Category Archives: Outreach

Akin – Open Mouth, Insert Foot


Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a candidate for the U.S. Senate will go down in the chronicles of history for opening his mouth and sticking his foot in.  Let this really be a lesson to us all, especially pastors.  Who hasn’t said things in the pulpit and in hindsight wish you had not? Come on, tell the truth and shame the devilye without sin cast the first stone.  Two things we pastors must always keep in mind:

  1. Check our facts
  2. Follow the script (your prepared script & the Holy Spirit script)

We sometimes miss the ball when we move out of the spirit into the flesh. Are we really to believe that our congregation never picks up when we blunder?  We should just thank God for Grace & Mercy.

Akin’s passion for LIFE regardless of “conception means” caused him to misspeak as he is a strong proponent and advocate for the Pro-Life stance.

Here’s where he really messed up, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Here’s what we heard, “Women have the means to be able to shut down, redirect the sperm before it can get to the egg.”  What? We do? We can? That’s  the ultimate birth control.  Is it  some type of telepathic state we can put ourselves in that we can, like Star Trek’s Captain Kirk shout out, “Lower the defense shield – incoming!”?

I’m just poking fun, trying to lift a somber mood, but the real sad commentary on this is, I believe Akin really believed this to be true in cases of sexual trauma as a result of rape.

I personally believe he should stay in the race, but these days our culture is quick to crucify anyone who stands up for one’s own moral conviction.  Just ask Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick Fil-A who took a stand to defend traditional marriage being between a man and a woman.

As Christians, we are to expect persecution.  And let’s face it persecution can come disguised in many forms.  However, in the same sense, the Bible also tells us to be as why as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.

If a man already has an unloaded gun pointed at your head, it’s crazy to give him a bullet.  That’s not murder, that’s suicide.  I think my dad’s advice comes in real handy here, “Think before you speak.”

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Why I Hate Religion



This video is really profound.  It was all over the Christian Network, Christian News, Christian blogs and now I can see why.  Take a look.  It has received well over 15 million views.  I noticed that the author disabled the ‘comment’ feature. Although over 15 million people viewed this video, 260,000 liked it and 39,000 disliked it.  I wondered how many of the 39,000 people are religious…. hmmmm….

Your thoughts???  If Jesus walked the earth in human form what would he really be saying about the church? Would He be proud or disappointed?

Creative Worship – How Far is too Far?


I had an opportunity to hear a pastor’s panel and debate the other day.  The topic dealt with ‘Creative Worship;’ just how far is too far?”  With the use of video, props, illustrations, secular music and the like, how do we know when we have pushed that envelope right off the table?  Beds on the stage, people in beds on the stage, cars on the stage, secular R-rated video clips shown –all to bring a relevant word – but have we gone too far?  hmmm…..

As I ponder, I think about the basics of our faith.  Jesus told us to go out, make disciples, baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and told us to teach… Invite Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior.

It really gets me when I see pastors who have brought five people into profession of faith in a calendar year, but complain about the ‘movers and shakers’ who are bringing in hundreds per year. 

 Their charge: 

  • They are entertainment based.  It’s like going to a concert every week.
  • Lights, camera, ACTION. 
  • They do not revere the Lord.
  • Nothing’s sacred. 
  • They have a ‘feel good ministry.’ 
  • They don’t talk about SIN. 
  • They are showy and want to be seen. 
  • They exploit their congregations.
  • They are sending their followers to hell.
  •  

    One pastor responded this way. “It seems to me that the real issue is to complain about those pastors who seem to have it going on.  At least these pastors are doing SOMETHING.  Shouldn’t we be hearing some complaints about the pastors who are doing NOTHING?”  To make matters worse these pastors are boasting in their NOTHINGNESS.

    Good point.  I personally believe we pastors respond this way because of two motivations:

    1. We are jealous that we are not seeing the results that these other pastors are seeing.
    2. We make these charges to justify us playing it safe, not raising the bar and to maintain our own comfortable way of doing things.

    "Some times to win souls, we need to push the envelope a little"

    Although I do think that there are pastors that may take things too far – especially in their sermons dealing with sexuality, I think a greater charge is to those pastors who are not going far enough.

    Surveys report that ninety (90%) of people learn better by visuals.  So pastors I implore you – Show them something!  Allow your lay ministers (deacons or staff) to help you flush out an idea or two especially if you are suffering from a sort of spiritual constipation. You have got to ‘STEP UP YOUR METAPHORICAL GAME!’

    Challenge: The next time you’re talking about Adam and Eve at least show your congregation a piece of fruit!

    The next time you are tempted to complain about a mover and shaker that seems to be producing results ask yourself first. . .

    “Could I be doing more?”

    Not Everyone Does ‘Church’ the Same


    Go Ahead and Bring it in the Sanctuary!

    Come on… tell the truth and shame the devil.  How many times have you gone to church hungry when your stomach started to growl? My stomach sometimes has  its own ‘built in microphone.’  And yes, I have been laughed at.  Those who felt sorry for me often times will go searching in their Bible bags or purses and hand me a much needed mint or a piece of chewing gum. 

    On occasion, I have been known to duck out of my own church service and I visit other churches.  One day I visited a church a few miles away from where I lived.  It was a mixed congregation.  The people seemed genuinely happy to be at church.  The atmosphere was casual and so was the dress – mostly jeans and   t-shirts.  In fact, even the pastor wore jeans with a plaid collard shirt.  He appeared to be in his 50’s and taught sitting on a stool with no pulpit really. We were handed a program with that day’s lesson highlighting bullet points he would cover along with lines for us to fill in the blanks.  He taught and the scriptures were displayed upon a screen. 

    Take 5. The interesting thing about this church was during the service the

    Coffee Break - "Be Back in 5"

     pastor said, “Why don’t we take a five minute break.  Go on out and refresh yourselves, get a cup of coffee or something else to drink; the women have prepared some tarts and other lite refreshments.  I’ll see you back here in five minutes.”  I couldn’t believe it.  I had never heard of such, but I saw some people get up and exit the back doors so I followed suit.  I got me a cup of coffee and one of those delicious tarts.  I ate the tart really fast and attempted to drink the coffee in the five minutes we were given before having to go back in service, but it was so hot.  A man spotted me and said, “You can take the coffee inside the sanctuary.”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I mean wasn’t their some 11th commandment that says, “Thou shall not drink coffee in the sanctuary”?  I did as I was told.  On top of everything else there were cup holders right next to where the Bible and hymnals were located How great was this?

    The Service.  I enjoyed the service.  It was great, full of life and energy.  We looked a two minute film, saw a five minute skit and just like everyone else, as the pastor spoke I filled in my empty lines with the right answers on the program. 

    If I could say there was one thing that my church exceeded in it was in the singing.  We just got it going on in that area.  But the point is – this worked for them — and the truth is it worked for me too for I have been back several times. 

    By the way, did I fail to mention that my first visit resulted in their church hand delivering me a dozen freshly baked – still warm chocolate chip cookies? They had one message, “Thank you for visiting us today, feel free to come back and visit us anytime. God Bless You.  Good bye.”  Is it any wonder that I have been back?  I am on their mailing list and am alerted to all their happenings.

    What do you think about bringing in drinks like bottle water or coffee into the sanctuary during service?  Would you be tarred and feathered?

    Everybody Needs to Laugh – Even Those Behind Bars


    I have to admit that I was touched by this video.  Sometimes we tend to not think about those who have been incarcerated.  I guess to some degree, me and probably countless others are guilty of even dehumanizing those who stand behind bars.  I must admit I am ashamed to say this.  But this video convicted and reminded me of what Jesus said in Matthew 25,  “Then He will also say… for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; . . . when I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You … hungry or thirsty …. sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 

    It’s good to lay your eyes upon a video to see the human side of people who got off track, but are still valuable in the eyes of God.  God’s arms are long enough to reach down to all of us. Okay you may say, “Michael Jr. isn’t imparting a Word,” but he is working his gift. If a person is hungry, don’t say “Allow me to pray for you.” For Heavensakes, give them a slice a bread at least! Remember this, some PLANT, some WATER, but God makes them GROW! Somebody has got to till the ground before the seed is dropped.

    Enjoy the video as Michael JR. takes us on part of his journey on “The Road Less Traveled” as he brings comedy that lifts the spirits of those behind bars, the homeless and the disadvantaged.

    Pastors, could you imagine showing this video in your congregations?  It brings the human level and addresses the “Felt” need.

    Atheist Ads: Don’t Need God – Can Still Live Good


     

    Can you believe this?  Metropolitan buses with the message you don’t need God.  I must admit I did hear about this in Europe some time ago. I found it disturbing but the truth is I dismissed it – probably because it was over there.  Then a guest pastor who recently came to our church brought the subject up again .  He told us that he had seen an advertisement on one of the MTA buses that highly offended him. He began to set it up. This ad had no reference to sex, no reference to drugs or even alcohol; there also was no profanity or violence. We sat and listened, then what offended you so? Then he let the cat out of the bag and said he saw a photograph of a woman hugging on her child with a caption that read, “You don’t need God – to hope, to care, to love, to live.”  The sentiments of the congregation was utter DISBELIEF. 

    The pastor began to tell us that there is a humanist group  that has launched an ad campaign, declaring that atheists and the nonreligious can live good, meaningful lives without God. 

    The campaign is sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, an Amherst, N.Y.-based organization whose mission is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.  I went online only to find out that they are also targeting African Americans and ex-Muslims particularly – GO FIGURE! 

    Their Motivation:  The president Ronald A. Lindsay said the ads are aimed at dispelling some myths about the nonreligious. “One common myth is that the nonreligious lead empty, meaningless, selfish, self-centered lives. This is not only false, it’s ridiculous,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, all too many people accept this myth because that’s what they hear about nonbelievers.”  He further asserts that  people can find meaning in a life that is human-centered, and that reliance on the supernatural is unnecessary.

    Another myth that the group is looking to dispel – that the nonreligious are immoral, or at least that they can’t be relied upon to be as good as those with religious beliefs.

    Washington D.C. currently has 15 of their Metro buses promoting these ads.  Indianapolis and Houston are also publicizing these ads.

    Okay so here is the question –

    What does this tell you about the TIMES we are in?  What is the responsibility of the church?  What role should we be playing in saving the lost?   Any other comments?

    Church Easter Ad – BANNED! Too Much Jesus


    Here we go again – you can say the ‘F’-word, you can dress like a common street whore, you can promote wild sex orgies, drunkenness and drug binges and violence at any extreme, BUT I Double DOG Dare  you to say, “JESUS.”

    I MEAN NO HARM TO YOU REALLY, BUT IF THIS VIDEO OFFENDS YOU – YOU NEED TO BE OFFENDED!

    IF THE OFFENSE GETS YOU INTO HEAVEN
    THEN EVERYBODY WINS!

    Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif., created a 30-second ad to air for three weeks on 45 movie screens across Orange County starting April 1 to promote their Easter Service.  They paid more than $5,000 for their ad just like any other business would pay for an ad.  When the agency for the national theater learned of this ad, they were worried that their movie goers might get offended.   As a result, they banned the ad as it was and tried to get the church to edit the commercial taking JESUS’ Name out of the ad, stating then they would run it. The church REFUSED!  holding firm that, Easter is our most Holiest time of the year.”

     If that weren’t enough, the agency suggested they run the ad with the event basics: What, Date, Time & Location and throw in some ‘Fun bunny and eggs.’  How patronizing is that!?  And you still want me to give you $5,000+ for the ad? I would like to tell you what you can do with your bunny and your eggs!  Okay, let me calm down for a moment and think this through logically.  The Bible does tell us to be as wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove.  That being said, it’s good to know that negative publicity can be just as effective in promoting programs as positive publicity in some cases – like this one.  The church got free publicity from: the media, newsprint, local and national news, the Internet, my blog, my Facebook AND it did not cost them one copper coin!  Hallelujah!  We still win.

    EVANGELISM: Pastors, this church took time to invest into the kingdom.  They reserved $5,000+ to promote heavily their Easter program.  They took the time to come up with a topic that would be sure to get people’s interest – Conspiracy Theory – ‘Just what did happen to Jesus’ Body?’  hmmm…  This whole project was carefully thought out, planned and executed – making sure it wasn’t just another Easter Service.  Even though they couldn’t have predicted that things would have ended up this way; I believe they will enjoy much success and people will be drawn to Jesus making Him the Lord of their lives. 

    Isn’t this the Great Commission – and really what it is all about WINNING SOULS?

    When was the last time you took time to really invest in an evangelism project?  When were you ever willing to pull out all the stops to ensure a great service?