Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why is it So Hard to Get Christians to Focus Outward?

OK, OK, it isn't, at least for some/many Christians. And we have to make clear what is meant be "focusing outward" and how that gets assessed. So let's do that.

What do you think "focusing outward" means/looks like? Where you observe Christians having difficulty in "focusing outward," what observations would you make about them (us)--the kind of people, ethnic group, age, other demographic, church type, etc.? And conversely, where you see good examples of outward-focusing Christians (regardless of the "size" of what they're doing), what do you see serving, motivating, sustaining that outward focusing?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Creative ideas for connecting with people in the real world

Let's change gears and talk a little about how to connect with people outside of church services.

here is a recent post from JESUSCREED ... do you like this idea and do you have any other creative ideas for getting out of the church box?


I am a pastor and had spent nearly a decade in our community pastoring a
congregation full-time and doing what churches normally do related to outreach and the like. I became acutely aware that I didn't know the folks in our small (about 1,000) neighborhood/community. Eventually frustration grew to a tipping point (the Jesus Creed helped with that) and we decided to do a really crazy thing, we opened a pizzeria. The whole idea behind doing this was to get to know our neighbors. We got a lot more than we bargained for.

My wife and I and our four kids jumped in with all 12 feet. We knew more people in our small town after six months of making pizza, than we did in 10-years of pastoring the church; we've been at it three and a half years now. We're just serving them and being kind -- it was the sole purpose of the venture, to just be with the people in our community that we can't seem to get to.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Emmaus Road

One of the "best known" of Jesus' resurrection appearances is described in Luke 24:13-35. Take some time to settle into the account and then share what you find. What caught your attention? What questions were raised--and what questions do you think the account is answering? What does it mean for us today? You might be familiar with some artistic interpretations (song, painting, etc.) of this story; if so, please let us know about them!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Doubt It...?

"Doubting Thomas" makes his annual appearance at about this time every year. Thomas is famous, or infamous for his "Unless." When told by the other disciples that they had seen Jesus, alive again and in the flesh, Thomas replied, "Unless I see his hands and put my hands on the nail prints, unless I place my hand into his side (where the spear went in), I will not believe."

So ought Thomas be honored as the patron saint of our modern, rationalistic-scientific world? Is doubt intrinsically an enemy of faith, or is it possible for doubt to be the friend of faith? We're familiar with having doubts about aspects of faith; is there ever a place to have doubts about our doubts?