Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Great blog by Albert Mohler - on why Christians should think. Imagine that!

Click on this link to readAlbert's Mohler's blog  about why Christians should think about their faith, that thinking is central to the gospel, why it's okay to be a Christian intellectual, and the importance of a Christian worldview.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Interesting thought from Kevin Swanson

Kevin Swanson is the executive director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado, and has a popular radio program called "Generations With Vision." Here's a quote from him about the danger of separating the generations for education and ministry. I completely agree (although I might add that in his quote, as do most people who are trying to make a point, he uses generalizations that may or may not be true. For example, I don't think that every child that has to go to daycare is disconnected relationally from his parents - but I don't really think Swanson means that, either). This thought is one of the reasons why we encourage  the youth and college students to be part of the ministry of the body as much as possible. We grow from relationships that bridge generations.

"Love requires movement toward the one we love. It is personal involvement. The Bible speaks often of Jesus as "moved with compassion" and then He always proceeds to involvement in the problems of others. It is one thing to "love" mankind through cold institutions, and other thing to personally visit a widows and lovingly disciple a little child.

"After two hundred years of building our institutions on the worldview of Rousseau, such things as relationships and love seem to be distant concepts anymore. If love is movement, our modern institutions have worked hard to create a fixed distance between persons in family, church and community. Our educational systems lay down those limits, and this inevitably impacts marriage, the family, and the Church. The distance ensured by removing a child from relationship at two years of age into daycare, by segregating familes, and by compartmentalizing groups of people in school and church by age, marriage status, their "special need," etc., assures some form of pseudo-relationship, but it doesn't do much to create opportunity for love to operate. The engineered distance set by our institutions keeps things safe and manageable, but it certainly doesn't allow for the movement of love."

David's quote of the week

Sitting on the couch together,  David asked,
"Mom, are you an independent woman?" [what?]
Ha. 15 years ago I would have said yes.
"No," I said. "I need God and I need your Daddy."
"Yes," David agreed. "Because you can't even make lemonade. Maybe you should get Daddy to teach you."

Monday, November 22, 2010

My eccentric son

TJ spent most of the day on Saturday and Sunday making Jessie's birthday present. It was a man made out of a box and bottles used as arms and legs. Completely, entirely made out of what he could find in the recycling bin. Written upon the man was the message; "Happy Birthday Jessie and Happy New Year" [????].

His statement was "I hoped it would inspire a sudden urge to recycle."


Monday, November 15, 2010

"Take a College Student Home For Lunch Day" October 14, 2010

This Sunday at church we declared a new holiday: "Take a College Student Home For Lunch Day."
All in all, it was a huge success. We were worried that there would be students who did not get asked... but not one was left behind.

The challenge now is to get more families involved, as well as to get to the point that we do not have to schedule these days because they are happening naturally.

Some people have questioned our style of college ministry because we do very few large-scale events, and we do not have a "college group" that meets regularly. We're unconventional, but that's okay. When we started pastoring in 2007, we received a prophetic word that we were assigned to reach Berea College, and that because of that, our church and ministry would look unlike anything ever seen before anywhere in the country. We couldn't and shouldn't model it after anything else we'd ever seen. So we feel pretty good that we're on the right track. We continue to do two things, and do them in this order:

1. Listen to the Lord.
2. Listen to college students.

When we talk to the students, they continually ask for:
1. One-on-one mentoring and discipleship.
2. Time with families in homes.
3. Time to get off campus and be with more mature Christians.
4. Time for young men to learn from older men.
5. Time for young women to learn from older women.
6. Good home-cooked food and the opportunity to have a chair set for them at the family table!

They don't always want to gather in large groups of peers - they see that every day at college.
They don't want more lecturing and impersonal teaching - they are willing to be taught but that teaching should come in the context of relationship (that sounds a lot like how Jesus did it!). We strive not to separate college students into their own group for ministry - we want them involved in the life of the church. We want them mixed up in all life groups, incorporated into Sunday morning ministry, and serving in every ministry area. For college-aged young people, it's time to graduate from youth group style ministry into the hands-on ministry of the whole church.

The challenge is to involve the whole congregation in discipling students. That's why we're encouraging families and mentors to take one or two students home after church on Sundays to spend time with them. We believe the Holy Spirit is going to build the church this way. He's going to do the matching up, and He does it much better than we can. I believe there was some Holy Spirit match-making going on this Sunday!

My only regret is that I only saw about 6 families take home students. One family ended up with 20 people at their house. What hospitality! But, again, the goal is not to have a big lunch with a lot of students. If we wanted to do that, we would have pushed the chairs in the sanctuary aside and had a big meal after church. The students don't want that. They miss home-cooking, Moms and Dads, younger brothers and sisters, couches and living rooms, and kitchen tables that don't look like cafeterias. That opens up the door for talking that gets beyond small talk, into issues of life and faith.

6 families who want to open up their homes is a great start, but I'm believing for more. River of Life family - will you get involved in a student's life in this way? You could have an eternal impact!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Does the Gospel just change us, or does it change our culture?

"The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology... a worldview that will mount the historically rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and post modernity, leading the way into the post-postmodern world with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe we face the question: if not now, when? And if we are grasped by this vision, we may also hear the question: if not us, then who? And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?" - N.T. Wright, as quoted in The Gospel in Life by Timothy Keller