Saturday, July 30, 2011

Books, Books

While sitting in my office I wondered what life would be like without books.

Wouldn't be much fun for a bibliophile like me.  

I'll never be one to switch from a book in hand to an electronic book reader. 

Books have a personality!  A look, smell and feel of their own.  

Good friends!  You don't want to leave home without one.  

Thought I'd take a couple of pictures in my office.

Dying Out

How long before our places of worship close down and internet "church"
is the cool thing to do?  The times they are a' changin'.  Sad!

Click here for another "sad" story of bookstores dying.
This is the Borders bookstore chain.  If they can't survive
what will be the fate of our local, independent Christian
bookstores?  Their future is at stake and you can make
a difference.  Don't be indifferent!  Support them!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

£300 Plus

Recently I was encouraged as I read Joseph Stowell's account of a moving story from the 1800's in his excellent devotional book, Strength for the Journey.

He related how the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, had been preaching a series of meetings in Bristol, England hoping to raise money for his orphanage back in London.

The week was drawing to a close and Spurgeon had already reached his goal of £300.  He was thrilled with the response but couldn't sleep that night.  God prompted him to give the money to George Muller to help with his orphanages right there in Bristol.  "But Lord?"  No, Spurgeon felt he must go to see Muller.

Arriving at Muller's home he found George on his knees in prayer.  Spurgeon handed over the £300 and Muller acknowledged that he had been seeking God for that exact amount.  They embraced and marvelled at the provision of God.

Upon his return to London, Spurgeon found an envelope containing £300 plus 300 shillings.  God had provided what Spurgeon had passed on to Muller...with interest.

As another great servant of God once said, "I shovel out and God keeps shoveling back but God has a bigger shovel."

Why do we doubt God's promises to provide?  He is Jehovah-Jireh...our Provider.

Note:  For more encouraging stories about God's provision please visit our George Muller blog here.  You will be blessed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hot Spots

Check out this interesting link to see what the denominational demographics are in the United States of America.  It's interesting to note where the Bible belt cuts across the mid-section of the U.S.  Not surprising to see where the lowest percentage of Evangelical Christians are found.

Thanks to Paul Wilkinson from Thinking Out Loud for sharing this link on his blog.

Monday, July 04, 2011

July 4th

We wish our special American friends a very special Happy 4th of July.  

"Let Freedom Ring".  

Thanks for being such great neighbours...or neighbors (as you spell it).

Too Cool?

This morning I read this article by Rachel Held Evans. 

Check out more about her at the end of the story. 

I found myself silently uttering AMEN throughout Rachel's comments.

Rachel writes:

People sometimes assume that because I’m a progressive 30-year-old who enjoys Mumford and Sons and has no children, I must want a super-hip church—you know, the kind that’s called “Thrive” or “Be,” and which boasts “an awesome worship experience,” a fair-trade coffee bar, its own iPhone app and a pastor who looks like a Jonas brother. 

While none of these features are inherently wrong (and can of course be used by good people to do good things), these days I find myself longing for a church with a cool factor of about 0.

That’s right.

I want a church that includes fussy kids, old liturgy, bad sound, weird congregants  and - brace yourself - painfully amateur “special music” now and then.


Well, for one thing, when the Gospel story is accompanied by a fog machine and light show, I always get this creeped-out feeling like someone’s trying to sell me something. It’s as though we’re all compensating for the fact that Christianity’s not good enough to stand on its own so we’re adding snacks.

But more importantly, I want to be part of an uncool church because I want to be part of a community that shares the reputation of Jesus. Like it or not, Jesus’ favorite people in the world were not cool. They were mostly sinners, misfits, outcasts, weirdos, poor people, sick people and crazy people.  

Embracing the Distractions    

Cool congregations can get so wrapped up in the “performance” of church that they forget to actually be the Church, a phenomenon painfully illustrated by the story of the child with cerebral palsy who was escorted from an Easter service for being a “distraction.”


It seems to me this congregation was distracted long before this little boy showed up. In their self-proclaimed quest for “an explosive, phenomenal movement of God—something you have to see to believe,” they missed Jesus when He was right under their nose.

Was the paralytic man lowered from the rooftop in the middle of a sermon a distraction?

Was the Canaanite woman who harassed Jesus and His disciples about healing her daughter a distraction?

Were the blind men from Jericho who annoyed the crowd with their relentless cries a distraction?

Jesus didn’t think so. In fact, He seemed to think they were the point.
Jesus taught us that when we throw a banquet or a party, our invitation list should include “the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind.” So why do our church marketing teams target the young, the hip, the healthy and the resourced?

We Are All Uncool     

In Bossypants, Tina Fey describes working for the YMCA in Chicago soon after graduating from college. This particular YMCA included, “a great mix of high-end yuppie fitness facility, a wonderful community resource for families and an old-school residence for disenfranchised men.” Fey shares a host of funny stories about working the front desk. One such story involves one of the residents forgetting to take his meds, bumping into a young mom on her way to a workout session and saying something wildly inappropriate. Fey writes: “The young mother was beside herself. That’s the kind of trouble you get when diverse groups of people actually cross paths with one another. That’s why many of the worst things in the world happen in and around Starbucks bathrooms.”

Church can be a lot like the YMCA—or a Starbucks bathroom.

We have one place for the uncool people—our ministries—and another place for the cool people—our church services. When we actually bump into one another, things can get “awkward,” so we try to avoid it.  

The truth is we’re all guilty of thinking we’re too cool for the least of these. Our elitism shows up when we forbid others from contributing art and music because we deem it unworthy of glorifying God, or when we scoot our family an extra foot or two down the pew when the guy with Asperger's sits down. Having helped start a church, I remember hoping our hip guests wouldn’t be turned off by our less-than-hip guests. For a second I forgot that in church, of all places, those distinctions should disappear.

Some of us wear our brokenness on the inside, others on the outside.

But we’re all broken.

We’re all uncool.

We’re all in need of a Savior.

So let’s have some distracting church services—the kind where Jesus would fit right in. 

Rachel Held Evans is the author of Evolving in Monkey Town: How A Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions (Zondervan, 2010). She blogs at