I have the blessed opportunity to preach this weekend at my church. The pastor asked me and I was both humbled and honored. But most importantly, I feel slightly nervous with the task of preaching God’s Word to God’s people.
The irony is that I push the importance of children’s ministry so much, but don’t feel this “holy reverence” to the task of teaching God’s Word when I’m in the children’s worship room. Maybe it’s familiarity, maybe it’s mediocrity. Maybe it’s me relying on my own strength. Whatever it is, may the Lord challenge me with this opportunity to ALWAYS (no matter the age group) see every teaching/preaching moment with a holy fear. They said that Martin Luther’s knees would knock beneath the pulpits from which he preached.
Now for the Shema – that is the text of my sermon. My main point will be that God’s first command to Israel AFTER the Shema is the “greatest commandment” (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength). And then, the first thing Israel needs to do with that command is teach it to their children. Passing on the legacy of faith to children is something so key yet so forgotten these days.
Marva Dawn said that she once had a hard time finding an honest roofer – a worker with integrity. Where do people gain or lose their standards of integrity? Not in trade school. It was when they were lying down and waking up and walking along the road with their parents as a little child.
Parents should be the primary spiritual leaders to their kids – not the church children’s/youth pastors.
Please pray for me this coming Sunday. His Word. His Church. His grace.
Like I promised, there will be some juggling information on here.
If you have never juggled before, then stop depriving yourself of this great hobby. Some people call it art. Some people call it sport. I call it both (that’s good seminary exegetical logic for you).
Juggling does many things – it relaxes the brain and muscles. It helps with eye-hand coordination. It builds patience. And it serves as a good challenge to always get better and better at it.
There are plenty of resources that will teach you how to juggle, and I will list one below. But basically, you need to cause three balls to travel in an “infinity” pattern with your two hands (a figure eight lying on its side). You can juggle with one hand, but you need to have two balls going in order to consider it a juggle. DO NOT juggle two balls in a circle. That is not juggling. You must have more balls going than you have hands.
So, for a juggling tutorial, check out:
Christmas Sunday Services
Here we go. There’s a ton of blog talk right now about why many churches are closing their doors on December 25th this year. The last time Christmas landed on a Sunday was 1994 (and I think I remember going to church that year on Christmas Day). Many say it is a travesty that the doors are closed since it is a Sunday and it is also the second most important Christian holiday (second only to Easter). If churches usually meet on Sunday, why close it on such a “high holy day”? The critics say that churches are bowing to consumerism and the need for families to open presents around a tree.
Others, though, say that no day should be regarded as more holy than another. And each person should make up their own mind about how important they make holidays (see Romans 14 in the Bible). Furthermore, there is talk that family time is a time of worship for many Christian families, so why assume that churches are restricting worship just because they meet on Saturday night?
This is Tradition versus Tradition. There is the Tradition of the church meeting on Sunday, the Lord’s Day. This is the first day of the week, the day Jesus rose from the dead (although I’m not sure if the Gregorian calendar can prove that Jesus did in fact rise on a Sunday). All we know is that he arose on the third day, and we remember his crucifixion on a Friday.
I side with the second view – that it’s OK to celebrate Christmas as a church on Saturday and with your family on Sunday. For a good explanation of the first view, see Ben Witherington’s blog (www.benwitherington.blogspot.com). Go to Ben’s Dec 4th blog. For someone who supports the second view, see Scot McKnight’s Blog (www.jesuscreed.org). Go to his Dec 8th blog. Tell me your thoughts.
ps-there will be some juggling information on here someday!
The World’s Best-Selling Book
There must be a greater reason than just literary structure and clarity as to why more copies of the Bible have been purchased and published around the world in plenty of languages.
I must quote a book I have been reading for class recently. It is called The Mystery of God’s Word by Raniero Cantalamessa. The title doesn’t sound too enthralling at first glance. And the author is far from your typical American Evangelical. This guy, Raniero, has been the Pastor to the Papal Household since 1980. That’s right, he’s the Pope’s Pastor.
Listen to this from Cantalamessa:
“In the world at large and even within the Church there have been and there will be better books than some books in the Bible – of greater literary refinement and, religiously speaking, more edifying (suffice it to mention The Imitation of Christ) – yet none of these produces the effect that the most modest of the inspired books produces…In Tales of a Russian Pilgrim, we read of many people being cured of the vice of drinking, thanks to their having kept a resoluton to read a chapter of the gospel whenever they felt the compulsive need for a drink coming on. Recommending the practice to one such, a monk said, ‘In the very words of the Gospel there is life-giving power, for in them is written what God himself has uttered. Never mind if you do not understand it properly; it is enough if you read carefully. If you don’t understand the Word of God, the demons certainly do understand what you are reading, and they tremble.'” (Reniero Cantalamessa, The Mystery of God’s Word [Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1994], pp. 13-14).