"You are all God's children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Over the past five weeks, we have been having a conversation about the nature of theological unity and division. This is one of the most important conversations that a community of Christians can have. Naturally churches and Christians tend to have two extremes.
The one extreme is so convictional that it places every aspect of theological conviction on the same level, therefore Christians and churches that fall into this extreme never partner with anyone or any church that disagrees with them even on very particular theological issues.
I'm reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I'm sure that this faith is also inside you. Because of this, I'm reminding you to revive God's gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. God didn't give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving and self-controlled.
I'm guessing that most of you have been camping at one time or another in your life. As I write this, I'm getting ready to pack up my family and head to the woods. We'll be in an area famous for no cell phone coverage, with the closest town being nearly a half hour away. But I can't really call what we'll be doing camping. We rent a cabin and flip a switch to get some light, sleep on beds, and everything else. And you RV-ers out there can't really call that "camping" either ...
"Can you believe it? He thinks he's the only one who has a connection to God." "He says only through him can you have heaven!"
There is something about sitting in mom's lap listening to a story. You just don't want to leave, even if she's read the book 5 times. You don't want to leave that place of safety and warmth and those kisses on the top of the head. It feels good to be somewhere you know you are loved.
As we celebrate Mother's Day this week and next (I hope your celebration didn't end Sunday!), I want you to use the picture of your mom's love for you to try to give you a glimpse ...
I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. God won't let your foot slip. Your protector won't fall asleep on the job. No. Israel's protector never sleeps or rests!
There has been a lot of conversation recently on the question of "What do Christians believe?" This question has intensified over the past several months due to the Republican and Democratic candidates for the presidency of the U.S. coming from unorthodox religious backgrounds. President Barak Obama, the Democratic nominee, spent 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ under the teaching of Jeremiah Wright. Trinity is denominationally associated with the United Church of Christ and has embraced "Black Liberation Theology," many theologians would argue that this perspective has led the church away from a pure Biblical Theology.
Why are you wasting your time reading this? Why do you waste your time going to church? It makes no sense for you to throw that chunk of your weekend out the window; you've got so many other things to do - unless, of course, you see the power of Pentecost. You see, Pentecost was that day full of miracles recorded in Acts 2 where the sound of a wind filled the city, the tongues of fire danced on the disciples' heads, they spoke in the languages of every person there and more than 3000 were brought to faith.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the door posts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried ...
You might recall that I'm a grandfather now. Yes. Yes. It's been a blessing, and I'd joyously dance in the streets except I'm a lousy dancer and people drive way too fast around here. So let's just pretend I'm doing a little dance of joy. And I'm joyous because grandchildren are cute, cuddly, soft and sweet. And I'm joyous because all the old cliches about being a grandparent are true. We will spoil them. We will play with them and then hand them back to the parents. We will bore people with ...
Have your Mother's Day sentiments worn out yet The day was almost two weeks ago. I sure hope not. If they have, just take a moment and think about the love of a mother.
As we study John 15 and hear Jesus tell us, "Remain in my love," I pray that we realize the value of that command.
Crucifixion, stabbing, stoning, flaying, beheading - I'm describing the ways the original apostles of Jesus died. They died a variety of ways, but one thing was consistent. They died because they would not budge from their conviction on the truth of Jesus' resurrection, the power of his message, the value of their relationship with him.
They were so certain of their eternity that they willingly faced death, the most gruesome of deaths, instead of denying it.
When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them - fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. "Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus said.
Praise the LORD! For He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
What are you afraid of? Sickness? (What if I never recover?) Loneliness? (What if my spouse doesn't keep the promises?) Bankruptcy? (What if I'm not able to pay the bills?) Responsibility? (Will I be able to protect this child in my arms in this scary, scary world?)
So what is it? I know it's something. We all have fear. But ultimately, it is all the same. Really, just about all fear boils down to the same thing - fear of failure - your own or someone else's. It might be your past mistakes that condemn you to current ...