I’m Ready To Change…. But I Need Your Help!

Next month will mark two years of evandolive.com.  I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and feelings about life and Christianity and I look forward to the next years to come.

But… I think it’s time for a change.

I want to update the look of evandolive.com but I want your input on it.

Since the very beginning I have had the same layout and theme: iTheme2.  There’s nothing wrong with it I just think it needs a refresh or an update.

Here is a link to all the Free Themes By WordPress.

(If you find a theme that cost we might have to start a Kickstarter to get it 🙂 )

Take a look at them and let me know which one you would like to see.

I want your input because you will be one staring at it when you visit. 🙂

Thanks for your help and for your support!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Edit: Wrong Link to Free Temples Fixed 1/30/14 @ 4:09pm

Small Church Antics

This was placed on my sermon prior to the start of service. Something to think about 🙂

Published via Pressgram

Rethinking “Faith Like A Child”

My latest for Sojourners


Being a parent is an awesome task. On one hand you have the responsibility of caring for another human being; on the other, children can push the limits of your sanity, sleep habits, and your willpower while you watch the same TV show for the 14th time in a week. Parenting is not easy. Don’t believe me? Google ‘parenting tips’ and watch the advice flow in. Most of it is not worth reading, but every now and then you can find a diamond in the rough. Every person who has ever been a parent (and some who have not) will have an opinion on everything from discipline to feeding schedules and car seat options.

One important task that parents have is passing on values and beliefs to the next generation. Since we are Christian, my wife and I are raising our family in the church. It’s wonderful to see the wheels turning in my daughter’s head as she is learning about the faith that I hold so dear. This past Christmas was especially wonderful because this was the first year that the story of the coming of Christ in the world as a baby in a manger prompted awe and wonder. I have to admit I envy her; she is hearing the stories of God, Jesus, and the disciples for the first time. What I wouldn’t give to be able to listen to what goes on in her mind when she hears about angels singing or God loving humanity without conditions.

We don’t give children enough credit. They are infinitely smarter than we think. Children figure out things that most adults have trouble comprehending. I truly believe that my daughter came out of the womb knowing how to operate an iPad. She gets that finger swiping and she can navigate the world of apps and photos with more precision and understanding that people 20 times her age.

In the Gospel of Mark, we find these words of Jesus: “ I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15–Common English Bible). This verse is referenced when someone speaks that followers of Christ should have “faith like a child.” Generally, this is defined as “simple faith” or “faith without question.” This, however, is a misguided understanding.

My daughter, although she is only 3, understands the notion of the Gospel at basic level. For example, while traversing the aisles of a grocery store, my daughter exclaimed the words every parent has heard: “Daddy I want one of those.” I looked in the direction she was pointing thinking I was going to see a candy display or something with her favorite cartoon character on it. I didn’t see any of those things. I asked for her to clarify and she again pointed to a display of brown paper bags that had been filled with canned goods to be purchased for the local homeless shelter. She said, “I want to get one of those bags for the people who can’t come to the store to buy things.” I learned later that my wife the week previously had explained the bags to her. No matter how she learned about the bags, there was no way in the world I was telling her ‘no.’ What kind of message would that send to a child with a budding faith and curiosity about the world around her? I knew in that moment that my 3-year-old daughter was acting on her faith in a way that most adults never get a glimpse of. She didn’t ask how the people who needed the food got into the situation they were in and neither would Jesus. She didn’t say too many people were receiving handouts and neither would Jesus. She didn’t care about who got the bag of food and neither would Jesus. Simply put, if we are called to be followers of Christ, then we should start doing some Christ-like things.

Children’s faiths are alive and strong, and the church needs to recognize this instead of repeating corny “children’s sermons” that are usually well intentioned but often developmentally inappropriate. The church’s story is being heard and lived out in front of our eyes through the hands and feet of some of the smallest members of the church. Why are we amazed that more children are asking to give money or toys to others instead of receiving for themselves? This is something that should be an extension of our own faith; sometimes it takes the innocence of a child to reorient our thinking about what truly matters.

Having faith like a child does not mean that we take everything at face value, but it does mean that we have the ‘go-get-em’ attitude. Children’s faiths are constantly being shaped and formed by the people around them and by the answers they get to important questions. If we cannot articulate our faith in a way that a child can understand, then we have a failure in communication.

I want to have a child’s faith; I want the stories of the Bible to be more than just words on a page or the same old story. I want to be emboldened in my faith to step out and be the hands and feet of Christ in the world around me. And if I can do that, I know that I will have a partner in ministry with me.

Let’s not lose that sense of wonder that children possess.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan Dolive

Winter Comes to Southeast Texas

Today Southeast Texas experienced something that most of the country has already had enough of this winter… snow and ice. While by other state’s standards our accumulation is equal to a comfortable day is March, down here it’s a different story. The average low temperature for January is around 40 degrees… last night it dropped into the mid-20s.  Ice is what people put in their tea.

Southeast Texas + Ice + Snow+ Freezing Temperatures = Kinda Chaotic

In the area of Texas where I live we have lots of bridges and they all iced over for the majority of the day causing delays and cancellations of schools and businesses.

I couldn’t even make it to work because portions of the interstate and bridges were closed.

Below are some pictures of the Winter of 2014, Southeast Texas style.

Stay warm!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

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One Post… Two Sermons

Below are two sermons I preached on January 12 and 19th.  Enjoy!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

“You Are Not Lacking” (January 19, 2014- I Cor. 1:1-9)
[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/49fhp0iukn/you_are_not_lacking.mp3|titles=You Are Not Lacking|loop=no|animation=no]

“And The Spirit Descended” (January 12, 2014- Matthew 3:13-17)
[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/mkx6hjw5rw/spirit_descended.mp3|titles=And The Spirit Descended|loop=no|animation=no]

Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK

[audio http://ia600402.us.archive.org/29/items/MLKDream/MLKDream_64kb.mp3|titles=”I Have A Dream” By Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.|loop= no|animation=no]
Speech linked from American Rhetoric (All Rights Reserved)

Guest Post: Elijah Rising: End Human Trafficking in Houston, Texas by Benjamin Fort

Today’s guest post is from my brother-in-law, Benjamin.  

A few months ago Ben learned about the modern day slavery that exists not only around the world but in our own back yard.  He recently learned of Elijah Rising, an organization in Houston with the mission of stopping slavery and educating the populace.   Did you know that Houston ranks in the top 2 cities in the nation for sex trafficking?

 Below is a short reflection of Benjamin’s experience.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Originally posted on Emerging Disciples

One moment you are in the seedy, shady den of the Human Trafficking underworld; the next moment, you find yourself surrounded by strip malls, restaurants and shopping centers. This is the reality of Human Trafficking in Houston, TX.

We met up with our tour leader Cat French, and the rest of our crew around 7 p.m. Elijah Rising started as a once-a-month prayer meeting. Now they do intervention, van tours, music and prayer. The headquarters was once a brothel until Elijah Rising intervened. Now, Elijah Rising is located in the hotbed of human trafficking in Houston.

Beautiful, Spirit-filled music echoed in the Elijah Rising building. I felt the Holy Spirit come over me very quickly and strongly as Cat gave us some introductory information.

The tour weaved in and out of the back alleys of Human Trafficking. We learned that many types of Human Trafficking fronts exist such as, Spas and Cantinas. The spas are what you would imagine. Showers, massages, and back rooms. The Cantinas are set up like bars, where, “Johns (normal consumers),” can purchase sex. They have outhouses where one takes the trafficked human.

The tour was extremely convicting about human trafficking. We learned that human traffickers pray to demons. One theory of why there is such a cluster of human trafficking is that where one person opens a dark, evil portal, others will follow. In other words, the hotbed of human trafficking is an open portal to evil. Call it crazy if you will, but when you experience it, you might agree.

At the end of the tour we saw a building that had been raided and shut down. We saw a painting of a woman in chains surrounded by flags of different countries where they traffic humans. There were white flags representing countries not yet trafficked.

America is not one of these. We have compromised and become a hotbed of human trafficking. America has sadly become a new Babylon. We need to make people aware.

Awareness is the first step.

Contact Elijah Rising at www.elijahrising.com


Benjamin Fort graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2012 with a Bachelors in Studio Art and Mass Communications. He serves on the Praise Band at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Longview, TX.
He is a Christian social activist to end human trafficking. Check out his website www.emergingdisciple.com

 

Worship Vs. Football

Sorry to disappoint but this is not a post about Tim Tebow.

A pastor  this past Sunday was in a predicament. He had to lead Sunday services and he beloved San Francisco 49ers were in a playoff game.  So he performed the shortest church service ever– Start to Finish… 1 minute (sermon and communion included).

Check it out

But don’t worry folks…  according to the New York Daily News, it was a fake but it good for a laugh.

The 53-year-old returned to the sanctuary after his trick play and conducted the standard hour-long service. He said some members offered to give him updates, but the pastor had the game set on his DVR and he watched it in its entirety – including pregame – when he got home. He was rewarded with a 23-10 victory.

Sermon: “Rocky Start”

On December 29, 2013, I preached at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Beaumont, Texas as part of a join service between the two sister congregations.

The sermon is entitled “Rocky Start” based on Matthew 2:13-23.

[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/murayt2p7a/20131229-105709.mp3|titles=Rocky Start|loop=no|animation=no]

 

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

14 Books In 2014

My new year’s resolution is one that I think many people make: to read more.

I enjoy reading and I even have a Kindle.

I have an ever growing list of books that I want to read, should read and have been recommended to me but by consequence of having a full time job, preaching on Sundays, a wife and two kids, time is scarce.

So this year I am going to make a goal to read 14 books in the year 2014.  I know to some avid readers out there 14 is the standard quota for a week but I am taking baby steps here.

I hope to write reviews on the books I read during this challenge and you never know maybe I will surpass my goal of 14.

If you have any recommendations for me feel free to comment below!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Rev. Evan has
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Picture: “Books HD” by Abeee via flickr. used under the Creative Commons License 2.0.