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

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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.

Healing is a foretaste of the Kingdom

I heard that the late John Wimber – a pastor who effectively prayed for “signs and wonders” – used to say something similar to this about healing:
When we prayed for no one, no one was healed.
Now we pray for lots of people, and some are.
Let’s pray and believe for healing, expecting more miracles. Each healing that occurs points us to the most significant work of power, which is the salvation we have through Christ.
Healing reminds us we are in the “already, not yet” Kingdom of God. Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom is already here, but not yet fully until he returns again. His Kingdom is increasing in stages, and we keep getting a foretaste.
Healing is part of that anticipation.

The Divine Conspiracy

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I have circled the Divine Conspiracy book for twenty years, hearing it mentioned, quoted, and praised by other Christian leaders I admired. In 2019, I finally read it cover to cover.

This book’s author is the late Christain philosopher Dallas Willard, professor at the University of Southern California.

The writing was dense. It was long. It was hard to finish. It was transformational!

I will be referring back to this book often in my devotions, and I am sure it will continue to pop up in my preaching this year. It is helping me learn to be an apprentice of Jesus!

Awaken Nashville!

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On Sunday, CIL joined over 500 churches in the Nashville area for a time of prayer and fasting.   I am so encouraged by this multi-church cooperation across varying church traditions and expressions.

Joint fasting is not about adhering to one common practice, but it is about positioning hearts.  Everyone’s fast will look different since we have such a broad spectrum of individual experience, work schedules, family dynamics, and health concerns.   Fasting is not about what you do; it is about where you turn.   Let the Awaken Nashville initiative turn your heart to God and the needs of those around you.

Let’s enjoy this opportunity to feast on the Lord!

Roe vs. Wade is not the end

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On January 22, we recognize the somber anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision to federally legalize abortion in 1973.  Though this is an important and consequential occurrence that should be acknowledged, it is not the linchpin of the pro-life movement like I once believed.

If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, as I hope it will be, abortions will still be legal in many states, and a vast portion of the United States population will yet have the choice to participate in an abortion.  While legal wrangling in our future will continue to go back and forth, one state at a time, it is the hearts of Americans that are in balance.

Abortion must be eliminated one heart at a time.  God, turn our hearts to the children.