Showing posts from January, 2016

Ruth Myer: Forcing kids to go to church

My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. ‘Ewww, gross! Meatloaf? Seriously? Mom you know we hate this stuff!’ So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there. But daily eating? No way. I’m done. Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous. But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement. My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn’t like the teacher. He wasn’t getting excited enough about learning, and he didn’t really feel connected to the other kids in his class, s…

Southern Baptist Texan: Worthy of the Name

Larycia Hawkins is a tenured professor at Wheaton College, a prominent evangelical university outside Chicago. Professor Hawkins was in the news recently for expressing solidarity with American Muslims by wearing a hajib and saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. Wheaton’s administration interpreted this viewpoint as contrary to the school’s statement of faith and has begun termination proceedings against Hawkins. She disagrees with this interpretation of orthodox Christianity and has garnered a collection of students, faculty, alumni, local clergy and the ubiquitous Jesse Jackson to stand with her. She has also been supported by some columnists who went so far as to assist Wheaton in understanding its own statement of faith.  American culture clearly misunderstands the point of a Christian university. “Christian” has a long-established meaning. Never mind for now that many schools use the term with zero regard to its classic meaning. The fact is, a Christian, much …
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell. - CS Lewis
Betty Lynn Monroe believes her dog, Rambler, has had a conversion comparable to what humans experience.
Monroe says that for months Rambler has been sitting in a corner and listening to her home Bible study group discuss the Bible. 
Then, last week during the prayer time, Rambler ran into their midst, lay down on the floor and looked up at them with “a look of pure regret and sadness,”
Monroe says. “It was as sincere as anything I’ve seen among humans at the altar at church.” The group laid hands on Rambler and prayed that God would make him a “born-again creature.”Rambler then leapt up and pranced around the living room.“It was the most joyous display of freedom in Christ we’d ever seen,” says one woman. “I teared up.”
Since his “conversion,” Rambler is more helpful. He doesn’t chase squirrels into the bushes, and he tolerates the neighbor’s cat. 
He even has “corrected” his owners. Monroe says she and her husband fought one night and retreated to separate rooms. Rambler c…
There’s little doubt culture is changing rapidly. The question is, are you ready as a church leader? As I shared in my new book, Lasting Impact (you can download the first chapter for free here), if the change inside the church isn’t equal to or greater than the change outside our walls, irrelevance is inevitable. While that thought can be somewhat depressing, think of the flip side. History belongs to the innovators. It belongs to the leaders who dared to dream, to try things no one else was trying, to experiment, to push the boundaries of what everyone else believed was possible. As Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Or as Steve Jobs put it, “A lot of the time people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” If you are prepared to tackle change with a fully engaged heart, you can help not only your church but maybe even the church better accomplish the mission before us. So what’s changing before our e…
“Church growth is not something we do to the church; rather, it is the by-product of a proper relationship with Christ, the head of the church. Thus growth is not an end in and of itself; it is the result of supernatural empowering.” - Ken Hemphill 

Meet the Dutch Christians Who Saved Their Jewish Neighbors from the Nazis

Pop-pop-pop! Diet Eman lay awake in her bed. Who could be beating their rugs at this hour? It was early morning on May 10, 1940. Hours before, Hitler had announced that he would respect the neutrality that the Netherlands had maintained during World War I. As the popping continued, Eman and her parents scrambled to the front lawn. Planes buzzed through the night sky and fire shot upward, shattering Hitler’s assurances. Stumbling back inside, the Emans turned the radio on: “We are at war. German paratroopers have landed.” Diet’s blood boiled; Hitler had lied. Then a new question rattled around in her mind as she sat in her nightclothes: What of my Hein? A few days later, she found out. A card from Hein Sietsma, smudged by fire, arrived at the house, saying he had survived fiery blasts in Rotterdam, South Holland. She also discovered something else. As Eman later said, “I did not know until the danger of war that I was in love with him.” She also did not know how war would shape their r…