We all have it. A need and desire for connection. Whether it be a relationship, a thing, or a vice, we are searching for a way to connect. Often times our points of connection don’t go much deeper than the surface and so we find ourselves still longing for something.
One of my favorite things to read about is the time Jesus was walking through the streets surrounded by a huge crowd of people and turns to his disciples and asks, “Who touched me?” Ha! Seems like a ridiculous thing to ask considering the crowd. His disciples thought so too, “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” (Luke 8:40-48 and Mark 5:21-34) One of the keys to meaningful
evangelism relationships for today can be found in this exchange.
It has been two years in the making but Gateway Community Church is officially here! We are now 8 days in existence and it’s been a ride already. Our launch week was great because of a committed group of volunteers and so many new faces from our community. Our Block Party on July 1st saw nearly 500 people show up to celebrate Gateway’s birthday with pony rides, food, & bounce houses. The 4th of July Bike Parade saw families decorating bikes, a visit from a firetruck from across the street, and of course popsicles. Our first worship service on July 5th was a celebration of something new while sharing Communion together and a BBQ lunch afterward. We’ve got some exciting things just around the corner.
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled today in favor of making marriage equality, particularly for same sex couples, the law of the land. For many individuals, this decision gives great cause for celebration. For others, it raises feelings of anger, frustration…and fear. The Church should be a champion for equality under the law, whether we agree with the law or not. This does not have to be seen as a compromise of orthodoxy, tradition, or scripture, for the Church and Empire have seen things differently for some time.
How the Church responds and reacts to this decision matters, on whichever side of the issue one may be and I believe the only reasonable way for the Church to respond is with love and grace. May it be so.
I was born 26hrs into the year 1979. My birthday puts me near the divide between “Gen Xers” and the coveted “Millennials.” I say coveted because it seems to be the only demographic the Church is interested in reaching as of late. People born outside the early 1980s to early 2000s are people too. Sure, Millennials might approach church and faith differently but so does our culture in general and millions of others as well. Perhaps the way we’re “doing church” isn’t working for lots of people, not just Millennials.
From his early morning encounter with the guards in Gethsemane, his trial before the High Priest and Pilate, the beating and mockery he endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers, to being nailed to a tree and left to hang naked for 6 hours…never once did Jesus complain.
I cannot fathom the pain and loneliness he must have felt this day a long time ago and yet when I realize he did it all for you and me, I find myself humbled and grateful. The only man in the history of humankind able to withstand the weight of the world’s sins and not be crushed. This is what makes Good Friday. A burden that would crush any of us in an instant was taken off our hearts that day.
Trying to understand the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) that was recently signed into law here in Indiana may not be as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but most would agree the confusion surrounding the intent of the law has generated not only strong reaction but strong emotions nationwide. I find it interesting that this is all taking place during the Church’s Holy Week.
Masks. We all wear them. We wear them to cover up blemishes, brokenness, shame, guilt, etc. We wear them throughout the week and if you go to church, especially on Sundays. You know the look, “I’ve got this all together and am quite successfully managing all of the various emotional, spiritual, social, and relational balls that are currently in the air all around me at this moment thank-you-very-much.” Oh the masks we wear.
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44)
Prayer is the hard work of spiritual growth. We cannot expect to grow in relationship with another if we rarely talk to him or her. Even when we don’t feel like putting in the effort, we know we must if we value the relationship or want to see it grow. Our relationship with God is no different. Prayer is a way in which we strengthen our relationship with God, even when we don’t feel like praying. Prayer is hard work.