A Relaxing Weekend Update

After an extremely long week I was ready to relax this weekend. While Erin and I kept pretty busy, the entire weekend had an air of relaxation that hasn’t been around for quite a while.

Friday Night
We had a quick dinner at Chevy’s, probably our all-time favorite restaurant, with some friends, and then saw Changeling, which was much darker than expected. I really enjoyed the movie but it was a little too heavy after such an exhausting and taxing week.

Saturday
Erin and I cleaned the house in the morning and had a nice visit with my sister, Traci, in the afternoon. She even stuck around to join us in a matinee showing of Twilight.

After Twilight, which was a surprisingly enjoyable movie, we had some pizza and played a little progressive spades with friends in the comfort of our clean home.

Sunday
Sunday, Erin and I were honored for our service to the youth group at church. We were given a lovely card signed by the group and gift cards for AMC Theaters and Grandville. Looks like a date night is in the cards.

After church we had a quick lunch at Corner Bakery and then headed home to prepare our dishes for the Pumpkin Party later that night. Erin prepared a Pumpkin Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus, which was amazing. I prepared a Pumpkin Bacon Soup, of my own design, which was surprisingly palatable. Erin’s dish ended up winning the award for best Pumpkin Main Dish. She deserved it.

And that was my weekend. It felt good to have a slightly slower-paced weekend. They are few and far between, but much appreciated.

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Identity Crisis

If you haven’t noticed, with my recent departure from ministry this blog has been suffering from a little bit of an identity crisis.  It’s a direct reflection of its writer. 
I’m not really sure what my place in life is right now.  Even though being a youth minister was a part-time job for me, it was an identifying factor in who I thought I was.  Now that I’m stepping away from that, I don’t know where I fit in at church, in the blogsphere, or life in general.  I’m a little lost. 
Please bare with me as I search for my niche. 

I Keep Coming Back to This: Love

I keep coming back to this. In all of my study, reading, discussion, everything. It all comes back to this one simple, yet amazingly complex and difficult concept. It is the essence of Christianity. And, it is precisely where Christians always fall short.

John 13:34-35 (The Message)
34-35″Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

I realize I just wrote a similar post to this last week in the context of evangelism, but I’m just struck by this thought tonight. We Christians need to love. It’s the answer to every issue we are faced with in our churches, in politics and in our lives. We need to love and let love guide our decisions.

Love Each Other: A New Evangelism

In my slow, and occasional, reading of UnChristian I came across this passage written by Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Consider the rise of the Christians during the Roman era. People were drawn to Christians, not because of evangelistic outreaches or crusades, or through mass media-those didn’t exist. The church grew because Christians were doing the gospel and had a community-a local church-where people really loved each other. During the great plagues that swept Rome in the second century, all of the doctors fled, but the Christians stayed and took care of the sick. They embodied what Christians are called to do. Although many Christians died because they took care of the sick, pagans were drawn to Christ because they saw both the love of Christians and Christianity itself as a better way of life. When Constantine declared Rome the Holy Roman Empire, people thought he did that for political reasons, but he didn’t. It was already Christianized; he just recognized the realities of what really happened.
– Chuck Colson

I don’t know how you feel about his theory of Constantine’s Christianization of Rome, but he poses an interesting hypothesis. He says that people were not drawn to Christians because of their “evangelistic outreaches or crusades.” He says people were drawn to Christians because they were living out their faith.

It’s increasingly becoming my opinion that we spend too much time worrying about converting people and not enough time caring for people. What drew people to Christ, according to Colson, was the love that they proved in their daily actions. Perhaps, it’s time we set aside the mailers, tracts, etc. and get out into our communities and just love each other. That’s probably the best form of evangelism we could ever hope for.

Blog Action Day: Give Your All

This probably is not what was intended by those who set the theme for this Blog Action Day, but it’s what I felt compelled to share this morning regarding the theme of poverty.

Luke 21:1-4 (The Message)

 1-4Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.

The passage reminds me that even though I may experience disappointment, and difficult times, there are people in far worse situations, like the widow, giving their all.  It’s very rare that I give half of myself, let alone my all.

Today as I consider poverty, I realize how lucky I am to have my home, job and wife, and I’m struck with how much I need to give back.