MCCA 2012: Eat the Word

Audio

(6/30/12 version)

Intro stuff

Pre-workshop music: Word by Sho Baraka

Intro game: Make It or Break It?

Personal Devotions

“The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama …. this terrifying drama in which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” – Dorothy Sayers

[related resource]

Top 10 Most Read Books in the World

by Jared.

Strategies

Have a plan

“The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life coming flowing in.” – C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Mix it up.

Time with God (PDF)

Listening to a sermon

Strategies

Before:

  • Reverent and expectant attitude
  • Prayerful heart
  • Physically prepared

During:

  • Actively engage!
  • Sit strategically
  • Open your Bible: “There are few more encouraging noises for the preacher than the rustle of Bible pages among the congregation when he announces his text. He should draw comfort from that, more than from the sounds of approval for what he is saying during the sermon. A faithful congregation will draw faithful preaching out of their pastor. Conversely, it is very hard to persevere as a faithful teacher of the Word of God to a congregation that does not want it taught to them. To some extent congregations get the preachers they deserve, because preaching is a two-way process: the attitudes of the preacher and congregation must unite in a humble hunger for God’s Word.” – Mark Ashton in Worship by the Book
  • Take notes

After:

  • Reflect
  • Obey: Submit to the text

Leading a small group

Strategies

How to lead

How to lead a diverse group

Designer Compassion

Darcy Creech has redefined what it means to live the dream.

“I’d rather be driving a 16-year-old Ford truck and building water wells around the world than driving a car with monthly payments that could be sponsoring 10 kids,” says the business whiz and Nantucket Island notable, who’d rather be called humanitarian than successful.

Darcy got involved with Compassion in 2010, part of a full-life transformation that followed years as an A-list party girl in her well-heeled community. She was adored by friends for her pizzazz, flamboyant life, and dazzling business success — the very things she now says left her with a bankrupt soul.

via Designer Compassion.

Read the whole (brief) article about this radical transformation — including how Darcy shrewdly responded to the fact that “the world’s entire water crisis could be solved for $20 billion, less than half the $50 billion Americans spend shopping on Black Friday.”

Southwest Airlines’ profitability: How the company uses operations theory to fuel its success. – Slate Magazine

Yes; simple / focused is good.

The airline industry is notoriously brutal. As Warren Buffett once wrote in a letter to shareholders, “[I]f a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.” Yet Southwest Airlines just recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability—in a business sector where profits can be excruciatingly tough to come by.

How does Southwest do it? In part, by keeping operations simple. Simpler operations mean fewer things that can go awry and botch up the whole process.

Consider, for instance, Southwest’s fleet of jets. While other airline fleets can employ 10 or more types of aircraft, Southwest uses just one, the Boeing 737. As V.P. of ground operations Chris Wahlenmaier explained to me, this results in all manner of cost-saving efficiencies: “We only need to train our mechanics on one type of airplane. We only need extra parts inventory for that one type of airplane. If we have to swap a plane out at the last minute for maintenance, the fleet is totally interchangeable—all our on-board crews and ground crews are already familiar with it. And there are no challenges in how and where we can park our planes on the ground, since they’re all the same shape and size.”

via Southwest Airlines’ profitability: How the company uses operations theory to fuel its success. – Slate Magazine.

Christianity – Something Else Entirely

To most people in our society, Christianity is religion and moralism. The only alternative to it (besides some other world religion) is pluralistic secularism. But from the beginning it was not so. Christianity was recognized as a tertium quid, something else entirely.

The crucial point here is that, in general, religiously observant people were offended by Jesus, but those estranged from religious and moral observance were intrigued and attracted to him. We see this throughout the New Testament accounts of Jesus’s life. In every case where Jesus meets a religious person and a sexual outcast (as in Luke 7) or a religious person and a racial outcast (as in John 3-4) or a religious person and a political outcast (as in Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects with Jesus and the elder-brother type does not. Jesus says to the respectable religious leaders ‘the tax collectors and the prostitutes enter the kingdom before you’ (Matthew 21:31).

Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.

Tim Keller