Last week, we talked about how the church - this "body" of Christ - doesn't always look so "Christ-like," how so often our sinful selfishness gets in the way and members start fighting against themselves, against their own body. This week, I want us to keep looking at 1 Corinthians 12 and how God works with us when we don't get along, when we aren't acting like one body.
OK - time for true confessions. I have to admit something to you. My church does all sorts of things for the community - Easter 4 Kids, Vacation Bible School, Soccer Camp, Christmas 4 Kids, and the list goes on. In fact, as I write this, we just presented our Fall Festival - free food, games, hayrides, pony rides, face painting, cakewalk, music and so much more. It's a great party. But, I said I ...
Picture yourself in the courtroom, awaiting the verdict. How are you feeling? It's your verdict … your future. It's a death penalty trial. You're hoping your lawyer did enough, but ... in a moment, you will either be free - or condemned. Not a comfortable feeling, is it?
The shopping mall is a dangerous place. You know that, right? And I'm not just talking about the potential thief in the parking lot or the danger of having someone steal your credit card information. I'm talking about something much worse. I'm talking about danger for our souls.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a word in the English language that is more overused and a concept that is more underused than "love."
When's the last time you've felt excited about giving an offering at church - I mean really excited? If you've been reading this column for the past month, you might remember that when I was in Nigeria, I wrote about how excited the Nigerians got about "offering time!" with the dancing and music accompanying the bringing of their gifts, spending at least an hour of their service giving their monetary offerings.
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"I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story because I know it's true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do."
Last month, my congregation (Abiding Grace) celebrated our 10th anniversary. And there is plenty to celebrate. In 10 years, we've grown in people, in facilities, in opportunities to serve our community and spread the word around the world - in so many different ways. Things are rocking at Abiding Grace. So, looking at that, we must be doing something right, right?
I'll admit it. I am a big college basketball fan, which means I'm loving life right here in the middle of March Madness.
Today is Good Friday. The name seems like a misnomer when you consider that it marks the day of an execution - three in fact.
I look at the calendar and realize tomorrow is already Easter4Kids. Let me explain. That's an event Abiding Grace has been putting on for years now, a free event for all the 3 to 10 year olds in our community. It's a day to celebrate the real meaning of Easter. (You still have time to register your children at e4k.abidinggrace.com, but I digress). But here's the thing. It always takes place the day before Holy Week starts.
It's one of those stories I've heard in so many different variations that I wonder about the real facts: A farmer comes upon the scene of a recent fire and finds a hen with wings spread, burnt to a crisp. He wonders why the hen didn't fly away and escape the fire until he gets a little closer and sees the little chicks are still alive and moving under the wings of their charred mother. They had been insulated from the fire by their mother's sacrifice.
"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me."
Have you ever thought about how silly worship seems? And I could go through so many of the goofy seeming things that we do in the ritual of worship, but I just want to cut to the chase. Think about how crazy it seems that we give offerings. We go out of our way to get to church and then just give up significant proportions of our income...for free. Why? Why on earth would we go to church and take our time and give our money?
When you think of college spring break, is volunteering for church work the first thing on your mind? For Ruth Wendland, Alison Wine, Lauren Maertz and Annette Scharf, apparently, it is. Skipping the more traditional spring break locations, these four college students from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., are making their way to Covington looking to be put to work. Their goal: sharing the good news about Jesus. They were sponsored by a ...
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Did you remember? Did you do something big? Now, I know my wife loves me, and I am pretty sure she knows I love her. But there is something to this encouragement we've had this week to show it, isn't there? Proclaim that love for all to hear. When someone shows us his or her love in an obvious way, in those over-the-top displays - it's awesome to see. When two ...
Today is a big day. It might not seem like anything special, but let me let you in on a secret. Today, God is working. Our text is the story of one of Jesus' first sermons, in his hometown of Nazareth. Imagine the scene Luke 4 paints: The people were excited having heard rumors that he had made a pretty big splash on the rabbi scene in Jerusalem, and now he was back home to ...
They say knowledge is power. That's true, isn't it? Knowledge is a powerful thing. It can prevent all sorts of problems and can provide all sorts of solutions, saving time, money...even your life. For instance, when you know not to use water on a grease fire, you avert disaster.
When I look around me at church, I'm often struck by one thing about the people I see. They are different. I know that might not sound like that much of a compliment - but I see it as an amazing gift from God. Truly. The faces in our congregation range from young to old, the voices from weak to strong, the billfolds from thick to thin, the vigor from faint to healthy, the skin tone from black to white and everything in between. We are different.
Well, we're three weeks in to 2013. Have you kept your resolutions so far? Or are you realizing again this year that the New Year's resolutions were tougher than they sounded on Jan. 1?