Do you see what I see?

             At times I worry that as the Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church I might have blinders on. I wonder if the perspective I see from is somehow skewed and leading me to the wrong conclusions.  The past two weeks have done more to affirm my understanding of the Christ Presbyterian community than anything else I can think of in recent memory.

             While at the Evangelism and Church growth conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, I found a deep sense of God’s work in our midst.  I have to admit that I was a  bit disappointed with the content of the conference.  Much of the information and ideas that were being presented were “old” to me.  As I sat in the plenary and workshops, I found myself feeling underwhelmed because I was looking for fresh insight.  It took a good soak in the Gulf of Mexico to find the morsel that I believe God was seeking me to discover.  As I reflected on my disappointment I found something I wasn’t expecting.  My disappointment turned to affirmation.  I realized that over the past few years, Christ Presbyterian has been employing many of the best practices for congregational transformation.  I found God affirming what we have been doing and that led to a deep sense of joy. Continue reading

A responce to the viral video of Middle School boys bullying a 68 year old woman. Over coming evil with good.

   I’m sure that many of you have seen the viral video of middle school student’s bullying a 68 year old bus monitor.  The video, which I didn’t watch all of because I don’t want to allow such poison in my heart, has been viewed by over one million people (you can find it on YouTube.  This has sparked a conversation about kids and how they are raised to treat others.  For some this video has a voyeuristic appeal as they enjoy the meanness they watch.  Others are being moved by this video to have conversations about civility and the practice of parenting. Continue reading

This Summer, “Take Time To Be Holy”

             As the summer season begins, I was considering how over the past few years worship attendance at Christ Presbyterian Church hasn’t trailed off as much as it had historically.  I hope that this reflects a positive spiritual reality in our worship.  I have always been uneasy with the fact that during the summer you will find many Churches almost drop off the map. 

             During the summer, worship attendance falls, Sunday School shuts down and even pastoral calls seem to taper off.  On one level, this is a very good thing.  Giving teachers and students time to renew themselves can be a positive thing.  Our practice of going to one service at 10 AM serves more than just a numerical need.  Yes, it is true that as folks travel, our attendance drops, and by offering one service we have a larger congregation.  More importantly, it allows the participants of our two services to worship together for two month in a unified service. Even the amount of pastoral calls or visits I make seem to lessen during the summer, even though it is a great time for such visits since I am freed from many of the other concerns that take my time. Continue reading

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

Eagles Fly High!

      This past week I was once again drawn down memory lane.  On Sunday, Ben Nelson and eight other Boy Scouts were awarded their Eagle Scout rank.  It was truly an honor to be witness to such an occasion.  Ben and another Scout had completed their projects at the Church building and I was able to be part of the process with them.  I have to be honest, I am not an easy person to deal with when it comes to Eagle projects.  As an Eagle, I hold the rank in high esteem and want to make sure that the “value” of an Eagle is protected.  Four out of every one hundred boys who join Scouts will attain the highest rank. While in recent years The Boy Scouts of America has fallen under scrutiny for their standards and some feel they unfairly discriminate (this article is not about this discussion), I find great value in the accomplishment of these boys.   Continue reading

The Power of Pentecost

    This past Sunday we celebrated Pentecost.  Often we tout Pentecost as the “birthday of the church.” This is a great image and an easy way to connect kids with the concept that the coming of the Holy Spirit marked a special event in the life of those who follow Christ.  On the other hand, this birthday image can fall short.  There is more to Pentecost than what our contemporary birthday celebrations mean.

    I have heard more than one person say at the occasion of a birthday, “Congratulations, you survived another year.”  Birthdays mark a chronological advancement, but Pentecost is more than the fact that the Church has made it through another year of Christmas, Easter, Sunday School and all the rest of the things we do in our life together.  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

Taking a trip down memory lane or Why do I still have this stuff????

Cialis best place to buyemory_lane.jpg” alt=”” width=”381″ height=”315″ /> I find it interesting the way that life sometimes takes turns you don’t expect but that turn out to be the right path. Yesterday, I installed new anti-virus software on my computer and ran a full scan. Seeing that this was going to take a considerable amount of time, I decided to “clean” my office. This is always a noble goal that is often not attained. This time was no different. While I can now see the top of my desk, I didn’t make the type of progress I had hoped. On the other hand, the time I spent took me in a direction I hadn’t expected. Continue reading

Maundy Thursday- Christ Shows Us How to Be Servant

<

x.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/communion.jpg” alt=”” width=”200″ height=”104″ />Tonight we remember the events of the upper room. Jesus displays his love and care for his disciples in physical ways. First Jesus humbles himself before the disciples by washing their feet. Then he gives them a new way to spiritually connect with him through the Communion meal. Jesus reminds us that it is in service we find the truest expression of God’s love. Washing and serving at table. How do we take up this call to servanthood? Reflect on this question as you view this video from Worshiphouse.com and join us tonight at 7:30 for our Maundy Thursday Worship Service.