What a way to end Thanksgiving weekend! We baptized nine people and started Advent with a focus on hope.
This message calls us to lift our heads to look for Christ, even when the darkness seems oppressive and overwhelming. We can always have hope when we look to Him. I pray this message will infuse hope into you. If you feel the emotion of hopelessness, please know this is not permanent and not your identity.
When at its best, the church offers Jesus, the Word of God.
The word of man is trendy, but the Word of God is tested. The word of man is consensual; but the Word of God is confrontational. The word of man is circumstantial, but the Word of God is unchangeable. The word of man is temporal, but the Word of God is eternal.
In every generation, despite the cultural environment, the church offers certain things to the world. In Sunday’s message, I proclaimed five things the church provides the world in every generation and setting. These are:
The Word of God
Sacraments (Water Baptism and Communion)
The Presence of God
Tangible Love (serving the needs of humanity)
Hope (The reign of Christ).
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a great starting place to identify the unique call of the church. We are different from the other earthly entities because we are the gateway to the divine.
Earlier this week, I had the great privilege of sharing at the leadership banquet for Launchpoint Church. Launchpoint has such a great community doing impactful ministry for Jesus in Lebanon, Tennessee.
My friends Jim and Angela Kubic are so genuine, loving, and pastoral. They love their people and city, so being part of their annual team celebration was an honor. This church may be hidden from notoriety now, but it will be known for its Kingdom impact as the years progress.
I always love what we do at CIL Church, but our services seem to deepen in meaning and impact this time of year. On Sunday, I shared a teaching titled What is the Church? This teaching points out characteristics of the Church that will inspire you to love Jesus and people more. It was another message to build God’s culture at CIL Church.
Many of us are in different places in the political process. My youngest son voted for the first time yesterday, and he is engaged now with the process and results in an entirely new way. It’s refreshing to see him discover first-hand our unique system of government. Others disillusioned by the current political climate may have voted dutifully while wrestling with cynicism. Many did not vote at all.
Regardless of where you may be on the political process, here are some facts for consideration:
Civic decisions will be made by those in power regardless of my posture towards politics.
Since politicians will continue to make decisions regardless of my attitude towards them and their role, it is a good thing for quality Christian candidates to run for political office.
We are called by Scripture to pray for all government leaders despite our posture towards them. So irritation we may feel towards a politician is an opportunity to pray for them. Any unhealthy adulation of a politician is also a call to put Jesus first through prayer. If we are too enamored with a politician, we need to seek the Lord for our potential idolatry.
Through these opportunities to pray, let politics lead you to spiritual formation.
Jacob Bell preached an excellent message from Hosea 6 about the loving faithfulness of God, which called us to action. I love how the Holy Spirit led Aubrey McGowan during worship to pray for those needing physical healing. God was good to us during Sunday’s services.
Here are some devotional thoughts I have shared on other platforms this week. I pray one of these thoughts lifts you today.
A vision of God’s love Your life is significant because of who you are, not just what you accomplish. When you find people who love you apart from your success, you find a vision of God’s love. Cherish those people; they are your gifts.
Joseph points us to a sovereign God Isn’t the story of Joseph inspiring?
Here is a prayer connected to Joseph’s story that that lifted my spirit:
“Yet you had a plan. You moved a youth from prisoner to prime minister. Let me see your providential hand in the affairs of my life, even as Joseph confessed that though his brothers had planned evil against him, “God planned it for good” (Gn 50:20). Amen.” – Dr. George Guthrie
The hero we overlook Your hero is not the person you pay to be near through tickets and fees, but often the one close by you overlook. They are so great, you probably don’t have the wisdom to recognize their value. God, open our eyes to the mentors among us.