Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Salvation - Courtroom or Marriage

This is a great description of how to understand salvation. Greg Boyd nails the truth that unlocked it for me a number of years ago, covenant. Check this out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IC3 - Not A Fan

We just completed a spiritual growth campaign called, Not A Fan.  Here is a highlight video of how this campaign impacted some of the people in our church.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Invocation Johnson County I-Club: 9.23.11

A few people that know me have asked that I post this video, so here you go. I was invited to pray at the Johnson County I-Club the Friday morning before Iowa played the University of Louisiana-Monroe. This is also the Friday after the Hawkeyes had overcome a fourth quarter deficit to Pitt (27-10) to come back and win 31 to 27.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Cocoa the Dog & Abundant Life

So for Christmas, the family and I were able to travel to Northwest Iowa for a week of country living on the farm.  My folks live on the Steele family homestead with a lot of hogs, some cattle and a few cats.  So when I say, “the family” that also includes the newest addition to our family, Cocoa the dog.  Cocoa is a little Japanese Chin mix who is primarily a house dog, but who loves to be outside.  Upon arriving to the farm we quickly discovered that not only do the grandkids love coming to the farm, but the grand dog loves it as well.  For Cocoa, the farm equaled Heaven!
Farms and dogs were made for each other.  On the farm a dog is free to run.  Their senses explode with new smells, and there are a plethora of animals to bark at and chase, oh and the food is so much better (table scraps from Christmas dinner).  If there is a dog heaven, I’m certain that it will look like a farm.
So what does this have to do with me and you?  Honestly, there are a lot of similarities.  (Not to mention your desire to chase squirrels and your love of being scratched behind the ears.)  Here’s the first one: We are not home.  For Cocoa, the farm is fantastic but it’s not her home.  For you and me, we have to admit something to ourselves: we are not home.  Even when we kick back and relax in our “man cave” or snuggle in close to our kids by the fire, no matter how hard we try, we are not home.  The painful truth is that sin has stolen true life away from us.  Sin has separated us from the way life was supposed to be; death, ageing, broken relationships, injustice, and pain---all results of sin.  So as we struggle through life.  Or watch the news and shake our head at the atrocities we see.  As we winch in pain from the hurtful words thrown our way, we need to remember that this is not home…this is not the way things were designed to be.  Sin has separated us from how life was supposed to be.
In response to sin, God provided a solution in his Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to earth to die a substitutionary death for our sins so that we may have life.  Jesus said very clearly, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10.  So while we acknowledge that this isn’t home, Jesus came to give us a taste of what life will be someday when he returns to take us to Heaven.
Here’s another similarity between our lives as Christians and Cocoa’s adventure to the farm: We were made for community.  Just like Cocoa was made to run and chase animals on the farm we were made to be together.  We were made for relationships.  So whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you were still created for community.  For you to really discover life it requires community.
So if you are a Christian and you feel like something is missing, maybe consider community.  Every Christian needs other Christians in their lives.  We need someone who we can talk to—really talk to.  We need someone who will pray with us, who will encourage us and tell us the truth when no one else will.  You were created for community, and in community you will experience true life.

Now obviously, community is difficult to achieve because of the problem of sin.  The shame of sin forces us to go and hide, but in Christ we are free to engage in the lives of people.  To experience true life, seek out at least one new relationship this year.  It might be a new face at church, a neighbor you have been meaning to have coffee with, or a co-worker who doesn’t connect with the rest of the staff.  True life waits when we connect with others in community.

Another similarity between Cocoa chasing squirrels and our lives as Christians is this: We were made for ministry.  God created you with specific talents, gifts and abilities.  Those jobs, activities, or hobbies that make you come alive or give you great pleasure were “wired” into by God for His great purpose—for ministry.  To discover the abundant life that Jesus gives requires each of us to use our talents and abilities to serve people, and advance His Kingdom.  If you want to grab hold of true life this year use your abilities for ministry.  Jesus himself said that we would be “blessed” or “happy” if we took time to minister to people.

There are many more similarities, but there is one more I want to touch on that is often overlooked.  Just as Cocoa’s nose loves all the smells of the farm, we discover true life when we make time for it.  As Christians we need to make time for abundant life. The reason so many Christians never discover true life is because they never block out the time for it.  We invest so much of our time and energy into jobs and tasks that bring us no life…and in fact take away life.  For example, we make purchases on credit that we can’t pay for, so we end up working more overtime to pay off bills—for things that we probably didn’t need in the first place.

Since God created us, He understands the need for people to take a break.  This break is called Sabbath.  God gave a Sabbath break for his people Israel so they would stop working and doing and instead focus on Him.  For there to be true life, God’s people need to create the space, and set up the boundaries so that true life can be embraced and lived.  If the abundant life Christ promises seems to be eluding you, maybe it simply requires you blocking out time for true life to happen. 

So if your life with Christ has become mundane or maybe seems to be missing something, consider some of these options.  You might just find that farm…I mean true life available to you through Christ!   

Biblical Illiteracy is Church's Dirty Little Secret

This article is spot on. The question is this: What are we going to do about it?

Biblical Illiteracy is Church's Dirty Little Secret