Churches behave like businesses but act surprised when people in their congregations behave like consumers…
Jesus did not come to earth to establish a social institution—although a social institution is one way to express the church. He didn’t come to make us cooler, more successful, more efficient or popular. He came to draw all people to God—and to be the pathway that will take us there. Following that pathway, and calling to others to join us, is possibly the most organic process imaginable. The church is not a business—it’s the church. It’s unique. It doesn’t really make sense to pattern ourselves after anything.
I believe that God still speaks today. In fact, I think he is speaking all the time through his word, through nature, through our neighbors, friends, and enemies. I believe he speaks to us through a wide variety of cultural expressions. The problem is not that God is silent, the problem is that we just aren’t listening.
Ten Books Every Preacher Should Read
- The Juvenilization of American Christianity by Thomas E. Bergler (Eerdmans)
- Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church by Gregg R. Allison (Crossway)
- Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction by Jonathan T. Pennington (Baker Academic)
- Christ-Centered Biblical Theology: Hermeneutical Foundations and Principles by Graeme Goldsworthy (InterVarsity Press)
- Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD by Peter Brown (Princeton University Press)
- Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray (Crown Forum)
- The Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson (Eerdmans)
- Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat (Free Press)
- God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology by Gerald Bray (Crossway)
- Delighting in the Trinity: an Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves (InterVarsity Press)
Who: Who are you?
What: What do you stand for, what is your church doing to communicate the love of Jesus?
When: When do you meet?
Where: Just as important as when you meet, where you meet.
How: How can someone get engaged with the church?
If you want to reach 20 Somethings, here is the key – Love them and let them know it. You may not have all the “right” programs (as if there is a giant cookie cutter you can press into your congregation and make it work). Your worship may not be flashy. Your members may be aging. The nursery may be empty. You may not know all the right things to say, the questions to ask or be up on all the latest cultural trends, viral videos or newest songs…but if you can just have a heart for this generation and reach out to them in love…embrace them and give them space to explore faith in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way…you will be amazed what will happen.
Loneliness. I have never forgotten Landon Saunders’ statement in 1979 that the average person has not one close friend. I was shocked; tempted to doubt. Yet, as I work through the rubble of the injured, this appears to be accurate.
The pressure to make the kick increases with each round. Imagine taking the fifth penalty shot for a professional team. Which situation would you prefer?
- Your team is down by one, and you have to make it to tie; if you miss, your team will lose.
- Your team is tied, and you do not have to make it, but if you do make it, you will win.
According to the research of Geir Jordet and Ester Hartman, in which missing the kick will cause the kicker’s team to lose, professional kickers succeed on those shots only 62% of the time and when making the goal will result in a win, kickers for it, and they find the net 92% of the time. It is the same kick, the same twelve yards every time, but there is a 30% gap in the success rate.
So yesterday, Floyd Lee Corkins II pleaded guilty to three criminal counts involving his August 2012 attack on the Washington D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council. He told the FBI that he picked his target from a “hate map“ (!) on the web site of the Southern Poverty Law Center. That’s the liberal group that is frequently used as a legitimate source in news reports (I sort of thought they jumped the shark when they identified “pick-up artists” as hate groups but this Reason archive might be worth a read for developing a tad of skepticism of their treatment by the media).
I am not a uniquely accomplished 25-year-old. I’ve modeled for 10 years and I took six years to finish my undergraduate degree part-time, graduating this past June with honors from Columbia University. If I ever had needed to put together a CV it would be quite short. Like many young people I’d highlight my desire to work hard.
But hard work is not why I have been successful as a model. I’m not saying I’m lazy. But the most important part of my job is to show up with a 23-inch waist, looking young, feminine and white. This shouldn’t really shock anyone. Models are chosen solely based on looks. But what was shocking to me is that when I spoke, the way I look catapulted what I had to say on to the front page.
Even if I did give a good talk, is what I have to say more important and interesting than what Colin Powell said? (He spoke at the same event and his talk has about a quarter of the view count.)
A middle-aged recent immigrant from India recently set into motion a series of events that eventually led to Mississippi finally ratifying the Constitutional amendment banning slavery. The rousing finale of the movie Lincoln served as inspiration. It sounds like a joke, but it’s true. And even though it’s been nearly 150 years since that fateful day in the Capitol in 1864, Mississippi’s becoming the final state to officially ratify the Thirteenth Amendment serves as the final punctuation mark on a dark chapter in American history.