We might not see it much in our small town setting, but when you drive to the larger towns and cities near us, you start to notice: people on the corner, at the intersection, or at the gas station, asking for money. You’re wary that it might be a scam, or just someone wanting money for substance abuse. But you’re also a nice person who wants to help people, and you remember Bible verses like “Give to anyone who asks you” (Luke 6:30) and “If anyone is poor…do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them” (Deuteronomy 15:7). So what do you do? What would be most helpful?
I usually don’t like surprises, but on a recent Sunday, I didn’t mind the surprise I got. The kids were helping to lead worship that day, and before the opening prayer, Steve Johnson stepped up to the pulpit. I know Steve’s a big kid at heart, but we had already assigned the prayer to someone […]
The more we assess other people’s worth and value based on how they seem, then the more we start to equate our own worth and value on how we look too. So in our personal lives, how much money, stress, and attention do we give to our looks, fashion, gadgets, car, house, living room, etc., etc.? We work hard to look good, instead of working hard to be good. How different would we be if we instead focused that time and energy on being a good person on the inside instead of looking like a good person on the outside?
A year ago, during one of our monthly Coffee & Snack Fellowship times, I scattered cards and pens around the tables and asked church members to write down what they thought we should do to celebrate the 100th anniversary the following year. I still have those cards, with handwriting from elementary-aged to senior adults. So let’s check back to see if we covered everything.
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.
A church isn’t a church without its people… and some decent carpet. Fortunately, we’ve got great examples of both right here!
The truth of Genesis 1:27 is that we are made “in the image of God.” We forget that sometimes, so it’s good to remind ourselves: we are made in the image of God. (Even early on a Monday morning, if you can believe it.) What we forget even more often, and in fact rarely ever think about at all, is that everybody else is made in the image of God too. So what difference should that make? Well, a lot, actually.
Our lives get so full, and our schedules so dictated by distractions, that before we know it, time has passed, kids are grown, things have changed, we got older, and it was all a blur. So the point of Lent is to stop that rush of distraction, and instead, to pause, focus, pray, look around, and notice how God is moving in the world and in you.
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?
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