Category Archives: Culture

urbanization_art

The world spins madly on, and as it spins, our population continues to increase.

Over and over again, artists have questioned our tendency to clump together in urban centers and destroy the natural world around us.  At the same time, philosophers and theologians contemplate how historical truths apply in an ever-changing landscape.


urbanization_art2

We often take our surroundings for granted, but that can be dangerous.  Rather than accepting the status quo, we should follow the lead of artists like Yang Yongliang and consider where our trajectory will take us.  For those of us who believe in God, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our time, our energy, our people, and our world.

For more on Yongliang’s work, read this article by Gizmodo, and check out more of his work here.

Crop Wheat Field 11

Simply defined, preaching is the intentional proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

As proclamation, preaching occurs at a particular time, in a particular place, to a particular audience.  Preaching requires that someone is listening, and it requires presence and immediacy that is unique compared to other forms of communication, such as a printed book or a video recording.  Put another way, preaching requires particularity.

General or archived sermons (such as those used by satellite churches) serve a purpose, but do not qualify as preaching in the holistic sense.   Such sermons do not address the particular needs of a particular congregation, which is composed of particular individuals at a particular time.  As such, these sermons address general needs, but never address the particular needs of a particular people.

Crop Wheat Field 11As Haddon Robinson once wrote, “In the Gospels we see that Christ never dealt with two people the same way… A sermon full of generalities hits no one in particular.”  (The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching, 117)  In other words, Jesus recognized that preaching involves not only words, but the people being addressed.  There is particularity when Jesus speaks, and preachers today should recognize how our Lord and Savior proclaimed the good news of His Kingdom.

Preaching is not a relic, nor an object for electronic archive, but an event that takes place in real-time and real space.

 

 

beards

Whether you’re new to the church or have been around for a while, this guide may help.  Believe it or not, but facial hair is a window to the soul.  It is my hope that this guide from Leadership Journal will help you navigate the confusing (and sometimes absurd) world of church culture.

 

beards

 

 

heart (emmy)

Depending on your stage of life, Valentine’s Day can be exciting, romantic, confusing, lonely, or depressing.

heart (emmy)Whether or not you are in a relationship, holidays like these raise  expectations so high that sometimes those expectations are impossible to meet.  Today, some people will be let down because they are not in a relationship.  Others will be let down for by their significant other, their fiance, or their spouse.  The plain fact is that human beings eventually let us down.

On days like these, we must remember the Kingdom of Heaven.  Valentine’s Day is not part of the liturgical calendar, of course, but as an artifact of our society, what does Valentine’s Day remind us about God and our relationship with him?

1) God cares about your loneliness.  (Gen. 2:18)

2) God establishes friendships, families, marriages, and churches, so you do not need to be alone.  (Gal. 3:28)

3) God provides companionship when no one else does.  (Ps. 62:2)

4) God restores relationships and will eventually heal every heart.  (Rev. 21:4)

No matter how this day goes for you, be comforted that God cares.  After all, He is the One who created relationships in the first place.  Although we often miss out on healthy relationships, and although we sometimes mess them up, God is always there to heal our broken hearts.  When we place our expectations in him, we will never be disappointed.