You often hear the accusation, “I don’t believe in Christianity, because the church is full of hypocrites.” So is that a fair assessment? Tomorrow we’ll be looking at Galatians 2:11-21 where Paul recounts an instance when...
The search for truth about God has always been a struggle, because Satan is the great counterfeiter. He has false gospels, preached by false ministers, producing false Christians. Satan plants his counterfeits wherever God plants true believers. Jesus warned: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." Therefore, every Christian must practice spiritual discernment. How can we intuitively spot false gospels? We need to know the true Gospel inside and out.
Tomorrow, we finish up our "Adulting" series, by talking about wisdom and suffering. We've looked at what the ancient wisdom literature teaches us about navigating some of the most consequential areas of life: sex, money, relationships, self-control, and work. One of the things we learned about the book of Proverbs, in particular, is the wisdom literature gives us principles and probabilities, not necessarily promises. Tomorrow we ask the question: if I pursue wisdom in every area of life, why do I still experience setbacks, disappointment, and sometimes, even, suffering. Why do bad things happen to wise people? In order to live life as an adult, instead of as a pouty child when things don't go as planned, you need a robust practical theology of suffering.
Tomorrow, we continue our "Adulting" series by talking about work. Preparing for a job, getting a job, and keeping a job are all part of growing up. Since work takes up so much of our lives, and so much of our lives depends on our work, the ancient wisdom literature of Holy Scripture has lots to say about it. The ancient wisdom literature teaches that work is a good gift from God. Ecclesiastes 2:24 says "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil." Do you find enjoyment in your work?
I could bore you with a mountain of statistics proving that our society has a problem with self-control, but you already know. You know, because we all struggle with self-control. We struggle with controlling our impulses, urges, and desires. We struggle with controlling our emotions and feelings. We struggle with our appetites.
Nothing has shaped you, and nothing will shape you, more than your family and friends. Just think about how much of who you are, and where you are, is a direct result of your family and best friends. Not only do the closest people in your life form the person you become, but they are also the source of your greatest joys, or your greatest sorrows.
According to a recent comprehensive study funded by Bank of America and USA Today, when millennials were asked to define adulthood in their own words, the most common response was achieving financial independence. For most young people, economic accomplishments outweigh more traditional milestones like getting married, moving out on their own, or graduating from high school or college. It's hard to feel like an adult when mom and dad are paying for everything.
We live in an age of colossal confusion regarding the most important and consequential areas of life. Since our society can't tell us who we really are, it certainly can't offer much helpful advice in terms of how we are to live. We hear clichés like: "follow your heart or your dreams," and "do whatever makes you happy" and "just do you (unless your an axe-murder)" and "do what feels good." Our most elite and expensive schools don't offer much guidance in how we are to live. So we turn to social commentators, political pundits, life coaches and gurus, celebrities, and comedians. The problem is, most of them haven't figured out this whole life thing either... though they have figured out ways to make money peddling life-advice to the rest of us... so kudos to them for that.
Are you good at life? How are your life skills? Got the whole "adult" thing down pat? How's your "adulting" IQ?
Let's take a quick inventory. Can you change a tire? Know how to check your car's oil? How about the tire pressure? Know how to get your car registered and inspected on time? Do you know how to interview? Do you know how to keep a job? Do you have a plan for your career advancement?
I'm just sending out this email as a quick reminder that we have our annual Good Friday service today at 7pm. Also, Easter is on Sunday. We'll hold all three of our regular services at 9:30am, 11:15am, and 5pm. Additionally, Mosaic Boston, JP will be holding their first service on Easter at 10:30am at 493 Centre St in Jamaica Plain. If you can come help them set up at 7:30am on Sunday, they would really appreciate that!
As we continue our sermon series through the "I Am" statements of Jesus Christ, we get to one of his most astonishing statement in the Gospel of John, chapter 15. In the context of proclaiming himself as the life-source of the universe ("I am the true vine"), Jesus shockingly says, "apart from me you can do nothing." Now, that's a staggering statement to make! Nothing? At first glance, there appear to be many things, many people do daily, apart from Jesus.
Did you know that Easter is only 2 weeks away? Why is Easter such a big deal? Because Easter is the Super Bowl of Christianity! And if you think this year's Super Bowl was a great comeback (and yes, it was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, to be exact), Easter is the celebration of the, literally, Greatest Comeback Ever!!
One of my favorite hymns is "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," penned by the 18th century pastor Robert Robinson in 1757. What's surprising is that he wrote this brilliant hymn at the age of 22 (oh the things that were accomplished before the constant stream of distractions offered by the Internet!). One of the motifs in the hymn that stirs my heart every time I sing it, is that of Jesus the Shepherd, and me as a dumb, helpless, wandering sheep.
I'm sending out this newsletter right before lunch, and I'm hungry, and I'm reminded just how much I love food. I LOVE food!! Food is my love language. There are three ways to my heart: buy me food, cook me food, or be food. I love the smell of food, the taste of food, the eating of food... and everything in between. On the flip side, I'm not a big fan of hunger. The hunger pangs, the weakness, the lack of energy aren't much fun. Dieting is always rough. Praise God for food.
What have been some of the most important questions in your life? What is my purpose? What should I do? Where should I go to school? Where should I work? Where should I live? Whom should I date? Whom should I marry? How long will I live?
As important as these questions are, and as far reaching as their implications may be, there is no more important question that this: Who is Jesus Christ to you? Your life and your eternity depends on this answer.
We live in a culture of growing commitment phobia: people are afraid to commit. Everyone wants to keep their options open and their independence unbridled. People are afraid to commit to a job or career. Couples are afraid to commit to one another for life. Parents find it difficult to commit to raising their children. Committing to a church is almost unheard of! So when people practice true commitment, it's absolutely countercultural.
Scarlett Johansson, who was recently divorced for the second time, said in an interview: "I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it's a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing. I don't think it's natural to be a monogamous person. The fact that it is such work for so many people -- for everyone -- proves that it is not a natural thing." So is monogamy natural? If so, why does it take work? If not, how can we make marriage work?