Showing posts from September, 2008

What religion is your Christianity?

When I first meet new people, and they find out that I'm a pastor, I often get asked this question: " What religion are you? " My answer is, " Christian ." Then they usually say something like, " Yeah... but what religion? What kind of Christian? " So I reply, " Well... I'm a follower of Christ. That's really the only kind of Christian I know about. " If you are a follower of Christ, have you ever been asked questions like these? How do you answer them? It's obvious that those asking such a question as " What religion are you? " are really wanting to know, " What denomination are you? " As if Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Church of God, Church of Christ, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc. are all different religions. I try to look at it like this - all of us a part of one family. There's only One Father, right? And just like any family, which is made up of smaller family units, we do

Choosing your worship style.

The above photo is from a youth convention in 2001... and yes, that is yours truly with the ponytail. One of the biggest battles within Christian congregations is "worship style." Now, one on the outside looking in, may be wondering, " Battles? Isn't there enough going on in the world to not be having battles amongst yourselves? " One would think so... wouldn't one. Never the less, this is an issue that has caused major fights between people who have chosen to continue the mission of Jesus (yes, that was a loaded statement; read it again if you like). To some people, style is everything. To others, the One being worshiped is everything. To others, they just show up out of routine or duty. Most people in emerging generations understand that the word worship has been taken out of context, and that it really has more to do with how you live day in and day out than what songs you sing or what rituals you partake in once or twice a week (more or l

Should a sermon be funny?

It wasn't so long ago that I had a conversation about styles of preaching. The gentleman with whom I was having this discussion with, got me going with this statement, " Our pastor uses too much humor. When you're studying and teaching the Word of God, it should be taken very seriously. There's a time and place for everything, and a worship service is for worship and contemplation and learning... not comedy! " Personally, I agreed that studying and teaching the Bible, and providing spiritual direction for people, is serious business. But I disagreed that humor has no place in the pulpit. I wonder why we can't have both? Life application for spiritual direction and having a sense of humor aren't exclusive are they? Someone once remarked to me after I spoke to a large gathering of youth in a camp setting, " I like how you preach. You're funny... I'm not sure why, because it's not like you tell a lot of jokes... but you're fu

Jesus vs. Religion

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the main event! Coming to the ring first, all the way from Nazareth in the Galilee... this... is... Jesus the Messiaaaaaaaaah! ...Messiah! And coming the ring next, His opponent, all the way from minds of well-meaning people of the ages... this... is... Religiooooooon! ...Religion! Sometimes that's how I feel. Somehow, we've shifted into this mindset that Jesus is good, but religion is bad. All the while, there are many people in our world who don't know there is a difference. One person might say, " Oh, I'm very religious " meaning " I consider myself a Christian ." But another might say, " I hate religion !" meaning " I consider myself a Christian." What about those that consider themselves a religious person, but it has nothing to do with Christianity? And what about someone who would consider themselves to be spiritual but not at all religious ? Here are a few things from my o