this has been floating around facebook. It is worth posting here….
>I have to admit, I have been one of those people that make fun of other Christians. I have even been one of those Christians that have apologized for what we (the church) have done to others in the name of Christ. On one hand this needs to be done. Christians continue to hurt others every day. But how far does it have to go? When do we stop apologizing? When do we just live our lives as we should, as the bible shows us? I for one, am tired of minimalizing my relationship with Christ. It defines me, it makes who I am for better or worse.
I know I have screwed up in judging. I am sorry. I know that I have been your typical American Christian. I am sorry. But, I don’t apologize for being a Christian. I am not ashamed of calling myself a Christian. I am not ashamed to admit to people that Faith is a narrow road. I am not ashamed to tell people that there is a savior who died for their sins. I am not ashamed to tell people there is only one way to the Father.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
What do you think? Should we feel bad that we are Christians? Should we constantly apologize. Should we rethink the narrow road? I would love to hear your feedback.
>This video is the bomb. Mr. Bean captures what it feels like to walk into a church and not know what to expect. I felt like this a few times when I was working at night. There were plenty of times when my wife had to nudge me because I was snoring.
>So I have had discussions in the past on whether or not our little fuzzy friends have souls. This church decides to at least entertain the thought. This article was written by Gillian Flaccus of the Associated Press. Let me know your thoughts on whether pets have souls or whether or not we should have church service for doggies.
“LOS ANGELES — When the Rev. Tom Eggebeen took over as interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church three years ago, he looked around and knew it needed a jump start.
Most of his worshippers, though devoted, were in their 60s, attendance had bottomed out and the once-vibrant church was fading as a community touchstone in its bustling neighborhood.
So Eggebeen came up with a hair-raising idea: He would turn God’s house into a doghouse by offering a 30-minute service complete with individual doggie beds, canine prayers and an offering of dog treats. He hopes it will reinvigorate the church’s connection with the community, provide solace to elderly members and, possibly, attract new worshippers who are as crazy about God as they are about their four-legged friends.
Before the first Canines at Covenant service last Sunday, Eggebeen said many Christians love their pets as much as human family members and grieve just as deeply when they suffer — but churches have been slow to recognize that love as the work of God.
“The Bible says of God only two things in terms of an ‘is’: That God is light and God is love. And wherever there’s love, there’s God in some fashion,” said Eggebeen, himself a dog lover. “And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that.”
The weekly dog service at Covenant Presbyterian is part of a growing trend among churches nationwide to address the spirituality of pets and the deeply felt bonds that owners form with their animals.
Traditionally, conventional Christians believe that only humans have redeemable souls, said Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
But a growing number of congregations from Massachusetts to Texas to California are challenging that assertion with regular pet blessings and, increasingly, pet-centric services, said Hobgood-Oster, who studies the role of animals in Christian tradition.
She recently did a survey that found more than 500 blessings for animals at churches nationwide and has heard of a half-dozen congregations holding worship services like Eggebeen’s, including one in a Boston suburb called Woof ‘n Worship.
“It’s the changing family structure, where pets are really central and religious communities are starting to recognize that people need various kinds of rituals that include their pets,” she said. “More and more people in mainline Christianity are considering them to have some kind of soul.”
The pooches who showed up at Covenant Presbyterian on Sunday didn’t seem very interested in dogma.
Animals big and small, from pit bulls to miniature Dachshunds to bichon frises, piled into the church’s chapel to worship in an area specially outfitted for canine comfort with doggie beds, water bowls and a pile of irresistible biscuits in an offering bowl. There were a lot of humans too — about 30 — and three-quarters of them were new faces.
The service started amid a riot of tail-sniffing, barking, whining and playful roughhousing.
But as Eggebeen stepped to the front and the piano struck up the hymn “GoD and DoG,” one by one the pooches lay down, chins on paws, and listened. Eggebeen took prayer requests for Mr. Boobie (healing of the knees) and Hunter (had a stroke) and then called out the names of beloved pets past and present (Quiche, Tiger, Timmy, Baby Angel and Spunky) before launching into the Lord’s Prayer.
At the offering, ushers stepped over tangled leashes and yawning canines to collect donations and hand out doggie treats shaped like miniature bones in a rainbow of colors.
Donna Lee Merz, a Presbyterian pastor at another Southern California church, stopped in with Gracie, her 14-month-old long-haired miniature Dachshund. The puppy with ears soft as silk was overcome by the other dogs and wriggled across the floor on her belly, quivering with excitement. She finally calmed down when Merz held her in her lap.
“She knew it was a safe place and a good place to be, a place to be loved,” Merz said, gently petting Gracie after the service. “I’ll be back.”
Emma Sczesniak came to Covenant for the first time, lured by the promise that she could worship with her black Lab, Midnight, and her wire-haired Dachshund-terrier mix, Marley.
Marley sat on her lap during the service, while Midnight checked out the other big dogs and sat patiently waiting for his biscuit. Sczesniak said the dog-friendly service came at the perfect time for her: she’s been thinking about getting back to church, but wasn’t sure how or where to go.
“I don’t have any kids, so my pets have always been my children, so it does mean a lot,” she said of the dog-inclusive service. “I haven’t been to church in a long time and this may push me into it. I’m getting older and I’ve been thinking about those things again.”
But Midnight, Marley, Gracie and the other pups probably had something more important on their minds as Eggebeen intoned his benediction and the service drew to a close: Just where could they find more of those delicious treats?
For Eggebeen, the night was a spiritual success — and the rest is out of his hands.
“It’s important for a church like us just to do good things. The results, we’ll just have to see,” he said. “Ultimately, that belongs to God.” “
My mom and dad divorced when I was just a year old. I never had the chance to meet my dad, he died a few years back at the age of 63. Since, I never had a father figure in my life, I never had a negative or positive role model to look to in learning how to be a dad. I had to find other role models, and ultimately my heavenly daddy, to show me how to be a man, a husband, and a father.
Over the past 11 years of having the opportunity of being a dad, I have had many successes and many failures in raising my children. There have been times when I should have been more patient and understanding. There have been times when I should have been more strict and not as lenient. Times when I should have listened when I ignored. Times when I should have shut my mouth and let the children talk.
God has never found himself on one side or the other in the discipline department. He is precisely where he should be. He is never too harsh, and never too soft. When we fall down, he picks us up. When we are in need of a little discipline he gives it with a firm but loving hand. We may have this idea that God is a pushover. That he is weak and that he lets us get away with things because he loves us too much to punish us. God loves his children in such a way that he will lead us to the truth and a radical change in him. Love does not mean sitting on the sidelines and letting your kids do things that is wrong. Love means disciplining them for the wrongs they have committed, but showing them the right way and the way out of the trouble they are in.
God is kind, but he’s not soft.
This is an interesting piece of scripture that deals with divorce and remarrying. Now it is pretty obvious from this passage that God’s heart breaks every time there is a family that is ripped apart from divorce. And, just looking at our own culture, it is evident that nothing good comes from divorce.
One of interesting aspects of this passage is Jesus’ insistence that if a person is divorced and remarries, they commit adultery. He says this to the Pharisees as well as disciples who push him on the issue later. Jesus is always concerned about the heart of the matter. Even on this touchy subject there are heart issues that need to be dealt with. Perhaps Jesus was trying to point to the heart of the religious community of his day that thought they were better than everyone else because of their “holy” lives. Most of them has accepted the letter of the law but not spirit of God.
How do people become like children? How do we trust unconditionally? We have faith like a child who has not lived long enough to doubt the things they have been told. They have not lived long enough to exercise their “ya..but”. Lord take my life and change me so I am not constantly trying to find ways to prove you wrong.
The ultimate passage to contradict the prosperity doctrine that is so prevalent within the church these days. It is wrong to have money, it’s just that money can so easily control you. God wants great things for us, but how did we ever get the idea that He was talking about material and monetary gains? Of course he wants great things for us-eternal life. Of course he wants to give us live more abundantly-life in Jesus.
This is a great story. Here we have James and John walking up to Jesus and saying “Hey Mr. Jesus we want to be princes in your kingdom. We want to be important.” Jesus looks at them and says, “Do you know what you are asking? Do you realize that the Prince of Peace, the creator of the universe is going to suffer on a cross and die for the sins of the whole world? Do you really want to share in that glory? Do you realize that the King of the Universe will become the ultimate servant? And if you want to attain glory, you will have to do the same thing? Do you really want this?”
I don’t think James and John really understood what they were asking for. And they obviously caused a little consternation among the other disciples. What I find interesting is John is still considered the apostle that Jesus loved (at least self proclaimed). But I really do think he go the message of love. All you have to do is read his letters and find that out.
>I find it interesting that there are two camps in the Jesus/theology department right now. One takes an extreme as far as making it almost impossible to get into heaven. The other takes the other extreme with an “inclusive” gospel. Jesus himself, would seem to contradict both sides depending on what scripture is read.
I don’t have it all figured out. There are many things that I will never figure out. But, I do believe there are things in the bible that make it perfectly clear what is needed to follow Jesus and be on the “narrow road”. But are we too afraid to find out? Are we too afraid to look at the scriptures and read them? Are we too afraid that they have been mistranslated over the years?
It is clear to me that Jesus wasn’t afraid of the scriptures. Every time some argument was presented to him, he used (when necessary) scripture to combat his attackers. Perhaps we could take a lesson from Jesus and not be so afraid that we don’t know what the bible is talking about and give a little study now and then.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating “bible worship” above “Jesus worship”. But I am advocating a healthy dose of knowing what the bible says and living out our love of Jesus on a day to day basis. I really don’t believe one is possible without the other.