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Archive for March, 2011

OK, I am doing two book reviews today. The last one wasn’t very flattering so I am pleased to stay this one has a very different tone! I loved it!

Now to be honest, I did thumb through the book “Radical” and it didn’t grab me. I liked the principles of it but something about the writing style just didn’t grab me. However, when I saw this book was coming out, I nabbed it. Why? Because I love talking about Christian community! I love everything about it! The highs and the lows….. the good and the bad…… when we are talking about true, Biblical Christian community, I always love being in the conversation.

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Um, how to start this review. Well, um, “Finding our way again” is the wrong way. How’s that to cover the jist of it?

I admit, I am not a Brian Mclaren fan but I have some people I respect that like him so I wanted to give him another look. Also, I have tried a couple of the books in the “The Ancient Practices” series and have found them to be…. well….um…. lacking. However, why not give it another look? This book was my answer to this question.

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There have been several times that I have taught through the elements of the Lord’s prayer and I wanted to take a moment and put some of those thoughts here. This is mostly for a recent prayer challenge I have given to our church family at The Shepherd’s Fellowship but it may be of interest to others as well.

In Matthew 6, we find where Jesus is teaching on prayer. He states, “This, then, is how you should pray…” Now I do not believe that Jesus was saying each and every time you prayer, it must be these words, in this order, and don’t mess up (though it is a beautiful prayer). However, if we look at the prayer, I do believe it gives a model that, if followed in honesty and in love will lead you to some of the most incredible prayers you have ever had.

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Lent 2011

Lent 2011

Lent is an important time to many of us at The Shepherd’s Fellowship. While we are non-denominational, we have adopted this ancient church tradition as part of our own practice.

Lent is the period of time from Ash Wednesday (3/9/11) until Easter (4/24/11). It is a period of 40 days (minus Sundays) and is a period of fasting as we symbolically share in Christ’s time of fasting in the desert before his temptation. It is a preparation time as we get ready for the celebration of Holy Week. OK, there’s a lot of church talk in there, so let me better explain the process of the practice.

For some in our church, the season starts with ShroveTuesday which is a celebration of partaking. This year we had a pancake dinner, praise and worship, and a short talk from Katie Isler.

Ash Wednesday is a time of reflection of what we bring to the table outside of Christ. It is a time of reflection time on our sins, our shortcomings, and our need for His salvation. This year of actually we are having open church at the Gathering Building from 9am – 6pm for people to come, pray, be prayed over, to receive the ash as a symbolic act and/or recieve personal communion.

Lent is a season of fasting. What is fasting? For us, it’s a matter of giving something up that matter to you for the period of time during Lent. When you miss it, you let that be a natural reminder to draw closer to God in prayer, dig into His Word through the Bible, and reflect on what He means to us. It’s a sacrifice to assist us in leaning into Him. This, again, lasts until Easter. On Easter, we partake back in the thing we gave up as part of our Resurrection celebration. In many cases, that thing that was once so important doesn’t even mean that much to us anymore and you might not need it anymore or in the same way anyways.

For some of us, we give this item (pizza, pop, TV, casual internet use, twittering, ect.) up the entire time but for some, we celebrate mini-resurrections by partaking of that item on Sundays as mini celebrations of the resurrection. I know, personally, that I rejected this notion the first several years because it seemed to be an easy out for the time. However, last year, I tried it and it really added to my Lent season an element of celebration in preparation.

So that’s the jist of it. Growing up, Lent was something those other churches did and was old fashioned and weird. However, we have found that when it is done with a humble heart, seeking the Lord, and pulling close to Him…. it is an amazing way to prepare to the joy that Easter brings!

We do on-line Lent devotionals through our prayer chain. If you would like to get these, email us at prayer@theshepherdsfellowship.org and let us know.

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Marion Flood Effort

For those coming to this blog are probably already aware of the work we are doing helping Jerry and Carol address their home after getting flooded on Monday morning. A matter of fact, this blog is for those involved for this effort or following to get an update on how things are going. We are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel and should be able to have most of the work done by mid-Saturday. A matter of fact, we are looking for some volunteers to help move furniture and boxes for Saturday… if you can help, email me at tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org

Huge thank yous to all who have been helping in this effort including those from our church at  The Shepherd’s Fellowship (to date… Steve, Jenni, Brenda, Kris, Beth, Bri, and Chrystal), the Polings from Trinity Baptist, and Brent Longstreth from Salem UMC. Thank you to all families who have given up time with their loved ones so they could work, those who wanted to volunteer and couldn’t get over, and those covering Jerry, Carol, and all of us in prayer during this time.

Need a new barber…. hit up Mark Poling in LaRue and tell him you heard what a great job he did helping us so much with his and his son’s volunteering!

Need construction work….. call Brent Longstreth at 740-361-8409 ….. great man of faith and does an awesome job!

Click here to see pics from the house at this point….

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