Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm not sure how far back the tradition goes and I don't know how it all began - but for as long as I can remember testimonies have been a part of our identity in the Nazarene movement. Often, in the small congregation that shaped my early Christian experience, the opportunity would be offered for folks to share a personal testimony - a word of what God is currently doing in their life. This practice, like many, isn't recognized as highly valuable until it is gone.

Most of the congregations that I've been involved with since those early days don't open up the time and space to participate in this act of worship. As a pastor I understand why this practice has fallen by the wayside - it is a little nerve wracking to leave an open mic out there for anybody to speak their mind. It tends to draw out the extreme personalities in our community who willingly step up to the mic - at times expressing heretical thoughts that have no edifying sense about them whatsoever. You cringe, bite your tongue, and try to say something positive when they are finished. There is also the fear that someone might find this a great opportunity to attack the pastor, leadership, or simply share something completely inappropriate. Yet, for the sake of control and order, we miss out on the beautiful chaos that happens when people share from the heart.

At New Life, I get to experience this at times in our women's weekly luncheon called The Vine. Broken and hurting women share their prayer requests and praises with one another each week. They are so eager to share - that it becomes distracting at times for those of us who want to be in control - but this deep desire to share, I believe, expresses a need that we rarely touch these days.

In fact, it was this powerful "cardboard testimonies" video below that forced me to reflect again on our communal practices. I'm convinced that I need to open up more time and space for these relational engagements. I'm not always sure the best way incorporate personal testimonies in our life together, but I am convinced that there is more wisdom in our traditions than what may appear on the surface. The popularity of this video would testify to that.

Lord, help us find the organic order that comes to us through Your Spirit. Until next time - Blessings in Christ ~ RLS

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Preaching - So Easy Even a Baby Can Do It!

It is sad when a one year old can get a better reaction from the congregation, than I can on my best day ;)