Month: April 2010

Join BCL’s Small Church Webinar, May 6

Tim Avery of Christianity Today’s BuildingChurchLeaders.com has asked me to co-host a small church webinar with Brandon O’Brien.  The Strengths of the Small Church will air on May 6, 2010, from 11 am to 12 noon. It’s free and you can register here.

Brandon O’Brien, associate editor at Leadership Journal, and author of The Strategically Small Church, is the main guru for this webinar.  O’Brien’s book looks at the inherent advantages of small size in doing ministry.  He cites some amazing examples of churches that stayed small or got small by breaking into small congregations, so they could do ministry more effectively.  Here’s a video promo clip I sent Tim to promote the webinar.  Join us on May 6 at 11 am — it’s going to be fun and informative!

Would You Use This Easter Billboard?

St. Matthew In The City Church in Auckland, New Zealand is an Anglican congregation which uses some edgy advertising to get the largely unchurched Auckland population to think.

This Easter, St. Matthew’s put up this billboard explaining that in the Orthodox tradition there is a practice of humor which dispels the gloom of Jesus’ death.  Someone took offense, and vandalized the billboard, crudely spray painting a reference to John 3:16 in the place of the original message.

What do you think?  Did the church go too far?  Is the vandalism the work of fundamentalists?  Or do you think St. Matthew’s hit a nerve that they intended to hit?  Hat-tip to Religion Dispatches for the heads up and their article.  Here are the photos of the before and after billboard:

Beware The Post-Easter Letdown Syndrome

Okay, so your church did it all.  You had a Maundy Thursday service, a Good Friday service, an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, an early Easter sunrise service, and one or more Easter morning worship services.  And it was all great!  Except today is Monday, and you’re not feeling so good.

Welcome to the post-Easter letdown syndrome.  There are several things you can do to get past this sag in spirit:

  1. Stop eating your kids’ Easter candy. I know it makes you feel better, but you don’t need the calories or the sugar, which creates another letdown.
  2. Get off the bunny trail, and get some rest. This one is serious advice.  Think of the rhythm of rising energy leading up to big seasons and Sundays like Easter. Plan for some down-time afterward.  Spend some extra time with your family.  Cut the grass.  In other words, take a break.
  3. Make notes for next year. Okay, get some rest first, but somewhere along the way, make notes of the things that went well, and the things that didn’t.  File them away for next year, and maybe it will save you some work about 11 months from now.

Okay, that’s it.  Oh, and watch Duke and Butler face off tonight.  I’m going to myself, right after our monthly Deacons’ meeting.  Some things you can’t get out of!

This Is The Way To Celebrate Easter!

Here’s a clip of the Easter vigil at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco.  This may not be your tradition, but look at the joy on the faces of those who are singing and dancing together, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  It seems to me this is the way we ought to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord — joyously!  Happy Easter.  He is risen indeed.

 

Easter Sermon: Feeding Straw To Lions

On this Easter Sunday, Isaiah provides a wonderful look at how everything changes as God’s Kingdom comes.  Here’s the sermon I’m preaching on this Easter Sunday.  I pray that your Easter will be a glorious one.

Feeding Straw To Lions

Isaiah 65:17-25

17 “Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.

23 They will not toil in vain
or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD.

Why Are We Here Today?

Today is Easter Sunday, and we have gathered here as we do each year on this day.  But why are we here?  After all,  Easter has become a mish-mash of wonderful, yet often conflicting experiences.

First, we have the word “Easter” itself.  You will not find the word “Easter” in the Bible.  It’s actually not even a Christian or Continue reading “Easter Sermon: Feeding Straw To Lions”