NOH Podcast Season 1: Episode 2
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.
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?
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.
Happy New Year! Believe it or not, 2016 is actually here. “Time is a train, Makes the future the past, Leaves you standing in the station, Your face pressed up against the glass” (U2, “Zoo Station” from Achtung Baby). So as the train keeps moving, how are you looking forward into the new year?
A few days ago I received this question on Facebook, “If Gateway [our church] was attacked by ISIS and I jumped up and shot them all dead… Would God be mad at me for not shooting them with my prayers only? Your thoughts?” What follows are some of my thoughts.
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.