Being a Leader without Being a Jerk (Ephesians 5:21-6:9)


ylic-web-banner.jpgThis past weekend, I spoke about how to be a leader without being a jerk, based on Ephesians 5:21-6:9. To listen to the message, click here.

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Motivational Posters for the Emerging Church


My buddy Steve Lake links to these satirical "motivational posters for the emerging church." Whatever you think of the emerging church movement, these posters are pretty funny. Here are my favorites:

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Bullwinkle Causes Global Warming


From Spiegel Online International:

The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year — equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey.

Norway is concerned that its national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting an estimated 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year through its belching and farting.

 

Norwegian newspapers, citing research from Norway’s technical university, said a motorist would have to drive 13,000 kilometers in a car to emit as much CO2 as a moose does in a year.

Bacteria in a moose’s stomach create methane gas which is considered even more destructive to the environment than carbon dioxide gas. Cows pose the same problem (more…).

Norway has some 120,000 moose but an estimated 35,000 are expected to be killed in this year’s moose hunting season, which starts on September 25, Norwegian newspaper VG reported.

As James Taranto put it in Best of the Web Today: "So not only man but animals cause global warming. Apparently the only way to preserve life on earth is to wipe out life on earth."

“Starbucks Spirituality”


Make sure to read "Starbucks Spirituality" over at ChristianityBibleStudies.com. It tells the story of Daniel Hill, a pastor, who also works part-time at Starbucks, and what he and others have learned about sharing Christ to a postmodern audience. Here’s a sample:

Daniel Hill suggests that 90 percent of the accusations Christians face are rooted in mistrust. "I don’t find that people have a problem with Jesus," he says. "They have a problem with Christians."

Anyone who claims authority today—politicians, parents, or pastors—will face the question of trust.

Rick Richardson, author of Evangelism Outside the Box and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s national field director for evangelism, observes: "When people ask questions about homosexuality, for instance, we’re tempted to think they’re asking questions about right and wrong. But they’re not. They’re asking about dominance and oppression.

"Homosexual strugglers look at what the church has done to women, they look at slavery, at this history of collaboration between Christian faith and Western dominance—and they say, ‘In light of that, how can I trust you?’"

If that’s the question, how can we respond?

The answer requires more than words. Christians, with PowerPoint presentations and four-point evangelistic outlines, have mastered the art of proclamation. But words alone aren’t going to answer the trust question.

Trust is built by actions, not words.

"We’re supposed to proclaim the kingdom of God and demonstrate the kingdom of God," says Soong-Chan Rah, pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church near Boston. "Evangelism for our generation means learning to do both.

"Part of proclamation means that we speak the whole gospel of Christ, not just the Westernized version of it. We also need to be good at demonstration—bringing healing to our sick society and at-risk neighborhoods, bringing wholeness not just to the spiritually lost but also to those who are under economic oppression."

I thought the article made for very provocative reading.

What to Expect When You Write about Revelation


As you know, I recently completed a Daily Word series on Revelation. Here’s one of the replies I received from an unknown correspondent:

Sir:
 

In an attempt to prevent people from being distracted from the Truth, as well as a full-scale military confrontation between the United States/Israel and Iran, I suggest that you remove the information about the Revelation of John from your website and replace it with a link to:
 
 
Thanks,
 
Michael (Daniel 12:1, Sura 2:98 of the Koran, Column XVII of the Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light)

Make of it what you will.

“The Case for the Real Jesus” by Lee Strobel


The Case for the Real Jesus.jpgIn one of their songs, the Canadian rock band downhere asks, “Can anybody show me the real Jesus?” For two millennia, Christians have turned to the New Testament to answer this question. But in the modern era, doubts have been raised about the New Testament’s canon, text, originality, and truthfulness.
 
Lee Strobel thinks these doubts can be overcome, and in The Case for the Real Jesus, he sets out to do so using the format he popularized in The Case for Christ. For each doubt raised about the New Testament’s portrait of Jesus, Strobel interviews a scholar with relevant expertise.
 
Strobel and his panel of experts consider six issues: (1) the extent of the New Testament canon, (2) the reliability of the New Testament text, (3) the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, (4) the independence of the Gospels’ portrait of Jesus from pagan rites and ideas, (5) the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in Jesus’ life and ministry, and (6) the exclusive truth of the Christian faith. For each issue, Strobel and his experts offer reasonable arguments for their positions, as well as consider and rebut opposing arguments. Their final conclusion is that the New Testament portrait of Jesus is the real one.
 
This book is geared for a popular audience, but each chapter concludes with a list of suggested readings for people interested in further investigation of the issues. I highly recommend it as an introductory text for people with doubts about Christianity, as well as for Christian small groups, book clubs, and Sunday school classes.

“A Phrase of Facile Liberality”


Over at the First Things blog, Robert T. Miller takes Roman Catholic Bishop Tiny Muskens to task for suggesting that Dutch Christians pray to God as Allah. (Muskens is bishop of Breda). The whole post is worth reading, but what I thought particularly excellent was this long quote from G.K. Chesterton:

There is a phrase of facile liberality uttered again and again at ethical societies and parliaments of religion: “the religions of the earth differ in rites and forms, but they are the same in what they teach.” It is false; it is the opposite of the fact. The religions of the earth do not greatly differ in rites and forms; they do greatly differ in what they teach. It is as if a man were to say, “Do not be misled by the fact that the Church Times and the Freethinker look utterly different, that one is painted on vellum and the other carved on marble, that one is triangular and the other hectagonal; read them and you will see that they say the same thing.” The truth is, of course, that they are alike in everything except in the fact that they don’t say the same thing. An atheist stockbroker in Surbiton looks exactly like a Swedenborgian stockbroker in Wimbledon. You may walk round and round them and subject them to the most personal and offensive study without seeing anything Swedenborgian in the hat or anything particularly godless in the umbrella. It is exactly in their souls that they are divided. So the truth is that the difficulty of all the creeds of the earth is not as alleged in this cheap maxim: that they agree in meaning, but differ in machinery. It is exactly the opposite. They agree in machinery; almost every great religion on earth works with the same external methods, with priests, scriptures, altars, sworn brotherhoods, special feasts. They agree in the mode of teaching; what they differ about is the thing to be taught. Pagan optimists and Eastern pessimists would both have temples, just as Liberals and Tories would both have newspapers. Creeds that exist to destroy each other both have scriptures, just as armies that exist to destroy each other both have guns

Chesterton had a way with words, no?.

“The Big Idea” by Dave Ferguson et al


The Big Idea.jpgI am an information junkie. I read newspapers, magazines, books, and blogs. I watch TV and listen to talk radio. I consider myself a well-informed guy. But being well-informed is not the same thing as being wise or effective. Indeed, too much information can paralyze our ability to make decisions.
 
Our churches often contribute to this glut of information. The pastor preaches on one topic, Sunday school teachers teach on another, the worship leader sings new songs with multiple verses, and the announcement guy rambles on with the church’s upcoming events. No wonder parishioners get stuck in their spiritual lives. They have too much information to act on. They know more than they can do.
 
In their new book, The Big Idea, Dave Ferguson, Jon Ferguson, and Eric Bramlett tackle the topic of information-glutted, decision-paralyzed churches. They argue that churches should teach one big idea per week, and that this big idea should be reinforced in all the church’s venues (worship services, Sunday school classes, and small groups). They demonstrate the multiple benefits of the big-idea approach. And they offer practical guidelines for how to implement this model of ministry in your church based on their own experience.
 
Do you want to make more and better followers of Jesus Christ? Do you want to see a greater connection between people’s faith and works? Then, as The Big Idea’s subtitle puts it, “focus the message” so that you can “multiply the impact.” Teach your parishioners one thing a week. They can do more with less.

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