October 1st, 2013 | No Comments »

Today’s article is a guest post from my new friend, Kim Cook. Kim  is a wife, who became a mother by the grace of God to 3 incredible step-children who in turn have blessed her beyond her wildest dreams with 5 grandchildren.  Kim live in Denton , TX. attended Texas Women’s University. She works at Singing Oaks Church of Christ as the Office Coordinator and serves as one of the church’s Wellness Ministry Leaders. She is a certified Revelation Wellness instructor.

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I am not a fitness professional. Some might tell you I’m a fitness fanatic. But that would not be true. I’m a Jesus fanatic. I’m a woman who loves the people Jesus loves, which includes all people. I believe we are all created to glorify God and to be in relationship with God.  I have had a lifetime of body image issues. I have been overweight, and I have been underweight.  I have even been just the right weight, but I was never happy at any of those places in my life, because Jesus was never allowed into my personal body issues. I never thought to ask Him to help me, or to be a part of that part of my life. I never thought He cared about my body and about what I was putting into my body. Let’s be real. Jesus has much more serious issues to deal with than my personal eating and exercise habits. This has changed for me.  I have learned that Jesus does care, and it matters deeply to him for us to live a holy life. Author and missionary, Elisabeth Elliot, writes, “You can’t give God your heart, and keep your body for yourself.” This quote changed how I read the Bible.

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September 26th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

Physical fitness says something about our relationship with God.

Yesterday we began a conversation of fitness as a spiritual discipline. The first earthly gift God gives us is our bodies. Before we know what our interests and talents are, we are physical beings. In fact, when we draw our first breath, before we have contributed anything to the world,  our bodies are protected by law. Human beings have always known the body was special.

One of the first Christians heresies was Gnosticism. In part, Gnostics believed matter was evil and the Spirit was good. Therefore, Gnostics argued they could do anything with their bodies. The writers of the New Testament disagreed. Our bodies do matter.

Because they matter, Christians need to deal forthrightly with issues of food and fitness.

And we can do so by embracing 5 Critical Shifts:

 

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September 25th, 2013 | 9 Comments »

We are obese and it’s getting worse. Americans are more than 50% more likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes, almost twice as likely to have heart disease, and 2½ times more likely to have arthritis than people in other developed countries. The reason is our obesity rate. If the US could improve its population’s health to have the same levels of chronic illness as Europeans do, Americans would save between $1,200 and $1,750 per year each on medical bills.

America is suffering from an obesity epidemic, but I’m not simply talking about Americans, I’m talking about Christians. Before you get offended, give me a moment to explain.

Earlier this week, in a private, pastors-only Facebook group, someone asked, “How many of you preachers are over weight. Fat. Obese. Or as the Bible calls Gluttons.”

The question stung! And you could tell.

The firestorm was immediate. Some members found the post humorous, as the member who posted it suggested it was intended, and others were offended. The conversation raged! Instantly there was talk of lactose intolerance, thyroid issues, the fact that some members exercised everyday and ate healthily yet never lost weight, and some members shared hurt feelings because they’d struggled with their weight their entire lives but felt like they were losing their battle. What was immediately clear is that obesity is both a terribly important and an intensely sensitive subject.

Obesity also happens to be a subject the church is not talking about…and it’s killing us.

Last year a good friend of mine went to a denominational gathering I’ve never attended. I asked about his perceptions of the event, in particular, the attendees. He said, “If I were on the outside looking in at our denomination, I’d say we were old, white, and fat.” Just to be clear, he was not saying this as a compliment. In addition, this past week, as I attended another large denominational gathering I was astonished that so many of my fellow ministers – of all ages and theological stripes – are obese. Brothers and sisters, we have a problem. We are unhealthy and it’s time we dealt with it.

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September 24th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Preaching is terribly important.

In fact, it may be more important now than it ever has been. Everyone – both Christian and non-Christians – have some thought, idea, or question about preaching and what preaching should be.

What we like. What we don’t like. Who we believe is effective and who isn’t, all of these issues are front and center in the mind of the hearers when it comes to preaching.

Since Christians spend a good bit of time throughout their lives, sitting in pews and listening to preaching, it’s fair to assume that each would have opinions. Therefore, I’m not surprised to find an increasing number of people asking me about the preaching event and preparation for preaching. In recent weeks I’ve been contacted by preachers, youth ministers, lay persons, elders, and all other stripes of church members about my preaching, their preacher, their preaching, or becoming a better preacher (This is not necessarily because I am a great preacher, but rather because I’ve become well-known and greatly teased for my all too frequent railings about bullet points). To shed some light on my process, I’m going to spend a few posts dealing with – what I hope – is a helpful approach to the weekly homily. I pray I don’t bore my “non-preacher” readers with a shade too much “inside baseball.” Let’s start with a few words from a preaching giant, Dr. Fred Craddock:

[tentblogger-youtube eCCo5RWxqZg]

Share with us: What do you think makes good preaching? 

 

Posted in Bible, homiletics, preaching
September 12th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

You may have heard that this blog is moving to The Wineskins Network. If so, you might be wondering if that is true. The answer is “yes” and “no.” Let me explain, but first I need to explain some things before I can explain the upcoming changes.

I grew up a member of The American Restoration Movement. Over time, The Restoration Movement – which began as a unity movement in the church – splintered into three branches, Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and Disciples of Christ. I’m a child of churches of Christ. All of my life I have been and will be shaped by people who developed their faith within those churches.

When I was in college, and for much of my twenties, “Wineskins Magazine,” – which later became “New Wineskins Magazine” – was THE  outlet for thoughtful, forward-thinking, may I dare even say, “progressive” conversation within churches of Christ. I loved it. Back in those days there was no Internet, no such things as blogging, and a monthly dose of fresh thinking from my preaching heroes like Max Lucado, Mike Cope, Rubel Shelley, Jack Reese and others kept my spirit afloat. One of my professors, André Resner wrote a little piece called “Christmas At Matthew’s House” which sparked my imagination and was the inspiration for my book “Scandalous: Lessons in Redemption From Unlikely Women.”

wineskins

 

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