Christian Living

Decision Making and Our Default Settings (part 1)

What were the last five decisions you made today? Maybe it was what to have for a meal or how you would satisfy a thirsty feeling. Did you turn music on or off in the past hour? What about the television? Are you taking a break right now, choosing to think about anything other than work? Did you have to prioritize some projects for the weekend?

All day long we make decisions. Some of them we agonize over. There may be a hundred different ways the outcome can change my life or those around me. Other decisions just happen and we move on, knowing what we know with confidence in what we like or dislike.

In a time of continual change, uncertainty lies around every corner. Most of the time it is not like a mugger in a dark alley, waiting to strike and make off with the best we have on us at the time (though it certainly can feel that way). Think of it more like taking a drive down a long highway and toll booths are coming more frequently than they used to.

How quick are your decisions lately? Are you coasting on knowing what you know? Does the thought of other people forcing you into a decision you don’t want to make lead you to frustration, anger and defiance? Maybe you’re like a driver stuck in one of those toll booth’s looking for exact change and the blaring encouragement to get moving from those behind you is making it harder to concentrate.

Chances are, whether you just want to move on and get out of the way or you have dealt with so much recently you just can’t stop and think too hard about things anymore, you have learned to rely on your default settings. Over a short series of posts, let’s take a look at how these work in our lives, where they came from, and what we can do to hone or change them.

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Faith

Finding Fulfillment in Personal Worship

I have very strong feelings about worship. Worship has opened many doors for me in ministry and gives life to my personal relationship with Jesus. It has been a continual study of mine, and I think it about it so much i even wrote a book about it.

According to one personality profile, music is so important to who I am that not having it in my life for an extended time can actually be harmful to my mental health, and the vast majority of the music in my life is worship related.

Worship is a powerful element of our life in Jesus Christ. It isn’t something new, finding purpose because of the growth of the worship music industry. Quite the opposite, actually. It is because of our inner desire for and benefit from worship that kept lead worshipers going and be able to take advantage of today’s technologies to explode worldwide.

But maybe you go to church and wonder what the big deal is about worship. Maybe you haven’t grabbed hold of what it can mean for you. You are not necessarily opposed to the music at church, it just does not affect you like it does others. You love God, but this worship thing is not really a “need” in your life.

In a previous post I talked about how COVID-19 is giving us an opportunity to rediscover personal worship, to spend time with God, singing to and about Him, all on our own. This post cracks the idea of how it is different from congregational worship and bit of how to make it happen.

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Faith

Are You Willing to Worship Alone?

Church has changed in the past couple of years. COVID-19 will do that. The good news is we are in a slot of this pandemic where in most areas churches are allowed to be open.

We are glad to be able to get together and feel the power of Holy Spirit connection in one room. For a lot of folks this is better than the online church we had before. But it still isn’t the same, is it?

In my slice of the world we still have to wear masks, social distance, and are not supposed to have congregational singing. That last one is hard. Some sing anyway under their masks but most try to open themselves to God’s ministry through the worship team and quietly set their hearts and minds on Heaven.

It seems like an oxymoron, worship without singing. Yet it feels like a good to remind us of a lesson I learned while leading worship teams and writing a book about worship: the importance of being able to worship on our own, away from everyone else.

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Christian Living

Tackling COVID-19 Vaccination Questions from a Christian Worldview

Note: The posts on this website are my personal thoughts and conclusions based upon Scripture. They are not endorsed by any church I have attended, pastored, or served in.
This is an especially important distinction to keep in mind when reading thoughts on hot-button topics, such as the one discussed in this post.

Christianity and the COVID-19 vaccine. Chances are I already have your attention. These two worlds bounce off each other, all around us, every day.

To say they collide is to imply it is a war. To say they are partners together is to suggest an ease in fitting together. To quote a science fiction starship captain, “It’s never easy.”

In the North American, capital “C” Church at large, there are believers who take a strong position for both sides of vaccines. Local churches are often more split than they realize, until a side conversation becomes a lengthy, passionate discussion.

But what is the right side? Is there a right side? What lessons are we supposed to be learning and putting into practice as we go through this season? This is my take on a Christian’s perspective regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Christian Living

The Fine Line: COVID-19, Vaccines, and Social Media

I stopped myself recently. It wasn’t anything inflammatory or even for/against any side of the debate. It was just math; information based on calculations from other information. Zero commentary. All I had to do was copy, paste, and post.

Are you wondering what it was? Tempting as it was, and is, I had to choose to leave it alone.

Discussing COVID-19 vaccinations is a dangerous game. Just saying the term out loud sets off defense mechanisms on all sides of the camp.

How involved should we be? Can’t we share our opinion? What about if it is “just the facts”? Sounds like another “Fine Line” we have to walk as Christians.

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Faith

Is My Bible App Making Me Lazy?

I am a tech guy. I love innovation and possibilities when it comes to technology. One of my friends calls me first whenever something doesn’t work on any of his devices.

As a pastor and worship leader, my favorite tool was my iPad. It is loaded with applications for writing, reading and researching, note taking, Bible study, sermon writing, worship leading, and much more.

When I was a kid my dad brought home a Commodore 64. I used one of the first word processing programs on that computer, and played a game called Lode Runner where you were a white stick figure running back and forth on different levels of white lines.

So when Bible apps became a thing I jumped on them. I have two favorites, one for casual reading and one connected to my ministry library. I highly recommend Bible apps.

But this week at a prayer meeting, I saw a few pastors on their phones, and I assume they were checking on Bible verses. That got me thinking: While I love my Bible apps, and rely heavily on them, are they making me lazy?

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