Thinking Out Loud

September 28, 2016

Wednesday Link List

The worldwide shortage of Christian book titles continues, as indicated by this collection, all recently-released

The worldwide shortage of Christian book titles continues, as indicated by this collection, all recently-released

Your top clicks last week included Should an Egalitarian Date a Complementarian? and the Greg Boyd epic book announcement and Stephen Altrogge wandering to and fro in the history of ’90s CCM. (I normally put these on Twitter a day or two later.) But that was last week, and this is…

As the worship team at Central Neighborhood Tabernacle arrived for a 7:30 AM set up, there was no mistaking that the sound console was emitting a supernatural light.

As the worship team at Central Neighborhood Tabernacle arrived for a 7:30 AM set up, there was no mistaking that the sound console was emitting a supernatural glow.

September 21, 2016

Wednesday Link List

well-played-church-sign

 

young-jesus-at-bath-timeWelcome to WLL #326. The issue of the missing years of Jesus’ childhood is thorny and the ‘infancy gospels’ are long contested. So we don’t lay any claim to the accuracy of the cartoon at right, nor do we know the source. For the more conservative out there, try not to be offended.

When your business has a name client, you want to advertise that:

christian-plumbing-truck

September 14, 2016

Wednesday Link List

It may not catch on like WWJD, but...

It may not catch on like WWJD, but…

 

This Lexus owner is either a NKJV supporter, or expressing a Christmas wish for a new copy of the classic. Will that be 1611 or 1789?

This Lexus owner is either a NKJV supporter, or expressing a Christmas wish for a new copy of the classic. Would that be 1611 or 1789?

the-bard-and-the-bibleWelcome to WLL#325. If you love theater and love God, have we got a devotional book for you; pictured at right, published by Worthy Inspired.

I hope you find something of interest in this week’s list…it was lots of fun putting it together for you.

September 13, 2016

Pete Wilson Resigns Cross Point Pastorate

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:28 am

As reported on various websites yesterday, Pete Wilson resigned on the weekend from Cross Point, the Nashville church he founded in 2003.

Pete Wilson 3.25.12Part of the reason you’re reading this today is because in late 2007, I decided I wanted to get closer to a fraternity of writers, pastors and Christian leaders that were doing this “blogging” thing. One of them was Pete.

I began watching Cross Point services, and made a point to get my hands on review copies of his books, Plan B, Empty Promises, and Let Hope In.  It was through him that I met Justin and Tricia Davis, whose Eight Things That Destroyed Our Marriage is the all-time most visited page here at Thinking Out Loud. Brandi and the boys — Jett, Gage and Brewer — were like family.

The thing that impresses me most about Pete is his raw transparency. So for him to step down now is a bit of surprise, but not out of character.

I’m also possibly one of a small percentage who know why Pete’s blog URL is Without Wax:

The word sincere comes from the Latin sine cera, which means ‘without wax.’ The phrase comes from a practice where people would hide the cracks in cheap pottery with wax in order to pass the pottery off as being worth more than it actually was. Quality products were often stamped with sine cera to show that it had not been doctored, that it was authentic.

To repeat, this kind of transparency is Pete Wilson. I’ve loved tracking with his ministry and believe that we will cross paths again….

without wax

…We’ve run this a few times here, but it seems timely to do so again. I know this is Pete’s wish for his church… and yours.

Pastors, I pray you’ll preach the hope of Jesus Christ like never before. Preach as if you were there the day it happened and is if this were the last message you are ever going to give!

Worship Leaders, I pray you’ll lead worship with the same awe and amazement as if you just watched the stone roll away. Whether you have lights or no lights, production or no production may they see the wonder and awe in your eyes and voice that you actually believe what it is you’re singing.

Kids’ Teachers,  I pray you look your kids in the eyes and use every bit of passion, energy, and excitement you have to tell them a story that can and will impact their life forever.

Volunteers, I pray you’ll serve, sing, hand out programs, park cars, turn knobs, and make coffee as if eternities were on the line, because they are!

Worshipers, I pray you’ll open your heart and raise your voice and pour out all you have and all you are in honor of a God who has defeated death so you may have life.

I pray [each] weekend we’ll all drop our cynicism, egos, and agendas and will stand amazed and marvel at the wonder of  a God who has set us free from the penalty and the power of sin!        

~ Pete Wilson

Watch Pete’s announcement to his church on this 9-minute video at Relevant.  Though I’d heard this story before, I was struck by the story he tells at 00:45 to 3:22. A bittersweet motivation to start something new.

September 7, 2016

Wednesday Link List

My wife snapped this pic in a thrift shop where, for only $20, you can own a genuine menorah from the Holly Land.

My wife snapped this pic in a thrift shop where, for only $20, you can own a genuine menorah from the Holly Land.

I’m just gonna assume everyone is up to speed that Mother Teresa is now Saint Teresa (of Calcutta).  Here’s the rest of this week’s list:

The Wednesday Link Letter was written by Paul Wilkinson and recorded before a live audience (Paul’s wife). Read more of his work at his Anglican baptism website, Sprinkling Out Loud, or at Devotional Plagiarism 201, where only the best get borrowed.

pi-pie

September 6, 2016

The Problem of Inaccessible Leadership

Filed under: Christianity, Church — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:13 am

Inaccessible Leadership

I actually have two unpublished books. Longtime readers here are aware of one of them, but on the weekend I came across the manuscript for the older one, a book which predates the owning of a computer and would therefore need to be manually retyped in order to serialize it here.

The theme of the older book is about change in the church, empowerment of the laity, the need for new types of churches, etc. Sound familiar? It got really trendy really fast. In other words, in the years that followed my going into the distraction-free room in the basement and typing a little each day, my topic became part of a much larger movement, and my book was rewritten by others at least, no exaggeration, about a thousand times.

Still, re-reading it was interesting, especially for the stories it contained which I had forgotten.

One was about a California church I visited regularly throughout the late 1970s and early ’80s. They had three services, 8:30, 10:00 and 11:30. After each service, the lead, teaching pastor would be outside for about 15 minutes to greet people. “Hi! We’re the Logan family from Iowa, and we drove for three days just to see you in person!”

Standing next to the pastor was a staff associate. His job was to keep the long, post-service lineup moving. Everybody got about 20 seconds. 30 seconds if the pastor was seemed truly interested. (There was probably some type of visual code.) Regulars probably didn’t use this time very often, deferring to the Iowa tourists.

It was said at the time that if you really wanted to make an impact, you lined up after the third service, when things were less rushed. If you had an idea, or a concept, or a thought that the pastor might be interested in, you lined up over several successful weeks. If that worked, he would say, “Why don’t you make an appointment to drop by during the week? Tell my secretary I agreed to meet with you.”

That was how you got to speak with the lead pastor. By working your way through a complex filtering system…

…My visits to American megachurches are somewhat sparse now. We have no money. We have no inclination to visit a country characterized by gun violence. My wife has no interest in visiting any more megachurches. (That third factor may be key!) But I’m told that several pastors whose sermon videos I download make it a point to be in the lobby or on the patio when the service is over, and while they may have handlers, I haven’t heard horror stories about restricted access.

Some pastors however do not do this at all. Well one in particular. He disappears into the depths of a labyrinth of inner offices.

Either way, the megachurch creates a system where access to the person you would call ‘my pastor’ if anyone asked is rather limited, if not non-existent. The days of the country parson at the door shaking hands during the organ postlude are long, long gone. Churches do have staff, and parishioners often find a staff member with whom they identify and then enjoy greater contact with that person…

…Was the church — by which I mean now the definition that delineates the place where you worship on the weekend — ever intended to be that big? How did we get from the “meeting from house to house” in the book of Acts to the place where we have 10,000-member congregations?

Furthermore, even with the presence of home church groups or house fellowships or small groups, is it logical to have someone speaking into my life 52 Sundays per year, and I never get to say anything in return? I can’t find that model in the Bible, and I can’t imagine anyone in the history of the church deliberately conceiving it.

Without the direct feedback, I would argue that the megachurch is going become immune to change. When the next church-culture shift happens, the larger churches are going to discover that it’s hard to change course quickly when you’re steering a big ship; and this isn’t even taking into account the challenges of what personality driven churches do when the founding pastor deems it time to move on.

I suspect there will be a number of large auditoriums for sale. But we’ve already looked at that possibility here before.

 


Several hours after this was published, I noticed this at yesterday’s Master’s Table blog post. You can decide if it’s relevant to this article.

Real Church

August 31, 2016

Wednesday Link List

From Reddit: "Had a lady from church ask me to remove an Ouija board from her home because she was afraid to touch it, but I have enough spiritual power to withstand it. So I did. It's burning in my fire pit right now. Sometimes my job is awesome and hilarious."

From Reddit: “Had a lady from church ask me to remove an Ouija board from her home because she was afraid to touch it, but I have enough spiritual power to withstand it. So I did. It’s burning in my fire pit right now. Sometimes my job is awesome and hilarious.”

Welcome to Wednesday Link List #323. Lots of listicles this week.

From Twitter: "Some churchy words for @worldscrabble champs this week, Quinquennial scores at least 30 if you could actually do it!"

From Twitter: “Some churchy words for @worldscrabble champs this week, Quinquennial scores at least 30 if you could actually do it!”

August 24, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Tomorrow is August 25th, which means only 4 months to Christmas. It’s never too early to start planning your advent services:

Advent Service Planning

Wednesday List Lynx

Wednesday List Lynx – Do Not Pet

Today something a little different. Because the 30th Weekend Link List happened on Saturday, I’m going to reiterate all those links at the bottom of today’s, just ICYMI. (Statistically many of you do miss it, and this one contained some important items.)

Adam and Eve

As promised, our first ever reiteration of the weekend list experiment, not including images and witty introduction.

 

August 17, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Saw this one on the weekend; it can be ordered from Grimm.ca

Saw this one on the weekend; it can be ordered from Grimm.ca

Bridezilla of ChristLet’s be realistic here. After last week’s 38-point link list, you weren’t expecting another huge one, were you?  You do know I don’t get paid for this, right? At right, our Book Cover of the Week, published this year by Multnomah, authored by two of the Happy Rant Podcast guys.

 

How many of you have this as your life verse. See the Phil Vischer link above; this shows up starting around the 17:00 mark (or thereabouts)

How many of you have this as your life verse? See the Phil Vischer link above; this shows up starting around the 17:00 mark (or thereabouts)

August 10, 2016

Wednesday Link List

I hereby declare this link list officially opened! Not only opened but jam-packed this week! (I needed to write something here because this is the opening sentence which appears in the Twitter feed.)

GUTS Church

I keep thinking we’re pushing the envelope too far with the way some churches are named. The one pictured above is real, with several locations. I never did get the story of where the name for GUTS Church came from.

Valiant for Truth

I’d like to pretend this isn’t a thing, but I know better. The idea that students are studying and being tested on defending “the Authorized Version” means that valuable learning time isn’t being spent on better things…

Lynx with flowerThe List Lynx wanted to remind everyone that Thinking Out Loud is not an Amazon referrer and tries to avoid links to book mentions which are. Support your local brick and mortar bookstore, even if it means combing your hair, getting in your car and driving a few miles.

This t-shirt is just wrong on so many levels: Misplaced theology, boring graphic design, silly politics…

Trump Campaign T-Shirt

Last night I was still trying to decide whether the image below should be the centerpiece of its own blog post. Not enough is written on what we call “saying grace,” but the contraption below allows a family to basically roll the dice to decide which prayer to say. I’m not sure this is a type of prayer Jesus had in mind, so you might see this picture again sometime soon:

Mealtime Prayer Cube

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