REVIEW: All Saints, the Movie

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Inspiring stories are great, but inspiring stories based on real life, are powerful. The All Saints movie is just that. It's a true story of how God inspired a pastor with a dream that, not only saved a small local church but, built a thriving faith community around an 'out-of-the-box' ministry.

REVIEW - All Saints Contest

ALL SAINTS is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.1

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References   [ + ]

Sexual Struggles and the Church

What Believers Must Remember

In a world where our sexuality is a focal point, it’s not surprising that understanding sexual struggles (and sometimes resulting sin) can be problematic.  It shouldn’t really be surprising — the Church and culture speak different languages.  The key is understanding why and how to humbly move forward in grace and truth.

Sexuality and the Church

One of the biggest problems within the Church is that we may not fully understand the difference between temptation (or struggle) and sin.  On the other hand, we seem to be quite good at categorizing our struggles. For example, any sexual struggle is said to be a bigger issue than any other struggle. There even seems to be bigger and lesser struggles within sexual struggles.

Paul made a point to speak of the significance of sexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:18), but that significance isn’t really about being lesser or greater, rather how sacred our bodies are. The Church in Corinth clearly didn’t understand that significance.

In order to understand and respond to sexual struggles, we have to understand some fundamental concepts.  Here are five things the Church must remember:

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Why Drinking Coffee Doesn’t Save People and Why Serving Coffee Does

5 Reasons Why We Serve Coffee at Our Church

We’ve allowed people to drink coffee during our worship services for quite some time now. Yes, it creates a relaxed atmosphere, but I’ve questioned its long-term effectiveness.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that coffee itself isn’t special.  It’s what happens in the process of serving and drinking that has the potential of changing lives.

Why Serving Coffee Matters

Changing lives, you say? Yes. In a world of selfishness, people are longing to authentically connect. And connecting as a community is a biblical concept.  In writing to the Churches in Galicia and Ephesus, Paul wrote:

“…do not use your [new] freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

How do you serve and love one another?

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)

All too often we let these texts speak to us in a reactive way.  When something negative happens, we put on our loving and serving hats and try to make the situation positive.

But… what if we wanted to create a positive culture to begin with?  What if loving and serving actually described our Church community?  What if Christians engaged in authentic love and concern with fellow Christians?

I believe one of the ways we can proactively create a positive atmosphere, is by helping people connect with each other.One of the ways we can proactively create a positive atmosphere, is by helping people connect. Click To Tweet

Want people to talk? Give them a coffee or a tea and a place to connect.

Here are 5 reasons why we serve coffee at Bethel:

1. Serving coffee provides social connection.

Our culture demands food when we connect together.  If you want to have an effective social event, there better be lots of food and coffee.  Likewise, if you show up to an event and refreshments are served, your social cues encourage people to connect.

2. Serving coffee inspires relationship.

A conversation, with a tea or coffee in hand, usually leads further than a conversation without.  You may think that’s an overstatement, and it probably is for those who like to talk.  For those who are a little socially awkward, however, having something to drink can break the ice and fill-in empty space.

3. Serving coffee invites participation.

Our coffee cart is a “self-serve” one.  One of our goals is for people to engage others in service.   Everyone has the ability to make a donation for their coffee, perhaps donate for someone else’s coffee, or simply offer to make a coffee for a newcomer.  Participation is an active ingredient in servant-hood.

4. Serving coffee allows for common ground.

It doesn’t matter what store-bought coffee you buy or drink, or even if you don’t buy coffee at a café at all, everyone is on common ground when we serve coffee.  Everyone is drinking from the same generic cup.   With that said, technology (ie. Keurig) allows us to offer a little bit of everything to help satisfy the cravings.

5. Serving coffee demands a seating area.

You can drink coffee just about anywhere, but as soon as you serve coffee to someone, people need a place to sit down.  If people sit down, they start talking, connecting and listening and the Church becomes that much closer to an authentic community.

To help facilitate, we allow people give a donation. There’s no pressure to drop some money in the jar, but we encourage those who can buy their coffee, to buy into this ministry of community.

Your turn…

Serving coffee certainly isn’t the only way to connect…

How have you helped people connect? Has coffee worked for you? Does something else work in your context? What would you like your local church to do to encourage people to connect?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

[Guest Post] “Dear Parents with Young Children in Church”

My wife and I pastor a church that has a whole lot of kids!  It’s awesome!  But, with a lot of kids, comes a lot of noise, commotion, laughing, crying, talking, and sometimes even screaming.  Tradition would say, “it’s inappropriate during a Sunday morning service.”  I ask, “how can we modify our Sunday morning service to include our kids?”

While we think on that, read how one mother reflects on bringing Children to church in her blog post “Dear Parents with Young Children in Church“…

“You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant carseat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper.  I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.

When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together.When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary.  I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.

It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.

I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”

Let’s rephrase that last sentence… “Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated [at Bethel Pentecostal Church in Bay Roberts, NL], you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”  Hopefully we can all insert our local assemblies.  If we can’t…

Let’s think about this…
If you’re a parent of young kids, do you bring your kids to church?  If you don’t, is it because of what others may think?  If you do, know you’re making an awesome impact, can keep doing it!

If you’re not a parent of young kids, how do you respond to “noise and commotion” during a service?  Remember being reverent is more than being quiet, it’s also acting in obedience – Jesus said, “let the children come to me.”

The next time you see a young mom or dad in church with their young children, make sure you let them know how proud you are of them!