Christianity Offers Something Different

Forgiveness

What does Christianity have to offer culture? The last couple of years it has become evident that a post-Christian culture does not understand grace, forgiveness, and transformation. We offer these.

While that which is secret, underground, and unchecked needs to be exposed; as Christians we oppose the evil stronghold, not the person.

God forgave us, so we forgive.

All humans are flawed.
All humans behave wickedly.
All humans are offered grace.

“What God has made clean, do not call impure.” – Jesus (Acts 10:15)
_____________________
*This is not in direct reaction to any current news story, but a general observation about our culture’s response to individual shortcomings.

Do not skip Sunday night service for the Super Bowl! :-)

7FLXSPJPNI3IVBWTHULOHCPAV4

 

The evangelical church has gone through several phases since the Super Bowl started taking place right in the middle of the traditional Sunday night service.

Phase 1 (1980s): You are a bad Christian if you even think about skipping Sunday night service to watch the Super Bowl.

Phase 2 (early 1990s): We will all watch the Super Bowl at the church. This will include a potluck, youth fundraiser, and technical difficulties.

Phase 3 (late 1990s): Watch the Super Bowl with a group from the church, but you have to turn it off and do a devotional at half time.

Phase 4a (late 2000s): Watch the Super Bowl at home, but don’t enjoy it too much. Don’t get used to skipping church!

Phase 4b (late 2000s): The weekly Sunday night service is eliminated. (See the correlation to Phase 4a)

Phase 5 (early 2010s). Make the Sunday morning worship service to the Almighty God revolve around a Super Bowl theme. 🙂Worship team, buy your favorite NFL jersey to wear on stage.

Phase 6 (late 2010s): Skip church all day, because it’s Super Bowl Sunday.

 

* Disclaimer: I had fun writing this post. It was not meant for pastoral direction or cultural critique.

Your Job is More Important than You Realize

As we return to a more normal work rhythm, let’s not take for granted the jobs, institutions, vocations, and traditions we now carry on.

I love this thought by author David Brooks:

“A person is born into a collection of permanent institutions, including the army, the priesthood, the fields of science, or any of the professions, like being a farmer, a builder, a cop, or a professor. Life is not like navigating through an open field. It is committing oneself to a few of the institutions that were embedded on the ground before you were born and will be here after you die. It is accepting the gifts of the dead, taking on the responsibility of preserving and improving an institution and then transmitting that institution, better, on to the next generation.”

If you appreciate the Bible, you’ll read it

William Tyndale
Why do Christians love the Bible so much?  There are many answers, but let’s not forget this crucial reason:  individual Christians have not always had the Scripture!

For centuries only spiritual leaders could access the Bible. This arrangement made God’s people vulnerable when leadership did not follow God’s heart. The courage and sacrifices of John Wycliffe (1328-1384), William Tyndale (1494-1536) and their ministry partners left us an incomparable gift – the Scripture in English.  Read their stories some time.

As you pick your Bible to read in 2019, remember that the ability to read Scripture in your native language was very costly.  Whatever we appreciate becomes valuable to us.  Let us approach Scripture reading with deep appreciation.

We get to do this!

__________________________________________________

The New Testament Bible Reading plan can be found by clicking here.

Reading the book of Revelation

0e2175119_blog-reading-the-book-of-revelation
Almost every Bible reading plan ends with Revelation, which makes sense chronologically. But, it always feels odd to read these apocalyptic prophecies during such a festive season. This paradox is a reminder that good and bad are always traveling together through our lifetime.
 
I personally believe that most “end time scholars” have made a complete mess of interpreting Revelation. (I have some sermons and teachings on this subject from years past that I pray get lost into eternity. :-))
 
So, when I receive the blessing this divine writing promises (Rev. 1:3), I focus on the characteristics revealed about our great God. When the self-proclaimed experts on Revelation fade away, our incomparable God is the stable force of judgnment and love we continue to follow.
 
Maranatha!

Randy Carter preaching at CIL

RandyCarter.jpg

Sunday is going to be great at CIL!

My good friend Randy Carter will return to preach on December 30th. Randy is smart, seasoned, and humorous. Everyone loved it when he was with us a couple of years ago, so you will not want to miss Sunday’s service.

Randy is the senior pastor of Northside Assembly of God in Jackson, TN. He is going to bring CIL an encouraging message in anticipation of 2019, so come expecting great things from God!

9:00am or 10:45am.

Challenge to Christians: Read the New Testament in 2019

The most important thing I have done in my ministry is encourage and teach people how to read the Bible.  After working with new converts, seasoned pastors, and observing myself, I am convinced of this:  If you don’t have a plan to read the Bible in 2019, you will read far less of the Bible than you anticipate.

I want to challenge and encourage every Christians to read the New Testament in 2019.

5x5x5-Logo1

I have used for years the 5x5x5 New Testament Bible Reading plan designed by Navigators.   This plan only takes 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

The New Testament Bible Reading plan can be found by clicking here.

In these last few days of the year – prepare.  Get a Bible, journal, and be ready on January 1, 2019, to start your journey through the New Testament.