Christian Seeking Church

Well, “church-shopping” is not one of the things I am excited about with this transition but view it as maybe the most important thing we will do.

For better or worse, there are options.  What’s important?  What’s not?  What can we do without?  What is a deal-breaker?

Some deal-breakers for me would be:

  • too much patriotism and politics in the assembly
  • believing in the “word only” heresy concerning the Holy Spirit
  • divisive/attacking mentality towards other churches and sinner groups

Things I am looking for:

  • small groups.  so many congregations in Nashville are large, hope to find a smaller group for support/encouragement
  • Shepherds who are mature, prayerful, wise and involved in helping the congregation know Jesus better
  • men’s group.  besides brothers I already know, I hope to have godly men to pray with, not just to watch a game or play ball
  • total honesty:  a church big enough that doesn’t need my wife or I to teach or lead.  will get around to it, but need a break to be fed

Many things are obvious such as friendliness, Christ-focus, evangelistic and accepting of the outcasts, etc.  I also hope it doesn’t take too long to find a place where we all feel comfortable.

What do you look for, or what would you look for if selecting a church home??

A Fellowship Tragedy

It happened at Wal-Mart.

Jenny Mae was in the check-out line.  She saw a young lady from church named Denise looking at the books and magazines.  She assumed she was looking at Vogue or Cosmo, but it turned out to be much more serious than that.

Jenny was too far away to greet her and didn’t want to yell but decided to go in the opposite direction from the exit she needed to say hello.  But as she approached, she saw something that stopped her in her tracks.

Denise had picked up a Max Lucado book and was thumbing through it.  Jenny Mae was shocked, confounded, and quickly turned around and hurried out the door.  Luckily she had the cell phone her daughter had given her.

Back in the store, Denise put down the offending volume, and picked up the latest Vogue and headed to the check-out line.  She had no idea of what would happen next.

Jenny Mae quickly called her preacher and set the ball rolling.

TO BE CONTINUED…………

More Tulsa Workshop Highlights

Of all the great lessons I heard while in Tulsa two stick out.

A lesson on the Prodigal Son and Luke 15 covered all the bases and was beautiful.  It really didn’t tell me new facts that I did not know.  I knew about the woman needing coins for her wedding.  I knew it was shameful for a Father/male to run, therefore exposing his legs.  I had preached the same things but this sermon was just wonderful from beginning to end and helped me to appreciate God’s love for sinners/us.

The other one was not a part of the Workshop program but a Sunday morning sermon. Edward Fudge, who recently finished a commentary on Hebrews, preached on Jesus from Hebrews.  He focused on 4 Psalms that are prominent in Hebrews, each one making a point about Jesus.  It was fantastic.

If Tulsa detractors could listen to these lectures without knowing who the speaker was (and therefore, all they have preached “wrong”, and what their church does or doesn’t do), I think they would be surprised and edified.  Too bad some have written many out of God’s story.

There were many other great lessons.  I enjoyed hearing friends Trey Morgan and John Dobbs speak.  Trey spoke on taking risks for God and John spoke on dealing with grief and helping others.  Both messages were encouraging and practical and solid.

And then there was the fellowship. The first day at lunch I laughed so hard my face hurt.  Amanda Sanders (one of the funniest humans I know) was stalking Randy Harris. Gallagher, Tucker, James Jones, and Trent Tanaro were cracking wise and telling stories about anything and everything.

The following day at lunch was when we had a neat God-moment after laughing and telling stories again.  Gallagher recounts the story well here if you haven’t heard it yet. Jennifer, we do continue to pray for you and your family (in case you read this).

Friday evening, about 40 bloggers and family and friends ate in the same room and got to visit and take pictures.  Maybe next year we will be better organized, but it was still fun.

It was great to see old friends and make new ones.  I was edified by the preaching and relaxed by the laughter.  I was encouraged by the fellowship.  I hope to be back next year.  I hope you can be there, too.

For those who attended, what were your favorite moments?

some blog banquet attendees

What a Ride! Tulsa 2010

What a ride, indeed!  And I am not even referring to my travel experiences.

The Tulsa Workshop was great.  I needed it.  The speakers were maybe half of it.  The fellowship the other half.

While not growing up in a perfect family, there were three preachers and each one was a joke-teller and occasional cut-up.  My family liked to laugh.  Laughter helped us through hard times.  I feel so bad for the people (Christians or not) who have only met sober, stone-faced preachers who never crack a smile unless they are preaching on hell and damnation.

I am so glad that so many of the crazy preachers I have met online and got to visit with in Tulsa are also Christians who like to laugh and joke.  My  face physically hurt on numerous occasions after joking and telling stories around a table.  I believe years were added to my life.  That’s probably the strength that helped me get through another interesting day of travel on Sunday.

But these men aren’t just comics and jokesters.  We prayed together.  We prayed with total strangers.  We encouraged one another in our faith.  We worshipped together and learned together.  We talked about the great lessons we heard from other godly men we might not know as well.

Tulsa gives me a great picture of a great family that I wish all churches could emulate. Eating together often.  Sharing our lives.  Serving together.  Excited about worship and hearing God’s Word.

I don’t know if I will be back next year, but I will be back at some point.

God bless you all.  I can’t wait to see you again.  And if there is a rowdy and obnoxious table in Heaven, I can’t wait to see you there, too.

Stay tuned.  More Tulsa blogging to come all week.