From Danny- Unsung Heroes: Gideon

Unsung HeroesOur family has been on vacation this week at the beach. We usually take a day out of the sun and go see a movie. This time we saw Tomorrowland. The story centers on a girl named Casey, a man named Frank, and a mysterious world where nothing is impossible. Casey is a dreamer, one who lives in a hopeful manner. Her gift of hope is needed in a crucial moment. One might say that she is the the recipient of a call, one she neither wants nor feels qualified to carry out.  Continue reading “From Danny- Unsung Heroes: Gideon”

From Danny- Unsung Heroes: The Holy Spirit

Unsung Heroes5 year old Josiah Faulk was asking his mom questions about a man slumped over at an Alabama Waffle House. He couldn’t figure out why the man was slumped over and why he had no food. His mom tried to explain to her Josiah that the man probably did not have a home nor did he have money for food. Josiah was troubled by the idea that someone was alone and without food.  Continue reading “From Danny- Unsung Heroes: The Holy Spirit”

Unsung Heroes- New Sermon Series

Unsung HeroesThose in my church have probably figured this out by now, but I am a series preacher. I believe series tap into the episodic nature by which we function. A series also gives you a period of time in which to explore an overarching biblical narrative.  Continue reading “Unsung Heroes- New Sermon Series”

How Do You Know?

1 John SeriesHow do you know?

How do you know that you are living in the light?

One of the most courageous acts any human being does is to get out of bed in the morning. Each day we make a decision to either live in the light of God or give our lives to something else. Continue reading “How Do You Know?”

Religious Trends and the End of American Idol

That sound you hear is the mainline Protestant church in a panic. Actually, it probably most Christian groups in the United States. The Pew Forum, which is a leading research institute, just released a study of American religious trends. Here’s a spoiler alert- on the surface, it’s not particularly good. You can read the whole report at http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/. Here are some of the numbers that stand out to me

14% of Americans identify as Mainline Protestant Christians

34% of Older Millennials are unaffiliated

36% of Younger Millennials are unaffiliated

In fact, religious  “nones” have been the biggest benefactors of people switching groups in the surveys. Essentially, “none” is the fastest growing religious group in America today.

So what does this mean? Over the next few days, many will try and answer that question, while many will also sound alarm bells. .

People are turning away from organized religion because they feel safer asking the deep questions of faith outside of the church environment. I actually think the Church has a unique opportunity in that people may very well be more interested in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit than at any time in human history. The disconnect comes when people feel like the church is not a safe place to ask deep and sometimes difficult questions or a place to share together in the tension of uncertainty.The Church should take the lead on issues of justice, peace, and unity with efforts rooted in the God of love and grace we find in scripture. As a pastor, this is a question I need to be asking myself more about the church I serve.

You may have heard that American Idol is ending. I remember the summer of 2002, sitting on the couch on summer nights and watching Kelly Clarkson become a star before our very eyes. (I can’t believe I just admitted that). American Idol was the most popular show on television for many year. It was unfathomable that one day its ratings and influence would sink so low that it would not be needed anymore. Well, that day has come. American Idol will be disappearing from the American cultural landscape.

It was probably unfathomable at one point that only 14% of Americans would be Mainline Protestants or that over 20% of Americans would have no religious affiliation. But here we are. This is an opportunity for the American church to remake itself, to reclaim its voice of love and grace. People are hungry for personal transformation and social change. This data can be a gift, one that reminds us in the Church that we need to be better at following Jesus, that we need to do a better job of taking scripture seriously, and we need to better at caring for and loving those whom God loves.

We are the body of Christ and we are not perfect. God is not done with us yet, in fact God may be at the very beginning of what God is doing with the Church.

From Danny- A Permanent Residence

1 John SeriesFear is our greatest enemy.

If you stop and think, almost every issue in our world has fear as a root cause.

Many of our personal struggles are rooted in fear. Continue reading “From Danny- A Permanent Residence”

Believing in Leviticus and Taking the Bible Seriously

One of our U.S. Senators (someone who I generally like and respect) made the comment last week, “I believe in Leviticus.” He was referring to the Supreme Court beginning its hearings on same-sex marriage. He was asked by a reporter how he felt about same-sex marriage and this was his reason for opposing it, “I believe in Leviticus.” Continue reading “Believing in Leviticus and Taking the Bible Seriously”