March Madness – Hobby or Worship?

It’s March Madness! It’s the annual NCAA basketball tournament that includes dozens of games over three weeks. I have been following this tournament my entire life, and I enjoy the competition. It has become a family event as an easy way to bond around something with my family. We attended some games in Indianapolis Thursday night and had a great time (despite our team losing!). That’s the good part!

The problem? Sports can quickly become more than a hobby; it is now the other religion. The emotions attached to these games go beyond fun, as it sinks to the core of people’s identity. Interestingly, people have an emotional release at a sports game but exclude emotion from worship. This observation is not new from me or countless others, but, amazingly, this irony keeps repeating with each American generation with greater intensity.

God, help us to use sports, but not let sports use us.

Sunday Summary – March 13, 2022

Spring Break and the start of Daylight Savings felt like a bad combination for church participation, but our attendance was solid nonetheless. I am so thankful for God’s faithful people. Rob Still led us in worship, and I taught a teaching tilted Enemy or Citizen? from Philippians 3:17-4:1. We also squeezed in the annual business meeting in between services. The kingdom was advanced, so we say thanks be to God!

Here is a video presentation of the service.

Gas prices are a big deal

Globalization can be our friend. Globalization can be our enemy.

The current record-high gas prices result from an economy of interdependent nations. There are many benefits to globalization; until a crazy dictator commands an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. The energy supply from Russia, much of which traveled through Ukraine, is threatened by war and sanctions. Consequently, gas prices in the United States soared.

I have always believed that gas prices significantly impact a consumer economy. Gas prices should climb higher in the coming days, especially with President Biden’s announcement to embargo Russian oil. So, we will see how Americans respond to $5 / gallon gas, another component of inflation. Will our habits change, or will those who can adjust their personal budgets to the increase? Will higher gas prices reduce spending? If it does, how long will an economy based on spending function highly with limited revenue?

The next time you fill up on gas, say a prayer for our nation. The development of record-high gas prices may end up a significant story in our lives.

The Child is Only Sleeping

Through parenting, we learn about God and His heart for us.

I read in Mark 5:21-43 about a spiritual leader named Jarius, whose daughter appeared dead. Jesus said two things about that situation that stick out to me:

“Do not fear, only believe (vs. 36).”

“The child is not dead but sleeping (vs. 39).”

If you don’t know the story, Jesus raised the child to heath and life.

In reflecting on this, I prayed for my kids, and I pray for yours, too. I pray we choose belief over fear. And, when we think a child is spiritually dead, take hope that “the child is not dead but sleeping.”

Tears for Ukraine, Joy on the journey

I pray God gives us the heart to care for the injustice in Ukraine but the joy to live fully in our realm. Being human means, you live with the dual capacity to mourn and rejoice. You may start the hour distraught by the world’s condition but end the same hour with a belly laugh at a joke. Both are needed. Both are good. Lent reminds us we live in tears and laughter, and the Lord is in both.

Ash Wednesday on March 2

The season of Lent has become an important part of my yearly rhythm as I join the global church in preparing for Easter. This season in the church calendar begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on March 2. 

CIL Church will have an Ash Wednesday service at Noon, which includes live worship, communion, and the imposition of ashes. Also, we will open the sanctuary for a come-and-go prayer and imposition of ashes for an hour, beginning at 7 am

Join us for either or both of these times as we dedicate our hearts anew to Jesus.

Deanne DeWitt for State Representative

We are proud to stand with our dear friend Deanne DeWitt as she announces her candidacy for the Tennessee House of Representatives (District 35).

Deanne is the real deal! She loves the Lord and has been an impactful leader at CIL Chuch. Upon her election, Deanne will represent Tennesseans with integrity, hard work, empathy, and Christian values at the state capital. We are so excited for her and our state!

Joshua Christmas (1978-2022)

Beth and I want to share our deepest sympathies to the Regeneration Church in Nashville for losing one of their pastors, Joshua Christmas, on February 6, 2022. We especially acknowledge Joshua’s wife and two sons and remember them in our prayers.

The Christmas family – Kent, Candy, Jasmine, and Nicholas – have always been so kind to us, so it is sad to see them experience such a loss. Joshua Christmas cared for the poor, prayed for the sick, and had a deep love for Jesus that is an inspiration.

https://www.springhillfh.com/obituaries/Joshua-Christmas/#!/Obituary

Roe vs Wade ends, the Abortion challenge continues

For those who are anti-abortion, a positive trend in preserving life has developed since 2021. Many states are functionally overriding the Roe vs. Wade decision by legislating drastic abortion obstructions. These state laws make it impossible to get an abortion in such a state. Recent United States Supreme Court decisions have protected these drastic state measures.

As the Supreme Court upholds these laws, Roe vs. Wade becomes ineffective as a federal precedent. The future is this: one could still get an abortion in states like California and New York but could not in states with restrictive laws, like Texas and Louisiana.

So, you probably know something about what I have just written. As I warned on this blog a couple of years ago, the overturn of Roe vs. Wade would not stop abortion in America, and it would only limit it regionally.

So, Christians cannot hide behind Roe vs. Wade as a distant cultural argument. Now, our stand for life is more consequential state by state, community by community, vote by vote, and conversation by conversation.