In a fragmented society in which major institutions like the church and the community no longer play the same role of bringing people together, owning identical possessions becomes one of the chief ways in which we experience community, overcoming our pattern through shared patterns of consumption
I love the friends God has brought into my life. I met Jeremy & Ashley Parsons over four years ago when we were in the early stages of gathering a core group for Redeemer . They are amazing people, great friends, grace-filled leaders, and people who have leaned on the kindness of God through much change, transition, and turmoil.
Thrilling for me to see the Star run a story on their adoption. Eager to see God move more people in our church family in this way — and eager to celebrate with them when He provides.
"We may do well to recognize what seems to be the consistent thrust of the whole Bible—that unless and until, in faith, the future of the world becomes more important than the future of the church, the church has no future. As Jesus put it, the most dangerous thing you can do is seek to save your life . . ."
"And so after studying the issue, we decided to go multi-site. Yet we still have some serious concerns and questions about the multi-site idea even as we participate in it. The problem that haunts us is a simple one. Where does this idea lead? Where does this end? Twenty years from now are there fifteen preachers in the United States?"
Finally, just because they've been playing Christmas music in stores since midnight on Halloween doesn't mean that it's good. Obviously I love Sufjan's Christmas albums, but I'm also a huge fan of Duvall's Christmas album, O Holy Night. But as far as real Advent music goes, I don't think it gets any better than Sojourn's Advent songs. Find out how to get it free below...
In my sermon yesterday, I mentioned a set of accountability questions that someone had emailed me. My point was that all too often, 'accountability' resides only in the surface realms of "Did you look at pornography" or "Did you drink too much?" instead of addressing the heart behind why we sin. The "sin beneath the sin" if you will.
Here is the link to Stephen Altrogge's 7 Tough Questions To Ask Your Friends, where he outlines the kinds of heart exposing questions he asks his friends as well as offers a bit of commentary on each. I've listed his questions below.
Have you been consistently pursuing the Lord through scripture reading and prayer?
Have you diligently pursued your wife/husband this week?
Have you seen any persistent patterns of sin in your life recently?
Last week you confessed struggling with [insert sin]. Have you taken steps to fight it this week?
When you gave into [insert sin], what were you believing about God in that moment? What were you believing about yourself?
What is the truth that you need to believe in this situation?
When you had the conflict with [insert person], what were you craving at that moment? (source)
Cultural preferences must take a backseat to unity in Christ. The most important issue is always identity: What is the strongest defining reality for us-- Christ or culture? Culture is important-- indeed, a necessary part of the fabric of our lives-- but Christ, not culture, gives the primary definition to life. Culture is the means by which Christ is expressed, but the message is Christ himself. Do ethnic churches exist to preserve a culture or to promote Christ? Often one gets the impression that the real center of all our churches is our culture, not our Lord. That attitude needs to change
Churches need to be astute enough to know when they are using culture, when they are adapting culture, and when they must confront culture. Churches must demonstrate that the barriers are down. That most churches are culturally monolithic is an embarrassment. Church members must show they care about other people in Christ, even if they are different culturally, economically, politically, or socially. A monolithic church in a multicultural context is a failure. Churches need to demonstrate unity with Christians of other cultures, to seek justice, and to evangelize across cultural and racial lines. We have to show that the barriers are down.