Archive | January, 2014
Growing in the Word podcast: 1-26-14

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-26-14

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from January 26th, 2014.
Colossians 3:12-14.

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-19-14

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-19-14

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from January 19th, 2014.
I Corinthians 12:12-27.

How We Turn Churches Into Clubs

How We Turn Churches Into Clubs

034C0905LLIn the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI sits a huge steam locomotive known as an “Allegheny Locomotive.”  It was an H-8 class built by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, OH specifically designed with big horsepower to haul heavy loads of coal through the Allegheny Mountains.  It weighed 771,000 pounds and was 125 feet long.  Only 60 of these locomotives were ever made (from 1941-1948) and just two exist today.  Shortly after production of the Allegheny Locomotive began, they were replaced by diesel engines.

I recently read an article about this locomotive that explained 96% of the energy it produced from the steam was used just to move the locomotive itself.  Only 4% was used to pull the load of freight.  As I read that, it occurred to me this locomotive is an illustration of many churches.  Often a church will have many more members who drain and absorb the resources of the church than it has members who give back through service, giving, and investment of time and giftedness.  If the number of members who help the church carry the load of its mission are greatly outnumbered by the members who do not, then that church is unhealthy and ineffective.

Thom Rainer, in his book I Am a Church Member, illustrates this idea of the “96% and 4%” by showing that many people view their membership in church as they would a membership to a country club.  People join a club because of the perks it brings.  They pay their dues, and this gives them the rights to demand certain services and privileges.  That’s how clubs operate, but it should’t be true of churches.  If church members throw some money in the offering plate and then expect to do nothing but receive services and ministries from the church, they have a skewed and unbiblical view of church membership.  Rainer notes that for people with this mindset “membership is about receiving instead of giving, being served instead of serving, rights instead of responsibilities, and entitlements instead of sacrifices.”

The Allegheny Locomotive

The Allegheny Locomotive

In 1 Cor. 12:12, Paul told the Corinthians that the church is one body made up of many members.  Each member/part of the body has certain functions/responsibilities.  Every church member needs to fulfill his or her responsibility in service to the church.  Thus, in the same chapter, Paul reminded the Corinthians that every follower of Christ has been given at least one gift by the Holy Spirit that is to be employed, not for selfish gain, but for the benefit of others (1 Cor. 12:11; 1 Pet. 4:10). Rainer writes, “With a country club membership you pay others to do the work for you. With church membership, everyone has a role or function. That is why some are hands, feet, ears, or eyes. We are all different, but we are necessary parts of the whole.”

If you are a member of a church, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I helping carry the load at my church through pursuing holiness in my personal life, my love toward others, and my service to the church?
  • Am I a part of the group that just drains the church or helps the church fulfill its mission?
  • What is your attitude toward church membership?  Is it a country club mentality?

Each of us who are part of a local body of believers need to examine our attitude and perspective in the role we play in the church and the importance of our membership in it.

 

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-12-14

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-12-14

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from January 12th, 2014.
Ephesians 2:19-22.

What If We Got Upset at Sports Like We Get Upset at Church?

What If We Got Upset at Sports Like We Get Upset at Church?

wizfans21354025290What are the things that cause us to be disgruntled at church?  Take a moment and think about this question.  What has frustrated you about church in the past?  What are the top things that disgruntle people in general?  Yes, the church is far from perfect and there are indeed times when our criticisms and concerns are justified.  But have you ever noticed that all too often we hold the church to a standard of which we would never hold other things in our lives.  For example: sports.  As a result, we show that we are more committed to our favorite sports team than we are our own church.

Years ago I came across a tongue-in-cheek article highlighting the things we get disgruntled at in church, but quickly overlook when it comes to sports- particularly going to games.  Read these, note the similarities, and catch the point it makes.

I’ve decided to stop going to games because of the following:

  • Every time I went to a game, they asked me for money.
  • The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly.
  • The seats were too hard and not at all comfortable.
  • I had to park too far away from the stadium.
  • I went to many games, but the coach never came to call on me.
  • The referee made a decision with which I did not agree.
  • I suspected that I was sitting with some hypocrites- they came
    to see their friends and what others were wearing rather than to see the game.
  • Some games went into overtime causing me to be late getting home.
  • The band played some songs that I had never heard before and did not like.
  • It seems that the games are scheduled when I want to do other things.
  • My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up so I don’t need to go to any more games now.
  • I don’t want to take my children to any games, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.

Isn’t interesting what we get disgruntled at church for and what we overlook at games?  All of this is to say- yes, the church isn’t perfect, but the church is what God has created for Christians to have relationships with other Christians to help us on the journey of following Christ.  So, the church is very important as well as our commitment and involvement in it.  Rather than always grumbling at the church, why not cut it a little slack like you do your favorite sports team?  Instead of always focusing on and pointing out the problems in church, why not make the commitment and expend the energy to be part of the solution?  If every church member did this, I wonder what changes would happen at your church?

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-5-14

Growing in the Word podcast: 1-5-14

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawne, OK from January 5th, 2014.
Hebrews 10:23-25

Curious How Much Training it Takes to Run a Marathon?

Curious How Much Training it Takes to Run a Marathon?

I have many people ask me how many weeks and how much running it takes to train for a marathon.  Most training plans are around 18 weeks in duration.  The assumption to this is that you can run for 30 minutes without stopping before starting a training plan.  Below is my training schedule for the OKC Memorial Marathon at the end of April.  Each number is how many miles to be run that day.  “Cross” means you cross train on that day.  Cross training is doing some kind of exercise beneficial to marathon prep that is not running.  This is most commonly done by riding a bike, using an elliptical machine, swimming, or some other low impact exercise.

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

5

Rest

3

5

8

Cross

3

2

5

Rest

3

5

9

Cross

3

3

5

Rest

3

5

6

Cross

3

4

6

Rest

3

6

11

Cross

3

5

6

Rest

3

6

12

Cross

3

6

5

Rest

3

6

9

Cross

3

7

7

Rest

4

7

14

Cross

4

8

7

Rest

4

7

15

Cross

4

9

5

Rest

4

Rest

13

Cross

4

10

8

Rest

4

8

17

Cross

4

11

8

Rest

5

8

18

Cross

5

12

5

Rest

5

8

13

Cross

5

13

8

Rest

5

5

20

Cross

5

14

5

Rest

5

8

12

Cross

5

15

8

Rest

5

5

20

Cross

5

16

6

Rest

5

4

12

Cross

5

17

5

Rest

4

3

8

Cross

4

18

Rest

3

4

Rest

Rest

2

Marathon

There are numerous plans available for novice to advanced runners.

If you are new to running and attempting your first half or full marathon, I recommend one of the plans from Jeff Galloway.  You can find his training programs and other resources on his website: http://www.jeffgalloway.com.

If you are just starting out, see my blog post on how to get started with running: here.  I also have recorded a podcast about my experience running my first marathon.  Listen here.

Another great resource for marathon training plans are those by Hal Higdon.  The schedule above that I am using is one from Higdon.  Check out his plans and resources here: http://www.halhigdon.com

Running a marathon takes a huge amount of time, effort, and discipline, but achieving the goal feels great.  I wish you all the best if you are attempting your first half/full marathon in 2014.