What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Carpe Maňana

Morphing the Latin "carpe diem", often translated into the English, "seize the day", Leonard Sweet's Carpe Maňana pleads the question in its sub-title, "Is Your Church Ready to Seize Tomorrow?"

The book is advertised as a "naturalization manual" to help Christians lead in this strange new world of postmodern culture. Leonard Sweet, an "outside the box" thinker, offers strategies for leaders to put their faces, not their backs, to the future. (Actually Sweet is more of a "live outside the box" kind of guy rather than simply, "think outside the box". - See page 100)

Key quotes:

P. 26 - "The church is trying to get out of what God is trying to get into - the world."

P. 27 - "The greatest sin of the church today is not any sin of commission or sin of omission, but the sin of NO MISSION."

P. 51 - "The screen is what credentializes you. If you can't speak to them in their native tongue, they don't really listen to you."

P. 55 - "In God's house there are many rooms. In the devil's house there is only one. To continue God's creativity, you need diversity and distributed control...centralisms are collapsing."

P. 76 - "Why will you forget a name quicker than a face? Because your visual memory is stronger than your textual memory."

P. 81 - "Jesus picked up images like a magnet does paperclips. Jesus knew that images more than words could best bend the world to God's being, so he communicated most of his truths through visual images warped in sound."

P. 114 - "The average 5-year-old laughs 150 times a day; the average 45-year-old laughs eight times a day."

P. 153 - "The church has tried everything except the one thing that is needed. It has tried to be an inclusive church. It has tried to be a confessional church. It has tried to be a program-driven church. It has tried to be a purpose-driven church. It has tried to be a seeker-sensitive church. What if it tried to be a spiritual church?"

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Don't Miss the Daily Newspaper

About a month ago I stopped having the daily newspaper delivered to my home. I thought I might miss it but I don't. Besides saving several dollars every month by not subscribing, a lot of the news was repetitive from things I had read on the Internet anyway. Even on days when I didn't think I had the time I would spend thirty minutes to an hour perusing the paper because I felt obligated. Now I feel more unfettered and this little experience of new-found liberty has me thinking, "what else is in my life that I could really do without?"

Since it really is true sometimes that "less is more", several years ago I started paring down my personal library. As much as I love books this wasn't easy. Some books I've given away, some I've been trading or selling in order to buy more books to read and give away or sell, etc. It was no use having books collecting dust on my shelves when someone else could benefit from the information in them. At first I thought about having a lending library at church but since this would take too much paperwork it wouldn't achieve the goal of making my life easier and leaner. So I just put books in a couple of bookcases in the church entry hall and let folks take what they want when they want. It really is a joy when someone tells me how a book was informative or inspiring to them.

What have you done to simplify your life lately?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places - Part III

Peterson's "conversation in spiritual theology" finalizes with a third section entitled, "Christ Plays in Community."

There are far too many good things to quote in this section of the book to cover them all. Here are a few high points.

Page 226 - "...there can be no maturity in the spiritual life, no obedience in following Jesus, no wholeness in the Christian life apart from an immersion and embrace of community. I am not by myself. Community, not the highly vaunted individualism of our culture, is the setting in which Christ is at play." (Emphasis mine.)

266 - "...we have to revise our ideas of the holy community to conform to what is revealed in Scripture. It means we cannot impose our paradisiacal visions of hanging out with lovely, upbeat, and beautiful people when we enter a Christian congregation."

278 - "Cliches are the usual verbal giveaways of prayer that is, in fact, nonprayer."

335 - "The great weakness of North American spirituality is that it is all about us: fulfilling our potential, getting in on the blessings of God, expanding our influence, finding our gifts, getting a handle on principles by which we can get an edge over the competition. And the more there is of us, the less there is of God."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

You Might Be A Preacher If...Vol. 2

I first met Stan Toler when he was pastoring near Columbus, Ohio. I was immediately impressed with his genuine warmth and knowledge of church growth.

Here are a few gems I noted from his book entitled, "You Might Be A Preacher If...Vol.2."

You might be a preacher if...

You know people who have their dispensations all right but their dispositions all wrong.

Everybody stops talking when you enter the room.

You have your own ideas about "the dead in Christ".

The car you're driving won't jeopardize your church's non-profit status.

You know people who have too much time on their hands and not enough on their knees.

People know you're laying up treasures in heaven by looking at your car.

The ideas you bounce off board members really do.

You know that cell groups are necessary for a successful prison ministry.

You've ever been asked what its like to work only one day a week.

You talk in other people's sleep.