Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tearing Down Fences and Building Sidewalks


 The pastor of the church we regularly attend told a story of when he first arrived at the church.  He looked around the neighborhood and asked God who around the church needed to know God's grace. The first place he noticed was a huge low income apartment complex right behind the church. The church and the complex were separated by a hill going down to the apartments and a large fence around the church property.  The decision was made to tear down the fence and build a sidewalk. The kids in the apartments were invited to play basketball on our courts. People from the church began to reach out to the families. This one act forever changed the landscape of our church.  Now it is home to a food distribution center for needy families, a last chance school that not only helps kids finish high school and learn life skills, but gives them a chance to experience unconditional love for the first time and many other places where people can come to know Jesus in very real ways.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance and Preaching to the Choir


       "Daddy, that was an awesome sermon, but you really did make my head hurt". These were my daughter, "Diamond's" words after I finished preaching a sermon on Romans 12 last Saturday. Well, at least I knew she was paying attention to the end of the message, cause I had used that phrase to explain the difficult passage in verse 20 that talks about heaping burning coals on the heads of our enemies. You see, after reading the things that Paul calls the believers to be doing in their lives throughout the rest of the chapter, I came to the conclusion that when Paul talks of burning coals, he is most probably using something akin to the modern phrase "you make my head hurt". We can all pretty much relate to this when we encounter someone or something that does not make sense to us. In technical terms, we would call this cognitive dissonance, basically a fancy term for when our beliefs or expectations are contradicted by real world experience.