Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cooking based on the Bible

Cooking based on Bible foods and passages can "get you into" Bible stories and be fun at the same time. Try it out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is the ministry a vocation?

Most of us think of a "vocation" meaning a job, or at least a field of interest. An age-old complaint from church members is that their pastor treats the ministry as a job, not a calling. But the word "vocation" comes from the Latin verb "vocare", meaning "to call out".

How ironic! Not only that, but we tend to view "vocational schools" as ones not leading to a profession. A job hopefully, but not a profession. Professionals go to college, right?

We'd do well to remember the Latin root and realize that the "vocation" or "job" of the ministry is indeed a calling. On the other hand, we do expect ministers to do their best to see beyond the daily grind and to give their vocation a more spiritual emphasis than we congregatiuon members do. It's not fair, perhaps, but we do seem to expect that. You might say that we expect members of the clergy to make us think that their vocation is not a job. What?

Vocation -- job -- calling -- profession.  It's all quite confusing once we stir the colloquial pot, mix up their use, and ignore their root meaning.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spiritual Velocity

This is the first of an intermittent series of notes on sermons I hear.

Why intermittent? I don't always get to be at my home church every week, some sermons don't seem to lend themselves to my note-taking, and sometimes, I confess, I "drift". What do I mean by "notes"?  Summaries, a few bullet points, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

These will not be complete sermon outlines -- I'd have to pay way too much attention for that. As it is, I worry about missing a good point as I jot down my notes. My hope is that as I force myself to take sermon notes, not only will I pay better attention, but I'll also have more "take home" nuggets of spiritual wisdom. I post them here for both you and me.


Many people think of velocity as how fast you are going.  But that's speed. Velocity is both the speed of an object plus the direction in which it's headed.


Spiritual velocity

A few related thoughts:
  • Where are you on the line from Sinner to Saint?
  • Are you headed in the right direction?
  • How fast are you progressing?
  • Are you even moving?
Mark Twain once said, "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just stand there."

Saul was not headed in the right direction, but when he experienced the "intervention" on the road to Damascus, he "saw the light". He made strong change in spiritual velocity. He was blinded but he finally "saw". Physically he was still heading to Damascus, but spiritually he had done a "180" and would rush onward in the right direction, changing both his name and his outlook. The fervor he once spent in persecuting followers of Jesus he now channeled into boldly proclaiming the good news of Christ's resurrection.

Looking at the ministry of Jesus, his Passion, his crucifixion, and the resurrection, we can see his high spiritual velocity ... moving strongly and in the right direction.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spiritual drought

"Spiritual dry times accompany many and diverse situations. Sometimes those droughts have nothing to do with us. A dust bowl descends, and all we can do is remain faithful, waiting upon God. At other times, however, spiritual dryness can be traced back to something for which we are responsible.

Sometimes sheer soul-neglect is to blame. Perhaps we have let the busyness of life or the blur of entertainment squeeze out margins for quiet reflection, regular prayer, and Bible study. Whether out of fear or laziness, pride or sin, we squander our best on lesser things."

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A penny for your searches

Yahoo! has a free service that turns your Internet searches into food for the hungry. Instead of using Google, Bing, or whatever your search engine is now, start using a GoodSearch search toolbar from Yahoo!

GoodSearch is a Yahoo-powered search engine that contributes a penny to your chosen charity -- for example, Decatur Cooperative Ministry (DCM) -- each time you use it to search the internet.

In this case, a penny truly goes a long way!

16 searches = 16 pennies = 1 pound of food from the Food Bank

In just the first week that the DCM staff started using GoodSearch, they raised $3.85. That's 24 pounds of food!

Imagine how much more could be raised if everyone that supported DCM used GoodSearch for all their searches. What if all your family and friends used it?

How to get GoodSearch

It’s easy to install the GoodSearch’s search toolbar in your Web browser:
  1. Go to .
  2. Click on the "Get the GoodSearch toolbar" link.
  3. Enter Decatur Cooperative Ministry (make sure it’s spelled exactly like that)
  4. Select the Verify button.
    This will display “ Decatur Cooperative Ministry (Decatur, GA)” as your choice.
  5. Click on "Get the GoodSearch toolbar or add us to your search box".
  6. Click on the “Download Toolbar” button.
  7. Close any other open browser windows or tabs.
  8. Click on “Download the GoodSearch Toolbar” to accept the licensing agreement.
  9. When the pop-up dialog box appears, select the “Run” button.
  10. When the next security pop-up dialog appears, select the “Run” button (or save it to your hard disk, then run it from there).
  11. Proceed with the installation and select the install options you want.
  12. You may need to restart your browser (or your computer) to make the new toolbar appear properly.
If you use multiple web browsers, do this when you are in each of your browsers.

So, won't you give DCM a penny for your thoughts searches?


This process adds a Yahoo! search toolbar. If you don’t want an added toolbar in your web browser, do not follow the above steps.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti disaster brings out best, worst in Christians

Haiti earthquake destruction photo by United Nations Development Programme

The disastrous earthquake in Haiti seems has brought out the best and worst in Christians. True compassion, grief, selfless actions, and earnest prayer have unfortunately been accompanied in some quarters by the false theology of "it's their own fault". Others try to excuse why they selfishly don't want to help God's children who are in desperate need.

Pat Robertson's recent comments appear to show that he has an angry heart fixed on vengeance rather than Christian love. He even seems to enjoy living in the ancient world mindset that did not even understand the weather or other natural happenings on God's earth. In the modern world, an attitude such as Pat Robertson's is like gangrene on the body of Christianity. The cloying stench of its rotting effect is a warning that Christians need to cure or excise this dangerous infection before it spreads to the rest of the body.

Haiti earthquake victim photo by United Nations Development Programme

But what's the cure? How do we cut out the dangerous infection? Certainly not in a violent way. That's not the way of Jesus. And when someone's mind is so entrenched in evil darkness, mere words likely will have no effect. But God has given us prayer. And Jesus has commanded us to love and help others.

"It matters a great deal how we think about other people. ... The more we are able to keep in mind that the people around us are susceptible to grace and truth, as beings made in the image of God, the more likely we will be to treat them that way..."

... "We need to think like Jesus thinks, ... regard others as Jesus does, and to love them as He would." -- T.M. Moore, "Regarding Others: Why Do People Matter?"

Pray that Pat Robertson, his thousands of duped followers, and other dark souls like him will come out of their darkness into the light of Christ's love. Pray that they all truly "see the light". Pray for their eternal souls. Pray that God will blunt their attempts to abuse Christianity for personal and political gain. Pray that they turn from harmful to helpful words and actions.

"And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me'." - Matthew 25:40 (NRSV)

"... we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" - Acts 20:35 (NRSV)

Related links: