New Month/New Theme

Another new month is upon us and it is time to change it up.  This month we will be highlighting Laity in the church.  What is Laity you ask?  Well, I am going to tell you.  Ready.  It is ANYONE and everyone in the church except the Pastor.  That is right.  IT IS YOU and I of course.

 

This month we are going to talk about the importance of Laity in the church.  Laity is to work with Pastors in the spreading of the Gospel.  It is not only the Pastors job, it is ours.

 

So buckle in and get ready for a lot of fun, informative and important ideas.

 

Thanks to all who follow, comment, and support us.

 

God Loves You And So Do We.

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Becoming a Welcoming Church – A Book Review

This book has a church member taking what could be a difficult journey in realizing – Is church as welcoming as you think?

In the six chapters, the author walks the reader through their church with a fresh eye.  Everything is covered – from the physical appearance, website information and any and all facets of the church are reviewed.

I found several items that I thought were helpful and could implemented in any church without cost or a lot of members needed.

I feel that this book is a good and informative read and has a lot of helpful information for any church.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

 

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/becoming-a-welcoming-church-P005796138

Piety and Direction

On a Via de Cristo weekend, one of the talks is called Piety. I didn’t think very much of this word when I first heard it because, probably like you, I thought of a Bible thumping, scripture quoting person that gets on your nerves really fast. You really don’t want to be around this person who always has a scripture answer to every question that you ask. You might just shake your head and wonder what is wrong with this person because they always seem angry. Then there is the opposite of that person, you know, the one that just smiles, goes to church a lot and doesn’t interact with the world around them. They should have a permanent halo over their heads. For both of these “types” you think, “They’re so Heavenly minded they’re no earthly good”. And so you should.

True, or Authentic Piety, is neither of these things. Authentic Piety is an intimate, revitalizing, deepening relationship with God. If you’re not actively working on your relationship with God, to deepen it, make it better, then you are not “Pious”. The examples that I give above are examples of False Piety. False Piety is a superficial, inaccurate or deceptive practice that appears to be Christian. It’s all on the outside, nothing on the inside.

We’ve all done the false piety thing, even in little stuff. Acting a different way in church than you do at home or just going to church because that’s what you’ve always done because that’s the way you were raised. Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian.

With true Piety, you want to get closer to God and start to do things in your life to make that happen. Going to church regularly is a good start, but when you sing that hymn or praise song, listen to the words. If you go to a traditional church like me, when you go through the Liturgy, really mean the words when you say them. Pay attention to the sermon or even take notes!!

Start small with that and then build to reading the Bible, going to a Bible study or prayer group. Listen to Christian Music on the radio. Build small actions around you that grow your knowledge. As your knowledge of God increases, so will your true piety.

Do I have this this Piety thing down? I don’t. But everyday I try a little harder; try to do a bit more. I’m working on my piety everyday. This is a journey, not something that just comes to you and you have it. Working on getting closer with God does give me a direction in my life. By reading Scripture I hear the voice of the Lord, directing me everyday and that gives me peace.

Are you Surprised?

Gleanings from real research by Neil MacQueen

What if I told you there was a well-researched and statistically proven program that on average can:

    • increase the average life expectancy of your children by 8 years
    • significantly reduce your child’s use and risk from Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
    • dramatically lower their risk of suicide
    • help them rebound from depression 70% faster
    • dramatically reduce their risk for committing a crime
    • improve their attitude at school and increase their school participation
    • reduce their risk for rebelliousness
    • reduce the likelihood that they would binge drink in college
    • improve their odds for a “very happy” life
    • provide them with a life-long moral compass
    • provide children with a caring extended family
    • get them to wear their seatbelts more often
    • and will also statistically improve the odds that they will lead an active church life in their adults years

Is there such a program?

YES, there is.

…And it is supported by research from Duke University, Indiana University, The University of Michigan, The Center for Disease Control, Barna Research Group, Gallup, Pew, and the National Institute for Healthcare Research, and several national surveys.

How much would a program like this be worth to you?

What if I told you it was free, and only took about 2 hours a week?
Would you be interested?

Take a look at the above list again.
It’s not a dream.

The program is called “active church participation.”

 

 

 

Joan’s Journey part 3

I thought my life was fine and wouldn’t change much until we retired.  I loved my church and could not imagine leaving it.  Looking back, I see that I loved my church so much I made it into an idol.  I would never have said we were perfect, but I was proud of my congregation and my place in it, and I did think we were really special.  And I had my own version of the prosperity gospel.  I didn’t expect God to make me rich, but I thought He would give me peaceful, harmonious relationships at church and at home.  Didn’t God owe me that … after all the work I put in being a good Christian?

 That is not the attitude God wants in His servants and I see that now. Eventually my self-satisfied life began to dissolve.(Here comes the death and rebirth part). Our oldest daughter hit adolescence and had a lot of problems. We tried all sorts of things, including counseling, but nothing seemed to work.  Years later Beth was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and by then we had all been through a great deal of pain.

At the same time things were going wrong at church.  Some friends were angry at the Pastor and the situation kept escalating.  Eventually they left. I was in anguish seeing the congregation I poured my life into torn apart.  To top it off, Terry decided he was called to the ministry.  I didn’t mind him being a pastor, because that would just be Terry’s job.  However I didn’t want to move to St. Louis and become the primary breadwinner so that he could go to seminary.  I told him this was just too much to ask, with one child in college and one with mental health issues.  He could move, but I would not.

 Terry thankfully, agreed we should stay together, and said if God wanted him to be a pastor He would make it happen.  And He did.  Terry found a Lutheran denomination that offered seminary courses via distance learning.  He kept his job and began the process.  When he came to the point where this denomination would have required him to go on a one year internship, he found another Lutheran group that agreed to ordain him immediately.  So Terry had his wish, or rather God’s wish.  Now what?

 The denomination that ordained him did not have an open pulpit, so Terry decided he would have to start a mission congregation, a daunting prospect. We knew from experience how much effort that took.  Then a friend asked Terry if he would fill in at his church. They were between pastors. We came to St. Paul’s where something clicked for us, and I believe, for the congregation very quickly.  They were small but lively and not afraid to keep the church running on their own.  They appreciated Terry’s gift for teaching and preaching.  They encouraged me, too, and allowed me to participate in the way I saw myself:  an active layperson, not just the Pastor’s wife.

 Terry and I have now been at St. Paul’s for more than ten years.  The church joined the AFLC and Terry is on their clergy roll.  I’ve written articles for the Lutheran Ambassador and a Bible study for the national women’s group.  I serve at church in many ways.  Since retiring, I am a part time caregiver for my granddaughter, Katelyn, and my mother with dementia. Now I’ve become a blogger! Many of these are things I would never have imagined doing.  Life with God is a continual surprise.  I’m humbler now and don’t pretend to know what my future holds.  John Wesley once said,                                                  

When I was young I was sure of everything.  In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before.  At present, I am hardly sure of anything except what God has revealed to me.”

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know God has a plan and that He will continue to work it out in my life.