Extreme Makeover “Ain’t Got Nothin” on the Local Church

Let me say upfront I’ve been a slow convert to the TV show Extreme Makeover Home Edition. For a couple of reasons:

  • it’s always on when Sunday Night Football is on and,
  • the stories are so emotional and the thought of crying on a weekly basis just hasn’t been appealing to me.

But I must admit I’ve been won over by my wife’s affinity for the show. It struck me as I was watching the latest episode that Continue reading

What Defines You?

John 17:14-16 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

What defines you?

A paraphrase of the final verse reads; “They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world.”  

What’s the big deal?  Everybody thinks that way!

But, everyone talks that way!  Everyone texts that way!  Everyone’s seen it!  Everyone does it!   Jesus speaks to that type of thinking here.  No: everyone who is godless talks that way.  Everyone who is godless texts that way.  Everyone who is godless visits those sites. Everyone who is godless watches those shows.  Everyone who is godless treats their parents and authorities that way!  What a radical difference in thinking! 

Here is the big deal!  Christians are defined by God’s thoughts.

Jesus says, that Word of God makes the radical difference.  When we receive the “Word” we no longer join the world’s ways because we think godless thoughts.  Instead of being defined by the world we were redefined according to the very words (or thoughts) of God. 

At salvation, we exchanged our plans for a good and loving God (who has better plans).  Now, we have been given, the good plan of God for mankind (the gospel).   Our purpose is to fulfill His purpose: bringing men to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.    But it won’t be easy…

Jesus prayed for you.  You were going to need it!

Jesus was telling his followers to expect the same animosity that he experienced.  In fact, Jesus prayed for you, not to remove you from these difficulties but that amidst them, you would not fall to the ever present godless thinking of your age.  Jesus asked the Father to help you endure the temptation of ungodly (or  “godless”) thinking.   

Someone has already endured it!

 I am not defined by this world:  This was the basis of his prayer.  Jesus endured every temptation of godless thinking in the exact same manner that you or I would.  By depending on the Father, he not only to provide the perfection we needed in order to be with Christ, but also reminds us that it is possible for any Christian who is living dependent on the Father to be defined by God’s thoughts rather than the thoughts of this world.

So, what has defined you this week?  What will define you today?

5 Ideas to Connect Your ABF Class

We make a BIG DEAL about our ADULT BIBLE FELLOWSHIPS. One of the ways to cultivate a “family feel” to your ABF is to connect outside of Sunday mornings. Here are five ways to encourage someone in your ABF:

  1. Ask someone if they have a prayer request that you can pray for them over the next week.
  2. Commit to a joint project for a needy neighbor or retiree in our church – the ABF that serves together stays together. Continue reading

Tips for Nursery Volunteers

If you go to our church, there is a good chance that you’ll spend at least a little bit of time working in the church nursery, especially if you have children of your own. In fact, it takes approximately 35 people per week just to provide care for children ages three and below. I’m thankful for each and every one.

Since so many of our church members serve in this area, I thought it would be helpful to post a few tips for those who volunteer in the nursery (Feel free to add your own to the list by posting a comment): Continue reading

Thoughts from First Time Guests

The following thoughts are based upon follow-up conversations with real, first-time guests (using fictitious names):

~ Dave & Rachel: married, early 30’s with newborn

I know the bathroom was clearly marked but when I walked in there were so many walking around knowing where they were going. Some smiled at me, other stopped to ask my name. It was a friendly church. If someone would have shown me around (child care rooms, bathrooms, auditorium) I think it would have helped set my mind at ease.

~ Tom & Olivia: early 60’s, retired couple, relocated to the area Continue reading

“Real” Desktop Backgrounds

In case you missed this morning’s service, our new theme for 2011 is “Real Church, Real Change, Real World.” We’re looking forward to how the Lord will advance this theme in our church over the next year. For now, you can download these themed desktop backgrounds for your own computer or mobile device. Continue reading

Day 5: Consider His Glory – Praise Emphasis Week

Philippians 2:5-11  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherfore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

What is glory?  Continue reading