Posts Tagged ‘evangelism’

for the love of donuts.

Paul writes in his letter to the early church in Rome, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race” (9:3)  This was mentioned in class today, in example of just how important it was to expand and increase the knowledge of the Love of God in the communities we love.   “I donutsdon’t think I’ve ever loved a church I’ve served that much!”, was said with a smile to many nods in the crowd.  As much as I’ve loved the Church, and the church I’ve served at – I don’t think I would ever elevate them above my love for Jesus.  I don’t think Paul was either, but was rather making an emotional appeal to explain just how passionate he was to see his fellow countrymen knowing the Love of God.

But being in “Church History” lectures all of this week, I can’t help but think about the history of God’s people seeming to put other seemingly good things ahead of the Love of Jesus throughout thousands of years.

Each time I’ve driven between my hotel and seminary, I’ve noticed new things like a kid who is somewhere they’ve never been before.  I’ve driven past a large national cemetery, with it’s rows of white grave markers.  I’ve driven past a large Finnish paper products plant, that I should probably purchase stock in for the sake of my family’s use of paper plates.  But two places I’ve noticed on each drive seem to stand out in their contrast and commonality with one another:  A small local donut shop that closes when they sell out late each morning, and a large commercial bakery with loading docks and trucks lined up to a giant warehouse building.

Both of these endeavors could be labeled “successful”. It would seem silly for someone to approach the small local shop and prod them:  “Don’t you care about sharing donut goodness?”  “Don’t you want the masses to enjoy the same donuts you’ve enjoyed?”  “See the bakery down the street?  Surely they have a truer passion for donuts!”

Yet so often throughout history this same mentality has crept into the church.  We take the “Great Commission” not as a direction to live and love, but as a mandate to succeed at with all the resources and power we can amass.  So we divide and conquer.  We establish.  We claim.  We protect.  All in the name of a Jesus who came to die.  To give away.  To release.  To submit to the will of the Father.

Yes – I love Jesus. Yes, I want the people in the community I love to know the freedom and New Life offered in receiving His Love and Hope by Faith.  It has transformed my life, and continues to even as I don’t deserve it.  I’m sure the giant bakery I drive by is run by great people who truly love their baked goods.  But I suppose what I’m saying is – it’s really good for us to remember our love for Jesus above our love for everything – even the church.  That may lead to heresy.  But it might just lead to some amazing donuts as well…

..and what might happen if, the church continued to be filled with and sending out people of all ages and every background who were passionate in sharing their love of donuts?  We may not even need the trucks. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m giving this one up. (a youth ministry post)

There are a lot of ideas and programs I come across as a youth pastor.  Some of them inspire me, some of them challenge me, and many of them don’t interest me.  But some of them are so incredibly good that I want to take a time set aside with our youth group and gather as many teenagers as I can around it.  I want to infuse so much about who we are, and what we’re doing with that resource, and enjoy the fruit of what can happen from it.

But not this time.

This time I’ve found a resource that is too great for me to shape a youth ministry night around.  Something that you should be upset if I stole these moments from your family.  It comes from what you might consider a surprising source…me being a 32 year old cynical yet starry-eyed youth pastor.

That source?  Billy Graham.

In advance of what airs tomorrow night (Thursday, November 7th, 2014) as “My Hope America“, Graham has pre-released several smaller programs that present invitations to Christ.  I’ve only watched one, so it’s the one I’m recommending today.  But I’m sure there’s great content in many of the other programs, and the primary show being aired tomorrow evening.moment

My challenge to you as a parent is this:  If you’ve got kids….or grandkids….aged 11 or 12 or above??  Watch this together.  Watch it first yourself, and then think of what questions God might want you to ask, to connect to their hearts.  It’s a short program…only about 24 minutes.  Also plan on having at least a half hour afterward to talk about each of the 3 characters, and close in prayer together as a family.

This short video, combined with you communicating how important this moment is to your family…can be used by God to do something very important.  Both in connecting your heart with the hearts of your children, and especially connecting the heart of your family to the heart of God.

Simply put: This is an amazing youth group moment that I’m giving up – because I believe it was meant to be even more amazing in YOUR home.  Please, please please…..take it.  Whether you think your kids are doing fine….or you and your family have nothing to do with God….these are still important conversations to have.

“But what about the kids in our youth group without parents who will do this?”  I’m glad you asked.  As you put this night together, ask your kids/teens if they have friends who they’d want to invite to watch a short message from God with.  Or ask your youth pastor if there are any teens who’d benefit from coming to watch this with your familiy….I’ll bet they could offer a suggestion or two.

So there’s your assignment.  You can stream the video live from here.  Or you can download it quickly and easily and watch on your own/burn to DVD.  (Or ask your youth pastor to give it to you on DVD…I think he’s making a few copies…)

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