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Showing posts from January, 2012

Taking the "Long View" in Church Growth

You know it's a wonderful January day in Fresno when you have to roll down your car window to cool off. Too nice!
For some very specific reasons, I've been reflecting on the nature of church growth. I'm fortunate to be in a situation where my leaders are not focused on short-term growth or on immediate results. Still, it's only human to measure things like attendance, giving and involvement. From there, it's natural to look for the easiest path to increase those metrics. Does the easiest path, however, really help us in the long run? 
Church leaders ought to think more than six months down the road. While there's nothing wrong with short-term growth, they need to occasionally step back and see the big picture. They need to ask themselves, "Are we laying a good foundation for those who come after us? Are we taking the long view? Or are we just focused on our immediate success?"
What would it look like to take the "long view" in church? Those who…

Harry Potter, Witchcraft & Christianity, part 2

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The rain has come to Fresno. It’s time to hit the “reset” button. May the Lord continue to water and sustain His creation!
To begin, I owe apologies to the person who (long ago) posted a question about Harry Potter that I subsequently deleted. I interpreted it as an inflammatory response from an unknown visitor to my blog and therefore deleted the comment. Upon further clarification, this person clarified that the intent was to inquire rather than accuse. It’s an excellent issue to address. So with apologies, I now launch a few posts spurred by that excellent line of questioning.
I’ll start with a glance at magic in the Old Testament world. The definition of “magic” is a source of much discussion among Old Testament scholars. Differing definitions are what often get people mad at each other. While the Old Testament seems to clearly prohibit magic, some important figures in the OT practiced magic or did things that looked like magic. Let’s look at a few examples:
Deut 18 clearly banne…