Part 1. The hymn “Amazing Grace” has a wonderful phrase we sometimes forget the power of: “I once lost, but now am found.” What does it mean to be lost? If we are found, what should change? Is God the center of who we are, or just an add-on? These question set us looking at what it means to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We are “The People of God.”
Part 3. Hosea fell in love with and married a beautiful woman and had children together. But Hosea’s wife ran off to be with another, leaving him heartbroken. Amazingly, even God’s heart can be broken when He is rejected or people leave Him. But when others claimed Hosea’s wife and God’s people, both were willing to pay the cost to bring back the ones they loved.
Part 1. God is love, and He created us to love and be loved by Him. We understand the image of a Heavenly Father loving His children, but Scripture reveals another picture of His incredible love. One man’s family became the living portrait of that love.
A pastor has an enormous responsibility to the Church. Before all of the tasks of church life and ministry, they are entrusted with a vision from God, a Dream Church. This special message reflects on how this burden affects a pastor, as well as three characteristics of my personal Dream Church.
Life has its good days and its bad days. Sometimes everything feels like it falls right into place, and we feel good and free. Other days we feel as if the troubles and struggles of life won’t leave us alone. Good days, and bad days. Another way to look at it is like mountains and valleys, with their highs and lows.
We like the good days, so we call them the highlights or the high points of our days and lives. These are our mountaintop experiences and moments. Towering over everything, sitting in the clear, the world seems so simple. Troubles are forgotten in the midst of peace.
If the good days are mountaintops, then bad days are the valleys. Down there it’s harder to see what is going on around us. The sun can be hidden by trees and other obstacles. Dangerous animals, holes and traps lie unseen. In these “valley” days we face the troubles of life, the schemes of people around us, and the pain and darkness of not knowing.
There is a moment from my opening days of Bible College that I love to share. It comes from the first day of our Systematic Theology course. Who knew such a simple exercise could have such an impact on my heart?
The professor asked us to take out a sheet of paper. We were given a few minutes to write out everything we knew about God. After we finished and the papers were collected, we were told to expect the same assignment at the close of the semester. Sure enough, that day came and we wrote new descriptions about God, and they were much longer, filled with the theological words and ideas we acquired over those months of study.
It is incredibly helpful to take a course in theology. Doing so forces the student to “unlearn what he has learned” on his own in order to grow and accept what Scripture actually shows about God and how He relates with humanity. So many don’t have such an opportunity. Left to develop an understanding of God on their own, there is a great danger that can cause serious problems for us. Thankfully there is a simple rule to keep us safe.