Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcome To Faith Bits!

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,
so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
(1 John 5:13)
Welcome to “Faith Bits,” my blog about life and faith in the 21st-century. Although this forum will primarily host my weekly Pastor’s articles for our church’s e-newsletter, you’ll also find here some of my personal thoughts and musings on life, faith and Christian living relating not only to our local church, but also to our local, state, national and world community at large.

Within this forum over the course of time, you’ll alternately find words and stories of inspiration, information, challenge and humor. Please visit often, as I’ll also occasionally add posts that will not appear in our weekly e-newsletter. And, as I designed this to be an interactive online forum (where my articles are merely discussion-starters), please feel free to share appropriate comments as you feel led (click on the “comment” link at the bottom of each post), and/or share them with a friend via email or social media.

Finally, on this blog you’ll also find “Links for Life” websites and others resources for your walk of faith, including an archive of a few of my sermons (and other materials) that address common questions of faith and spirituality which I’m often asked, or that I hear.

In the same way and spirit as the apostle Paul writing letters to his congregations (letters that we today call “Epistles” in the Bible’s New Testament), my hope and prayer is that this blog -- “Faith Bits” -- will become a connection point not only for life within our faith community at East Cobb UMC, but will also provide each of you with an important and trusted source (and resource) for your own personal walk with God.

Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Friday, July 16, 2010

E-Newsletter: Next Stage of Gospel Communication

“...And the gospel must first be published to all nations...”
(Mark 13:10, KJV)
For over 2000 years, Christians have sought to find effective ways to communicate the “good news” of the gospel with those around them. In the earliest days this took the form of in-person, word of mouth communication to and with individuals and groups. But even in these early days, there was always a need to communicate to those who were not directly present. That’s why early evangelists like Paul and Peter wrote letters to express their thoughts and feelings to Christians in churches and places far away – the “Epistles” of our New Testament (books like Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Peter) are all examples of this kind of communication.

Much later, Christians in the Middle Ages used stained glass windows in cathedrals to communicate Bible and church stories, ideas, and theology to multitudes who were illiterate. With the Renaissance, however, came a resurgence of literacy, along with the invention of the printing press, allowing for the mass publication of papers, books, and tracts to share news of the gospel. Along with the printing of scripture, churches soon also started printing news of what God was doing in their midst – printed congregational announcements, if you will. By the 20th-century, these “announcement bulletins” morphed into what we today call church “newsletters” to let folks know what was going on in the life of a congregation.

And now, nearly ten years in the 21st-century, we’re about to experience the next stage in this story of gospel and church communication: online newsletters. Most of you probably already know that the July 27th issue is the final church-wide printing of our church’s “Epistle” newsletter, as well as our “Good News” weekly email. Beginning in August, we’ll be communicating primarily through a new weekly electronic-newsletter that not only reflects how most of our culture now processes information, but allows us as a church to be better stewards of our resources.

While we’ll still be mailing the printed newsletter to our homebound members and anyone else who wishes it (just let the office know you want the printed version mailed to you), we hope that this new weekly format will help you stay better connected with the work of Christ here at East Cobb UMC as we go about fulfilling our mission of being “A Mosaic of God’s family... Gathering, Growing, and Going.”

To sign up to receive our new weekly e-newsletter, visit our website and click on the "email signup" link. In the meantime, enjoy this new way to keep in touch with the work of God through our church! And remember, God loves you and I do too!