Star Wars – Episode VII

2000px-Star_Wars_Logo.svg copyJust went to see the latest Star Wars installment yesterday.  Really enjoyed it.  It picked up on the themes of the “real” Star Wars of my childhood in the 70s and 80s.  Hans Solo and Chewie and Leia returned!  What’s not to love?  I really struggled to enjoy the three “back story” episodes.  Seemed somewhat disconnected and truthfully I didn’t think any of those three lived up to the “original” three (which for me is Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi).  But this most recent installment was well done and took me back to familiar territory.

Although this whole series of movies is thick with Hindu and New Age theology, it is not my intent to rehash all that here.  Rather, what struck me about this latest and greatest of the ongoing (and perhaps never-ending) saga, is how so many “true fans” insisted on watching all six previous episodes before going to see this one.

Why?

They wanted to brush up on the whole story.  Make sure they got the big picture, so as to know where this most recent piece of the puzzle fits.  And that’s the beauty of this whole Star Wars thing.  It’s one big story.  Even if I cannot seem to put it all together yet, I’m assured by true fans it’s a unified whole.

Hmmm.  Sounds a lot like the Bible to me.  I wonder how many believers in Christ spent hours and hours reading the Star Wars books and watching all six episodes in recent weeks, but they simply will not commit to reading through their Bibles in 2016?  I wonder how many Christian parents encouraged their children to read the Star Wars books and watch all the movies but think it’s unreasonable for those same kids to read 4 chapters of God’s Word each day in 2016?

I wonder.

God help us!  We’re missing the Big Picture.  And it’s so much more glorious than Star Wars.  Several times in this latest episode I heard comments about the presence of a Jedi keeping “the force in balance.”  That’s the best Star Wars offers?  Yin and yang?  Oh friends, I know a unified story-line far better!

Forget balance.  Trash yin and yang.  I want a Warrior-Redeemer-Savior-King and Lord to vanquish all evil and banish it from us forever.  Want to read the Greatest Story Ever Told? Click here are some reading plan options for you:

 

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davidblair - Great post! Here’s to another year of reading Greatest Story Ever Told

Stephen Cox - Amen Pastor! What a glorious Story, and one that has no error or uselessness in it at all. I love Gods glorious word of life.

Sowing & Reaping

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By Lori Beard

There have been times in my life when I have been in the position of seeing sad, hard consequential life circumstances that were a result of ungodly choices.  This has happened in my life and in the lives of others around me.  Galatians 6: 7-8 says one reaps what one sows.  A dear friend of mine paraphrased that scripture like this…why would you plant corn and be upset when a green bean doesn’t grow?
She was mentoring me through relationships. I was a young, brash truth-teller.  I never had a kind word for anybody, but I couldn’t figure out why I had no friends.  She read this verse to me and then asked me, “Lori, have you planted kindness and generosity?  Have you planted gentleness?”
No…no I had not.  Why was I so surprised then that I was reaping what I had planted?  I taught my girls that about life.  They would make choices…live certain ways… and they would reap from those choices.  Thank you God, they were wiser than me.
Well, I have lived a lot since then and seen a lot too.  So often, things have happened as a direct result of someone’s ungodly lifestyle or choice and I have thought so many times, “Somebody needs to say that to them.”  But the timing to do that is tricky because ungodly choices almost always lead us to places of sorrow and loss.  So, I decided to write a blog with some of those hard things that need to be said now for people to read while they are not hurting from the consequences they are reaping.  Maybe it will help us to think before we act.  Or to consider the seeds we are so blithely tossing in the ground without thought as to what they will look like when they are grown.  So, here goes.
These are not about anybody in particular … just scenarios that happen in real life everyday where we wish we could say a hard thing to prevent it happening again but the timing just stinks.
1. A man who loses his job again because he ___________ (fill in the blank).  Then he cries about not being able to take care of his family, not having what he needs to provide.  The hard thing that needs to be said is this: “If you sow seeds of laziness and disregard authority, if you refuse to go to work, well, you will lose your job and you will not have what you need to provide.”  Seeds/reaping.
2. A woman raising a daughter yells at her husband, disrespects him, belittles him.  Her daughter treats him exactly like momma.  Well, that daughter will not be able to respect dad’s authority or accept his protection in areas of dating or marriage because mom taught her he was an idiot.  The hard thing that needs to be said: “Repent momma to God, your husband and daughter.”  Seeds/reaping.
3. A father or momma gets offended by another church member.  They decide not to talk to that person.  They ultimately leave the church over the offense.  The hard thing that needs to be said: “Well, you have taught your children how to deal with offense when they become adults and also how to ‘love’ the Bride of Christ.  The result of that is often that a child as an adult will respond exactly like you did.  They will spend a life time searching for a church that doesn’t ‘offend’ them and never get into the deeper things of God or the deeper things of the Bible because they’re constantly hunting for a church.”  Seeds/reaping.
4. A woman or man chooses a life of sexual immorality and contracts an STD.  Hard thing that needs to be said here: “Sexual purity matters.”  Seeds/reaping.
Every action…every single action has a consequence.  God says so.  This blog does not discount the providential will of God.  And I fully understand that often suffering is simply about our becoming like Christ.  But church until we admit that our actions have consequences and we stand ready to beg for mercy for our godless decisions, well,  why then would we keep asking why?  Why does this stuff happen to me?
We serve a God of incredible mercy and grace.  Look over your life.  Turn the spotlight of Psalm 139 on it and ask God to search your heart.  Do you make godless choices and then wail about the consequences?  Do you plant corn and get mad when green beans don’t grow?  I do sometimes.  Broken knees from years of gluttony.  Broken trust in relationships because I was short tempered or too quick to speak.  Lost opportunity because I was lazy.  Little girls crying themselves to sleep at night because I made threats to leave their daddy.  Yep…I am a loser.  But I made a choice with unbelievable consequences over 40 years ago.  I begged God to forgive me and to live in me.  He never ever gives up on me.  He has been changing me ever since.  I often say hard things to myself now because I know the gospel truth:
My sins are washed away under the blood of a mighty Savior who will change me if I own it, admit it, and beg to be free.  Seeds/reaping…it’s in the Bible.
Praying we sow seeds that bring glory to God dear church.

 

 

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FOLLOW

FollowBookI recently finished reading a book titled Follow by Floyd McClung.  The author has served as a missionary church planter in Afghanistan, Amsterdam, America and now South Africa.  While I may not be precisely in line with him on all points of doctrine, I found his book both edifying and convicting, challenging and encouraging.  Brother McClung is serious about following Jesus and making followers of Jesus!

To peak your interest, I wanted to post a lengthy quote here, taken from Chapter 11, “A Committed Community.” These words challenged me.  They’re worth pondering in light of the absolute truth of Scripture:

Jesus did not die on the cross to empower a hierarchical system of religious duties . . . Jesus came to unleash an irresistible revolution on the earth, not a predictable new religion.

Most churches are boring!  They promote conformity, the exact opposite of what Jesus stood for.  We are called to nonconformity.  It is sad that church and conformity go together in most people’s minds: Wear ‘decent’ clothes, worship in a ‘respectful’ manner, and believe ‘balanced’ doctrine.  Boring!  When church takes the edge off being radical and the risk out of the adventure of following Jesus, church has died.  It is no longer the irresistible revolution Jesus intended it to be.

This raises the question about the purpose of any form of church that does not call people to radical obedience.  The Bible challenges the anemic idea people have of ‘fellowship,’ or ‘hanging out,’ or worse, being part of a weekly ‘home group’ that has no vision beyond itself.  If you are part of a small group, by whatever name you call it, and you are not committed to personal, radical nonconformity, transparency, and obedience to Jesus’ commands to love the poor and lost, you are playacting at church.  The Bible present church as familylike communities of people deeply committed to loving God passionately and loving one another with ruthless honesty – as they empower and encourage one another to live their lives for the poor and broken.  When we read Acts, we don’t find people gathering in cozy home groups to merely ‘support one another,’ or just ‘hang out’ as many postmoderns try to do.  We find the disciples of Jesus in Acts sharing their lives and a revolutionary commitment to the cause of the gospel.

The first disciples did not just attend meetings that they tried to ‘juggle’ or ‘fit’ into their busy schedules; gospel intentionality was their life.  They didn’t try to ‘apply’ the teaching of Jesus to their lives; His teaching was their life.  Christian community was the very center of their lives because they knew it was the center of God’s purposes on the earth.

Wow.  God forgive us for what we’ve made it.  I’ve got a lot of reforming work to do as a pastor.  And we’ve got a lot of reforming work to do as a church.  God give us the grace and ability to grow into a more radically committed community of Christ-followers.  For Jesus’ glory.  Amen.      

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Come on… you don’t expect it to be clean do you. I AM A NANA.

Well…i have not blogged in a while. Okay okay, i have not blogged in forever. There are some valid reasons. My pastor (his name is Keith McWhorter…in case anybody wants to send complaints to him) told me I had to use this new forum and start editing my own blog. Can u believe it? He got tired of fixing my mistakes. What is that about?? Well…my system was just recovering from that when I BECAME A NANA TO TWO TINY BABIES. i now have four sweet grandbabies. My life is overrun with grandkids and new mommas needing help and support. And so…this blog. Well.. you know.

That being said, I cannot contain the thinking inside my head and so here it is.

Schedules…orderly living…having an idea of what is happening next have all mattered to me over the years. When I had my own kids, I had a schedule and I kept that schedule fairly faithfully. I don’t feel like my schedule was an idol to me. I was willing to flex it and bend it when the season demanded that I do that. But I was really serious about keeping a schedule and knowkng what I was doing week to week and sometimes even month to month. And I don’t necessarily think that that was simple. I think that that season of my life taught me much about the character of Christ. It taught me to make my yea yea and my Nay nay. It taught me to respect other people’s time and resources and energy. It taught me to use my time and resources and energy wisely and to be a good steward of them. I didn’t have time to waste. It taught me to be accountable for what I did and did not do during the day and why I didn’t do it. And I practice that accountability to my husband. It was a good season full of joy and busy and learning.

But I am in this new season and its called Nana. This season has no schedule. It has no movement from day to day that is consistent and continues. It has no knowledge of what will happen from day to day. The only thing that stays the same from day to day to day to day is that I have no time to plan…to think… to clean. This has been a different world for me. I find myself floundering…trying to find my feet all the time. I no longer plan my days..weeks..months. I just get up in the morning and trust God every single day. New season…new lessons. Here are a few. God is really in control. He is faithful to do his work and complete it. He does not depend on my faithfulness or hard work to continue. He loves me even though my life has changed up drastically. And God has a right to do what he wants with me when he wants to do it.

Different seasons require different things and teach different lessons. What has this meant to me? New sanctification…new life in Christ. I find myself changing to thr glory of God during this new season. Wish i could say it has all been gracious and wise on my part but most of it has been kicking and screaming in defiance. Until…now. I thank God for this new place. A place of no control…a place of submission. It has been..it is sweet. And if this sounds jumbled. Well it is because while i was writing this new season has been yelling my name. So gotta go. Planned for writing time..
But well. God has a better plan. 🙂

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