read your Bible

over a year ago i came across some advice from a pastor on Scot McKnight's blog [Jesus Creed]. 15 years or so into ministry he he realized that people in his congregation were extremely capable and surpassed his abilities in the areas of finance, administration, building, recreation, you name it, but the one area in which they hoped, or expected, him to be competent and knowledgeable was the Bible. so he began reading and re-reading the Bible 2 or 3 times per year.

i began a year ago by reading the Bible through once in a year, and now that i'm on year 2, i hope to read the Bible twice in a year.

maybe you think this could make Bible reading obligatory or a bit legalistic, but that hasn't been my experience. i need discipline. i need something to pursue, or i simply won't make time outside of preparing for sermons and youth messages to read God's Word. i'm just being honest.

after reading the story through and beginning all over again a month ago, i'm amazed at how the story of stories never gets old. i'm amazed at how i find myself entering the story.

so, if the Bible, the Word of God, is alive and active, let's get some of that life and let's get going. the Word of God has the power to transform our minds and move us to action for the glory of God's Kingdom; let's get in on some of that!

so stop what you're doing and read your Bible.



"guns and God"

i think i'm getting to this story late, but i came a cross this article in the New York Times today,

read the first few paragraphs of the article linked above for context...

"'God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,' Mr. Pagano, 49, said Wednesday in the small brick Assembly of God church, where a large wooden cross hung over the altar and two American flags jutted from side walls."

he continued, “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”
no contradiction? guns and God? can you love your enemies while simultaneously sticking a gun in their face? can you bless those who persecute you while pulling out a handgun?

but Pastor Pagano goes on,
“When someone from within the church tells me that being a Christian and having firearms are contradictions, that they’re incompatible with the Gospel — baloney,” he said. “As soon as you start saying that it’s not something that Christians do, well, guns are just the foil. The issue now is the Gospel. So in a sense, it does become a crusade. Now the Gospel is at stake.”
so the Gospel is at stake if we can't have funs in the church? really? if we can't exercise our 2nd amendment rights as AMERICANS, we can't be CHRISTIANS. i see. that makes perfect sense.

i guess i'm just a liberal sissy who thinks guns kill people and Jesus doesn't want us to kill people. someone help me understand what this guy is talking about. does anyone get it? what does God have to do with guns?


"the primary social task of the church is..."

from Stanley Hauerwas', "Ten Theses Toward the Reform of Christian Social Ethics."

#5 - The primary social task of the church is to be itself - that is, a people who have been formed by a story that provides them with the skills for negotiating the danger of this existence, trusting in God's promise of redemption.

The primary social task of the church is to be itself.

i like that.  i can live with that.
but what does that mean for us?  what does that actually look like?

what do you you think?


Getting Fired for the Glory of God...

just finished the collections of essays, talks, and other writings by Mike Yaconelli entitled, Getting Fired for the Glory of God.  amazing!

where do i start?  this is one of those books every youth pastor should read.  it includes Yaconelli's tender thoughts, streams of consciousness, rants, etc.  they are challenging, refreshing, honest, and most importantly, filled with his hope that young people will come to know Jesus Christ.

youth ministry is about pointing youth to Jesus.  youth ministry is not about bigger and better.  it is about drawing student into a deeper relationship with God or introducing them to Christ for the first time.  it's about seeing the Holy Spirit grab hold of students' lives and changing them little by little.

his final essay, "Caring for Your Own Soul While Ministering to Others," really hit me.  in several of his essays he talks about the need for time with God, intimacy with Christ.  his son, Mark, also an author and youth ministry minded guy, talks about his dad "loving Jesus; weeping because of his love of Christ."  i want that.  i want to be unashamedly in love with Jesus; so much so that people notice and see him in and through me.

back to the essay.  this quote stuck out.  i'll leave this post here...
"If your youth ministry begins with your relationship with Jesus instead of theirs [students], then working on your own soul isn't periphery or extracurricular - it's central to your ministry.  Your soul is your ministry.
"Real ministry is not what you do, but who you are."