New signs. Continued renovation.

 

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Earlier this week, I enjoyed the overwhelming support for the new CIL signs. It was a “digital victory lap” on social media. The picture above is the outdoor sign at night.  The picture below is the before and after of the external remodel at CIL.

Renovation is exciting – especially when you can see it so clearly. The renovation of the heart is less obvious, but is of supreme importance. Keep allowing God to form your heart. Join me at CIL this Sunday at 9 am, or 10:45 am to allow the potter to mold your life as clay.

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It is OK to be Sad in Christianity

Do you ever feel like there is pressure in Christianity to project happiness all the time? Isn’t that a lot of weight?

These words from Will Willimon in his commentary on the book of Lamentations helped me:

“Israel loved God enough, felt close enough to God, to be able, in times of tragedy, to clench its fits and cry out to God, to complain, to accuse, and to weep. Some may believe, that as Christians, we must always feel joy, must always have smiles on our faces. Lamentations, however, is the literature of those who have a much deeper, more honest experience of our relationship with God. Its laments know that there is no way alway to be happy…” – Renovare Study Bible

So if as a Christian, you are not always bubbly and in a great mood, you are still in the Kingdom of God. Rest in the knowledge that you will smile again.

Love means we live forever

I am missing my Dad, as yesterday was 16 years since his passing. But, you are missing someone you love, too.
 
These words from the late Dallas Willard touched my soul recently, and they will fill you with hope:
 
“Those who love and are loved by God are not allowed to cease to exist, because they are God’s treasures. He delights in them and intends to hold onto them. He has even prepared for them an individualized eternal work in his vast universe.” – Dallas Willard

The right mountain for the right Kingdom

We learned on Sunday from Hebrews 12 that the Kingdom of God is no longer in the realm of fear, intimidation, and separation. The symbol of the Kingdom of God is not the first mountain, where even Moses was afraid.

“Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-23).”

A festive gathering!

The Kingdom of God is enjoyable!

It is for everyone.

It is not too hard.

This joyful realm happens when we die to ourselves and let Christ resurrect within us.

Rules or People?

When Jesus healed a woman who had been sick 18 years, the leader of the synagogue (the Senior Pastor), was angry because of the breaking of sabbath rules. In that case, rules were more important than people.
 
Jesus demonstrates to us a different way of valuing individuals.
 
I hope we all keep looking to Jesus as our standard of care. While rules can be necessary, a useful one enhances the common good without restricting human flourishment.
 
The Kingdom of God is a renewing reality.
The Kingdom of God is about renewing people!

People of the present and future Kingdom

“The kingdom of God” is a big theme for Jesus.
In the ESV translation, “kingdom” is mentioned 126 times in the Gospels.
 
What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is the reign of God.
 
Through Jesus,
The kingdom is already here.
The kingdom is not yet fully here.
 
So as God’s people, we are what Michael Green wrote:
 
“…people of the future living in the land of the present.”
 
That’s us!