Morning Musing: James 4:4

“You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

One of the most famous theologians of the 20th century was Reinhold Niebuhr. He was a giant in a number of respects. His equally influential, but less culturally famous younger brother was H. Richard Niebuhr. The younger Niebuhr wrote a famous book I had to read in seminary called, Christ and Culture. In it, he worked through several different approaches to thinking about how Jesus—and by virtue of necessity, His followers—got along with the world around them. His was an important contribution to what has been a much larger question on the minds of thinking Christians for most of 2,000 years. 

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We’re for Them

This past Sunday we took a look at the final piece of our identity as a church. We are a place designed by God to reach out into our community to advance His kingdom. God made us like this because He is for our community. He is for your community too. The church is to be for the world because our God loves the people in it. Keep reading to find out more.

We’re for Them

I’m not totally sure if they still do them nowadays, but a few years ago both Lowe’s and Home Depot had kids build days one Saturday each month.  The projects were usually pretty cheesy, but for the boys they were a lot of fun.  It was fun for us to get to see their excitement.  The setup was pretty much the same at both stores.  There were several makeshift tables composed of upside-down buckets and 8-foot shelf boards.  There were a couple of folks at a check-in table taking names and handing out the build kits.  Then, you spread out at one of the work stations with a pair of safety goggles and got to work.  The kits themselves were generally simple enough and with pretty clear instructions.  All the pieces were pre-cut and all the nail holes were pre-drilled.  You just followed the instructions and let the kids bang away with the little hammers they provided. 

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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…

Digging in Deeper: Ephesians 4:17-18

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Understanding that by “Gentiles,” Paul is talking about people who are not followers of Jesus, this is an uncomfortable verse.  It’s not so bad that Paul calls us not to do life as they do.  The uncomfortable part–especially given our culture’s embrace of pluralism and a particular understanding of tolerance–is what comes next.  Paul describes them as futile of mind, darkened in understanding, alienated from God, ignorant, and having hardened hearts.  Try tweeting that out sometime. Read the rest…