Practice

Breaking the Ice and Serving

 

My wife and I recently changed churches in an effort to find that church that really feels like home.  As I discussed in the video The Awkward Path: Feeling at Home released the other day, finding that right fit can be difficult.  In our case, we are looking for a church where we not only feel at home but when where we can establish some strong friendships to boot.

But the trick is how best to begin to make those connections. Simply shaking hands with people on a Sunday morning is not likely to do the trick.  You need to find situations where you can spend greater time with them.

In the video The Awkward Path: Meeting People I talked about a program at the church we started attending that sought to bring random church members together and have them commit to having dinner together 4 times in six months.  It is certainly one way to help meet people.  But we still needed to do more.

After seeing occasional mentions in the bulletin about a program called “Bags of Blessings”, a ministry that provided bag lunches to economically disadvantaged families with children, I decided I might be able to help there. They meet on Wednesday mornings at 9 am to pack the bags and then deliver them.

In a future post, I will share more about what happened in that first experience. But suffice it to say I met some people there.  One of whom invited me to the Missions committee meeting the next night.  Both my wife and I attended meeting that and learned about future opportunities to serve in which we will likely take part.

It also inspired us to try a Sunday School class the next week, one that was billed as making mission work part of their dedication.  How did that go?  Another post will detail that.

The long and short of it is just going to church every  Sunday and expecting to make friends and connections is wishful thinking. You will learn more about someone working beside them doing the Lord’s work.  It can be intimidating to try, but likely will prove to be fruitful. Not only in the service you provided for others but in finding community for yourself.

 

 

 

The Awkward Path: Feeling at Home

Chris discusses how difficult it can be to find a church home and how you should not be afraid to keep searching.

Getting through the Old

“Start with the New Testament, not the Old”, the pastor added as the praise team crescendoed the vamp they had been playing during the benediction.  The words, an afterthought to his charge to “Read your Bible daily.”, were nearly lost in the musical playout.

Old book opened for reading

Open old bible book close-up

Last post I mentioned how a guest pastor at our church had strongly encouraged us to read our Bible’s daily and how, though I had heard this many times before from pastors, this time it manged to motivate me.  I also mentioned that I have since been reading a daily Bible in a Year plan on the app from Bible.com.

I am not exactly new to Christianity. While there are many parts of the Bible I am quite sure I have never read, I have read and heard enough from the Old Testament to know what he was talking about. You know, God striking down huge populations of people to make room for the Israelites, or the alarmingly severe penalties for sins most of us are guilty of on a daily basis.

What I was not prepared for though is much of what I have had to read so far.  You see, it started in Genesis, as one would expect.  Some good stuff there with the Creation story and Noah and Moses.  But what is also there is the genealogy.  If you think all the “begats” in the beginning of Matthew are a strain to read,  just try Genesis.

The 32 verses of Genesis Chapter 5 taking us from Adam to Noah are just the warm up.  There are 32 verses in Chapter 10 just to let us know how Noah and his kids repopulated the earth.

Then we have some variation in Chapter 14 talking about a lot of kings and who battled who and who allied with whom.  Not genealogy per se, but still a lot of names!

Chapter 25 gives us Abraham and his descendants in great detail. Chapters 30-35 give us details on Jacob and his kids, albeit mixed in with story as well.  Chapter 36 covers Esau’s crew. Chapter 38 details Judah’s bunch.

I get that knowing how people are connected is important, but all of those names can be difficult when thrown at you at once.  Especially if you don’t yet know which ones are critical to know and which you will never hear again.  It can be overwhelming!

So I have started to understand why that pastor said what he did.  When it comes to the Bible, unlike most books, it doesn’t hurt to peek at the ending!

If you are doing a Bible in a Year type plan, just be prepared for it.  But if reading on your own, maybe focus more on the New Testament as it seems it is better, in this case, to know where we are going before knowing from whence we came.

 

What? Read the Bible Everyday? Really?

(NOTE: While I will still continue to post videos periodically, I will endeavor to post more regular blog posts.  So you are stuck reading me more than watching me….oh darn.)

Several weeks ago, there was a guest minister at the church we are attending. While he gave a great (albeit long) sermon, one of the suggestions he raised in the sermon was that we should all be reading our Bibles everyday. I am going to go out on a limb and say he was probably not the first minister to ever suggest that.

While my initial reaction was typical of my reaction in the past to such a suggestion, “What? Read the Bible everyday? Really?”, this time that reaction was actually short-lived.  Within a few minutes I found myself actually thinking about trying this.  “Maybe I could get one of those One Year Bibles.”, I thought to myself.

Ultimately, I went the cheap route (as  I usually try to do).  I have, as most of you should, the Bible.com app on my phone.  It offers several reading plans.  I searched for one year plans and it came up with like a dozen of them. I selected “Bible In a Year”.

Once you begin it maps out the days to specific days on the calendar. If you miss one (or three like I did) it lets you know and shows you what days you missed.  I started on July 9th. As of today, Aug 11th, I have am only showing two missed days (7/15,7/16), but I will make them up eventually with a “Bible Doubleheader”!

The reading generally takes about 10 minutes a day.  I for most part read when I first get up in the morning.

In my next few posts I will let you know what the experience has been like.  But in the meantime, have any of you done a One Year Bible or similar plan?  What was your experience?