Sun, Nov 22, 2020
Total Reading Time: 3.5 mins
Misc Points of Interest and Import, Briefly Stated
Thanksgiving as Cultural Defiance – Giving thanks to God may be a much bigger deal than you may think. Romans 1:21 roots human rebellion against God in thanklessness: For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. In our world of instant gratification, material control, technological precision, and radical human autonomy, where I am Lord of authoring my own identity and czar of my own politically-protected reality, the regular old boring humility of gratitude to God is an increasingly radical act of cultural defiance that gives eyes to see the world more clearly. It acknowledges Christ as Lord over all, keeps us in our place, and turns what we already have into more than enough. Practice some defiance this week.
Shoot a text. Make a call. Send a card. – Early on in ministry, I made a pact with the Lord to do whatever the Holy Spirit put on my heart and mind to do when it came to keeping close personal contact with the flock. That meant lots of visits, texts, calls, coffee convos, meals, money spent, etc., and I loved it. But that has become beyond unmanageable times… I dunno… 20? I have been miserably failing at this for many years now, and I feel it pretty pointedly during a season like Covid where many are longing for former connection to the body of Christ, which means I know many of you are feeling it, too. I know many of you already do this all the time, but I would like to encourage you to shoot/make/send that text/call/card, just to check in to see how others are doing. If each of us did one of these once a day, it’d make a big difference. Philippians 4:14, it was kind of you to share my trouble.
Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) Club – Just a friendly reminder to buy the book we’ll begin discussing on Tue, Dec 8, The Gathering Storm, by Albert Mohler. This is a timely exegesis of our cultural moment, the rise of secularism, and pertinent issues on which a Christians are called to take a biblical stand. If you’re tracking, the new 4th B is part of a strategy tweak to engage people in ongoing biblical-theological training (that needn’t happen in-person.) So buy the book, start reading, learn some stuff, and build long-term intellectual and emotional muscle for stronger Christian living among a world that hates you (John 15:18-19).
No More Live-streaming of Re:gen & 180 – I know, #sadface for a few out there. I’m sorry, but we can’t keep sustaining the effort to livestream as we have been, for a few reasons: (1) For the last two or so months, we’ve had just a small few who have regularly tuned in live. (2) The overwhelming majority of our video engagement happens on-demand, after the event. (3) We are now in a mid-(to-long?)-term decline of available volunteers in many areas and need to give some burned out people some rest and put others in different places. But… We will continue to post 180 Student “talks” (can’t call it a sermon, of course) on the app, under “Watch”. Also, we are working to implement a similar system for re:gen, where commencements, testimonies, and Fireside Chats also find their way to the app. (Yes, we’re asking for permission before posting peoples’ testimonies.)
Please Pray. In Budgeting Process. – The Elders and Staff have been doing our annual month or so of weekly meetings to pray through and hash out what we believe are God’s plans for our future. (Yay. Love me some spreadsheets. I heart budgeting. It’s so low-pressure.) We’re nearing completion and, for the sake of God-honoring transparency, we will make available digital and printed copies for anyone to see. Just letting ya know… that I heart budgeting.
(A Few More) Lessons Learned (Particularly from Leading Through Covid)
- The Bible is more fundamentally important as the sufficient rule for everyday life than the overwhelming majority of Christians believe, how they function, have been taught, etc. Biblical faithfulness isn’t really about just “authority” anymore, which “all” Christians believe, but the practical use of that authority, its sufficiency.
- Connection is fundamental for human growth and life. Isolation breeds atrophy and death.
- Normal means of production and patterns of life literally keep people alive.
- From top to bottom, rich to poor, regardless of socioeconomic standing, when the empty structures of this world provide the power, control, and material luxury you enjoy, if Christ isn’t your Lord, you will stop at nothing to maintain your status.