Posts Tagged ‘What do you think?’

PostSecret is a powerful website. It began as an individual art project & exploded into a powerful point of connection for many people. Here is how the site is described:

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

Part of my Sunday routine is to visit PostSecret. My husband does too…& so do our kids. Then we talk about what we’ve seen & read.

Yesterday this secret was posted…

PostSecret secret

Hmmm…. What do you think happened in this person’s life? What was the overriding message that would lead someone to this kind of conclusion? Where was the church? This person may be your neighbor or coworker or classmate. If you’re a Christ follower, what’s you’re next step?

Federer awaiting a serve

Roger Federer - holding in readiness

There’s a readiness exercise in tennis where players face the coach & run in place on the balls of their feet. They watch for coach’s signal to move to either left or right, up or back. Until coach gives the sign, the athletes hold in readiness. That’s a crucial skill, to be able to hold yourself in readiness. There’s a big difference between being on the balls of your feet & sitting back on your heels – it can mean the difference between points won or lost.

A church volunteer I encountered recently described himself as ‘that donkey tied to a tree in Jerusalem, just waiting for Lord to have need of him.’ That guy knows how to hold himself in readiness.

That’s a crucial part of following Jesus – having a heart that holds itself in readiness. It’s a matter of focus. You can’t be facing inward & be ready – you’ve got to be facing outward. You can’t be worried about your own desires & preferences & be ready – you’ve got to be concerned with what’s going on beyond yourself.

Kimberly D. Reisman

Kim Reisman

Holding yourself in readiness is about being prepared to respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit all around us – sometimes calling us to act, sometimes calling us to listen, sometimes calling us to pray, sometime calling us to speak. Only by holding ourselves in readiness will we be able to perceive the Spirit’s movement in the first place, much less how we’re to respond.

The ability to hold yourself in readiness. Important in tennis. Crucial in following Jesus.

How do you hold yourself in readiness?

What new experiences have you encountered because you were ready?

What have you missed because you weren’t?

 

The more things change…

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 | By Next Step Evangelism
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…the more they stay the same. Or so it seems today. Here’s something to think about from Martin Luther King, Jr., taken from "A Time to Break Silence" – the address he gave at Riverside Church in New York City forty years ago today – April 4th, 1967.
 
When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism, are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.
 
Makes you wonder - have we had a true revolution of values? What do you think?

Free Speech or Politicking?

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 | By Next Step Evangelism
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I remember reading somewhere that Christ followers are supposed to resolve their differences amongst themselves in a spirit of love. Maybe I’m confused, but there seems to be some tension between that bit of New Testament wisdom and the recent complaint filed with the IRS by clergy in Ohio against two churches in Columbus. At issue is whether these two churches violated their tax exempt status by engaging in inappropriate political activity. One of the clergy believes the goal of the complaint is "for these churches to stop acting like electioneering organizations."
 
What does that mean? Certainly it seems obvious that a representative from a tax exempt organization can’t officially endorse a particular candidate. But what about other things? Can we not as Christ followers, actively engage in political debate? Can our clergy not discuss from our pulpits the significant political issues of the day? If the Jesus way is about engaging the world, reaching out to others with the love of Christ, ushering in the Kingdom of God into the kingdom of this world, being light in the midst of darkness (need I go on?), then certainly the public arena is an appropriate place to be seen and heard. But how do we do that? How do we do that legally – or more importantly – ethically and with integrity? I’m not sure, but the clergy in Ohio clearly have a strong opinion. What do you think?

A Tough Question

Friday, March 31st, 2006 | By Next Step Evangelism
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I’m reading George Barna’s new book Revolution  and it’s pretty powerful. He’s raising some tough questions and I’m sure that’s making some folks out there pretty uncomfortable. But that’s the nature of tough questions. They make us uncomfortable because they challenge our presumptions, our ways of looking at things. But that’s also why they’re important to ask.
 
One question that Barna raises that I find particularly challenging is this:
 
If the local church is God’s answer to our spiritual needs, they why are most churched Christians so spiritually immature and desperate?
 
Barna hasn’t answered that question completely yet. And I certainly don’t have a complete answer yet either. But it’s a question we need to struggle with.
 
The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said that we all have a "God shaped hole" inside us that we instinctively try to fill. He went on to say that only a genuine relationship with the living God would be able to satisfy that emptiness. I believe Pascal was right. We’re searching for something to fill that God shaped hole within us. We’re searching because God created us that way – God created us with the desire to know God, love God, serve God.
 
But that makes Barna’s question even more significant. If the church is God’s answer to our spiritual needs, then why are most churched Christians so spiritually immature and desperate? What do you think?

happy as you want to be

Friday, March 3rd, 2006 | By Next Step Evangelism
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Did you know that happiness is 50% genetic? That’s what David Lykken’s research shows. That means that what we do with the other half is up to us. Psychologists say that the other half has a lot to do with determination. So I guess Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

 

So if we’re as happy as we want to be, I guess it’s important to know some of the things that lead to happiness. Like money right? Wrong – unless it lifts you out of poverty and then it helps, but only for a while. And it doesn’t come from drugs, prescription or otherwise, but you probably already knew that.

 

But here’s something interesting. "Flow" is an important part of experiencing happiness. Now I knew that before they did the research. I’ve experienced flow. You know that feeling you get when you’re involved in something creative? Or maybe you get it when you’re playing or doing something because you want to not because you have to – that’s flow. Research shows that athletes, musicians, writers, gamers, and (of course) religious adherents understand this feeling. It’s not about what you’re doing – it’s about how you do it.

 

So all of us Christ followers – we ought to know something about flow. But do we? Do you?

 

Here’s another news flash. Happiness, or as Sonja Lyubormirsky of UC Riverside calls it, "a more satisfying and meaningful life," involves cultivating a sense of gratitude, practicing random acts of kindness, forgiving your enemies, paying attention to life’s small pleasures, attending to your health, practicing positive thinking, and investing time and energy in friendship and family. And how about the research that shows that people who are grateful, optimisticand forgiving have better experiences with their lives, more happiness, and fewer strokes.

 

If all this is true, we Christ followers ought to have a corner on the market when it comes to happiness. But do we? Do you?

 

Freud said that unhappiness is the default condition for human beings because it doesn’t take as much effort to be unhappy as it takes to be happy. We all know that if you want something to complain about, you usually don’t have to look too hard to find it. Sadly this is particularly true in the church.

 

But why? Why should it be that way within the very body whose foundation is Jesus Christ – the one who came proclaiming love, forgiveness, kindness, simplicity, wholeness, hope, thanksgiving, and all those other things that research now tells us leads to happiness? Are we destined to always take the path of least resistance and be unhappy by default? What do you think?

a pretty deep scandal…

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 | By Next Step Evangelism
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I’m reading The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? by Ronald Sider and it’s pretty damning. Sider claims (and backs up his claims with pretty solid statistics) that whether it’s divorce, materialism, sexual promiscuity, racism, or physical abuse in marriage, Christ followers aren’t doing very well. In fact, we blatantly disobey the clear moral demands of our faith and behave no differently than the rest of American culture. Sider calls our situation a crisis of disobedience.

 

Personal transformation is central to Christian faith. We believe that entering into relationship with Jesus Christ transforms us – makes us new creatures. If Sider is right, then our lifestyle as Christ followers is an obvious denial of that transformation.

 

So what do you think? What’s up with this situation – or scandal as Sider calls it? What’s our next step in doing something about it?

 

If Sider’s correct (and I think he probably is), then it’s no wonder non-Christians have such a low opinion of us. Barna asked non-Christians to share their views of different groups of Christians. Only 44% think positively about Christian clergy. Only 32% have a positive view of born-again Christians and only 22% have a positive opinion of evangelicals. If we’re living like such flagrant hypocrites, those statistics shouldn’t surprise us.

 

So again, what do you think? What’s our next step?