Love Your Community

I am so grateful for my church community. Not an audience. Not a crowd. Not people to fulfill program plans. Rather, an eclectic group of people who CHOOSE to worship, struggle, experiment, and learn TOGETHER. True community is rare, fragile, and often unappreciated. Love the people God has placed in your life.

“Love never ends.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8

The Trinity protects us

Trinity

I am so glad to be preaching at CIL on Trinity Sunday – May 27. We have such a wonderful faith passed down to us, but it is more than a tradition, culture, or preference. We worship a God with a distinct, unique personality. We worship a God that is personally close to us, and still sometimes hard to understand.

What a mystery.
What a challenge.
What a need for spiritual revelation.

Christians have wrestled with who God is from the beginning, and for centuries have agreed that the term Trinity encapsulates the answer to the many debates, councils and consensus of interpretation. The understanding of the Trinity has protected our faith.

As we celebrate, declare, and worship the Trinity this Sunday …

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14

Finding God in my friend’s kids

“Everyone who loves the father also loves the child fathered by him.”

I ran across this phrase this morning in one of my commentaries as I am tightening up Sunday’s sermon. The phrase is inspired from 1 John 5:2 – “everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him.”

This phrase makes me think about how much affection I have for my friend’s children. I experience joy on Wednesday nights when children come to Awana, and teenagers show up for Frontline Student Ministries. I don’t know some of these little ones and teenagers well personally, but I have love for them because I see their parent’s traits in them. They share their parents name.

So, it is with our Christian bothers and sisters around the globe. Let’s intentionally love other Christians bothers and sister. Despite the cultural chasms, different worship styles, different interpretations of Scriptures, and the destructive competitive forces that wrongly tear us apart – we have a billion or more spiritual siblings on this planet. May God open our spiritual eyes to see that more often than we realize, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them (2 Kings 6:16).”

Resurrection People

I shared this writing from NT Wright in my sermon yesterday. A great focus point to start Holy Week.

“The ultimate future hope remains a surprise, partly because we don’t know when it will arrive and partly because at present we have only images and metaphors for it, leaving us to guess that the reality will be far greater … Our task in the present is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.” – Wright, N. T.. Surprised by Hope (p. 29-30). HarperCollins.

Painting: Easter Morning by Claude Lorraine (1600-1682)

Taking my Sabbath

I’m so grateful for a congregation that allows me to have a Sabbath each Friday, so I can reflect, recharge and recreate. Everyone in our church is so respectful of my time. Still, I want to serve people as much as I can. This quote is helpful when reflecting on the rhythm of ministry and rest.

“A public man, though he is necessarily available at many times, must learn to hide. If he is always available, he is not worth enough when he is available.” – Elton Trueblood

How’s Your Marriage? Work on it!

marriage_seminar_wide_cil

Strong marriages are not a result of fate, luck, or destiny.  Strong marriages occur when two people work on it for a long time.  There is no such thing an automatic “happily ever after.”  Happiness comes when two people build a life long friendship though healthy habits and shared experiences.  You will not have a strong marriage if you do not personally invest in your marriage.

On Saturday, March 10th from 9am to 12pm CIL will host a marriage seminar called Two Becoming One.  Brent and Janis Sharpe are coming from Tulsa to share their expertise.  Brent and Janice will teach couples in how to understand their unproductive interaction patterns when conflict arises and how to resolve issues in a way that builds emotional intimacy in marriage.

The cost is $20 per person.  If you do not have the funds right now, please register and come anyway.  We would love to scholarship you!

Register at cil.churchcenter.com

Childcare will be provided to families who register for childcare.  We will not be able to accommodate drop-ins.

Whatever place your marriage is in, work on it!

Less Negativity, More Leaning

Since the kids have faded out of civic league sports, Saturday mornings have become a time of reflection most weeks. There is a tendancy for negative emotions to wash over me during this time slot, but I redirected my thoughts to positive, Christ-centered reading, meditation and prayers.
 
I usually do not feel like focusing on spiritual things, but once I take the first step I am always glad. So I write this to encourage you to lean into spirituality, manifested in Jesus, the son of God. He is the fresh drink to our parched souls.