Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swiming upstream:

I wonder, from time to time, how do we as a Church ever compete with the other 6 days of the week? Think about it; we have basically one day to influence each other, while the world gets the other six days.

Walking out of the auditorium we step into the world of: TV, radio, Internet, advertisement, entertainment, literature, school/homework, work, vacation, the news, hobbies, sports, ect. The deck is staked against us. This competitive question isn't even addressing how our collective attention span has been hampered by video games and/or the sound bites we are bombarded with, either. I'm simply talking about,
who is influencing our thinking/beliefs more, the world or the Church...?

If we counted up all of the hours spent together as a community of believers each week, what would our total be?
An hour and a half, to two hours for many of us. Some come to Bible study 1st, and then the morning worship services, so there's around two and half to three hours. If you come back Sunday night or go to a lifegroup, the entire Sunday might accumulate five hours focused on worshipping God and your spiritual growth. If we included Wednesday nights, we might up-it to six or seven hours a week of time focused on Biblical issues. It's hard to estimate though if it's focused time when we text-message during the assembly or become distracted by other concerns when we gather together.

Compared to the rest of the week, three to seven hours is not a lot of time.
A recent study released says on average, children watch at least 24 hours of TV in a week.
Hmmm. What can we do?

Well, we could wring our hands and grumble about how the world is going down the drain. That's not going to help change anything.

We could become like the Amish and seclude ourselves from the world.
That won't work either; I doubt we could give up our modern-day conveniences even if we wanted to...

Perhaps instead of only trying to tell each other what to think, we should focus on how to think as well? Preaching and teaching and passing on correct doctrine is essential; but it's not sufficient. IT's vitally important we are committed to knowing the truth, but that's not enough. We also have to know how to think, not just what to think. We have to be able to reason through logically, and have an ownership of our faith. And that's what helps us to keep our head on straight the other six days.

Moses' instruction to continually fill ourselves with God's Word every waking hour is worth considering here:
Deut 6:6-9, "6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Pair that up with what Paul says in II Cor 10:3-5, "3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ..."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Middle school class:

Tonight we kick off the new class for the middle schoolers, "How to understand everything: a study of Genesis chapters 1-11"

Sounds pretty ambitious, huh?
I hope to get the kids excited about the primeval history that Genesis provides, and I hope to shape the way they think about/see reality. I think almost everything we need to know is found in the 1st eleven chapters of Genesis. Not everything, but just about thing is there...
I'm excited about teaching the Middle school class for several reasons. High schoolers typically are too cool to participate and interact as much as the MS class... Adults are even more reserved in a class setting. But, you never know what's going to come out of the mouth/minds of these MS kids though! I love the questions and the responses these kids consistently throw out!

One of my favorite teaching experiences was with the MS class when I taught them the class on "What does the Bible say about....?" and I let the kids ask any question they wanted about any subject, and we studied the Bible to find the answers. We looked at weird topics like UFOS, demon possession, topics like how did Adam name the animals, what happened to the dinosaurs, and contemporary topics like how do we treat homosexuals. Nothing was off limits, and the kids were great.

I wonder if the kids will ask were Cain found a wife this time around???

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mom thinking outside the box:

This story was too good not to comment on... How dumb can you get? If it was just across the subdivision people would freak out, but this lady is on the highway?

Ala. woman lets daughter ride in box on top of van

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — An Alabama woman has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after police say she let her daughter ride in a cardboard box on top of their van. Albertville Police spokesman Sgt. Jamie Smith said the 37-year-old woman was arrested Sunday after police received a call about a minivan on a state highway with a child riding on top.

Smith said the woman told police the box was too big to go inside the van, and that her daughter was inside the box to hold it down.

Smith said the mother told officers it was safe because she had the box secured to the van with a clothes hanger.

The 13-year-old daughter wasn't harmed and was turned over to a relative. A jail worker said the mother was out on bond Monday.

Information from: The Huntsville Times,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Story, narrative, or what?

Yesterday when I preached on Daniel in the Lion's den, I used the phrase several times, "story of" "story about," etc. It was gently and lovingly brought to my attention that some people mistakenly think the word story is almost always synonymous with fiction. I recognize that's the case with some people; it's easy to misunderstand the intended meaning of the word "story" in a day and age when people don’t always value absolute truth. So, let me try to alleviate this misperception on the use of the word story...

Somehow the term story seems to have a significantly greater force than some of the alternatives, so I'd really like to stick with the word story. How then do we avoid being misunderstood, how do we convey that story is, in this case, a legitimate real — authentic relay of information? I know what I mean when I use the word; getting that across might take some extra effort.

We could use several different words, when we mean story: account, narrative, report, chronicle, or maybe even statement, again, instead of story. This is tough, especially since I plan to preach through the "great stories" of the Bible between now and next May. I don't think it will be appreciated if every week, each sermon begins with a disclaimer on the intended meaning of the word story.

Perhaps occasionally saying things like: these are real people, real places, this really happened, or some equivalent to that, might work. I’m not sure what’s best. Maybe a combination of every so often reminding people that story is not synonymous with fiction, and then every so often replacing the word story with “account of” “description of” or “retelling” might work.

If you have an idea on how to clarify this, please let me know J Who knows, your “story” of helping me out might just make it into the Sunday morning sermon…