May 31, 2015

Getting a Grip on Marriage

Posted in MCC resources tagged at 5:42 PM by alexlozada

This weekend featured another team effort with Ben Cachiaras speaking, Karla Cachiaras hosting, and the celebrating-twenty-five-years pair jointly sharing the Communion thought.

Here are Bible.com-YouVersion live event notes and message-based study guide for groups or individuals.

May 26, 2015

Right and Left

Posted in contemporary, culture, history tagged , at 9:49 PM by alexlozada

Pertinent in reflecting on many social media posts over the Memorial Day weekend, my teammate Rob Kastens re-tweeted a link from Scot McKnight to Patheos.com’s Jesus Creed blog.

The article’s author, Allan Bevere, in turn cites James Hunter’s To Change the World.

Both Right and Left, then, aspire to a righteous empire. Thus, when he [Wallis] accuses Falwell and Robertson of being “theocrats who desire their religious agenda to be enforced through the power of the state” he has established the criteria by which he and other politically progressive Christians are judged the same (147)

Bevere’s conclusion:

Both the religious right and the religious left have their own brand of civil religion based on the same modern Liberal and individualistic assumptions. The religious right freely admits this.

It is time for the religious left to stop denying it and own up to the truth that they have the same agenda, though their issues are different.

-=-=

May 24, 2015

Getting a Grip on the Next Generation

Posted in MCC resources tagged at 4:15 PM by alexlozada

Ethan Magness led a three-person teaching team this weekend: three generations of teachers (grandfather Lee, dad Ethan, son Evan) giving a real-life demonstration of how to use memorials of our faith to tell the story of Jesus to the next generation. For groups or individuals wanting to follow through, check the Bible.com-YouVersion Event notes or message-based study guide. Here are some memorable quotes from the message:

I freely confess. as a humbled dad, my weekend highlight wasn’t the (well-presented and effective!!) message, but the Communion meditation shared by the sensational Ely Lozada. Here’s a draft of her words 🙂

My generation needs your generation’s memorials of faith.  We both need to hear the great story of the Good News over and over again.  The most important memorial act is this Communion meal, this celebration every Sunday, this shared remembrance.Ely-communion

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this, saying “for I have received from the LORD what I also passed on to you.”  We take the bread and the juice, each of them an opportunity to remember, a chance to tell the story that Jesus came to die for our sins that we might be reconciled with God.  We have shared, and we will share, this meal for generations – so that we never forget that God loves each one of us and that Christ was sent so we might be part of his family.

Each Sunday, all followers of Christ are invited to share this meal and all of us are invited to remember the Good New that has been passed down.  Let’s share in this memorial, this feast, as we remember all that God has done for us in Christ.

May 22, 2015

Another example of tech fostering alternate ways to connect

Posted in culture tagged , at 10:06 PM by alexlozada

Building on the premise of this NY Times article “Young Saudis increasingly rely on mobile apps and social media to circumvent conservative strictures” — Christians in cultures where living as disciples is dangerous can use some of these tools to nurture relationships and teach Biblical truth

May 17, 2015

Getting Grip on Singleness and Dating

Posted in MCC resources tagged at 10:23 PM by alexlozada

Luke Erickson continued MCC’s “Love Handles” series with this weekend’s message, “Getting a Grip on Dating and Singleness.” (message-based study guide and Bible.com-YouVersion Event notes) Because this series focuses on specific types of relationships each week, people might think that certain weekend messages don’t have much value for them. Luke explains how this week’s message is useful to anyone:

I know we’re not all single or dating… I’m married. A lot of us are. But interestingly, that number is becoming less and less as, now, right about half of adults in our country are single. So this is important to be talking about. And if you were thinking that you’re in the half who are married so the message doesn’t apply to me, well, it doesn’t matter who you are, love-handles-dashboardall of us will spend a significant portion of our lives being single—on the front end of life for sure, and we don’t know about the middle and the back end of life, most of us. And all of us, even if we’re not single, have influence on someone who is. Kids or grandkids navigating the dating world in a way that’s a lot different from the way it was when you were that age. Or we have friends who are single again, trying to get reoriented after a divorce or the death of a spouse. So I guess the first point is that even if it’s been awhile since we’ve sat down at a table for two across from someone we were trying to impress—or get rid of—God’s word is relevant to all of us today

May 14, 2015

House blessing and home cooking

Posted in culture, personal tagged at 10:24 PM by alexlozada

My MCC teammate Jeff Owens delegated to me the opportunity to participate in a house blessing for a Filipino family that attends MCC. While the brief event was  much simpler than this article, (no sacrificials animals [beyond those in tasty pancit, lumpia, etc] or coin tossing), the family did welcome their friends and family to celebrate God’s material blessing.

In a not-directly-related email exchange, I answered a question from an MCC friend about Filipino desserts suitable for bringing to a seventh grade class project. Thanks for a road trip last year for an MCC staff lunch, I already had a good first-person experience w/ Philippine Oriental Redefined for (in-store-pickup) catering and groceries 🙂 Thanks to the wizardry of Goodsearch Images, I was even able to track down the name “barquilos” for the rolled-sweet-biscuit-cookie which was my recommendation for simplest bring-to-seventh-grade item.

According to most recent US Census, Harford County’s Filipino population is a tiny fraction, but the greater Baltimore metropolis has a growing Filipino (and Asian overall) presence. As part of the house blessing, I referred to Abraham who understood what it meant to be an immigrant. Comfort food and customs from home can ease the restlessness of the lifelong journey….

May 11, 2015

Getting a Grip on Motherhood

Posted in MCC resources tagged at 2:09 PM by alexlozada

MCC’s new weekend message series is called “Love Handles”:

Love handles — we have them, we hide them, or we try to prevent them. But those flaws in our physique are just one more reminder that we’re imperfect people. And the people we have relationships with are the same way. So how do we love the imperfect people around us? How do we get a handle on the many different relationships we have? How can we grab hold of the life God wants for us?

Ben Cachiaras opened with a topic in keeping with Mother’s Day, “Getting a Grip on Motherhood.” Here is the message-based study guide, and the Bible.com-YouVersion Event notes.

In keeping with the holiday theme, MCC’s Creative Media team showed this popular video…

May 6, 2015

Translating “data pastor” to other cultures

Posted in cross cultural mission tagged at 11:02 AM by alexlozada

In a recent email exchange with long-time friend who works in a church technology, I wrote

my interactions w/ MCC mission partners in ___ continually challenge my assumptions about the role of data … in non-Western contexts — for Christians among the majority of the world’s population, centralized electronic data … are at the mercy of anti-Christian governments or activists … sadly, this makes my role at MCC not-very-useful for helping MCC partners in those areas 😦

This article “Africa’s Mobile-Sun Revolution” by Steve Sinofsky reminded me about the topic of trying to apply what I do in my work week to other contexts. This quote shows that the kind of data I use in my ministry will not be used the same way in Africa or Central America, but technology (adapted to the context) will still enable church leaders to use data to more effectively guide their ministry decisions.

One of the contributors to the improved standard of living has been mobile phones. Over the past couple of years, mobile phone penetration in this village has reached essentially 100 percent per household, and most adults have a mobile.

The use of mobiles is not a luxury, but essential to daily life. Those that commute into the city to sell or buy supplies can check on potential or availability via mobile.

Families can stay connected even when one goes far away for a good job or better work. Safety can be maintained by a “neighborhood watch” system powered by mobile. Students can access additional resources or teacher help via mobile. Of course, people love to use their phones to access the latest World Cup soccer results or listen to religious broadcasts.

Spirit-equipped church-shepherds can use mobile devices (powered by solar!) to gather information about pastoral needs; distribute information and BIble teaching; and analyze data. “Equip you with everything good for doing his will”

May 3, 2015

Dis-Illusion: Christians are anti-gay

Posted in culture, MCC resources tagged at 11:05 AM by alexlozada

In this chaotic week, Ben Cachiaras closed the Dis-Illusioned series by tackling the topic “Christians are anti-gay.” The  message-based study guide and BIble.com-YouVersion Event notes.  Two of the most tweeted quotes from the message:

(Ben attributed the statement to a well-respected, [theologically] conservative Christian professor that Ben had asked about this topic)

May 2, 2015

MCC response to Baltimore events

Posted in culture at 11:52 PM by alexlozada

Mountain’s response to Baltimore events focused on prayer. The Creative Media team posted this call to prayer on YouTube.  MCC folks gathered at the Mountain Rd and EPICENTER campuses on Tue PM 28-Apr to pray together. Ben Cachiaras posted “My Plea to Christians in Baltimore” on his blog earlier in the week, and followed through with an extended length e-note that gave specific action steps, including MCC’s partnership with The Foundry church plant in Baltimore (featuring leadership-resident and former MCC staffer Josh Dew) and community organization Somebody Care Baltimore. At each of MCC’s three campuses during the 2-3-Apr weekend, the services opened with a pastoral prayer for Baltimore.