Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's the deal with 2012?

These days there's an increasing amount of talk about the year 2012, and as it nears, it will probably increase. "Why is it that some people are talking about 2012," you might ask?

Well, in December, 2012, at the winter solstice, the Mayan Long Count calendar will come to an end. Why is this a big deal? Because it is one of the oldest calendars in existence. It started 500 years before the pyramids, 1500 years before the exodus, and according to this calendar the end of this world cycle will be December 21, 2012.

In our day, it seems that with something ends, even something as innocent as an ancient calendar, people seem to think up the most extreme possibilities for the end of civilization as we know it. So, how are we to react to this?

My best answer is to look at what the Bible has to say about this. The first thing that comes to mind is Matthew 24:36, "no one knows about the day or the hour (of Jesus' coming), not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father." Later on in verses 42, 44, we are told to keep watch, to be ready, because he will come at a time when we do not expect him.

My approach is this: Don't worry about end of the world scenarios that come and go (I remember the same conversation leading up to 1984 and the year 2000), instead focus on being ready today to meet the God that loves you and can't wait to see you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Role of the pastor

"Pastoral work takes Dame Religion by the hand and drags her into the everyday world, introducing her to friends, neighbors, and associates. Religion left to herself is shy, retiring, and private; or else decorative and proud--a prima donna. But she is not personal and she is not ordinary. The pastor insists on taking her where she must mix with the crowd."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Review

I picked this book up last month. I was initially drawn to it by its title, “the monkey and the fish”. Leafing through it, I discovered it was about an area of church that I have been doing a lot of reading and teaching on, culture (not ethnicity), and how culture gets created and formed, and how to understand the culture we live in and connect with it, and the importance of developing a church culture that in outward thinking (instead of inward focused).
This is a pretty short read, just over 200 pages, and the author uses one word to connect his thoughts: liquid. We live in a different world, and the author talks about the cultural shifts at work in the world, and of how important it is to understand these shifts so we can communicate the gospel effectively in our day.
For many years our church culture’s only means of communicating the Gospel has been informational, yet the culture of today, driven by younger generations, learns best relationally. Being liquid is about adaptability, adjusting and communicating the Gospel in a way that resonates with our culture today. The author also use the term, third culture. First culture is the dominant homogenous culture we live in. Second culture is about how folks live who are not comfortable with the first culture. But, third culture is "the mindset and will to live, learn, ad serve in any culture, even in the midst of pain and discomfort." This reminded me of Matthew 5:16, 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Jesus reminded us that information sharing is not the best avenue to sharing God, our good deeds, our actions are. The author also asks three questions that liquid, third culture Christians should be asking:
(1) Where is Nazareth (Can anything good come from Nazareth)? Where is that area in our town or city where nothing good is happening and how can we serve there?
(2) What is my pain (where he talks about prosperity theology versus the value of pain)?
(3) What is in my hand (what has God given you to do or contribute)? There is so much here for pastors in this short little book. The chart of what the church is known for versus what Jesus was known for is worth the price of the book.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Check out this article by Michael Moore

Monday, October 5, 2009

The changing church?

Our church organization and churches are in an interesting place. The average age of an Adventist in North America is 59, which means that in 20 years, we will barely exist, unless something changes. But, change comes slow, if at all. The median age in our country is between 37-38 years of age, but most local churches are led by those who are 60 and above. It’s no wonder change is not happening. See, you attract who you are.

These days there is a lot of discussion about who different generations think: the “retirees” think differently than the boomers, who think differently than Generation X, who think differently than Generation Y…and what out for the Millenial generation. They are growing up fast!

I am not sure we have thought much about this generational divide that exist. It's in just about every church. Most Adventist churches do not contextualized their message or approach to reach people in different segments of culture influenced by media, music, entertainment and technology. For most, multi-generational church ministry is uncharted territory.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Check it out!


Why do I believe in the Seventh-day Sabbath?
One: It was institued by God at creation (Genesis 2:2, 3). In fact, God did three things with the Sabbath at creation: he told us to rest, he set it apart (or made it holy), and he blessed it. He did not bless Tuesday, he did not bless Thursday, he did not bless Sunday, he blessed the seventh day.

Two: The 4th Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). Knowing we would forget his commandment, he said, "Remember" and he points back to the reasons given at creation (see above)

Three: Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16), his disciples kept the Sabbath...

Seems to me these are some pretty good reasons to start with. What do you think?