An Ancient Discipling Approach that works 365 Days A Year

When I was on the programming team at a non-denominational church, we’d open our planning meetings with the prayer, “Lord, guide us as we plan our church’s services”. We’d then pull out the congregation’s master activity calendar in order get a birds’-eye view of what activities were on the schedule.Next, we’d do a little creative brainstorming to think about what music and other creative elements we could use to support the theme of the upcoming sermon series. Where could we use a video? Wha … [Read more...]

How To Celebrate God’s Faithful Presence Throughout The Moments, Days, Years

At Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience blog today:Nursing our little girl through recovery from open heart surgery, it’s kinda clear: Time is a gift that we sometimes forget we’ve been given. Time is an opportunity to experience eternity in the everyday. Michelle Van Loon is our guide through the major events of the Jewish and Christian calendars. She grew up in a Jewish home and came to know Christ in her teens. The colorful but disconnected puzzle pieces of the faith she’d experienced as a chil … [Read more...]

My Place At The Table

The resolution affirmed by 82% of those voting at the recent triennial gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) calling for an end of all American aid to Israel reminded me once again that to be a Jewish follower of Jesus sometimes requires thick skin.Writer Elliott Abrams sums up the language in the resolution: A time bound agreement– so facts on the ground, for example the strength of Hamas or even ISIS in the Palestinian territories would be irrelevant. Stop all c … [Read more...]

What’s In The Stack?

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. -- Mark TwainEven as I've been in book release mode these last weeks, excited to launch my own book into the world, I've been savoring the words of others. During the last few weeks, I've been spending time with the books pictured at right, as well as a couple of more works of fiction not in the shot. Here's a quick review of each:Saints: A Year in Faith and Art by Rosa Giorgi (Abrams 2005) - This gorgeous volume o … [Read more...]

Living Eternity Everyday

From my recent e-newsletter - read to the bottom and check out the contest: When you think of Jesus’ call to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), what practices come to mind? Evangelism? Prayer? Service? Study?We speak of the importance of everyday discipleship mostly in terms of making sure we slot time for individual spiritual disciplines like worship, Bible reading, and fellowship. But have you ever considered the way in which our calendar shapes our days or informs our di … [Read more...]

Church Leaders: Distrust And Obey?

There are some very good reasons for church leaders not to trust a congregant. Some are obstructionists, determined to resist all change. Others engage in politicking and clique-forming. Still others enter the church with agendas, addictions, or abusive tendencies.There is wisdom in maintaining good boundaries with a member possessing toxic tendencies that must be balanced with the call to shepherd even the balky or difficult sheep, not just the lovable ones.But sometimes distrust … [Read more...]

Why I’m Not A World Changer

Recently, a friend of mine named Katie confessed her deep discouragement over her “failed” quest to turn the world upside down for God. She’d pursued a ministry degree from a Christian college and after graduation, secured what she believed was a world-changer job at a world-changing church. But then her vision collided with longstanding, intractable politics that had turned the congregation inward on itself. Three years later, mired in student loan debt and disillusioned by her experience, she l … [Read more...]