Monday, January 23, 2017

What Spirit Do We Follow?

Ephesians 4:1-6 - Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

As a high school student I remember going to pep rallies before the big game on Fridays. We would sit in the gym according to our classes, with freshman in one section, sophomores in another, juniors in their place and seniors usually in the best section of the gym. The cheerleaders would lead us in various cheers and then the classes would seek to outdo each other in displaying our enthusiasm for the team.

One of the cheers we often chanted went something like “We got the spirit, yes we do, we got the spirit, how about you?” This would be chanted by one class, and another class would have to respond. Whoever shouted the loudest was considered to have the most school spirit and therefore won the pep rally.

As an adult looking back on those pep rallies, it occurs to me that we were all cheering for the same team. We were all there to show our support for the team and encourage them to play hard and bring home the trophy. It really did not matter which class was the loudest. But back then it sure seemed important to win the pep banner and show the most school spirit.

I think this “we got the spirit, how about you” attitude sometimes creeps into the church. Some churches follow a more traditional path in worship. Other churches follow a more innovative path. Still others seek to combine elements of both traditional and innovative worship. Like high school students, we tend to hang out with people in our own group and we tend to think our group has a lock on how the Spirit wants us to cheer on the saints in worship. At times it seems that we are acting more like high school students at a pep rally instead of mature leaders in the church of Jesus Christ.

Traditional pastors may think that innovative pastors have watered down the bible and abandoned biblical principles. Innovative pastors sometimes feel traditional pastors have quenched the Spirit and are riding a dead horse into the ground. Often pastors are caught somewhere in the middle and afraid to share their ideas about these matters with anyone because they are not sure how those ideas will be received. Such pastors tend to drift back and forth between one group or another never really fitting in completely.

Perhaps we should stop acting like self-centered teens trying to prove we have the most spirit and instead focus on serving the Lord in the way that He leads us to. While some traditional pastors may have indeed quenched the Spirit, there are others who are deeply in love with Jesus and serving Him with passion but through traditional ways. Likewise, some innovative pastors have taken far too many liberties with the bible in their efforts to be contextual. But many others have searched the scriptures and many things they are doing are often ancient practices of the church re-packaged for a more modern clientele. Since we are all on the same team, we should rejoice when someone discovers a way to engage a group of people and lead them in genuine worship, even if it looks different than how we lead our own group in worship.

It takes all types of churches to reach the many different types of people in our society. Together, as a team, we can join God in His work and reach all those whom He is calling to Himself.

Lord, help all Bible believing Christians find unity in our mutual faith together instead of being in competition with each other. Amen.

This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rudeness is Not a Virtue

Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I confess I was eavesdropping on a conversation that a group of teenagers were having. No, I am not a stalker. But I realized a long time ago that I could learn a lot about what young people think if I stand a few feet away and just listen.

This particular conversation was between some girls. They did not appear to be getting along very well. The conversation became tense. One of the girls said “I’m not trying to be rude but . . .” and then went on to say some things that were extremely rude. Her tone of voice, her body language, and the words she used, were all very rude. She knew she was being rude. Saying, “I’m not trying to be rude...” was merely a ploy for her to be able to say whatever mean thing she wanted while pretending to be nice.

Though this particular incident involved teens, I have heard similar things among adults. Far too often starting a sentence with “I’m not trying to be rude but . . .” is just a thinly disguised way of being rude. Such rudeness, thinly disguised as politeness, fools no one and does not accomplish anything positive.

The world may treat each other that way, but Christians should aspire to higher standards. Christians should aspire to treat each other with dignity and respect as brothers and sisters in the family of God. If we do not mean to be rude, then we should not be rude. If we realize we are being rude, we should stop mid-sentence and apologize. We cannot continue to be rude thinking that we are fooling others into believing that we are polite. No one is fooled.

As Christians, everything we say and do should honor Christ. Rudeness does not honor to the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, especially rudeness poorly disguised as niceness.

Lord, help us to treat people the way You would treat them. Amen.

This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:


Saturday, January 7, 2017

What I Have Learned Through Blogging

Eight years ago today my teenage daughter helped me launch this blog. My primary purpose for the blog was to help churches of all sizes, but especially smaller ones, reach the next generation. Most of my early posts focused exclusively on that topic. As the years have passed I’ve expanded my focus to include cultural trends that impact churches and devotional writings that rise up out of everyday experiences. I also have invited a handful of friends to write guest posts, some of whom have been so kind as to write a number of guests posts. I think having more than one writer adds depth to the blog.

Since the blog’s inception 258,364 different people have read one or more posts on the blog. Forty percent of the visitors found the blog through Facebook. Forty-five percent found it through a Google search. Fifteen percent discovered it through some other search engine. Most readers are from the United States, though the number of European visitors is rapidly growing.

There are 958 posts on the blog. Five hundred and fifty-four people “follow” the blog and read almost every post. Nearly 1,000 people have to read a post before it gets into the list of “most read” posts on the blog. All the posts have a comment section that is open for two weeks after posting and some great discussions have been had in those comment threads. On very rare occasions I have to delete a comment because someone tries to hijack the thread and talk about something unrelated, or they attack some other person or group in their comment. I am thankful that the vast majority of people are respectful on the comment section, as I think it helps strengthen the overall value of the blog.

As I reflect on what I have learned through blogging, these things come to mind:

  1. Having a blog has greatly expanded the number of people I minister to. It is unlikely that I will ever preach a sermon or lead a church health seminar to more than a quarter of a million, but that is how many have read at least one post on my blog.
  2. Having a blog has opened up doors for other writing assignments that I had not previously considered. I’ve written articles for magazines. I’ve write editorials for Baptist Press. I’ve written some chapters for books that other people edited and published. Almost all of those opportunities came from someone seeing something I wrote on the blog and wanting to know more. Five of my seven books developed out of things I first wrote for my blog. It really has been the gate to more significant writing.
  3. Having a blog has forced me to write in a more focused way, which has also improved my verbal communication skills. Learning to write something meaningful that was short enough to read from someone’s mobile device, yet worth the time they took to read it, was a bit of a challenge. But it has many benefits that spill over into communication skills across many different formats.
  4. Having a blog has allowed me to interact with a wide variety of people that I might not have connected with in any other way. I have become good friends with many people outside my natural circle of connections who have greatly enhanced my life. Many of those connections originated from the blog.
  5. Having a blog has given me a larger platform for finding partners for the other ministries I serve. As a leader of a faith based non-profit, strong partners are essential for effectiveness. The blog has given me greater credibility, a larger network, and a voice that has impacted those non-profits in a very positive way though the blog is not officially sponsored or endorsed by those non-profits.
  6. Having a blog with regular posts takes a lot of time. Anything worth doing takes time.
  7. Having a blog is a lot of fun! It has been a great 8 years. I am looking forward to the next eight. 

What have you appreciated most about this blog? Of all the posts you have read, was one particularly impactful? What about it made it stand out? Leave your responses in a comment below. Thanks for being part of the journey!

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: