Posts Tagged 'Spirituality'

Moving Day

Today I’m driving the down to Huntsville to move in a studio apartment I’ll be renting until the house sells. The minivan is stuffed full like a fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Despite the massive size of the precarious load I’m hauling down I actually feel pretty good the amount of stuff we’ve gotten rid of as a family. Over the last few weeks each garbage day has seen a sizable increase in quantity. Our two meager trash cans, unable to contain the volume, stand as lone towers among a sprawling trashbag city that populates the curb each Monday.

All the good stuff went to Goodwill. In the time it took me to unload 7 other cars had pulled up, dropped thier donations, and departed.

So as pudgy as my van may be, it still feels slim to me.

The Chia family goal is to continue to live on less, hoard less, and live simply. Selling the house has just been a nice catalyst to propel us forward.

I’m going to miss my girls like crazy.

Torn emotions doesn’t begin to describe it.

In regards to starting at Chase Valley I’m crazy excited. Tomorrow, my first day in the office (by my choice) is also my birthday. For a guy who’s been tent-making for too long I couldn’t think of a better present than to be officially back in a church office.

As for missing my girls I can’t even blog about it and I’m thankful that 5 hours is a drivable distance.

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I’m Reading The Golden Compass

Given the amount of discussion that was generated by my last Golden Compass post I decided to read Philip Pullman’s book. I picked it up from the library earlier this week and I’m about 75% of way through it.

My first impressions:

This is not even close to being a Children’s book.

  • At 350 pages of small print it’s way longer than any of the Chronicles of Narnia.
  • The main character in the book is 11, but I’d say the target audience is far closer to 13 -17.
  • In fact, the library sticker on the side says, “Young adult.”

I’ll write a full review when I’m done.

I doubt I’ll see the movie as everyone seems to agree how artistically terrible it is.

Ask Ahead of Time

Dwayne Moore muses in a post entitled How Much Music Is Enough In a Worship Service?

How many songs are “just right” in one worship gathering? Exactly how long should the music portion of the service go?

These are great questions. Rather than prescribing a set number of songs Moore lists a 10 question diagnostic that he personally goes through when deciding how long to play.

When looking at his list I admired that fact that seeking God first is so prevalent. I’m also huge on deferring to the leadership of your Senior Pastor.

Where I disagree is that he seems to be mostly asking, “How long should I go?” in the middle of his set. There’s an emphasis on current moment.

I tend to ask myself these questions during my planing time rather than waiting until I’m on stage to figure it out. For me the number of songs and the length and order of the set should be determined way ahead of time. This doesn’t mean your not open to last minute changes like dropping a song when another aspect of the service goes too long. And it doesn’t mean you close yourself to the leading of the Holy Spirit – it simply means you ask for the Holy Spirit’s leading when you plan the service.

My advice: Don’t wait until your already on stage to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help.

Ask Ahead of Time.

New Churches in Evansville

Matt Brunton put together this compelling fundraising video. He really hits home on the need for new churches along side of the old.

A note of trivia: The bench in the first scene is the same one I’m sitting on in the picture on my about page. Downtown Newburgh is also where we took some fun wedding photos.

I am always inspired to see other local people fighting the good fight.

Some Evansville church plants that I’ve been praying for:

Why I Love Church Work

Yesterday I was reminded of why I love Church work.

As part of everything that was happening on Sunday morning some conflict arose and some people I care about were hurt. I left church with a heavy heart. Often these types of situations can be frustrating and cause us to question the call to ministry.

For  me it was actually an affirmation that I belong working in the church.

Our choir did a song that calls, “Let the Church rise from the ashes.” The implication is that once we were on fire and now that fire has gone out. I love seeing the Church shine. I love when people get saved, grow in their faith and turn back around to serve in their communities. But it’s not always like this. Church work is full of a lot of heartache and criticism. After all the church is a broken place full of broken people just like everywhere else.

I had to ask myself the question, “Do I only want to work in the church when it is burning brightly or do I want to get down into the ashes and love people through their struggles, doubts and frustrations?”

The answer for me is that I want to get dirty in the messiness of the Gospel.

Question Your Faith

I was inspired by these gut-level questions.

Deborah writes in a post entitled, “Your opinion matters…” that these 3 questions were recently asked of her:

  1. Why was little or no faith needed to believe in God during Old Testament times (God appeared to humans regularly) yet today Christians have to rely on 100% faith for their belief?
  2. What is the difference between a dream, or hallucination, and a vision from God?
  3. Why is your God the only valid God?

Often times I find myself asking questions like, “Should I be playing my electric or acoustic guitar in worship?” It’s a good question that seems to cause much controversy among church people, but are we also asking the questions that non-church people ask?

And do we have succinct answers for them?

The Golden Compass: Humility and Killing God

A startling amount of buzz and controversy has surrounded the upcoming release of New Line Cinema’s The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman. Blog posts galore and email chain letters have succeeded in spreading the word along with a very slick flash website and movie blog.

The Golden Compass is the first is book in a trilogy written by author Phillip Pullman. These books were inspired by The Chronicles of Narina, which Pullman hates because their Christian allegory. In his Children’s fantasy trilogy Pullman is seeking to promote atheism and attack organized religion.

Naturally many Christians are upset by this.

I am too, but I’m also asking:

How can we as followers of Jesus have a humble attitude about this? (Phil 2:5 -8)

How can we exploit this movie and use it for good? (Rom 12:21)

The Controlling, Domineering, Murdering Church

Pullman very overtly rejects religion because it has “involved persecution, massacre, slaughter on an industrial scale.” New Line Cinema has sought to water down the overtly anti-Christian themes in the novels. They don’t want to make a movie that offends but instead are seeking to spread a general “critique of all dogmatic organizations.”

Can’t we be humble and learn from this? Can’t we just admit, “Yes, it’s true, the Church has a record of being domineering, controlling and overly dogmatic. Many have murdered in Jesus’ name. We as Christians are sorry for our own actions, that actions of of Christian brothers and the lack of action we have taken to correct it.”

Admitting that we as people are broken doesn’t say that God is broken. On the contrary it affirms our need for God. God is perfect. We are not.

Boycott Religious Dialogue

The Catholic League has called for an official boycott of the movie.

Let me see if I understand this: There is a heavily promoted, high-budget major motion picture being released in December. It contains many references to religion and will most likely spark conversation and national debate on the topics of God, religion and the Church. People who seldom think about God and talk about him even less will now be engaged in a full fledged conversation.

And this is a bad thing?

Anyone who knows me knows I talk about Jesus all the time. I’ve experienced many people actually leave the room simply because I mention his name. These people hate to talk about religion and it has been very difficult to engage them in spiritual conversation. But when I have talked to them about The DaVinci Code we’ve been able to have a very engaging conversation about God and faith. This doesn’t make The DaVinci Code good. It means its a horribly researched, flagrant lie that I exploited to get to know some of my friends better.

Can’t we do the same thing with The Golden Compass?

Killing God

In the novels the characters finally find God and then they kill him.

The problem is they were just a bit late with this one.

Others have already killed God.

He rose from the dead.

Share Answered Prayer

How I Pray

I find myself praying all the time for different people, especially when they ask for prayer. When I commit to pray for someone I start praying right there at that very second. That way I don’t forget about it but also it puts the prayer in my head and my heart. The next time something reminds me of that person I find I remember to pray for them again because I already did.

Often I find myself praying,

God help this situation… or is that already taken care of?

Many people ask for prayer, but few seem to get back with you and tell you how God has answered that prayer. I love when people keep me informed with news like,

God said, ‘yes’ here’s what happen…

God said, ‘no’ here’s how I’m dealing…

God is saying, ‘wait’ right now keep praying…

Some Answers

This past week I received several answers from friends that were extremely encouraging. Some were simple “the situation went well” emails but it was so nice to be in the loop instead of still wondering.

I have been praying for one friend who has a very serious medical condition for several weeks. I received multiple email updates as the situation changed and even when it didn’t change. Then yesterday I got an email sharing that amazing recovery had occurred. The doctors described it as “atypical.” One doctor said,

Keep having your congregation and your friends pray, because those prayers are working. [my friend’s] response is unbelievable, and even though I prescribed some medicine, there’s something bigger at work here, and I know that.

In this case the answer was “miraculous healing” which is cool. Although that’s not always the case. I believe all the answers to prayer, even “no” and “wait” are in fact miracles even if they don’t seem that way to us. I love to hear back from people either way.

For those who have been praying over my job search

  • Praise God my voice is improving every day. Pray for healing, my throat is sore from doing some vocal exercises wrong. I think I have it figured out now.
  • Praise God there’s been some exciting developments in my search. Although I’m still in talks and haven’t received a definite “this is the the right place” just yet. I’m still sending out resumes.
  • Thank God for all the awesome people who have been helping me out by pointing churches to my website.

How about you?

Do you like hearing answers to prayer?

Funny Sarcastic Worship Leading Video

I saw this hilarious video over at Doug’s Blog:

10 Ways for Worship Leaders to Hinder the Church

(Direct YouTube video link.)

I love how Doug makes a classy move at the end and gives some encouragement.

I totally agree with the sarcasm of his statements on pushing the limits.

Taking strategic risks is one thing. You need to go out on a limb to get the fruit right? At the same time the guy who always lives on the edge eventually falls off. We need to be compassionate and loving as we encourage people forward in their spiritual walk.

Do you think Doug’s list helps or hinders the church?


 

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