For what it’s worth, stock.xchng is a great place to find free stock photography. There’s some quality stuff there.
Glocalnet, a network of missional churches I work with, has a fairly new website that posts new articles each week on everything from what it means for a church to engage a nation to how a church should respond to a natural disaster.
One of the most recent talks about how churches can build a nation-building strategy.
Check out some of their resources. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s life-changing. More later.
Here is a lesson I’ve learned pastoring a church that is 75% unchurched and dechurched. When you use biblical illustrations it gives you credibility with Christians. When you use cultural illustrations it gives you credibility with the unchurched and dechurched. Who are you catering to? We need to reach both/and.
The most important thing in preaching isn’t what you say. It’s what people hear. And people only hear things they perceive as relevant to their lives. Perceived relevance will make or break you as a preacher.
The way to increase the level of perceived relevance is to talk about things people are thinking about. That’s what Jesus did in Luke 13:4. He references the tower of Siloam that killed eighteen Galileans. Why? Because it was on the frontal lobes of everyone listening to him!
Let’s not just talk. Let’s be heard. Biblical exegesis is half the battle. Cultural exegesis is the other half.
I think I remember Erwin McManus bringing up the idea of Biblical and cultural exegesis in his book, An Unstoppable Force. It’s a great way to get your head around a real truth and something that has stuck with me ever since I first read it. It’s that whole combination of theology and practical living. We’ve got to know the Word. But if we’re so caught up in the details of how a single word should be translated or how church should be done that we never go out and talk to anyone about our God who changes lives, we’ve missed the point, right?
Christians need to first know the word and the God who inspired it. But they also need to know the world and know how to have fun with people! Maybe we need small talk and hobby classes right alongside our Bible studies. New Chrisitians who actually know how to have fun can teach those of us who are too stuffy how to lighten up a little.
Glocalnet Director Lance Ford has this thought on his blog:
The path of least resistance always draws water, or anything not anchored. Our hearts seem to always default to the paths of least resistance…I know mine does. And the maintenance of our hearts is a constant job…everyday…or they will always default back to the easiest, self-willed choices. Our hearts never become trained…they always must be in training.
God’s been showing me over the past week that’s the same thing I’ve done with pursuing his calling in my life. While God may have gifted me in a number of ways, he has called me in a specific direction. It’s easy to go where the safe opportunities are. It’s much tougher to risk it all and step into the unknown. But with that step comes real fulfillment and purpose.
From the blog of Seth Godin:
So there’s more, but is there better?
I think we gave a Disney movie, circa 1954, the benefit of the doubt. It was the movie in the theatre. It was the only one to choose from. It was a big deal. It didn’t matter if it was the best movie Walt ever made, because it was the only one right now.
The bar’s a lot higher, because access to tools is a lot easier.
Now anyone can produce a video or record a song. The trick to standing out is to have a point and to do it well.