MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Are We Too Much Fun?

July 26th, 2007 Viewed 1832 times

One of the hardest questions I think that a church activity has to answer is are we trying to be too much fun.  The question that I believe we are trying to answer, though, is scary in its bluntness:

“Why should someone want to come to my church activity?”

Our answer to this question will say a lot about our ministry, what we think of God and the message that we have to give.  What I find interesting is that traditionally the feature that “sold” Christianity was salvation from sin.  Sure, there’s the promise of Heaven, and the chance to escape Hell, but when a preacher came on the scene and proclaimed the Word, people came forward, lives were changed, and a world was impacted.

Now, we have to hope that we can get a famous person to come.  Or we have to stress about what activities we have planned.  We’re concerned about if children think that we’re fun, and we’re moving as quickly as we can out of the lesson and to the times that we think the kids enjoy more: refreshments, crafts, game time, and openings/closings.  Does something seem amiss here?

Tuesday, Michelle Potter, commented that a community that she was involved with held an all day VBS.  The more I think about this, the more interested I become.  If you start to think about parents sending kids with enrollment forms (relieves the pressure of wondering whether the kids will come back), different classes you could have, more exposure, and leveraging the Christians in the community you think– whew– that’s a lot of work.

But after you get over that, you begin to wonder why we don’t do this more.  Partner churches together.  Maybe make it more than one week.  Esp if you have a church school.

Or are we just not really all that serious about reaching the lost as we say we are?

Who’s the Target?

July 25th, 2007 Viewed 2023 times, 1 so far today

One of the biggest questions we must answer when it comes to Vacation Bible School is who the target audience is.  There are two audiences that always vie for attention in the Christian church– the churched and the unchurched.  The one that you’re targeting makes all the difference in your approach.

Targeting the Unchurched Child

This target has many advantages.  They don’t know most of the Bible stories, so everything’s fresh and new.  They have interesting questions that churched children may already have the answers to or may never thought of.  They may be looking for answers.  They may be lost and in need of a Savior.  They’re not going to a church, so they could join your church.

In this setting, it’s important to have simple Bible Stories that focus on sin and forgiveness.  You don’t need to dwell on the Hebrew and Greek.  Your goal is simply to show them their need for a Savior and pray that the Holy Spirit does His work and they come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Targeting the Churched Child

The churched child is a different ball game.  They know all the Bible stories and can probably tell you parts that you didn’t even remember.  They are familiar with all the leaders, and don’t have a problem “spoiling” the climatic ending.  They generally have already expressed faith in Christ for salvation, and therefore do not benefit as much from the reminders of their faith.

Here I believe that the biggest benefit to them would be in learning life application lessons– or even better, that they would learn how to study the Word of God themselves.  Too many Sunday School classes and other places where they hear about God’s Word are focused on the stories, but not how to draw life lessons out of it.  These children need to be equipped to be reaching their peers.  They could be a valuable aid to reaching the lost, but they don’t need to hear the salvation message again.

Mixed Targets

If you have a mixed audience you have to choose your topics carefully, or offer separate classes.  What you will need to do is always have a strong salvation message, but offer life application messages as well.  You may also need to incorporate some discipleship training into your presentation so that everyone can learn to read from the Bible.

What’s the target of your church’s VBS?  How well do you think your church does in reaching the target?

Prayer

June 24th, 2007 Viewed 1822 times, 1 so far today

The biggest impact that we can ever make is getting on our knees before the Throne of God.  You see, we can think of great plans, and try to do many things in our own strength, but without the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those we are trying to reach, our efforts will be in vain.

Pray for the Lost to Seek Christ

The size of the hurdle that is between the Lost Soul and Christ seems to grow higher each day.  Secular Humanism is running rampant in our schools, our colleges, and from society.  The concepts of “if it feels good do it” and the “I’ve got to have it my way right now” are in full force through advertisements, money, etc.  Philosophers have declared God dead.  Science has tried to explain how we got here through chance.  And churches are trying to become like the world in order to reach them.

Godly Wife: Who Trains the Children?

February 6th, 2007 Viewed 3818 times

Being bored and having a television is a bad combination. You can find yourself watching things that are borderline or that you only find acceptable because “you have nothing else to do.” That being said, I have learned something important from the Nanny 911 / Supernanny combination about raising children– the parents have a whole lot more to do with it than they usually think.

The few times that I have seen this show, the nanny who has to come in to straighten out the mess finds two parents that are not on the same page as far as discipline, privileges, involvement, etc. They are either detached, the kid’s friends, or they simply do not agree and the anger between the parents shows in the children.

Godly Wife: How Do You Handle When He is Wrong?

December 18th, 2006 Viewed 4809 times

I think that one of the hardest things for a guy to do– no matter who the guy is– is to admit that they are wrong. In fact, I believe that an inordinate amount of time is spent by guys trying to shift blame away from someone else.

To put it simply, we don’t like it when we’re wrong. But how you, Godly Wife, handle when we are wrong can make us admitting it even harder.

It is this principle that I have been thinking deeply about for the past few weeks in regards to some things that are going on in my church. Loving submission requires that we not just accept the position of the one that is the leader, but that we follow it even if we disagree, and if it fails we do not say “I told you so.”

There is a time to point out that a given thing is wrong or that your husband is mistaken, but you must take the time to try to win him, rather than winning the argument or holding over his head the mistake as a claim to superiority.

You see, our families are based on a God-ordained plan. One thing that guys are usually not are transparent. The way that you handle when he is wrong effects him more than you believe– since he loves you and is trying to provide for you. It goes hand in hand with the trust that he places in you.

Tearing down the leadership in your home will have a negative effect on not only your husband, but on your children and yourself.

But it goes further than just what you say and how you say it. How do you think about your husband when he is wrong? Do you allow his failures to let you think about him as evil, stupid, or as someone who just made the wrong decision?

It is paramount that you view him as that dear friend that you married– one that you want to succeed. It’s important that instead of thinking about him as the one that doesn’t make right calls “all the time” as someone that needs your strength and wisdom in certain areas– seasoned with kindness.

Let me emphasize– you must not be building a case against him in your heart and devise strategies to defeat him, but must be looking for ways to pursue love and be nurturing to him.

These things are not conditional to whether he returns your love– they are to be done despite his sins and failures. Godly Wife, you are to be without blame in your reactions to Him so that you may glorify your father in Heaven.

Question Idea taken from Questions for a Godly Wife

Separation

September 10th, 2006 Viewed 3181 times

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. – II Corinthians 6:17-18

BricksSo begins one of the most difficult and complex topics that the church has faced since its founding. It is this topic that has divided churches over the color of carpet or issues of doctrine, and has created the multiple different “flavors” of Christianity we see in the world today. We all can agree that separation is important– God will do it ultimately when he separates the sheep from the goats (the saved from the unsaved), but how do we know who to separate from now, and what are the criteria?

Since there are multiple ways to begin this discussion, let’s start with the differences between the actors. There is Personal Separation and Ecclesiastical (or Church-based) Separation.

In Personal Separation, there are fewer guidelines and complexities, so I will cover them in short order. There’s a command in II John that if someone comes to your house and does not bring the gospel of Christ, then you are not to let him in the door, because that makes you a partaker in his evil deeds. Why? Because you will be seen not as taking a stand against the person’s beliefs (they are probably well known). If you feel the desire to share the gospel or try to reach them, choose a neutral place where you can talk with them.

Also, you are to choose your friends wisely. There are many passages that talk about the effect someone has on a friend and vice versa. However, the Holy Spirit saw fit to make sure that we realize that we are in the world and not of it and that we are to be witnesses. If we were to take a position of separation from all sin, we would not be able to witness. Christ went to those that needed Him, but He never went somewhere that would have been equated with sin.

He went to Zacceus’ house– a sinner, publican, but the house was not necessarily associated with sin. Mary Magdelen poured ointment on his feet and head, but again the person was a sinner, not the location. You’ll never find Jesus in the New Testament going into a idol’s temple. You’ll never see Him visiting a house of prostitution (he doesn’t even go to the women at the well’s house, maybe for the association with that house?). We too need to make sure that the places that we go and who we invite in do not have something attached to them that people would get the wrong impression.

When we get to Church-based separation is where things get difficult.

The Promise of the Comforter

August 9th, 2006 Viewed 1804 times, 1 so far today

Battle In the SkyAfter explaining to the disciples that he needed to go away so that the Comforter could come and what the Comforter’s job would be, Jesus picks up in John 16:15 by saying that He needs to leave for a little while. The disciples are puzzled by the way he presents it, so Jesus starts to explain what He means.

This whole discourse was to prepare the disciples for what was to come, but Christ must have known that even this discussion would not be enough.

A Wise Heart Will Seek God

August 4th, 2006 Viewed 3231 times, 5 so far today

Which WayIn order to know how to evade his plight, David looked at it the plight in two different ways– as a person and as a prince. As a person, David clung to the fact that God was merciful, compassionate and just. His unchanging nature condemned David when he was in sin, but was also something that David could cling to when David was in trouble. David knew that if he put his faith in the Lord, if He trusted in God alone, God would have to get the glory and God would take care of him.

Where Are You From?

December 22nd, 2004 Viewed 1148 times

Wooden NativityPage 5:

Meacham next goes to address two different problems. The first problem is in the translation of Isaiah 7:14– he states that there are scholars that think the rendering of the passage should be “a young woman” not “the virgin.” The next problem is geography. According to the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah would come from Bethleham, but many were objecting to Jesus being from Nazareth, so he said Matthew and Luke had to get them there. He states that Matthew has Mary and Joseph as residents of Bethleham that had to move to Nazareth. He also says that Matthew added dramatic flair going having them go to Egypt. He states that there is no historical evidence for the Herodian slaughter.

Jesus Seminar

December 15th, 2004 Viewed 1475 times

Wooden NativityThe next segment of the article, page 2, devotes a whole page to people who do not agree with the Rev mentioned in the first page. Perhaps this is because the author believes that the common view is already out there enough that he needs to devote time to correct this view?

First, a little history of the Jesus Seminar (provided by The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict): p 562 under the section What is the Jesus Seminar?:

“The Jesus Seminar is a consortium of New Testament scholars… [they] meet twice a year to make pronouncements about the authenticity of the words and deeds of Christ. The seminar is comprised of liberal Catholics and Protestants, Jews and atheists.”

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.