…The words were not in English, but that didn’t matter. Some people stood, some people sat, some people clapped, and some people danced. So we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves. This wasn’t the calm, orderly, straightforward worship we were used to, but that was why we went. We got to worship God in a different language, in a different style, and with a different culture. And it was exciting…
Like the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” It’s easy to see how one thing leads to another when you’re looking back. But as you’re going through it, we usually have to walk by faith and not by sight–certainly not 20/20 vision sight. So it’s remarkable to look back on years of happenings and experiences, and be able to trace an amazing connection from one to the other that led to more and more unexpected blessings. Like a series of fortunate events you didn’t even know was happening. All we can do is take things day-by-day and try to live our best…
If churches were football teams, the congregation would be the players, and the huddle would be regular in-church activities like weekly Sunday worship. (I guess that makes Jesus the coach, God the general manager, and the Holy Spirit the quarterback? Or something like that.) I was reminded how important that Sunday huddle is this week since… we couldn’t have worship because of snow and ice! No worship, no huddle. So I’ve been figuring out how to be my best self all week on the fly. Football teams can speed up their play if the clock’s ticking by skipping the huddle, but you only do that if necessary. You play better when you huddle and prepare.
We are very blessed to live in a free country, where we are free to worship without fear for our lives. But what if we didn’t? What if we lived in a country where religious minorities suffered abuse and persecution? Most people would just worry about surviving. But is there any way to have an active, effective witness for the love of Christ amidst such hostility? (Hint: YES!)
Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs help turn people’s lives around and keep them pointed in the right direction. They try to help people to keep getting better, take responsibility for themselves, and work to help others change their lives too. That sounds a lot like what the church should be doing too.
Jesus said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). We often paraphrase that into a reminder to have “faith like a child.” So what might that involve? Well kids are wonderfully imaginative, so should we have a more imaginative faith?
One of the more popular laments these days is that the country/culture/society/people just aren’t as good as they used to be. There’s usually a line like, “People these days just don’t ________ like they used to.” One example among Christians is, “People don’t go to church like they used to.” Whether you think the way society has changed is good or bad, what isn’t debatable is that church attendance in America has indeed been declining drastically since the ’90s. Should that bother us? And if so, how?
If you’re like me, you spend time and maybe even worry trying to figure out what God’s will is. What is God’s will for my life, my family, my church, etc.? Anybody who wants to make their life better–whether in general or in the midst of bad consequences–has probably wrestled with that question. Just what is God’s will?? Well, we shouldn’t really have to ask what it is, because it’s easy to find out. We should just ask how to do it better.
What does the Bible say about immigrants? A lot, actually. So it begs the question: Since there are people who have settled in our community/country, do we treat them like the Bible says to treat them? And if so, what is that like?
In the last chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul says hello to a lot of people in the Roman church by name (Romans 16:3-16). And if you’re like me, then you don’t recognize any of those names and don’t even know how to pronounce them. But that’s okay. Nobody really knows who they are, because they were just good, normal, ordinary people. Well we are too, so what can learn about doing church from these fine folks in Rome? How does ordinary turn into great?
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