Saturday, December 26, 2009

Carolers Bring Joy to Colonial Lodge Nursing Home!

Last Wednesday night, we did not have Bible classes at High Pointe. But the church still met. The church, of course, is present wherever two or three Christians are gathered in Christ's name.

A great group of singers from the High Pointe Church of Christ met at the Colonial Lodge, a nursing home in McKinney, to sing Christmas carols and bring a little Christmas joy to the residents and workers. It was a good mix of young and older Christians, with whole families singing together.

For some time, High Pointe has had singers meeting together on Wednesday night to sing and learn new songs. But Phil Prosser, who leads this group, and these singers have started going out about every other Wednesday to sing at nursing homes. This is a great example of taking a group that could be just inward focused, and making it outward focused.

You see, every group, Bible class, and ministry ought to adopt some type of outreach or service. We are really going to encourage this adoption this year at High Pointe. Doing acts of outreach and service can foster Spiritual formation, as well as helping the church in its mission. All of us, as individuals and groups, need something or someone outside of ourselves to serve. Without this, we become stagnant and stale. With it, we build up memorable experiences and bond as a group.

I am so appreciative of these singers! I have been engaged in evangelistic Bible studies on Wednesday nights, and I was off of work this week. But Gina (my 8 year old daughter) and I were able to join the group on this night. It was good for all of us to remember how blessed we are, and for all of the kids to "learn" about blessing others through this singing.

It was great to carol together. And the nursing home residents were very appreciative. One of the older ladies gave me a kiss on my cheek and said, "I haven't kissed a man in years!" This was a night to remember!

"27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27).

What experiences have you had singing for others? With widows or the elderly? What do you think is the relationship between outreach and service and spiritual formation?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Daniel Ursey baptized into Christ! (Facebook contact)

Daniel was baptized into Christ on Sunday, 12/13/09. It was such a great day! I spoke on "The Community of the Christ Child," and how Christ draws together all people (wise men and shepherds). We had a graduation for Dyanmic Marriage, and then Daniel was baptized.

Daniel and I have been studying together, going through the Story of Redemption. Originally, Daniel came into contact with the church through a girlfriend that worships at High Pointe. Then he asked to friend me on Facebook, and he sent me a Facebook message asking about studying together. He said that he wanted to become a better person.

It is important for ministers and churches to stay current with culture, communication, and technology. When we speak someone's "language," it shows that we care about them. Facebook and texting are the language of new generations.

I am so glad that Daniel has put Christ on in baptism. He has come from a long way off, with almost no church background. It is great to see his tranformation. He is very excited about his new walk with Christ. Please pray for Daniel as he starts his new life in Christ.

Daniel will be transferring to Texas Tech in January. We will get him hooked up with a church in Lubbock. And we will try to reach out to his family that lives here in McKinney. I will miss him. Tonight he and and another new convert sat next to me at our "Celebration of Blessings." And someone else I'm studying with, Will, came tonight and told me that he plans on being baptized on Dec. 27. God is at work!

Does your minister or church use Facebook to help connect with people?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

5 New Baptisms from Genesis Alliance! - Church Planting Discussion

These two families below (5 people) were baptized into Christ by Sixto Rivera on Saturday night, 12/5/09. They heard Sixto on the World Radio Hispanic broadcast that Sixto speaks on each week. They contacted Sixto, and he studied with them. They live in McKinney, TX, and a new church may form around these families. Praise God! My family and I were blessed to witness these baptisms at the High Pointe Church of Christ building. (I was up at the building working, and Becki was facillitating the ladies' Christmas party.)

When should new converts start to reach out? When are they "ready"? The story of the "Woman at the Well" might be instructive. In John 4, the woman at the well had an encounter with Christ, and she went back and told her whole village about Jesus.

What was the result? John says, "39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers." (John 4:39-41)

So, so question is, what is needed to start a new church? What do the people need to know? Can new converts be the basis for a new church? What would else would they need? What biblical or historical evidence can you cite?

To make a contribution to Genesis Alliance, click here. Help us plant new latino churches!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Global Warming & the Nature of Science - Reflections on the recent scandal

To my readers--I'm sorry about the posting delay. This is an incredibly busy time! But Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the music, time with friends, and the focus upon Christ.

By now, you have all probably heard of the recent scandal involving global warming. Emails from the top scientists researching global warming were published, showing that data that contradicted theories of man made global warming were suppressed and other data was fixed. As this Fox news story on the scandal shows, many scientists who disagreed with the man made global warming consensus were shunned, snubbed and even threatened.

What is going on here? Isn't science supposed to be objective and follow the data wherever it leads?

Actually, while "science" claims objectivity, in reality, it is not objective. Postmodernism rightly tells us that everyone has a perspective, and that no one can fully stand outside of a situation and be 100% objective. This is true for scientists as well. Scientists, being human, are subject to the same things as other mere mortals--biases, politics, money, and power. Many have pointed out that global warming has become politically correct, and that researchers for global warming have received billions of dollars in grants. Proponents of climate change, such as Al Gore, have reportedly made a lot of money off of this subject.

Human nature would say that any of us is susceptible to craving power, influence, applause, and money. This may explain some of the evidence that has come out. But is manmade climate change a hoax? That is, do the scientists involved not believe what they are saying?

On this point, I think that it is likely that these scientists believe in manmade global warming. In fact, they believe in it so much, that they do not believe any data that is contradictory. Manmade global warming is a paradigm for how they interpret climate data.

In reality, science works within paradigms. In his profound book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn explores the history of science. He shows that science works within a paradigm, even in the face of contradictory data, if there is no good alternative theory that surfaces. Any new theory is attacked, until the evidence is so overwhelming that te new theory is accepted. Usually it takes the dying off of the old generation of scientists for the new theory to fully be accepted. The classic example of this is the view that scientists once had that the earth was the center of the universe. Contradictory evidence was ignored or explained away, until Galileo brought about a paradigm shift.

So just because "science" says something, that does not make it true. Some theories explain local phenomena, but not global or cosmic phenomena. For example, Newtonian physics (which works on a local scale) was blown away by Einstein's theory of relativity (which works on a cosmic scale). I say this not as an anti-science person--I have a biology degree and love the many discoveries of science. But the idea of pure objectivity of scientists is simply a fallacy.

I am not a global warming researcher, so I do not know if manmade global warming is really happening or not. All of the data needs to be examined. Even then--science would say--we should continue to be open to new data that may come in. As Christians, we have a responsibility to take care of the earth that God has given into our care. We should at least be open to examining the data, and not have a closed minds ourselves. So should all scientists.

Some reading -
There is a from the Huffington Post that views the idea that global warming is a hoax as dangerous--a response which Thomas Kuhn would have predicted. The New York Times published an explanation of and a defense of their coverage of the story. David Frum, in an writing to CNN, has an interesting article on the subject. The Wall Street Journal contrasts "believers" and "skeptics" in global warming. Finally, it will be interesting to see if this scandal has any effect upon the global warming talks in Copenhagen that President Obama is attending.

What do you think about this story, global warming, and the nature of science?