• 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…

  • Renewal or Resolutions

    What do you do differently this year than you did last year? Is that difference helpful? These questions are basically the intent of the resolutions many people make at the end of every year. Essentially a resolution says, “I want to make a certain change in my life in order for something to be true.” But the reality is that most of us do not have the willpower to follow through on our desires. Thus, perhaps the naming convention should be New Year’s Intentions instead of New Year’s Resolutions. I used to make resolutions. For instance, one year my wife and I decided to join a gym because we wanted…

  • 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…

  • Free to Live

    Over the past five months, several have turned to this blog to gain insights on matters of church administration. As I mentioned at the conclusion of last week’s post, this blog is now returning to its original intent of encouraging and exhorting us to live in, not of the world. The series of posts related to church administration will continue and expand (over time) beginning in September. But before that can happen, a few decisions must be made on some important details. An announcement will be made on this site on August 30, so please mark your calendars to check back at that time. At least one announcement will be…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 4

    This post is the fourth and final post of my testimony related to becoming increasingly involved in the life of a church and in ministry overall. I allude to the three previous posts in this post. If you wish to read them for context, you can find them in the following links. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Although every person who follows Jesus is called to serve Him in some way, I realize not everyone is called to pastor a church, teach in a seminary, or lead a mission organization. In fact, a true understanding of the body of Christ ensures that such a calling is not possible. Otherwise,…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 3

    The blog this year has focused on the idea of what makes a church healthy. As I said early in this series, I am not attempting to re-write what has been offered by experts such as Dever, Rainer, and others, I am simply adding my perspective which can then be infused into the overall conservation. As part of adding my perspective, I am sharing my personal testimony as it relates to becoming involved in a/the church. Overall, the idea is more than becoming involved; the idea is about discipling others. However, getting people involved in ministry does allow for discipleship opportunities as I have shared over each of the past…