsh and Cranton’s methods to create an “energy force” or should we be relying on our relationship with God to help us develop this gift in order to serve others? Are we as Christian women willing to settle for the world’s take on what female leaders should do, or should we be carving our own course, one grounded on biblical principles and God’s definition of success?
Will the New Earth have fewer resources for human enjoyment than Eden did or than the world under the Curse offers? If you’re tempted to say, “But in Heaven our minds will be on spiritual things, not coffee,” your Christoplatonism detector should go off. It’s fine if you don’t like coffee, but to suggest that coffee is inherently unspiritual is… well, heresy. It directly contradicts the Scriptures just cited. God made the physical and spiritual realms not to oppose each other but to be united in bringing glory to him.
When our daughters were only toddlers, Cathy and I participated an excellent parenting class that gave us a handout called: “How to Pray for Your Children.” We prayed through this list for years. In fact, as I read through each point today, I can remember specific instances in which God answered the prayers. He is still answering them.
In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency sent a cease-and-desist order against Zazzle, the original manufacturer of these items for the website LibertyManiacs.com. The government agencies argued that it is a crime to use, mutilate, or alter a government seal without permission. (The site has now switched over to CafePress.)
On Tuesday LibertyManiacs owner Dan McCall sued those agencies, arguing that he has a First Amendment right to parody the DHS, the NSA, and other government offices, and that he should be allowed to use the relevant seals.