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Friday Stream of Consciousness 2.0.2
Here's what's on my mind this morning
Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday:
If you are playing Christmas music already, repent, and receive the good news that Thanksgiving comes first, you Yuletide knave.
Using the word, “knave,” in real life is heart-warming.
Turning the clocks back an hour is not my favorite. I can deal with the early sunrise. It’s the 5pm sunset that gets me.
I’ve always been more of a morning person than a night owl.
My youngest daughter, Norah (13), is obsessed with cooking. She’s not bad at it, either. This is a positive trend.
I had someone ask me why I don’t drink tea. I love tea. But, tea with mint can be cast into outer darkness.
Also key: Under no circumstances will I surrender coffee drinking for tea. Coffee is further proof of God’s love for us.
I preached my last sermon as a full-time pastor six months ago. Since then, we’ve been visiting churches. It isn’t something we’ve ever done. Emily and I both were born into families that helped start the churches we attended and stayed there. Then, we went away to school and just started attending the University Church. Then, we married and headed into full-time ministry at churches.
I refuse to, “shop,” for a church—I despise that language. But finding a great church family—something like that—is something we are in the process of doing.
My new favorite word is, “froward.”
There are some great churches out there. I mean…great churches. They love the Lord and each other, and are on mission.
It seems like all we hear about these days are the negative aspects of church, pastors, Christians, etc. While those things exist (I know firsthand), the exponentially larger good of the church remains unreported in general. We must be careful shaping our view of the church based on media. It’s like listening to the police blotter constantly without leaving your house.
Now on the receiving end of church hospitality for the time being, I’d suggest that church hospitality falls into four categories: 1) Churches that are warm toward each other and newcomers; 2) Churches that are warm toward each other but not newcomers; 3) Churches that are warm toward outsiders but cold toward each other. 4) Churches that aren’t particularly warm to anyone, inside or out of the church.
Only one of those categories suggests long-term ministry flourishing. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which :) Categories 2 and 3 suggest stagnancy and eventual decline. Category 4 leads to death. In your opinion, where does your church fall?
Yet, where a church falls is determined by how newcomers experience the church, not how a church feels about itself.
One more thing: Nearly all churches think they are warm, inside and out. In my experience, 20%, at most, really fall into that category.
Since returning to California, I’ve been a man without an NBA team.
I would go back to the Lakers, but LeBron. The Clippers may be my new team.
Two kinds of people to avoid: 1) Those who demean others in public. 2) Those who demean others in private while praising them in public. Demean does not mean, “criticize.” It means demean. We know the difference.
There is a way to speak critically of a person while retaining respect for their humanity and what they bring to the table.
There is little more dangerous than an insecure person armed with formal education and but no experience.
Last Saturday night, Emily and I went to see Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan live. Seinfeld is still an ELITE stand-up comic. His ability to mock or satirize any object or situation in life is unmatched.
We all need to laugh more.
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20
Here’s the key when applying the proverb above: Listen to grow, not grow your network. Sit at the feet of the wise to learn humbly, not to grow your platform or affirm what you already believe.
What I’m reading now: I’m playing catchup on my bible reading plan for the year, so I’m reading less of other things right now. However, I’m starting through, The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God: Why New Atheism Grew Old and Secular Thinkers are Considering Christianity Again, by Justin Brierly.
My bible reading plan isn’t a typical plan. It’s a quest I’ve made each year since I was 16. I have a streak, if you will, and that streak has been a primary anchor of faith for me over my lifetime. The more I listen to God, the better off I am.
The one spiritual discipline that has given me true fits over the years is prayer. I suppose if we are grading on a curve, I pray more than most. But, that isn’t how God evaluates prayer in Scripture. My challenge has always been, “undivided prayer.” Prayer without distraction or agenda. Just pure presence. That’s another worthwhile quest I have yet to conquer for more than fits and spurts.
Does dwelling in Scripture qualify? Maybe in part.
I recently added another year to my age and have officiated funerals for five Pepperdine students who left this earth before their time over the past month alone. It has me thinking more about my own finish line. It doesn’t scare me. It just has me thinking differently about things.
I used to respect people who started things. I appreciate more those who finish things.
With that, this week’s stream of consciousness is finished. Have a great weekend!
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