Radical Adjustments, Part One

Extreme dilemmas are usually solved by radical adjustments. It used to be called “fighting fire with fire.” Minor alterations won’t do. If the situation is getting completely out of hand, a slight modification won’t cut it. It’s get-with-it time. If the tumor is the size of a grapefruit, taking a handful of vitamins three times a week isn’t the answer.

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Fighting the Fast Fade

As you waved goodbye to your friends at church last Sunday, what mental darts were left stuck in the target of your thinking? Can you remember those pointed challenges from the man who stood before you with Bible in hand? How many hours have passed since you sat there, opening your ears and heart to counsel from God’s always-relevant Book? A few dozen maybe? Ah, it’s starting to fade, isn’t it?

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No Place for Islands

Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the chain is broken. Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and the game is forfeited. Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one musician and the symphony is incomplete. Nobody is a whole play. Each one is an actor. But take away one actor and the performance suffers.

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Sunday Listening, Part Two

We’ve been talking about the essential skill of listening, particularly as it relates to Sunday sermons. I asked you to come up with some ideas on what can be done by the listener (not the preacher) to keep the sermon interesting. Let’s consider together how we could improve our listening skills. I’m indebted to Haddon Robinson, a Ph.D. in the field of communication, for these four “don’ts” that are worth remembering.

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Of Parrots and Eagles, Part Two

Eagle thinkers ask the hard questions, take strategic risks, search hard for the whole truth, and soar high above mediocrity. Parrot people enjoy the predictable, routine, rehearsed words of others. As we discussed yesterday, the church is overrun with parrots and virtually devoid of eagles. Too harsh? You decide.

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Of Parrots and Eagles, Part One

We are running shy of eagles, and we’re running over with parrots. Content to sit safely on our evangelical perches and repeat in rapid-fire falsetto our religious words, we are fast becoming overpopulated with bright-colored birds having soft bellies, big beaks, and little heads.

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A Touch of Class, Part Two

Yesterday, I mentioned my disgust with the prevailing notion in many evangelical churches that elegance and class have no place in the landscape of spirituality. But even the ancient places of worship were stunningly beautiful. The tabernacle was a veritable golden tent that had within it fabulous works of art: sewing, tapestry, woodworking, and craftsmanship. Mouths must have dropped open. Check it out for yourself in Exodus 25–40.

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A Touch of Class, Part One

It’s gone on long enough. The pigsty in the landscape has to go. If we expect the tourist traffic to increase and the visitors to return to Lake Evangelicalism, we’re gonna have to do something about the ugly ducklings. Some changes are long overdue. Somebody should’ve tarred ‘n’ feathered the very first stingy board member or strung up the whole squint-eyed, tight-fisted committee way back when.

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Offerings, Part Two

Let’s talk about the offering, the time during the weekly worship service when the plate is passed and most people daydream or fidget around, feeling uncomfortable. If that describes you, you’re missing a golden moment! As I mentioned yesterday, you can turn this time from ho-hum to hallelujah. If I may take the phrase in Ephesians 5:16, making the most of your time, to include the silent moments during the offering, let me offer some practical suggestions.

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Offerings, Part One

Your response to the heading of today’s reading is probably: “Uh, oh—another money plea!” or “Here we go again . . . some Christian ministry trying to get into my wallet.” If that’s your response, I hate to disappoint you, but you’re wrong. Being wrong this time, however, disappoints no one! I’m not going to talk about what you should do when the plate is passed.

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