Here is a song by the Killers that immediately made me think of the small town that I live in, Watertown, SD. ‘Quiet Town’ by the Killers tells the powerful and moving story of a town that is filled with good people and a growing darkness. Teens dying, opioid addiction, good people who love Jesus and work the land for a living. Good and bad exists in quiet towns just like it does in each one of us. Quite honestly, the desperation that you hear in this song is one of the reasons I worked with some other local pastors to start a ministry in this quiet town called Celebrate Recovery. Anyway, the song is emotional (at least for me) and does a good job of explaining what life is like right here in Watertown.
BTW: If you hear Springsteen in their music and in their in storytelling you are on the right track.
A couple of kids got hit by a Union Pacific train Carrying sheet metal and household appliances Through the pouring rain They were planning on getting married after graduation Had a little baby girl, trouble came and shut it down Things like that ain’t supposed to happen In this quiet town Families are tight Good people, they still don’t deadbolt their doors at night In this quiet town When we first heard opioid stories They were always in whispering tones Now banners of sorrow mark the front steps of childhood homes Parents wept through daddy’s girl eulogies And merit badge milestones with their daughters and sons Laying there lifeless in their suits and gowns Somebody’s been keepin’ secrets In this quiet town They know how to live Good people who lean on Jesus They’re quick to forgive In this quiet town Now whenever I’m near the town I’ll find some reason to give And I will walk with the dead and the living where I used to live And every time I see my parents in the prime of their lives Offering their son the kind of love he could never put down Part of me is still that stainless kid, lucky In this quiet town Salt of the land Hard-working people, if you’re in trouble They’ll lend you a hand Here in this quiet town The first crop of hay is up School let out and the sun beats down Smoke billows from a Sunday train That cries away from a quiet town
Have you or someone you know talked about walking away from their Christian faith? Increasingly these days this process of reevaluating the faith that a person was brought up in is called “deconstruction.” Is deconstruction always bad? The answer is no. There are aspects of our faith that came more from the culture around us than it did from Scripture. What are some things that we need to know and consider as we think about deconstructing our faith? Glad you asked. I genuinely hope this episode of “Deconstructionism: Losing Your Religion” is helpful. Please keep in mind, I am very open to questions or comments. I would love to hear back from you! HERE is the link to listen to the podcast!
I plan on preaching about “Christianity and the Nightly News” this coming Sunday. Hope to post the sermon next week.
What impact is the news and social media having on you and your family? All too often we are more impacted by the news and social media than we are the Word of God. If we are not careful we begin to experience attention deficit syndrome and become anxious, angry and apathetic. What we focus our hearts and minds on has the power to shape us into its image. Tragically we have become focused on world events and yet we fail to reach out and love those who are all around us in everyday life. Join us Sunday, Oct 10 as we explore the effects the news is having on us and turn to God’s Word for the remedy.
What impact do you think the news and social media is having on you and others that you know? What steps do you need to take to protect and nourish your soul in light of so much angry and polarizing daily news?
I have been keeping my eye on Long Hollow Church for some time now. We (staff and elders at New Life Church) have taken some cues from Long Hollow and implemented a Discipleship Pathway. The Discipleship Pathway is a simple process throughout the church that equips people to become mature disciple makers of Jesus Christ. So I am learning from Long Hollow. We have also been implementing D Groups. D Groups are geared to equip Christians to live as disciple makers.
Then I started to hear about a powerful work of the Holy Spirit at Long Hollow. Hundreds of people being saved and baptized. So enough was enough. I recorded an “interview” with one of the pastors on staff at Long Hollow, Tim LaFleur. I strongly believe this will inspire you, encourage you, and lead you and your church to pray like you have never prayed before.
I would use COVID to divide churches. Personal opinions, shoddy research, conspiracy theories. I would use all of it to alienate people from each other.
I would use COVID to get people to see those that they disagree with as the enemy.
I would use COVID to keep Christians focused on making arguments not on making disciples. Investing in personal relationships and helping people to become more like Jesus would seem totally unimportant compared to fighting about COVID.
I would use COVID to get Christians accustomed to watching church online and then lead them to drift away from the church family altogether.
I would use COVID, and the division that it brings, to discourage pastors with the result that they drop out of ministry.
I would use COVID to keep people from thinking about the way that Jesus lived his life and it’s implications upon their life.
I would use COVID to cause deep fear and anxiety.
I would use COVID to get people fixated on the news and to stop reading the bible and praying. I would do some demonic discipleship through the various news outlets and social media.
I would use COVID to cause people to hold grudges and bitterness against people who think differently than they do.
I would use COVID to get the prosperity gospel preachers to make statements and promises they have no business (or authority) making.
I would use COVID to hurt the church’s testimony to the watching world. The world would see the church as divided, angry and not having the heart of God.
I learned recently about some of the specific persecution that is going on in Afghanistan. Women being sold into sex trafficking. Christians are literally running for the mountains and living in caves. Yet, it might be shocking for you to learn that up until this point the church is growing like crazy in Afghanistan. And this is true in Iran as well. When we fix our gaze on what is going on here in America we see a disturbing apathy that characterizes far too many churches and Christians. A pastor living in the Middle East recently referred to America as being under the influence of a “satanic lullaby.” What does that mean? Is it true? Let’s talk about it!
If you know me, you know that high school was a time of misery for me. HERE is a link to an article that explains what I went through in high school. After reading this article the principle at Watertown High School asked me to come in and speak to the teachers and faculty a few years back. Pretty sure the talk I gave was pretty lame due to how nervous the whole thing made me feel. I kept my hands in my pockets the whole time because they were shaking.
Fast forward to today. I was talking with a young adult today at Applebee’s. Because school starts back up this week here in South Dakota we were talking about the opportunity that exists for teachers and school faculty to have a huge impact in the lives of their students. It instantly made me think about the movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In the clips you will see below Charlie is the student who struggles massively with being shy. Little do you know at the beginning of the movie that Charlie has deep emotional trauma from sexual abuse that he experienced as a young boy. This abuse caused him to be very quiet and withdrawn. He became a wallflower. One of Charlie’s teachers, Mr. Anderson, took the time to talk with Charlie. Get to know Charlie. Still to this day when I watch these scenes I become very emotional. Why? I would have loved to have known a teacher like Mr. Anderson when I was in high school.
So what? I guess I just want encourage you as a student, teacher or parent to be on the look out for the wallflowers at your school. Take some time to get to know them and let them know you care. You never know the hurt they are dealing with. You never know the difference your kindness might make in their life. Be warned, there are a couple inappropriate words used in these scenes.
What is Purity Culture? Is abstinence and passé? Can a person be pure if they have lost their virginity? Are women responsible for men giving into lust? What’s up with Joshua Harris? What good came from Purity Culture? What bad came from Purity Culture? Is there a place for shame? What in the world do we do with our shame? Hint, run to Jesus! Hope you enjoying listening to this podcast episode, “Truths And Lies About Purity Culture.”
HERE is the link for the episode about Purity Culture.
BTW: In the podcast I recommend these two books as resources: