I spend a lot of time with them and it takes very little to get them to vent, and I’m happy to listen. So, after lots of hours spent in coffee shops and after buying a few lunches, here are the most common thoughts taken from dozens of conversations.
I hope some of them make you angry. Not at the message, but at the failure of our pragmatic replacement of the gospel of the cross with an Americanized gospel of glory.
And, this experience is giving me the opportunity, fueled by this platform, to speak not only to church planters (who I still love by the way), but also those who are attempting church revitalization. In the process. I’m learning some things. There appear to be some vital elements for a healthy revitalization to occur.
Granted, the Holy Spirit must show up and God must be glorified. That can admittedly happen with a room of donkeys, but in general terms, working with normal church people (whatever that means ) there are components which need to be in place to see a church revitalize.
We aren’t donkeys, secretaries, or ventriloquist dummies. We are in fellowship with the Son of God. We are filled with the Holy Spirit. And we, like Paul, have not yet grasped everything but rejoice in our salvation as we continue to journey toward God.
In other words, the Pope was not talking about those who are involved in homosexual acts or homosexual relationships. He was seeking to speak with compassion about people made in the image of God who are struggling with faithfulness against a homosexual inclination. This explains his criticism of a “gay lobby” within his church. He acknowledged the fact that persons struggling with a homosexual inclination are in his church and in the priesthood. So long as they obey Catholic teaching and live in faithfulness, “who am I to judge that person?” he asked.
But you see, there are times when we have to face the truth that not every option is equal and not every choice is valid. When it comes to eternal life, to salvation, to having a relationship with God, there’s only one way: through Jesus Christ.
Overall, the biggest reasons why former VBS churches have skipped out in recent years are: lack of volunteers (cited by 3 in 10 pastors), lack of children (cited by 1 in 4), and lack of time (1 in 5).
Here is what VBS is about: God’s story in our lives. It is about helping children—and adults—see God’s plan for their lives. It is about motivating and inspiring people to want to be part of that plan.
It is about reaching into our community with the Jesus story. We are happy to have visitors from other churches, but that is not our target audience. We want the families that are not connected to Jesus.
This week as we talk about persistence, I was forced to think about my own journey to get in better shape and be a better person in the image of Christ. Because in so many ways – namely in my desire to become more fit – I have fallen off. I didn’t really get the results I thought I would get so maybe it isn’t worth it.
I decided to take my own transformation photos to see what was possible with just a few easy tweaks. About six months ago I was around 185 pounds and about 16 percent body fat. I was feeling particularly bloated on the day, so I asked my girlfriend to take a before shot. I then shaved my head, face and chest and prepared for the after shot, which was about an hour after I took the before shot. I did a few push ups and chin ups, tweaked my bedroom lighting, sucked in, tightened my abs and BOOM! We got our after shot.