Growing Stronger

This past Sunday as we continued our conversation about who God made us to be as a church, the next key element of our identity is growth.  Keep reading to see how growing people has always been a part of God’s approach to humanity and how it is, could be, and should be fleshed out in our community.  Thanks for reading.

Growing Stronger

Growth is natural.  As it was nearing the first summer Lisa and I spent in Virginia, we decided we wanted to plant a garden.  Neither of us really had any idea what we were doing.  We got some help and advice from folks in the church who were themselves avid gardeners, but much beyond help with the plowing of a 30 by 60 plot in our backyard, we pretty much did all the work ourselves.  We planted way too much.  We wound up spending almost every evening and Saturday morning pulling weeds and picking produce (and trying desperately to give away the hundreds of squash and zucchini and cucumbers we had).  We canned more green beans than would fit in our meager pantry.  But, by the time it was all said and done, we had successfully grown a pretty nice garden.  Here’s the funny part, though, and if you’re a gardener you know this to be true: The work we did had almost no impact on the actual growth of the garden.  Sure, by pruning and pulling weeds and spraying for bugs and watering when it got dry we might have extended the life of the plants and increased the size of the harvest, but there was not a single thing we did to cause the garden to grow save putting the seeds in the ground.  Once they were in the ground and covered with dirt, the rest happened all on its own.  Again: growth is natural. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Revelation 6:9-10

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.  They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This verse has long been really encouraging to me during times of loss.  We have to be careful crafting doctrines from a single verse, but the picture John paints here seems to suggest pretty clearly (especially when paired with Jesus’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16) that those who have died before us are in some sense aware of what is happening here on earth.  They may be dead and gone, but they are still somehow able to see and know what’s going on here. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: John 20:28

“Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Thomas has been affixed for centuries with the rather unfortunate moniker, “Doubting Thomas,” because of his entirely justifiable disbelief of the other disciples when they reported to him that they had seen the risen Lord Jesus.  He is held out as a model of the kind of doubt-filled faith that believers should want to avoid.  Nobody wants to be like Thomas.  And yet, given the trajectory of his life and confession from that point forward, perhaps that is not such a fair assessment as he actually deserves. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Revelation 4:9-11

“And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.  They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This, as with much of the book, is a somewhat bewildering picture.  John describes a scene that is hard to imagine (which probably just means it was equally hard to describe).  He describes creatures that would be terrifying to behold.  It is a picture of God in His throne room, seated on His throne.  It is a picture of Him being worshiped by the heavenly host.  It is a picture of continual worship of the God who is on His throne. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Isaiah 6:8

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’  Then I said, ‘Here I am!  Send me.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

There is a real sense on the part of too many that the call of God is only something experienced by people who He is calling to full-time, professional ministry.  I experienced this call in my own life and still remember it clearly.  I can remember where I was sitting and what the are around me looked like in almost as much detail as the morning I proposed to Lisa. Read the rest…