Tag Archives: christian

How to lead the best church ever!

This list is intended as a funny way to call attention to some of the major problems in churches today.  In case it’s not painfully obvious, nearly everything that follows contains pure, dripping sarcasm.  Unfortunately, I have encountered some or all of these issues/attitudes in most of the churches I’ve visited over the past decade or so.

  • Your church does not need to be accessible.    After all, you don’t want any disabled, injured or old people in your congregation anyway, right?  They’ll just get in the way.
  • Those posted hours?  Not important.  There’s no reason to show up for services, no one’s coming anyway.  And don’t ever leave a note on the door if you happen to go elsewhere or cancel service, no one’s gonna come by to check out your church on the one night you’re gone, especially if you have a big blinky welcome sign out front.  Whatever you do, do not call your regular members and let them know what’s going on if you have to cancel a service, they won’t care if they show up and the doors are locked.
  • If you’re a pastor, be sure to complain about former members that have wronged you, or the church, from the pulpit.  Your congregation needs to know you’ll snipe at them behind their backs if they ever do you wrong.  It won’t look bad on you personally, and it’s not gossip or anything.
  • Stay far far away from the internet.  No one who just moved to your area will ever think of looking for a church online, and no one wants to keep up to date with church activities on sites like twitter or Facebook, the whole of the internet is a silly, evil fad, and it’ll eventually go away if you ignore it.  Never return emails or phone calls either, if it’s important they can ask you face to face.
  • If someone misses a week or two, just forget about them.  If they really care about God they’ll come back eventually, and if they don’t you were better off without them anyway.  No one wants their church family calling to check on them when they’re sick or unable to get to church.  And they certainly won’t want to hear a friendly voice if they’re depressed or oppressed.
  • Any visitor that comes through your doors and doesn’t meet your personal standards for dress, hygiene, adornments, skin color, class, or anything else should be immediately ostracized so that they know they’re in the wrong place, preferably before they even get a chance to sit down.  This can be accomplished with dirty looks, scowls, whispers, and random gasps from a trained congregation, assuming you don’t wish to take a more direct approach.  It’s only fair that they know from the get-go that they aren’t welcome, it’ll save awkwardness later.
  • Be sure to complain regularly and loudly from the pulpit about the horrible people that keep calling the church asking for help and handouts.  And whatever you do, never ever let the song leader sing songs with lyrics like “God loves a cheerful giver”, “give me Your love for humanity” or “they will know we are Christians by our love”.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, find something for a church member to do if they come to you asking how they can help.  No one really wants to feel like they’re doing something constructive for God or the congregation, so they must have an ulterior motive.  If you deflect or ignore them enough they’ll give up and leave you alone, a sure sign that you were right and they really didn’t want to help in the first place.
  • If someone is too loud, sings off key, gets too excited during worship and actually shows emotion, yells “amen”, or has the audacity to bring their child into the sanctuary with them, you should make sure they’re immediately pulled aside and schooled on proper church etiquette.  Patriarchs like David never danced, or sang, or acted ‘crazy’ when they got excited about God, and Jesus never would have let kids get close when he was preaching!
  • The pulpit is the best place to call out the sinners in your congregation.  If you find out someone’s fallen into a specific sin you should preach a sermon against it as soon as possible; be sure to stare at them the whole time so they get the message, and so that everyone else knows who you’re talking to.  If that doesn’t work, you might consider going to them in private later.
  • Outreach is overrated.  You’ll reach far more people if you refrain from doing any activities where you interact with the community at large. Stay away from any charity or missions programs, never interact with other churches, and make sure that no one in your congregation has any idea how to witness.
  • If your church has to relocate, for whatever reason, you should not even think about calling your members, recent visitors and attendees.  Anyone who really belongs to the church will have heard about the move already or can ask a member that already knows.
  • If a member brings a visitor to your church, and that person is obviously not saved, you should make sure to take the first opportunity to scold the church member for being “yolked with unbelievers”.  They should know better than to bring unsaved people into the church!
  • Things like taking prayer requests or setting up prayer lists and prayer chains are unnecessary.  No one should ever think that the church cares about major problems or illnesses they are dealing with, and they should never get the idea that they have an adopted family backing them up when they’re going through a hard time.
  • Every single sermon should be positive, affirming, comfortable, saccharine, and uplifting.  Never preach against sin; never preach about accountability, leading a holy life, or working for the Lord; never teach your congregation how to flee from temptation, grow their relationship with Christ, deal with adversity or persecution, or get through tough times.  As long as you pretend the Christian life is all smiles and roses their lives will be perfect, and so will yours.  It’s fine to just ignore or rephrase any Bible verse that seems ugly or difficult.  As long as you keep tickling everyone’s ears their money will keep hitting your coffers… and that’s the real measure of success, right?
  • Hypocrisy is very attractive, you should show it whenever given the least opportunity.  “Do as I say, not as I do” is a great philosophy for any Christian to live by, especially a pastor.
  • The music service should be all about entertaining your congregation.  It’s really just a feel-good concert and should be approached as such, after all, they’re paying for it right!?  If people happen to worship God some while they’re at it that’s okay, I guess, but your top priority should be making sure everyone’s happy and entertained.


I’m sure I could add a lot to this list, but I’m getting tired so I’m gonna call it.  Do you have any to add?



Filed under Bible Study, Rants, Tips & Advice

Will we gladly labor?

I wasn’t planning on posting a song this weekend.  I have a lot of work to do, and really should be off doing it.  But we sang a song in church last night, one we’ve sung a few times in the past, that got stuck in my head, so I figured I’d better go look up the lyrics so I could sing the whole thing and eject it (I generally have to hear a whole song through a time or two before I can get it unstuck).  Anyway, I did manage to find the lyrics after some searching, and went to see if there was a recorded version on YouTube.

To my shock, the only versions I’m able to find anywhere leave out the last, and what I consider to be the most important verse of the song.  Before I go futher, let me share the lyrics with you so you’ll know what I’m talking about:

When He Calls I’ll Fly Away

1. There was once a time when, in my heart, I was condemned to die;
I was walking in my sinful ways.
Jesus paid the ransom for my soul, I bade this world goodbye;
When He calls me I will fly away.

When He calls me, I will answer “Here am I!” — I am ready, if He wants me to die.
There’s a mansion now awaiting me on high — I am going there by and by.
I have made my preparation, from this world a separation;
I am walking on God’s highway, when he calls I will fly away.

2. I could never think of turning back into this world of sin.
I’m rejoicing in the gospel way.
I am longing for the time when heaven I shall enter in —
I am ready should he call today.

3. If He needs me in this harvest, helping gather in the sheaves,
I will gladly labor on below.
If on earth my work is finished, and it’s time for me to leave,
When He calls me I’ll be glad to go.

Here’s the thing.  It really bothers me that this third verse has been left out in the popular recordings.  It doesn’t really surprise me, but it does bother me.

One of the biggest temptations we face as Christians (and when I say we, I definitely mean myself included, as this is absolutely my biggest problem) once we’ve gotten our own affairs more or less in order, is to just sit back and wait.  This problem is huge in the church, because it’s the temptation that most affects Christians that have been around a while.

Most people aren’t that likely to sit back saying, “I’m ready to come home, Lord” or “Lord, come quickly”.  Some don’t believe, and to them this entire idea is ridiculous.  Some are busy reveling in their pet sins and figure they’ve got plenty of time to straighten up before the end.  Some have people depending on them.  Some have goals, either in their personal lives or in their ministries, that they’re trying to complete.  Some just love their lives and aren’t ready to leave yet.

But those of us who truly believe, have more or less gotten our acts together, and who are tired, for one reason or another, often fall into the trap of just sitting around begging God to bring us home.  I’ve wasted years of my life this way.  In my case, it’s because I don’t enjoy life here at all.  I’m in pain, all the time, and I’m almost always tired.  Further, I have no children dependent on me sticking around, and at least right now, no clear ministry.  The promise of a place with no more disease or pain, where I get to spend all of my time singing praises, is overwhelmingly appealing to me.

Songs that remind me of that blessed promise really speak to me, as they do to most of the older Christians I know.  There are some services where every single song we sing is about going on home, and I don’t usually pick the songs, so I know this feeling resonates with others.

Here’s the thing, though.  We have a JOB to be doing.  I wasn’t intending for this post to get this long, so I won’t go into all of the scriptures, but they’re abundant.  We’re not supposed to be sitting around waiting to go home, we’re supposed to be out in the world sharing the good news, making disciples, and making a difference in the world.

This is a great song, when you read it all the way to the end, but without the last verse it’s just another temptation.  It’s just another great melody distracting us from what we’re really supposed to be doing.  There’s no harm in looking forward to the life to come, but we need to do so acknowledging that, for whatever His reasons, God hasn’t come back and He hasn’t called us home yet.

I have a policy that I won’t let myself sing a song unless I can agree fully with it’s lyrics.  This one’s a tough one for me, but I’m singing the song, so I am endeavoring to live up to it.  If He needs me in this harvest, I will gladly labor here.  I just hope He gives me a better picture of what I’m supposed to be doing soon.

Oh, and I recorded the song, just so it’ll be out there somewhere in full.  It’s not the best recording, it’s a capella, and I was probably singing too low, but here it is :P


Filed under Music & Songs, Personal

A concert?! A Christian concert?!

The look on my uncle’s face tonight was priceless.  We were sitting at the dinner table and I asked my aunt if she might be interested in going to a concert with me this weekend at a local venue.  I explained it was a couple of great Christian bands… and my uncle interjected with something along the lines of “Are you kidding me?!”

It was quite hilarious.  He went on to demonstrate his idea of a Christian concert, which apparently was based on something from a South Park episode, which involved rocking out and head banging incoherently, interrupted randomly by words like “God” or “Jesus”.  An avid party-goer, his idea of “concert” just does not jive with his idea of Christianity, in any way, shape or form.

This was made even more amusing to me, by the fact that his original look of shock and disbelief was very similar to the look I’ve seen on friends’ faces, Christian friends, when I mention going to a concert and they don’t realize I mean a Christian band.  The shock, the horror, “a CONCERT?!, YOU!?”

Music is all about poetry, emotion, expression… most any music has some sort of religious or philosophical undertones… so their surprise, while quite amusing, is also rather perplexing.


Filed under Music & Songs

I am not a sinner saved by grace

I am not a sinner saved by grace.

And neither are you.

Or rather, you shouldn’t be.

Either you’re a sinner, or your a new creature in Christ, you don’t get to be both.

Christ did not save me so that I could go back and wallow in a pit of despair, saying "woe is me" while I continue to live in the shackles of sin that He died to break me out of!  

A few posts ago I wrote about "denying the power", about how 2 Timothy 3:1-5 was speaking specifically about this issue.  (You might want to go back and read it if you get a chance.)

I’m not sure why I’m posting again on this same subject, except hat it’s been bugging me more and more lately, as I’m hearing person after person spout the "I’m just a sinner like everyone else, I’m just a sinner saved by grace" nonsense.  If you are just a sinner, and nothing else, then you are denying Christ!  Christ is not some lame duck God that has no power to help you keep from falling into the sins that he died to bring you out of.  He is real, living, powerful, capable, and absolutely able to cleanse and sanctify.  And if you don’t believe that, then you might as well throw away your Bible and live up to that "sinner" label you’re so fond of.

He did not save you so that you could go wallow in the mud of your familiar sins!  

Christians love to quote 1 Corinthians 10:13 — Or, I should say, they love to misquote it.   They love to say that "God won’t give you more than you can handle" — ignoring the obvious context of the verse, and the actual text of the verse, they take something said about temptation, and make it about life’s burdens.  It’s great to think that God won’t let life throw us more burdens than we can bear.  It’s not so great to think that we have no excuse  for our sins.  But that’s exactly what this verse says:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

That’s right.  God won’t allow you to be tempted beyond what you can, but will provide a way of escape.  That means for every temptation to sin, there is a way for you to check yourself, and not sin.  Every time you’re tempted, you have a choice.  

As Christians, we are to learn to look for those choices, look for those ways of escape, and get better and better at not sinning when faced with temptation.  

Does this mean that every Christian is going to be perfect?  Of course not.  We’re still human, and we still have to wrestle with these choices, and we’re still going to screw up from time to time.  But as Christians we have a responsibility to lay aside our old, sinful nature, and live as a new creature.  A creature with the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit behind us.  

Insisting on claiming the label of "sinner", even in the context of a "sinner saved by grace", is essentially denying what was given to you when you accepted Christ as Lord.  You might as well be throwing down that spotless garment and picking up the old one again.  "I don’t want to seem like I’m better than anyone else, I’ll just wear this dirty rag, okay, Lord?".  How insulting can you get?   
Furthermore, the more often you say you’re just a sinner (yeah, yeah, saved by grace), the less likely you’ll be to look for that way out.  After all, you’re just a sinner, and God’s grace is sufficient, right?  Why not just give in to the temptation?  I’m not any different from anyone else, after all, right?  

And we wonder why so many Christian leaders fall?  We need to purge this ridiculous notion from the body of Christ.  We are not just sinners saved by grace.  We were sinners.  We were saved, by grace.  And now we’re new creatures, and we need to stop denying the power that was given to us and learn to live that way.


Filed under Bible Study

Awesome Praise Songs Playlist

I just discovered this site, and had to see what it had. Here’s a collection of 75 of the best praise songs out there… it’s wont’ load inline, so click here to load the player (flash) in a new window.

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Let’s see… where was I?

So the holidays are over, and it’s high time I got back on track with the whole posting thing. I’ve been reading semi-regularly and am currently about halfway through Nehemiah.

Since I didn’t get around to posting much over the past few months, I covered a lot of reading without saying much.  I’ll do a quick recap from what I can remember… I think my last mention was of First Kings…

  • Chronicles and Kings complement each other and basically cover the same (very long) chunk of history.  Kings is insanely hard to follow because it keeps jumping back and forth with each generation between the royal lineage of Judah and Isreal.  Chronicles only follows Judah, so it’s a little easier to follow.  When I get the chance, I would love to go back and actually do a timeline to lay out the rules, cuz I think it’d be interesting to see.
  • Comically enough, this read through is the first time it actually DAWNED on me that Israel and Judah were two separate kingdoms and had two separate lines of kings… how on EARTH did I miss that the first two times I read the old testament??  I’m aghast, but it really does make the rest of the Bible make a LOT more sense! lol.

Let’s see, what else…

  • Some REALLY cool stuff happened in the stories of different prophets — peppered here and there through the four books — a lot more than just the few things we hear taught about.  I’ll have to go back and make a list of them at some point. 
  • I developed a much greater respect for Solomon – I always had a kind of mild disdain for him, not quite sure why.
  • There’s a very beautiful prayer for the dedication of the Temple in 1 Kings 8 — very much worth the read, it made me cry – I think it’s repeated somewhere in Chronicles too.
  • Reading about Elisha and Elijah this time around gave me the distinct impression that Elisha was like a puppy dog following Elijah around … :)
  • not much I can think to mention about Ezra right now
  • I’m about halfway through Nehemiah, and all I have to say right now is that the wall of Jerusalem was one ENORMOUS wall lol.

I’m trying to get back on a daily or bi-daily posting schedule from here on out, here’s hoping I manage :)

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Do not quench…

I was brought up in churches where the Spirit of God, and the workings of the Spirit were held in high intellectual regard. Passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:18-22: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.” were read with a kind of wonder and awe, while thinking “if He ever chooses to use me, I definitely won’t quench it!”.

However, rarely, if ever, were the fruits manifest. Once in a while, at revivals or summer camps, He might show up and be allowed to move, but those cases were few and far between. Services were always pre-scripted and setup in such a way that God rarely had the opportunity to move, and if He tried, someone would usually interrupted with “Oh, look at the time!”, or something with an equivalent effect.

I’ve had a problem with this for quite a while, and scriptures like this mean a lot more to me now than they once did. It occurs to me that Paul did not write this to a congregation who would be looking at their watches to make sure the letter didn’t take more than the allotted 15 minutes to read. He didn’t write it to a group of people who thought the Spirit sounded pretty cool, but who weren’t quite sure if the Spirit still bothered to move anymore. He was writing to a group of people who had all spoken in tongues. He was writing to people who saw the Spirit move in mighty ways on a daily basis. He was writing to a group of people who were under constant persecution.

If he needed to remind THESE people not to quench the Spirit, how much more do we need to hear that message today? If you have been sitting on the fence, thinking that it would be great to be used but not really giving the Lord opportunity to move, I would like to challenge you…

Take some time to read through 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians 14, but read them with the intention of seeing what Paul was taking for granted… and after you’ve read those, seek after the gifts — Paul encouraged the Corinthians to seek after the greater gifts, but perhaps we need to start by seeking after the lesser…

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Only what is useful for building up…

I’ve been contemplating what to write about today… yesterday I had the notion that today I was going to just pickup where I left off and write about Ephesians 4, which was the next chapter in line. I’m reading through the Bible right now, I started with the New Testament this time and am currently in Ephesians. I try to read through the Bible every once in a while, and it’s been quite a while since I have.

I’ve found though, that blogging about it makes me want to stop and do a more in depth study of what I read. That would slow me down considerably right now, but I really want to get through the New Testament, so that I can read through the Old Testament again, and THEN go back and do more in depth studies. So… I think I’m just going to do my reading, and write about whatever happens to strike me each day until I’m done reading through. Then after that I’ll start doing some actual studies.

I haven’t actually decided whether to do chapter by chapter studies, or topical. I’m more inclined to do topical studies left to my own, but if I did chapter by chapter I’d have a commentary by the time I was done, and that could be kind of cool to have…

I’ll have to think about it more while I’m reading through.

In any case, I read Ephesians 4 today. The passage that struck me the most is
Ephesians 4:29-32 (NRSV):

4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.
4:31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice,
4:32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

That’s the chunk that struck me the most (I’m sure I say a lot that’s not “useful for building up”).  I really need to remember that on a daily basis :)

Okay that’s all I have time for today, I need to get to VBS (it’s the last night). I think I’ve decided that if I do a topical study when I’m done reading through the Old Testament, I’ll start with Ephesians 4… lots of good stuff here that too often gets missed on the way to chapters 5 and 6 (which cover things like the relations between husbands and wife/masters ans slaves, and putting on the armor of God).

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A root with which to tap…

I’m reading ephesians today, and since I’m too lazy to go get my regular Bible out of the car, I’m reading from my old King James Version bible. It’s funny how nostalgic it is for me to read the KJV… it always brings up memories of sunday school lol.

In any case, here’s some encouraging scripture for those of you who are saved:

Ephesians 3:16-19 (KJV)

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

We too often forget that love has to be our root… that without a grounding in love, we miss out on the greater things. It’s too easy to get caught up in our day to day lives and forget that our goal as Christians should be to stand out from the crowd “And they will know we are Christians by our love”, as the song goes.

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NRSV) says of love: Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.

I honestly can’t think of a single person I’ve met that’s ever come close to meeting all of those requirements on a regular basis, but that’s the goal…  If love is to be the root and the grounding of our faith, then we all need to strive to become more loving every day — and not the sappy “can’t we all just get along” or “happy happy joy joy” kind of love, but the real thing.

Paul defines love not as a feeling, not as an emotion, but as a state of being, as a pattern for living that we must aspire to — not as an afterthought, but as a foundation.  This is one of those things we can spend our entire life working on, and never perfect, but the effort will not be in vain.

Chapter 4 is so full I’m going to save it for tomorrow’s post…

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