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hope

  • 6. Harnessing the Potential of Online Church

    How can we translate Paul's concept of the church into an online context? How can we match his understanding of community, mission, and service with the technological tools and resources we have available to us today?
  • One Thousand Words a Day

    I made a goal for myself to write one thousand words a day, and sometimes, to meet my goal, I have to repeat myself.
  • 7 Things the Church Is Doing Right

    For the past week or so, I've had a serious case of writer’s block. Well, not writer’s block exactly. I've been able to put pen-to-paper, but the things that I've been writing haven’t had the voice that I'm used to writing with. They've had a harsh, judgmental, preachy tone that I despise, and when I've gone back and read what I've written, I’m shocked at the way I’ve expressed myself. That kind of tone is not okay - it’s the exact opposite of everything that I (and this blog) stand for. In contrast to how I've been writing lately, I have a couple of friends that have been on Facebook intentionally sharing only #PositivePosts. They are sharing everything from videos of cuddly little kittens to words of praise for people in their lives who aren't often recognized - but each post is encouraging and uplifting. I've been sitting back and watching them do this all week, and it finally hit me that this was the answer to fixing my bad attitude. I needed to join the #PositivePosts party. So I present to you: 7 Things the Church is Doing Right. Obviously, I can’t speak for every individual local church in the world, but from what I can see of Christ’s followers today, we are doing some incredible things. 1. We’re Worshiping the Same God Whether we worship in a Lutheran church, Baptist church, Catholic church, or Nazarene church, we are drawing closer together as a body of believers. We are growing more and more aware that, even though our worship styles can vary and particular doctrines may be different, we’re all following the same Father. We are increasingly embracing our differences as a mark of beauty rather than seeing them as a blemish of the faith. Let’s continue to praise the one who made us all. 2. We’re Praying for One Another I love that when people are willing to share their struggles on Facebook, Christians are able to surround them in communal prayer in a way that was never possible before social media. Just this week, a relative of mine went through a battery of tests because doctors were worried she might have cancer. Through this emotional roller-coaster, it was amazing to see how many people were on their knees praying for her - often people she didn't even know! Let’s continue to join together in prayer. 3. We’re Using Our Diverse Talents Accountants, handymen, and other volunteers have long been the backbone of the local church, but we are seeing more and more people bringing their gifts to the altar of God. Artists, craftsmen, musicians, designers - people of all industries and walks of life are finding that God has a place for their talents at his table, and they are working to create a magnificent tapestry of praise to our Father. We, as a Church, are learning to embrace the gifts that he has given us and use them for his glory. It’s a beautiful picture. Let’s continue to be…
  • Freedom in Biblical Inerrancy

    If I asked three different men to describe the perfect woman, I would get three completely different responses. The first man might describe a tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed bombshell. The second man might describe a woman of remarkable intellect and drive. And the third man might describe a woman who was 100% devoted to her family. They would each have their own interpretation of what “perfect” means. “Perfect” isn't enough. What, then, is the real perfect woman? Is one description right and the other two wrong? Is she a mixture of the three descriptions? Or should we boil the definition of a perfect woman down to primal evolutionary functions (in which case she would be any one who was able to survive and carry on the human race)? The term “perfect” can have a lot of different meanings and can be interpreted in many different ways. It isn't strong enough to stand on its own - it needs context in order to have any kind of practical purpose. For the word to have any real value in our conversations, we need to clarify which interpretation of perfection we mean. Biblical Inerrancy: The Question of Perfection We run into this very same issue when we discuss “biblical inerrancy” - at first glance, it means that the Bible is perfect and without error. Much of the discussion on the topic centers around 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (NLT) The beginning of that verse - “All Scripture is inspired by God…” - has been dissected and analyzed and interpreted, and it is the basis of the concept of biblical inerrancy. Basically, the idea is that since Scripture is inspired by God (alternately interpreted as “God-breathed”), it is perfect. But how do we really define this doctrine of inerrancy? Are we simply saying that the NLT (or whatever translation you prefer) that we hold in our hands has no typos? What about translation errors or discrepancies with other translations? Most Christians would agree that this definition is not accurate. Are we saying that every sentence of the Bible literally applies to our lives? Most Christians would agree that this definition is not accurate either. A more common definition of biblical inerrancy is that, with the exception of the parts of Scripture that are poetry or metaphor, the Bible is 100% factually accurate and should be read at face value. This is to say, for example, that since it describes the creation of the world as occurring over a period of six days, God created the world in six literal days. Within this view, there is some question about which books and passages are poetry or metaphor. (Who decides which parts are to be taken literally and which should be read figuratively?) Taking these questions even further,…
  • Empty Night

    Each day, no matter how bright, passes inevitably into the darkness of night.