Some people think I’m weird. They think I’m weird for a lot of reasons. But one of them is because I know the Ten Commandments… and in the right order. Personally, I think all people should know the Ten Commandments. It’s ten things. Ten. That’s not a lot. Yet, most people don’t know them.
Many of us know the words to all the songs in several albums. People have movie lines memorized. Sports fans know all kinds of stats about their favorite teams. We know lots of things about stuff that interest us. But we don’t know the Ten Commandments.
It’s clear that we are able to memorize the Commandments. Do we not know them because we’re just not interested? I can buy that. What I struggle with is why so many people who go to church don’t know them. It makes me wonder about two things: Do Christians really want to know about a basic part of their faith or are churches just not doing a good job teaching? Check out the video below of people being asked about the Ten Commandments.
Am I crazy, or should all Christians know the Ten Commandments?
Ps. I have two other thoughts. 1. Why do I always see the Ten Commandments listed with Roman Numerals? (think about it.) 2. I’m guessing tablets are heavy. Wouldn’t God have just written on both sides of the same tablet?
Sometimes churches just amaze me. And by amaze I mean baffle. And by baffle I mean drive me crazy. And by drive me crazy I mean, “Hello, I’m the Mad Pastor.”
I am a big believer that churches should have a mission and vision. How are you supposed to carry out your role in the Great Commission unless you’ve determined what it is? So I like to read other churches’ mission statements. Here’s a portion of one from a mainline denominational Christian church I’ve been to:
“We do not presume to tell people what to think or believe. Ours is a community of free inquiry. We explore together our faith document, the Bible, and the Tradition that has been handed down to us, using our Reason along with personal Experience to determine what we believe and how we will act. There is room within this spiritual community for a wide variety of viewpoints on faith and life. Indeed, we believe that we are enriched by this variety.”
Huh? I have no idea what this church believes in. Seems to me like anything goes. Believe Jesus is the Son of God and your savior? Then he is! Believe you have salvation because you did a good deed once? Bippity Bop - You’re saved! Believe you can finance your way into heaven? Good News! God accepts all denominations! (Get it? I made a funny!)
As a pastor, every Sunday I stand behind the pulpit and I tell you what to think and believe. That is my job. It is your job to determine if you want to believe it. You don’t have to. I won’t make you. But that’s my job.
A church without standards has nothing for which to aim. There can be no growth because there is no challenge. Anything goes. You will not have any spiritual depth because there is no standard of measurement. A healthy church cannot have “a wide variety of viewpoints on faith and life.” It needs to have one. Otherwise, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6) …unless you believe in something else.
Call me crazy, but shouldn’t churches state up front what they believe and set standards and help people achieve them? Does that mean some people will disagree? Yes. But is that such a bad thing? What do you think?
Saw this church marquee online. Am I to understand that I should celebrate Christmas because it’s easier to spell than Hanuk.. Hanuck.. Hanneka… oh forget it, where do I hang my stockings?
Is this the right message the church should be giving? Celebrate Christian events because they’re easy to spell.
If “easy” is the goal, what does this church do with concepts like “sanctification,” “justification,” the “eucharist,” “appropriation,” “Christology,” “soteriology,” “hermeneutics…” I’ll stop there because my brain is starting to hurt.
Personally, I think being a Christian is hard. We can never seem to get it right. The Apostle Paul never seemed to get his life in order. He said, “I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15, NLT). Even Paul, one of the Church’s greatest leaders, struggled.
You may think me mad, but I don’t think the church should tell people being a Christian is easy as a tactic to get you to celebrate Christ. Jesus didn’t. He said just the opposite. "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way.” (Matthew 7:13)
Then again, nothing beats a good marketing campaign. Maybe next season, I’ll try to outdo Cross of Christ and have a sermon series on Xmas.
You've heard of bring a friend to church day. You've heard of bring a side dish to church day. But have you ever heard of bring a gun to church day? Well now you can!
The Rev. Jonathon Wilkins believes members of his church should be able to carry guns to worship in order to protect the congregation. Churches have been targets of crime ranging from cars being broken into and even shootings. In 2007 a gunman killed 4 people during a shooting spree at a mega church in Colorado. See story here. It was an armed security guard who shot and killed the suspect and saved many lives in the process.
So, should congregants have the right to carry guns to church? Should they carry their guns to church? Should they shoot them in the air instead of shouting, "Amen"? And should I worry about the next time I say something in a sermon when someone packing heat disagrees with me?
On February 17, 2011 Pastor Dirk Jackson was formally charged with raping a 12 year old girl in 2003 when he worked as a teacher at a Christian academy. Komo 4 News
Jesus’ warns in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for [those who cause others to stumble] to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (NIV) No doubt, raping a child can cause their faith to stumble. And yet, Jesus follows with a command to forgive those who repent, even if they have offended repeatedly.
The senior pastor of Jackson’s church had this to say on his blog, “as a community of faith our commitment is to the truth. We want the truth to come out about this; even if that is painful truth. It is only from a place of truth that healing can take place.” See the rest of his blog here.
The truth does need to come out. That truth should be in order for goodness. How can the church use the Truth to bring healing and goodness? What does that look like? For Jackson, his wife, their two children, and the young student who has come forward with allegations of such a heinous crime?
Does Jackson deserve God’s grace? Does he deserve ours? Or do we cleanse the church of those who bring harm and move forward without them?
You may think me mad, but Jackson needs God’s grace and as Christians we are commanded to love him. But grace and justice are two different things. One does not cancel out the other. Jackson (I will not call him pastor) has proven that leaders in the church can fall as easily as anyone else. None of us are perfect. And we have all fallen. All of us. Comparing our sins against one another only takes the focus off the underserved grace God offers each of us.
I do hope the truth comes out. And if this man is found guilty of his charges, I hope he faces the justice he deserves and that he is never again allowed to be alone with a child. But I too need God’s forgiveness to be whole. I can compare my sin as much as I want, but on Judgment Day when we all stand in holy court, it will not be those who have sinned the least that face freedom and glory, it’s those who have chosen to receive God’s forgiveness. Am I crazy? What do you think? http://www.flickr.com/photos/23339587@N07/ / CC BY 2.0
It’s Sunday night. You and your friends want to hang out together. Do you go get a drink together? Do you go to a Sunday night service? How about a Sunday night church service in a bar? It’s happening more than you think. Churches like Connect Rome City Church in Rome, GA www.churchinabar.com and North Brooklyn Vineyard in Williamsburg Brooklyn, www.norbrooklynvineyard.org have services that meet in bars.
It sounds a little crazy, singing worship songs in a place where people normally sing bar tunes. But shouldn’t the Church do everything possible (within reason) to reach people for Christ? Or should bars be off limits? Should God’s Word only be preached in a building with stained glass and pews?
The idea they say is to take the church to the people instead of waiting for the people to come to the church. Is this a good idea? Or are these congregations becoming too much like the world?
Pastor Donald Crosby wants you to know there are demons at Warner Robins High School in Warner Robins, GA. They’re on the walls, they’re in the gym and they’re on students’ clothes. The kids root for the demons. They are even proud to call themselves demons. They think it’s awesome.
The demons are the school mascot. They are the Screamin’ Demons, named after the 7th fighter squadron at Robins Air Force Base. The squadron earned the nickname in the South Pacific.
Pastor Crosby doesn’t like it. So much so that he’s started a petition to exorcize the demons right out of the school. He says, "Hundreds of children gather into one place at one time chanting 'Go Demons.' It's the equivalent of us gathering into a church on Sunday morning and saying 'Go Jesus' or 'Hallelujah Jesus.’” He has a thousand signatures that agree with him.
What do you think? Does Pastor Crosby make a good point? If there is separation of church and state, should a public school have a mascot associated with religion? Are you comfortable with kids calling themselves demons? What about angels? Am I crazy or does the Crosby have a point? Share your thoughts.
The last time Vitaly, a Russian Orthodox priest saw his church it was pretty much intact. Old - yes. In need of restoration - absolutely. But there was definitely a building to enter and worship. That was in July. In October, the 200 year old building, which originally served as a school for the disabled before being turned over to the church in 1998, was gone. Villagers sold it off brick by brick for the money.
I wonder what was more important to the people, the bricks, or the church? Whatever it was, once the last brick was sold, they had neither bricks nor a church.
What has value in your life? Is there something in your life that you can’t put a price on? Do you have a relationship with someone that is worth more than diamonds and gold (or bricks)? You may not be willing to sell it. But if you don’t invest in those relationships, you’re giving them away, brick by brick.
Work a few extra hours and miss your kid’s ball game? Let’s just take a couple of bricks from your relationship and give them to your boss. Spend a night drinking with the boys… again, while the wife eats dinner alone? A few more bricks transferred from the home front to the boys club. A few bricks here and there can be replaced. But go on long enough and the brick house is gone… scattered across the fields of overtime and party time.
I may be mad, but I believe relationships are like brick buildings. They take a while and a lot of effort to build… brick by brick. If we're not careful, and we pull them apart piece by piece, brick by brick, they can come crashing down. Invest in your homes, don’t give them away.
What do hot dog wieners and ministry have in common?
A friend of mine is an elder at his church. The board of elders was planning a church picnic. Everything sounds normal so far. That is until someone wanted to buy one particular brand of hot dog wieners and someone wanted to buy another. For ten minutes they debated on what brand to buy. My friend had to leave the meeting.
Now I'm all for church picnics. Really, anything that offers food is pretty much a draw for me. And every event should be thought out and well planned. But is it possible to get too focused on the details and lose the purpose of the event ?
How often have you focused so much on the details of something that you forgot the real purpose of what you are doing?Do you focus on your kids having the best and forget what they really want is to know you love them? Do you focus on looking good at work when the purpose of work is to provide for your family? Do you focus on getting an “A” at the cost of a relationship? And dowe in the church focus on getting our own way only to forget to send God an invitation to the church picnic?
What do hot dog wieners and ministry have in common? Nothing.
You might think me mad for saying this but I think it's time we focused a little less on our wieners and a little more on the purpose of the church.