it’s time to be civil (28)


# 19. Care for your guests. …

” … to entertain a guest is to make yourself responsible for his happiness.” (Anthelme Brillat-Savarin) Certainly you want your guests to have the best and most comfortable of times. Commit yourself to their well-being, keeping in mind that sometimes small details make the difference. …

… at snack time, refrain from asking if anybody would like anything to eat. Just put the food out and offer it. Then everybody will freely decide whether to have some.

Your guests shouldn’t feel that they must earn your hospitality. Don’t show a guest who is a physician your skin rash or ask a lawyer how you can incorporate your business. If you need to tap their professional expertise, call them the next day at the office. … Your dinner guests are under no obligation to help you in the kitchen either before or after the meal. If they offer to and you are comfortable with it, accept with a simple thank-you.

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 122-123

this went thru my mind


Evangelism: Proclaiming the Gospel as Reality-Creating Event: or 3 Reasons Why This is Not Your Parent’s Evangelism by David Fitch [required reading]

“The evangelism of my youth used verbal words to communicate information. … If this presentation took place “to” someone outside the church, it often turned into an apologetic exercise. It was NOT born out of everyday relationships. And this presentation often sought to secure a result … Enough has been written on the way this plays off a Christendom world that no longer exists. It was often coercive (which works against the Holy Spirit). It was often pre-packaged. It was often unrelational. All of which, I suggest, disqualifies it as the gospel.”

Journaling: I Take It Back: Why I’m Journaling Again by Dan Bouchelle

“… people who live the fullest lives practice gratitude in an intentional way …”

Listening: Learning to Listen by Josh Alan Turner

“… the idea that we may have something to learn from someone should not be a novel concept or one that strays too far beyond the pale of our particular brand of orthodoxy. Still, it is rare to hear anyone — particularly anyone interested in the concept of evangelism — advise Christians to actually listen to their non-Christian friends.”

Muhammad Ali: Ali, Round Two by Dick Cavett

“Hey, Dick Cavett. I hear you lettin’ niggers sleep in your bed.”

devoted: grow a spine


NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Nov. 18. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon tomorrow morning entitled Devoted: Grow a Spine. Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides.


To explore what it means to develop a spine and to devote it to God.


I’m writing these things to you so … you’ll know how you should behave in God’s household. It is the church of the living God and the backbone and support of the truth. Without question, the mystery of godliness is great: he was revealed as a human, declared righteous by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached throughout the nations, believed in around the world, and taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3.14b-16 CEB)


Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Here’s a sanctified chance to moan a bit. Do you have back trouble? If so, tell us about it. What’s it like, how does it affect what you do, etc.

2. Tell us about some “aggie-engineering” (sorry Aggies; perhaps I should have said “a Rube Goldberg device”) you used to hold something together one time.  Think “over-abundance of duct tape,” etc. How’d that work out for you?


These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. vs. 15 – Compare the wording here in several versions. Thoughts? What is the backbone and support of the truth?

2. vs. 15b – What is “the truth” Paul has reference to here? Answer in context.

3. vs. 15a,16 – How is it that the truths expressed in vs. 16 – “the mystery of godliness” – relate to our knowing how to “behave in God’s household?”


These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. If truth is truth, how is it truth needs any “backbone” or “support?”

2. What singular item of the six aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ – “the mystery of godliness” (vs. 16) – do you think of most often? Why? Least often? Why?

3. What does it do for you to know that God is counting on you to courageously and consistently support with your life what he defines as “the truth” in this world?

4. How have you seen the church powerfully living out some of God’s truth?

5. Someone tells you that all “truth” is subjective? How would you respond?

6. Pray together as a group for God’s people – yourself included – to have discernment for what truly matters, what does not, and to have a strong spine for the former.