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Can you provide a recommendation for retreat speakers or facilitators?

I just a got question from a co-worker who is assisting a church in Colorado. Can you provide a recommendation for retreat speakers or facilitators? They would rather get a recommendation from another church than dive into the process blindly when they plan their next retreat. Can you help?
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The CRC Mentioned On Prime-time TV

Recently the Christian Reformed Church was mentioned on the CBS prime-time television program The Good Wife . In the episode "Parenting Made Easy” a character who is involved in a legal arbitration case is accused of being homophobic. The character states her views are based on being a Christian and mentions that she is a member of the Christian Reformed Church. Did anyone else hear about the reference or actually see the program? What are your thoughts? Was this a fair portrayal of the CRC's position? If you haven't seen the show CBS does make certain episodes available to be viewed online...
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Denominational Structure

It is both interesting and telling that there isn't a category to talk about the denominational structure, given the fact that this occupied a considerable amount of time at the last meeting of Synod and it certainly occupies a lot of the BOT's time. That seems to send a strong message that denominational structure is the sole responsibility of the BOT and, ultimately, Synod. While it is indeed BOT's responsibility to present a report to a future Synod, I would hope that pew-sitting CRC members have an opportunity to provide input into the process. If ever there was a need for a...
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How about a Singles CRC Private Google group site being formed?

This could be a way for singles to connect - for friendship, encouragement, ideas, and even planning & sharing events. A way of connecting to each other & perhaps some groups would form out of different areas & start planning events. This has happened from various different denominations of churches - by regular email, or Facebook groups which I don't like re privacy issues within Facebook + what people post on their private sites. If it was private Google site - there would not be the sharing of personal info that can happen through Facebook - with peoples lack of proper settings...
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Don't Invite Them to Church

I'd like some thoughts/feedback on this book Don't Invite Them to Church.

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Embracing Purposefully Vague Theology & Doctrine

Here's a thought for all of us: what's wrong with being clear about the fact that we're not clear about some things? Let me be clear (Ha! Ha!) ;-) There are some things about which the Bible is very, very clear. Like, for example, the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light and no-one comes to the Father except through him. Or, as another example, "God is Love"--those are both clear statements from the bible. Not only that, but they are central statements too. We believe (rightly so, I think) that the choice for everyone is to either believe those things (and some others) or to...
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What is the best way to create a collection of family pictures for the church's book?

For as long as I can remember my parents' church has put together a book with pictures of every family every 3-5 years, and the process always goes something like: -Choose a national company to take photos (they don't charge for the session or the resulting book) -Family schedules a time to come sit in front of a neutral screen, all lay their hands on eachother's shoulders or arms and smile for the camera. -The national company tries to sell them photos beyond what will go in the book. -Several months later everyone in the church receives a book. I understand that this is a very cost...
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What's the Result of Opting Out of the Minister's Pension Plan?

Wondering if a church "opts out" of the Minister's Pension Plan, even temporarily, if it's possible to pick it up again in the future? Or is it a case of once you're out, you're out??

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What are best practices for conducting a Congregational Meeting dealing with controversial issues?

I am a first term elder and council clerk who is now going to be partly responsible for guiding discussion and voting on a few "hot button" issues - selling a parsonage in order to fund new ministries and a renovation/addition, as well as gathering perspectives now and voting in May on building a small barrier-free addition to our church. Do those of you who are experienced in conducting and fielding questions in this type of situation have any hints for keeping the discussion on a helpful track, or any words of wisdom on what to say and what to avoid? I am starting to sweat!
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Meeting singles

Now all we need is a CRC e-harmony.
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Doctrine by Mark Driscoll

Just wondering if anyone has gotten a chance to read Mark Driscoll's take on doctrine according to a Reformed perspective: "Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe"?

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Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional

Has anyone else read this book? I found it very exciting and challenging but haven't heard much discussion of it within the CRC circles in spite of it being on a few Top 2009 lists.
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Surprised by Hope

We're reading through and discussing N.T. Wright's book, "Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church." Has anyone else read this book with a group from church? I'm curious to hear about how other's feel Wright's theology .

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What kind of church ministry is effective with singles, spiritually single, widows and divorced persons?

We've recently done some demographic work in our church and have realized that the following categories of people make up almost 50% of our people altogether: Singles (traditional un-married sense) Spiritually single (married but spouses are not attending church at all and/or are not interested in faith, etc.) Widows/Widowers Divorced and/or Separated I realize that you can't minister to all of these people in exactly the same ways, but what I wanted to know was whether our situation was unique or not, and what things churches out there are doing with/to/for/from any/all of those groups in...
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Thank-you for sharing this story.
Thank-you for telling us that a church retreat can have this depth of realness.
Thank-you for asking him the hard question and helping him put the pain into words.
It is true what you say about the possibility of our beautiful Jesus coming into our memories and transforming them. I have experienced this healing over and over in my own journey.

 

posted in: Painful Memories

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

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