Posted by: Aaron Allison | October 8, 2014

I am an Open-Minded Conservative

One of the great cultural myths in America is that every conservative individual is close-minded. While some conservatives may espouse beliefs without critical thought, many liberals do the same thing. In my case, I believe I have an open mind that listens to various perspectives on a variety of subjects. Yet, I have developed a conservative world-view based off thoughtful conclusions.

So, I believe through deductive reasoning:

- God designed the family, and biological determinations define the ideal family. Families work best with a father and mother, therefore traditional families should be encouraged by all of society.

- An embryo is a person with a unique DNA, the ability to feel pain, and rights that are to be protected. Our judicial systems will punish the harm of an embryo in some situations, and endorse the destruction of the embryo through legalized abortion. Are we to decide if an embryo is valuable based off the situation? No, God values all life.

- If people do not work, complex economies will fail. Our country was built on capitalism. An economy with more “takers” than “producers” will not sustain.

- Humans have abused the earth. Conservation of the planet makes sense, and should be considered a Christian issue. Christians should care about the environment.

- Pro-life Christians should be concerned not only with the unborn, but with the quality of life of the born.

- A pro-life Christian should be concerned with unjustified killing of the innocent through hasty capital punishment. The death penalty should be used rarely, with the greatest of necessity.

Posted by: Aaron Allison | October 4, 2014

Reflections on India

My five days in India was an incredible experience, and a true gift from God. My close friends Balakumar and Yamuna Mannar were incredible hosts, and their hospitality allowed me to experience Indian culture and opened great doors of ministry.

Indian - Thomas & Manar

I spent the entire trip only in Chennai (formerly known as Madras), but there was more than enough to see in this sprawling, exciting city. I enjoyed staying two nights in an Indian home, and experiencing the daily rhythms of life in that neighborhood. The idol worship that occurs through Hinduism was present everywhere. This was a constant reminder that these wonderful people need to know and accept the message of Jesus Christ. Pray for India.

I was thrilled to see that the message of Christ is advancing in the city of Chennai. Local pastors Abraham Thomas, David Mohan (see video below) and Sam Chadwick have built churches of thousands that are turning people to the living God. I was privileged to speak in each of these men’s pulpits, and these churches were thriving and filled with God’s presence. There are many other churches in Chennai, but more are needed to reach the millions who are not saved and discipled in the way of Christ.

The future is bright for India economically, politically and culturally. Yet, the greatest story could be the emergence of Christianity as the predominant religion. Statistically, there is much distance to cover to classify India as a Christian nation, but with the outstanding leadership of the church, and the fervent faith of the young people that already exists; there is great hope for the rapid spread of the gospel in India this century. Pray for India. The best is ahead!

Posted by: Aaron Allison | September 18, 2014

Update on Sacrament Church in east Nashville

Sacrament LogoIt is such an honor to partner with a new church in east Nashville called Sacrament Church.  My friend Preston Sharpe came to CIL in January to share the vision for Sacrament, and we were glad to announce our partnership then. Since that time, the church had an Easter launch, and have established themselves as a presence in their community.

I have admired how Preston and his team have integrated in the community, taking part in the customs and events of their neighborhood.

The church currently meets at Inglewood Elementary School each Sunday at 10 a.m.

Spread the word about this church to friends in that area.

Watch this video to get a glimpse of what is happening at this sister church:

 

 

 

Posted by: Aaron Allison | September 16, 2014

Are you thinking or reacting?

Angry Woman

Facebook LogoReact, instead of think. I’ve been guilty of it as much as anyone. Social media gives us a wider audience to spread the unfiltered thoughts that we use to only say in the privacy of our home.

We would all be wise to think critically before posting our opinion on social media, or spewing it out in a social engagement.

Many times I work out thoughts verbally with my wife, family, and closest friends.  These unguarded conversations help me “talk through” my emotions. That process helps me refine my perspective, and sometimes causes me to change my mind on an issue.

In contracts to this close group, in a public forum I want my opinions to be filtered, seasoned and effective.

 

As Christians, I believe critical thinking includes:

- Knowledge of the Bible.

- Experience.

- Ability to listen to another opinion with an open mind (civility).

- Basic understanding of theology and history.

- Cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit.

- An understanding of current events. As we regularly follow current events, we will be able to frame the significance of those events properly in light of all the characteristics I have mentioned above.

The more we think critically on a consistent basis, the times we do react will be more effective and honor Christ.

So, keep thinking!

Posted by: Aaron Allison | September 12, 2014

Is God Sovereign Over the Weather?

Weather - big rig

Well, yes. That seems obvious.  He is sovereign over all things. Yet, we often complain about the weather mindlessly, as if our negative attitude about the heat or cold will change the situation. Now I understand that most of our complaints about the weather are simply conversation fillers as we participate in small talk throughout the day. But, I have met many people whose disposition is determined by what is happening in the weather.

As we looked at the Providence of God in my Wednesday class, we found many Scriptures that acknowledged and praised God through the expression of the weather. Here is a sample of some of the most impactful verses on this subject:

Psalm 148:7-8 (HCSB)
Praise the Lord from the earth 
. . .
lightning and hail, snow and cloud,
powerful wind that executes His command.

Job 37:6-13 (ESV)
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’

    likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
He seals up the hand of every man,
    that all men whom he made may know it.
Then the beasts go into their lairs,
    and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
    and cold from the scattering winds.
10 By the breath of God ice is given,
    and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
    the clouds scatter his lightning.
12 They turn around and around by his guidance,
    to accomplish all that he commands them
    on the face of the habitable world.
13 Whether for correction or for his land
    or for love, he causes it to happen.

Matthew 5:45 (HCSB)
For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

While I do believe we need to care for creation as Christians conservationists, we have far less control of the weather than we’d like to think.  Just consider about how often the meteorologist miss it on their prognostications!

Father, the weather is another example of your Sovereign, Providential character!

Posted by: Aaron Allison | September 8, 2014

Mark 10, Divorce and Re-Marriage

Mark 10

We have spent several years moving in and out of the book of Mark in “verse by verse” preaching.  We will preach other sermon series that emphasize a variety of Scriptures, then return back to teachings from Mark.

As we started a new message series in Mark 10 yesterday, I intentionally skipped over Mark 10:1-12.  While this passage gives us an important message from Jesus, I did not feel it was necessary to revisit this theme as a congregation in light of a past sermon.  In 2012, I delivered a message called “If I Divorce, Can I Remarry Again?”

You can listen to the 2012 sermon as an interpretation of Mark 10:1-12, though Matthew 19:1-9 is the primary text for this message.

http://indianlake.sermon.net/main/main/5908856

I thank God that His Scripture is our standard for doctrine and practice.

 

 

Posted by: Aaron Allison | September 1, 2014

Bible Reading Plans for 2014

Aaron Allison:

Since today is the first day of September, its a good time to reinvigorate your Bible Reading plan. If you aren’t following a plan, you’re not reading us much Scripture as you think. I recommend you do the New Testament plan, but there are other options listed in this blog, too. Let’s move on towards maturity!

Originally posted on Aaron's Angle:

Image

I want to share with you the Bible reading plans I have used over the years.  I have found that having a Bible Reading plan keeps you focused, holds you accountable and leads you to passages of Scriptures that you may not read yourself.

I go through the Complete Bible Reading plan, and I must admit that it gets difficult to me at times.   I have built up some endurance through the years, so those of you who are seasoned at reading the Bible, this plan may work for you too.   Depending on the reading selection and your reading pace, this will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes a day.

However, most of you need to start with the New Testament Reading plan.   This plan only takes 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week.   If you get some extra time or motivation, you can explore…

View original 96 more words

Posted by: Aaron Allison | August 29, 2014

Four Areas of Focus for Church Health

IMG_3514

There are a lot of things competing for a congregation’s attention, but the healthiest churches are relentlessly dedicated to three or four things.  The simpler, the better.  Those three or four things may be different for each church, but the power of focus on these defined areas creates congregational health.

At CIL, we focus on  . . .

Bible Teaching – Scripture is our authority and source of truth.

Next Generation – Kids, teenagers and college students are the church of today!

Small Groups – People will stay a month for a great service, a year for a great program, but a lifetime for a friend.  Relationships are irreplacable. As a church gets bigger, it must get smaller though smaller groups.

Experiential Worship – God is not a concept to explain, but a presence to experience. Experiential worship includes prayer, music, singing, liturgical prayers, spontaneous prayer, silence, the taste of communion, the physical interaction of fellowship, and much more!

Posted by: Aaron Allison | August 26, 2014

Staff Members Reaching Kids Benefits All

Kids RehearsalWith limited resources to staff a church, I am going to staff for children and teenagers. A mistake I believe mid-size churches make is hiring staff for adults, then using volunteers to be the department leaders for children and youth ministry.  While I have high respect for volunteers who are department leaders in churches with no staff budget, that respect doesn’t change my opinion. When having the choice between staff for adults or kids, choose kids.

People will put up with mediocre ministry to adults if their kids are fulfilled.  If you have the slickest and deepest ministry for adults, but the kids are not being ministered to, that family’s future with the church is in jeopardy.  An effective children’s and youth ministry engages adults in ministry, which disciples and creates community for all ages groups.

At CIL, all of our paid staff have significant roles in children’s and youth ministry. As we grow, more specialized staff for adults will emerge. Still, I believe the growth we will experience to bring future staff is a result of our current emphasis on children and youth.  I’ve always believed this, and I’m see it work at CIL!

Posted by: Aaron Allison | August 19, 2014

Missed the news lately?

2014 is turning out to be an eventful year . . .

Putin- Civil war continues in Syria, spilling into Iraq.  The Middle East has more instability than we have seen in decades.

- After the winter Olympics, and Russia‘s accidental diplomatic role in preventing an international war in Syria; Vladimir Putin is slowly, but steadily reasserting Russian influence through Soviet-style tactics both domestically and internationally.  An imperialistic Russia will effect world stability.

- Iran is being quiet, which means they could be quietly developing an atomic bomb.

- Racial tensions in America have remained docile for the most part in recent years, but we all have known that an eruption of mistrust can occur at any time. An example of this is in the small suburb of Ferguson, Missouri - which is about the size of Gallatin, Tennessee. The use of violent force sets in motion consequences that are difficult to contain.  I’m praying for Michael Brown’s family, the Ferugson community and the authorities involved in these matters.

Israel Flag- Hamas is proving once again to be a protagonist and terrorist group who stirs up trouble with Israel.  Disdain for Israel is in vogue. Israel’s government is not perfect, and they do make mistakes.  However, they have been a faithful friend to the United Sates, and they are an example to the rest of the world of religious tolerance and democratic values. Hate for the Jews has happened since Genesis, yet humanity falls into that trap every generation. Hamas is hurting the Palestinian people.

- The United States cannot seem get out of Afghanistan and Iraq.  These wars are costing us more than we are willing to pay.  America was not prepared to pay the price true success cost, nor could we afford to.  God bless those 5,281 American soldiers and their families who have perished to date from these two meandering wars.
Kenneth Bae - With all this we don’t have time to focus on the border crisis with Mexico, the crippling national debt in the United States, the danger of North Korea (pray for Kenneth Bae), the Benghazi scandal, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, communism in China, and dehumanizing practices in Africa (such as the genocide and civil war in Congo, South Sudan, Darfur and the wasteland once know as Somalia).  We are also holding our breathe that India and Pakistan will not go to war, as there relationship is always fragile. Is Europe losing its culture distinctive through the advance of Muslim extremism?   The evil sex trafficking of children in Europe and Asia is breathtaking.

So what is the most important?  The mass media determines what is important for us to focus on each day with what they decide to highlight on the news programs, newspapers and websites.  Remember #bringbackourgirls?   No one is talking about those missing girls now.  The news cycle ran its course.

I am sure I have overlooked equally alarming situations.

What is the solution?
– Effective leadership.  We need more of that.
– Morality. Relative truth is a disaster for humanity.
– Sound economic principals.
– The just use of the millitary.

I say, come Lord Jesus!  Jesus will lead this world with complete justice and righteousness.

For as the earth produces its growth,
and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations. – Isaiah 61:11 (HCSB)

 

 

 

 

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