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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FREE Music mp3's


I'm often a little late to the game. Some of you have been downing music from NoiseTrade.com for awhile now. I'm just getting started but there's a lot of good stuff here.

One of My Respected Readers Says ...

The Good Christian Girl: A Fable | Christianity Today

One of my very esteemed readers says church leaders and especially those with daughters should read this. Is this really what it's like?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Alyx Evans: New Director of Children's Ministry at Grace Covenant Church, NY

My wife, Alyx Evans has been hired as the Director of Children's Ministry at Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY. Very excited about the ministry prospects for our family.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pet Communion

VirtueOnline: TORONTO: Can a dog receive communion?

An Anglican priest in Toronto gave communion to a visitor in church ... and his dog. It was a spontaneous act that was meant to communicate welcome. At least one parishioner was offended and left the church after filing complaints with the parish and diocese. The Bishop said, "I think the reverend was overcome by what I consider a misguided gesture of welcoming."

As a serious question, I wonder what God thinks?

Certainly the gesture was kind and loving. Though it also showed a poor grasp of theology as communion is meant for believers. There doesn't seem to be any biblical indication that communion is meant to be outreach.

For consubstantiationists, those who believe the bread and wine are turned into the body and blood of Jesus, this could have been particularly offensive. I remember as a kid in the Roman Catholic Church that the priest would place the wafer on my tongue while the altar server held a plate underneath my chin so the host would not touch the floor if it was accidentally dropped. Feeding it to a dog might seem particularly disrespectful them.

But what does God think? Any comment?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stunning. Even the NYPost.com Can See It's Not Good

How porn is warping a generation of men - NYPOST.com

Aaron Taylor ... a good post

The myth of the self- made man

Aaron nails it.  The self made man is a myth.  Truly, no one is a island and makes their life on their own.  All of us are networked.  We're designed by our Creator to live interdependently.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

ChurchRater. What A Great Idea?

This is a site where you can rate a church you attend or visit. In some ways it's a great idea. It allows people to post honest feedback and people who are searching for a church to get more insight into a place they are thinking about visiting. Yet it also feeds into that consumer mentality that is deadly in the wider church culture. It also allows those who leave the church to punish the church with slander.

Certainly, if I was pastor and my church was on there I would pay all my friends to post good reviews. I need all the help I can get.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Quote from the Pope

VirtueOnline - News - Viewpoints - Williams Under Pressure* Schori Mocks Covenant in NZ*Victory in Ft. Worth*More:

"During his address for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope asserted that the 'greatest danger' to the Church is not external persecution, but the 'negative attitudes' of the world that can pollute and 'infect the Christian community' from within."

Spiritual Lessons From Unemployment - Part 9: Hearing God

During this time of unemployment, I have heard God clearer than I have ever in my life.  So much so I'm worried about getting a job and being "rich" again and losing my new ability to hear. This experience really has me wondering how often I have missed God's voice or tuned him out through the years because I have been distracted by the demands of work, ministry, life, etc.

I have always had a love hate relationship with preaching. I remember Dr. Livermore saying, "I hate to write. I love to have written." That is kind of how I feel about preaching. Except over this past year.

Several times when I have had to preach or teach for church, seminar or retreat related things I heard so very clearly what I was to speak on -- crystal clear. In nearly every instance the response to my messages was overwhelmingly positive.

I'm not a manuscript preacher, meaning I don't write out exactly everything I'm going to say. I generally have an outline where I have thought through the details of what I'll preach about and then there is a minor amount ad-libbing. So I'm never 100% confident of how it will all turn out. Except in recent times. I knew so confidently what I was to talk about I was nearly giddy as I went to the pulpit.

Maybe it's coincidental that I'm hearing God better since I'm unemployed.  But maybe not.  It's got me thinking.

Friday, July 02, 2010

George Washington's Belief's

VirtueOnline: George Washington's Anglicanism

Fascinating article about George Washington's belief system and the religious milieu of his time. With many Americans very concerned about the US's perceived moves toward socialism and the current and last administration's attack on the Constitution, there is a backlash toward patriotism and renewed emphasis on the country's founders. Along with that there is a desire to paint the founders as orthodox evangelicals or at least solid Christians. I just don't think it's true. Neither does this articles author. He writes:
The growing vogue notion that Washington and other Patriot leaders were somehow "born again" Christians seeking to establish a solidly "Christian" nation is not supported by the historical record, despite infrequent quotes mined from diaries, letters, and speeches and often taken out of context. Jack Feerick, writing in the October 22, 2009 Saturday Evening Post, states that, "The traditional idea of the Founding Fathers as conventionally pious Christian gentlemen is a myth..." Journalist Russell Shorto, in an extensive piece detailing proposed changes to Texas high school social studies standards, wrote in the New York Times that, "Washington, in his writings, makes scores of different references to God but not one is biblical."
He also notes that Washington was a Mason and more likely, just a deist rather than an orthodox Christian.

Anglican Growth and Playing Nice With Lutherans

VirtueOnline: Anglican Church in North America Divides up Continent for Evangelism and Growth

David Virtue reports on the strategy of the new Anglican Church in North America to divide up the continent for mission and evangelism.

I found two small lines in the article very interesting:
"The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has lined up four meetings with ACNA representatives at seminaries later this year as the two denominations explore potential for Eucharistic sharing.

Sutton said as many as 150 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations are considering a move to the ACNA. This will only increase prospects for further growth of the ACNA"
The LCMS is widely known for not playing nice having ecumenical relations with other believers, yet also being very solidly orthodox in their theology. This looks like a promising potential relationship.

Also, .... how ironic that ACNA, who are refugees from the Episcopal Church, are now potentially taking refugees from the the ELCA.

The growth of ACNA certainly is exciting. It really has not impacted New York State hard yet but I'm praying it does. Note these stats and a quote by Archbishop Robert Duncan:
"The Anglican Church in North America now has 614 congregations in 20 dioceses. More than 200 other congregations are ministry partners with the Anglican Church, including the congregations of The Anglican Mission in the Americas. The ACNA represents more than 100,000 Christians in North America.

Said Duncan, 'We have learned to describe our method for achieving this transformation in Christ Jesus as "converted individuals, in multiplying congregations, fueled by the Holy Spirit.'"

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Missional in Suburbia

Do you live in the suburbs and are wondering how to live more missionally?  Could you help out an acquaintance of mine with some research?  Check out this site and take the survey: Survey | Missional in Suburbia

What are the greatest challenges (for you and your family) when it comes to following Christ in suburbia?
Our lives are complicated, busy and insular.  It's difficult to make time for unchurched people.  I'm often overwhelmed by my own family needs and stress.
What are the greatest challenges for the church in suburbia?
Their continual failure to recognize the urgency of mission -- the need to plant new churches, create new ministry paradigms and be involved in personal evangelism.  Barna's illustration from the late 80's of the frog in the kettle has absolutely come true.

Their failure to recognize the current ministry paradigms and efforts are not and have not worked.  They have not produced disciples who reproduce themselves.  Effective new ministry paradigms have not yet arisen to supplant these failing efforts.

Churches are burdened by the dueling demands of consumers (their members) and the needs the community.

Too many churches are mired in conflict and their reputations are either poor or nonexistent in their communities.

As predicted 20 years ago, we are approaching the point where churches under 100 cannot afford a full-time clergy and/or their building but so believe they must have these things.  Thus they are stuck in a false survival mode.

The economic downturn has created real physical poverty and previously proud suburban folk are now having to go to food pantries, utilize Food Stamps and other government programs, and shop at the Salvation Army or Rescue Mission stores. Their needs are greater and are more open for help from churches. And they willingness to volunteer is greater.

Suburban people in general feel stressed and isolated.  They crave community.
What do you like about suburbia?
In contrast to urban areas locally, it is safer and less stressful, the schools and stores are better, and it's prettier, cleaner and more comfortable.
What do you not like about suburbia?
It's mostly monoethnic Caucasian and I like living amongst Latino's, Asians and other people of color.
Any other thoughts?
My growing up in suburbia ...

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