Happy New Year! I pray your holidays were enjoyable and meaningful. Here we are again, at the beginning of a new year with all of its possibilities, hopes, and potential. What are you most excited about as you enter this new year? When your birthday is on the 2nd day of the year, like mine, a new year also means another year older. Here’s what I’m thinking about when I think about 2017…
It’s just been in the past few weeks that I’ve realized something and for that, I need to apologize. It has just recently become quite apparent to me that 2016 has been an incredibly difficult year for a number of individuals. Many of you and/or individuals you know, are not tracking the days until Christmas but instead are counting down the days until this year walks out the door.
We could discuss the difference between talking about things that are immature, crass, offensive, and things that are criminal assault and deception. There is plenty that could be said about respectful (or lack thereof) discourse. We could say much about the intersection of faith and politics or the rise and fall of “the evangelicals.” I don’t want to talk about any of this here.
I am proud to say that I have had grandpas, uncles, cousins, and a father in-law who all served in various branches of the United States military in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Middle East. I believe this is important to note as I write what follows.
I really enjoying going to concerts. Almost any concert really, almost…I draw the line at country. Here are a couple shows I’ve seen recently and thought I’d recommend giving a couple of these albums a spin if you haven’t yet.
I saw David Wax Museum play The Vogue here in Indianapolis and they were great! A fun sound with lots of energy.
My surprise band of the summer was Kaleo. I saw these guys at The Lawn at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis and they were fantastic. Such a great, strong sound. Their whole album has been solid to listen to all the way through.
I’ve had the chance to see The Head and The Heart a number of times now and each time they have not disappointed. The most recent show this summer was an interesting one. They are in the midst of some transitions as a band and despite that, I thought they sounded perhaps that best I’ve heard them sound. Their rendition of ‘Rivers and Roads’ at The Lawn at White River State Park was the best I’ve ever heard it. They have a new album dropping in early September.
Once again our collective heart breaks for the loved ones and family of the most recent victims of the mass shooting in Orlando. Let us be clear that this act of violence was an act of hate and evil. God did not need nor cause this tragedy to happen. (I wrote about this a few years ago because of another, now becoming all too common, act of violence) This act of violence has us talking a lot about rights; “our” rights, “their”rights, “my” rights, which rights should be changed, which rights should stay the same, the requirements for having such rights, etc. Who has the Right of Way?
Today is the day the state of Indiana votes in the Primary Election. It is one of the later states to vote for the primaries and often times has little impact on the overall primary race. Not today. The voters of Indiana have an opportunity to not only make their voices heard but to actually add to the conversation.
If the focus of your church’s mission is something other than helping individuals become committed disciples of Christ, in whatever way you might say it, it is possible your church is not actually a part of the Church.
The tomb is still empty. Jesus is alive. So. What? Many of us wrestle with the question of the difference it should make in our lives today that some guy rose from the grave 2,000 years ago. If Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, then it makes no difference. If he did, then the difference it could make in our lives is up to us.