Month: August 2009

Matt Redman Quote

The church has been under-fathered and over-mothered.

How do we take this quote and apply it to our churches?

Does anything need to change?

Are we okay with this mentality?

ht to Worship Matters

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Young Adult Reasoning?

This post was originally placed on ThinkYouthMinistry.

Why do people leave your church? No, really. Why do people leave? Think of the last 5 families that have left your church. Do you even know why they left? And did you or anyone discuss their decision with them after they left?

Orginally published on Monday, July 27, 2009 at 8:38 AM

by Todd Rhoades

Recently, my friend Ed Stetzer gave a presentation at the International Christian Retail Show on some of the research he’s doing at LifeWay. He shared the top reasons they’ve found that young adults are dropping out of church these days. Among the reasons:

1. They simply want a break from church (27%);

2. They felt church members are judgmental and/or hypocritical (26%);

3. They moved to college and didn’t find another church (25%);

4. They have work responsibilities that keep them from attending (23%);

5. They moved too far from church (22%);

6. They just got too busy, even though they’d still like to attend (22%);

7. They didn’t feel connected to the church in the first place (20%);

8. They disagreed with the church’s political/social stance (18%);

9. They decided to spend more time with friends (17%);

10. They were just going to church to please their parents (17%).

Invisible Children

We did it!4451_a

One of ideas I had going into this summer while working at camp was to somehow, in someway, support Invisible Children. I had many thoughts ranging from a screening of their documentary to the whole church, to a parents evening only, but how it actually come though, well, I couldn’t have asked for more.

We showed the bracelet videos to our campers. Even though there may have been some hesitation on my part due to some of the images of war, I got past that and relied on the judgment given to me by God that this was how it was supposed to be. The jr. high kids, especially, got emotionally and personally involved in the films as they heard the stories – of kids their age – brought to life before their eyes. Lives that would include walking to a town to sleep, killing their peers, or even thinking about not growing up with parents. The stories touched us in so many ways that these invisible children will never be forgotten.

One boy, whose name is Sunday, caught my attention the most. He exemplified being a leader, determined, passionate, resilient and many other qualities that would make any parent of the western world proud as a peacock, as the saying goes, of their child.

The thing is that Sunday should not, at his age, have to be all these things. For the children of Uganda, their childhood has been torn from their grasp.

To many people watching these films or hearing these stories, the information and emotions makes them uncomfortable. This should then lead to a simple question:

WHY?

I am still uncomfortable with Sunday’s story, but I’ll be honest, I look up to him for what he goes through daily. All that and he still has the heart to give what money he has to the kids of the village even though it means his school funds are not met. That makes me question my values.

So, to end the week of camp, we showed a short clip to our parents of the kids at camp describing who the Invisible Children are. We also had a silent auction and asked for a free-will donation. I had no expectations or goals for this, all I hoped for was an enlightenment, a call for justice and an emergent hope that this war could eventually end with the help of people like us.

We raised $800.00. I was happy, but I was mostly thrilled with the conversations that occurred after the screening between parents, staff and myself about how individuals can get more involved. For someone who feels led to bring forward a call for social justice, who likes to start a good conversation, or tries to find ways to help individuals in need, this was a perfect ending to a fantastic night.

POST SCRIPT

After the event, Amy and I watched the complete documentary (first time for Amy, third for myself) and it still left me with the same question of: Why? What is my next step going to be, and I hope as you are reading this, that your next step is to look up more info on this tragic seventeen year war.

PLEASE VISIT

www.invisiblechildren.com

Truth?

Tony Jones’ book continues to amaze me. It has OldComic_2006-01-03_Truth

been awhile since I have had so many questions

while reading a book.

I love it!

Reading should challenge, drive, and pull you into a

world that forever changes you. This book is doing just that. Today was about truth, and as I sat in Starbucks reading his argument, it seemed to make so much sense.

We have no problem saying that describing God is beyond our human understanding. Our fallible nature/brain is not able to comprehend the complete greatness that is our wonderful Creator. We also have no qualms with acknowledging the fact that God is Truth.

His Word is Truth!

That statement does not even make most people look or think twice. That is just the way it is.

However, if you ask someone to describe truth, you can usually get a response of some sort.

How can this be? If God cannot be described because of the His grandiose nature, and if He is Truth, then how do we even begin to think that we can define truth?

“Talk of Truth demands the same humility as Talk of God.” This conclusion made Tony Jones’ argument take larger effect. Truth starts to become a little more relative, doesn’t it?

The biblical narrative does not use truth as a hinge. The Word of God focuses on a way of life that Yahweh calls us to in the Old Testament, and Jesus calls us to this new life in the New Testament. God has no rules to hold Him back, no bonds to His will or strength. 

The fact is (notice how I did not use the word truth there) that Jesus is not held back in the truth of the left (physics), or the truth of the right (supernatural). He is God. He can defy all the laws of physics and he can go well beyond our concepts of the supernatural. God does not fit in a box, but He creates the box, and daily goes beyond the limits we set out for Him.

There is something in the middle of the truth of the left and right.

That is Jesus.

Jesus, a combination of the divine and humanity, and a combination that is perfect and true.

New Canada Jersey

Well, today they were revealed. jer_61634

I see quite a Toronto Maple Leaf

influence in it myself… well, at

least before the post-lockout

Reebok jerseys that thought if they

removed some striping, then the

jersey would look sleeker. I say big mistake, but at least these new jerseys went back to show how classic the look is. Take away the red, add some blue, and presto-chango: You have the late-90’s Maple Leaf jerseys back.

I like ‘em, how about you, eh?

ESV, NLT, NIV, KJV, The Message… Which to Choose?

Is one translation of the Bible more truthful than the other?

This is the question of the ages that has created heated arguments, rifts in friendships and even splits among church goers. Does this not go against the central message that the Bible presents?

Love God, Love others. Period.

Yes, I believe that the Bible was God-directed and is of the words of God that have been passed onto others and written as He intended. However, if we are going to argue over translations, shouldn’t all camps realize that any questions raised can be directed back at them?

For example, if I said that I would not read The Message because it is the Bible paraphrased and the King James Version is closer to the original words and is therefore more truthful, I would be continuing a common misconception. Hence, on the flip-side, I could say that the King James Version was translated by a human who could have been humanly influenced or is, in fact, not perfect and, therefore, makes any translation or its claim to be more truthful very skeptical. In fact, the Bible needed to be translated from different Greek, Roman and Aramaic sources even before it came to us in the forms we have today. Also, if someone wanted to search for the real and so-called truth, they could even go search out the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I am not harping on any translation (as I have quite a few), I am just frustrated over this claim that one version can be more truthful than another. I do believe though that some versions can be better suited for academic versions than others, but in terms of youth work and ministry, if a student understands, or can even relate more fully to The Message than to the KJV, can anyone really argue with that?

If they are reading the words of God and are then able to apply it to their lives, I see no value in an argument over translation.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians… From Themselves

First off, I’d like to state that although I am

rob-bellextremely positive about this book and the author, I did indeed read other reviews to consider some other perspectives. So, in retrospect, my views are not completely unaffected by outside sources. On that note, my favorite quote comes from Chapter Six where Rob Bell states: “A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that  consumer niche.”

In a time of buzz words and societal conformity, I find this statement refreshing. The honesty in verbalizing the need to let the words and teachings of Jesus be the “hook” that brings people into the church is what will allow people to come to a personal relationship with Him. As for conforming to our culture, I truly believe that the draw for our students – to keep them coming to church and youth programs – is allowing them to experience something that is beyond what they get in their homes, on their computer, or within their schools.

A fresh, honest experience delving into the words of Jesus is what they are yearning for.

I think that if they were not looking for a relationship with Jesus, as well as fellowship with other believers, they would not be attending.

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25 in the Message or page 159-60 in the book.)

As for the writing style of Rob Bell, whether for or against the short passages, my family and I came to think of it as a written account of the spoken word – almost an oral history of sorts. His syntax is very much a mirror of the spoken word used to account the history of the Israelites. This, unfortunately, is disrupted by those who choose to critique his style rather than excepting it as a reinvention of an ancient technique.

Throughout the book, the current state of the church in society is equated with Israel as they were as slaves in Egypt, Israel as they were in exile, and Israel in their post-exilic state. The authors continually talk about a “new exodus” idea where God will rescue his people from slavery and oppression once again. The primary proposition of the book is that Christians need to remember the poor, give thought to the oppressed, and work toward healing the perception of the church in mainstream society.

I would recommend this book in terms of a personal read. I wouldn’t say this is a necessary tool for youth work, but it is a great social commentary on the culture that surrounds us and, at times, penetrates the church. (See quotes below.) If you are looking for resource material, this book is of the wrong genre, however helpful and insightful.

The new humanity is not a trend.

Or when a church is known for attracting one particular kind of demographic, like people of this particular age and education level, or that particular social class or personality type. There’s obviously nothing wrong with the powerful bonds that are shared when you meet up with your own tribe, and hear thins in a language you understand, and cultural references are made that you are familiar with, but when sameness takes over,

when everybody shares the same story,

when there is no listening to other perspectives,

no stretching and expanding and opening up—that’s when the new humanity is in trouble (pg.156).

A church is not a center for religious goods and services, where people pay a fee and receive a product in return. A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer niche.

The way of Jesus is the path of descent. It’s about our death. It’s our willingness to join the world in its suffering, it’s our participation in the new humanity, it’s our weakness calling out to others in their weakness (pg. 158).

Today is Rob Bell Day

Well, only a little. drops+like+stars

I have been waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

It seems like forever, but the book that has

eluded me for so long is finally in my hands.

It’s huge!!! (Literally.)

Tomorrow, I will post a review on his previous book Jesus Wants to Save Christians. The post in its original form can be found at ThinkYouthMinistry as I am a contributing blogger for them.

Well, I am off to a wedding shower and it is supposed to be a hot one outside today… better not forget the sunscreen!

I Thought It Was a Good Idea

Who could have asked for a better trade?RSCN1355_2

Cincinnati was able to trade away a decent, but often injured third baseman to Toronto for Scott Rolen. Now, I know I live in Toronto and should bleed blue for the Jays, however my blood will never change from its blissful red, as Cinci will always hold a place in my heart.

The only problem now is four games into being a Red, Rolen has gone down with a concussion and is out at least 15 games. If we remember last season, all you Jays fans out there, Aaron Hill went down with the same injury and was out for the year.

My question now is the hot corner safe for anyone at the Great American Ballpark?

I guess we can only hope for the same turn around from Rolen as Hill had this year.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

First off, I’d like to state that although I am extremely positive about this book and the author, I did indeed  read other reviews to consider some other perspectives. So, in retrospect, my views are not completely unaffected by outside sources. On that note, my favorite quote comes from Chapter Six where Rob Bell states: “A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer niche.”

In a time of buzz words and societal conformity, I find this statement refreshing. The honesty in verbalizing the need to let the words and teachings of Jesus be the “hook” that brings people into the church is what will allow people to come to a personal relationship with Him. As for conforming to our culture, I truly believe that the draw for our students – to keep them coming to church and youth programs – is allowing them to experience something that is beyond what they get in their homes, on their computer, or within their schools.

 

A fresh, honest experience delving into the words of Jesus is what they are yearning for.

I think that if they were not looking for a relationship with Jesus, as well as fellowship with other believers, they would not be attending.

 

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25 in the Message or page 159-60 in the book.)

 

As for the writing style of Rob Bell, whether for or against the short passages, my family and I came to think of it as a written account of the spoken word – almost an oral history of sorts. His syntax is very much a mirror of the spoken word used to account the history of the Israelites. This, unfortunately, is disrupted by those who choose to critique his style rather than excepting it as a reinvention of an ancient technique.

 

Throughout the book, the current state of the church in society is equated with Israel as they were as slaves in Egypt, Israel as they were in exile, and Israel in their post-exilic state. The authors continually talk about a “new exodus” idea where God will rescue his people from slavery and oppression once again. The primary proposition of the book is that Christians need to remember the poor, give thought to the oppressed, and work toward healing the perception of the church in mainstream society.
I would recommend this book in terms of a personal read. I wouldn’t say this is a necessary tool for youth work, but it is a great social commentary on the culture that surrounds us and, at times, penetrates the church. (See quotes below.) If you are looking for resource material, this book is of the wrong genre, however helpful and insightful.

The new humanity is not a trend.

Or when a church is known for attracting one particular kind of demographic, like people of this particular age and education level, or that particular social class or personality type. There’s obviously nothing wrong with the powerful bonds that are shared when you meet up with your own tribe, and hear thins in a language you understand, and cultural references are made that you are familiar with, but when sameness takes over,

when everybody shares the same story,

when there is no listening to other perspectives,

no stretching and expanding and opening up—that’s when the new humanity is in trouble

A church is not a center for religious goods and services, where people pay a fee and receive a product in return. A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer niche.

The way of Jesus is the path of descent. It’s about our death. It’s our willingness to join the world in its suffering, it’s our participation in the new humanity, it’s our weakness calling out to others in their weakness