Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Now that we are offering live streaming from our internet site I found the latest article on CNN interesting....
My next post will be my thoughts on this but before I share what do you thing about replacing face to face fellowship with online church?
Online churches draw believers, criticsBy Anne Hammock, CNNSTORY
-- Hjalti á Lava was searching his iPhone for a Bible app when he stumbled across Church Online, a service of Web site LifeChurch.tv. Soon he was regularly logging into the Oklahoma-based cyber-church -- some 4,100 miles away from á Lava's home in the Faroe Islands, west of Norway.
"It allows me to connect with others and have conversations about the message," says á Lava, who shares his faith with other believers in the site's live chat room. "Technology allows us today to have fellowship across borders and cultures."
In doing so, á Lava joined growing numbers of Christians worldwide who are migrating from the chapel to the computer. A map on the Church Online site showed users from 22 countries logged into a recent service.
Online religious services offer convenience to those who are too isolated or infirm to attend a real-world church. But can worshipping via a computer offer true spiritual fulfillment? Internet pastors and parishioners cite their 24-hour access to interactive tools and social-networking platforms to show their online experiences are as meaningful as those that take place with face-to-face congregations.
"We were blown away at how people could actually worship along [online]," says Craig Groeschel, senior pastor at LifeChurch.tv. "The whole family will gather around the computer, and they'll sing and they'll worship together. Instead of trying to get people to come to a church, we feel like we can take a church to them."
But critics believe virtual worship separates followers from a trinity of spiritual essentials found in brick-and-mortar Christian churches: community, Communion and connection with Christ. "Online church is close enough to the real thing to be dangerous," says Bob Hyatt, a pastor who leads the brick-and-mortar Evergreen Community Church in Portland, Oregon. In a blog post for ChristianityToday.com, he writes that calling it virtual church "gives people the idea that everything they need is available here."
The debate is an extension of a wider argument over social interaction in virtual environments versus the physical world. But because practices of faith are involved, both sides are deeply invested in the outcome, seeing it as a statement on the nature of the Christian person's relationship with God.
Supporters of online churches have a common response to their skeptics: Try before you criticize. The virtual experience goes far beyond using live chat rooms to exchange emoticons instead of hugs and handshakes, they say.
Links allow congregants to "raise their hand" and publicly commit to Christ, while prayer requests and one-on-one guidance are a click way. Sermon notes can be shared and discussed. And many online churches are aided by volunteers, allowing them to hold services several times each day.
The Internet campus of the Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City, Florida, pulls in more than 2,000 congregants from around the world during its Sunday services. Pastor Doug Gramling said his three children are part of the Internet generation that will eventually decide the future of worship. They use Web tools to stay in constant connection with friends over vast distances, which Gramling says "gives me confidence that it can happen in online church." But the disconnect from physical closeness is what Hyatt said he's "fighting hardest against." His own church offers online extensions such as podcasts and forums. But he believes "the computer screen is a supplement, not a replacement."
Hyatt and other critics are particularly distressed by the online offering of traditional sacraments, such as Communion and baptism. He believes it is "ridiculous" that someone can grab grape juice and a cracker from the fridge and watch a computer screen, thinking they are truly participating in a gathering of the faithful.
"Something about the physical presence, breaking the same bread, is what Communion is meant to be," he says.
But Church Online participant Donna Coledisagrees. "Knowing that others are also celebrating Communion, regardless of location, makes it an especially wonderful time," says Cole, who believes real-world Communion can ring hollow. "When I've taken Communion in live surroundings, I often got the sense that it was ritualistic and without meaning."
Matthew Bailey, a arishioner in the Franktown United Methodist Church in Virginia, believes that the meaning of the ritual is what matters. "If people are willing to go to the trouble of giving their own Communion, then it is quite probably 'real' for them," he says. While Bailey chooses to remain at his face-to-face church, he believes any person "faithfully attending an online church service, is being more proactive, and thus probably more attentive, than many longtime churchgoers." Douglas Estes, lead pastor of Berryessa Valley Church in San Jose, California, andauthor of "SimChurch," a book about Internet church services, would like to see this debate go away. "The Bible sees church not as a man-made building but as a people gathered to glorify God with their lives," he says. Estes believes the quality of a community should be judged by the spiritual fellowship it offers.
"There is only one substantive difference between an online church and a brick-and-mortar church: The place where they meet."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
National Geographic called her the “critical ‘missing link’ species.”
ScienceDaily and a Discover magazine commentator praised Ida as our “47-million-year-old human ancestor.”
Skynews told the public that “proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.”With Google’s eager assistance, Ida went viral: One of the leading search terms that day was “missing link found.” Even the Drudge Report was reeled in by the media frenzy, briefly featuring Ida as the headline story. Continue Reading at http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo10/10luskin.php
Friday, September 18, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Have you ever been down the cereal isle at any grocery store? Unless you know what you are looking for you very well might find yourself captured by the color of the boxes instead of the ingredients inside...I am so glad that my ministry is not the only one that God has given to the San Fernando Valley. I am so glad that my style of ministry is not the only one that is available to God's people. Variety is a wonderful thing, and within the Church of Jesus Christ God has put together so many different people who all love and follow His Son. But one of the problems the Church has experienced is what someone once called "Salad Bar Christianity." That is, going from local Church to local Church, and never becoming part of a fellowship of believers. Never investing your life into a "home" fellowship and never giving others a chance to invest into your life. Let's face it, The Kingdom of God is all about relationships. First a relationship with Jesus Christ, then with each other in the Body of Christ, and finally with our outreach through relationships into the World. In God's Word three main metaphors are used to illustrate the Church of Jesus Christ;
- The Church As A Building - Ephesians 2:19-22
- The Church As A Body First Corinthians 12
- The Church As A Bride - Revelation 19:5-9
In each of these metaphors there is a clear picture of long-term relationships. A building, a body, and a bride are never to be temporary or transient. Even the Human Body, while temporary in this world will be the seed by which our new Resurrected bodies will be formed. So, why would anyone who is part of Jesus' Church not "plug in" and develop long-term relationship. Why would anyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ not invest his or her life into others who are following Jesus as well.... Well, just a little something to challenge our Salad Bar attitudes.....
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
2. Embrace a form of religion over Jesus.
3. Win arguments but lose people.
4. Choose which parts of the Bible you want to believe — and discard the rest.
5. Don’t share your faith so as not to offend.
6. Dilute the message to gain a wider audience.
7. Embrace success and forget the poor.
8. Get uncomfortable around the unchurched.
9. Keep the Bible on the shelf.
10. Keep Jesus in stained glass.Through the generations Jesus’ followers have established schools, hospitals and orphanages. They have reminded the world that man is not an end unto himself. The call now goes out to a new generation. The Scriptures declare, “You are the salt of the earth…the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”