Sunday, September 21, 2014

Neckties and Drum Sets: Things We Should Get Over

If we don’t know what the basic principles and doctrines of Christianity are, (those things that constitute faithfulness to God), we will argue over silly things, unworthy issues, and secondary matters.

The playbook of church religion says I should be a defender of the status quo, reacting against modern innovations and speaking with reverence of the glorious days of the past.

I’ll not be doing any of that.

The status quo is nowhere I want to camp out.  The past is nowhere I want to live.  The past is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Modern innovations and ministry methods are what we make of them, good or bad.  And the glorious days of yesteryear were anything but glorious.  They were amazingly like today and a lot like tomorrow.

Personally, I like laptops, cell phones, and the internet.  I enjoy blogging.  I like having 60 channels on television (since there’s rarely anything worth watching on 50 of them).

I enjoy air-conditioned church buildings.  I like padded pews (better yet, padded chairs) much more than those old fashioned benches made from wooden slats that would pinch your backside every time someone on the other end moved.

I am thankful for the technology in today’s sound systems that can make the singing and music in any church building sound as good (or better) than a congregational choir singing in a cathedral built in Europe 800 years ago. 

I enjoy preaching and teaching without a suit or a necktie.  I like wearing my shirt with the tail hanging out, not tucked in.  It's more comfortable.  Simple as that.  

I love it that our church is not racially segregated (like churches were in the past, you know, in the good old days).  Rather, we have people from all races and a variety of nations from around the world.  We even have a few racially mixed marriages in our congregation.  I think it's a good thing that we provide the kind of environment where they feel welcome.

When I see children enthusiastically running down the Kidz Zone hallway on Sunday morning because they can’t wait to get to their class, I am elated.

Unfortunately, some people get a bad case of indigestion over such things.  Even hostile.  They believe such innovation and modern ministry methods are compromise, or conforming to the world, or whatever.

What I would sincerely say to some of my brethren is simply:  Get over these hang-ups about secondary issues.

Jesus never wore a necktie.  None of the disciples did either.

Some things are cultural and not spiritual.

Not one word in the NT supports the idea that one’s go-to-meeting clothes should be any different from his/her weekday clothes.  Not.  One.  Word.

And we’re going to argue over suits, neckties, denim, and sneakers?

These issues are cultural and a matter of personal preference.  That’s all.  You can't leverage the Bible to support your position (of personal preference); it's a misuse of Scripture.

1.  If I read from the Bible bound in black leather with the pages edged in gold, and you read from a printed message guide (or large screen), am I more spiritual than you?

2.  If Preacher Joe wears a necktie and dark suit and Preacher Bob wears a sports shirt and khakis (and doesn’t tuck his shirt in), is Joe a greater preacher or better qualified to occupy the pulpit today?

3.  If the church service features music from a pipe organ and grand piano, is that more Christ-honoring than two guitars, a bass guitar, keyboard, harmonica, and a set of drums?

Fifty million Christians on the continent of Africa need to know this because, if so, they’re getting it all wrong.

4.  If one church sings hymns such as “Old Rugged Cross” and “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in their service, are they more spiritual than the church that features “The Day’s of Elijah” and “We Will Ride”?  (BTW, at PCC we sing them all).  :-)

5.  Is a worship service more spiritual where everyone is quiet than the one where many people throughout the congregation are standing, clapping, and shouting?

We need to know these things and get it settled before we break fellowship with one another over unworthy issues.

If we differ on whether Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for doctrine, then that’s one thing.  Some things are worth fighting for and I’ll go to the mat over things like that.

But not guitars, denim, and drum sets.

Those things are a matter of personal preference and one's Christian liberty.

Intermittent Fasting

It works for me.  Been doing it for 20 months.

5 Intermittent Fasting Methods:  Which One is Right for You?

How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Live Healthier, Longer

What I’ve experienced…

Lost weight.  Clothes fit better.  Energy level went up.  Sleep better at night.  My stomach is not “angry” all the time.  I’ve developed appetite control; the thought of food doesn’t dominate my day.  Fewer cravings.  I’m lighter on my feet and more active.

Then there is the health benefit of restricting my caloric intake.  A lot of good things happen internally (i.e., blood-sugar, heart, insulin, triglycerides, etc.) when I’m not consuming 3000-4000 calories a day; especially when the source of many of those calories is junk food and downright poisonous.

If you’d like to know more about intermittent fasting, just do an online search.  There’s plenty of info out there and it’s easy to find.  Best part?  This plan is flexible and you can customize it for yourself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Me and Nolan (grandson) Planting Our Fall Garden


What We Believe About Children’s Ministry at PCC

#1. It matters to us who is on our team.

We are looking for people who love to laugh, who have energy, who have a story of how Jesus changed their life and have a passion to tell that story to kids. We are looking for people who can teach a lesson to kids without boring them to death. We are not simply looking for warm bodies to plug in – we are looking for people who love children. We will not beg you to volunteer, nor will we attempt to coerce you to volunteer. Coerced volunteers do not genuinely care about kids and don’t last. We want people who care.

#2. It matters to us that we strive for quality.

Great looking spaces are important to have. We strive to create an "environment” that is just for kids. We decorate the rooms with bright colors and Biblical themes, and put images on the wall at (their) eye level. More importantly, we strive to have a quality life-changing program for kids. It’s great to look good, but when it comes to children, God EXPECTS us to BE good. Children matter to God, and therefore they matter to us. Our children are too important for workers to show up UNPREPARED and just “winging it.” That is inexcusable. We get an hour on Sunday, (one hour a week, that’s all), to present the gospel to children, and that hour deserves our best. Quality matters.

#3. It matters what parents think.

The first question that parents usually ask their children at dismissal time is, “Did you have fun today?” The second question is, “What did you learn today?” The answer to these questions carries more weight with parents than many church leaders and workers realize. For the record, we realize this weight.

We need parents on our side. They are the number one spiritual influencers in their children’s lives. It is our job to partner with them, gain their confidence, and arm them with the tools to lead their children into a lasting relationship with Christ. Furthermore, by gaining the confidence of parents, we have a potential pool of future workers.

Let’s get started.

Working with children is not punishment. It is fun, strategic, important, and fulfilling. In fact, it is essential. Our current team of staff and workers finds fulfillment and joy from serving in this vital ministry. This ministry team represents some of the finest servants we have in our church. They realize they are changing lives for eternity.

If you are interested in being part of high quality ministry team that is involved in vital work, just contact me, Renae Christian, or Gene Tharp, and we’ll get you started.


Friday, September 5, 2014

This Sunday

MESSAGE:  Trusting God When Things Don’t Make Sense

Some days are real downers.  They leave us sad and discouraged. 

Other days are uppers.  They lift our spirits.  They are so packed with significance, so full of excitement and meaning, that they leave us amazed at our good fortune.

On a few occasions in life, both extremes happen during the same day.  At first, there are things that elate us, bringing joy.  As the day wears on, it’s like everything gets turned upside-down, and we’re forced to deal with things that deflate us.

The events recorded in Genesis 18, represent a day of contrast.  It starts out with good news, but before the day was over Abraham must have been completely exhausted and emotionally drained.

His cup of joy was mixed with grim news of what was about to happen to Sodom & Gomorrah.

This Sunday’s message will elaborate on this story and we will learn what it means to trust God when things don’t make sense.

You will be strengthened and encouraged.  God's Word always accomplishes what He intends for it to do, and it never returns to Him void.

I hope to see you there as we worship and learn together.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fishing: Labor Day Weekend

On this day Jonathan and I caught 5-6 Lady Fish, which are in the Tarpon family.  They pull really hard, are very aggressive, and jump out of the water (very high). They put on quite a show and are a lot of fun to catch.

After the Lady Fish, we switched to cast nets and caught seven Black Mullet, and (about) 12 Speckled Trout.

The most exciting part of the day was seeing the porpoises chasing the schools of mullet.  These schools were easily thousands in size, all jumping out of the water at once as they were being chased towards shore.  Then other porpoises were already there, waiting to ambush them.  Some of the porpoises even came within 10-20 ft of our boat, jumping and tearing up the water.  Very exciting.

PS - The fall run is about to begin.