The Sunday to Monday Gap

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There is a large gap between what happens in churches on Sunday morning and what happens in the life of the average person on Monday morning. And this gap grows wider as the cultural differences between the values of the Church and the values of our communities are growing further apart.

About a year ago, I met a blue jean designer who was also a Christian man. He ran a high-end craft blue jean company, and in talking to him I discovered his passion for high-quality jeans. He was particularly interested in using materials that come from the United States. He shared his heart for being a company of generosity and wanted to make a great place to work for his employees.

Read the rest of this post on Ed Stetzer’s blog at ChristianityToday.com

Sermon Series Ideas: 002

Sermon series

Everybody loves free ideas and resources.  And if you are in any creative ministry position, you are probably often looking for inspiration or freebies to help you do your work.  As a ministry, we are regularly producing great content for our sermon series.  The creative process to developing these is one of the areas that I am most passionate.  I love working with our team as we brainstorm ideas and then helping move ideas forward into a finished product.

Feel free to use these ideas to inspire your own ideas or use the supplied media and replicate the series yourself.  The only thing we ask is that you don’t sell our original content as your own.  Also please note, that occasionally some of our series images heavily rely on stock images; in those case you must purchase the original source image in order to have legal permission to use the image.

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Can You Really Be Anything You Want to Be?

Be anything

When we are little we are asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  And rightfully so, we are encouraged in whatever that might be, whether that be a dream to become a famous movie star, a successful athlete, and entrepreneur, or a police officer.

As kids, we are told, “You can be whatever you want when you grow up.”

But is this really true?

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Being a Christian in a Pluralistic World

Pluralistic

We live in a post-Christian, pluralistic world.  We have atheist buddhists, catholic hindus, and agnostic muslims.  Our world is one of smorgasbord religion.  A friend of mine recently spoke at a conference about this very topic and pointed out that our world has brought about the first ever chur-mosq-agogue.

What is that?

How in the world is somebody Christian, Muslim, and Jewish at the same time?  But this is the world we live in.  In our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools people are picking and choosing from the buffet of spirituality and figuring out their own thing.

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Crazy Ones

Crazy ones

Change often starts in the fringes with an oddball group that doesn’t quite fit with everybody else. It starts with a passion and an idealism that believes things can be better than they currently are.

The Reformation began with a theological misfit  on the fringes who believed that the Church had drifted away from the Gospel.  Martin Luther began a movement with passion and idealism that believed the Church could actually be reformed.  He was crazy enough to believe that the Gospel was not about works but about grace.  And he was crazy enough to believe that it wasn’t just the priests that did sacred work, but all believers.

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Church of Cain vs. Church of Abel

Cain and abel

Two men.  Two different jobs.  Two different offerings.  The story of Cain and Abel is the story of the first dysfunctional family; two brothers come before God making offerings and find God responding in two very different ways.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”  And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.  In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”  Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.” – Genesis 4:1-9

At first glance, we can read this and think that perhaps something’s going on with the offerings.  After all, Cain and Abel did not bring the same offerings.  Did Cain bring the wrong type of offering and Abel did it right?  Was this a story about fruit versus livestock?

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Preaching Copycats

Copycats

If you listen to the radio for a while, you’ll probably notice that every song kind of sounds the same.  Or if you watch movies, you’ll often start to notice how frequently movies are just re-makes of something else.  And even the original movies still all use the same basic story structures, such as the Hero’s Journey.  The same thing happens with technology.  Microsoft makes something.  Google makes their version.  And Apple comes along and makes there version a little bit better than the others.


Everybody is copying.

Solomon said it himself when he wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  Whether we are talking about music, books, a sermon series, or blog posts, there really aren’t any completely original ideas.  All of our ideas come from someone else who got their idea from someone else who got their idea from someone else.

We all desire innovation, but we often forget that the innovators are also copycats.

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Everything Is Awesome

Awesome

Tacos are awesome.  A great deal on a new pair of shoes is awesome.  Blog posts are awesome.  Saving money on your car insurance, awesome.  I recently watched a TED talk by Jill Shargaa suggesting that we “put the ‘awe’ back in ‘awesome.’

Jill said, “When you use the word awesome to describe the most mundane of things, you are taking away the very power of the word.”

We far too easily miss the meaning of words like awe and awesome.  Awesome is defined as “extremely impressive or daunting, inspiring great admiration, or awe-inspiring.”  Do our tacos really inspire awe?  Does that discount really inspire great admiration?

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Building the Foundation

Foundation

I’m no expert in building houses, but in my limited knowledge of house building I know that the beginning of the building process is very unsexy.  In order to build a house, you have to start with the foundation and if you mess up the foundation, you are in for a world of problems throughout the life of your house.

Without getting the foundation right, the rest of the house can be thrown into jeopardy.

When you see a house getting built, these beginning stages aren’t very fun.  It’s exciting when the walls start to go up.  It’s exciting when you can start to see a structure taking shape or even something that you can walk around with.  It’s fun to see the roof get put on, the drywall getting hung, or even the windows all being put in.  But to see the foundation being put in, that’s hardly an exciting day of watching a house being built. [Read more…]