Today's Word for Pastors...
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Today's Preaching Insight...
What Starbucks, Harry and You All Have in Common
"For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb. 2:2-3a).
Rick Richardson, professor and writer, tells about a pastor named Dan, who realized he was getting stale. So with the approval of his pastoral team, he took a part-time job at a Starbucks coffee shop.To his surprise, "All 21 people he worked with believed in God. Not one was an atheist ... They were all very positive toward God and spirituality."
Richardson goes on to report:
A second surprise was that all were interested in spiritual things, but not in Christians, Christianity, or the church. No one wanted to hear Dan's proofs for God or invitations to come to church or ideas about salvation. Almost everyone thought they knew what Christianity was about and had decided they didn't want it. They were post Christian. At some point along the way, each of them had experienced a breach in trust related to Christianity. Maybe a Christian friend had been hypocritical or pushy. Maybe when they were young they had attended church and found it boring and irrelevant. Maybe they had watched TV preachers and been turned off. Or maybe they had experienced a tragedy—death or sexual abuse or some other trauma—and felt that God had been distant and uncaring.
Richardson said, "Dan wasn't starting at ground zero, but rather at minus-three or four. ... The biggest thing Dan learned is that people in this generation have a prior question of trust that must be addressed before we can have meaningful spiritual conversations with them."
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The Great Theologians
The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide (IVP Academic) by Gerald McDermott is a useful and readable guide to the key thinkers who helped shape the way the church thinks about Christian theology. Taking on 11 major theologians: Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards. Schleiermacher, Newman, Barth and Von Balthasar -- the author provides for each a biographical sketch, an overview of their key ideas and a brief selection from their writings.
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