Video: The Passion of Christ Through Sand Art

I saw Joe Castillo years ago at a Youth Specialties convention and bought some of his DVDs. He’s an incredible artist who has been featured on America’s Got Talent this season. Enjoy this beautiful portrayal of the Passion of Christ.

New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry

A Heart for the Community is a collection of essays written by those in the trenches of urban and suburban church planting and parachurch initiatives in and around the city of Chicago, IL. I very much appreciate how each of the writers opened up their hearts to share their journeys into their ministry settings, the various challenges they and their families have faced, and joys they have experienced as they have sought to obey and follow God’s leading.

Each contributor shares real-life stories and distills learnings and transferable principles from their experiences. The book explores the various approaches they have taken to holistically bring the gospel to their communities. It also reveals how they have addressed the ethnic, cultural, and generational distinctives of their environments as they seek to effectively reach people with God’s love in relevant ways while seeking to stay true to the heart of the gospel.

I found the book challenging, inspiring, and helpful. I would highly recommend it – especially to those who are interested in church planting.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Our High Schooler & Middle Schooler!

Yesterday our girls returned to school. Claudia began 9th grade, and Natalia began 6th grade. We can’t believe we have a high schooler and a middle schooler. We realized we only have three more “first days” with Claudia before she’s off to college. Time flies! God, help us to maximize, redeem, and cherish these few years that we have together in this season of our lives. Amen.

If You’re 100% Satisfied With Your Church Experience, It’s Probably Not Healthy. Here’s Why …

Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

The 75% Philosophy: A truly diverse congregation where anybody enjoys more than 75% of what’s going on is not thoroughly integrated. So that if you’re going to be an integrated church you have to be prepared to think, “Hey, this is great, I enjoyed at least 75% of it,” because 25% should grant for somebody’s precious liturgical expression that is probably odious to you; otherwise it’s not integrating. So an integrating church is characterized by the need to be content with less than total satisfaction with everything. You have to factor in a willingness to absorb some things that are not dear to you but may be precious to some of those coming in.

(Pastor James Forbes)

Curtiss Paul Deyoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim, United by Faith (New York: Oxford, 2003), 81-82.