Saturday, January 31, 2009
We have had a deadline each week of a pretty big video project, which has really kept me busy. These stories, however, are powerful--not just in giving, but in inspiring people to be a part of these ministries. Plus, we will use these videos on our website and on DVDs, so they will live on long after this month.
After tomorrow, I'll be ready for some rest! But this really is a great effort. Please be praying!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The fourth thing I thought was, how long until people start cloning children who have died? Or themselves? And what is a proper Christian ethic on cloning?
As to the money, the couple said that they had it to spend. This is not, of course, in and of itself a reason to spend something. People could throw plenty of stones about my spending, so it is hard for me to criticize others' choices. I am simply pointing out that spending is a spiritual decision. How many people could $155,000 touch? I couldn't help but think about this.
I do not know the answer to cloning. If my dear precious children, Gina and Emily, died, particularly at a young age, I suppose I would be open to trying anything to cover the hurt. But this would still not bring them back. The cloned child would be different because of her experiences, even if the DNA were the same. She would have a different soul. And it does seem a bit creepy, even as I understand the appeal.
I would like to think that Christians approach death--even tragic death--differently than non-Christians. That, as Paul says, we grieve, but not as those who have no hope. We have hope, and we know that we will be reunited with loved ones when Christ returns. Let us live lives that reflect this hope.
Does spending $155,000 on cloning a dead dog--or even a lost loved one--reflect this hope? I'll let you decide.
What do you think of cloning lost animals or loved ones?
Another news story tells how a man who lost his job planned and executed a murder-suicide, killing his wife and five children. Rather than not be able to care for them, he tragically decided to kill his family.
This is a time for us to be prayerful for others, and to extend hope to those who are desperate and hurting.
Who do you know that has been affected by the changing economy?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Harvest Sunday Video - Serving Our Community from James Nored on Vimeo.
Here is one of our Harvest Sunday videos highlighting some of our outreach ministries, including our food pantry, clothes closet, and ministry to get people back on their feet. I worked on this video with the very talented Clint Loveness. Check out his work on Vimeo or Clint's Youtube page. If you need any videos done for your church or company, I highly recommend him.
What is your favorite part of this video?
Friday, January 23, 2009
"How can you and your company get involved? You can either join in other people's communities or create your own destinations and invite others to join in the conversation there. Or you can do both.
Pontiac, for example, is joining the Second Life conversation. Depending on your marketing goal, it is possible to join all kinds of conversations both as an organization and as an individual within the organization. The advantage of joining another organization's community, like FaceBook or YouTube, is that it already has members who come to it regularly. On the other hand, you may not be able to find the exact community you need, so you have to create your own."
I am convinced that both forms of networks are needed. Churches and individual Christians need to be active in social networks such as Facebook. They also can invite people into networks that have a higher concentration of Christians, and they can use social networking sites for mission.
The new website, Missional Outreach Network, has really taken off. It is great for pooling resources, people, and churches for outreach and mission, and we have been able to successfully invite seekers into this site as well. We also are working on implementing a Facebook strategy to interact with non-Christians.
It says a lot when we go to someone else's social networking "hangout." Today, my wife chatted with me on the Missional Outreach Network--my site--and I really appreciated it. It was probably not her preferred way of communicating (phone call), but I liked it.
Social networking, in whatever form or site, is the preferred way of communicating with most people under 30, and is spreading amongst all ages. By using the medium of communication of people today, we are being incarnational. And by going where they are already hanging out and by sharing Christ in new ways, we are being missional.
How can we better use social networking to share Christ with others?
We can think our lives are terrible because of a job, a marital situation, or an illness, but there are usually people who have it a lot worse than us. Would I trade any of my problems for losing my hands and feet? No way.
We need to count our many blessings from God.
What would you do with your life if you lost your hands and your feet?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
These are staggering figures. I have certainly had many issues with the Bush administration (as I have had with other administrations), particularly on the post-war planning (or lack thereof) and fiscal responsibility (or lack thereof). But if these numbers are true, then Bush has left a lasting legacy. The number of lives lost in Iraq, both Iraqis and Americans, are outnumbered dramatically by the number of lives that his initiatives have saved.
This does is not a defense of bad decision-making. But President Bush, despite having a horrible approval rating and having made some mistakes, has done some good things. Unfortunately, few care much about people in Africa.
The same is often true in churches. It is hard for us to care about people outside of our walls, whether in our community or overseas. Selfishly, we often care more about ourselves than others. That inward focus and self absorption is always a temptation, both for us individually and for the congregations of which we are a part.
This can be seen in church budgeting. There is always a call for more and more resources to be devoted to us. Someone to feed us. Someone to help us raise our kids. Someone to help our marriages. Better classrooms for us. Most church budgets devote less than 3% to helping people in the community. Add another youth minister or employ someone to minister to AIDS victims, the abused, the homeless? It is not even a question. How can we justify more spending on ourselves, when over 90% of church resources is already spent on us?
The fact is, much of our own transformation is accomplished by getting outside of ourselves. When we help the poor, we realize how blessed we are. Want to help your marriage? Get rid of selfishness--and nothing helps to cure selfishness than helping the less fortunate. What to solidify your children's faith? Don't coddle them--have them serve in a clothes closet, hand out food, clean up the community.
President Bush's spending of $15 billion in Africa could have been spent here. But this may be the very best $15 billion that his administration spent.
Bush could have helped his cause by highlighting this Africa initiative, showing how it made a difference in people's lives. Churches need to do the same, and tell back stories of how community outreach efforts affect people's lives. This is something that we are trying to do at High Pointe, using the Missional Outreach Network (check out particularly the Clothes Closet and Food Pantry groups).
This storytelling is an essential part of missional transformation. And it is much needed, to touch our hearts.
How do most people in your church feel about spending on the community? Does your church's budgeting give a priority to mission?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Clinton made this policy change one of the very first acts of his administration, angering social conservatives and immediately polarizing the country. It fed into every fear that social conservatives had about the social agenda that Clinton might impose on the country. Political observers noted that the timing of this at the least was not a wise political move.
Obama has been studying presidential transition, and he has been seeking to avoid some of the mistakes of past transition teams. This is why I am surprised that his adminstration is talking about this issue and signaling that he will support openly gay people in the military.
On economic issues, Obama has been trying to appeal to conversatives, putting in signicant tax cuts into his economic stimulus package. And talk on this issue right now may have not been his intent, since his administration is refusing to talk any more about it at the moment. But I am surprised that either by design or accident that his team has forecast this change in military policy.
I am the first to say that we need to treat people with love and respect, including homosexuals. And I am the first to say that we cannot depend upon laws to enforce morality. In fact once support for a law falls below 50%, it is basically unenforceable.
However, I must say that this issue bothers me. The military does not support this measure. The courts have upheld the constitutionality of not allowing those who are openly gay to serve in the military. The only reason this is being done is to support a leftist social agenda. Read this news report.
Support for President Bush is at dreadful levels, even among conservatives. But they will soon miss his stand on social issues.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
Saturday, January 10, 2009
As I walked in, I immediately recognized one of the workers. She was from the 380 store.
Some of you may remember me telling about the girl Vanessa who was homeless and that I met at Starbucks and that we took in for a night. Well, the worker at Starbucks that I saw today (Alyssa) is one of the workers there that showed a lot of kindness to Vanessa when she was at the store, giving her free drinks, letting her stay there all day, and even giving her some money.
When I came in, I smiled. We both recognized that we knew each other from the other store. We conversed and I said, "Alyssa, right?" She said, "Yes, James." I think she liked that I remembered her name, and I was glad that she remembered mine.
As we talked, I asked about her holiday and she asked about mine. When she asked where Becki's family, who had come in for the holidays, lived, I told her Colorado. She said that she had moved back from Pueblo, where she had been living with her ex-boyfriend. I found out as well that she was from Canada, though I never would have known from her lack of an accent.
It was great to have a good conversation with Alyssa. I have seen some of her wonderful qualities, and hopefully I can continue to show her a genuine faith and interest in her. Perhaps this will lead to her exploring faith issues, perhaps not. For now, I'm simply glad to try to share some sunshine and to know her.
Another perk to just talking with people and showing interest in them--Alyssa gave me my drink for free! And she encouraged me to go back to the other store and not be a traitor! :)
Do you have any place that you see the same type of service worker repeatedly? Do you engage them in conversation?
Before you get dreams of being rich, note that a $50 billion dollar note in Zimbabwe is just enough to buy two loaves of bread.
Will we be paying for these stimulus packages down the road with hyper-inflation? I wonder.
What do you think the chances are that we will have significant or hyper inflation in the next few years?
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Here is a video of the the son of one of the founders of Hamas. He grew up believing in his father, who was a leader in Hamas. However, the atrocities committed by Hamas caused him to turn to Christianity. What an amazing story of redemption! Is there any doubt that anyone can turn to Christ?!
What do you think of this video?
Saturday, January 03, 2009
With the federal spending package that Congress and Obama are talking about, and now this request from the state, it looks like near $2 trillion dollars in federal spending is being proposed.
How in the world will we pay for this?
- Please be praying for Harvest Sunday
- Couple spends $155,000 to clone dead dog--what abo...
- Tough economic times hitting professionals too
- Must Watch Video! Serving Our Community (Harvest S...
- Should companies and churches create their own soc...
- Feeling sorry for yourself?--Brazilian model has h...
- Feeling swamped?
- Focusing on the external is often not valued - Pre...
- Obama supports the openly gay in the military
- Talking with people at Starbucks
- How to become a billionaire--move to Zimbabwe
- Podcast your sermons and seekers will come-a real ...
- Son of Hamas founder converts to Christianity
- Governors seek $1 trillion dollars federal assista...
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Theology and Popular Culture Blogs/Websites
- Churches in coffee shops and homes a growing trend
- Harvard's New Emphasis on Applied Knowledge is Instructive to Churches
- Young Adults want a lifestyle and authenticity, not religion
- My neighbor asked me to bless his house yesterday
- Exiles-Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture
- Christianity is about a lifestyle, not one hour a week
- Emotion in Worship
- Death by Suburb
- The Don Imus Firing--Lack of Redemption or Justice?
- Books That I Have Read in the Last Year
Some Other Blogs & Sites I frequent
- James Nored
- I currently am a preaching minister, evangelist, and missional leader at the High Pointe Church of Christ in McKinney, TX. I am working towards a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, studying missional church, evangelism, and postmodern culture. I give missional church and Spiritual gifts seminars for churches. I have written an evangelistic Bible study for postmoderns (Story of Redemption), New Members class material, and a work on Spiritual gifts. I am blessed with a wonderful wife (Becki) of 13 years and two beautiful daughters (Gina-age 7, Emily-4), the loves of my life.