In the story of the Good Samaritan, there comes a point where Jesus turns the religious man’s question on its head. The conversation started with a law expert asking Jesus what a person could do to inherit eternal life. Of course, if you know anything about the life and teaching of Jesus, you know the whole point of his coming was that we could not save ourselves, so he came to save us.
Which is why Jesus puts an interesting twist into the story.
To grow is to change. And then what happens is that people who’ve been with the church a long time, people who may have been a part of your core or at least your core supporters and cheerleaders, may begin to turn on you. Because their church is looking different. Things are changing. And people don’t tend to like change. Because the gospel enables us to obey the Great Commandment and empowers us to join the Great Commission, insulation is the enemy of the gospel.
I’m a nervous pray-er.
I don’t mean I’m nervous praying with other people; I mean that many times I’m nervous when I pray because I don’t know whether I’m praying for the right thing. It is as if sometimes my theology gets in the way of my prayers.
While David was the king who was a man after God’s own heart, his predecessor was a king after the people’s heart. God’s people, living in the land the Lord had graciously given them, wanted a king because every other nation had a king. They rejected God as their true King to trade Him for an earthly one. So after their continual begging, God said, “Fine, here you go. Here is Saul” (1 Samuel 8:18-22). As expected, Saul proved to be an unfit and an unfaithful king who disobeyed God and continually led for himself in the power of his own self. Living under his leadership was painful. With Saul in mind, here are three indications of really bad leadership.
The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy, or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is deeply subversive, upsetting, and offensive—from the first phrase to the last.
As our culture moves to become decidedly more post-Christian, churches will have some challenging issues to address—not the least of which is how they will introduce children and students to Jesus. Churches need to be willing to adapt in order to effectively invite children and young people to Jesus. Following are five principles for inviting children to meet Jesus in a shifting culture.
A favorite from the archives:
Now, I’m a guy who can handle alone time. When I go to conferences and I have a hotel room all to myself, it’s pretty spectacular. I go to the movies without any accompaniment and never feel bad about it. Quiet is my friend. But even so, there are times when being alone is unhealthy for me. Especially when I’m away from my loved ones for significant periods of time. During those seasons, I can get pretty sad-sacky, and caught up in focusing on where I’m not, instead of where I am.