How to Keep from Burning the Bridges of Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a buzz word in our day. As we reflect on history and the errors of those who came before us, we feel an obligation to build the bridges they burned, whether unintentionally or with violent purpose. The list of injuries is long, and the task is large.

One place reconciliation is strangely missing is the local church. We seem to forget how it is essential to the Gospel’s message. Each one of us is eternally estranged from God because of sin within us. Yet Jesus was born to sacrifice Himself so the penalty of our sin would be paid, and we would have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.

In places where there are multiple choices for a place to worship, people often leave one congregation in favor of another, not so much because God has called them to connect and serve in that new church home, but because of problems with people from the old one. If only we could find a way to reconcile.

We might find it easier if we learned to talk about what has happened with a different set of words. How we define our situation will determine what course to take, if we leave room for any at all. When it comes to reconciling our relationships, we have to be careful to keep open the bridges that bind us together.

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Have You Really Met God?

If you have spent any amount of time in the church you know something about God. You have heard and sang songs, sermons have come to you from the Holy Bible, you partake in the bread and cup of Communion, and you have heard innumerable prayers. While all of these have a valuable place in our spiritual lives, you may enjoy them regularly and never experience the most important part of Christianity.

As the worship portion of our service ended on Sunday, in that transition time before the message that I have to make on those days when I lead worship before speaking, I felt the need to ask whether or not we have really met God.

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Christmas and Communion

At our church, the first Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday. Today it just felt like a great way to kick off the Christmas Season.

I also had the opportunity to lead worship this morning. We sang a couple of carols, and then built off of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” all the way to “Here I Am To Worship.” It was sort of going from Jesus’ birth to death all in 20 minutes.

Of course, Jesus’ death and resurrection are the point behind Jesus’ birth. If Jesus had just been a prophet or important man, but was unable to satisfy the requirements of the perfect sacrifice, we wouldn’t have much to celebrate. We don’t celebrate the birth of Abraham, Moses or David. We don’t all get together on Barack Obama’s or Stephen Harper’s or Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. We don’t put out lights and decorations for President’s Day in February (at least, not yet).

If weren’t for Christ’s body broken for you, and Christ’s blood shed for you, this time of year might not be much of a celebration at all.

Not Another Sermon on Prayer

I’m finishing up a sermon series on the book of James. Turns out, we’re talking about prayer. Here’s a slice from the opening of the message. It just might help if you’ve heard too many sermons about prayer.

You’ve probably heard many sermons on the topic of prayer. They are abundant and cover many forms, sometimes many formulas, and everyone who preaches on prayer says that if you aren’t doing it, there is something wrong with you. Have you heard that sort of teaching on prayer before?

What do you think results from those types of sermons?

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Be Careful How You Listen

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a bowl or hids it under a bed. Instead, the person puts it on a lampstand so those who come in will see the light” (Luke 8:16 NCV).

Many of us have heard these words of Jesus from our youth. We have sang, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” It has been paired with the thoughts of being the salt and light of the world, and to be a light unto dark places.

But this verse is one slice of a greater message. While these are true statements and are implied and connected to these words from our Savior, they are part of something different.

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