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Showing posts from 2016

Protesting ChristMass

During a meeting with several other Cincinnati area worship ministers last week we got to talking shop about Christmas/Christmas Eve services; who was doing them, who was not, how many and what time. I was intrigued (neither positive nor adverse reaction) to find that roughly a third of the churches represented were not having any kind of Christmas Day services, even though Christmas morning is a Sunday this year. Yet there was one leader (Reggie) who said that their church has a Christmas morning worship service every year regardless of whether it falls on a Sunday.

Initially this shocked me. How could this be? Why would this be? Why have a church service every Christmas? Why not stay home and eat cinnamon rolls and open presents like the rest of America? Reggie said many of the people who expect this from his congregation are not native North Americans. Initially Reggie was against the idea, but once he realized how many people from his congregation wanted to have a Christmas mornin…

The Home School Game

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Our family has started a tradition of celebrating this day by opening gifts from our stockings on this day and remembering the historical figure of Nicholas, who was a humble and generous person. It is a wonderful compromise for our family backgrounds to both celebrate Santa Claus and at the same time keep Christ-mas about Christ. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year.

This year, we decided to add an element of teaching our children to be generous by choosing toys they want to give away to other girls and boys who are less fortunate than our children. Katie lined up two dozen toys they had not been playing with for some time now and laid them all out on a table. One by one, our kids examined the toys on the table and were instructed to pick out onetoy they wanted to keep for themselves. After each kid had picked out a toy to keep, they were told to go back through the toys and pick another toy they wanted to give away. It was heart-…

An Open Letter to the Media: Stop It

Dear Media,

I know you are aware of this, because you are the ones reporting it. This past week there have been riots, racist bullying, harassment, public demonstrations, and shootings. The reason for these reports? People are scared. People have heavily formed opinions filtered by your reports. People are angry because of what they are reading, and you are the ones to blame.

That's right media, the reason for all these angry, bigoted, hate-crimes is because you are stirring the pot.

So here is my request...stop it.

Stop reporting hate crimes and instead publicize acts of love. Stop reporting harassment and instead advocate for teamwork. Stop reporting shootings as fear-mongering and instead encourage people to be responsible and meet their neighbors.

Have you ever considered that it is your portrayal of our public figures that is informing the masses how to think and respond to actions? Have you considered that it might be your flashy headlines about racism that are actually fur…

Blessed to be Lukewarm

Today, Nov 6th, is considered the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. We spent some time praying for our brothers and sisters this morning; my prayer was for peace and comfort and endurance as they run the race. While praying I was reminded that we in America are blessed to not have the same daily persecutions.

Or are we?

Christian believers in Asia are forced to make a decision whether they are in or out. If they are in then they are laying a lot on the line. If they are out then they are safe.

We in America don't have to make that same polarizing decision. We can attend church every once in a while, half-heartedly sing some songs that make us feel kinda good, and drive a car with a Jesus bumper sticker while weaving through traffic. We are blessed to be allowed to be lukewarm Christians. 

Revelation 3:16 "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."It raises the question: who is more blessed? Are Christia…

Casting A Conscientious Vote

Here's the thing America: you nominated two terrible representatives for public office--one "Republican" and one Democrat. Both of their campaign managers have decided that the strongest approach to get elected is to basically claim "at least I'm not them." Both parties have released ad campaigns to bash the other candidate and both, I might argue, do so quite effectively.

Now that I have successfully been persuaded that I should vote for neither candidate (thanks to the other candidate), I am left wondering who there is left to vote for. Certainly there is some candidate who is both qualified as a politician and as a person of reasonable morals??

Enter the 3rd party system.
America was founded against a national party system (you can read about that here for an enlightening time). And yet it is this national party system that has allowed a Democratic convert like Donald Trump to represent the Republican party. Trump knew that the only way to have a shot at…

Gestation for Eternity...

Today is our baby's due date. 
Katie and I are on pins and needles waiting to meet this newest member of our family. Katie is aware of every little contraction and twinge, wondering if maybe that is the onset of labor. Or no, maybe that one is! It's a very unique season of advent in the Read household.

The doctors gave us a due date of Sept 21 but in all reality "about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32). So we wait to see the timing that God has picked out for us, knowing that His timing will be perfect, and knowing that the doctors should have just given us a ballpark (late September) time instead of a specific date (it's okay medical staff, we forgive you). 

All this anticipation has me thinking: what if God gave us a gestational period so that we could better understand how His 2nd coming will be? 

Here are some similarities that I believe God gave us so that we can better understand what …

Looks Can Be Revealing

A friend of mine sent me a link to a song called "Falling Into You" by Hillsong Young and Free. This group of musicians intentionally creates music for younger believers and everything they do is designed to engage young people on their level. Chances are when you watch the music video there will be many things you really like about the video...along with many things you will classify as "not my style." Am I right?

Here's what struck me in particular about this music video: the backing vocals are singing their little hearts out...and you can't hear a single note they're singing. You can hear that there are other people singing other than the lead, but there is no clear distinction of voices. Maybe we are just hearing the crowd sing along, maybe it's the backing vocals, maybe it is a pre-recorded layer of backing vocals...either way, it seems that the vocalists on stage are there predominantly to provide a certain atmosphere. They dance, they move, t…

Let's Stop Singing

Someone recently shared an article with me titled "Let's Stop Singing These 10 Worship Songs." The author, Corrie Mitchell, is making a point that there are some songs that have made it into the mainstream worship scene that are lyrically weak at best. I believe her ultimate goal is to encourage song writers both to be more conscientious of their lyrics to not neglect theological accuracy at the expense of prose--which is a noble and applauded effort.
But with that said, here is my response to her article.

Let's stop singing these 10 worship songs.
That's right, there are too many important theological statements that are getting left out of worship songs. If congregants don't have the opportunity to proclaim the entire Gospel message in the course of one song then it isn't worth singing. After all, what if that is the only song they ever hear in a worship service? They will be left thinking that the Gospel message is incomplete. That Jesus only died to s…

Going Steady with Church

When I hit my adolescent years my dad required that before I date any girl I needed to talk to her father first. One of these conversations sticks out in my mind above the rest.

I was talking to Don about wanting to date his daughter. He was open to the idea but wanted me to know what his view was on dating (and subsequently what his girls had grown up being taught). He told them to view dating like grocery shopping: feel free to explore with different kinds of guys and use those relationships to teach you what kind of attributes you want to look for in your future spouse.

I was a bit shocked. I had grown up with the understanding that the more dating relationships you entered, the worse off you would be by the time you got married. I was at a crossroads, trying to decide which school of thought I ought to subscribe to.

Ultimately I decided that the idea of dating around wasn't for me. Years later I married one of my best friends, knowing that we already had chemistry because of o…

Searching for Beauty

A couple years ago my wife and I got a chance to visit a dear college friend who now lives in San Diego. San Diego is a beautiful city. The weather seemingly is always a balmy 86--with a 3 degree swing cooler overnight. No matter where you are in the city you are only 20 minutes away from a view of the Pacific Ocean. I'm pretty sure that the Garden of Eden may have actually been San Diego pre-flood era or something.



My guess is that if you were to ask someone born and raised in San Diego, they wouldn't have nearly the same excitement that Katie and I had. After all, we all get bored with what surrounds us. When someone with an oceanfront property wakes up, they don't sit and gawk at the ocean the same way a Midwest American would. Someone from the West Coast likewise might be intrigued by the symphony of cicadas on a summer night in Ohio because they are unfamiliar with that experience.







We get so ingrained in our habitual routines that many (or maybe most) days we forget t…

Proverbs 31 Woman

A Wife of Noble Character10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life. I have been blessed beyond words by my relationship with Katie, yet I will give it a try.
She is virtuous (vÉ™rCHo͞o noun "behavior showing high moral standards.") to the utmost degree. She is invaluable as a resource, way more than wealth or riches. She is the most trustworthy person I know--always following through on her word and keeping every promise she makes. She makes wise decisions and her gut response has navigated us through many troubled waters.

13She finds wool and flaxand busily spins it.
14            She is like a merchant’s ship,bringing her food from afar.
15          She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her householdand plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

She cuts coupons but not corners. She creates crafts and prepares …