Celebrate What God Has Done

    This week we will hold our annual Celebration Sunday, with joyful worship and fellowship.  I believe that this particular Sunday embodies a very important part of Church culture that we sometimes overlook.  Celebration is a valuable Spiritual practice that we sometimes fail to engage in. 

    At times, I think we are hesitant to do any celebrating because we are accustomed to the worldly practice that it is often self-righteous or boastful.  In the Christian mindset celebration is a completely different thing.  Celebration is about recognizing blessings in our lives and thanking God. Continue reading

Six ways to help your Pastor (and other worship leaders) worship

    In a conversation last week, I was told by someone who is a recent addition to a church choir how much they appreciated being “upfront” during Easter.  This person had discovered that as a worship leader you must reorient your approach to worship in order to be both participant and leader.  It is easy for those who are in worship leadership to become doers of worship.  By that I mean that a leader can often find themselves in a place of making sure worship is right for everyone else and miss their own opportunity to worship.  Continue reading

Thoughts On The Acts 16:5 Initiative: “So the churches were strengthened in faith and increased in numbers daily.”

I have mentioned Stan Ott’s name in worship and discussions over the past few years. Stan is the President of the Vital Churches Institute (VCI) and his passion is the transformation

of the mainline church. Stan teaches the principles of congregational vitality, transformation, missional endeavor, and leadership. As pastor, Stan has over thirty years of first-hand knowledge of the hard work and challenges that lead to the blessings of being a transformational congregation that moves to new vitality.

You have also heard me talk about the Acts 16:5 Initiative. The Initiative is an intentional program of congregational transformation. Continue reading

“What Colin Has Taught Me” or “A Child-like Faith Role Model”

no prescription cialis=”” width=”300″ height=”165″ /> Last Sunday someone spoke highly of my eight year old son, Colin. This person said, “there is something spiritual about Colin.” I, of course, took this as a complement and was glad to hear that folks have a positive perception on my child. On the other hand, I quickly asked the person if they would like to come to the house at homework time. Colin is not unlike every other child who at times seems to have horns, not a halo. Continue reading

Spiritual Growth… A Journey of Faith and Fun

Today, I have been thinking about the continual need for spiritual growth. This is partially due to the fact that the word “journey” comes to mind when we are talking about Lent. We are not people who live in a journey culture. We live in a destination culture. Our lives are not spent appreciating the view, but are fully focused on the road ahead as we seek to achieve our final destination. Of course, this often leads us to miss opportunities to witness beauty and wonder.

This is not a new problem. The human condition of sin has skewed our view of the world since the fall. Adam and Eve couldn’t see the garden for the tree. The people of Israel couldn’t see the blessings of God in the midst of the wilderness, all they wanted was to get to the promised land. Perhaps spending some time appreciating the view, may pay off dividends in our spiritual life.

So just how can we begin to reorient out lives from destination thinking to sojourners on a wonderful journey? I think there are a few specific things we can do that just might help. Continue reading

Claiming Jesus’ Authority In Our Lives, Article One

Southpark_Respect_My_Authority_Cartman_t-shirt_SThis past Sunday we addressed some of the basic realities of authority. In particular we looked at the reason some might have seen Jesus’ teaching as having authority while the scribes failed to have authority. Authority is not about office or status but instead it is about influence. Far too often we think that those who are “in authority” have authority. We need to look no further than our nations political system to see that this is not true. Just because someone is put into or takes on a position of authority, doesn’t mean that they will be able to exercise that authority.

Continue reading

Stewardship in Perspective and Percentage

payday loans no credit checkPercentage.jpg” alt=”” width=”682″ height=”247″ /> Each year, Christ Presbyterian Church shares the above chart with it’s members and friends. It is intended to help us gain perspective on our individual weekly giving. (Yes, I know that some give monthly or on another cycle.) A few things strike me each year when this chart is dragged out. Continue reading

A Prayer for Spiritaul Sight… A Prayer from a Pocket Prayer Book

Today as I was allowing frustration over simple and perhaps even trivial things get to me it hit me. I need to reorient my vision. It is so easy to become concerned with the minutia of life. Perhaps this is a good sign. If I can look at the small stuff perhaps that means there are not MAJOR issues that need to be dealt with. On the other hand, sometimes it is easy to turn to the little things and ignore the larger issues. Thankfully, I don’t think I have buried my head in the sand. I’m amazed at how this year Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas are truly coming together early and I have a wonderful staff and a congregation that is taking leadership to thank for that.

Then I must just need to commend God’s view of life and the world to myself and I hope you well. Lo and behold, I turned to the Pocket Prayer Book that I first introduced you to on Monday. Here is a prayer I found:

A Prayer for Spiritual Sight

Spirit of Jesus, make thyself real to us today. W e cannot see thee with these eyes of flesh, nor hear Thee with these ears. But there are other eyes and other ears. Even as Thou didst come again to Thy waiting disciples at Pentecost, so come to us. Our hearts need Thee. Our minds need Thee. Every part of our being needs Thee, O Spirit Divine, live with us today. Amen.

The Power of a Mustard Seed

cialis saleax.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Mustard-Seed-300×104.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”104″ /> This past Sunday we heard testimonials from two members about their experience of stewardship. Reflected in these testimonials I heard common themes that are often expressed in conversations about stewardship. Struggle, disappointment, encouragement, and blessings are just a few of the words that came to mind as I listened to the testimonials. Continue reading

Making Good Use of Good Gifts?

Each week during worship at Christ Presbyterian Church, we pass the plates and give an offering. In many ways this is the same worship act that has been going on in churches for centur

ies. As the Pastor, I am given the task of “calling for the offering” during worship. This is an introductory statement that is intended to both provide transition between parts of our worship, but is also, and perhaps more importantly, a time for me, as worship leader, to remind us of the why and what of our offering. So then, what is the why and what of our offering? Continue reading