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My friend Geoff Surratt wrote (what I think) is a great piece yesterday on sin.  Geoff writes: I recently heard a pastor open his sermon with a lighthearted comment about his sin of overeating at Thanksgiving. The crowd chuckled and nodded approvingly. Most had committed the same sin, but knew that their sin was ok because they are under grace and not under law. Later in the same sermon the pastor commented that when we buy coffee at Starbucks we are “supporting homosexual laws”. The crowd shook their heads in disgust. This was not a sin they had committed, and they knew the Bible is very clear about homosexuality. It is an abomination and must be stopped in its tracks. It doesn’t matter that gluttony makes the deadly sins Top Seven, nor that according to the CDC, 36% of Americans are obese, nor that “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” Gluttony is funny and understandable, homosexuality is evil and should be illegal. I am not arguing for either gluttony or homosexuality. There are multiple scriptures about each, you can look it up for yourself. My question is how do we decide? How do we decide that “their” sin is evil while “our” sin is no big deal? As Scot McKnight says in The Blue Parakeet, we all pick and choose, the question is which sinner we choose to laugh off and which sinner we choose to condemn… We often quote the truism, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner”, but we seldom apply it evenly. Some sins, my sins, I hate just a little bit. Your sin I hate a little more. Other sins, the sins I will never commit, I hate enough that my hate spills out on the sinner, the sinner’s friends and anyone who associates with the sinner. We say we love the sinner but we continually do and say things that scream out to the one who commits the unacceptable sins, “You do not belong. You are vile and filthy and not worthy.” If we do not think that is the message we are sending maybe we should ask the sinner what they think. // Read more of Geoff’s thoughts here… I think Geoff is spot on.  What do YOU think? Todd
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Controversy
From a press release, January 31: What if Starbucks lost 80% of its customers? Christians across the USA are boycotting Starbucks for promoting homosexual ‘marriage’ in Washington State. There is an 80% Christian majority in the USA and 1-2% homosexuals. “Christians are upset with Starbucks for turning against God, but we are glad to know that Starbucks doesn’t pretend to be for Christians,” said Pastor Steven Andrew, who is president of USA Christian Ministries. He calls every Christian and church to boycott Starbucks. Leviticus 22:18 says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” “This boycott is important because God blesses those who obey Him and judges those who don’t obey Him (2 Chronicles 19:2),” he adds. Don’t expect to hear sermons with “grab your Starbucks” or to see Starbucks served at churches. “Starbucks is no longer fashionable. If your church still uses Starbucks, then your pastor is a friend of the world,” he adds. God calls those who oppose Him “haters of God” (Romans 1:30). It is hoped that Christians will quickly share this boycott with their church. /// How many ways is this wrong?    
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Leadership
How should your church treat visitors? Mentanna Campbell recently penned “An Open Letter to American Churches” in which she gives some thoughts: 1. A staffed welcome center 2. No cheesy gifts (including Starbucks cards) 3. Do talk to me. 4. A good website with clear instructions 5. No visitor’s card. These are just some of her thoughts. You can read more here… How do you treat your visitors?  Do you specifically design any experience (parking lot, welcome center, worship service) with visitors in mind? What do you think of Mentanna’s thoughts? I, for one, will never turn down a Starbucks card (and I don’t even like coffee). Love to hear your thoughts… Todd [facebook]
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