Live Courageously

This past Sunday we ventured into part three of our teaching series, Pursue: Chasing God in a Godless World.  One of the truths we need to embrace if we’re going to do that is that sometimes it’s hard to do.  So, what do we call it when someone does the right thing even though it’s hard?  Keep reading to find out.

Live Courageously

Our culture loves heroes.  Superhero movies have always been popular, but the last few years have seen their profiles rise to epic proportions.  For many moviegoers, the wait for the next Marvel film is agonizing.  I recently read a quote from Kevin Smith, a director popular among the nerd culture, who said that given the choice, he would rather see the next Avengers movie than direct another movie ever again.  This past Wednesday evening I couldn’t even begin to count how many little superheroes I saw running around here.  Since the year 2,000, sixteen of the 40 highest grossing films have been about super-powered individuals in one way or another.  If you add films about heroes more generally (like Star Wars or Harry Potter) that number goes up 28 and you could probably make a good case for adding a few more to that list. Read the rest…

Pursue Godliness

This past Sunday we kicked off a brand-new series called Pursue: Chasing God in a Godless World.  For the next few weeks, with the story of King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14-16 as our guide, we’re going to talk about this very thing.  How can we be bold followers of Jesus in a culture where such a thing isn’t nearly as acceptable as it once was?  In this first part we lay the foundation for what follows.  If we’re going to run after Jesus, it’s going to take looking like God.  Thanks for reading.

Pursue Godliness

This past week was an anniversary of sorts, although probably not one you’ve ever heard of before.  Fifty-five years ago this past Friday, Walter Ciszek was released from prison in Soviet Russia and returned to the United Stated after more than 20 years in captivity.  As a young man in the 1930s, Ciszek, a Catholic, felt a call to ministry.  Specifically, he felt a call to the mission field.  So, stepping out on his faith, Ciszek headed for the U.S.S.R.  He was in Poland training for the work to which he had been called when Russia invaded.  Recognizing how perilous was the situation he was facing in Poland, Ciszek did what any bold, young missionary would do in his position, he head further east to serve in the Ural Mountains in central Russia.  In 1941, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison—much of it in solitary confinement.  While serving this sentence, he was sentenced to an additional 15 years in the Gulag, several years of which included hard labor.  Even once his hard labor term was complete, however, he was still held as a prisoner, now forced to work as a mechanic. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:17-18

“Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Jesus was nothing if not a realist when it came to the kind of reception His followers should expect when they set out to advance the kingdom by proclaiming the Gospel to the unbelieving world. He made this abundantly clear: We should expect trouble. In these couple of verses He makes clear we should expect three different kinds of persecution. Read the rest…

Morning Musing: 1 Samuel 16:2

“And Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter) ‬‬

Following Jesus can be an adventurous affair. Things had disintegrated under Saul to the extent that he was actively eliminating potential threats to his rule. This is a mark of a truly insecure ruler. Samuel wasn’t someone who could travel freely in Israel. His profile was high enough that when he went somewhere, everyone—including Saul—figured it meant something. If he did anything significant—like, say, anointing someone else to be king—word was likely to get back to Saul who would likely deal with both the threat and its source with ruthless efficiency. Read the rest…

Morning Musing: 1 Samuel 14:6

“Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.””  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Jonathan was nothing if not brave. He had already led an attack on a Philistine garrison which had put his nation in the place that it was. Now he was going to attack another whole garrison with nobody but his armor bearer (which was kind of like a caddie for a golfer) and one sword between them. All of this while his father and the rest of the nation were cowering back in their camp wondering what they were going to do. Read the rest…