Let us reflect on ourselves.. 2nd Timothy 3: 1-5 (with Dictionary.com)
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be….
Selfish– devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself.
Greedy– excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; having a strong or great desire for food or drink.
Proud– having, proceeding from, or showing a high opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, or superiority.
Arrogant– making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearing, assuming; insolently proud.
Abusive– Using, containing, or characterized by harshly or coarsely insulting language. treating badly or injuriously; mistreating, esp. physically. wrongly used; corrupt.
Disobedient– neglecting or refusing to obey; not submitting; refractory.
Ungrateful– unappreciative; not displaying gratitude; not giving due return or recompense for benefits conferred.
Unholy– not holy; not sacred or hallowed, impious; sinful; wicked, Informal. dreadful; ungodly.
Happy Memorial Day! We had a great day with several members of both our families coming over today to visit! We took on several projects and got them done, ate Youmans/Parsons leftover wedding cake, mixed concrete, climbed in the roof of the church and lowered a projector, rang the church bell to see if Pastor Scott would come and preach, and last but not least I took both my sweet girls to Sonic for a date tonight! Can u say SonicBlast!
I am thanking God for His blessings and at the same time acknowledging that it is very hard at times, but trying to be content. Jesus is my portion.
I miss all my friends from THRiVE. A few were in town this weekend for the wedding and it was so fun to see them all! Can’t wait for August 23rd to get here already!
Lastly, our sweet baby girl is making faces and noises at us. It is really fun to try and get her to respond to us. I am praying for her even now that God would change her heart to one that loves Jesus Christ and believes on Him alone for her salvation. I am also praying for her future husband!
Thanks to all the many donations that have been pouring in. Some have been large and some small, but all very important. I am very thankful to be growing a base of donors who invest only a little money but much prayer!
NEWS. A friend of mine in ministry recently lost a donor who contributed 6,000/yr to his ministry. This young man is leading many people to Christ on WCU’s campus, pray that he would make that amount up as well as exceed it with the generosity of many people.
Really excited about this photo of Caleb Mayfield that i found. You should let him know that he is in my blog!
In other news, today has been a fun day for the Speier family. We got up and went to church for a sermon on church government. Could have been a tough topic to teach on, but Pastor Scott was able to bring it all back to the headship of Jesus and make it very applicable to all of us. We had lunch at the house and Sarah’s family came over to visit Ana Claire. Mr. James proceeded to make our walk way bigger by chizzleing out brick for nealy 5 hours. Way to go Mr. James!!!
Tonight’s biblical leadership session went great and we had some good discussion afterwards as well. I am really glad for all those who came tonight! Next week we will finish up Neh. 2 and then go right into chapter 3. Otter (our dog) has gotten loose again. He is a smart dog determined to sneak out and run around the neighborhood anytime he gets a chance. Pray that he will come home. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day of all kinds of stuff. Happy Memorial Day to all those who served our country and paid the ultimate price. We honor Christ for doing what no man or woman could do, and that is to live the perfect life, be murdered as the penalty of our sin, and coming back to life to defeat the grave, death, sin, and Satan. God bless you as you read this blog, please pray for my wife Sarah and I and for our little daughter Anastasia!
Has Christian America come to an end? That question has been hotly debated since Newsweek published their recent feature story reporting that the number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990. Additionally, the percentage of self-identified Christians has dropped ten points in the past two decades.
As an evangelical pastor with one of America’s fastest-growing churches in one of its least churched cities, I do not find the report surprising or discouraging. Newsweek missed the subtle — but vital — difference between Christian America and Christendom America.
Christian America is comprised of those people who have had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living new lives as practicing Christians. Experts such as sociologist Bradford Wilcox at the University of Virginia have well documented the fact that those who practice Christian faith by reading their Bibles regularly, attending church, praying, and so forth are far less likely to engage in acts such as adultery, divorce, substance abuse, and the like.
Christendom America is comprised of those people who have not had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living lives virtually indistinguishable from those who are non-Christians. The confusion is that it was common in Christendom for people who did not practice Christianity to profess Christianity. This was often done for social reasons, such as living in a culture that expected church affiliation, being born into a religious tradition and assuming it was simply part of one’s identity (like a cultural or racial connection), or personally, socially, and vocationally benefitting from being connected, even loosely, to a church or denomination. Researchers such as George Barna have documented the fact that, as Jesus himself said, not everyone who says he or she is a Christian is in fact one.
Subsequently, the Newsweek report simply confirms the fact that, just as Christendom has died in Europe and the major American cities, it is now dying in the suburban and rural areas of America as well. With the social benefits of professing to be a Christian no longer in place and the social stigma of not professing to be a Christian now lifted, those who were part of Christendom America are simply no longer pretending to be part of Christian America.
Since those who professed faith but did not practice faith were confusing to account for, this is actually a good thing. Now, it is more likely that if someone is a Christian or non-Christian, he or she will state so plainly.
Therefore, the number of Christians has likely not diminished as much as has been reported, but rather we are seeing an increasingly accurate accounting of actual Christian America. The ARIS study confirmed this by saying that the number of people who claimed to be Christians decreased, while the number of people who claimed to be evangelical increased. This fact is not discouraging, but rather clarifying.
Additionally, Christianity has always reformed itself around major technological innovations. Just as the printing press enabled the Protestant Reformation, so too the Internet and video technology are changing how ministry is done. Networks are currently overtaking denominations as the gathering place for innovative young leaders, megachurches are using video to become multi-site, and young pastors are increasingly moving into cities to plant churches. Our own church planting network Acts 29, for example, now has 250 church plants and is on pace to be at one thousand churches in roughly seven years. We are not alone. As the churches and ministry forms of Christendom are dying, new churches, networks, and ministry forms are replacing them with great passion, as the ARIS study confirms. Therefore, while it is too early to tell, we may in fact simply be living in the time between the times of Christendom and post-Christendom America, with Christian America getting more innovative and devoted than ever and poised to see many more lives changed by Jesus Christ.
There is one thing that is concerning, namely the loss of the residue of some aspects of Protestant morality. For example, as authority is less and less respected, and social order becomes more difficult to maintain, and sexual sin increases the number of addicts and abuse victims (as we are dealing with by the thousands in our church), the result will be a culture that is less beneficial for Christians and non-Christians alike. This is because, although being good does not save you, insofar as the culture is concerned, it is still good. Proceeding forward, the distinctions in lifestyle between Christian America and non-Christian America will become increasingly stark and will require great service by the church in the areas of mercy and justice to help people damaged by a Christless culture.
Today has been a hard day. First of all, we lost in softball last night to East Sylva. We beat them a week ago, but last night they basically spanked us and this came after a week of trash talk between to two teams. Gotta love church league! On a different note, I have felt a little down today for several reasons which I won’t mention on my Continue reading Daddy’s Girl, Leadership, and Softball Loss→