Month: September 2012

Be Intolerant

Be Intolerant Because Some Things Are Just Stupid
by Ryan Dobson
with Jefferson Scott

The title is what grabbed me – or more precisely, the subtitle: Because Some Things Are Just Stupid. This wasn’t a normal Christian manual condemning the modern sensibility of tolerance; this was something that was going to be a little louder and at least a little funny. It’s a short little book – only 121 pages – so I figured, why not? Let’s give it a shot.

The book is intended to be a crash course on the dangers of moral relativism and how to answer with Christ in a loving way. It’s aimed at younger Christians who are sitting on the fence, trying to find a Christ that won’t get them into trouble for being intolerant.

I’m not exactly the target audience here. I’m still young, sure, but I’m not a “young Christian.” I’m not a teen, nor have I been one in a good decade. I’ve been out of college now for nearly a decade. I’m also in no way on the fence when it comes to moral relativism. The Bible is God’s Word, period. What it says is true, period. So when it says that something is wrong, it’s wrong, period. (more…)

Abraham WAS faithful!

Genesis 13:5-18 5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.


Happy Hunger Games

We do NOT have movie-style seating available in our teen center, but we do have some very comfy couches.

Teens have such a way of destroying the best laid plans of mice and minsters.

Friday we had a movie night. After some hemming and hawing, we finally selected The Hunger Games as our film du jure.

I had prepared a devotion on self-sacrifice, based on Katniss’s willingness to stand in her sister’s stead for the Games. We’d also touch on her relationship to Rue and Peeta, as she also showed levels of sacrifice there as well. I’d then point to Katniss, and show that she was sacrificing for “good” people – people she loved. People who could or would help her. She’d never sacrifice herself for someone from District One – one of the villains of the film. Ah, but while we were still sinners Christ Jesus died for us. We were not “useful” to him and he certainly didn’t owe us. Yet, he sacrificed himself for us. (more…)

No, Abram wasn’t a man of great faith…

Genesis 12:10-20 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.


God keeps his promises… right? (Part 2) (more…)

It’s a Good Sort of “Oh Kill Me I’m So Tired”

We ran out of food. Twice.

Oh, this is good food…

Saturday my congregation hosted a “neighborhood cookout.” It’s been in the planning stages in one form or another since April. At the beginning, it was a block party. Then it morphed into a festival. We called it a Grand Re-Opening to celebrate that yes, this congregation is still here. Finally, we settled on “neighborhood cookout.”

We wanted to invite the neighborhood to an event on our grounds. We wanted something to show the community that yes, we are not only open, but we are welcoming and fun. We wanted to do something where we could meet the people around us. We wanted to do something that would generate names and addresses of people who have had some sort of positive interaction with the church. We wanted to do something big. (more…)

Abram wasn’t a man of great faith…?

Genesis 12:1-9 12         The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2     “I will make you into a great nation

and I will bless you;

I will make your name great,

and you will be a blessing.

3     I will bless those who bless you,

and whoever curses you I will curse;

and all peoples on earth

will be blessed through you.”

4 So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.


Pastors Aren’t Finished Products.

When did that happen?!

So, this past week we walked around the neighborhood and handed out invitations to a neighborhood cookout my congregation is hosting. Free food, free bounce house, free games and prizes, free raffle for big items, free music – you know, lots of free stuff so that we get the chance to show the neighborhood that our congregation is not only alive, but welcoming. (Plus, the raffle lets us get names and addresses to go follow up with. Bonus!)

We usually walk in pairs – one person on one side of the street, one on the other – and simply hand out fliers, usually by sticking them in doors. I happen to walk with two of the teens. They didn’t particularly enjoy talking to people. One in particular was rather shy.

So… I took every house where it looked like people would actually answer the door. I did all the talking. I sort of shrugged and told her I’d take care of it for her if she wanted me to.

Wait a second… when did that happen?! I’m scared of people! I hate talking to people in uncontrolled situations like that! And doing cold calls? Talking to people about church without any kind of previous contact? Without it being a hospital call or something like that? Now I’m not only comfortable, but chuckling that someone wouldn’t want to? Now I’m simply shrugging and saying that talking to people is no big deal? How – how – when – how?! (more…)

Gospel Motivation

You can tell this isn’t a huge seller on the Christian bookstore circuit… this is the biggest pic I could find of the cover!

Gospel Motivation: More than “Jesus died for my sins”
by Robert J. Koester

I think God’s trying to teach me a lesson. Several books that I’ve read now have really pounded home the lesson that this volume is centered on. You don’t get God’s people to grow spiritually and show spiritual maturity by pounding them over and over with the Law. You don’t tell them, “God hath said!” and follow that with a thundering commandment. It doesn’t work; that kind of theology withers the soul. While it might be good at producing outward results, such methods actually stunt the soul.

It started way back with So You Want To Leave the Church? The book delivered a dubious moral, but it was deft in pointing out law motivation in everyday church functions. Jesus+Nothing=Everything put it on in full light: Law motivation simply doesn’t work. Another book I just finished, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, also talked about Gospel motivation. And now this book – well, it’s in the title. What else would you expect? (more…)

Do you believe that what you believe is really real?

Hebrews 11:24-28 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.


Do you believe that what you believe is really real?

  1. If it’s real, there’s consequences.
  2. If it’s real, you have to deal with the consequences. (more…)

Baldness, sin, and Patrick Stewart

That’s right: if this were a perfect earth, would this man have hair? Are we willing to accept a world where Sir Patrick Stewart has hair?

A congregation member asked me today: “Is baldness an effect of sin?”

(Effect of Sin: A symptom of the fallen world, sin in general affecting our lives, such as sickness — sickness is not a sin, but hits us because the world itself is fallen.)

I didn’t know what to answer him. Will there be bald people in heaven, or when we’re given our perfect bodies, will baldness magically be cured? What do you say?