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Can You Be a Christian and Not Go to…

This week’s question is one of the most prevalent queries I’ve received. It’s been asked by avid golfers, fishermen (and women), and a number of others who weren’t really “into” attending church. “Can’t I be a Christian without going to church?”

Once upon a time, I used to believe, “Yes indeed, you can be a Christian without going to church.” My understanding of Christianity was you only had to believe and “voila!” you were a Christian. But as I studied to make an appropriate answer to this question, my thoughts began to change. Now, my answer is generally no, one isn’t really a Christian without the church. And this is why: Read more “Can You Be a Christian and Not Go to Church?”

Some Inconvenient Truths blog

Inconvenient Truths

During the trial for his life, Jesus explained that he was all about truth. His words fell before a cynical politician who simply asked, “What is truth?”

Facts, Myths, and Truths. Three words that muddy the waters of reality of religion and belief.

Jesus said that the truth will set you free … but every time he shared truth with those who followed him, he got tremendous pushback. The truth may set you free, but first it’ll tick you off.

Starting September 25th we’ll be looking at truth (and facts and myths) with an eye toward reality. And we’ll be looking at some truths that may shake us up, because, let’s face it, Jesus wasn’t much into convenient truths.

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Day 27, Acts 27

Acts 27:12, 37 “The majority decided we should sail on. … Altogether there were 276 of us on board.”

There are a number of great Aha!’s in this chapter and it was hard to pick just one. For instance, the majority vote that resulted in a sinking ship. From cover to cover in the Bible, there is not a single case where majority rules results in godly behavior or results. The alternative to majority rules, politics and compromise, always results in a lowest-common-denominator decision, never the highest-possible-good. In other words, mediocrity. Read more “Day 27, Acts 27”

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Day 26, Acts 26

Acts 26:28 “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’”

1n 1986 I started a church in Dothan, Alabama by knocking on doors and asking, “If you died tonight do you know for sure you’d go to heaven?” I was pretty successful in my efforts because we filed the church with newly baptized people.

But this isn’t 1986 and we’re not in Dothan, AL. Door-to-door style evangelism worked “back then” because of a combination of Southern hospitality and a Christian enculturated society. In the 1980s, the majority of adults, including the majority of YOUNG adults, knew the basic stories of the faith. They knew Jesus was the reason for the season. They knew that Easter was the celebration of a Savior risen from the dead. Read more “Day 26, Acts 26”

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Day 25, Acts 25

Acts 25 is another chapter of mostly narration about Paul’s arrest, trial, and transfer to Rome.

As I pondered the narrative, it dawned on me there’s an important lesson we as the church need to learn here: It is far too easy for those opposed to changes in the “status quo” to waylay the church from its primary mission.

In the book of Acts, the Jewish believers and non-believers were mostly orthodox, that is, they held to a strict separation between insiders (Jews) and outsiders (Gentiles). And they held an even stricter adherence to tradition (the Law). Change was hard for them to stomach, let alone to swallow. Read more “Day 25, Acts 25”