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Friday, October 30, 2009

Does reading the Bible 4x/week really make a difference?

Here's a quote from a fantastic article I hope you'll read in full. I'm going to preach on this someday soon:



My beef with self-esteem is how it’s invaded America’s churches.  In a well-intentioned effort to encourage and motivate people, we’ve created a “theology-lite” where we rarely refer to scripture, never discuss the hard truths of the Bible, and avoid words like “sin” because they might turn-off visitors.  
The famous REVEAL study from Willow Creek is a powerful confirmation that programs don’t create disciples.  In fact, The Center for Bible Engagement in Lincoln, Nebraska has just completed a landmark research study that reveals regular church attendance has little to no effect at all on behaviors like marital infidelity, drug dependency, financial crisis, emotional sickness, or other undesirable behaviors.  They discovered the real “tipping point” of spiritual maturity happens when we encounter the Bible at least four times a week.  
Reading the Bible four or more times a week.  Who would have thought?



Full Article

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Would you worship in a bar? Coffee shop? Cafe? Nursing home?

I really like this post as it relates to church venues. I don't think it's for everybody but I think it's for more than are doing it. I'm thinking there are a lot of people who'd attend a worship service in a cafe or coffee shop that wouldn't go to a church building. Public places feel more, well, public. I think the early church did some of that along with the house church gatherings.


Would you worship in any of these places?

Environments
I don't think the church makes enough use of great venues. This photo is from Joe Thorn's theology pub. It's a second story room in an Irish pub. And that's Joe drinking water by the way. =)
Just a thought here.
What if the church didn't multiply by way of big boxes and satellite-fed LED screens. But rather through reasonably-sized congregations led by capable men and women in interesting places.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From Peanuts to Pressbox by Eli Gold Book Review



I love football! And a good game on TV becomes a great game when you get the best announcers. I got to learn about one of the greats in Eli Gold's From Peanuts to Pressbox.

This autobiography is like a fairy tale come true. Throughout the book, Eli is gushing over what great opportunities he's gotten and how he's tried not to  take it for granted. After the tales of his childhood days listening to his transistor radio under the covers every night, he shares tales of his announcing adventures through minor and major league baseball, minor league and NHL hockey, college and NFL football, as well as truck racing and NASCAR.

You also get some great stories about sports heroes and celebraties who've crossed Eli's path like Kenny Stabler, Bobby Allison, and Lou Saban. Lots of stories you haven't heard as they come first-hand. This is a real sports fan's find!

I think the book would have been stronger, if Eli had weaved in some life lessons. I think he attempted this at times when he would express his gratitude for his opportunities. But he showed very little depth beyond that. Maybe that's not a fair critique but if, for example, you have faith, it should show up in your autobiography. None of that here.

I expected more about faith and life in this book from a publisher like Thomas Nelson. It's not enough to be a nice guy. There should be depth of character and conviction that challenges someone who takes the time to read this book. Just because it's about sports doesn't mean it can't have great value for faith and life.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it to avid sports fans. Otherwise, it's a little long in parts and, like I wrote above, lacking in the faith and life department.

"...Around the world."


Our (GCF)Mission: To lead people to love God and to love people in Jesus' name around the corner and around the world.

"Around the world" is how we describe someone who lives, well, around the world. They speak different languages than we do. They eat funny foods. They take baths less often and many live on less than $2/day. They travel on a donkey instead of in a Toyota. Many do not have clean drinking water. 143 million of them are orphans. Millions of others are slaves. 

Most of them live in countries that end in "-stan" or "-esia". Some of them are in the US on a student VISA but will be going back. Some study at CSU...

They are the people of our world that Jesus is trying to wake us up to. Many don't have the Bible in their own language yet. They don't have a local church in their city. Anywhere. Many don't know who Jesus is.

I personally feel like God is calling us beyond Curacao (not instead of) to the unreached peoples of our world. Those who don't have a clue who God really is--much less Jesus. I believe he wants us to send people there. I believe he wants us to go too. Can you say "Kazakhstan?"

It's our mission. That makes it your mission.

This week pray that God will help us all break through our callousness toward people's of other cultures. Maybe pray that this week God will connect you with an international student or a migrant worker to make it more personal. Careful. God will answer that prayer in a heartbeat!

Love God. Love People...internationally,
Darien

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Weekend Away with your Sweetheart?

Been thinking about a marriage conference? Let me recommend a Weekend To Remember by the folks at FamilyLife.com.

We had a blast last year when Anita and I celebrated our 21st anniversary. And we want to go back this year with at least 5 more couples. If we do this, everyone gets like $80 off per couple. So it costs about $80/couple for the conference. Your hotel room for 2 nights in beautiful downtown Charleston, SC is extra, but not bad-especially for the Marriott ($105/night).

It's your marriage. How do you expect it to be all it could be if you don't ever work on it. You live in it 24/7. When was the last time you both worked ON it? This is too precious a relationship to take for granted. Don't wait for problems. Invest a weekend in your husband/wife. They are worth it!

So let me hear from you. Are you doing it as a surprise trip for your husband or wife? Just want to get out of town without the kids? Give us a call. Drop an email. Or just sign-up. The details are all right here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Extraordinary by John Bevere

Any book that challenges the status quo in our life is a good book. I encourage you to read this summary and consider this new release. dg

Summary

There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, moreeverything in my Christian life--didn’t Jesus promise that?”

He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals.

Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children.

Here is a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”