• Communicating With God, Part 3

    In last week’s post, I shared three aspects of what prayer can (should?) be. Like with all communication between close friends, we should find ourselves sending messages and expecting replies, receiving messages and sending replies, and regularly checking in with the other person. But prayer is not just talking with any person, it is talking to God. And thus, most of us struggle with these concepts for a variety of reasons. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons is a fear of asking hard questions. Honestly, most people struggle with having difficult conversations in general. We like easy, and non-committal conversations but going deeper makes us vulnerable. And being vulnerable,…

  • Communicating With God, Part 2

    In last week’s post, I wrote of our need to pray. Why do we need to pray? Because Jesus did. And Jesus is God. So, if He, as the Son, needed to pray to the Father, then we do too. But the concept of prayer is scary to most people. Why? In part because we make it more than it is. What do I mean? Well, prayer is simply communicating. Granted, that communication is with an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, holy, and unseen God, but it is still simply communicating. So, today, I want to show you that prayer is not really much different than how you already communicate. We simply…

  • Communicating With God, Part 1

    Why is it, in a time when we cannot escape communication, we find it more difficult than ever to communicate with God? Well, the answer cannot be because we do not know how to communicate. Communication is everywhere. The light on our phone is constantly blinking which is a message from our phone to us that we have some message or action that needs to be addressed. Messages come in the form of text messages, FaceBook posts or through Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And occasionally our phones even receive a call! Likewise, advertisements are all around us as we walk, bike, or drive around. As we watch television we see…

  • Being Labeled

    Labels are common and necessary in some parts of our life. For instance, when shopping for food or medicine, reading the label is important to know what the contents of the packaging are. However, labels can be harmful when they are misapplied. And when we label people, we often misapply. On Sunday, I intentionally labeled myself a sinner. As the picture shows, I did not do this verbally, I did it physically. I did it in conjunction with teaching about the story of Jesus telling of the Good Samaritan. My sermon notes can be found here if you want the details of my approach for the day. The truth is…

  • A Day of Prayer

    This week’s post is a little different. I often use this blog to share what God is teaching me after having time to reflect on what I taught during a sermon or other lesson. But this week, most of what I learned happened beforehand. I do believe this post may encourage a few (or many) people, and thus I share it. The post is ultimately about prayer, and how our church spent a day praying. At the end of the post, I share two very different views of prayer based upon Psalm 23. At our church this past week we had a day of prayer. I have been a part…

  • Love One Another

    There are days within our lives that we wake up with the expectation that the day ahead will be challenging. Perhaps we have a meeting about a particular challenge our organization faces or with a particular person whom we find challenging. Many possibilities exist and when the day ahead is expected to be a challenge, we often do not sleep well the night before. I wonder how Jesus slept on the last night He would sleep. While the events leading up to Jesus crucifixion account for about 25% of each gospel, we do not have any real description of His sleep. We can tell by His actions that He was…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Job Descriptions

    In last week’s post, I provided some insights on why having a team description is helpful. Although many churches and organizations do not use this idea, knowing how a person (and position) fits into the overall dynamic of a team can be helpful. Many mid-sized and larger churches are using more of these ideas as more and more are becoming concerned with the overall interpersonal dynamics that are involved. However, the primary reason Team Descriptions are not prevalent is that many churches do not have job descriptions.* And people are more concerned about what they are doing (or are to do) than they are about fitting in with others, at…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Team Descriptions

    “I didn’t know that was something I was supposed to do!” “If I had known that, I would have never signed up for this!” Have you ever heard (or thought) these phrases? They are quite common. Why? Because of a lack of clear communication (see last week’s post here). Many leaders (and far more managers) are capable of communicating a general idea of what must be done, but do not focus on how the task fits the greater cause – and that is a problem. In fact, even that last sentence is a part of the problem because too many people focus on tasks instead of responsibilities! Generally, managers are…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Communication

    Last week, I shared a particular challenge within many churches is the lack of participation by the congregation and the lack of allowing for participation by the leadership. These two issues represent two sides of the same coin and often boil to a lack of expectations – either that someone wants help or that someone can get the job done. But one reason that jobs do not get done is a lack of communication. This issue can impact many areas of a church – large or small. Insufficient, or ineffective, communication can prevent people from knowing what opportunities are available for service, what the responsibilities are in service, why the…

  • Towards A Healthy Church, A Major Reason Involvement Is a Challenge

    Over the past four weeks, I have shared my testimony of moving from being apart from the church to being a part of a church to now being a leader in multiple aspects of The Church. These testimonial posts allowed me to personally review how God has worked over time in my life, and to share with others the need to both be invested in by others and to invest in others. However, before we leave this part of the series, I want to move from the personal to the practical. That is, I want to provide a few specific helps to help you, or help you help others, to…