Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Stain of Stingy Christians

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm cheap. Unless its to purchase an unusually great book, I typically keep my money in my wallet. That principle usually holds true when I go out to a restaurant. Despite the food I might buy, I almost always ask for water.

But recently while reading a post from a few months back on Abraham Piper's excellent blog I was convicted about my stinginess in restaurants and the ugly mark it can leave - especially when I'm known as a Christian in certain restaurants. His comments appeared in the context of large groups of Christians flooding the nearby restaurants during a recent Christian conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Consider Abraham's bold call to Christian generosity in the marketplace and the comments of some of his friends:

When Christians at conferences overwhelm a bar/restaurant it’s an opportunity to blow minds with Christ-centered generosity. Tip high and buy drinks. - Abraham

A long time ago I was a waitress. I had a table of 20 from a local church. Needless to say they worked me rather hard. My tip? Bible tracts. Can’t say I was feeling Christ’s love that day. Somehow God still drew me near to his heart despite that experience. - Karen

I had a friend I was witnessing to who had horrible experiences with big groups after church would let out. They would tip those tracks that looked like money. How sad. In my experience in the service industry I found that gay men tipped the best and big church groups the least. - Aaron

I worked for three years as a waiter/bartender and all the non-Christians I worked with HATED the church crowd. Inevitably, a troupe of about 20-30 would come in 20 minutes before close unannounced, all order water, split the meals and complain about the music. - Drew

Back in my McDonalds days I used to dread working on Sundays because of having to deal with all the church people. On the other side of the spectrum, I remember one day when a group of kids from a nearby Bible institute came in and left such a great testimony that I felt compelled to let the leadership of the institute know. - Andrew

I know a lot of Trinity folks who commonly frequent restaurants after church on Sundays and are likely spotted as Christians for the size of the group and how they're dressed. That's not often me but I do spend a lot of time in Minot's restaurants meeting with people - sometimes with a Bible in hand. In some establishments I'm trying to build relationships with the staff. Please join me in heeding Abraham and his friends as they call us to intentional generosity for the sake of Christ. By God's grace we'll be cheap no more.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ministry to Women

A few weeks ago we looked at Paul's instruction to Titus about the discipleship of the people of God. During the worship service I mentioned that I would post a few resources on the topic of ministry to women. I apologize for the delay in posting these resources. Below are links to a few things that may be helpful in your pursuit to disciple a younger woman.

1.) Girl Talk: Conversations on Biblical Womanhood and Other Fun Stuff - this blog is a collaboration of four women (of all ages). I would highly recommend this blog for your regular reading. They often link to other books on the topic of biblical womanhood. This blog has everything from practical advice on applesauce recipes to reviews of several books that we have on our Trinity book table.

One of the most helpful resources produced by this team of women is the Modesty Heart Check. This checklist walks through practical modesty issues having to do with clothing. I would recommend that every woman print out this document and prayerfully read through the list. I would recommend that every husband/father read through the document with his wife/daughter to help them understand the mind of a man when it comes to clothing.

2.) The books listed below are also recommended resources. We have both of these books on the Trinity Book Table. Pick one up this Sunday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our New Statement of Faith

The 2008 Evangelical Free Church National Conference will go down in modern church history as significant due to the approval of a revised Statement of Faith for our denomination. Back in 1950 when the EFCA was born a Statement of Faith was drafted which, though it has served us well for more than half a century, was most concerned about general doctrinal affirmations rather than theologically careful language. Our denomination's Spiritual Heritage Committee has done an admirable job in redressing that with our new Statement of Faith which moves twelve points into ten and provides greater biblical clarity on a number of levels.

This fall we will be presenting one combined Sunday School class for adults for the purpose of understanding and embracing the doctrinal beliefs and philosophical distinctives of Trinity Church. You'll especially not want to miss the first class session in which we will discuss our new Statement of Faith. In the meantime you'll find two resources helpful:

The new statement of faith may be found by clicking here.

A recent Christianity Today article documenting the significance of our new Statement of Faith may be found by clicking here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacation to the Glory of God

A few days ago I stumbled across a series of posts on C.J. Mahaney's blog. The title of the series is "Leadership + Family Vacations." In these posts he discusses the role of the father/husband while on family vacation. He writes about seven lessons he has learned in his history of family vacations. He suggests that the father must be the one setting the example in the following seven ways.

1. A Servant Heart
2. A Tone-Setting Attitude
3. An Awareness of Indwelling Sin
4. Studying Your Family
5. Skillful Surprises
6. Intentionally Together
7. Gratefulness to God

He concludes by saying-
Fathers, I hope some of the lessons I have learned over the years and the mistakes I’ve made and sins I’ve committed on vacation somehow serve you and make a difference in your vacation experience. Before you this summer is a sweet opportunity from God to deepen relationships between family members and create memories that your children will never forget, memories that will outlive you.

You can rest when you get home.

Dads and husbands - serve your families well on vacation. It doesn't matter where you go or what you do - point your family to Christ.

I would encourage you to read the entire article here (it's a .pdf).