Archive for December, 2007

Pass The Plate

Posted in Christianity, Culture, Leadership, Relationships, Religion on December 31, 2007 by Scott

I was recently in a grocery store and saw the sampler ladies out there with their product…one sausage, one vegetable…I was opting for the vegetable. I go by and the veggie lady has her back to me and the meat lady holds it out there…I decline, do the NASCAR oval, and head back. The veggie lady again has her back to me still organizing her veggies in a straight line but this time, I take the sausage.

The veggie lady cared more about the appearance of her product than the distribution. She was so concerned about the small matters that she forgot her assignment…life is like that. Church can be like that…so busy creating groups, we don’t do groups…so busy creating the series, we fail to deliver the message. How can we stop from making the same mistakes in life…not being so intrigued by a trend until the next one comes along.

We call this being wrapped around the wheel…Jesus was never wrapped around the wheel…his final words…”it is finished”. May our 2008 be purposeful.

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From the Inside-Out

Posted in Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Religion on December 27, 2007 by Scott

From our friends at Brand Autopsy:

“American companies are obsessed with window dressing because they’re reluctant, no, afraid, to look at whatever it is they really do and evaluate it from the inside out. When things are down, CEO’s look to consultants and marketers to rethink, rebrand or repackage whatever it is they are selling, when they should be getting back on the factory floor, into the stores, or out to the research labs where their product is actually made, sold, or conceived.” Douglas Rushkoff

Hmm… Get back to the factory floor, into the stores… where the product is actually made, sold or conceived.

That’s great advice for churches. Rather than spending our resources to rethink, rebrand or repackage Christianity, maybe we should focus our attention on being in the trenches, out in the world where our people need our product.

Perhaps we’re spending too much time focusing on the marketing when we should be paying attention to our product. If we did, more people might buy it.

Virgin Birth

Posted in Atheism, Blogs, Christianity, Culture, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion on December 26, 2007 by Scott

The Barna Group published research findings ….

Three out of four adults (75%) said that they believe Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, Mary, as described in the gospel narratives. Of the six Bible stories examined in the survey, this story was the most widely accepted.

A majority of all but one of the sixty population subgroups studied in the research took the virgin birth at face value. The exception was atheists and agnostics (among whom just 15% said this really happened). Some people groups in which a majority rejected every other Bible story tested broke that pattern in relation to the virgin birth. Mary’s virgin birth was accepted as literally true by two-thirds of upscale adults (66%) and by a bare majority of the unchurched (53%). Even a strikingly large share of those who describe themselves as mostly liberal on political and social issues (60%) adopted the biblical view of Christ’s birth.

Downscale individuals were substantially more likely than upscale people to characterize each of the six stories as factually reliable.

Protestants were more likely than Catholics to accept each of the six stories as literally true.

People who live in the South were more likely than residents of all other regions to embrace the truth of all six stories.

So…do you believe it and in its generally accepted biblical context, or do you believe the context that in that culture virgins were also considered those women who conceived when having intercourse for the first time…or is it all hooey? Can someone actually be a Christian if they waiver on this issue? Is there Christianity without this part of the story?

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter.

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Jesus, Religion on December 25, 2007 by Scott

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

The Christmas Hoax

Posted in Christianity, Culture, Jesus, Religion on December 24, 2007 by Scott

christmashoax.jpgAmericans will spend $475 billion on Christmas this year.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (the “Reason for the Season”) whose mother rode to Bethlehem on a donkey (not in a Hummer), who was born in a barn amongst animals (not at Cedars Sinai), a carpenter (not a CEO) who chose regular guys (not the elite) to be his sidekicks, who helped those others thought unworthy, who was beaten, spat upon, ridiculed and put to death with thieves – by spending $475 billion.

If Americans sacrificed just one Christmas, we could:

  • Eliminate starvation globally – $19 billion
  • Provide an education to every child on Earth – $12 billion
  • Provide access to water and sanitation to the world – $15 billion
  • Stop the spread of Aids and Malaria – $23 billion

We’d still have over $400 billion leftover to tackle health care, homelessness, jobs, and “go into all the world.” Better yet, imagine what God could do with $475 billion!

1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Let’s forget the “reason for the season.” He is THE reason all the time.

Faith-Based President

Posted in Atheism, Christianity, Culture, God, Leadership, Religion on December 22, 2007 by Scott

Before we vote…before we use faith as a barometer for addressing this nation’s issues…know your candidate…will his actions mirror his words.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State. History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, are creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life…. The National Government regard the two Christian Confessions as the weightiest factors for the maintenance of our nationality. They will respect the agreements concluded between them and the federal States. Their rights are not to be infringed…. It will be the Government’s care to maintain honest co-operation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith. The Government, who regard Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attach the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See and are endeavoring to develop them.

One of these is a quote by Adolf Hitler and the other is Thomas Jefferson. What are you looking for in a President?

This Too Shall Be Made Right

Posted in Blogs, Christian Music, Community, Culture, Faith, Jesus, Music, Video on December 20, 2007 by Scott

Derek Webb with a great a song but this video is also well done. He’s becoming the Don Henley of Christian artists. The opening line is telling…people love you the most for the things you hate.