A Fellowship of Different Perspectives

* This article was sent as an email to the CIL Church family, but I think the content will benefit al who read it.
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These are tricky, complicated times. While I want you to think critically about the issues of our day, I also want you to remember the power of simplicity.  Jesus calls us to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).  When we do not apply this clear call from our Savior, we may disqualify our intellect and passion for current events. 

You are part of a church where people interpret the times differently.   Sometimes in our community, I feel like I am standing in between the strong opinions of people I respect and love. I bet you have felt that, too.  Often, I agree and disagree with their words in the same conversation!   We will never all have the same opinion, but we can walk in the same love.  

Let’s continue to be a safe place to experience the Scripture, the anointing, the bread and cup, and the love of God’s people.  CIL is a great place to focus on those eternal things.  This simple focus on Jesus is why our series in Galatians has been so timely.  We are directly in God’s Word, letting the passage form us.  This week I will be preaching on Galatians 3:10-14 in a message called “Beyond the Curse.” 

I love being the pastor of CIL!  I am so thankful for this opportunity. 

Your Season is Coming

All of us get discouraged when the fruit of our spiritual seed is not apparent. God designed us to bear much fruit for Him. Trust God is doing His work in you even when you cannot see what is under the soil. If you stay connected to Jesus, you will be fruitful. Jesus promises this in John 15:5.

Psalm 1:3 promises that those who resist wickedness and delight in the Lord will “yield their fruit in its season.”

Your season is coming!

Response to Capitol Attack

As someone who profoundly loves The United States and is a student of our history, watching the capitol overrun on January 6 by unruly citizens was extraordinarily upsetting. I was very emotional, so I waited to post until I was more composed.

This occurrence demonstrated that personal character and choice of words in leadership does matter. We watched a slow-motion moral decay throughout that day, and it is symbolic of our collective poverty of character.

Despite this day of infamy, I still believe there is more good than bad in our country. If we seek the way of love and cooperation, we can have a society that reflects goodness like a “city on a hill.”

The counsel and help of the Lord

What a week! In addition to national and global concerns, like everyone else, I had personal concerns. Two separate Psalms were timely for me, and I hope they bless you.

The first Psalm came when I felt overwhelmed by the decisions I needed to make. For every choice, there are pros and cons. I went to my daily Scripture reading and received this message:

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

– Psalm 16:7-8 (NRSV)

I am looking for and expecting the counsel of the Lord!

The second Psalm came when I just needed help because I was at a dead end. I remember thinking, “I need help!” Then, I came across a familiar Psalm that the Holy Spirit made fresh to me:

“…from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
. (Psalm 121:1-2)

I am looking for and expecting the help of the Lord!

He is with us During Change

This message is for those of you going through a change – whether desired or imposed. Change can be scary. I typically like change, but I’ve been through some shifts that shook me to my core identity. You’ve been through the same.

In devotions this morning, I came across a familiar Scripture to me, but it had fresh vocabulary in the NRSV translation.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea” – Psalm 46:1-2 (NRSV)

The word “change” jumped out to me and gave this passage more depth. With God’s help, we will not fear the most unimaginable change. He is with us!

Seek Him despite doubt

The first few days of January are a blessed time in the Kingdom of God for many of us. In these early few days, Bible reading plans restart, prayers awaken, church participation increases, and Christian people generally start fresh in their friendship with Jesus. This is good!

If you doubt God and the church, this is also a great time to lean into spiritual practices. You can choose to be led astray by those doubts, or you can honestly approach God in hopes of finding more of Him. Faith does not mean we have every question answered, but we seek Him despite the ambiguities. Pursuing Christian truth during you struggle with doubt is a form of faith. God will honor this faith.

Be encouraged by this truth:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6