04 Mar

Why I practice lent, and maybe you should too.

2011-03-lent-bigToday is Ash Wednesday. For many Christians around the world this day marks the beginning of an important season known as lent. And for many other Christians today is just another day that begins a season that “only Catholics” need to think about.

Having grown up with a mildly catholic background I’ve always been familiar with lent. And I was very surprised when I began following Christ and entered into Protestant circles how many Christians either didn’t know about lent or ignored it.

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20 Feb

What I am learning about church from Michael Bay.

A few weeks ago during the SuperBowl amidst the usual football and pageantry going on, there were some amazing commercials. While I didn’t get to watch the game, I took the time after to check out the commercials.  I didn’t watch them all but one I was particularly interested in, a preview for the upcoming Transformers movie.

As a kid I loved transformers. I had the toys, I watched the show, and I remember seeing the animated movie in the theater. I even had this super amazing transformers trash can that probably is a collectors item now but I just threw my garbage in it.

transformers church

It’s a robot riding a robot dinosaur, how can this be bad?

Now as an adult, I still love transformers, and unlike many adults who loved transformers as a kid, I liked the recent movies. But most don’t, and they let the world of the internet know they don’t. One of the things that amazed me as I read some of the comments saying how horrible the new movie will be based on the 30 seconds seen online is how similar the sentiment of disgust towards this yet to be released movie was to how some people feel about changes in the local church.

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15 Feb

The difference between preaching and teaching

I love to preach and teach. If there is one thing I could do for the rest of my life I would probably preach and teach. There is something that just draws me to it. I love learning and then sharing what I learn.

As a younger person I thought I might become a high school teacher because of this love. But when I started following God that gradually changed to me wanting to teach in church.

But the more I have had time to teach, the more I have come to wonder if teaching has done more harm than good in the church. And I think church might need a lot less teaching and more preaching.

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07 Feb

Dialogue over debate

I have never been a fan of debates. Unlike what movies and TV told me, we did not have a debate club in any school I attended (or at least I didn’t know of a debate club) so I never got to be part of a debate team. Though, debating was often a part of various courses I’ve taken.

Ham-vs.-NyeThere were certain things I liked about debates, one being that I was pretty good at them. I always found it easy to argue my point  and to listen well enough to others arguments so that I could twist them and try to prove them wrong. even though I don’t find debates difficult, I don’t know if they are worth while.

And this past weeks major debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye only convinced me more of the futility of debate.

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03 Feb

Putting God in His Place

One of the things I love about what being a pastor is helping people try to connect better with God. We all come from such different backgrounds and have such different experiences, which can make it difficult at times to really know how to encourage someone in their faith journey. What might resonate with someone might not with another person.

One of the things that I was taught, and have taught, was that God should always be your top priority. That first comes God then comes everything else in life. But after spending about half my life trying to follow God, I don’t know if I agree with that view any more.

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27 Jan

In defence of Congregational Governement

First_Congregational_Church,_North_Brookfield_MA

Recently, I read a blog post from a pastor saying that Congregational government was from Satan. He is a prominent pastor who came from a Congregational background, so I found his words pretty strong. I do think he had some good things to say, and true things, but I felt he missed some things as well. As someone who works in the context of a Congregational church in the Baptist tradition, I think there is good in the system that exists, as well as ineffective practices.

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24 Jan

What cleaning my garage taught me about my soul

not my actual garage

Not my actual garage, mine may or may not be worse.

About 7 months ago we moved to a new city into a new home. One of the things I was most excited was that in this new home we had a garage. I have never had a garage and the possibilities that swirled around my head as to what I could do with the space excited me.

But there was a problem. The people who used to live there left a lot of stuff. So I needed to clean it out.

But there was another problem. When we moved in we put a lot of items in the garage that had a way of not coming out.

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20 Jan

5 Thoughts on What Worship is About

imagesLast week I spent some time reflecting on what worship is not about. Sometimes its much easier to be on the negative side of things and say what something is not rather than the positive of what it is. But, if we are to worship, which I very much believe we as humans were created to do, it’s more helpful to know what worship is about.

To worship in many ways is to express the value or worthiness of something. So to worship God is to declare how worthy He is and of what great value a relationship with the creator of the universe is.

So with that in mind, here are my thoughts on what worship is about, I’d love to hear yours: Read More

17 Jan

5 Things Worship is Not About

HymnBookWhen it comes to church, worship can be a pretty significant and dangerous subject. Often times when we start discussing worship it usually revolves around what music is played on a Sunday morning. A discussion that can turn ugly quick if we start discussing styles of music.

As I’ve spent time in a variety of churches , from a variety of denominations and backgrounds, I think I have become more and more disheartened with the worship experience that happens on a Sunday morning in church. I think for a lot of church goers, Sunday becomes the only worship experience they have. Often people choose a church based on what music gets played on a Sunday. And if that is the case, I think we sometimes miss out on what worship is really about, or meant to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what worship is and is not, and for now I want to look at somethings worship is not about. Read More

13 Jan

Eugene Peterson on becoming a Pharisee

Imagine yourself moving into a house with a huge picture window overlooking a lake with a grand view of mountains beyond. Snow-capped mountains, beautiful mountains. You have a ringside seat, before all of this beauty, the cloud formations, the wild storms, the entire spectrum of  sun illuminated colours, and the rocks and the trees and the windflowers and the water. At first you’re just captivated by this view. You sit and you stand and you look and admire; you catch your breath. Several times a day you interrupt your work and stand before this window to take in the majesty and the beauty. And then one day you notice some bird droppings on the glass, and you get a bucket of water and a towel and you clean it. A couple of days later, a rainstorm leaves the window streaked and the bucket comes out again. One day some visitors with a tribe of small dirty-fingered children come, and the moment they leave you notice there are smudge marks all over the window. They’re hardly out of the door before you have the bucket out again. You’re so proud of that window, and it’s such a large window. But it’s incredible how many different ways foreign objects can attach themselves to that window, obscuring the vision, distracting from the vision. Keeping that window clean now becomes compulsive neurosis. You accumulate ladders and buckets and squeegees. You construct scaffolding outside and one inside; you have to get to all the difficult corners and heights. You end up having the cleanest window in North America, but it’s now been years since you’ve looked through it. You’ve become a Pharisee.

Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way p 211