Sermon: Reuniting Old Friends

Sermon Text Ephesians 2:19-22 Sermon Excerpt The so-called religious right has sought to make their version of Christianity the only authorized American version.  While many within this group market a message that suggests a literal approach to the Bible is the only correct approach, the general public are not embracing that news.  In fact, only 3 in 10 people approach Scripture with a highly literal interpretative framework, and an understanding that it is the actual word of Read More …

Common Pastoral Mistakes

Eric Geiger, Vice President at LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared three common mistakes pastors make: not offering clarity, underestimating the power of culture, and switching strategies too frequently. So What? This short list can serve as a helpful tool for those interested in sincere introspection. If you serve in pastoral ministry, which of these three areas is most challenging for you?  How might you focus on strengthening your competency in that area before the Read More …

A Compelling Volunteer Culture

Many churches spend a lot of time talking about the need to recruit more volunteers.  Jeff Brodie, Executive Director at Connexus Community Church and a strategic partner of North Point Ministries, recently shared characteristics of congregations "that have a compelling volunteer culture."  His list includes they are motivated by what they want FOR people, not from people; they don’t just tell people that they are important, but they give them something important to do; they keep the Read More …

Review of Altar Ego

Meet the Author Craig Groeschel is the founding pastor of LifeChurch.tv, which has grown from a single campus in 1996 to a multi-campus church with weekly worship experiences in fourteen locations, including an online campus.  Groeschel has written six books, including The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist (2010, read my review here) and It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It (2011). Book Basics Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are is Read More …

Read & Reclaim the Bible

Ronald Hendel, professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California - Berkeley, recently blogged about why people should still be reading the Bible.  While many today opt for extreme positions - ignoring it or interpreting it in a very literal manner - he proposes an alternative: a respectful approach that emphasizes the impact of rather than the historicity of the stories contained within its pages. He writes:  . . . it is a book that lies at the heart of western Read More …

From Bigotry to Critical Thinking

Charles Negy, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida, is receiving considerable attention after an e-mail he sent to the students in his  cross-cultural psychology class in January was posted on reddit a few days ago.  Kaustuv Basu's article explains that Negy wrote the note after a class session about religion in which several Christian students behaved in a manner described as bigoted.  Since any excerpt from the note would not allow my readers a full Read More …

Learning from Other Congregations

Warren Bird, Research Director for Leadership Network and co-author of 24 books on various aspects of church health and innovation, blogged about the feedback he received from a recent focus group of pastors who shared their "great ideas for great churches," which include: Gifts for first-time newcomers Partnering with the local YMCA Shaping the Culture of the City Intentionally Multi-Ethnic Churches Citywide Youth Group Planting Churches to Reach People Like You So Read More …

Consumerism and the Church

Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, recently explored the impact of consumerism on our society and the church.  In society, Trueman finds that consumerism leads to  the infantilisation of society; huge levels of personal debt; and notions of truth and ethics that are as malleable as the market place. The larger culture of consumerism is now impacting the church in a number of ways.  According to Trueman this Read More …

Review of Veneer

Meet the Authors Jason Locy is founder and Creative Director of FiveStone, a multidisciplinary design studio whose client list includes MTV, Chick-fil-A, Q, and Catalyst.  Timothy Willard is a full-time writer who earned a Master of Arts in Christian Thought from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.   Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (2011), which they co-authored, is each author's first book. Book Basics Jason invited Tim to join his men's small group.  Based on three years Read More …

Reuniting Old Friends

This morning I am preaching at Naples United Church of Christ in Naples, FL.  You can read the full text of my sermon, Reuniting Old Friends, here. For more information about the books referenced visit my reviews of Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood (2011) by Alan J. Roxburgh To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (2010) by James Davison Hunter Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith (2010) by Marcus Read More …