Friday, November 25, 2016

"Our Hi-Tech World"

How does the Church cope with the impersonality of cyber-world technology? Most of us live on the fast-track. I know young mothers, teachers, physicians, administrators, attorneys, accountants, salespersons, students, CEO’s, and single parents that have to work two jobs. There are 168 hours in every week! Time for intimacy is not always on our schedule. Relationships not only take time but they are also messy. If you don’t believe me, start listening to Country music.

Most of us in the Body of Christ just have time for worship, maybe a devotional period, a hug, a handshake, a quick personal word at church, or a text.

In our cyber world, on the express track, we can be more intentional about participation in the community of faith. We dare not succumb to the culture swallowing up the designs of God.

Some Christians send articles about spiritual counsel and strengths to their friends. Some inspire journaling. Others get together monthly in face-to-face meetings to share their prayer concerns.  Some stay in touch via conference calls once a month. They spend their time in conversation, reflection, prayer, and accountability.

Maybe you should be leading an e-mail or text group sharing insights; Biblical principles, counsel and prayer requests. Electronic conferencing is available to us.

Jesus spent a lot of his time loving the burdened, broken, crushed and despised. In our hi-tech world, the Church can be hi-touch.


Friday, November 18, 2016

"I Love Turkey"

She walked into my office and said, “I love turkey.”  Turkey memories often take us back to family celebrations like Thanksgiving.  Where would we be without Aunt Anna’s cranberry-orange relish?

Thanksgiving is so much more than turkey, traffic and touchdowns! Thanksgiving brings a deluge of catalogs. To produce those catalogs is expensive. How do they get my name and address?

Thanksgiving also is a call for participants in the Body of Christ to get serious about our financial commitments for 2016. Year-end giving is not only important for the IRS, but also for the church. I challenge you to give tangible expression of your gratitude by making a financial gift to the church.  This is an opportunity for personal growth. Take a step of faith!  I believe God will honor that.  How much should you give? That is between you and the Lord.  The Biblical standard is the tithe, ten percent of your income and assets.

“God loves a cheerful giver.”  Growing in Gratitude only happens as we give. The ministry of Sardis Presbyterian Church means corporately, we pack more punch than we can individually. The community of faith has credibility, creativity, and energy, thanks to the promised power of the Holy Spirit. Giving is not an economic decision as much as it is a spiritual decision. God has given us heads to make money and hearts to share it.


Friday, November 11, 2016

"The Covenant Formula"

Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, helps clarify our Christology. His conviction is the “Word made flesh” represents one person, Jesus Christ, in whom divinity and humanity unite. In the Reformed Tradition, Christological reflection begins and ends with the Bible. Christ exposes the gulf which separates God and humankind, and by exposing it, bridges it. Christ is the cutting-edge of God’s revelation to us.  He is the Word that God speaks to us.

The incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus we acknowledge as dramatic benchmarks in God’s redemptive program. We dare not understate the passion of Christ’s obedience to the Father. God’s love for humankind is real. We live by the Covenant of Grace.

The covenant formula is C = P + O.  Covenant equals promise plus obligation.“You are not your own, you were bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6

Through Christ, we are released from hostility toward God and drawn to a life characterized by gratitude. We are Christian – Christ ones, followers of Jesus Christ. Christmas, Good Friday and Easter are so much more than festive holidays. They are reminders that we are called to be children of God.  Now that’s status!


Friday, November 4, 2016

"Broken Down"

Fifteen years ago, when I served as pastor of Grace Presbyterian in Houston, I met Don. He stood out!  Why? He was about 6’7”. Yes, he had enjoyed a basketball career at the University of Houston.

His car had broken down. So had his marriage. He sang in our chancel choir. He had a humble presence. He needed help. In order to get his car in working order, it was going to cost $1,100. He didn’t have it. With reluctance, he told me the story.

I gave him the money and said, “Someday, when you are balanced financially, you can pay it back so others can be helped who find themselves in difficult situations.”

Last week, he did. He went to see Dr. Trey Little, the present pastor of Grace Presbyterian, and paid back the full amount.

Trey was surprised and appreciative. Don felt that an obligation had been met. He was happy to pay it back so others could be enabled to cope in the midst of difficult circumstances. “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.”