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Jesus? A Mistake?

“Is there any good reason to suppose that Jesus would make a mistake with our lives?”

Dennis Kinlaw asks that in his book, This Day with The Master.

A bit before that he tells about a conversation with a soldier during World War II.

The soldier had asked him, “How can I give my life to Christ if I already have my own plans for it?”

Kinlaw: “I had spent most of life as a pastor dealing with people who felt there was no contradiction between saying, ‘I will give my life to Christ,’ and ‘I know what I’m going to do with my life.’ That man sensed the contradiction.”

Been there.

Maybe you have, too.

Find myself there again and again.

Maybe you do, too.

Let’s listen again to that question, and let’s answer it again — “Is there any good reason to suppose that Jesus would make a mistake with our lives?”

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U B U

Having gifts that differ

according to the grace given to us,

let us use them.

— Romans 12:6

Ted Anderson has taught me a lot, and mixed in there are a lot of songs.

Ted’s a former District Superintendent in his Conference of The United Methodist Church. Once upon a time he and I repeatedly roomed together while doing youth ministry at various levels around our country. It was my honor to be part of his Conference’s youth ministry for 11 years as what we’d now call a Consultant.

Ted, his wife Mary, and their family: great people; wish I could introduce you to them!

One of my favorite “Ted Songs” went like this…but I’m leaving out the clap clap clap and repeat parts —

You be you

You, You, be you

Unique

United

Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah

God loves us

and we love God

God wants us to be ourselves

And live in community

— If only.

Romans 12:6…apply as needed…don’t rinse…reapply as needed.

 

The Uncool Church

There are a lot of cool churches in the world. Congregations trying the latest ideas, ministries using cutting-edge graphics, and worship bands leading us in the newest songs.

I like cool churches.

It’s great to see them keeping up to date, trying innovative methods, and putting all they can into reaching a new generation in a language they can understand.

Then, there are the Walmart churches.

Karl Vaters* wrote that. He went on —

I call them Walmart churches because they’re filled with people you’d see at a typical Walmart. They’re not dressed in the latest fashions, singing the newest songs, or using the latest graphics and videos.

I like Walmart churches, too.

It’s great to see people who aren’t worried about acting cooler than the next church, and who have created a place where regular folk feel they belong.

Walmart churches sing songs everyone knows because they don’t change all that often. And the building is decorated (not designed, decorated) for Christmas, Easter, summer and Thanksgiving by a handful of women in the church who will reuse last year’s decorations again this year.

Cool churches get all the attention. Others look to them for how to rebrand their look, update their programs and modernize their facility.

Walmart churches get overlooked a lot. They’re often considered irrelevant, outdated and underperforming. No one turns to them for the latest trend-setting ideas.

Instead, they’re often told to update or close down.

Unlike Walmart stores, most Walmart churches aren’t very big. But there are a lot of them. And a lot of people go to them.

Unlike Walmart stores, most Walmart churches aren’t very big. But there are a lot of them. And a lot of people go to them for worship, fellowship, ministry and more.

Like Walmart stores, Walmart churches are friendly, helpful, familiar, and they don’t make anyone feel intimidated for not keeping up with the latest fashions.

I like Walmart churches precisely because they don’t care how they look to others. They know who they are and who they’re called to reach. And they’re reaching a lot of people who don’t want a church that’s cool, hip and stylish, but warm, simple and familiar.

I like innovation in church (“innovative” is the first word in the tagline for this blog, after all) but I know that keeping up with the latest societal trends isn’t necessary to do great ministry.

We need a lot of Walmart churches because the world is filled with Walmart people. Folks who live simply, work hard, change slowly, spend wisely, give generously and minister with wide-open hearts.

— And so? Whaddya say? As always, hit me up here or in any of the usual ways with your Comments.

Looking foward to hearing from you, and to seeing you back here tomorrow.

*And if you’d like more from Karl Vaters: https://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/essentials/

Time to Stop Wishing

“When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again [among hospice patients]. Here are the most common five:

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I wish I didn’t work so hard.

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

I wish I had let myself be happier.”

— So writes Bronnie Ware on huffpost.com.

Let’s connect the dots between that list and this: I came so (you) can have real and eternal life, more and better life than (you) ever dreamed. Jesus said that in John 10:10, the Message version.

Compare Bronnie’s list and Christ Jesus’ line and see what changes you might need to make in your own life.

And then make them.

Starting today.

Start living your real and eternal life and your more and better life today.

By the grace of God, it’s time to stop wishing and start living.

Ever Been a Waiter?

“How long, O Lord?”

God’s people have been asking that for a long time in a lotta situations.

“How long, O Lord?”

Many of them are found in our Bibles.

Maybe you’re wondering that same thing today.

“How long, O Lord?”

If you’re waiting on God, what are you waiting for God to do, and how are you coping while you wait?

As always, I’d love to hear from you in any of the usual ways, and I hope to see you back here tomorrow.

”How long, O Lord?”

 

 

Ciara’s Scars

“When you take my hand, you show me that my scars are beauty marks,” sings Ciara on the title track of her new and seventh album.

Good reminder.

Try it on for size today.

See your scars as more than just painful reminders.

And there’s someone in your life who needs you to take their hand and show them the same truth about their scars.

 

 

 

Asking Dr. Ruth a Parenting Question That’s More

Q: What’s your advice for working parents? 

A: They have to make time with no business phone calls, no texting, no computer–some time especially for young children. When they’re with their children, make sure they give them full attention.

http://time.com/5586416/doctor-ruth-interview/ and Time Magazine, May 20, 2019, page 60

Her four simple words — “give them full attention” — applies to others in our lives, too.

With whom will you start doing this first?