The GOOD NEWS and why it is GOOD and what you should do about it!

3Over the past couple of weeks in our faith communities in Idaho, we’ve been talking about “evangelism.” Over the years and for many Jesus followers, just hearing the word raises fear, apprehension, nervousness, and even a sense of regret. For it has been the experience of many Christians that evangelism in our past has been filled with feelings almost like that of a phobia…we were taught a “content-driven” formula and then “guilted” to act. That frightens many people to death! Many of us, compelled by guilt, have traded integrity filled, loving relationship or friendship with a manipulative “presentation” of the Gospel that was centered more on BAD news (or scary news) than GOOD NEWS.

Yet, don’t miss this – the GOOD NEWS (Jesus – Jesus IS the Gospel) can change and transform people’s lives as it has ours and Jesus calls us to share simply what we have experienced in a relationship with Him. As we share Jesus, we want to build and have real, integrity filled, loving relationships with people without some hidden, manipulative agenda. As we share Jesus, we want to LIVE OUT the presence of Jesus in and through our lives in such a manner that the GOOD NEWS is not only GOOD NEWS but redemptive, transformational news. As we share the GOOD NEWS, we want to do so in a manner that does NOT come with relational or spiritual threat but comes to people from the love that we have for them that is just as everlasting, just as unconditional, just as life-changing as the love and grace that we have received from Jesus ourselves.

So, every Jesus follower MUST be clear on the GOOD NEWS we share. What is the GOOD NEWS and why is it good?

Well, GOOD NEWS is what changes our past and that which affects our present and also completely changes our expectation for the future…Jesus has impacted our past, and continues to change our present while giving us a HUGE promise for our future.

The GOOD NEWS changes our future because the GOOD NEWS is filled with the reality of Jesus and His kingdom coming in full. That’s the fulfillment and the answering of our prayer, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s the promise that we recite every week in the Apostle’s Creed – “I believe in the HS, the holy Christian church, communion of saints, forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” That’s a vision of eternity in relationship with God and each other. The GOOD NEWS reminds us what is in store for you and me through Jesus (the GOOD NEWS) – we don’t have to fear the biggest enemy of humankind…death. Jesus conquered death – Jesus put to death, death, and through Jesus and God’s eternal love, we don’t live under a curse, but under a promise that when we breathe our last, that we walk through an open door into the eternal presence of God.

Now, all of that is VERY GOOD NEWS! The question is though is, “why not just stop there?” Well, what we are discovering more and moreover the years is that a faith and GOOD NEWS that doesn’t change the PRESENT isn’t really the good news that most people want. Most people can’t even think about what’s going on tomorrow, so thinking about eternity is a whole nother story. Faith (Jesus) has to change the PRESENT. People need to see that Jesus isn’t just about “pie in the sky when you die” but that the good news changes the present. If we could just catch a glimpse that God wants to invade the here and now with His Kingdom and His presence, it would change the way we LIVE. Jesus wants to invade every area of your life with the Kingdom. In other words, it’s not enough for us to just embrace the new reality of the work of the cross and empty tomb FOR us and our future, it also must work IN us for our present; it needs to embody how we live our lives. When we have truly encountered God and His grace, we are changed…we are transformed…we have a new identity TODAY!

The Apostle Paul wrote some interesting and relevant words in 2 Corinthians 5:

“For if we are beside ourselves (literally, “out of our mind” it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls (compels) us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

Paul had a HUGE story…he had everything going along in life VERY well, but then Jesus invaded his life. He went from respectability and authority and status to, well, soon after following Jesus he got shipwrecked, thrown in a prison, beat up, and riots broke out wherever he traveled. He exchanged a very predictable, good life for a very unpredictable, tough life. People in his time most likely wondered why ANYONE would do that! But right here in 2 Corinthians 5, he tells us why – he’s going through all hardships that he is going through for one reason – he was compelled by love he had experienced. That love changed his life and his relationships and how he DID every aspect of his life. The love of God for him caused him to fall in love with Jesus Christ which then caused him to share in God’s love for people…love compelled him. Paul wasn’t motivated by any law code. He wasn’t motivated by any should or fear or guilt because Paul knew that being motivated by love and love only is always the only kind of fuel that the kingdom of God can run on. Read that clearly friends – LOVE is the only fuel that the Kingdom of God can run on. Good doctrinal understanding and adherence is just that…good.

Participation in the Body of Christ is something that should be the bedrock of every Jesus follower’s existence. Love for God’s Word is something that should cause our hearts to beat fast as well. But it is NOTHING ELSE BUT SHARING LOVE, sharing IN God’s love and living OUT that love in our lives to others that really should be that which marks our lives. When it comes to sharing faith in Jesus, don’t be compelled by legalism. Don’t be compelled by “shoulds,” “oughts,” or “guilt.” Anytime evangelism is motivated by any of those realities, it is just not right. But it’s altogether different when you’re compelled by love. You see, the GOOD NEWS changes your present…it changes your motivation for living. We are now compelled to share our lives and live out our faith in our everyday lives. Once you have experienced Jesus, the goodness of Jesus, is going to ooze out of you. If you’re going to be a bearer of GOOD NEWS, it is going to come naturally.

So, what is evangelism? How do we live out the good news? First of all, the GOOD NEWS should change the way you look at people. In other words, who Jesus is and what Jesus is doing should change the lens you use when you look at the world. In Jesus, you see people differently. Remember that Paul also wrote that IN JESUS the old things have passed away? You see, the cross changed everything not just for you but every person you see. One of the ways that changes everything, Jesus starts to reveal, challenge and then collapse your judgment mechanisms. You know this – we all have this compulsive thing that we do where we judge and assess people. We often don’t know that we do it, but we do – because we’re so used to doing it. We look at people and we decide what we agree with or we don’t agree with; what we like what we don’t like; there’s a gossip column going on in our brain. But if you allow the Holy Spirit to collapse those judging mechanisms and you start agreeing with God that because of what Jesus did every person you see has got unsurpassed worth it if you do that, you begin to see what God sees. You begin to see what God sees and then you begin to love what God loves. That’s the love that compels us towards evangelism that neighbor of yours.

Friends, some of your friends think they really are worthless. But you know they are not…they have got unsurpassed worth in the heart of God. Some of your friends are miserable because they think they’ve done the unforgivable sin. But you know that all sin has been taken care of two thousand years ago on a cross of love. Some of your friends think that they’re going to be addicted the rest of their lives and that they are no better than that. But you know that that addicted self was crucified 2000 years ago. And better yet, you know that the gulf between those two things creates a yearning in your heart (because God is changing your heart to be more and more like Jesus’ heart) to set people free.

Friends, that is our message. This is the good news. God’s not holding your sin or anyone’s sin against them. God is 110 percent in favor of you and every person you meet! Because of the Cross and empty tomb, everything has been changed. When you see anyone, you know that God is on their side. That He’s for them. He just wants to have a relationship with them.

Friends, because of Jesus, you have “new creation” eyes and those eyes, the eyes/lens of Jesus, sees every person you see as one for whom Jesus died and therefore they have unsurpassed well worth. I encourage you to consider this – when you find yourself thinking these “old creation” thoughts, those judgmental thoughts, self-righteous thoughts, ask the Lord for the Spirit’s power and love to put them aside and agree with God that that person that you are with has unsurpassed worth in the heart of God. And lastly, pray that you can become a blessing “machine” in life. Bless everyone you see. Friends, we’re missionaries here on assignment. We’re ambassadors and our job is to demonstrate God’s love by how we live day to day. If you have any judgments towards anyone, put them aside and pray a blessing on them. I pray that you see the world with new creation eyes and be a new creation person compelled by the love of God to spread good news (of Jesus) to people who very desperately need it. That’s our call…that’s our purpose!

I like this – God is present in the “mess” of the moment

1From Robin – I ran into the devotional today – while Vicky’s and my house is completely torn apart because of “winter” damage back in February, we are finally neck-deep in contractors, painters, and a HUGE mess.  Many of you know that I can thrive in chaos…been there and done that.  Even so, at home, I have a LOW tolerance for chaos.  I like things “well oiled” and organized…Vicky and I share the same comfort zone and passion for order.  So, while I am smelling fresh paint fumes, sitting in a back bedroom because there is no where else to sit for the next several days, hearing sawing going on the outside of my home and feeling completely “crazed” because of it all, the words – “God is present not only in prayer and meditation rooms but also in the dense fertility of life crashing everywhere” make complete sense!  See if you agree!

From Ann Voscamp’s blog – guest contributor, Catherine McNiel

“I step outside to call my children: Time to stop playing and get in the car! Ten minutes ago, I sent them out, washed and dressed, so I could finalize the last-minute details for today’s family party.

A rookie mistake, obviously.

“Why are we on earth if not to dive right in?”

As they streak past me, I notice that something has gone very, very wrong.

My darling daughter’s face, neck, hands, and sundress are streaked with raspberry juice.

And my son—oh my abundant-life son—has covered his entire head with mud. Literally, the only thing I can see is his bright and shining eyes.

I scream for everyone to stop.

They freeze, caked hands clutching door handles. Texting my parents to apologize for what I’m confident will be a lengthy delay, I gingerly place a child under each arm and head for the shower.

I can’t be mad. I can’t be anything other than shaking with laughter.

What is summer if not dripping with delights, imploring us to get our hands dirty, inviting us to immerse our faces in the abundance and relish the richness of it all?

Why are we on earth if not to dive right in? My children were merely flourishing, answering the call of life as they were made to do.

Here is the wild paradox of creation: God ordered the world out of chaos, but the verdancy of life results in a whole new kind of chaos.

“Life exists only inside messy, colliding relationships.”

Clearly, God’s purpose in organizing a formless void into millipedes, jellyfish, hedgehogs, and poison ivy was not so we could sit restfully in a meditative state.

We stubbornly hope that life will leave us more or less alone in peace and quiet, that the forces of nature and human nature will be straightforward and controllable, bending to our own dictation.

But life exists only inside messy, colliding relationships. From the sperm and the egg, the bee, and the pollen, life is about crashing into each other—for better or for worse (and most of the time, a good bit of both).

We celebrate that God made order and form out of emptiness, but there’s another angle to consider.

God had an eternity of time in which He alone existed, in triune unity.

Can you imagine the harmony? Why mess that up with a garden?

I can exhibit a great deal of love, peace, and self-control when I’m in a room by myself, as long as you don’t introduce anyone else into the picture.

What was it like when God and God alone reigned in the vacuum of unformed reality?

But this peace and quiet, this overflowing of goodness and righteousness was not, apparently, the ambiance God was going for. While it may sound heavenly to me, harmonious solitude is not what our Creator pronounced good.

“We’d like to think that real goodness, Godliness even, lies in the silence, the solitude, the ordered, clean, and controlled.”

God decided to mix things up in a major way.

The Creator is a Gardener. Like my son, He gets His hands dirty.

The story told in Genesis 2 depicts God planting purposely, beginning a world swarming with life. Into this story, God adds a human, living alone in God’s presence.

Again, I wonder: Why mess this up? So nice, just the two of them in paradise.

Yet in God’s creative scheme, one is not enough for the collisions necessary for abundance. God creates a second human—and still, the resulting chaos isn’t enough.

He orders the two to increase, to multiply, to make more and more and more life. More noise, more chaos, more crashing and colliding, more cacophony.

It seems that God thrives and rejoices in the pandemonium of living things bumping constantly against each other—and believes that we do too.

Anyone who has attempted living both alone and in a crowded household knows that much fulfillment comes out of relationships, but also a great deal of clamor and crazy. We flourish through jumping into the crazy, by surrounding ourselves with creation and burgeoning abundance.

This isn’t how we want to picture goodness, most of us.

“God is present not only in prayer and meditation rooms but also in the dense fertility of life crashing everywhere.”

We don’t like the constant jostling and treading on feet, don’t want to be tripped up by crowds, nibbled by gnats, bombarded by smells, harangued by noise.

We’d like to think that real goodness, Godliness even, lies in the silence, the solitude, the ordered, clean, and controlled.

But our Creator doesn’t seem to agree.

Everything about what He made is alive, teeming and swarming and crawling and howling.

The only alternative to abundance is death.

Life is where He is.

In the towering storms and bubbling brooks, in the crying babies and chatty neighbors, in the watermelon juice dribbling off our chins, in the scuttling chipmunks and soaring dolphins.

This crazy, abundant, bombardment of sights and smells and sounds is where He delights, where He hangs out, where we can find Him.

God is present not only in prayer and meditation rooms but also in the dense fertility of life crashing everywhere.

Another AWE-inspiring devotional from Ann Voscamp

c9062-6a00d83451607369e20133ec6903b1970b-piThis woman is not only prolific but amazingly insightful and profound.  All it took is for me to read the FIRST LINE of this devotional and I was hooked!  I can’t help but repost some of Ann’s devotionals because many of you who read MY blog may not have exposure to this fine Christian woman and author.  In addition, I was preparing to lead a song this Sunday at our worship experience in McCall, Idaho that professes much of the same themes that Ann covers in her post.  So, there was an immediate connection between what she was writing and how I was musically working through a new song.  So, enjoy this devotional…I’m going to highlight some aspects of it that are especially meaningful to me and that which you should NOT ignore.

How to be okay even when things aren’t okay
JULY 10, 2019 by ANN VOSKAMP

It’s okay to feel bone tired — you have One who gives His bone and His body for you and beckoned: Come Rest.

It’s okay to feel disillusioned — you have One who destroys cheap illusions of perfection and offers you His.

It’s okay to feel done — you have One who listens to the last nail being driven in and proclaims all the hellish things finished.

It’s okay to feel battered and bruised — you have One who storms your battles, takes back everything that needs a comeback, and proves His side won.

It’s okay to feel a bit like a fool — you have One who proves that real love always makes anyone the wisest fool who gives more, lives more, forgives more, because love defies logic because love is the self-giving, cruciform foolishness that is the ultimate wisdom of the universe.

It’s okay to feel behind — you have One who is the Head and the Author and the Maker and the Finisher and the Carrier and the Warrior and nothing is over until He carries you over the finish line.

It’s okay to feel on the outside — you have One who is passionate about you on the inside, who wants to be with you so desperately, He moves into you, gets into your skin, so you’re never alone, dwells in you, moves into your empty places, your rejected places, your abandoned places and fills you with chosenness and wholeness and with-ness — because He knows the fulfilled life is an inside job.

It’s okay to feel spent — you have One who pays you all His attention, who says you are worth costing Him everything — and then He bought you back from the pit because you are priceless to Him.

It’s okay to feel whatever you feel — “because you don’t judge your feelings; you feel your feelings—and then give them to God.”

“Feelings are meant to be fully felt and then fully surrendered to God.”

“Pain begs to be felt—or life will beg you to feel not one emotion at all. Emotion means movement — and emotions are meant to move you toward God.” ~ The Broken Way

It’s okay to not feel okay — because you have One — who made you His one.

You have One who left the clamor of the 99, to find you, remind you, remake you, rename you, release you.

You have One who is more ready to forgive what you’ve done than you are to forget,

“His love for you is magnetic, His welcome of you is galactic, His purpose through you is cosmic, His commitment to you is stratospheric, and His hope in you is meteoric.”
One who is more ready to give you grace, than you are to give up,

One who is more than ready to always stand with you, than you are to run.

One who is a greater lover, rescuer, savior, friend— than you have ever imagined Him to be even when your love for Him is most on fire.

This week, these worries, this world, may leave you feeling a bit depressed — but you have a God who is obsessed with you.

His love for you is magnetic, His welcome of you is galactic, His purpose through you is cosmic, His commitment to you is stratospheric, and His hope in you is meteoric.

It’s beautiful how that goes:

Whatever the story is today — it’s okay. Because we know the ending — and how it will be the beginning of the truest happily ever after.

Whatever the story is today — it’s okay. Because the Writer of the story has written Himself into the hardest places of yours and is softening the edges of everything with redeeming grace.

From Robin – One more thing, if I were you, I would subscribe to Ann’s email devotionals NOW!  You won’t regret it!

Interesting Article on Bible Translations…every one of them has a bias

Constantine-And-The-BibleRead this article if you are a “fan” or student of the Bible.  Dr. McKnight rightly states that there is ALWAYS a translation bias.  In fact, I was reading an article last week about one translation “board” that is made up of all men…that on the surface may not seem like a problem but it does “color” translation issues because of inherent male perspectives that are undeniable when reading/working the text.  People in churches and students of mine in University’s inevitably ask me, “what’s the BEST translation?”  Truthfully, the best translation is a conglomeration of many versions of the Bible.  In other words, the most faithful way of approaching the text is to use as many versions as possible.  Like I said, everyone has a specific “take” on the original languages.  Just like you would have a FULLER picture of an incident with multiple witnesses so it is true that when reading the Bible for study divergent translations will serve you best!  So, here’s Scot’s article – like I said, if you are a student of the Bible, this will be “fun” reading for you!

Translation based upon “Tribe”

Jesus is Lord or everything is…well, you can guess!

1I was reading another great book of late, Salvation by Allegiance Alone by Matthew Bates.  Not only did I find the title provocative but I discovered that Dr. Bates perfectly summarizes what is missing in much of contemporary Christianity’s ideas of faith and what it means to journey with Jesus.  Christianity’s central claim is not only that “Jesus saves” but that “Jesus is Lord.”  Now, for most adherents to the Gospel (that would be Jesus – the Gospel is a WHO, not a what) discipleship is nothing more than church attendance and personal devotional habits.  There is nothing wrong with that to a point…for, as Dr. Bates states, faith is SO MUCH MORE!  Instead of summarizing the book for you, I ran into a blog of a great guy whose blog I follow.  He has some words that are noteworthy and PERFECTLY captures the essence of what Salvation by Allegiance attempts to communicate.  I’ll include some “snippets” of that blog post below.  In addition, I have attached a document that includes everybody blog post written by Dr. Scot McKnight regarding this book (he originally posted these on his blog in 2017).  So, if you want a “deep dive” into the book, download that document.  Otherwise, here’s the “BIG IDEA” of Salvation by Allegiance.

Allegiance to Move Mountains
Jason Micheli

The present-tense reign of Jesus as Lord, who is yet contending against the Principalities and Powers, should determine how we define the meaning of faith (pistis).  The pistis word group can convey a range of meanings. It can mean belief, faith, confidence, trust, conviction, assurance, fidelity, commitment, faithfulness, reliability, or obedience.

But if the stage we occupy in the Gospel story is the present-tense reign of Jesus as Lord and King of heaven and earth against whose rule rival Powers contend, then, as Matthew Bates argues in Salvation by Allegiance Alone, the strongest and clearest definition of pistis is allegiance.

Caesar didn’t care whether his subjects believed in him; he cared whether they were loyal to him.

Likewise, if Jesus is Lord then we are his subjects and faithfulness to a King entails not affectation but allegiance.

Defining faith in terms of allegiance makes clear that what’s expected of us as subjects of the Lord Jesus is an embodied faithfulness that renders the distinctions between ‘faith’ and ‘works’ moot, for a subject cannot be loyal to a King while not heeding the King’s commands.

To be allegiant subjects of this King is not to coerce others into obedience but to conform ourselves in obedience to him, an obedience that might itself call out and invite others to become a part of his people. Added to the scandal of particularity is the scandal that what God has done through a particular crucified Jew is for all people. That Christ’s Lordship is a claim for and over all people; however, does not mean as his subjects we’re tasked with subjugating all people to that claim.

As John Howard Yoder says:

“Our faithfulness to Jesus the Lord entails becoming locally explicit about Jesus” not through Christendom coercion (or attractional manipulation that profits from the vestiges of Christendom) but through “the reign of God being concretely and locally visible in laces around the world.”

“The primary task and indeed mission of the church is its own ongoing conversion to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Virtually all of the epistles are written to that end. As such, however, the church as a converted and converting people is also itself a constant invitation and call to the citizens of the wider world to enter the life of the people of God.”

Put another way, Christians did not change Rome by attempting to change Rome. Christians changed Rome by living faithfully within Rome as subjects of a different Caesar.

Consider how our own ongoing conversion to the Lordship of Jesus Christ can be conveyed through the liturgy simply by retranslating pistis as allegiance.

For example, the Apostles Creed could be rephrased so it became more obvious what is at stake in the profession: “I pledge allegiance to God the Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth…and to Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord…”

And at Baptism too: “…do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior…pledge your allegiance to him…”

At the Table: “Christ our Lord invites to his table all who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to give allegiance to him.”

Familiar scripture suddenly become like TNT when you redefine pistis in alignment with our confession that Christ is Lord: “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and become allegiant to me.” Just that verse becomes an altar call that calls for a lot more than your mental assent or an affectation in your heart.

Or (when Jesus said in the Gospels): “Whoever has allegiance [to me] the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.” That’s a mighty word when you remember Jesus has in mind King Herod who, at his despotic whim, had a mountain moved for his palace.

Stanley Hauerwas identifies the essence of Christianity thus:

“Jesus is Lord and everything else is bull….”  Hauerwas can make that claim because if Jesus is the present-tense Lord of the cosmos and the response of faith Jesus demands is best understood as allegiance, it quickly becomes apparent that the world is filled with rival lords vying for our loyalty and allegiance.  (Robin’s note – I don’t intend to make you uncomfortable with the reference to Hauerwas’s word choice…I’m just passing on what he wrote…his best effort to make his point absolutely clear).

Faith as Allegiance – click here for Dr. McKnight’s extensive “review” of the Bates’ book.

Messy lives and The Phantom of the Opera

1“Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all. Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins…may integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you”. Psalm 25:16-21

A few weeks back, I woke up with a bad cold and an even worse mood. I don’t like having a cold. It makes me feel lethargic and saps my initiative. Since I wasn’t feeling too good, I laid around, clicked on Netflix, and watched one of my favorite musicals …”The Phantom of the Opera.” This operetta is deep, tragic and full of real life. Have you ever noticed how the movies or plays with tragic or unhappy endings are usually the ones we remember the most? In my mind, I went through a whole laundry list of shows and movies just prove my point. I noted, “Saving Private Ryan”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Gladiator”, “The Patriot”, “Star Wars”, and “Braveheart” (just to name a few). In every one of those movies, it is the same story of the reality and struggle of human existence. There is something about those types of artistic expressions that simply feel right.

Have you ever wondered why? It is because that is the way life is…not everything and every human story has a happy ending. Unfortunately, the opposite is so much of what current culture wants you and me to believe. If you have the right system or principles, laws, or technology, you can move progressively to something that is near perfect. Television and movies give us the impression that any and all human dilemmas or issues are only 30 to 90 minutes from the happy ending they were meant to have. For many people, they have bought into the lie that happy endings are what every human being is entitled to. Improvement, happiness, material blessings, easy living, and progress are things God owes us. Unfortunately, if you think about it, that is the reason why much of modern culture is failing us…it is just NOT real. What is real is unpredictability…struggle and pain…brokenness and desperation…sometimes joy and sometimes weariness. As I think back to the “Phantom” movie, I’ve often contemplated, “yep, that’s what more of us need…to see stories that don’t end up where all the characters are fixed, rich, happy, healthy, stable, famous and fulfilled. We don’t need the discouragement.

Complete and total victory is NOT something that is guaranteed this side of the eternal Kingdom. What is predictable? Jesus. As we journey through this life, Jesus is the only ONE whom we can surely bank on. He and His Kingdom provide the only hope that can transform the shattered dreams and broken lives that accompany most of what we call living. If someone is promising complete fulfillment and peace; ideal marriages and children; if someone is saying “just do the following and you’ll have the abundant life that Jesus promised” as if the Word of God was some sort of secret key to giving US all we ever wanted in this life; if those things are happening to you, run the other way! Life isn’t that simple…life isn’t that predictable…life isn’t that mechanistic. If it was, I think Jesus wouldn’t have wasted his time on earth hanging out with people whose lives were complete messes. He would have come to earth when He could have gone on TV and radio and pushed a simple product that gave a quick and painless way to experience all the life that we’ve ever wanted to experience. Wouldn’t you think that God loves us enough to give us a formula if one existed? Think about that for a while!

Going Deeper:

1. What do you think about this devotional? Are you sometimes discouraged that your life isn’t turning out exactly as you had planned?

2. What do you think that Jesus would have to say to you today? Where does He bring you hope? How do you find encouragement and strength in the Lord?

Further Reading: Psalm 23, Psalm 118, Isaiah 40:27-31, John 16:33


Scot’s Post is worth passing on to you…

2Scot McKnight is not only an immensely important Biblical scholar and author but also an astute commentator on all things from the American “churchworld.”  Maybe you have heard some things of late about what is occurring within the Southern Baptist Convention in regards to leadership abuse as well as issues revolving around women in leadership.  If you have not, it may merit some attention on your part.  These are the issues that are coming to “every” Christian denomination that aggressively maintains misogynistic and sexist leadership practices.  Not only were they wrong in the past but they have shown themselves to be especially mistaken and out of touch with what the Spirit of God is up to in the 21st century in regards to these issues.

Scot posted today some comments from “uber Bible teacher” Beth Moore.  Her comments on Twitter of late have not only been outstanding but also prophetic.  Note please, if you choose to read her posts, that she is NOT ditching her history and her allegiances…rather she is attempting courageously to call out practices and theology that have promoted patriarchy and been that which has discouraged and sidelined a good percentage of the “priesthood of all believers” for centuries within her denomination while still maintaining an “insider” commitment.  For that, I’m thankful.  It is too easy to walk away from that which has been a rich part of one’s history as a follower of Jesus.  No one denomination, movement, or mega-church platform has all the “right” praxis for issues of faith.  One of the reasons that it is acceptable to have a multiplicity of divergent Christian “tribes” (if you will) is for each of us to see blind spots in our practice and theology.  For ANY denomination to display the arrogance of “rightness” is an affront to what most of us attempt to embrace in terms of the beauty of the diversity of the Body of Christ.  Even so, words need to be loudly proclaimed in terms of this issue that Beth addresses.  IF there is ANY GOOD THING that is to come out of the current struggles that individual churches, leaders, and denominations are facing in terms of issues having to do with abuse (i.e. #metoo and #churchmetoo) it may be that FINALLY eyes will be open and patriarchal and antiquated perspectives and practices in ministry leadership will fall into the annals of history.  It is time for every person who calls upon the name of the Lord to understand, embrace, and live in the calling that Jesus has so graciously given.  That calling…that anointing…is not exclusive to the male gender.  Maybe the truth that “in Christ, there is no…male nor female…we are all ONE in Jesus” finally lead the entire Church into the fullness of experiencing the “priesthood of ALL believers.”

Here is the link to Beth’s comments on Scot’s blog – worth your attention!