church

Is God a Person?

Yes! I would say God is a person. I ask the question because it came up in a discussion with a church member after I had mentioned that we are persons molded in the image of God, and that God is the ultimate person.

They promptly answered back, “No, God is not a person! God is God!”

(more…)

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Junia Is Not Alone in the Church – Scot McKnight

It was a privilege to attend Dr. McKnight’s original lecture at Fuller Theological Seminary on October 26, 2011. His was a cogent, scholarly presentation shedding light on the misogynistic history of biblical interpretation regarding a prominent apostle named Junia referred to by Paul in Romans 16:7.

I understand he has released a small eBook: “Junia Is Not Alone” based on his lecture and, although I have not read the eBook yet, would highly recommend it for those interested in the debates about female leadership in the church. The lecture does not of course address the whole gamut of issues but concentrates on Junia and how she has been understood and misinterpreted via the lens of a specific socio-cultural agenda. Regardless of where you stand on the current complementarian/egalitarian debates, this is a must read. I for myself am not ashamed to stand squarely within the egalitarian camp. I believe, taking the scriptural witness as a whole, that where the Spirit of God indeed is, there is freedom…

He Will Not Let Your Foot Be Moved

<A Song of Ascents.> I lift up my eyes to the hills– from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.
(Psa 121:1-8 NRS)

I wanted to share one of my favorites Psalms as a reminder of how God cares for you. In the midst of great trials be assured that God is your help. Look up to the hills. Cry out to God and He will not refuse his child. Your future may be bleak from where you stand, but look back from where you have come. Remember how God has always been there for you. Then you can stand on faith that He will see you through your present circumstances. (more…)

Designer Faith

USA Today just reported recently on their blog site that more Americans are tailoring their religion to fit their needs. This was based on George Barna’s research on which I posted an earlier blog.

It doesn’t surprise me at all in this postmodern, fragmented culture.

Professional “church” leadership such as me could lament the good ole days when the pastor was revered and the church was held in high esteem by society. But, to be honest, there’s no lament from me! There’s no rejoicing either. Just cold, hard reality. This is a consequence of reformation ideals. We protest, we diversify, we democratize, we rail against the system, and we split up. I am a consummate Protestant!

It is the reality of the priesthood of all believers. (more…)

The Barna Group – Barna Examines Trends in 14 Religious Factors over 20 Years 1991 to 2011

The Barna Group – Barna Examines Trends in 14 Religious Factors over 20 Years 1991 to 2011.

Some of Barna’s findings affecting the State of the Church, 2011:

  • Bible reading undertaken during the course of a typical week, other than passages read while attending church events, has declined by five percentage points. Currently an estimated 40% of adults read the Bible during a typical week.
  • Church volunteerism has dropped by eight percentage points since 1991. Presently, slightly less than one out of every five adults (19%) donates some of their time in a typical week to serving at a church.
  • Adult Sunday school attendance has also diminished by eight percentage points over the past two decades. On any given Sunday, about 15% of adults can be expected to show up in a Sunday school class. (more…)

Growing the Church

Talking this week to a good friend of mine about LifeSpring made me start thinking about church growth. This month is my first year anniversary at LifeSpring. I’ll be quite frank. It wasn’t what I expected.

I knew of course that ministry would be difficult. But the first year was painful! There were so many things I went through–the personal disappointments and the hurts–that it is nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t simply give up and leave. About nine months into the ministry I was so discouraged that I considered leaving; that perhaps someone else could do a better job of it than me. But time after time I drew strength from God. And so I can only thank Him for seeing me through; and not just surviving, but coming out of it with a renewed sense of passion and joy because I see that God is right here working in our midst.

Every minister wants his or her church to grow. If they don’t, why are they in ministry? For that matter, why go into business? Why do you open a restaurant? (more…)

Richard Mouw’s Response to PCUSA Amendment 10A

Many of you may be aware that PCUSA has ratified Amendment 10A on ordination standards that will take effect July 10, 2011. This opens the door for homosexual and lesbian ordination in local PCUSA congregations. As far as I know, this is the third major American denomination in recent years to do this; the others being ELCA (Lutherans) and Episcopalians (Anglicans). (more…)