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Why did God allow the Shooting in Colorado?

Why does God allow things like this shooting in Colorado at the Batman Dark Knight Rises premiere happen? Here are my reflections on the horrible tragedy that is human depravity. My prayers are that God intervenes in the lives these families and for James Holmes to meet Jesus.

 
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What the Church can learn from YouTube


Community.

How many churches have you ever walked into and immediately felt accepted, felt an immediate connection to the whole? It’s an experience that I have rarely enjoyed. Yet this summer I had the privilege of attending VidCon 2012 sponsored by YouTube out in Anaheim, CA. I can only think of one word that explains this experience. Community.

Great communities form around a key element. That element must be basic enough to capture the imagination of a diverse group of people to ever have the hopes of being a community that is larger than any one demographic. YouTube has managed to achieve this and achieve it well. I’ve never been in a space of more diverse or more creative people. There are no strangers at VidCon because everyone is interested in what you do and are anxious to tell you their story. I’ve been to many Christian conferences that lack this diversity, openness and excitement.

I love the church. In fact, in one short year I’ll be pastoring my own church. But there are things the church can still learn from the secular world. Just as Paul wrote to numerous squabbling Christian communities, I’ve met only a handful of worshipping communities that do community well, embracing everyone with the same enthusiasm and openness to self expression I just experienced in California.

So what separates church communities from the YouTube community? There were two key elements that caught my attention. First, the behavioral expectations at VidCon were simple, “be awesome.” It was rather poetic. On the other hand, how many churches, small groups, youth groups, etc have codes of conduct and behavior? Not saying that having a community covenant or standards are wrong, but it raises the question whether we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work upon people at the Spirit’s pace rather than ours? One of the biggest reasons people tell me they don’t attend church anymore is based off of this idea of morality was the focus of their community rather than experiencing transformation with God.

My second observation was that all of the movers and shakers of the YouTube community are under the age of 30. That is the exact opposite of the majority of churches. Why? The reasons are many, but perhaps my first observation has something to do with that, along with the lack of freedom in many churches to create. YouTube is founded on the idea of creativity and ingenuity. Young people have plenty of both, but too few churches allow for the open expression of either. The churches that are tapping into their young people’s creativity are the churches who are growing… hmm…

YouTube isn’t perfect, and it is a community desperately needing Jesus. Yet the church can learn so much from this growing community, a community that is changing the culture at a mind blowing rate.

Isn’t that the role if the church?

Click here for my thoughts from VidCon last year.

God Bless,

Check out my creative attempt to tell my VidCon adventure… Read more…

 
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The Most Faithful Response?


Worshipping or talking… Which is the most faithful response?

Recently I had the privilege of attending a large teen worship service. Once my portion of the service was over I went to find a seat. I saw two men sitting on the outskirts of the outdoor service. I sat with them. The worship music kicked up, and so did our conversation. Both men seemed skeptical of the “Christian” liturgy taking place. From the litany of worship songs, the hundreds of teens with hands in the air, to the evangelist who was capturing the attention of the crowd, these two men sat on the outside looking in, waiting to take down the stage long after the worship had ceased.

What was the more faithful response on my part? My thoughts kept racing between setting the example for any teens looking at me by joining in the worship, or spending the hour in conversation with these two men.

I believe God works in various ways. Sometimes He works through the big services, the calls to come forward, the timely worship music, the powerfully worded pastors, and sometimes He works in the simple conversations that happen all the time. For me, in that moment, I felt Him call me to the latter. I’m unclear how that conversation will play out in the overall picture of these men’s lives, but we enjoyed the conversation.

When is the last time you considered what the most faithful response is for a given situation? If we think it’s a “given” what our response should be, perhaps we are taking God and the way He works for granted. I’m finding more and more, that the most faithful response is the least common action.

God Bless,

 
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Getting Lost in the Store: Thoughts on the Faithfulness of God


I was always afraid of getting lost. In a big store, as a kid, it is easy to find yourself without your parents. That fear has followed me my whole life.

Hasn’t it followed all of us?

Aren’t we all afraid of being left alone?

Recently I’ve begun a new venture. It’s the most ambiguous thing I’ve ever done and it’s something that could forever shape my career, for good or bad. The gravity of my situation ignites this fear, this fear of being lost in the enormity of it all.

But then there is God.

I consistently am amazed how often He is not in my thoughts as a factor in my situations, when, in fact, He is the only factor that really matters. As I was reading Psalms this week, God spoke…

“Do you think I would lead you to this place only to leave you?” God questioned my conception of Him. Basically God was calling me out on what I believed about Him. I know my God doesn’t leave His people out to dry. I know my God keeps His promises. I know my God is faithful.

Where is my fear? Where is my worry?

Gone.

My anxieties fled the building with one question from my LORD. One radical moment changed weeks of worry. One gracious interaction has altered the way I see everything… Amen.

What anxieties do you need God to dispel in your life? Take them to Him. He is faithful and cares. I promise.

God Bless,

 
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Drive-By Jesus: Why Evangelism In America Isn’t Working


The Gospel never changes, but the way we tell it should.

Times change, people change, and they way we accept truth changes. Somehow we’ve missed this believing that the way to reach people for Jesus 50 years ago still works. And some churches are still waging worship wars when society has long since moved on.

So what has happened…?

Postmodernity

No longer do people learn and accept truth the way they did before because in postmodernity truth is relative. If I have truth and you have truth, which truth is true?

So the old approach of evangelism, what I call “drive-by Jesus,” popping into someone’s life with the news of their sin, their need for a Savior, offering an invitation to a saving prayer, and then leaving them, this no longer works. People simply reject your truth and insert their own. We no longer can simply just tell people what we believe and expect them to fall in line. Postmodernity begs something else.

Relationships Read more…

 
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