I stood in my kitchen, dirty dishes piled up on every counter. Water was leaking from under the sink, from under the dishwasher, all over my hardwood floor. Just another Saturday, I thought as I rolled my eyes and tried to take calming breaths. We did the dishes in the bathtub, only to make dinner which of course, led to more dirty dishes piled up again.
As followers of Christ or even those of us who are searching, we want to experience God's presence in our lives. This is manifested in different ways. Sometimes we want to experience His power, His peace, His direction, His healing, His hope, or His wisdom. However, no matter how much we want those things or even pray for those things, we still aren't experiencing God in the way we want.
Digital communication, including texts and emails, is a great way to communicate information and facts quickly, efficiently, and effectively. But what texts and emails can’t communicate are emotions, your heart, eye contact, non-verbal cues, forgiveness, love, etc…all the things that are required for a relationship to really flourish. Those things can only be experienced in true relational connection…face-to-face.
Too often we make “inviting someone to church” WAY more intimidating than it needs to be. Numerous research studies show that people are much more likely to show up on a Sunday morning than we think. The key ingredient that these studies find is that people will show up if invited by someone they know. So let’s explore easy ways to extend an invitation to someone in our life who doesn’t normally “go to church”.
The season of Lent starts today. Lent is the 40 days that lead up to Good Friday, the day we recognize Jesus’ death on the cross. I’ve always looked at Lent as a very “religious” thing; something “religious” people do. I’ve been challenged to “give things up” for Lent. In the past, I’ve tried and failed to sacrifice things like soda (“pop” for the natives) and watching hockey. My heart has never really been in it.
Let’s face it…many of our kids have been struck by the “arrow” of entitlement. They’ve developed an attitude that says “I deserve more and better”. You can quickly spot entitlement if you hear your kids constantly complaining, “It’s not fair!”. Entitlement is destructive because it results in the act of greed. In order to kill greed, we must to train our kids to be grateful. How do we help foster an attitude of gratitude in our kids amidst a culture of entitlement?
After 40 years of wandering in the desert, you’d think that the Israelites would have learned their lesson. In the book of Numbers, we see the Israelites leaving Egypt behind, as they were challenged to obey God’s commands, have faith, and trust Him through what seemed like impossible circumstances. Miracles were performed before their very eyes, God Himself provided their daily needs, and the Promised Land was so very near. Yet, the Israelites complained and grumbled about their journey in the desert.
“Bad company corrupts good character.” We’ve all seen this play out again and again. A “good” kid gets in with the wrong crowd in high school and ends up addicted to drugs. An NFL player making millions of dollars gets arrested for robbery. His coach’s response: “He’s gotta get a new crew.” A high school student who is “on fire” for Jesus, goes off to college, makes new friends, and comes home no longer believing in or following Jesus. Why do stories like this happen?
As parents, how do we protect our kids’ hearts from being destroyed by the consequences of their choices? We all need to understand The Principle of Consequences. The Principle of Consequences is this: If we’re on path A, we will end up at destination A. We choose the positive and negative consequences we will experience later by the path we choose to be on today.
One of our greatest desires as Relevant Community Church is to be a difference-making church. There are some key differences between people who “go” to church (“churchy people”) and people who are the church (“difference makers”). If we really want to be difference makers and be a difference-making church, we need to take a long, hard look at our lives and consider whether we are living as churchy people or as difference makers.
We all screw up and sin…in relationships, with our families, at work, on the weekends, on weekdays, all the time, repeatedly. Sin causes us to be “unfaithful”. All throughout the Bible, sin is described as faithlessness toward or a breaking of faith with God. The posture of sin is the same posture unfaithfulness in any relationship…turning our back on. Sin is TURNING OUR BACK on God himself…thus separating ourselves from Him.
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”
Words are a powerful thing.
Words have the ability to BLESS another…to inject the LIFE of God. Words also have the ability to CURSE another…to inject hurt and ultimately DEATH. Words can literally change a person’s life. In some way or another, we can all attest to that. All of us have our own stories of words that have been said to us that have changed the trajectory of our lives.
Your family. Your job. Your husband or wife. The latest fashions. Your favorite sports team. TV series. Food. Sex. Money. Success. Yourself. These are things we place value in. These things we hold as “important”. We were all made to worship. It’s in our DNA. The question is…who or what will be the object of your worship?
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still SINNERS, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). In case you missed that, read it again. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners – literally, ENEMIES of God – Christ died for us. Have you thought about that?