I’m Quitting Church!

quitting-church1You can’t make everyone happy. Nowhere in my life has this quip proved more true then in the church. Fortunately, as a pastor I’m not concerned with making everyone in the church happy. What does concern me is assisting people in the church with the means to mature in their faith.  This Christmas I received Julia Duin’s book on why faithful Bible believing Christians are leaving the church. From unmet needs to shallow teaching her insights echo some of the rumblings I’ve heard from professing Christians that have fled their churches. Filled with alarming statistics and personal accounts, Duin’s book is a shot across the bow of church leadership, a shot that deserves to be addressed. I recommend it to anyone who desires to be a part of  a church that reaches those outside the faith with the gospel as well as one that feeds maturing believers with more than the basics of the faith.

Additional Book Recommendations

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr.

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Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgivingThe day turkeys dread has arrived. We’ll be celebrating with my family today. There’s always more food then we can shake a stick at. I am thankful for a lot this year. God has been faithful in his provisions, and I continue to grow as a Christian, husband, father and minister. Life has not been without its trials; however, growth can not occur without them. I am thankful He counts me worthy. I hope everyone has a joyful thanksgiving.

Consumerism in the Church: Part I: What if Starbuck’s marketed like the church?

A friend of mine passed this along to me this morning. It’s really funny. Sadly, I see this behavior every week at church, even from myself.

 

 

Praise the coffee! Pass the muffins.

As funny as the video is about the odd behavior demonstrated at churches there is a question begging to be addressed in lieu of the video, which is, how does a church effectively reach out to its community without being consumer driven in its focus? That is, how do we keep from becoming more concerned with what flavor of coffee is meeting with our guests satisfaction than with presenting a clear presentation of the gospel, as well as, providing Christians with a service in which they can worship?  (more to come)

When We Tire of People

train-wreckI occasionally tire of people. That’s a horrible thing to say as a minister. It’s the truth though. It’s because people, all people, come with baggage. By the time I place my baggage on the train with everyone else’s it can get pretty crowded. To often I’ve felt discouraged, disappointed and disenfranchised. At such times I know in my heart and mind that I’ve taken my eyes off the real prize. It’s easy to do. Ministers aren’t exempt from being human. I take comfort in knowing that even my Lord retreated from people. Even he experienced disappointment.

Yet, Jesus also wept for us. We aren’t broken enough for one another nowadays.  Most of the time the sermons we hear remind us of how special we are as individuals, never reminding us of our obligations to one another. I think this allows us to live in our private coach mindset.  It encourages a thinking that says we’re permitted to do life alone forgetting that even those with first class accommodations require service from others. 

As I was reading the other day I came across these words by C.S. Lewis. I’ve read them before but never have they been more alive in my mind.

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for sins in spite of which we love the sinner–no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.

What a privilege we have to rub shoulders with one another and to journey together.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

The Drowsy Poet

At first glance it sort of looks like Starbucks but on closer examination one notices that the iconic Mermaid is replaced by none other than William Shakespeare, and fortunately he’s wearing a shirt. The Drowsy Poet is a locally owned coffee house that rivals anything Starbucks has going and I don’t mean just drinks. They also have the atmosphere, merchandising and logo. The owner is often present and really knows his coffee. He’s very passionate about providing his customers with the best bean possible. They even do their roasting on location. It’s all top notch. As for drinks, my personal favorites are the Poetchino or Carmel Macchiatto.

So the next time you’re in Pensacola and thirsty for a coffee drink, pass up Starbucks, and give them a try. They’re located next to Pensacola Christian Academy at 86 Brent Lane.

The Pineapple Story (Part 3 & 4 of 6)

All of us at sometime struggle with surrendering our “rights” to God. It could be over a parking space that you saw first or recognition for an idea at work. Sometimes it surfaces as anger as in the case of Otto Koning in The Pineapple Story.  Enjoy as you find common ground with Otto Koning as he relates how he struggled to surrender his will over ownership of a pineapple garden to God’s providential care.