WE SAY "THE CHURCH IS THE PEOPLE," BUT OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS MAY GIVE A DIFFERENT IMPRESSION. We say "go to church." We even call the building "the church." We use a sketch of our building in our church logo. We display our building first on our Web site and weekly bulletin. We measure faithfulness by how often someone attends gatherings at the church building. I'm not sure we really believe what we say we believe.
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SANCTIFICATION INFUSES THROUGH PRODUCTIVE FAITH, TAKES ROOT IN COMMUNITY, AND THRIVES IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Conversely, sin lurks in idleness, takes root in isolation, and thrives in secrecy. In a time when more people are home from school and work than ever, and the threat of pandemic, death, and economic fallout looms large, Christians must brace themselves for the spiritual battle silently ensuing.
SOME CHURCHES HAVE BEEN SO UTTERLY DECEIVED BY THE DEVIL’S CUNNING THAT THEY HAVE INADVERTENTLY INCUBATED GENERATIONS SUFFERING FROM SPIRITUAL MALADIES. The very place where we should encounter the healing of Jesus has become, for some, the root of our deepest wounds.
WHILE EVERY WORD OF GOD IS OF ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE, THERE ARE SOME THINGS JESUS, THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND THE APOSTLES EMPHASIZED ABOVE OTHERS. A fearless, searching question: are the things they emphasized the same things we emphasize in our faith?
Navigating the confusion of the modern religious scene is kind of like trying to find the right way to eat spaghetti--it always feels like I'm doing it wrong. Spaghetti is a messy dish, and navigating contemporary issues in the church can feel pretty messy too.
"Glory be to Jesus, / Who, in bitter pains, / Poured for me the lifeblood / From His sacred veins!" (Galli/Caswall). It is the antithesis of earthly glory, the grotesque picture of a scoundrel hanging from a tree bleeding for the lost lot of humanity. Jesus would die at the hands of the very men he created, whose might he bestowed, and breath he first breathed. Yet it was Jesus who prayed that God would glorify him in John 17. This was no self-serving prayer, but one of purpose, hope, and vision. He knew that the road to his glorification led through the cross.
WE MUST BE SUSPICIOUS OF THOSE MOMENTS WHEN WE ARE CERTAIN OF THE “VOICE” OF GOD THAT IT IS NOT OUR OWN PRIDE DISGUISED AS DIVINE INSPIRATION. We humans can be so crafty, we may even deceive ourselves (James 1:22; 1 John 1:8). In past dispensations, God revealed his will through patriarchs and prophets, but now has spoken through Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3). We may wish we had such inspired men around today to reveal the will of God in our specific context. It does not help that modern theologians muddy the waters presumptuously speaking about what God is up to and teasing us with the notion that there is some kind of predetermined plan for every trivial moment of our lives. We are left puzzling over how we will somehow discover God’s will, and wondering constantly if we are somehow messing it all up.
Men have long sought spirituality in elaborate architecture, “priestly” attire, and religious tradition. We have erected sophisticated denominations over the centuries, each with their own signets of sacredness--some with great pomp and circumstance. Even in less formal circles, we often become enamored with buildings, attire, attendance, titles, and numbers. But do these outward displays truly manifest spirituality? Do they indicate the very presence of God?
ARE YOU THE KIND OF PERSON NO ONE CONFIDES IN MORE THAN ONCE? All of us have inadvertently made for miserable comforters at some point, in spite of our good intentions. Let’s face it, we are sometimes ill-prepared to hear and respond to some of the things someone may share with us.
Okay, so it’s no surprise that this millennial is not particularly enamored with the 1950s era church culture, but what may surprise some is that neither does contemporary culture fill the void in my heart as the pendulum swings. Quite the opposite.