Today's Word for Pastors...
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
Today's Preaching Insight...
The View of the Church from Starbucks
Rick Richardson, professor and writer, tells about a pastor named Dan, who realized he was getting stale. So with the approval of his pastoral team, he took a part-time job at a Starbucks coffee shop.
To his surprise, "All 21 people he worked with believed in God. Not one was an atheist ... They were all very positive toward God and spirituality."
Richardson goes on to report:
A second surprise was that all were interested in spiritual things, but not in Christians, Christianity, or the church. No one wanted to hear Dan's proofs for God or invitations to come to church or ideas about salvation. Almost everyone thought they knew what Christianity was about and had decided they didn't want it. They were post Christian. At some point along the way, each of them had experienced a breach in trust related to Christianity. Maybe a Christian friend had been hypocritical or pushy. Maybe when they were young they had attended church and found it boring and irrelevant. Maybe they had watched TV preachers and been turned off. Or maybe they had experienced a tragedy—death or sexual abuse or some other trauma—and felt that God had been distant and uncaring.
Richardson said, "Dan wasn't starting at ground zero, but rather at minus-three or four. ... The biggest thing Dan learned is that people in this generation have a prior question of trust that must be addressed before we can have meaningful spiritual conversations with them."
Pastor Dan had discovered the outside understanding of how the church was viewed by some people.
(To read the entire article, "What Starbucks, Harry and You All Have in Common" by John A. Huffman Jr. at Preaching.com, click here)
Anne Rice made her name writing very popular books about vampires and other occult themes. Some of them were made into movies. Recently some of her fans were shocked that she had returned to the Catholic faith of her childhood. This has prompted Anne to write books about the life of Jesus.
On Rice's Web site she says, "After years of pondering and searching, the great gift of Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ as Our Savior came back to me on a December afternoon; and I went home to the church of my childhood, becoming a member and supporter of it with my whole soul." She also reports that while sitting in church she became convicted she needed to use her talent as a storyteller for Jesus. As a result of studying the Bible for these books she said, "I am a believer in every word of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."
Preaching magazine is the premier resource for those who proclaim the Word. To begin your own subscription and get a free year of issues, go to http://magazine.preaching.com/subscribe/.