Loving One Another

After four months worshiping together from a distance, this coming Sunday we will finally open our doors once again for in-person worship services. We are as excited as can be to see each other, but this doesn’t mean we’re really ready for it. Last week we started a conversation about how we can hit that mark together. This past Sunday morning we finished that conversation and I shared our guidelines for worshiping together safely in light of the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Here’s what I had to say.

Loving One Another

One of the most effective ways that storytellers keep their audiences coming back for more is with the use of a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger, of course, is a story that ends at a moment that is decidedly unresolved thereby inviting you to come back to find out what happens next. For superhero fans, consider the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. The bad guy accomplished his main goal, wiped out half the life in the universe with the snap of his fingers, and sat peacefully on a distant planet enjoying a beautiful sunset. Three hours of movie-watching and the bad guy wins after 10 years and 22-films worth of build up?!? Of course, I’m coming back for the sequel! What’s that? You want $100 per ticket? I’ll take a dozen just to make sure I don’t miss anything.

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Differences of Opinion

Something good is on the horizon. After nearly four months apart, we are finally going to be able to get back together for live, in-person worship services starting July 5. Having been gone so long, though, and having been so profoundly changed by what we have experienced–even in ways we don’t fully understand–we need to get ready for what’s to come in some equally profound ways. This week and next we are having a conversation about what we need to know and what we will be doing to make our regathering both satisfying and sustainable. Thanks for tuning in here for part 1.

Differences of Opinion

I want you to imagine something with me this morning. This may stretch your imaginative capacities a bit, so do the best you can. I want you to imagine a church. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now, imagine—and here’s where things may get tough—that this church is dealing with some internal conflict about something that from the outside looking in seems trivial to most passersby. Take a breather for a minute if you need it, I know that was pretty challenging.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 3:9-10

“What then? Are we any better off? Not at all! For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, as it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is a difference between encouragement and reality. They may point in the same direction, but they are not the same. Given that, which is better? Is it better to offer encouragement that deviates from reality, or to simply drop reality on the table and let it be what it is? I guess the answer to that depends on who’s being asked. Some people would rather wave away reality and find some bright side to their situation even if it isn’t truly real, while other folks just want the unvarnished truth and they’ll figure out how to deal with it later. Why am I thinking about this kind of thing this morning? Because we are entering graduation season. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Romans 12:15

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I got some hard news the night before last. In the midst of a pandemic like we are facing right now, hard news like this comes with a particularly bitter aftertaste. Someone I counted a friend died suddenly leaving behind a grieving wife, two young boys who won’t understand, and a family who are all hurting. Yesterday morning as I woke up thinking about it, praying for those involved, something Paul commanded came to mind that I think is all the more necessary for Jesus followers to be putting into practice these days.

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Wading through a Mess

This past Sunday morning we kicked off a brand-new series called, Answers to Tough Questions. For the next few weeks leading up to Easter, we are going to tackle some of the biggest cultural debates going on around us and into which Christians are expected to be able to speak with grace and poise. With the Scriptures as our guide, we are going to talk about what it looks like to respond to each of these issues as followers of Jesus. Yesterday we started with a bang: The LGBT+ debate. Isn’t God anti-LGBT+? Let’s talk about it.

Wading through a Mess

We live today in a polarized culture. We hear that so often that it’s almost cliché to say, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The old adage about polite conversation is that you can talk about anything but religion and politics. Of the two topics, religion covered the most ground and was the most controversial. Politics had a much smaller sphere of influence. Yes, people could get pretty worked up about certain issues, but on the whole, it was the safer of the two. Today…that reality has reversed itself.  Religion covers an ever-shrinking amount of territory as it continues to lose the ground it once held in our culture. Politics, on the other hand, seems to intrude into every aspect of our lives. And this isn’t a left-right issue. The truth is that in the hearts of many, if not their minds as well, politics is increasingly taking the place religion once held as the source to which we turn to find answers for the most pressing questions we face. And indeed, when God is not ultimate, something else has to be. The trend for most human cultures over the centuries is that we give the State that place when we don’t give it to God. This is a tension that has been with the church since its earliest days.

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