Showing posts from November, 2011

A Thanksgiving Post

Image by techvt via Flickr Here is a list of things that I am thankful for in no particular order, as you will soon see... 1.  I am thankful that I was born in the U.S-hallelujah-of-A.  I don't feel like I need to apologize for being a citizen in the best country in the world.  Sure, Americans have faults.  Sure, our history is spotty at times.  There's not a nation on earth that has moral high ground when it comes to it's past (I'm looking at you, Germany), but I'm thankful and proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free...  (sing it, Lee Greenwood ) 2.  I am thankful for   George Lucas .  He brought the world Star Wars AND Indiana Jones.  I even forgive him for Jar Jar Binks and for casting Hayden Christiansen as Anakin. 3.  I am thankful for how much better my life is because of Apple products. Cover of David Crowder Band 4.  I am thankful for Will Farrell's movies--the ones that are actually funny and quotable. 5.  I am

Stuff - Week One "What Do You Worship?"

This week is the beginning of the season of Advent . At this very moment, I am listening to the David Crowder Band 's Christmas album.  This is the first Christmas music I have heard since last Christmas. This makes me happy. I have also cranked down the air conditioning in my office so that it will actually feel a little like the beginning of Advent. It's literally 80-something degrees outside.  Florida.  What can you do. This Sunday I am beginning a new sermon series for Advent entitled, "Stuff: Are the Things We Buy Killing Christmas?" Watch this video from the TLC series, "Hoarders: Buried Alive." How does this kind of compulsive behavior emerge?  How do people spend their life savings, and go into ruinous debt because they can't stop buying things that they don't need? Here's the news... if it wasn't for garage sales and storage units there would be a lot more people like this unfortunate woman.  Because in our

Carry The Vision - Week 2: "You Are The Vision"

This week I am concluding a two-part sermon series on the vision of our church with a sermon entitled, "You Are The Vision." We spent a lot of time last week talking about what happens to a church when it loses it's vision, purpose or direction.  The bottom line?  It begins to die.  If nothing is done to regain the vision or find a new one, it's almost inevitable that such a church will  die. Since these two sermons are virtually one sermon in two parts, I am going to pick up where I left off last week... with Jesus. The vision that my church has embraced is grounded in Scripture and in experience.  We decided several years ago that we were being called by God to be the kind of church that didn't exist just to exist.  We asked ourselves a question: "If we ceased to exist tomorrow, who would miss us?"  That question led us to believe that our church was supposed to "Reflect and Reveal the Unselfish Love of Christ." In Philippians chapt

"Where There Is No Vision"

There is this vacant lot I drive by every day on my way to work that until just a couple of weeks ago had this partially constructed house on it.  Whenever I looked at it, I wondered what happened that it was never finished. Here's a video on the site of the unfinished house and a short message to my congregation about the sermons I am preaching for the next two weeks: Funny thing.  I shot that video before leaving on a trip to the Holy Land for two weeks.  While I was gone, whoever owns the property decided to tear down the house. Ironic. Whatever plans that someone had for that house a long time ago when they started building it are fairly irrelevant now.  The vision was lost and now even the reminder of lost vision is gone. Maybe somebody with a better vision will come along and make something happen on that vacant lot. Here's why a vision is necessary:  When you don't have one, or you lose the one you had, things start falling apart.  And sometimes things

The Church & The Gates of Hell

The photo to the right was taken at the Gates of Hell. This was the ancient name of this massive cave at Caesarea Philippi where the Banias River began as a spring, flowing from its mouth. 3,000 years ago the ancient Canaanites believed this site to be mystical - a doorway into the afterlife.  They worshipped the god Baal here, particularly for fertility rites.  Their worship included depraved, sexual immorality, temple prostitution and child sacrifice.  Babies were laid upon the super-heated outstretched arms of the bronze statues of Baal where they were literally roasted alive.  And all of this was done to ensure a good harvest--the safety and security of the people. In the time of the ancient Greeks this same spot was considered holy and mystical and also a place where fertility was honored and prayed for fervently.  It was also a place that was believed to be the gateway to Hades.  Adherents engaged in sexual depravity, temple prostitution and child sacrifice.  Babies we