October 19, 2017

Archives for November 2015

Another Look: Peter the Pastor

I have written several posts on the subject of pastoral visitation and the importance of church communities taking seriously the responsibility for the personal care and tending of their members. In a comment I received to one of those posts, a church leader wrote that some pastors should not be considered responsible for pastoral care […]

Church Growth: Pastoral Care

One thing I have noticed about people who promote church growth ideology, and the pastors who who “lead” churches by its principles: They really don’t like pastoral care. And yet, they still want to be called pastors. Take the eight-point list on why churches don’t grow by Carey Nieuwhof that we referenced yesterday. The first and […]

Church Growth: the Organization

Church growth thinking is alive and well, and in the eyes of many, successful. And I suppose it is from a certain perspective. Here is Outreach Magazine’s list of the ten largest churches in the U.S. in 2014: If my calculator is right, these ten churches claim that nearly 244,000 people are affiliated with them. That’s […]

A Parable of Wrestling

For your meditation and contemplation today, this parable told by Ron Rolheiser: In his autobiography, the renowned writer Nikos Kazantzakis shares a conversation he had with an old monk named Father Makários. Sitting with the saintly old man, Kazantzakis asked him: “Do you still wrestle with the devil, Father Makários?” The old monk reflected for […]

Doing Jesus’ work in Jesus’ way

The Beatitudes Jesus taught come to us in two parts. The first four Beatitudes describe the surprising recipients of God’s favor. Blessed are the poor in spirit Blessed are those who mourn Blessed are the meek Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice These are the ones most people consider at the bottom of society’s […]

Sundays with Michael Spencer: November 15, 2015

Today in chapel, one of my co-workers told his life story. That’s pretty common at our ministry, but this was anything but common. Doc [not his real name] came to us about three years ago, along with his new bride. Middle-aged and a recent Bible college graduate, looking for a beginning in ministry. Of course, […]

A Day of Silence and Prayer for Paris and all Peace-loving People

We will not have Saturday Ramblings today. Instead, we urge silence and prayers for our friends in France, who have suffered tremendously over the past 24 hours. Sadly, we could do this every week, because it seems that every moment somewhere in the world peace-loving people are under attack. Prince of Peace, have mercy on […]

Memes won’t do

See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. • Matthew 10:16 • • • Christians are naive, maybe hopelessly naive. Failing to heed Jesus’ counsel to be wise as they traverse the minefields of the world, we end up playing and […]

Open Mic: Faith and Military Service

Yesterday was Veterans Day here in the U.S., a day to thank those who have served our country in the military. I read an interesting piece by Tobin Grant at RNS which suggests that religious people (Christians, in the research) are more likely to be veterans. I don’t know how much stock I put in what’s […]

Another Look: Examine Yourself?

A man named Andrew contributed a short story on theopenend.com about hypochondria. In it, he wrote: Today I have lymphoma. Yesterday was bowel cancer. I curiously palpate my underarms, searching for that slippery lump, stealthily hiding from my grasp. I check again, and again. I then move up to my neck, again massaging for lumps. My temperature […]