Quick cultural observation:
As a real estate agent, I can’t help but notice that dining rooms are no longer in vogue. If families no longer need/want a room for dining, then it would be natural to assume that eating is becoming passe…
We are eating, but I would have to guess that the new visual focus of a group of eaters is the television, not each other. Yes, you could make an argument that this has been happening since the 50s, but at least here in Sacramento, CA, homes built as recently as the early 90s still have dining rooms.
So in 2014 we still eat; we’re just allowing relationship to fall into the background, perhaps.
It all makes makes me kinda sad. It seems something of the evening routine needs to be redeemed…thanks to TiVo, this shouldn’t be too hard!
Share a meal with loved ones this week, and comment here how it went!
I felt strongly impressed of the Holy Spirit a few weeks ago that I really should get back to writing out my prayers. It slows me down; it exposes how self-centered my prayers can be, and gives the Spirit room to direct my passions toward God’s glory and the Gospel’s advancement, instead of asking for small things and being satisfied playing with mud pies in a slum.
After some time writing this morning, I picked up the Sword to survey Christ’s utter holiness as communicated in Leviticus 1. I haven’t felt God’s presence so deeply in weeks. God is so patient with me when I am distracted by lesser things.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, it would be hard to miss all the excitement around the grand opening of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (At least if you live in Northern CA) The $1.3 Billion home of the San Francisco 49ers is 1.85 million square feet and features enough solar panels to be declared “net neutral” as it relates to energy.
All of this hullabaloo makes me think of the temple that stood in Asia Minor which housed a large marble statue of Artemis of the Ephesians 2,000 years ago. The temple was several times larger than the Greek Parthenon, and was itself one of the 7 Wonders of the ancient world.
Carved of a single piece of marble and inlaid with an unknown amount of gold, the statue within the temple seems crazy to those of us looking back on the Roman culture and theology that included locals believing this deity was worthy of such resources.
Don’t label me a hater; I LOVE football. But what will people 2,000 years from now think about the resources used to build the temple to support the god of our own making, the regalia which indicates to which deity we owe allegiance, the time/energy/passion exerted in passionate worship, the lifted hands, raised voices, prayers, & ceremonial meals eaten as part of the tradition?
Some churches here in the States spent the 80s and 90s talking like it was a brand new cultural shift for people to NOT be a part of a Christian church. a.k.a. They were talking like a post-Christian culture was coming fast, as opposed to recognizing that it had long since arrived.
How old of a cultural institution, for example is Sunday Brunch?
Isn’t it this loud, unapologetic, “WE DON’T GO TO CHURCH. IT DOESN’T EVEN CROSS OUR MINDS.”?
I’m not complaining about Sunday Brunch. I want Christians to look into culture and figure out how, when, and where to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in attractive, bold and humble ways. I wonder if a local church could host a Sunday Brunch that’s all about Jesus? Hmm…
He was likely a grizzled veteran of the Roman legions.
As a reward for years of service, he had been rewarded with the relatively plush post of overseeing a jail. But this was still Rome; and accordingly, a jailer paid for lost prisoners with his own life.
So when God sent an earthquake to tear open the gates of the jail in Acts 16, we can understand why he drew his sword to kill himself. There would be less shame to die now than die later.
But Paul and Silas didn’t run.
“We’re still here, bro! Don’t hurt yourself!” -Paul, Acts 16:28 GSV*
Dumbfounded, he called for lights, fell at the feet of Paul and Silas and asked what he must do to be saved. Wow. It seems that God was working on this guy. A guy who knew he had all kinds of blood on his hands; who needed saving from his guilt before God.
There was an earthquake alright; but it was something else that shook him to his core.
*Greg’s Standard Version
Jesus came to save misfits, not people who think they’re good enough on their own. Be challenged by this sermon as Christ reminds us that dirty shepherds are now welcomed into the presence of God.
Sermon Audio Page
It may seem weird to you; but I’ll start this off by asserting that my iPhone 5S, a number of good apps, some great websites & the proliferation of WiFi are clumped together as the greatest double-edged sword of my spiritual growth.
I grew up hearing about remote tribes of people hearing about Jesus for the first time thanks to the extreme dedication of a Christian who was willing to pack up and go to parts unknown with a Bible in hand. But in 2014, although some people groups are still isolated, a vast majority of planet earth has some level of connectivity with other large swaths of the world’s population, thanks to the web.
Currently in my late 20s, I am being discipled in a world where some of the best preachers and Bible teaching are only a click away. My phone automatically downloads in podcast form the weekly sermons of J.D. Greear, Matt Chandler & other solid teachers. I only tap a couple of times to be able to listen to the Word of God explained clearly! (Let alone the privilege of having the Bible in my hands in the first place.)
As it relates to being a steward of the Gospel for both proclamation and sanctification, these words haunt me:
“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”
-Jesus, recorded in Luke 12:47-48 NLT
Let’s drink deeply of all the blessing God has made accessible, folks. And let’s turn around and bless the world.