Knowing the Lord is with Me

One of the saddest statements in Scripture is found in Sampson’s story.

“But he did not know that the Lord had left him (Judges 16:20).”

That has been me before. Taking my gifts from God for granted, I have given away my secret strength and taken on causes without God. I am so thankful that he renews my strength after mistakes, and He never leaves me.

Let “The Culture of God” come!

european_commission_shutterstock_584963080
Let “The Culture of God” come!
 
Jesus often used the phrase the “Kingdom of God,” which is still an important, Biblical phrase to our faith. What is it? The Kingdom of God is the reign of God.
 
Still, I think these words had more of an impact in a monarchy, with an actual king. The people who heard these words first socially bonded around a king. In our society, culture is our cohesion. We feel connected to each other through cultural elements like music, sports, style, and political identification.
 
So, it may help us to add a parallel phrase to The Kingdom of God, which is the phrase “The Culture of God.”
 
Let “The Culture of God” come!

Pace yourself emotionally

IMG_2914

have learned (and still learning) to pace my self emotionally. In our fast-paced, information-saturated, constant communication culture, there is a magnet that keeps pulling us to depression, negativity, and unhealthy thinking. This pull is not just cultural issues, but the ability to discover so many things that impact family and friends.

So, as you keep caring for your world, care for yourself. Find out the things that fill your positive emotional reservoir, and lean into those gifts.

Learning from Joseph

JosephRevealedToBrothers
I have noticed a lot of people struggling with their mood, outlook, and emotional health in the last few weeks. I love how authentic everyone is with their feelings. This vulnerability is so much better than the days when Christians wore masks of perfection.
 
Still, why now? Is it all the recent rain? Is it the winter darkness and lack of vegetation? Is it the loss of momentum from New Year’s resolutions?
 
While I don’t want to minimize anyone’s personal experience, I must observe that some of this angst is predictable. Most years, we start January with some level of optimism but seem to plod through the winter months with a survival mindset. While winter doesn’t bother me as much as some people, believe me – I have my challenging times each year!
 
I wrote all of this because I think Sunday’s sermon is going to help people. We will look at a statement Joseph made in Genesis 45:5, “God sent me ahead.” Discovering Joseph’s perspective on his life may give you some perspective on yours.
 
Join me at CIL at either 9am or 10:45am.
______________________________________
“The Recognition of Joseph by His Brothers”
Date: 1816-1817
Artist: Cornelius, Peter von, 1783-1867

Christianity Offers Something Different

Forgiveness

What does Christianity have to offer culture? The last couple of years it has become evident that a post-Christian culture does not understand grace, forgiveness, and transformation. We offer these.

While that which is secret, underground, and unchecked needs to be exposed; as Christians we oppose the evil stronghold, not the person.

God forgave us, so we forgive.

All humans are flawed.
All humans behave wickedly.
All humans are offered grace.

“What God has made clean, do not call impure.” – Jesus (Acts 10:15)
_____________________
*This is not in direct reaction to any current news story, but a general observation about our culture’s response to individual shortcomings.

Your Job is More Important than You Realize

As we return to a more normal work rhythm, let’s not take for granted the jobs, institutions, vocations, and traditions we now carry on.

I love this thought by author David Brooks:

“A person is born into a collection of permanent institutions, including the army, the priesthood, the fields of science, or any of the professions, like being a farmer, a builder, a cop, or a professor. Life is not like navigating through an open field. It is committing oneself to a few of the institutions that were embedded on the ground before you were born and will be here after you die. It is accepting the gifts of the dead, taking on the responsibility of preserving and improving an institution and then transmitting that institution, better, on to the next generation.”