Wednesday, May 12, 2010


But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original (Galatians 5:22-26 MSG).

Before you answer the questions, remember that doing this isn’t just a checklist. It isn’t just something you have to do. Start by asking God to reveal something to you. Put your focus and motivation to read and answer the questions on God.

Now read back through the passage again and ask yourself:
• What does this passage show me about God?
• What does this passage show me about who I am, how I think, how I’m made?
• What does this passage show me about loving other people?
• How can I do what these verses are challenging me to do in a way that shows people that I love them and also lets people see how much God loves them?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Irrelevant Homilies 101

If you subscribe to my  tweets or are a friend of mine on facebook, then you probably saw a church sign featuring the pictured horribly irrelevant upcoming Sunday message. I love church signs. Sort of like I love stupid criminals. Really, society would be better off without them but they do make me laugh, and cringe, at the same time. Southern Hills Methodist Church, down the street from us, puts their upcoming message up as well. Jeff Jaynes, the pastor, usually makes a play of pop culture, some kind of pun, or other catchy phrase to draw in his parishioners and others who may just be curious. Never have I seen him drop such a blatant eschatological reference as a title. In fact his last sermon title was "God is not Your Sugar Daddy." See, I would go hear that. And probably go eat pie afterward. I also enjoyed an earlier title "I Resolve to Take More Baths." We could all use that one! Perhaps he could lend our friends at GCofC some of his creativity. He would probably just tell them to title it: "Stay Home and Read Left Behind." It's sure to be more entertaining.

I certainly hope their upcoming series on Calvinism is more appealing. But, hey, what better way to kick off the lenten season than some good ole eschatology...

But I guess I should not spend my entire blog criticizing others, even though it is tons of fun. It is difficult enough to stay relevant. I get my students for 3 hours per week, if they choose to even come. Moreover, I only get them for 6 years. Do the math and that is roughly 3.5% of their wakiing hours from ages 13-18--again, only if they come every time our doors are open, not including camps. So, it's probably more like 1 or 2%. I compete with school, friends, and family. If any of those are working against what we teach, I fight a losing campaign.

What does that imply? It means that I can't waste precious time teaching on eschatology that NOBODY knows anything about. Okay, we know about it, but no one has cornered the Truth. Basically, we all have no idea. (Hence the idea of Panmillennialism). Nor do I teach on debating Calvinism, Demons, Guardian Angels, or other sensationalist teachings. Not that there isn't a place for some of the aforementioned, but is this what I really want them to walk away with? I'd much rather them have a foundation upon which they can build a theology that will carry them through life.

How will they handle tragedy, a divorce, a rebellious child, an aging parent, disappointment, job loss, etc? That 12 week series on Creationism sure isn't going to get them through it. Our next Sunday morning series will be called "Faith that Lasts." How to build your house on the rock. How to survive real storms. How to know how to live life with God as your Lord and to have a faith in Him that isn't determined by circumstances or tertiary beliefs.

Well, I've ranted enough. But I guess that's what blogs are for. I certainly don't claim to have it all figured out. But I do love my students. And I hate to ever see them turn their backs on a faith that once meant so much to them. So, as for me and my team, we will do what we can along with their parents to help them build a theology that will ride out the storms and the frenetic pace of life. Most of all, we will teach and relate as God leads.