12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

The Camel in the Christmas Musical

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A lot of churches will host Christmas events this time of year.  Skelly Drive (where I pastor) used to have a Living Nativity that was somewhat groundbreaking in its day and is still remembered fondly by everyone that I’ve ever met that either put it on or attended.

Invariably, these productions, be they musicals or whatever, will begin to journey into the untested waters of live animal participants.  Usually, this works well until they bring in the camel.

Camels are some of the most ill tempered animals you can ever be around.  I saw one in a musical with a muzzle on to keep him from biting passersby.  They stomp on you, lay down when you want them to stand, stand when you want them to lay down and are generally naughty in every way they think will aggravate you.

And they spit.  Nasty stinky spit that you might be able to use as masonry compound in a pinch.

Not to mention that they smell horrible.  You can’t bathe these guys often, it’s winter and the water is cold.  But even if you can, they’ll be curling the nose hairs of your attendees within a few hours.  It’s just their nature.

And pray they don’t pass gas during your event, especially if you are insane enough to bring them indoors.  They can have your whole cast on the ground before the first wave hits the audience.

So, a little advice to you Christmas event planners out there.  If the donkey, the cow and the occasional goose have worked out all right so far, stick with them.  There really is no need to “up the ante” here.

Just because there are camels in the Middle East, doesn’t mean you have to have one in your church to make your event “authentic.”

But if you are stubborn and won’t heed my advice, pray this doesn’t happen to you:

I didn’t even notice it the first couple of times I watched it, but did you observe there was some poor woman, serving God the best way she knew how, coaxed up on top of the camel?

You see her bare feet and then, moments later, her head pops up.  She looks a little disconcerted, don’t you think?

Ed Stetzer on Missional Leadership

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Last year, the BGCO (Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma) invited Ed Stetzer to speak to leaders as part of our ongoing evangelism push.

Missional Leadership from Ed Stetzer on Vimeo.

Here’s the outline to the video:

Missional Leadership

1) Reconsideration of Leadership

a) From superman to everyone
b) From church to kingdom
c) From me to we
d) From personal power to people empowerment

2) Rejection of Clergification

a) From three tiers to one mission
b) From “called to the ministry” to “called to ministry”
c) From “called to missions” to “sent on mission”
d) From exceptional to ordinary
e) From “priests” to a “priesthood of believers”

3) Renewed focus on mission

a) From “full service” to “simple mission”
b) From “pay, pray, and get out of the way” to “join God on His mission”
c) From decisionism to disciple making
d) From “mission statement” to “Jesus mission”
Luke 4
Luke 19:10

4) Realignment of priorities

a) God is a missionary God
b) I personally join Him on mission – modeling
c) I lead others to join Him on mission – leadership
d) I equip others – multiplication

Found originally at: The Lifeway Research Blog

Driscoll on Grace for the Disgraced

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Driscoll and Idolatry

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Amazing two minutes of video:

If we are to engage North America as missionaries, then we have got to deconstruct our own context and see it for what it is.  If culture is our god, then we are doomed, but if culture is our language, we can communicate.

Driscoll on aborting a pregnancy from rape

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Really tough issue.  Like Driscoll, rape incenses me and I have had several close friends who were raped, so my compassion for rape victims is very high.

Here’s how he handled the text message question:

Mark Driscoll on Joel Osteen

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Yep, it’s pretty blunt, but not mean spirited.

Songs about Heaven

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I was with some fellow American believers the other day and we were looking through a collection of old songbooks that they had.  Some predated me, but others brought back some songs that I sang as a teenager.  It was somewhat humorous remembering some of the songs that were so shallow from that era. We joined in singing several to give a hint to the younger ones in the crowd what the songs were like, and that was even more humorous – us signing badly.

Then a few older songs of heaven came up and the question was asked, “Why do Senior Adults enjoy songs of Heaven so much?” since they seem to be favorites of many of the seniors we know.

The consensus was that Heaven was probably on their minds, and it was a comfort to them to know where they are going.

The next day I was driving home from dropping my kids at school and Jeremy Camp came on the radio with the song, “There will be a day.”

I realized that our fondness for singing of Heaven was not generational.  As I thought about it, it seemed to me that American Christians have always sung of Heaven, seeking comfort.

Why is that?  Do Christians from every culture do this? Some certainly have more hardships than others.

It seems that, while Heaven is a great promise and one to which I cling, Paul points us to a longing for living here as a servant to the Kingdom being just as strong a pull:

20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

21 For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ —which is far better — 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your advancement and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. 27 Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is evidence of their destruction, but of your deliverance —and this is from God. 29 For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, 30 having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear about me.

Philippians 1:20-30

It seems that we ought to long equally as much to be of some Kingdom use here.  In this world and in this time.

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry Sketch

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Love British humor.

Apparently, BBC doesn’t want their stuff embedded on blogs, so they disabled it.  You can catch it on youtube.

Mark Driscoll on Evangelism: Not Imposing but Proposing

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Some Missional Minatrea

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If you don’t know Milfred Minatrea, you should.  This is some good stuff to get you started.

The Missional Church Center – using the arts to reach people

Attractional or Incarnational?

More Attractional v. Incarnational…

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