Lukewarm and lovin’ it?

December 28, 2007

“Lukewarm and lovin’ it” is a message Francis Chan (Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley) preached over a year ago… Some of you may well have heard it already. It’s excellent! Very thought provoking, very convicting… If you haven’t heard it yet, I encourage you to listen to it:

 ~ Donovan

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“Simeon’s Moment” by Ron DiCianni

My stepmom shared this picture with our family a few years back. It was the picture of the month for December in a calendar she had, and the Lord used it to really bless her (and through her – bless me). I remember the tears in her eyes as she spoke about what this moment must have been like. This portion of Luke has been sweeter to me ever since: 

Luke 2:25-35

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

 ”Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
   you now dismiss your servant in peace.
   For my eyes have seen your salvation,
   which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
   a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel.”
 

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

This is the artist’s description of his painting:

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A clean, funny comedian

December 20, 2007

This is just a fun post – nothing deep by any means…

I love to laugh. I love the way humor can brighten people’s days. I love how it can break the ice and make people comfortable. I love how it can help people connect, and I love how it can create fond memories…

The summer before my senior year at The Master’s College I went on a camping trip with my RD (Gunner) and the 3 guys I would serve alongside as RAs in Slight Dormitory the next school year. We listened to a CD of a comedian named Brian Regan, laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe, and quoted him all year long. Last year I listened to another CD of him with some of the high school group, and once again – we laughed until we were gasping for air, and we haven’t stopped quoting him since…   

Our God is so good for creating a world with humor in it, isn’t He? I’m thankful.

Brian Regan’s jokes are clean, and other than that occasional use of h***, I haven’t heard him use words that I think anyone would find offensive. Of course, not everyone has the same idea of what is funny, but I think most people would get a good laugh out of this guy. Good, clean fun! : ) You can check out some of his stuff below: 

 

~ Donovan

 

I’ve heard it said that the way to hone your teaching skills is to teach kids. Why? Because you have to really labor to communicate clearly enough, to “put the cookies on the bottom shelf”. Another reason is the fact that you really have to be on your toes, ready for all sorts of questions from left field.

 

As John Piper has put it, we need to see God with “edges” so that our view of Him is more than “mush”. In order to know Him, we must know what He is like and what He is not like. Hence theology is important, for everyone, including kids. Though it’s often tougher explaining deeper, more complicated truth to kids (and you often have to be quite creative!), I encourage you to attempt it, and to persevere in your efforts to do so. Helping them know God better is well worth the sweat.

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The Church Landscape

December 7, 2007

Mark Dever

Pastor Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church describes four kinds of churches, each with its own method of appealing to the lost and the unchurched.  Which would you say describes Bethel Grace?  What do you think of his descriptions?  Which kind of church should we aim to be?  Perhaps a blend?

1.  The Traditional Church.  Appeal to the world with church programs and door to door evangelism.  Conclude sermons by inviting people to “walk the aisle” – Jesus longs for a personal relationship with you, so invite him into your heart.

2. The Seeker Church.  Build everything around the idea of being non-Christian or “seeker” friendly.  Remove churchy cultural barriers and appeal to “felt needs.”  Tell them Jesus promises purpose, fulfillment, and better relationships.

3. The Missional Church.  Missions isn’t just one activity the church participates in; it defines the church’s essence.  So move into the city.  Get involved with the arts, schools, and soup kitchens.  Be incarnate in the culture and transform it.  Serve and bring healing.

4. A Godward Church.  A bunch of people get together in a room.  Someone stands up, opens a Bible, and says, “This is what God says.”  He explains it.  The church sings, prays, shares the bread and cup, and goes home… The words come with power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction.  Consciences are pierced.  Lives changed.  People go home worshiping God by hating sin, loving each other, and seeking their neighbors. 

“If the Lord wills…”

December 1, 2007

Almost every Friday I see Charlotte Duhn. She comes in to the church office to help us get the bulletins ready for Sundays, and she brings a whole lot of warmth and joy with her… I love Charlotte! : ) When she says good-bye, she gives me a hug and always says, “Lord willing, I’ll see you Sunday.” She has every intention of being there on Sunday (and being there early, and bringing her warmth and her joy with her!), she just knows that God may have other plans…

Scripture tells us to have this mindset, and to have it about absolutely everything. God knows the future, and we do not. God is on His throne ruling over everything, and we are not. Things we consider absolutely certain will only come to pass if it is God’s will… I will only finish writing this sentence if God wills it, and you will only finish reading it if He wills that you do.

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