Published January 24th, 2015 by

Marriage is still a Christian holy sacrament. A promise that is made to God that you are going to love this person unconditionally for the rest of your days. That you will cherish and honor them as your spouse and forsake any others. This seems to be a hard concept for the world to understand and respect, as the number of divorces clearly shows.

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One of the reasons for this I believe is the straying from the traditional Christian wedding service. Without the presence of God at the beginning of your life together, what kind of hope do you have? A Christian wedding service serves as a strong base for a marriage to weather any storm.

What Constitutes a Christian Wedding Ceremony?

There is no outline in the Bible that tells us the right way to get married, yet over the years we have adopted traditions as Christians that better exemplify our faith. At the heart is a ceremony that should express worship of God as well as a sense of community, respect, dignity and of course love. A wedding ceremony should be used as testimony to the sanctity of your union and demonstrate your strength as a Christian couple.

While certain elements may be altered, there are some that I insist on in order for me to feel good about calling it a Christian union:

  • The bride should be white. This is a symbol of her purity of mind, heart and body and an important tradition to follow.
  • Seating of any parents and grandparents is also a part of the ceremony. This displays a respect for those who have helped bring the bride and groom to this day.
  • The bride must be given away. This seems old fashioned to some, but for me the groom must understand that this woman is a gift that must be treasure.
  • Lighting of the Unity candle is more important then the exchange of rings. The first act of working together as a married couple helps to build their strength.
  • A traditional wedding mass is one where there are biblical readings, a sermon and song just like Sunday mass.

Eliminating Distractions

On this day, all eyes should be on the bride and groom, who should only be interested in one another. Big party plans and worries about details often distract the couple from their own wedding. I always suggest that the extra planning be done with consummate professionals who will allow the couple and guests to enjoy the day seamlessly. Wedding pictures should be shot by a Calgary wedding photographer who has a solid reputation for being self sufficient. Too many Christian ceremonies are spoiled when the wrong wedding photographer is a constant nuisance. Some are specialists in video or engagements, so choose wisely if you’re doing so in Calgary!

The same is true for any catering and entertainment that is planned for the reception. All of the details should be carefully gone over the day before the wedding, in order for the bride and groom to be able to just sit back and enjoy the day of.

When you focus on the meaning of the day, and the responsibility you have undertaken, the vows you exchange will have a more significant meaning. Make the wedding the holy sacrament it was meant to be, and the marriage will be off to the best possible start.…

Read More Insisting on a Proper Church Wedding

Published January 12th, 2015 by

Church SignageDoes the promise of heaven make the church full? Well, not exactly. Just like any other businesses around the country, there are some churches that have not only maintained the number of their followers but also increased it as well.  For these religious institutions, they follow a specific marketing plan. They are able to…

Give the right message…

to the right people…

at the right time…

These three factors are essential in forming marketing strategies. Giving the right message in front of audiences when they are motivated to hear it will make it possible to connect with new followers.

Connecting with New Followers

Like any other marketing strategies, these institutions know what their target audiences want. So, what do people want from their church? “Belongingness” – people want to be part of something larger than themselves, something that make them feel involve and important, much more to be loved and valued. Consider all these and follow the marketing strategies below, in no time there will be more connection with new followers.

Religious Marketing Strategies

  1. Talking to People is the primary way when it comes to human connection. It is important for church and ministries to “walk the talk” or practice what they preach. Being able to connect with people, like engaging in community activities can show potential followers how reputable a church or a ministry is. This is a great and effective marketing strategy.

 

  1. Make religious institutions known to the public by distributing flyers, brochures, leaflets and business cards. Print advertising is one of the most effective marketing strategies to make people know that such a religious institutions exist. In addition to this, posting ads on establishments, cars or clothing is also a great way to attract new followers. This instigates people curiosity and interests. Having great church signage is also important so potential followers can easily identify where your institution is located.

 

  1. There are wide and expanding marketing resources and tools available today. Take advantage of advancement in technologies. Religious institutions marketing strategies use a diverse mix of different media platform. Besides the use of television, radio and print ads, the internet particularly the social media platforms are a great way to connect with new followers. Millions if not billions uses the internet 24 hours a day. It’s just a matter of finding the right campaign to convey the right message to the right audience.

 

Creating a website is also a powerful marketing strategy but remember to formulate relevant campaigns that will uplift audiences. Have an effective navigation system and furnish service schedule and location.  Post sample sermons and secular activities, this will show people a taste of what the religious institution has to offer.

Final Thought

The human connection is positive, uplifting and inspiring; this is what a religious institution should focus more on when it comes to marketing plan. Engaging people whose time are very limited is not that easy. Besides a good marketing strategies, these churches and ministries should provide old and new followers a positive, uplifting experience and a connection among members, their preacher and of course with God.…

Read More Marketing for a Church

Published November 14th, 2014 by

The old adage of not judging a book by its cover is one we should all live by, especially when it comes to those who are active participants in their Christian faith. Christians come in all shapes and sizes, and are found in communities all around the world. Thanks to the good works of our brothers and sisters who actively spread the word of Jesus, there are now hundreds of cultures who have accepted the gospel and incorporate it into their everyday lives.

Closer to home, you will find that the most unlikely of your neighbors is also a practicing Christian who believes in the word and worships it the same way that you do.

A story was told by a parishioner recently about his surprising encounter with Christianity. Out with his family for breakfast at a local restaurant, a small group of motorcycle riders pulled into the parking lot. Seated at a table close by, the church member’s first reaction was to push his family to eat fast and get out of the restaurant.

As he was paying the bill and hurrying his daughter from her chair, she dropped her favorite doll. Before he had the chance to pick it up, one of the bikers reached down, grabbed it, and gently handed it back to his little girl. As he did so he kindly said, “my baby girl has a dolly just like this one, and I know it would break her heart to lose it”. As my parishioner looked to thank the man, the first thing he noticed was the gold chain around his neck. Hanging from it was the Christian cross. Trying to hide his surprise, he shook the man’s hand, thanked him and left with his family.

BikerPraying

This brief encounter bothered my parishioner for days before he finally came to me. He was troubled by his un-Christian behavior of judging someone before giving them a chance. Having had many motorcycle enthusiasts, or bikers if you will, in my parishes over the years I had come to my own conclusion about their choice in lifestyle and how they worked that into their Christian beliefs. I explained my theory to the church member.

Riding a bike actually allows for more introspective thinking about your faith and life goals. I liken a biker having Christian faith to his use of a motorcycle helmet. While motorcycle helmets are worn to protect the brain from being damaged by his hobby, having faith in Christ protects his soul. This allows these bikers to enjoy the thrill of riding the open road, whether alone or in a gang, without giving into sinful temptations. We recommend getting your lid from HelmetAdvisor.com, they’ve helped us a great deal with research!

I believe that my parishioner was comforted by advice and finally able to forgive himself for the quick judgment.  As he readied himself to leave, I shared with him one more anecdote that I had about my experience with Christian bike riders. When asking a biker his reasons for choosing this lifestyle I was told that “if they had Harleys’ 2,000 years ago, Jesus would have had one. That’s how enlightening riding a bike makes you feel”.…

Read More Finding Christianity Where You Would Least Expect It

Published October 20th, 2014 by

For centuries, men of deep religious faith have been depicted with a full grown beard. For some this is a sign of their devotion to their beliefs, while for others it is a following of what they believe to be doctrine by their religion. Whatever the case may be when you paint a picture of a religious leader, most of the time he will be bearded.

According to Leviticus 19:27: “do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” This has led to several interpretations and debate over what is acceptable in a number of religions which follow the word of the Old Testament.

For most, a beard is nothing more than a symbol of his membership into his religion, although there are those who take their wearing of a beard very seriously. This has even led to legal debate in prisons, where the institution tries to put limits the length of beards, while prisoners attempt to exercise their religious freedom.

jesus

Most religious leaders, including Jesus, are depicted wearing full beards that are unkempt and messy. As deep as your spiritual belief may be, it is not necessary to keep yours in a similar fashion. Instead, you should try to fit in with societal norms to some extent by using a beard trimmer often and following these beard grooming tips:

  • Invest in a beard trimmer. This is essential if you want to keep a beard that looks clean. You will be using a beard trimmer at least once a week, so this is a good investment to make.
  • Make sure that you choose a suitable style. Our faces are all different, and so is the way our beards grow. Experiment by growing out a full beard first and then trimming it down until the style complements your face.
  • The length is important. As already mentioned, there are some faiths who feel that a beard should be allowed to grow its own course. This is not practical for most people today except for the Amish. Instead, try to find a length that works with your style and life, while still paying homage to your religious beliefs.
  • Treat your beard the same way as you treat your hair. Washing your beard as regularly as you wash your hair is critical. Consider the proximity of a beard to your mouth and now consider the possibility of food making its way into the hair. You will want to wash this at least daily to maintain a clean look.

This is in no way meant to criticize or dictate how you choose to express your faith. These are merely suggestions for how you could meld your religious beliefs with a modern society.

For some, the unruly beards that were worn by Jesus and other important religious figures depict a lifestyle of such spiritual intensity that there was simply no time to keep up with a growing beard. While this may be true, in today’s world it is more practical to take a few moments from your praying to keep your beard groomed.

Click here for tips on proper church attire.…

Read More The Long Standing Relationship Between Faith and Facial Hair

Published August 7th, 2014 by

It’s in all our hearts to help those in need. With so many countries and cities in greater need than our own, we send out groups of people from our local churches to help those less fortunate. On these ministry trips, homes, churches, schools and sanctuaries are built to help less fortunate people with shelter, spirituality, education and safety. Though so much is donated and volunteered, we still must keep our fellow missionaries safe and properly looked after.

We’ve recently heard the story of a Christian man from Vancouver who endured the worst international travels you can imagine. As a Canadian citizen, he was equipped with his passport, additional ID and all the necessary documents he needed while flying to Haiti for this mission trip. Getting across the border was a long process, unfortunately this man’s documents were not all up to date and had a mistake that the border patrol did not take too lightly. For legal reasons, we can not disclose the error. However, as you can imagine, his journey was off to a bumpy start. This poor man who is just trying to make his way to help those less fortunate is now being hassled by patrol and interrogated due to one honest mistake. After some hours and finally working out the kinks, the border patrol let him through only for him to just barely make his flight with the rest of the missionary crew.

When he had arrived in Haiti, all seemed back to normal for the time being. The crew had arrived in the community that they were there to help rebuild, and construction was underway. The team had grown as a group and through teamwork and prayer, they had built a new community for the locals of the city. Life changing experiences took place, and they all learned so much about themselves, their faith, and those less fortunate countries that still exist today. However, this innocent man’s troubles were not over yet. Battling some medical difficulties in this foreign country and accidentally compromising his travel documents along with many other personal belongings, he was not in a good place. After this, he had a run in with the local law enforcement and was once again faced with the issues he had at the border on the way out of Canada.

Unfortunately this had followed him back to the airport when all was said and done. As his file now had some (recent) activity on it, he was held back once again by border security. This time it was not as easy as getting out of Canada due to his damaged passport. He had a difficult time proving his citizenship due to his lack of documentation, and he had a very rough time making it back into Canada. After a missed flight, he was allowed to board a plane back to Vancouver. This hasn’t been the end of it though. He is now dealing with a local immigration lawyer on how to best iron out the bumps he faced during his travels. As these issues become a part of his past, he has mentioned that never again will he travel internationally without the consultation of a lawyer to ensure all his documents and papers are properly filled out.…

Read More Helping a brother in need: The tale of a Christian immigration

Published July 28th, 2014 by

Shoes for church

As what our elders say, we have to be at our best whenever we go to Church. This means that going to Church for the right reasons with the right motivation, may it be to pray for something or simply to reflect. Also, along with our best behavior.

However, what many of us tend to forget especially nowadays is looking decent and presentable in visiting the Church. We tend to mix up our cocktail dress with the Sunday dress.

Now let us guide you from head to toe in becoming a better member of the Church.

Avoid wearing too flashy, sparkly or colored outfits. Tone down and be dainty. The purpose is to visit the Church and pray not draw attention.

Second are your accessories. Keep it simple! In the Church, less is more. The more you show off, the more people would doubt your sincerity.

The most missed out detail is the choice of footwear. High heels look very fascinating and sexy on women. High heels make you look tall, make your legs look longer and at the same time show them off! However, in a place like the Church one must be careful in selecting the right high heels, you can visit TwoComfyShoes and read their reviews on comfortable heels for women. Let us help you with that!

Kitten Heel

The safest among the high heels collection that is suitable for Church. Kitten heel can fit both moms and young adults. It has this edgy but subtle look and feel.

Kitten Heel Peep-Toe D’Orsay

This type of high heels fits moms and let’s not forget, the grandmas as well! Most of them are only half to one inch high so there’s no worrying how to walk on them! You will look funky but calm! No worries about assisting your mom or grandma, this footwear is suitable for all ages. What a good way to feel on Sunday for worship and family!

Pumps

Almond-Toe and Pointed-Toe pumps are so trendy that you can wear them from school to work to parties and to Church. The only difference these two have is the shape of the front part of the shoe. The Almond-Toe high heel has slightly rounded tip. The Pointed-Toe on the other hand is fully pointed. If you still want to retain and give clues about your fierce personality, then the Pointed-Toe is your mate. Whichever among the two you like most, just do not wear more than 3-inches high heels! Wearing pumps will earn you professional points from your peers of the Church but wearing more than 3-inches will earn you glances and stares.

Wedges

Wedges are perfect for summer! The season wherein you just want your feet to breathe and see the whole world! This type of high heels can never go wrong. If you’re wearing a dress, the wide width wedge sandals will make the whole outfit more semi-formal. On the other hand, if you’re wearing jeans then the wedge sandals will make you look more laid back and casual. Check out this article on wide width wedge sandals to help you with your buying decision.

Do not wear Platform high heels to Church. We get it, you want to look fabulous and just could not wait to try on your new pair of high heels but please not in the Church! Not only will you get stares but also wearing them will actually steal your concentration and purpose in visiting the Church. You will only feel uncomfortable and you’ll be constantly thinking about walking correctly and being well balanced rather than say a prayer.…

Read More Proper Church Footwear

Published July 28th, 2014 by

Hunting is the favorite pastime of so many of us that love the great outdoors and enjoy recreational activities that are both challenging and relaxing. But in our modern world, there’s rarely a need for people to hunt for subsistence, and so those who don’t hunt and may not understand hunting tend to call into question the morality of hunting and the practice of shooting and killing seemingly defenseless wildlife. But just how valid are these concerns? Is hunting, indeed, morally wrong? Are stores that earn copious amounts of money off the practice (like cabelas and bass pro shops) morally wrong?

Bird of Prey

Obviously, there is no clear answer to this much-debated topic, but the argument against hunting being morally justified does have merit. Generations ago when hunting was one of the few ways that a man could feed himself and those around him, it was an absolute necessity, but times have changed. Meat is certainly an important part of most diets, but large sections of the population abstain from eating eat and live perfectly healthy lives; in fact, some may argue that they live healthier lives. In this sense, meat is more of a luxury than a necessity, and one could argue that it’s not worth killing another living being over a luxury. Moreover, most hunters these days don’t even shoot animals for the purposes of food; they do so more for sport, which could be looked at as even more of a luxury than killing animals for food. If there’s gray area with regard to killing animals for food, then doing so for pure pleasure certainly straddles the line of what is moral. If you are looking at starting to hunt, is it more ethical to use a bow and arrow or a rifle? Should you use a tool like a rangefinder or scope when you go? How much is technology amounts to it being unfair to the animal?

There is also deep concern about the pain and suffering hunted animals go through when they are shot and ultimately killed. Since humans and animals don’t speak the same language, we often lose sight of their pain and their loss of life. When this is factored into the equation, especially in the sense that this is done mostly for recreational purposes, it’s easy to see why there are concerns about the morality of hunting. After all, hunting is far from a fair fight; one party has the tools, knowledge, and awareness to kill the other. Meanwhile, for the hunted animal, they are already trying to do whatever they have to in order to survive, only to have their habitat intruded upon and a more advanced civilization with advanced weapons hunt them without cause. Can anything this unfair be considered moral?

The response to these concerns from hunters is that they are actually more environmentally aware and concerned with conservation than the average person, as they have incentive to keep animal populations as high as possible and animal habitats as vast as possible. Moreover, the fees for hunting licenses go to fund habitat creation and wildlife management projects, which in turn help populations, therefore helping species and local ecosystems. That’s all true, but just because a system that is set up is sensible, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s moral. Couldn’t these projects be funded in some other way? More to the point, why do some members of a species have to perish in a violent way in order for the species to survive and flourish? On the surface, that sounds as morally ambiguous as warfare, with the caveat that hunted animals …

Read More Is Hunting Morally Wrong?

Published July 21st, 2014 by

I’ve been using the same personal trainer for several years now. Having a trainer has made all the difference in achieving my fitness goals. Up until last week I can say we had an incredible relationship. Thrive Fitness always pushed me hard, even on days when I didn’t feel like working out. So what happened?

He showed up at the gym wearing a shirt that had “HMRWJD” and underneath it, it said “one more than satan”. If you didn’t catch what HMRWJD is – it stands for “How Many Reps Would Jesus Do” mocking the old staple “What Would Jesus Do?” I’m not a particularly serious person but as a pasture I take my faith incredibly seriously. And I know he wasn’t meaning to be offensive and he probably didn’t even think of it when he put that shirt on that day. And while I’m not one to hold grudges or bemoan folks for their attire I think it’s fair to say it was a little unprofessional. After all, he was showing up  to his place of work where he trained clients.

Upon returning home I took a few minutes to google these shirts to see what else was out there. It turns out there is a slew of them and every single one of them is more then a little classless. It’s akin to me wearing a shirt that promotes jesus, over say another religion. I know many religious folks who do, do this but in my mind that too isn’t correct. Folks can feel the lord within them, they don’t need a t-shirt to remind them that he exists. A little tacky I would say.

As I mentioned, I no longer train with that gym. I’m not going to hold a grudge, but I’m also not going to work out at a place that marginalizes my spiritual beliefs (and my job). So for anyone thinking about buying any shirt that could be thought of as offensive – be careful. You don’t know who you’re going to insult and the actions they might take with it. In my case it was my wallet closed up shop.

I’m a firm believer in the right to believe in whatever faith you want (if any at all) but please don’t take that as a signal that you should wear shirts which make fun of a religion.

What’re your thoughts? Do you think I took it too far?…

Read More Offensive Shirts: “Reps For Jesus”

Published July 11th, 2014 by

homeschool tableAs public schools become more and more full of poor educational standards and anti-Biblical culture, many parents are looking for alternative schooling options for their children. While a private Christian school education might be beneficial and safer, they are also very expensive and may not be located in smaller communities. Another alternative public school that many Christian families have been adopting is that of homeschooling. There are many benefits that homeschooling has when viewed from an educational as well as a Christian perspective.

Curriculum Choices

When parents choose to educate their children at home, they have many options beyond what their children would find in a public or private school. Curriculum may be tailored to each specific child’s abilities and interests, as well as what the family wants to focus on. If a family is planning to take a vacation to Europe the following summer, one of the children’s learning units may be based on the geography, economics, politics, or culture of various countries in Europe. This helps to facilitate learning with personal experience which is much more difficult to do in a classroom setting. If and when the kids decide to further their learning with a college education, few know that there are even scholarships for homeschoolers available.

Bible Education

In addition to making sure that children get a well rounded education including reading, writing, and math, most Christian families believe that it is important to make sure that children receive education related to the Bible. Learning about the history of the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and learning to apply biblical principles to life can be a vital part of homeschooling a Christian home. In fact, the Bible can be applied to just about every aspect of learning including science, math, literature, history, art, music, and more.

Flexible Pace

Children who learn at home have the benefit of a great deal of one-on-one time with their teachers. Lessons can be guided to whatever pace works best for the child. If the child struggles in a certain subject, then more time can be taken in that subject. If a child is gifted or talented, he or she is able to work ahead at a pace which is challenging instead of boring. This may bring additional opportunities for graduating high school and going to college early. This type of advanced pace might make it possible for students to get scholarships for homeschoolers.

Time with Family

One of the most important ways to instill Christian values in our children is by schooling them at home. This allows them to spend time with the people in the family who we know are good influences on them. Learning as a family helps older children experience the responsibility of helping with and teaching younger children. Sibling relationships are also often much stronger when they are each other’s classmates and playmates. Time with family for a homeschooler also means that a grandma or grandpa or family friend may want to participate in lessons and learning, as well as going on “field trips”, and all of this helps to enrich experiences with relationships which might otherwise conflict with school hours.

Safety

Some parents and families live in public school systems which promote an unsafe environment. Even if the physical environment is safe (although more and more bullying continues to be reported in today’s culture), the emotional and spiritual environment may not be safe. Many schools limit a child’s right to carry or read from a Bible, others try to limit the child’s right to speak about spiritual matters. Because of this, many families choose to keep their children …