Wednesday, September 17, 2014

World Vision Wednesday

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed over 2,000 lives. World Vision is a part of the effort to curb the virus. Check this out to find out more information.

Friday, September 12, 2014

To Jennie On the Eve of Your Wedding

When you came into our lives we knew that the day would come when you would fly from the nest and begin a new chapter in your life. That day is upon us and we could not be any more proud of you or any happier for you. You have brought so much joy into our lives and it is wonderful to see how God has blessed you.

We are so proud of the woman you have become, and we are so pleased that God has brought you and Charlie together. We think he will be a good husband, who will love you as Christ loved the Church.

Jennie, we pray for God's richest blessings on your marriage, as you travel through life together. May your lives be filled with joy and love. May the Father draw you close to him and fill you with his grace and love. We love you so much!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekend Wanderings

This week's links post is condensed. We have a lot to down today to get ready to fly out tomorrow for our daughter's wedding in California next Saturday.

A different look at the prodigal son.
Increase and decrease.
Zack Hunt is refreshed.
Good post from Keith Giles.

Four myths.
Addicted to busyness?
Missing message.
Looks as if the Scots may be independent.
Dan Siedell on suffering and art.

That's all the links for the next couple of weeks. Hope you are blessed.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blast From the Past: Who Is Your Pastor?

This was originally posted on February 28, 2012. With all the stuff happening with some very high profile preachers, it is still relevant.

Alan Knox points to a post over at More Than Cake, titled, Paparazzi Pastors Leading a Celebrity Church. There is an increasing trend among Christians today to follow what can best be described as "celebrity pastors," whether those people be in a local church, another city in the same state, on the other side of the country, or halfway around the world. In the post there are listed a number of ways how these folks gain such a following.

It is dangerous when we try to "follow" someone who we don't know, someone who is not a part of our daily lives. We know nothing about how they are living out what they are preaching, or if they even are living it out at all. The only thing we see is a carefully choreographed performance designed to make the speaker look good. Such performances can be inspiring, but there is very little instruction as to how it shakes out in the day-to-day. There are certainly no examples of how to follow Christ. Those must come from seeing each other in action.

As Alan states, "If you do not know someone – or are not growing to know someone – and if you never see them in a context other than speaking in front of a group of people, then that person is not shepherding (pastoring) you, regardless of what title the person may take for himself or be given by others."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review: Undiluted by Benjamin L. Corey

This is my first attempt at a book review, so be gentle.

Benjamin Corey and I grew up in very similar environments. The difference between us is that he had his evangelical fundamentalist paradigm turned upside down while in seminary, while it didn't happen to me until I was a few years older. Corey begins his book with this statement:
As Christians in America, we're often lulled into the false belief somehow we have a monopoly
  on the pure and undiluted version of the message of Jesus. Unfortunately, we don't. Christianity
     by nature has a tendency to blend in and become obscured by the cultural influences that surround      it ---such has been the case for nearly 2,000 years of Christian history.
     Our experience is no different.
He then proceeds to tell how his world was turned upside by what he calls the undiluted message of Jesus. 

Corey's premise is that Christianity as we know it is not what it was meant to be in the beginning. He makes the case that we have watered down the message of Jesus into something that fits our lifestyle, our economics, our politics and our personal comfort. In each chapter we find an area where our version of Christianity has lessened the original message and how going to back to what Corey calls the undiluted message of Jesus changed his life. 

This is not an easy book to read. As the author states, "In doing so (recovering the undiluted message of Jesus), you might experience a few deaths." How many deaths will depend on how tied to cultural Christianity one may be. I found myself challenged to think about where I wasn't simply following Jesus, and reaffirmed in ways I had already left diluted ways of thinking behind. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to take a good hard look at what they believe and why. Some may not like what Corey has written. Some may even dismiss him as another one of those "liberals." I have found through the years that it is best not to dismiss things out of hand, but rather to see what is there that is worth keeping and depending on the Spirit to guide me. You may not agree with everything in this book, but there is much there that is worth keeping. At the very least, Corey will make you think. And that's good. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

World Vision Wednesday

The fighting between Israel and the Palestinians has had a huge negative impact on the ones who are innocent - the children. World Vision continues to work to help children in that part of the world.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekend Wanderings

Not much has been different here in the sunny South. It's summer again, after a stretch of cooler weather. Those who claim to know say we'll have a colder and wetter winter. We'll see.

On to the links:

Bill Cosby weighs in.
Good post from Dan Edelen.
Love and shame.
Some ideas.
In, or out?

Mr. Rogers.
Good questions.
Two good things.
Beautiful feet.
Saving what?

Humility without being humble.
Opening our hearts.
Don't worry.
A good article on what is happening to children.
Zack Hunt on faith.

Good post from Eugene Cho.
Love in the desert.

Have a blessed week!