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City Blog: January 2011 — December 2011

October 28, 2011

Church Shopping

Benjamin Spalink
You're new to the city.  You have to find a church.  You've had various kinds of experiences with churches and so you kind of know what you're looking for.  Not too big. Not too small.  Warm and welcoming would be great. Of course: good worship.  A place where I can meet cool Christian friends.  A semi-epic pastor would be nice. Biblical preaching that is imminently relevant.  (And, you admit, it helps if he's funny.) And so begins your journey of google searches, church visits and exploration. Church shopping is a necessary evil. You ...
October 19, 2011

A Baptismal Story

Benjamin Spalink
This Sunday we celebrate something exciting - an NYU student being baptized!  Below is his story in his own words.  Read it to be encourged by how God continues to work in the lives people he choose by providing community and security in a big and often overwhelming world.   By Johnathan Chen My life was simplistic before I came to faith. I had goals but none were oriented in the light of God. Good things happened but I attributed it to luck. I came from a non-religious family, but we were allowed to believe whatever we chose. My ...
September 13, 2011

How to Grow a Church

Benjamin Spalink
Good: * facebook ads * mailings * invites *outreach events * cool webpage * Better: * programs * good community groups * fun things happening * decent preaching * Bible studies * training and leadership development * new community forming * prayer Best: * Holy Spirit coming down in power * Kingdom of God tangibly breaking into specific parts of the community/city * repentance and faith * experiences of faith, hope and love shared naturally * radical love of neighbor * risky endeavors of love * sacrificial service for poor and ...
August 24, 2011

Expecting Too Much?

Benjamin Spalink
One of my favorite Catholic priests wrote an article on his blog about the great disappointment so many feel who, after experiencing great moments of God's presence and work, eventually realize that prayer is hard, boring and often quite dry.  He writes: "We nurse a naïve fantasy both about what constitutes prayer and how we might sustain ourselves in it. And what often lies at the center of this misguided notion is the belief that prayer is always meant to be full of fervor, interesting, warm, carrying spiritual insight, and carrying ...
May 12, 2011

Tongues in the church

Benjamin Spalink
Read I Corinthians 14 Paul is quite clear - intelligibility in worship is a high priority.  What we're doing, saying, singing must MAKE SENSE. The use of tongues may benefit the one speaking, but it doesn't build up the church because no one understands what is being said.  Unless translated or interpreted, tongue are not meant to be used in corporate worship. Having said that, it's important to note some of Paul's assumptions.  Speaking in tongue is good! Paul claims to speak in tongues more than any of the Corinthians.  In group, we ...
May 05, 2011

Love Redefined

Benjamin Spalink
Last night's community group was awesome.  I led the meeting, but I myself got a lot out of it so I wanted to share the main takeaways. The text for the evening was I Corinthians 13, the oft-quoted passage on love. What is often overlooked is that Paul's discourse on love is part of a larger discussion about the usage of spiritual gifts.  The Corinthians suffered from delusions about the gifts. They believed certain gifts to be superior to others, namely speaking in tongues. Their delusion stemmed from their mistaken view of what it meant ...
February 25, 2011

New Songs, New Art, New Worship at Sing a New Song!

Benjamin Spalink
(Pictures by Gabriela Filasky) On February 18th, City Grace Church hosted its first Sing a New Song! worship-concert.  Amazingly, almost 150 people came to attend the event, drawing participants and attendees from Redeemer Hoboken, All Angels Episcopal, NYU InterVarsity Fellowship, City Grace, Neighborhood Church and elsewhere.  The vision for the event was to create a celebrator worship service in which artists, worship leaders and song writers would come together to showcase the new styles by which Christians are worshipping God from ...

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