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Showing posts from December, 2012

Worship and Belief in Tragedy

I’ve written before about my conviction that we should mean the words we utter to God.  I’ve shared that when I’m in a worship service, I try to think about and to mean each word.  I don’t sing words that I don’t mean; that means sometimes I keep my mouth shut in worship.

Today I’m making myself form the words with my mouth.  I’m making myself sing words that I know to be true.  Even though tears stream down my face.  Even though it is hard to say them.

Today, we gather to mourn and to grieve the tragic loss of life, especially of life so young.

And I’m making myself say, “Holy.  You are holy.”

And even more difficult, “It is well with my soul.  Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well with my soul.’”

I’m intentional about what I wear when I’m part of leading my church in worship.  My clothing choice today is intentional.  I’m wearing a shirt today that reads, “I wanna believe.”  (It’s a Christmas shirt that actually refers to Santa.)  But today, I’m choosing to wear it to w…

Unstuck, Part 2c

Once again, my message for today is "switch it up."  I've talked about switching up what you're reading about your faith and what you're reading in the Bible.  Now I'm talking about what you're doing, how you're serving God.

One of my seminary professors, Dr. Bagby, used to say that we'll never fully utilize all the gifts God has given us.  When he first said that, I didn't believe him.  I thought I knew which gifts God had given me and had shown me how he wanted me to use them for his glory.  But I was naive.

My spiritual gifts and inherent talents haven't changed.  But the ways I utilize them have. 

For example, I felt gifted in the area of care, listening, and being with people who were struggling.  I thought I used that gift to its max in caring for students.  That was great, but putting that gift to use in new ways has revitalized my spiritual journey.  Now, I get to care for parents of students, for people who serve with me, and others.…

Unstuck, Part 2b

Yesterday I advocated switching up what you're reading if you find yourself spiritually stuck.  I was particularly referencing books about faith, Christian living, etc.  Today's post is about switching up what you're reading inthe Bible.

When I first fell in love with reading the Bible, I read the book of Philippians.  And it's been my favorite ever since.  Philippians was understandable, accessible, and it helped me begin re-orienting my life.  Verses from Philippians pop in my head easily and often, and I can recite whole chunks to you.  I can even do a little of it in Greek.  If I just read whatever  I wanted in the Bible, then I would read the book of Philippians several times a year.  

I'm okay with re-reading Philippians every year or so.  But that cannot be the entirety of my Bible reading.  If I only read Philippians, then I will be stuck.

So, here are a few approaches that have helped me.  No, I'm not advocating a read-through-the Bible plan.  My husband …

Unstuck, Part 2

This is on my blog instead of the Unstuck blog I had been authoring, because these are my words and my ideas; they are NOT commissioned by PCC.

As I mentioned yesterday, we just finished our "Stuck" series in which we presented five tools to get someone unstuck spiritually.  For people who are new to church, new to faith, who decided to follow Jesus and just didn't know how to start, I think the five tools will be extremely helpful.

But the people I've talked to over the years who are painfully, ashamedly, dishearteningly stuck are ones who are serving, reading the Bible, praying, giving, and participating in community.  They've obeyed the rules.  They've followed instructions.  And yet, they find themselves stuck.

A conventional response to such people is that there is an unconfessed sin, or there is an area of their lives that's off-limits to God, and that is the problem.  That certainly can be the problem.  That should be investigated.

But there are other …

The "A" Team

We recently finished a series at church called, "Stuck."  We presented five tools that can prevent one from getting spiritually stuck or get one unstuck.  One of those tools--serving--we presented by acknowledging a few servers each week and then by having an army of servers go onto stage, demonstrating how many people it takes to make PCC happen.

We didn't have a service specifically donated to serving because of scheduling with Christmas.  I'd like to share a few thoughts about serving from my perspective.

First, I just finished writing 16 thank you notes for a student ministry event last night.  I coordinated the event, and even I didn't realize how many people it took to make last night happen until I started writing the notes.  Those 16 people (and their spouses in some cases) gave of their time and energy, and in some cases risked the security of their homes, to let crews of junior high and high school students have fun celebrating Christmas and building rela…