Christ died for the life of the world. For what “life of the world” did he die? Did he only die for the life of the church adherent, for the life of the Sunday school attender and weekend worshipper? Where do we spend most of life? At work, at home, at the church building? If the latter is our life then eating and drinking is irrelevant. If you were to reduce eating and drinking to its bare essential utilitarian nature then it is merely for energy and good health. Eating food keeps me alive but it is not life giving in the way that life is given as gift of enjoyment for the glory of God. The utilitarian view is a drab interpretation of eating and drinking. Continue reading
Years ago, I asked a student minister to share his testimony with me. He was sitting across from me in local coffee shop. We were just getting to know each other. He told me how he read the right Bible in the right way. How he was baptized with right understanding, in the right mode. How he worshipped in the right church, with the right hierarchy, with the right acts of worship. I said, “That’s great. Could you say that again this time mentioning Jesus and his grace?” I am certain this is how many in my Christian tribe would tell their testimony today. Why? Because it was once how I told mine. Continue reading
Romans 6:1-7 (NIV) What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
One of the most important discoveries for me was the theological concept of imputed righteousness. When I was a preaching intern, I was instructed to write an essay on the topic. This teaching has tripped up many a Restorationist. I have had discussions with church members and ministers about the unearned nature of salvation and the way in which we are made righteous. After describing imputed righteousness, it is usually followed up with a “but.” The conversation then transitions to our need for obedience and if a person can lose their salvation.
The Holy Trinity is one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible. God, three-in-one is often difficult to explain and describe with our limited language.
God identifies with himself through love. You can say that the Spirit is what binds the love of the Father to the Son and the Son to the Father. This is the love that he pours out to his creation.
Love is what binds us to God, his mission, and to each other. The reason that the loving Father is so loving is because of the unique relationship that he has with himself. God knows what it truly means to love himself. This is why Jesus can say that the second greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself.
“Love is a habit… We learn to love… not primarily by acquiring information about what we should love but rather through practices that form the habits of how we love.” James K.A. Smith
When you choose to gather in worship it reorients your heart towards God.
God is the object of our worship and God does the work of worship. Worship is top-down, not bottom-up.
And what God works in worship is the transformation of our minds. He moves us forward in our commitment to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. This begins with His Spirit and is perpetuated in covenant community.
We learn to worship God through revelation and in community. Our faith community plays an important role in how we choose to express our affections to God. It’s where we learn to put into practice living out our response to God’s initiation of mercy and grace. Continue reading
If you grew up in a church you may remember being there “every time the doors were open.” It’s a cliché that many identify with in their spiritual development or their faith tradition. But those times and habits, they are a changing. You could simply say that they have changed. Even with people who are considered faithful members of a church body, the frequency of their church attendance has diminished. It used to be that that you were considered a member in good standing if you were with the church 3 times a week, today it is more like 2 to 3 times a month. Did we just move the bar?