My Perspective on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Many voices have been calling on religious leaders to speak out for the COVID-19 vaccine, so it is time to offer my perspective. I received the Pfizer vaccine early in the year, and I am glad I did. All of my immediate family members have received the COVID-19 vaccination, as well.

You have likely heard statistics about unvaccinated people hospitalized in Tennessee. Stats show that over 90% of hospitalized patients with COVID did not receive the vaccine; approximately 97% of patients on a ventilator did not receive the vaccine. These statistics are staggering in their implications! The data overwhelmingly establishes the widely used vaccines as effective.

Several healthcare workers have told me that these patients are primarily born-again Christians. Oh, how I wish more Christians would accept this opportunity. We are people of life. I see the COVID vaccines as gifts from God to reduce suffering, extend life, and allow more quality time to discover Jesus. Please prayerfully consider receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

Pro-life means anti-abortion

Each year on this Sanctity of Life Day in the United States, I take a public stand against abortion. Why? Forty-eight years after Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal in every state, I feel the passion for preserving the unborn waning in many Christians.

The term “pro-life” has rightfully expanded to include important issues after birth. This broader thinking has been useful in getting people help, but it should not distract from the on-going tragedy of legalized abortion. In conversation with people on this topic, I now clarify that I am “anti-abortion,” so there is no confusion on terminology.

As I wrote last year, Roe vs. Wade’s potential overturn does not solve abortion. We will only save the unborn lives through advocates who are convinced one mind and heart at a time. May more of us recognize the unborn as individuals who deserve “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

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. 

Responding thoughtfully to coronavirus

If you are interested, let me weigh in on coronavirus. There is a good chance that this threat is overblown – and wouldn’t that be great? However, the mysteries behind the virus have leadership on all levels forced to respond. These actions produce two unhealthy reactions – panic or mocking disregard.

I think our leaders are trying to be responsible. The call for measured behavior changes is appropriate. To nurture the vitality of the economy is also a collective concern. Since no one knows what we are facing, let’s provide each other some latitude. Different individuals and entities will respond differently due to their unique needs.

In my sphere of leadership, I know not everyone will agree with decisions or preventative measures. Still, with God’s help, these decisions are made through love.

CIL Tornado Relief

CILCares

TORNADO RELIEF

There is a widespread path of devastation and need in the greater Nashville/Mount Juliet/Cookeville areas.  Beth and I have spent the past 2 days in communication with area leaders and pastors, assessing how to best direct our resources.

We have identified a great need in several ministries we currently support, as well as some potentially overlooked or lesser known ministries/communities that may not have the exposure or resources that others do.

GIVE:

CIL will receive donations at CIL.Church or by accessing the Church Center app. Select “Give” and then select “Tornado Relief.”  100% of these funds will be dispersed to those directly impacted by the tornados.

https://cil.churchcenter.com/giving/to/tornado-relief

VOLUNTEER:

Our friends at the Donelson Fellowship (3210 McGavock Pk, Nashville, TN 37214) are helping the community with food, water, and meeting other practical needs in the Donelson area. They will have relief training at 7:30 am at their church building to prepare for a day of help. Volunteers from CIL are welcome. If you have equipment such as chainsaws, etc., these are needed! This schedule will likely continue indefinitely.

DONATION OPPORTUNITIES:

The Bridge Ministry – our friends who serve the homeless under the Jefferson St. Bridge every Tuesday night – are in need of bottled water, pop-top canned food, tents, sleeping bags, and flashlights/lanterns.

The Laundry Stop – a ministry that washes clothes and bedding for the homeless – is in need of tarps, sleeping bags, and tents.

***You can bring your donated items to CIL on Sunday and we will transport them for you!  If you need to drop them off before Sunday, contact Beth at beth@cil.church.  

Father God,
Your love enfolds the helpless,
the needy, and those who mourn.
Give us strength through Jesus Christ
to be instruments of Your compassion
to those who are overwhelmed and hurting.
Amen.

We want single adults

Sometimes in preaching, things come out a little off when speaking with passion. On Sunday, I mentioned during the sermon that 50% of adults in America are single. I was a little off.

According to articles I looked at today, 45% of adults in America are single. In Sumner County, 43% of adults are single.

While that is not half of the population, that is still A LOT OF PEOPLE. For CIL to share our amazing Jesus, we must embrace and welcome singles.

Grieving for Notre-Dame

Iconic buildings do matter.   They are the culmination of culture, history, story, faith, and love.  They are a connecting point for a disjointed society.

Human beings reflect the image of God in many ways, including our creativity and skill in building beautiful structures.  

A centuries-old building lost in an evening brings a sadness we cannot quite reconcile, so we grieve for the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The amazing International Space Station

1200px-International_Space_Station_after_undocking_of_STS-132
A couple of sermons ago, I talked about the International Space Station as an illustration. I forgot to include this thought-provoking quote that impacted me:
 
“Few of us give a thought to the International Space Station, even though, when the future measures our collective contribution to humanity, the ISS will prove the single best thing we did. Less than a century after the Model T was state of the art, we manufactured a kind of galleon in space and have sent men and women from 10 countries to live in it, along with a host of short-term visitors, without recess or mutiny or fatality, for nearly 20 years.” -Chris Jones, Wired Magazine.

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

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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.