Faith

#MerryChristmasStarbucks Exposed a Critical Nerve in the Western Church

It’s all over Facebook. You can’t miss it. Even Indiana Jones is in on it now. Starbucks removed “Merry Christmas” from their red cups (if it was ever there before). A simple change by an international company has split the Christian community in two.

Some want to “prank” Starbucks. It isn’t a boycott; quite the opposite really. The plan is to introduce ways to get Starbucks to do what it has decided not to do: acknowledge Christmas. No one is trying to close stores or hurt the company’s bottom line. The original video actually calls on Christians to bring their business to any and all Starbucks locations to reintroduce Jesus and Christmas.

The other side of the battle is annoyed that anyone would go to so much trouble over something so trivial. It’s a coffee cup. “What would Jesus do?” Start a revolution, an international prank-fest? If you don’t like it, drink your coffee somewhere else. #MerryChristmasStarbucks isn’t worth the bad publicity it produces for the church.

But is it really that simple? It never is. The fact the campaign went from a positive video on one guy’s Facebook page to negative and pocking-fun memes galore reveals how big a nerve was hit. The church just found out it has an exposed nerve, and it doesn’t have anything to do with coffee cups.

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Faith

Keep Your Life “In Tune” with God

Are you one of those people who really enjoys watching people blow it on American Idol? One of the biggest draws for some wasn’t the talent drawn to the competition, but the eventual disasters to eventually audition before the judges. The producers must have known this was true, making sure to include several vocal meltdowns from each audition city.

Music is a huge part of my own life. I’m not star quality, but I know when I’m “pitchy” or “scooping”. A worship leader friend of mine told me in high school that I had an ear for music. I didn’t really understand what she meant at the time. Over the years, though, I’ve realized how much my “ear for music” can get me into trouble.

There is one question I always ask my worship team before we get started for practices. If I don’t ask it early, it comes out as soon as my ear tells me something is off. I can hear with something goes out of tune before most people around me. It’s a curse I have, really, and my poor team members get to enjoy it. But my ear for an instrument’s tuning points to a valuable lesson about how we live for Jesus.

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Faith

Planet Earth from a Tourist’s Perspective

My office door is on a side street next to the church. Everyday I get a glimpse of how a local bed and breakfast is doing. They’ve had the busiest summer I’ve seen during my five years in the community.

Today I was heading out for a meeting and I saw a couple of ladies heading out for the day. In typical tourist fashion, they were taking pictures of the B&B house, one another, and the surrounding area. Our little community had piqued their interest.

Sometimes we forget to enjoy the place we are at. It happens in the cities we grow up in, the workplaces we’ve given our lives to, and even the planet we live on. From a spiritual perspective, how would the world look different if we stopped and saw it as tourists?

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Faith

Don’t be Afraid of the Fear of the Lord

Most of us woke up this morning in a place of safety. Whether your doors were locked or your windows left open, you felt safe enough to close your eyes and go to sleep without wondering if something or someone was going to harm you. We are truly blessed to have this safety.

Others live in constant fear. There are places of unrest around the world where people don’t know what they will wake to. Will there be food for them to eat? Will strangers be holding a gun or a knife to them? Will there be peace or war? Will they wake up at all?

We equate fear with a horrible existence. “How can people live like that?” we ask. When it appears in our “safe” part of the world we call it paranoia or chalk it up to a psychological disorder. The Disabled World website lists and defines 87 known phobias. Yet Scripture tells us the importance of a unique type of fear.

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Faith

5 Reasons Our Hearts Remain Unbroken by Suffering

When God created the Universe – the sun, moon and stars; the planets; the sky and clouds; the water and the land; all the animals, fish, birds and everything else that fills Creation – He looked upon it all and consider “very good.” Unfortunately, the world around us doesn’t feel very good.

Our world is, in fact, extremely broken. It is one of the impacts of the Fall and sin of mankind. Not only were Adam and Eve condemned because of their sin, so was Creation itself. Paul says it is “frustrated” as it waits with “hope” to be “liberated from its bondage to decay” and to be “brought into … freedom and glory” (Romans 8:20-21 NIV).

Until the day when Creation is reborn free and glorious, we all live in the midst of this horrid brokenness. We see it on the news, whether it’s far on the other side of the world, or just down the street. Yet our Christian hearts appear untouched by the turmoil and struggle around us appear.

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Faith

Which Freedom Are You Living In?

Today is Canada Day. For those of you living south of “The Great White North,” it is the day Canadians set off fireworks and celebrate their birth as a nation. Clothes sporting red and white or a maple leaf are the norm. With the day off from work and barbeques flaring up, you’d think it was the Fourth of July.

Of course, that’s just a few days away. July 4 will see a similar celebration as Canada’s cousin, the United States, enjoys its own celebration. Fireworks, barbeques, and red, white and blue. As an American abroad, it’s fun to enjoy both days. I even have both flags flying on my porch.

Though few tend to mention it, these two days are very different. The holiday I grew up with is “Independence Day” while my current home but not native land celebrates “Dominion Day.” Independence and Dominion are not the same. In fact, if you mix them up, you’ll find yourself in a big mess.

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