Archive for March, 2007

If 91% Believe in God, Where Are They?

Posted in Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, God, Religion on March 31, 2007 by Scott

This was the lead story on MSN.com today…

Results of a Newsweek research study were released yesterday, and it turns out that 91% of Americans surveyed believe in God.

“A belief in God and an identification with an organized religion are widespread throughout the country, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion.”

GREAT, but before you think our job is almost done, a Gallup poll in 2006 found that only 43% of Americans attend church each Sunday.  Attending church on Sunday isn’t the only variable involved in a relationship with God, but it is a great place to start. 

So… where is the disconnect?  Why are only 1/2 of those who believe in church every Sunday? 

Reminds me of someone I work with who often says, “I love God, but I hate church.”  Is that possible? She couldn’t find the right church and eventually stopped looking.

We need to be doing more to get those who “believe” involved.  Imagine the amount of resources we would have with 91% of Americans as true disciples of Christ…

There’s a hole in the world tonight…

Posted in Evangelism, Faith, God, Music, Relationships on March 30, 2007 by Scott

I was listening to the Eagles this morning (The Very Best Of) after leaving my men’s group…Don Henley may be the greatest poet of my lifetime…anyway, here are the lyrics…   

There’s a hole in the world tonight, don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow. They say that anger is just love disappointed…they say that love is just a state of mind. 

I felt an incredible weight after listening to these lyrics. For those that feel that love is just a state of mind because they have never felt the love of a friend, the love of God. And I guess also because I know there is a hole in the world and what am I doing to fill it…how missional are my actions. 

What songs make you want to take action for the cause of Christ…for humanity? Where do those songs call you to be?

I Know How God Feels…

Posted in Church, Faith, Family, God, Relationships, Religion on March 29, 2007 by Scott

I just sat through my first tornado experience in 20 years.   Growing up this was a regular springtime experience, but this time it was different.   

For the last twenty years I have lived in Orange County, CA, Phoenix and
Washington, DC.  I traded-in tornados for pollution, earthquakes, and extreme heat.  Just days after 9/11, our beautiful daughter was born.  In that moment, everything changed.  Eventually we moved back “home” to be closer to our families.
 

Today, as the sirens went off, I immediately thought of my five-year old daughter and how alone and scared she must feel (before you call DHS, she was at school – but alone figuratively).  Only ten miles separated us, but it was painful.  I knew she needed her mommy and daddy, just to hold her and let her know that everything was okay.  

Driving home, it struck me that maybe this is how God feels when we separate ourselves from him.  It must break God’s heart to know that we are out here all alone, looking for someone to tell us that everything is okay – especially when it’s storming. 

Don’t wait for the sirens to go off.

Wal-Mart’s Emerging Shoppers

Posted in Church, Environment, Evangelism, Megachurch on March 29, 2007 by Scott

The king of discount pricing… Wal-Mart…is moving next door, well not next door but essentially across the street from our neighborhood.  Soon to follow is Barnes & NobleChili’s, and PF Changs; gone will be the walks to the park and in its place…suicide lanes, nomadic shopping carts and light pollution.

I wonder if smaller, community-based churches feel encroached upon when the big, bad megachurch moves in on their territory. I mean how different are they? There is traffic, noise, etc.. …Do they actually attract new consumers or just pull the same people from different locations?

…is it all about the concept and less about the people or do the smaller churches just need to get better…more missional to relate to Emerging Christians?

People drive for miles for the experience but can they connect with the community/neighborhood on that same level? What can we do to ensure we aren’t driving other churches out of business, but rather enhancing their position?  At the same time, how can we be a grassroots organization?

Warning:  Small Groups is not the answer…how many of your church’s existing groups include their neighbors that go elsewhere or do not attend, or are meeting the specific needs of the neighborhood/community?

Is Falwell Saying Its Okay to Trash the Planet?

Posted in Church, Environment, Evangelism, Religion on March 26, 2007 by Scott

Before we get to the serious stuff…. Last week, Terry Storch at Lifechurch.tv posted this video of Will Ferrell imating President Bush.  No matter which side of the issue you are on – this is funny. 

Believing that global warming is “Satan’s attempt to redirect the church’s primary focus,” Jerry Falwell recently spoke about global climate change is his sermon “The Myth of Global Warming.” His sermon was a direct response to the recently organized  Evangelical Climate Initiative – a group of Evangelical leaders who believe that climate change is both an urgent issue, as well as a Christian issue.

A few days after his sermon, Falwell was quoted as saying God will maintain the Earth until Jesus returns.”  Falwell implies that no matter what humans do to the planet, God will take care of it.  

Is there evidence in the Bible that God will sustain the Earth no matter what humans do to it?  Has God ever said “”Here take what is mine and do whatever you want with it?”  No matter what we do, God will fix it? 

Would You Miss Your Church?

Posted in Church, Evangelism, Religion on March 24, 2007 by Scott

This week Brand Autopsy ran an interesting series entitled Would You Miss…?  They looked at Chili’s, Subaru, Sears, Wells Fargo, and the Memphis Grizzlies – asking if these organizations provided such a unique product and customer experience that you would be saddened if it didn’t exist?

So here is the obvious question… Would you miss your church if tomorrow it was gone?  Does your church provide something that you haven’t found anywhere else?  Or would you simply move on and transfer to another church down the road?

Joshua Harris addressed this issue in his book, Stop Dating the Church.  He writes, “God has designed us to build our lives around a local church; we cannot be indifferent or uninvolved. Rather, we must be in love with and committed to God’s plan and purpose through the church. Are you dating the church, or are you committed?”

If you wouldn’t miss your church… its time to find another church.  

Did You Make a Difference Today?

Posted in Discipleship, Evangelism on March 22, 2007 by Scott

Yesterday I had only a few minutes to grab some lunch.  Against my better judgement, I chose the local fast food Mexican restaurant (think poor man’s Taco Bueno) – for no other reason that the line was shorter than any other alternative.

Much of my fast food experience was normal.  I had to repeat my order twice because the speaker wasn’t working properly.  It took longer than normal to get my food.  They almost forgot part of my order.   It was everything you would expect in a drive-thru experience. 

Here is where it gets different.  As I drove away, the drive-thru employee said “Have a blessed day!”

It took a few seconds for this to sink in.  Did she really say that?  Then I thought to myself… how cool is that?  She didn’t ignore me or say Thank You, Come Again, or one of the numerous other culturally acceptable phrases.  She said “Have a Blessed Day.”

In a few fleeting moments, she reminded me that I am blessed.  Her words bounced around in my head the rest of the day.  I almost felt a responsibility to live a “blessed day.”  My day was better because of what she said.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the moment that I forget how blessed I am.  But the real lesson I learned was that everyone can make a positive difference in someone else’s life – even those we only engage for a few seconds – by offering words of encouragement, a friendly gesture, or even something as simple as a smile.