So, you don’t like to sing when you go to church on Sunday. You’re not really the singing type. But here’s the thing: those of us who don’t want to sing to God are at odds with the rest of the universe.
It says here that you were nearly stoned to death, left for dead, flogged, unjustly thrown in prison, shipwrecked, bitten by venomous snakes, reviled, and generally persecuted wherever you went. Paul, how would you classify these many trials you experienced?
In his kindness, God often brings a prodigal to the end of his rope. And when prodigals bottom out, they often return home and to the church. But when a prodigal returns to your church, what sort of welcome will he receive?
LIE: This is such a minor, insignificant sin! It’s not really a big deal in God’s eyes. TRUTH: Every sin is a horribly offensive to God. Sin is the sum of all evils, the opposite of all that is good, holy, and beautiful.
Many of us, either consciously or unconsciously, hold to the idea that if we do all the right things as parents, our children will turn out okay. When a teenager goes AWOL, we immediately assume that the parents must have failed him in some way.
Behind door number one: give up. Let despair, anger, and unbelief wash over you like an acidic shower, eating away at your faith. Start calling yourself a “realist.” Allow cynicism to have its way with you. OR…
God doesn’t usually do fast. He doesn’t do overnight shipping. He works according to his timeline, not mine. And the wonderful reality is that God is usually doing a thousand things when it looks like he’s doing absolutely nothing.
When it comes to doing church we can tend to gravitate toward one of two extremes. The first is the over the top, “everything must be awesome” extreme. The other extreme is the “it’s all about the heart,” don’t try to manufacture God’s presence, extreme.
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I distinctly remember one Sunday when a man said to me something like, “When I look around, I see all these people who have their lives together. Meanwhile, my life is a mess.” Church should be a place where messy people feel comfortable.
What I’m learning is that if I’m going to grow in patience, God has to put me in situations which actually require patience. Thus, God gives me children who are insane, in order that I might grow in love and patience.
The utter pervasiveness of evil is why Easter is such a precious holiday. Easter isn’t about candy, Sunday dresses, ham dinners, or Easter egg hunts. Easter is about the Son of God declaring a Holy War on Satan and evil.
Every so often I hear someone say in despair, “What is this world coming to?” This kind of comment usually comes in response to a doomsday report of some kind. But we shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed. The world is coming to exactly what Jesus said it would come to, and this actually gives us a lot of hope.