Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I like what Ken Sande of Peacemakers Ministries said at one of his great conferences I attended, "If two or more are gathered together, there will be conflict." Pretty funny, eh? And true.
Over the years as a pastor, I've seen and heard of many people leave their churches for various reasons. And the reasons most leavers give, I've noticed, really aren't the real reasons.
Friday, June 17, 2011
OK. Forgive the slight sarcasm. And I do like coffee. My kids like playgrounds, and youth rooms should be cool. (What? You think they should be boring?)
It makes me wonder, though. I've read many times that church members in the U.S. tend to be consumers. We like to shop around for a church in much the same way as we shop around for a good restaurant:
"The waiter didn't smile much."
"The food was a little cold."
Or, how about, "I didn't like the way the preacher said..."
Or, "The music was a little too traditional for me."
Or, "The carpet was old."
I was a pastor. For 15 years. And I got frustrated at comments such as these. But I wonder if the philosophy put forth by pastors and leaders of churches today is something that causes (or, at least lends toward) a consumer mentality among American Christians.
Have you ever read a church marque sign that stated: "Join our church! We'll put you to work!"
Or, has anyone ever invited you to their church because they "strive to suffer much for the sake of the gospel"?
"Join us! Join us! Join us this Sunday at 11am--YOU'LL LOVE IT!!"
That's much different wording than what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: "join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God." (2 Tim. 1:8)
Inspiration is missing in church. I'm talking about real inspiration to sacrifice for the most worthy cause. I'm talking about real motivation for the most worthy purpose!
"Join our church! It might hurt a little, but the rewards are out of this world!"
Churches in America need contributors, not consumers. CONTRIBUTORS: diehard believers who refuse to settle for complacency, but instead contribute their gifts/talents/skills toward following Christ even into the darkest places so His glory can shine through them.
We sing songs about this! "Shine, Jesus, Shine!" (But, of course, most of us don't like the style of the song. So we miss the whole meaning.)
So are you a contributor? Or a consumer? Are you a pastor or church leader who is producing consumerism in your church? Or are you challenging and inspiring God's people to sacrifice and suffer for the sake of the gospel?
One is surviving life. The other is living above the common. Can you tell which one?
Thursday, June 16, 2011
What is most important to you in this life? Seriously. Hobbies? Family? Job?
What was the most important thing in the lives of these men: Apostle Paul, Peter, John, James, Matthew, Jesus?
Does your important thing match theirs? Why or why not?
Most Christians do not share the gospel with others because of 2 simple reasons: we don't know what to say, and we are too afraid.
But what if you learned exactly what to say to anyone, any age, anywhere? What if you learned how to overcome your fear in sharing the gospel with people?
Would you do it? Would it become more important to you?
What if the world really will end soon? It will sometime. He's coming back sometime--this we do know for sure.
Wanna learn how to share the clear, simple gospel effectively to anyone, any age, anywhere?
Go to www.JChadBarrett.com and click on Live Evangelism Training.
And live above the common.
Friday, June 10, 2011
As someone who was severely depressed for a period of 2 years, I have learned quite a bit about what I should do on these days. I know these feelings well: the heaviness on the heart/chest, loneliness, sadness, unreasonable guilt/shame (you feel this but don't know why), despair, anxiety attacks, anger/bitterness, etc. The list goes on and on, and for some people this list can be so severe that medication and/or therapy might be required. (For those who disagree with medication for depression--I've heard your opinions. The scope of this blog is not for that.)
The best cure for those low days? Well, it's not found in a bottle. Sure, meds help, but it's not the cure. It's certainly not found in a glass bottle. Friends can be a good source of comfort, but they can also be a source of dragging you down--so choose wisely.
But the best cure for me (the only cure, actually), and for many others I have counseled with depression, is found in one word: TRUTH. And truth is found in God's Holy Word.
Now I'm not saying that all you have to do is recite a couple verses and then life is all yippy skippy. How dare we ever view the Word of God as a formula to follow, or a vending machine (just press the right button and out pops your order). Instead, God's Word is truth.
The truth is...we often tell ourselves lies. And these lies can, and invariably always do, lead to low moments/depression/guilt/shame, etc. For example, if my dad always told me that I was a good-for-nothin' boy, then I would grow up telling myself that because I would eventually believe it. But it wouldn't be the truth.
If I feel scared about something, it is tempting to say that, since I have no control, all Hell's about to break loose on me--that I might be destroyed. But that isn't the truth.
If I feel lonely, it would be easy for me to tell myself that no one really cares for me. But that really is far from the truth.
We often tell ourselves lies. What to do? Philippians 4 talks of our thoughts--that our thoughts lead to something. It commands me to think on certain things. Check it out by clicking here.
These thoughts, according to God's Word, lead to peace. "But," you may say, "I can't control my thoughts." And that's where you're wrong. (Another lie.) We may not be able to control our emotions, but we can control our thoughts. Read about it here.
It takes practice--like everything else. But, believe me, it works. (Amazing that the Bible works, isn't it?!) So, just to clarify, I don't just get rid of a wrong thought. I replace it with a truthful thought.
By the way, I've been having one of those days today. Sure am glad I blogged on this. Feelin' a lot better. Now I just need a cup of coffee, and I'm good.
Livin' above the common requires truth in the inwards parts. That's a truth statement.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
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