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Replacing Sola Scriptura

Rev. Nancy Butler of Riverfront Family Church in Glastonbury, CT, recently gave a fantastic talk entitled “Replacing Sola Scriptura” at the OPEN Network launch conference. The conference centered around the idea of developing an ethos for progressive evangelicalism.

Here is Nancy’s talk… would love to hear what you think! (Full disclosure, Nancy is my pastor and close friend and I think she rocks!)

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Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Instagram @Jesus

instagram-jesus

Here is the audio from my sermon this past weekend at Riverfront Family Church in Glastonbury CT. We are in a series on the Gospel of Mark… check it out and let me know what you think.

Click here to listen.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Stand By the Door

door

A few days ago, one of our guests asked me why I always stand by the door during lunch service?  I do it because I want to greet each and every guest, look them in the eye, shake a hand, pat a shoulder, bump a fist. I want to hear — listen — to them as they stand in line, hear — listen — to how their day is going, hear — listen — to their stories. To me, this is the heart of hospitality — and make no mistake, I am still in the hospitality business.

It reminded me of a poem I read many years ago, by Sam Shoemaker, one of the founders of AA. This poem used to circulate around Young Life circles… new staff training, leadership training, camp leaders… it very much captured why and what Young Life is all about. Just as I never left the hospitality business when I moved from for-profit restaurants to non-profit community kitchens, I have never really left Young Life… it has always been in my blood since I first encountered it as a sophomore in high school and that encounter changed my life forever. Earn the right to be heard… walk in wisdom towards those who are without… always take the posture of teacher, not a preacher… go where [people] go… it’s all about Jesus!

I think that is why I’m a door-stander. Not just at work, but in life.

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world-
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind people,
With outstretched, groping hands.
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it …
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for people to find that door–the door to God.
The most important thing any person can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch–the latch that only clicks
And opens to the person’s own touch.
People die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it–live because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him …
So I stand by the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in–
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics–
It is a vast roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms.
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture in a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening …
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out. “Let me out!” they cry,
And the people way inside only terrify, them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much:
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving–preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not, yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God,
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door–
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But–more important for me–
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a door-keeper …”
So I stand by the door.

Sam Shoemaker, founder of Faith At Work at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City in 1926, was also one of the spiritual leaders who helped draft the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

How a Church in the South Transformed Itself, Welcoming All – NBC News

This is an amazing and powerful story of how one Southern evangelical mega-church has transformed itself. Worth watching the video (link below).

I honestly believe that this is a trend that we will see played out again and again across the country over the coming decade. Slowly but surely, evangelical churches are rediscovering the heart of Jesus and, I believe, this movement will be part of a renewal and revival of the church throughout the United States.

One church in Tennessee has shifted in its thinking about matters of tolerance and inclusion, especially when it comes to same-sex couples.

Source: How a Church in the South Transformed Itself, Welcoming All – NBC News

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Invitation to Huddle

huddle

This Fall at my church (Riverfront Family Church in Glastonbury CT), we are launching some new small group “huddles”. Myself and my friend Luis will be co-hosting a huddle starting at the end of September.

A Huddle is a small group of folks who get together regularly to share, process, pray, hang out, laugh, discern, and seek together. If you have been involved with Small Group Bible Studies before, this is not that.

I love bible study and group discussion, but have often found that they lack real impact on my life.  Being in a huddle this past year, however, was a totally different and life-changing experience.

Instead of a bible study or curriculum, we all committed to praying and reading the Bible daily. Then in our Huddle meetings, we pretty much asked two questions each time: (1) How is God speaking to you?; and (2) How are you responding?  You would be surprised how powerful regularly answering those two questions, in the context of a small group, can be.

If you are looking for a place to deeply connect, be authentic and go deep… I hope you will consider joining us!  Our plan is to meet the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month, probably at 7pm. We will start by meeting at my place in South Windsor, though we can vary that once the group gets together.

There is no requirement that you attend or belong to Riverfront Church or even any church… just that you are open to hearing (and responding) to God in your life!

So, to summarize, here is what we will be doing:

  1. Read Bible and listen for God daily. Asking God about our personal lives, calling, direction, etc.
  2. Meet twice a month to share what we hear God saying to us and what we are doing about it. Receive encouragement and advice from others.  We are generally meeting Mondays at my place 7:-8:30pm. Meetings are mandatory and cannot be missed except for something unavoidable.
  3. Sometime in 2016, we will cut back to meeting once a month so you can start your own Huddle.  You can choose people from church or from other parts of your personal network. The goal is to pass on to them what you have learned.

As you can see, it’s a high cost, high benefit model. In my own experience, when I put God first in my schedule, somehow or another all the other stuff sorts itself out and I look back and say, that was the most significant thing I did last year!  That is my prayer for this group.  And I would be thrilled if you were in it!!!

Let me know if you have any questions or are interested!

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Indefensible By Any Standard

Good thoughts here on Kim Davis… Thoughtful, helpful, articulate…

NRCotic

(First of at least two parts.)

I know a political story is big when my wife asks me if I’ve heard of it.

I know a political story is interesting when my wife starts ignoring my opinions five minutes in.

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was scheduled to appear before a judge today to face possible contempt charges for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  I am sure most who know about this story have already formed strong opinions about it.  It involves both general issues (Freedom!) and specific issues (Religion! Marriage!) that are very important to people and that have long been major points of contention in the national dialogue.

I am sure there are many people I know on each side of this issue and I am sure it is probably a fool’s errand to attempt to convince most of them to change their views.

View original post 1,198 more words

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Clobbering the Confusion About 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

This is a particularly good article dealing with the interpretive challenges of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10…

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2015/08/clobbering-the-confusion-about-1-corinthians-69-10/

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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