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Many continue to address the slaughter of the satirists in Paris. Almost all the angles have been covered except one: what does the Bible have to say about satire or extremely caustic remarks?

January 27, 2015 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Many Christians have become increasingly uncomfortable with the way Christmas is celebrated, both by Christians and non-Christians. What do YOU think?

January 6, 2015 0 9 comments
Blog

When the angel left, Mary was alone. To be alone…To have a burden and be alone…Mary pondered the message of the angel. She needed to talk with someone. Then she thought of her cousin Elizabeth...

December 15, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Hearing what God is has done in someone’s life can be so uplifting and encouraging both for those giving the testimony and for those that are hearing it.

November 3, 2014 1 1 comments
Discussion Topic

At this time of year, when we’re especially thinking about being grateful to God, how often is our focus almost exclusively on what God has done, instead of on who He is?

October 16, 2014 0 3 comments
Blog

            Have you heard of the Reformed person who says that since Abraham Kuyper said that "every square inch" of this world belongs to Christ,  one must venture boldly into every sphere of life with the light of Christ? At first flush it sounds very good.

            But what happens...

October 8, 2014 1 1 comments
Blog

In the church we talk about the someone is “called" to be a minister, or elder, or deacon. I’ve been wondering, what difference does that make in how we search for a job, or how we hire employees?

October 7, 2014 0 8 comments
Blog

How should a congregation respond to bullies?

September 25, 2014 0 2 comments
Blog

What does a non-Bible reader think of the Old Testament?

August 14, 2014 1 0 comments
Blog

I hated hearing those words as a boy trying to learn the game of chess, because I knew the game was over and I had lost again. As I observe our culture and the world we live in I sometimes get some of those same feelings—the game's over!

August 5, 2014 2 1 comments
Blog

There was a time I felt that if we got our theology right, we would be one happy and united family. But I have come to see just how wrong that position is.

June 9, 2014 1 1 comments
Q&A

There were many more historical accounts written about and around the time of Jesus, how is it that only a select few made it through the "...given by inspiration of God..." filter, as expressly stated in 2 Timothy 3:16. What disqualified other anecdotes and writings?

April 1, 2014 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Have you noticed the “shorthand” way people are using the word “because” now? Somehow, for me, it just works. I don’t know where it started but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was on Twitter. Here are several examples from Twitter:

I'm just really excited for February 15th because chocolate...
January 27, 2014 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

I hardly come into The Network.  And when I do today, I keep running into people's snarky comments toward one another.  People are seeking help and clarification.  They don't come to The Network to have their grammar corrected, be judged by people who don't have all the information, or see it...

January 21, 2014 1 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Wow, the Irony of Global Warming Activists Stuck in Ice (Antarctica) in the middle of the Southern hemiphere's summer. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2531159/Antarctic-crew-build-ice...

 

December 31, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

More specifically, who are the prophetic vocal-musical artists among us?  Who is the person who speaks the Word to us through music?  Who challenges our assumptions? Who questions our practices? Who calls us to repentance?

For the purposes of this conversation, let’s limit our search to...

December 16, 2013 0 1 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Fri, 11/22/2013 This two-part webinar is an opportunity to explore the changing cultural dynamics inside and outside the CRC, and the effect they have on the churches we attend.

November 22, 2013 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Tue, 11/19/2013 This two-part webinar is an opportunity to explore the changing cultural dynamics inside and outside the CRC, and the effect they have on the churches we attend.

November 19, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Apparently we are launching an effort based on five streams to slow the rate of attrition within the denomination. And apparently we have asked agency heads and pastors to spearhead the effort. I appreciate the good intentions, but really, how many of them have the highly specialized training of...

November 6, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Sometimes I think that we have trouble truly understanding the gospel because we are too wrapped up in the whole story of the gospel. Don't get me wrong, I am eternally grateful for the fact that I am inextricably wrapped up in God's great story of redemption. Rather, my problem is that...

November 5, 2013 0 7 comments
Discussion Topic

Not long ago I was studying an issue of biblical theology, and in my reading I came across a fascinating discussion of metaphors. The author claimed, rightly, that we can learn a lot about how we view an issue and its potential outcome—be it an issue in the home, in the church, in society at...

October 22, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Last weekend Rose and drove to Grand Rapids “kidplay” with grandchildren while their parents took a weekend getaway. (Kidplay—invented by our daughters: NOT babysitting, but playing with kids.) Friday morning while the kids were in school, we took a cheap date to Grand Rapids’ spectacular “Art...

October 14, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

At least one delegate to synod indicated that the 'homosexuality' question will become the denomination's next major issue.

I disagree. There is something much more prevalent eating away at the congregation's fabric.

If national statistics hold true for the church, just one per cent...

July 30, 2013 0 5 comments
Q&A

Hello I am new here and have a question on Hebrews 4. I have been in a discussion with someoneon  creation and they say that Hebrews 4 where it says about our rest, the rest we will have, being scripture proof that the world was not made in Six days. I take what Genesis says as literal that the...

July 26, 2013 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

Aside from a very thorough treatment of Calvin College's fiscal mismanagement in a Canadian Christian periodical, Christian Courier, I haven't seen or heard much about it in The Banner or on The Network.

It must be disheartening for all of those donors to Calvin's various capital campaigns...

July 23, 2013 0 2 comments

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One of the smartest things My Wife and I have done in a long time is to cancel the cable and watch Hulu for entertainment. We do not have a need to know 90% of the daily gossip.

posted in: The Cain Syndrome

Interesting that our local CTV news station has a human interest positive story to end the news broadcast. Makes one determined to get through all the bad news to get something good? No doubt that the world is becoming a darker more satanic place.

"The wicked freely strut about
when what is vile is honored among men". (Psalm 12:8)

posted in: The Cain Syndrome

What can we do? Pray for the firefighters and stay out their way.

posted in: Fires

Thanks, Christy, for your article in which give your take on the homosexual issue, especially in light of the recent Supreme court decision.  Your title “Nothing and Everything...” is an interesting take on the new situation in the U.S. and Canada.  If I hear you right you are saying that the law, which now includes gays, has nothing to do with love.  Any two people (adults) are entitled to be married, whether in love or not.  But the love side comes into the picture as Christians are to love homosexuals with a Christlike love.  So it’s a both/and or a neither/nor picture concerning love.  But there are some problems with your take.

On the one hand, the law takes place in a different arena than that of the Christlike love you talk about.  The arena for the law is society and the arena for Christlike love is the church.

You suggest that the law has nothing to do with love, therefor anyone can get married.  In your thinking heterosexual marriage in this secular arena only has to do with procreation, the ability to create children.  This was the state’s reason to recognize marriage only between a man and woman.  Now that reason has been removed.  But Christy, there is nothing to substantiate the idea that marriage between a man and a women has anything to do with procreation.  No questions were/are asked of a man and woman applying for marriage pertaining to children.  A married couple may or may not plan on having children.  There was no requirement for obtaining a licence that pertained to children in the marriage.  Nor is there any law that says single people (non married) cannot have children.  Marriage and family are two different issues.  Marriage is just between two people and does not include children.

Also you suggest ”love” was not a reason in the State’s mind for sanctioning marriage.  Although not specifically stated as a requirement it does seem to be assumed.  The forms used by the State for a civil marriage ceremony have (in the past) and still ask if the couple promises to love each other.  Whereas the form does not ask about or mention children.  The assumption in the church and outside of the church is that love forms the basis of marriage.  In a civil ceremony, like a church ceremony, a couple pledge their love for each other.

In the church, of course, the foundation of marriage, is love, in fact, a Christlike love.  “As Christ loved the church so also the husband is to love his wife.”  When a man leaves his parents to be joined to his wife, again, the basis is love.  Having children is not the reason for getting married, even in the church.  The church marries couples because of their love for each other.  A couple stands at the front of the church in a marriage ceremony to pledge their love for each other.

A gay couple stands before a minister or a judge and pledges their love for each other, the same as a heterosexual couple does.  They both pledge a love and fidelity for as long as their lives shall last.  The homosexual couple, if Christian, may also pledge their love for God and neighbor.  But the church, at least the CRC, will not recognize the marriage of the gay couple or respect their life of love and fidelity for each other.  So while the church attempts to love the gay married couple, it still falls short, in that they are viewed as sinners and under the wrath of God for their marital relationship (which the gay couple thinks honors God).  Until the church does condone same sex marriage the CRC system is still flawed.

Thanks Christy for your perspective on an increasingly sensitive issue.  Keep working at it.  I hope you eventually get it completely right.  You're close, but no cigar.

Thanks, Christy, for your article in which give your take on the homosexual issue, especially in light of the recent Supreme court decision.  Your title “Nothing and Everything...” is an interesting take on the new situation in the U.S. and Canada.  If I hear you right you are saying that the law, which now includes gays, has nothing to do with love.  Any two people (adults) are entitled to be married, whether in love or not.  But the love side comes into the picture as Christians are to love homosexuals with a Christlike love.  So it’s a both/and or a neither/nor picture concerning love.  But there are some problems with your take.

On the one hand, the law takes place in a different arena than that of the Christlike love you talk about.  The arena for the law is society and the arena for Christlike love is the church.

You suggest that the law has nothing to do with love, therefor anyone can get married.  In your thinking heterosexual marriage in this secular arena only has to do with procreation, the ability to create children.  This was the state’s reason to recognize marriage only between a man and woman.  Now that reason has been removed.  But Christy, there is nothing to substantiate the idea that marriage between a man and a women has anything to do with procreation.  No questions were/are asked of a man and woman applying for marriage pertaining to children.  A married couple may or may not plan on having children.  There was no requirement for obtaining a licence that pertained to children in the marriage.  Nor is there any law that says single people (non married) cannot have children.  Marriage and family are two different issues.  Marriage is just between two people and does include children.

Also you suggest ”love” was not a reason in the State’s mind for sanctioning marriage.  Although not specifically stated as a requirement it does seem to be assumed.  The forms used by the State for a civil marriage ceremony have (in the past) and still ask if the couple promises to love each other.  Whereas the form does not ask about or mention children.  The assumption in the church and outside of the church is that love forms the basis of marriage.  In a civil ceremony, like a church ceremony, a couple pledge their love for each other.

In the church, of course, the foundation of marriage, is love, in fact, a Christlike love.  “As Christ loved the church so also the husband is to love his wife.”  When a man leaves his parents to be joined to his wife, again, the basis is love.  Having children is not the reason for getting married, even in the church.  The church marries couples because of their love for each other.  A couple stands at the front of the church in a marriage ceremony to pledge their love for each other.

A gay couple stands before a minister or a judge and pledges their love for each other, the same as a heterosexual couple does.  They both pledge a love and fidelity for as long as their lives shall last.  The homosexual couple, if Christian, may also pledge their love for God and neighbor.  But the church, at least the CRC, will not recognize the marriage of the gay couple or respect their life of love and fidelity for each other.  So while the church attempts to love the gay married couple, it still falls short, in that they are viewed as sinners and under the wrath of God for their marital relationship (which the gay couple thinks honors God).  Until the church does condone same sex marriage the system is still flawed.

Thanks Christy for your perspective on an increasingly sensitive issue.  Keep working at it.  I hope you eventually get it completely right.  You're close, but no cigar.

Thanks Louis,  sounds like a Christ like message to me.  How can anyone go wrong showing empathy to the varieties of people who surround us.  Pay our taxes gladly (especially the ones that contribute to the needs of the poor) and reach out to our neighbors with kindness and generosity. Thanks.

One important "side effect" of illness whether it's a mental illness or physical is poverty.  For some reason, those who manage disability pensions consider that sick people should live below the poverty level.  As though it were our fault that we can't earn our own living.  Now, here in Québec people on disability get their meds free as well as some dental coverage and some subsidies for buying a pair of glasses once every so many years, but when we complain about being financially tight in addition to being sick some people point out that our meds are free.  Good thing too. If people had to choose between their meds or eating, I don't know many who'd go hungry so they could take their pills.  While the author's suggestions are helpful in the case of people in hospitals or at death's door, he could also add sickness to the list of social justice issues for the impacts that being ill has on a family's budget.

posted in: The Sick Among Us

Just met a guy in a store who said what I have been thinking. 60 years ago blue/white collar families were doing just a little better every year and parents expected their children to do even better. It has been two or three decades since most families could say that. The post-WW 2 "middle class" bubble has been popped and will not return unless Jesus returns, we have a shooting revolution, or WW 3. I predict the western nations are regressing to a 19th century social structure and economy.

The statistical "median" person is neo-poor person with a full time low wage job. At the height of the middle class bubble, the median person never was in the social middle class. At least we knew we were working people. Please, someone, show me with statistical data  why I am wrong.

Did the crowds who praised Jesus on Palm Sunday curse him one week later in the presence of Pilate? Paul L. Maier, former Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, suggested decades ago that two crowds were involved. One worshiped and praised Jesus as King; the other yelled "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Luke 23:21). Maier argues that Annas and the Sadducees (controllers of the Temple) pressured people to shout down Jesus, because his popularity had soared. 

Let us praise our King exuberantly this Sunday and every day!

posted in: Palm Sunday

Thank you Staci.

posted in: Palm Sunday

Thank you for catching our oversight! We've made a change in the image we used. 

posted in: Palm Sunday

Thank you for the post, Louis.  I appreciate the way you point us to our own failing in light of the failing of the Isrealites.  It is much to easy to think we would have (or do) welcome the Savior much more righteously. 

 

Perhaps the associated picture is not of your choosing, in which case I direct this comment to the site editor(s): Please consider whether a confessional denomination should violate the confessions on their website(s).  In light of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 96-98 where we confess in part "God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way", I suggest choosing a different accompanying illustration.  I recognize that representations of Jesus (however inaccurate and unwarranted they may be) are somewhat ubiquitous in our culture and indeed often in our churches, but that does not justify denominational approval and practice of the same given the content of our confession.  I would also suggest that such images may be particularly damaging for those among us who have come out of the Roman Catholic church. 

posted in: Palm Sunday

Haha thanks for sharing, Jill! It is really crazy how these memories stick around. I've never attempted to make gravy but I bet your mom's recipe was amazing!! 

Staci:

 

What a wonderful article!  I just found it today!  I have many, many memories of my mom cutting out newspaper recipes and trying them out on us.  We had to suffer through the good and the bad.  One memory of my mom that stays with me is making gravy.  She wanted so much to teach us to make gravy!  She would never let us make it but we had to "watch" her make it to learn.  To this day, I cannot make the same gravy my mom did which was fabulous.  I finally gave up and bought it in a jar!  Ha! Ha!

Thanks, Carol! I appreciate your post and have been a witness to your gifts of loving people through delicious food! =) Thanks for living this out so well! 

Hi Cindy! I completely agree. I love the cookbooks that are "worn-in" with grease marks and smudges. Cookbooks are not meant to be kept clean =) Thanks for reaching out!

Thanks for sharing! I completely agree that food and family times are wonderful gifts.

Let me know what you think of the cookbook! 

I agree completely, Staci! I will probably never get rid of my favorite cookbooks and favorite printed recipes. There are several that I am particularly attached to for many different reasons. These include the ones that have been passed down to me through the generations and the ones that I at some point yanked from a magazine and fell in love with. I am so glad you wrote this post about faith and food. For me, just like for Shauna, the two are very closed related. Feeding people (family, friends, neighbors, people at church) is one of the ways that I love them and show them hospitality. I love food and I find a lot of joy in sharing it with someone else. One of my favorite books on food and connecting with people around the table is Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist. Great recipes and great stories to go along with them. A very dear friend gave me this book as a gift and I thought it was just the perfect gift. Thank you, Staci. Keep up the beautiful writing!

There is something personal about a cookbook that you just can't get on a computer or smartphone screen.  I love those little notes added to the recipes in church or school cookbooks.  My mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in high school, and didn't have much spending money, but one year for Christmas she typed out about 50 of her treasured recipes on cards and put them in a little file box for my "hope chest."  That was on a manual typewriter, rolling each card in individually.  Forty years later, I use those cards regularly, complete with the grease splatters and smudges.  If my house was on fire, that box is one thing I'd grab. 

I'm looking forward to checking out the cookbook Extending the Table- thanks for the recommendation! 

 

Food is such a precious gift from the Lord, Our Provider. Its also refreshment for our souls through family meals together!  So enjoy your writings, Staci!

Your promise to your wife would be like my promise to our Pastor to do next week's sermon!  You probably thought for years that your wife's shopping was just fun. NO, it is hard work and probably double so on a Pastor's salary. In the end she turned out to be the guide you needed. You are not alone in that.

Thanks for the comment, Michael.  A few years back I reviewed the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with the Pawtucket RI "Creche" case.  The folks who supported the manger scene on public property also emphasized the "value" of bringing people into the city for purposes of shopping, not to mention the "good will" engendered among Christians,i.e. prospective shoppers.  Rev. McKinney makes what I consider to be a compelling case for unblending the two traditions.  Let the people who want to celebrate the non-Christian aspects of "The Season" - this would include Christians who are so inclined -- do so under a new name, e.g. Winter Holiday, culminating in early or mid December.  The Christian Christmas would begin with Advent (thus some calendar overlap) and continue through to Epiphany.

Unfortunately, the word Christmas is so entrenched in secular imagery and music that confusion may be hard to eliminate.  But at least we should be able to offer an alternative to the Fox News-inspired "War on Christmas" by asking Bill O'Reilly which Christmas he's talking about and how serious he is about celebrating the birth of Christ without the commercial trappings.  And how he proposes to do this in a pluralistic society in which all Americans -- not just Christians -- have certain rights.

I am hoping that some productive discussion will help flesh out the details of disentanglement. I think the proposal is interesting enough to get some media attention, don't you?

You’re right, Gerrit. I listened to an NPR story about non-Christians (agnostic, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, etc.) celebrating “Christmas.” They had no problem with it, and in fact celebrated the commercialism of the season, because that seemed to be the common denominator – after you remove “Peace on earth to all men on whom his favor rests.” It seems crazy that Christians should rebel against ‘Christmas,’ but it may become more and more necessary as Christ is strained out of the celebration.

If any such reformation is to be accomplished, it will have to be initiated by faithful Christians, since most non-Christians appear to be quite content with using the term "Christmas" for a wide variety of secular activities.  That in itself speaks volumes.

 

Thanks for this post! Testimonies bring praise to our Lord as people get to see a little piece of the work that He is always doing. Our church has a tradition of sharing testimonies during the Sunday School hour during the month of January. People are selected ahead of time so that they can prepare. It's amazing to hear about all the different ways that God is working. Added benefits include getting to know the people we worship with each week on a different and deeper level, gaining understanding about various issues that people face, or realizing that we are not alone in our struggles. May the Lord help all of us to be more open, ready and willing to share testimonies of how the Lord is real to us in our everyday lives, and may it bring him praise.

Agree with much of what you say, Daniel.  We often love people in spite of what they have done, just as God does love us in spite of us sometimes.  But, loving God seems to me a bit different, because maybe I'm wrong, but all of God's names indicate what He has done or is doing, yes?  God has identified himself to us by what he has done.  His divinity, personality, and identity cannot be fathomed without his actions.  Even God loving us while we were still enemies in sin, is part of who God is.  Our desire to love God, is part of who we are.  

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that what we do is inseparable from who we are, as it is for the God in whose image he created us.  

EXCELLENT point, John! However, I think you're mistaken identifying Deists as being people who just worship who God is as opposed to what He has done. The true definition of a deist (as I understand it) is someone who believes that God set stuff in motion in the beginning, but now allows things to progress on their own without interfering. If I am correct in that, then there are two more problems that arise: 1) A Deist could (theoretically) worship God for "what Has done" just as easily as a person worshipping Yahweh--it just so happens that the "things" that God has done have occurred much further in the past and have ceased occurring. 2) The issue of whether it is difficult to talk about someone without thinking about what they have done is very different from whether it is right to love/worship (in the case of God) that person/being for who they are vs. what they have done. 

I guess I just feel that sometimes we exclude who God is from our consideration when we're thinking about our gratitude and/or our love for Him. God certainly does not love us for what we have done: He loved/loves us "even while we were still enemies." This is the model: God loves us "just as we are" (not "just as we have done"). In a like manner, I think we are called, ultimately, to love Him not for what He has done, but for who He is.

Again, don't get me wrong: what God has done/is doing/will do for us is beyond comprehension, and we should be infinitely thankful for it. But, as Timothy Keller points out in "The Prodigal God"--both sons don't love the father for who he is, but rather only want to get stuff (aka what the father can do for them). We, if we are to fulfill the question left hanging at the end of the parable of the Two Lost Sons, must learn to love the Father simply for who he is.

Lastly, John, some speculative questions for you. I ask myself: would God be worthy of our Love even if we didn't know Him, or what He had done for us? Of course! Silly question: it ultimately doesn't matter (theologically speaking) whether we know about what God has done, or even if we know Him at all--He's still worthy of our praise/worship/love/adoration, etc. Further, then, should those who are condemned eternally love and worship Him? Of course! Even those who are condemned will "bow the knee" and worship Him--and they should love Him too. What about if Jesus had not come to save us? Should we love God still? Of course: all the people of the Old Testament who loved Him, loved Him before they had seen Jesus face-to-face, and many of them seem to have had no idea about Jesus, and they loved Him still. You can go back and back in this question, until (I believe) you are left with the underlying truth that even if God had done nothing for you and I, He would still be worthy of our love simply because of who He is. If that is the case, then shouldn't we embrace that reality a bit more in our worship, devotion, words and deeds?

I don't think we should stop praising God for what He has done! By no means! I just think we need to be a bit more proactive in recognizing that ultimately healthy love between people and other beings is not based on what they have done, but simply on who they are.

Very, very difficult to talk about someone without talking or thinking about what they have done.  What they do is what identifies who they are.  Without knowing what they have done or what they do, how well do you really know them?   The difference between worshipping Jaweh and simply being a deist, is knowing what God has done, and what He promised to do, and knowing what he wants us to do.  James says faith without works is dead.  A person (or God) without his actions ... who is he? 

I think this too is a really valuable comment, Keith. Though I don't know any millionaires or billionaires myself (that I'm aware of), I've heard the same thing about the loneliness. I wonder, with regards to church-volunteerism and the wealthy, whether there's an assumption that if you're wealthy, you must be extremely busy (else how could you have gotten wealthy, perhaps?). 

While perhaps not an always true assumption, it does point to a mistake that we often make when recruiting staff/volunteers: we either decide for the people whom we might ask that they are too busy before we even ask ("Oh, she's a single-mom. She would be too busy to do this.), OR we recklessly pressure people who may actually be too busy into doing stuff that they really would rather not. 

If we were to engage in the kind of process outlined above, perhaps that would be another pitfall we could avoid (at least to a greater degree). The more we allow the Spirit to speak into these decisions through all of us, the more likely we are to "get it right."

Great to hear from you, Keith! I'm really glad for the experiences that you've had with Christian business owners. I think that yes, indeed, the Church could learn a lot from these businesses that you mention. I think that too many times we treat finding church volunteers and staff as either "just business" and utilize a very "secular" model for hiring/recruiting, OR we use the "warm body" procedure of just putting in place whomever we can find who is willing, regardless of qualifications, job description, fit with the rest of the team of even regardless of God's will!

This certainly resonates.  I do get the impression that some people think being reformed means to do what the world does, and then color it christian.   I don't think that's what the reformation was about.

I couldn't agree more. The whole point of hiring according to God's will is that He has plans for the business into which we're hiring, and we're looking for the men and women He has invited into His Kingdom work here. So for His will to be carried out following their hire, they (and of course we) need to be submitted to Him, living Christlike lives in the workplace and not just in church, seeking wisdom and guidance from the Spirit while using to the best of our ability all the gifts, experiences and abilities (and personality) that He has uniquely given us.

Of course that isn't easy and we all fail at times, sometimes massively. But this is a place the church has a role to play that it has largely ducked - supporting and equipping, celebrating what God is doing, challenging one another to focus more and more on God's work in our work.

... I need to add something. There is a recurring refrain among the Canadian Christian business community (and they're a broadly ecumenical lot): If you're involved in business, you're involved in ministry.

I know hundreds of men and women who feel 'called' to their ministry in business, and who refer to that same sense of calling when they hire CEOs, managers or sales people.

Here's a digression: I recently spoke to a group of Christian multi-millionaires and billionaires. They told me two things: they're lonely (their friends want their money) and they have left the organized church (the church just sees them as walking ATM machines or, at best, a potential chair of a capital campaign).

They don't seem to be valued for their leadership skills or their spiritual needs.  When's the last time you appointed a very wealthy member to the Diaconate or used his/her gifts as Sunday school teacher?

Your comments make a lot of sense. In fact, I regularly come across employers who approach most of their decisions this way. I am the executive director of the Canadian Christian Business Federation and I regularly connect with about 3,500 Christian business leaders across the country, from small operations to multi-national corporations. Our membership also includes a half dozen Christian universities and 15 Christian non-profits.

Hundreds of Christian business leaders meet monthly over breakfast to deal precisely with the kind of issues that you raise. But why stop at hiring practices? Why seek God's will only when we're hiring an employee ... whether that's in a church or in a business?

We claim that God owns everything ... even the church!

I regularly come across men and women who live and breathe their faith at their work. When they develop long range plans for their companies, it's a prayerful process, balancing THEIR plans with God's will.

When they create their corporate budgets, they include a set amount for 'kingdom causes' ... rather than simply giving God 10 per cent of their net profits ... if they have any.

They responsibly value their employees, providing mentoring environments and appropriate maternity and paternity leave.

 

Your suggestion to employ the spiritual disciplines when hiring staff and appointing volunteers seems to me to be a foundational practice that every church should employ.  Certainly this should all be done prayerfully and pastorally.

Here's one more tip when it comes to the appointment of volunteers to head up various church ministries. Pay them a dollar a year. They're now considered 'paid' employees and the appropriate church body now has the right to 'fire' an employee if he/she isn't doing a good job. It's virtually impossible to fire volunteers. After all, they volunteered. If nothing else, it conveys a message to the volunteers that they're accountable and that they can be released from their responsibilities if there are valid reasons.

The Church can learn a few things from their members who genuinely reflect Christ in their business.

 

Keith Knight

 

This approach seems to make obvious sense when hiring in a Christian context. But does it also have application in a "secular" context? For example, if a Christian manager in a secular organization is hiring, which of these steps still apply? If we believe that "there is not one square inch" over which God doesn't rule, then we see His sovereignty in every hiring decision. We also see the Christian worker or manager as being at God's disposal for His Kingdom purposes. The interesting question is how this plays into a hiring decision when non-Christians are applying, or when questions about faith are not permitted by company policy. Clearly God uses people who are not part of His elect to carry out His plans (for good or ill - think of Cyrus and Pharoah!) 

Food for thought - and good preparatory dialogue for tomorrow's CRC Webinar "Every Square Inch" at Work - sorry for the shameless plug!

Thanks for your comment, Bev. The original book was written for just the kind of scenario you suggest: elders, deacons, and other church volunteers. I think it'd be really good to implement in our churches, but what do you think about trying this kind of strategy in the workplace?

hmmm... maybe the Church could try that with elder and deacon selection?   it's done to some extent, but this probably takes it beyond the level most churches select their council members?  or not?

Thanks for sharing this, Sam! I really appreciate the practical steps for how to respond to a bully. 

posted in: Church Bullies

One of the workshops at a Safe Church conference was entitled: Bullying, it's not just for children. That's so true, as this helpful article points out. Thanks. Church leaders, who by their position are granted tremendous power (more than most realize), must constantly resist the urge to misuse that power for their own ends. We must prayerfully uphold our church leaders in this regard. And all of us need the constant reminder to follow in the way of our Lord, who in humble submission did not demand his own way, but rather gave himself in love. May the Lord's Spirit guide us, revealing what is needed, aiding us to honor him, as we honor others.

posted in: Church Bullies

Good article!

 

Rob I think you have done your best to provide a good insiteful balanced approach to a discussion of who Adam is/was.  However, within your "many" words, there seems to be a tendency in a few cases to look for problems where none exist.  For example, when you mention Nod, you assume there was a community there.  But Nod (which means wandering), is simply an identifier, like the name of a river, of an area.  There is no indication that there was a community there already.   

Also you mention that it is unlikely that Cain would have married his sister due to levitical laws.   But you know that these laws were not given until later, and that even Abraham married his half sister.  To suggest that this is a reason for proving other communities existed is simply not logical.  Rather, it would be much more logical to assume that Adam and Eve had many other children, and that brothers married sisters at that time.  I just saw a family on "America has Talent" which had 12 children in 18 years, and no twins.   Isn't this also scientific evidence of such a likelihood for Adam and Eve that they also had many children even before Seth was born? 

I think your synopsis of the meaning of "Adam", which is related to red, to earth, and is sometimes plural was well done, but it is certainly no indication that Adam was not a real singular living created being, created by God from dust in his own image.  In fact, it would suggest that he was created from the earth itself, wouldn't it.  

An explanation would be valuable, of why Genesis 4:26 would say that at the time of Enosh, Seth's son, men began to call on the name of the Lord, when obviously Abel and Cain were already sacrificing to God much earlier.  At least this should highlight the value of context in understanding the meaning of a phrase or verse.  

posted in: Who was Adam?

George:    You hit the ball out of the park with this excellent piece.  Sincerely,  Ed Tigchelaar

Love it, Janet. Amen back at you!

posted in: Because

Just a short note - I have a rooster sitting on my kitchen window (stuffed kind) because he reminds me of Peter.  I can also relate to Peter so much. I know Jesus  loves me and uses me - because of Peter. Amen Mavis.

posted in: Because

Anton, It is not appropriate to for Network users to be snarky to one another. I am sorry if you have expeirenced that on The Nettwork. One of our comment guidelines states that comments should be "friendly and polite in tone and language, even when you strongly disagree."   If you find a comment that you think is in violation of our comment policy please click the "flag for review" link below the comment. This will notifiy us of the comment and we will make ajudgement if the comment should be removed. Thank you Anton for participating on The Network and I do hope you find it useful towards your ministry needs. Jonathan WilsonNetwork Community and Content Manager

Keith Green... the music the Spirit gave him (and his wife Melody) was prophetic...

"Asleep in the Light" is just as relevant now as when it was written 30 years ago...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em5gL0Rw4Aw#t=76

 

Soften Your Heart (view link #1), My Eyes are Dry (link #2), So you wanna go back to Egypt, and To Obey is better than Sacrifice, all by Keith as well, are also prophetic challenges that are relevant for the Church today... and that's just a few the powerful songs Keith composed and played with the help of the Holy Spirit...

#1 Soften Your Heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exQAD74YOUA

#2 My Eyes are Dry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vsWO3-we-Y

 

 

 

 

 

In the latest issue of The Banner, there was an insert  called," Ministry report 2013".

when you come to Canadian Ministry, you would be led to believe we are only about Aboriginal Ministry north of the 49th parallel . It seems our interim Ministry Director has not made much headway in the year since his appointment. Another item that points to the broken bi-national structure of the crcna. Let's fix it or forget it. The congregations already are becoming dis-engaged to the denomination

Thanks, for pointing out Lewis' "Space Trilogy". I've enjoyed the series quite a few times myself, and love the way Lewis explores these topics. Two things to note, though: in the one book "Out of the Silent Planet", Lewis explores a kind of precursor creation to our own, in which the characters of the planet Malachandra don't seem to be fully equipped to "choose" sin over obedience— I seems like an utterly foreign concept to them. In the second book "Perelandra" we discover a kind of "alternate history" version  of a race very similar to our own who face a "redemption" before they even fall.

I, however, am interested here in thinking about two things that are not really addressed in Lewis' books:

1. What might "redemption" look like for a race utterly foreign to us (ie, a colonial being), and how might Christ's "once-for-all" sacrifice for our redemption might be connected to other beings/races' redemption story?

2. What a reflection through completely "other"/alien lenses might say about our own understanding of the gospel.

Thanks again for your thoughts, everyone! I'd love to hear more from all of you.

 

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