Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2012

I Do Believe in a Woman's Right to Choose...

I'll be really honest. When it comes to the abortion discussion, I've never been a real fan of the "A woman has the right to choose what to do with her body" discussion. While I agree in theory with that statement, I don't find it particularly relevant to the discussion about abortion. See, the way I see it (and I know this will identify me as one of "those"), once a woman is pregnant, she's already made her choice of what to do with her body. I try to keep this blog family-friendly, so I won't say more than that. But you see what I'm sayin'. When Ole the Swede chooses to be a Lumberjack, he recognizes that a very possible result will be some type of chainsaw disfigurement at some time. When Muskegon Mark chooses to work at the Paper Mill, he understands that he may well lose a finger in one of the paper machines. When Jimmy Johnson climbs into one of his left-turn-only cars, he realizes that a fiery crash may be awaiting him. When w

5 Tests of a Church's Generosity

For the past year, I've been thinking a lot about GENEROSITY. So a while back, I threw together in my mind a list for evaluating the generosity of a church. Here it is: Are the needs of members met? A generous church does not have members who are homeless, starving, or destitute. (that initially feels like a strong statement, but I'm gonna stick with it) Are the needs of the community met? The manner in which a church stewards its resources (lets be honest, the building is usually a big one), particularly in regards to the external community, says a lot about its generosity level. What's the EQ? - Every church has an "entitlement quotient" that mirrors the generosity level of the congregation. One way to gauge EQ is to measure how often "I", "my", and "mine" appear in conversations. Are the needs of the pastors met? Sure, this feels self-serving; but I'll bet most pastors could tell you pretty easily (if they were will

The Parable of the Sower (the sequel)

A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. And then a very strange thing happened. The rocky ground began to make noise. The large stones and the small pebbles began to cry out to the sower. "You haven't given us enough time!" they said. If only you would put more dark soil around us, our seeds would grow. So the sower went to the store and purchased more soil and placed it around the rocks. Again the seeds immediately sprang up, but it still had no depth of soil, and when the sun rose they were scorched again. And the

Your Future Probably Won't Be the Way You Imagine It

This morning I was reading about Elijah and the widow at Zarephath. The basics of the story go like this: A great famine has spread across Israel God sends Elijah to Zarephath because he's prepared a widow to feed him The widow is down to her last food supplies, she's going to cook one more meal for herself and her son, then they plan to die Elijah tells her to cook the meal for him instead She does. God miraculously keeps her food supply from running out until the famine is over. What I like particularly in this story is the initial interaction between Elijah and the widow. When he asks her to provide him with a meal, she replies, "As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple sticks that I may go in and prepare it for my myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." She's very matter-of-fact. "We're going to eat this last meal. And then we're going to

What is Your Idol?

I'm convinced that we're all idolaters. The last verse of 1 John says, "Little children, keep yourself from idols." This seems to be a strange way to end a letter that didn't really address idolatry at all. My opinion is that John realized how easily and quickly idolatry can creep into our lives and our churches. I don't think he was terribly concerned about the Christians turning to worship of Baal or Ra or Dagon. I don't think he was concerned about them carving fish-like ducks out of wood and then bowing down to them. I think he was concerned with the subtle, every-day idols that sneak into our lives and take our priorities away from God. A survey of the entire letter reveals at least these ten idols that we need to keep ourselves from: The idol of walking in darkness (keeping our sin hidden rather than confessing it). The idol of false security (basing our salvation on a prayer rather than faith). The idol of disobedience. The idol of worldliness. T

Checklist Christianity: How to Measure Spiritual Success

One of the questions I often get asked when talking about discipleship, spiritual formation, and small groups is: "How do you measure success?" I'm not a big fan of this question. See, there was a time in my life, when I could have easily answered that question. Back in the day we (me and lots of other Christians like me) used a formula to measure how spiritual someone was. It looked like this: SQ = [(SUa+TUv)/26]+[(SUp+WPM)/52]+[(TRM+MC)/5] 8 is the perfect score, meaning you are very spiritual. Of course you could apply a bonus formula to gain two extra bonus points if you wanted. Those two points could come in very handy if you fell short of 8, or if you wanted to be elected to a committee during the annual fall elections. A score higher than 8 virtually assured you a spot on the committee of your choice. The bonus formula was as follows: BSQ = SQ+KJV+BAPT If you grew up in a church like mine, this is all old hat to you. You've seen these equations many times

5 Best Michigan State Guards of My Lifetime...

1. Magic Johnson 2. Steve Smith 3. Scott Skiles 4. Mateen Cleaves 5. Kalin Lucas/Shawn Respert (too close to call)

Measuring Success in the Church

Numbers can never tell an accurate story of a church's success. To assess a church, a group or a ministry's level of success or failure with any type of numerical measure is to impose upon the church an institutional criteria and burden never discussed in the New Testament. The successful church, the successful ministry or group within a church, and the successful Christian is the one who is faithful, not the one who is large or rich . Faithfulness for a church, for a ministry or group within a church, or for an individual believer is measured in obedience and worship. By obedience, I mean striving to be and do what Scripture has clearly prescribed; and trying to accurately determine and live out what Scripture has implied. Obedience precedes worship because: A) True obedience is an act of worship. B) Worship without obedience is disgusting to God. By worship, I mean utilizing every resource available to appropriately revere and represent God.