Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Leaving the Faith, Like Joshua Harris – CTJ #58

In 1997, there was a book that went “viral” in the Christian circles by a young 21 year old single author named Joshua Harris. The book was “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and brought purity, courtship, and dating to the forefront of many conversations.

A lot has happened since 1997, not the least of which is Joshua Harris being one of a growing number of “influencers” to announce their departure from Christianity. On the podcast this week, Tim and Jordan are joined by guest Jesse Renaud to discuss Joshua Harris’ recent tweets, the response from John Cooper, church culture, legalism, and sincere questioning.

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Hoodology 101 with Pastor Carl Day – CTJ #52

This week we have a discussion with Pastor Carl Day, who works in the inner city of Philadelphia, PA and Glen Ridge, NJ for Culture Changing Christians Worship Center as well as the President and Founder of the outreach non-profit organization “Culture Changing Christians, Inc.”  We had Pastor Carl on to discuss race, reaching those that society has forgotten, and honestly get a little lesson in hoodology, as he called it.  We begin the episode by hearing his personal testimony which launches the conversation into many different areas. We learned a lot and had a great discussion and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

As Always:
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Links:
http://www.pastorcarlday.com/home.html
https://www.facebook.com/carl.taj
http://www.cccworshipcenter.org/

The Impact of Social Media: Part 2 – CTJ #37

How has Social Media impacted the world?  What about the individual?  What about the Christian?  What about the Church?

These are the questions we will seek to answer on this series of podcasts about the Impact of Social Media.  In Part 2 we wrap up talking about the impact of Social Media on Christians as individuals and spend most of the episode discussing how it has effected local churches and the Church as a whole.

 

As Always:

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References:

Part 1 Link

The Impact of Social Media: Part 1 – CTJ #36

How has Social Media impacted the world?  What about the individual?  What about the Christian?  What about the Church?

These are the questions we will seek to answer on this series of podcasts about the Impact of Social Media.  Part 1 will mainly focus on society as a whole down to the individual and then start to cross over to how it has impacted Christians individually.  Now that a sufficient amount of time has passed since the dawn of Social Media, there are numerous studies, findings, and consequences coming out that we want to explore.

As Always:

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References:
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/01/606588504/americans-are-a-lonely-lot-and-young-people-bear-the-heaviest-burden

https://eand.co/three-things-to-learn-from-facebooks-latest-debacle-df6af136282a

https://eand.co/is-social-media-a-failure-f4f970695d17

 

CTJ #9: Pastors & The Church

Join Tim and Jordan as they discuss the pastor in the local church and talk about the modern day role we’ve made it to be compared to how it is described in the Bible.

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CTJ #8: Music and the Church: Ft. Jesse Renaud

In this episode of Coffee Theology and Jesus, special guest Jesse Renaud joins Tim as they dive into music and the Church. Where is the line with musical excellence and a heart who wants to worship? Is it wrong to have a Sunday morning worship set look like a concert? These are just a few questions they dive into. If you’re a musician and you play in the Church then you’re going to love this episode!

The Christian Hypocrite

 

 

It’s been a while.

 

 

Facebook is a great place for Christians to show off their hypocritical ability. I mean it doesn’t take much effort for me to find the guy who in one breath posts lyrics about grace and love and in the next breath posts how much a certain politician is ruining America, or how the barista messed up his or her drink AGAIN, or how people just really tick them off because they drive slow in the left hand lane (My pet peeve) or how rude customers are to them at work. In fact, the other day I saw a particular person who had one status filled with a couple of F bombs about the way people drive followed by a status with a Bible verse about God’s grace and love.

 

 

We do this while claiming to be an ambassador for the ways of Jesus.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Christians are humans too. Christians will do things that can be at best be described as unwise.  Christians will be hypocrites because deep down everyone is a hypocrite at some point and time in life. Sure we all strive to be consistent, we try to have our actions line up with our words, but they don’t all the time do they? Maybe that’s why Paul wrote these brilliant words in Romans:

 

 

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…”

 

 

Nailed it.

 

 

But (and there’s always a but) what irks me here is that we act like we are ok with being this way. We claim to be a Christian, we claim to affirm the death and resurrection of Jesus and by default we affirm his way of living, but instead of following his way, we follow the culture’s way. We vent to Facebook about dumb people. When someone gives us attitude we give people attitude right back. We don’t put ourselves aside for the sake of others, or give people the benefit of the doubt. We are not quick to forgive, we are quick to hold grudges and you know the kingdom we build when we live opposite of Christ? I’ll give you a hint..it’s not the kingdom of God.

 

 

Listen, if you are a Christian then you’re telling people that you’re following a different path than most people. You’re telling culture that you subscribe to the ways of Jesus whether you recognize that or not.

 

Being a follower of Jesus is not always an easy life to live, but it is a better way to live. Let me also mention here that when I say Christian or follower of Jesus I’m not referring to praying a prayer, going to ‘church’ once a week, reading your Bible every now and then, and trying to vote for those good ol’ Christian ‘conservative’ values.

 

That’s the easy stuff. Anyone can do those things. I’m talking about costly grace here. The kind that you give your life for. I’m talking about loving the people who don’t treat you nice. I’m talking about laying yourself down for the sake of others. I’m talking about taking all of Christ’s words seriously, not just the popular cliché one liners.

 

Let me put it this way; if you believe that Christ is the son of God and that every word in the Bible is God breathed, then please take the words “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” as seriously as you take “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me”.

 

Jesus’s way of living calls us to abandon ourselves for the sake of the Gospel. Will we miss that mark at times? Yes we will. What do we do when that happens? We repent to our gracious Father and we repent to those who we wronged. A Christian apologizing for their fault and for their wrongdoing in a situation speaks volumes more than doing all the right things ever could. Why? Because people know that no one is perfect. People know that we all make mistakes and sometimes frankly, We Christians don’t think that we are ever at fault. We are quick to play the persecution or “hey what about MY RIGHTS card” while forgetting that Jesus tells us that for us to find our life we must first lose it.

 

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-TWImage

 

 

 

 

Church Hopping: It’s Really not a Bad Idea.

“So Tim what Church do you go to” is often the question I get from pastors or other Christians I meet for the first time. Usually I start by saying “uh…..hmmmm….it’s kind of complicated”. At that point the first bead of sweat pours off my forehead as I start to utter the words “I visit different Churches every Sunday”. As those words pour out of my mouth I see the face of the person I’m talking to change from pleasant to “oh he’s one of THOSE people”. Awwwwkkkwaaarrrdddd.

I’ve been Church hopping for about a year now and I’m still a Christian! I know, it’s unbelievable that I haven’t lost my faith, or that God hasn’t given me the almighty smite that I was under the impression I’d get if I start hopping around to different Church bodies on Sunday mornings. But here I am a year later and all my limbs are still in tact.

Before I go further let me say that I understand why I was told that hopping around different churches is a bad idea. I understand that there are people looking for the perfect church that meets all their needs and requires nothing from them. From that perspective yes, Church hopping is a bad idea. But if you’re doing it to meet other believers (read that as meeting family you’ve never met), then I highly recommend it.

I’ll be blunt, it’s easy to get burnt out serving on Sunday mornings. In fact, this is the first time in 13 years that I’m not required to attend a Sunday Service to serve in some capacity. To be honest, I often wrestle with why we as a Church culture define people serving as “We need help making our Sunday service work, and if you don’t serve that in some way, we question your devotion to God”. I digress.

Usually, the main way I serve on a Sunday morning is by playing drums for a specific worship band. A year ago I said goodbye to a dear Church family I loved serving with and embarked on a new journey. The journey of seeing how other believers worship on Sunday morning.

It has been quite a year. I’ve had the chance to visit Sunday morning services all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and even in Illinois. Here are three things I’ve learned over this year.

1. Going to a Church service you’ve never been to is quite intimidating. If you ever wanted to know why non-Christians rarely come out to a Church service, take a Sunday morning to attend a Church you’ve never been to and where you know no one. It’s completely intimidating ESPECIALLY when no one talks to you. Yes, that’s happened to me more than once. I’ve been that guy by himself standing awkwardly in the hallway waiting to walk into service while everyone looks at me with the face of “who is that weirdo”. I never went back to those church meetings.

2. Many churches think way too small. Since I’ve been visiting different Churches every Sunday my view of the Church has expanded on a global level. I used to view Christianity starting with the local Church and then eventually expanding to the big picture. That there is one Church globally that has been charged with showing people the Kingdom of God. Now, my mind first starts with the big picture and then moves downward to the local level. It’s just like when you use Google maps when you’re all the way zoomed out. Then, when you type in an address it zooms you in to that address. That’s the way I think about Church now, and you know? It changes the way you view things. Now, when a Church body asks me to help out on a Sunday morning (usually musically related) I see it as helping out another part of the family in the Kingdom of God. It’s freeing because once you see other Churches as family and not as competition, you want to work with them, not outdo them.

3. Apparently drummers are in high demand. I probably fill in 2 times a month at a different Church body on the drums for Sunday morning. Who knew.

If (and only if) The Lord has released you of your Sunday morning obligations to your local Church I highly recommend taking a couple months and visiting other Church bodies in your immediate area. You meet some great people, make new connections and you get a much bigger picture of what is going on on a Kingdom level. It’s freeing knowing that you’re a member of the Kingdom, not one local Church.

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-TW

If You’re Single and You Know It Clap Your Hands

I’m writing this post because I know that I’m not the only Christian who is in their early/mid/late twenties and hopelessly single. Is this a bad thing? Not always, but is it a difficult thing? Absolutely. Why? Because not only were humans not really designed to be single abstinent people at this age, but both our church culture and the culture of our society both throw two options out that in many ways just are not viable. This post isn’t a rant or about getting attention. I don’t sit in my bed at night crying to Dashboard Confessional, I don’t walk around with jet black hair in my face with a frown about how sad I am that I don’t have a girlfriend. No it’s not about that. It’s about sharing my honest thoughts on being single in my mid 20’s.

Is it frustrating at times being single and in your mid 20’s or older? Absolutely. Who in that situation doesn’t have these thoughts “Maybe I’m just really weird”? We all have those thoughts, especially when we are going to weddings monthly of our piers tying the knot. And congratulations to them by the way, weddings make me extremely happy.

So what are we single people to do? Well let me start by telling you that our American culture’s answer is a horrible one. The train of thought for people our age is usually something along the lines of date as much as you can and sleeping with your date is perfectly fine, after all you have to test drive the car before you buy it right? What a horrible analogy.

But I digress.

What culture fails to tell you is that statistically people my age are more emotionally miserable and often feel empty when they live such reckless sexual and emotional lives.

Sometimes the Church’s answer isn’t much better. Usually the answer is something like “hey you’re single? We better get you married ASAP!”. One time I heard a pastor say from the pulpit “Hey if you’re single, go get married”. As if all I had to do was put a dollar in the crane game and pick out my wife. Sometimes it’s just not that simple. Plus, sometimes we need to be supported in being single. And if I hear one more time from a married guy or girl tell me to let Jesus fill the void I’m going to run my car off a cliff. Isn’t that ironic? I’ve never had a single person tell me that. Why? Because we single people know that we were designed for relationship with someone of the opposite sex. So does God, that’s why He says in Genesis that it’s not good for man to be alone.

Think about that statement for a minute. God said that BEFORE sin entered the world. Even when God declared his creation good it still wasn’t complete. God and Adam had perfect unity, they was no sin in between them and God still says that Adam is alone? According to many of the songs we sing on Sunday morning that tell us God is all we need, God must be wrong. Nevertheless, He sees man so He creates Eve and this beautiful thing called marriage. There is a void in the heart of most people that God does not fill because he designed that void to be filled by a human companion. Don’t misunderstand, without a relationship with God how can we live fully? How can we love someone wholly? God is the source, but God designed us for more than solely a relationship with Him. We were designed for marriage, and God delights when His children commit to life with each other.

What am I saying? That’s actually a great question, I feel more like I’m rambling to be honest. Here’s what I’m trying to say, yeah being abstinent and single is difficult, but it’s ok. It’s ok to admit that sometimes it’s tough and it’s ok to admit that there are times where you struggle with being lonely in that area of your life. I used to BS to people and tell them that God has filled that void, but one day when I was having a conversation with God, the Holy Spirit gently told me “It’s ok to admit you’re lonely with this, now trust me with it and walk through it”. It changed me forever. Yeah, I’m single, no I really don’t want to be single, but you know what? I’m not compromising for the sake of companionship and my God can sustain me through it. Admitting that you don’t want to be single, while still being single is not a pity party, it’s not depressing, it’s truth, and it’s truth that I’m comfortable sharing.

To you single people out there, continue to pursue your relationship with Jesus, let Him write the love story to your life, and don’t compromise for the sake of companionship.

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-TW

Taking Out The Trash: Operating in God’s Family

God’s Family

If you’re a follower Jesus did you know that you are part of a family that spans over thousands of years? One that expands beyond your biological and into the supernatural? I’m talking about the family of God. God’s family is huge and inclusive containing all different cultures, all different ages, and spans through generations upon generations of people.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that we are part of a movement that was started 2,000 years ago. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that we are part of a family that extends outside of our biological family. God’s family is eternal, it lasts forever. Where biological families will cease to exist God’s family will thrive and last eternally.

This past week I had an amazing privilege to help run Camp Melody, an all boys camp for ages 10 to 16. This year, the theme was brotherhood inside of God’s family. Every day we focused on a different aspect of what brotherhood looks like inside of the family of God. On Monday, the theme was encouragement, Tuesday forgiveness, and Wednesday unity. We really wanted to contrast the difference between how God’s family operates as opposed to things posing as family (such as gangs). As the week went by I couldn’t help but realize that the themes we focused on carry into the whole of God’s family. How in the Church practicing these principles of forgiveness, encouragement, and unity really change the way we view each other.

I want to point out three things that are the opposite of forgiveness, unity, and encouragement that we need to get in check in our local Church bodies. The culture we create in our local Church is essential to the Body of Christ thriving in our local communities.

1. Divisiveness

All too often for those of us who have been involved with church politics, we have seen the church split over things that really in the big picture are petty. I’ve seen church bodies have major arguments over the instruments played, the carpet color, and the leadership structure. You know who wins these arguments in the end? Satan that’s who. He is all too happy to help those fights along. Jesus prayed directly against being divided in John where He said “My prayer is that they (us) are one”. To divide over things that are secondary to the gospel is sin pure and simple. Do people have different opinions on different things regarding the Christian faith? Absolutely, but to let that stop you from working with fellow family is absolute garbage. Do you and your siblings agree on everything? Of course you don’t, but that doesn’t stop you from being family.

2. Bitterness

The opposite of forgiveness is bitterness plain and simple. When we don’t learn to forgive people we let bitterness eat away at us like termites devouring wood. Christ commanded us to forgive others because He has forgiven us first. The practice of forgiveness in God’s family is mandatory and necessary to have healthy relationships with people. Chances are at some point in your life a fellow Christian will offend you, hurt you, or upset you. If you don’t learn how to forgive you will walk away from the Church with a bitter heart and an angry spirit. Both of those things are the opposite of how God operates. God operates with forgiveness and reconciliation at the forefront (for any doubters just read the Gospels).

3. Gossip

Perhaps one of the dirtiest secrets of our American Church culture is our obsession with gossip. I would argue it’s also one of Satan’s most effective weapons. If he can people to talk about other people negatively and behind their back he can start stress cracks in the foundation of the Church. All too often those stress cracks in the foundation lead to a crumbling house full of he said, she said. When we create a culture of encouragement there is no room to gossip because we are too busy focusing on building each other up. At least here in the states gossip is common and seen as not a big deal by our American culture. We have borrowed that view and brought it in to Church culture. The only difference is that we preface our gossip by saying “I really am not gossiping but…”. As I type those words I cringe because I am 100% guilty of using that line to justify my tearing down of someone. This is once again, the opposite of how God’s family works. When we are a part of God’s family we replace a culture of gossip and tearing down with a culture of encouragement and building each other up.

May I suggest Church that it’s time to take out the trash? It’s time to take these things and throw them away, replacing them with God’s principles. May we as a Church learn God’s culture and implement it in to our local church cultures. Creating atmospheres of family, belonging, and encouragement.

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