Posts Tagged: "Church"

Real Grace Is Always A Little And Maybe A Lot Scandalous

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…women much like this prostitute fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. Has the church lost that gift? —Philip Yancey

In Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing about Grace? he recounts a story about C. S. Lewis:

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith.

They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death.

The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply… Read More

He Told Me He Was Muslim & Asked If He Could Attend My Church

 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. —2 Corinthians 5.19

A few years ago, I noticed a new family at the church – husband and wife along with their three kids. They were good at slipping in and out of church quickly… but I hunted them down, introduced myself, got their names. I made it a point to chat with them – even if just for a few seconds – each Sunday.

After a few months, the husband asked if we could meet. He seemed like he had something heavy to share with me. At lunch, he told me how he had served time in prison – about a decade. After getting out, he met his wife. She’s the one who got the family coming to church.

Then he got to the point. He said, “In prison, I… Read More

Cops, Convicted Felons, Communion, & Church

*picture above: Barry (left) and Don (right) at church together last night

*     *     *

Cops, convicted felons, communion, and church… these concepts might, at first glance, seem like they are worlds apart, but if we pause and think about it long enough, we’ll see how beautifully they go together.

Barry shared his story at church last night. He committed a violent crime when he was 13 years old, was sentenced to die in jail – life without the possibility of parole. The youngest in our country to ever receive this sentence, Barry was placed in a Washington state adult prison at the age of 15. It is a miracle that he is out today. Because of the work of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, the laws have been changed making life without parole sentences no longer possible for children.

Massey03

 

After serving 29 years in prison, Barry Massey was released because of these new reforms. He has never stepped foot inside a high school, and has never driven a car, having spent his teens, twenties, and thirties behind prison walls.

Don, a Seattle police officer who attends our church, was also at the… Read More

Thinking About What We Praise Our Kids The Most For

The picture above shows London Hagebusch carrying a heavy bag of groceries. Just behind her is Haven Wheeler. And a number of other children were there too…

They were helping at our Thanksgiving Grocery Give Stuffing Party – it’s the event the day before the event. We ask people to come set everything up for the big day. The Stuffing Party was noticeably, beautifully diverse – people of all ages and races and socio-economic backgrounds serving together. Perhaps most striking, though, was the image of young children throwing themselves into the task. I mean, they were actually sweating. And they were having a blast.

I’m not sure if we made a big enough of a deal about it.

I think it probably got mentioned a few times – like in church during our “main” services. But I wonder if we made a big enough of a deal about it with the kids.

Please take a minute to watch this… Read More

Why I’m Choosing Beautiful As My Word For 2016

Each year, for the past several years, I’ve chosen a word or theme or idea to inspire and influence me. A couple of years ago, my word was HUSTLE (not like the illegal sales of drugs or conning people – but the idea of working hard, showing up early, staying late… stuff like that).

Last year my theme was HUMBLE • GENTLE • OTHERS-FOCUSED. I figured if I could grow in these areas, I’d be more like Jesus.

So, for 2016, my word is BEAUTIFUL.

No, I wasn’t inspired by that James Blunt song from 2004. Remember it? YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL.

Funny quick story about that song… Read More

Learning From A Brewhouse

This video shows the focus, determination, attention to detail, and clear view of what is wanted as well as what isn’t for the brewery, restaurant, and bar known as Magnolia Dogwatch.

I find the process to be inspiring and the end result is absolutely jaw-dropping. It makes me wonder: what if the church had this kind of commitment to detail, clarity of vision, and creative energy put into the building of the local church?

I think we have a lot to learn from… Read More

Yes. This Is Still An Issue Today. (Segregation In The Church)

The headline of an article I read last week shocked me. It announced:

Sunday Morning in America Still Segregated – and That’s OK With Worshipers

It was the findings of a study conducted by LifeWay Research – and here’s what they had to say…

  • Sunday morning remains one of the most segregated hours in American life, with more than 8 in 10 congregations  (86%) made up of one predominant racial group. And most worshipers like it that way.
  • Two-thirds of American churchgoers (67 percent) say their church has done enough to become racially diverse. Less than half think their church should become more diverse.
  • Researchers also found churchgoers who oppose more diversity do so with gusto. A third (33 percent) strongly disagree… Read More

Racism & Reconciliation In The Church

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day – and with that theme in mind, here are two posts I think are worth your time…

 

christena cleveland 2015 post

This post, Everything I Know About Racism I Learned in the Church by Christena Cleveland. The opening paragraph reveals one of Christena’s earliest memories of church:

Exasperated, she yelled at the top of her lungs, “Get in here, niggers!!” Being six and all, I had no idea what the word nigger meant; I just knew that it referred to me and… Read More