The Blog

Created for Community
Oct 24, 2017

Why Connect?

Friendship. Community. Tribe. Everywhere we turn these days, we are forced to “connect” with others. It’s almost as if the world isn’t okay with our isolated lifestyles. But have we considered that it’s not the world that’s hoping we'll find purpose in community? Maybe it’s the gentle voice of the Father telling us that He placed others on the earth to help provide, protect, and encourage us.

I believe that we were not created to live our lives alone, but instead, in regular communion with others. In Genesis, God lays out His story for creation. Before He was finished, he chose to create man as a caretaker of this world, and recognized that man needed companionship. Genesis 2:18 tell us, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Eve was created and designed for the purpose of being Adam’s companion.

We were created for community.

In 1 Samuel 18, the writer tells a beloved story of friendship. Remember David, the shepherd boy who killed Goliath? He was living under the care of King Saul after fighting the mighty giant and learning the ways of war. As Saul watched David's successes in battle, Saul became threatened by the young boy turned beloved warrior. As Saul plotted to kill David many times, it was his son, Jonathan, who came to David’s rescue. Jonathan, the heir to Israel's throne, recognized the beauty in God’s calling over David and was willing to put his own future aside to help a friend fulfill his own.  By hiding David from King Saul, Jonathan protected David, allowing him to escape unscathed. Scripture so beautifully says that God “knit” David’s heart to Jonathan’s. David’s safety led to his success as king, and eventually led to the coming of our Savior. God used friendship to preserve the bloodline of Jesus and our salvation.

One of the most beautiful images of community we find in Scripture is Jesus and His disciples. He was the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He didn’t need sidekicks. He could walk on water and raise men from the dead, BUT Jesus CHOSE to share His life with 12 others. He leaned on them during hardship, grieved with them in loss, taught them of the promises of the Father, and shared stories and meals almost daily. He knew that His life on earth and ministry were best fulfilled through sharing it with others, with men who could watch first-hand and retell the stories of his life, long after He left the earth. Jesus used community to tell His story.

So what does this mean for us today? It’s a reminder that we were created to share life with others. As followers of Christ, we need one another to remind us of Truth when we’re swimming in darkness or sin. We need one another to celebrate the good days, the marriages and babies, the houses and promotions. We need one another to cry during the losses, pray during the trials, and pick us up when we can’t stand on our own. We need people who will stand in the gap for us, will encourage us to be bold and brave, and will challenge us to stand out from the world.

We need each other. And more importantly, God created us FOR each other, serving together and inviting others to join us. His ministry and His stories are best told around dining room tables, on living room couches, in passenger seats, or across your office desks. So invite a friend for dinner and begin building your community, or say yes next time you’re invited to an event. Introduce yourselves to the couple next to you in church, or sign up to serve at an event or in a ministry.

Pray that God reveals who He “knit” for you, and thank Him when He provides.

The Blog

Who am I?
Oct 17, 2017

Who am I? 

It’s a valid question and one that most of us have probably asked ourselves, and God.  Moses even asks God this question in Exodus 3:11, which honestly, I have always glazed over.  Most of us know Exodus 3 as the “I am who I am” (vs. 14) chapter, but this time through the struggle of the people and God’s call to do something stopped me mid-sentence.

After the burning bush grabbed Moses’ attention and marked the ground as holy, God tells him a story.  It is a story Moses knows all too well, but one that needs retelling nonetheless.  It is a story of pain, loss, oppression and misery as the Israelites lived and worked under the rule and reign of the Egyptians for 400 years.  In His perfect timing, the God of the universe, all creation and time itself had heard the cries of the Israelites and chose Moses to bring the people out.  Moses’ reply…“Who am I?”

 What I love about God’s answer is it really is not an answer at all, because it’s not about Moses and his skills, abilities and talents – it’s about God.  In verse 12 God says, “I will be with you.” 

 I will be with you. 

 It is clear that the authors of the Bible were led by the Spirit to write and remind us often of how God is with us.  Just to name a few…

 “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Joshua 1:5

 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” – Isaiah 41:10

 “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

 So the question is this…if God is with me, why do I not live like it?  Why do I ask God, “who am I?” when He tells me to go and deliver the oppressed, the lost and the least of these?  For the God of Moses is my God.  He is the same today as He was then, and He has the same power to deliver those under the bondage of sin, oppression, systematic inequalities and social injustices – He just needs people to go (vs. 10).

 So let me and let us join together and not worry about “who am I,” but step forward in faith knowing that God is with us and will be with us until the very end of the age.

The Blog

Superstition & Faith
Oct 13, 2017

Have you given any thought that today is Friday the 13th?  While some may think, What difference does that make?, there are many who associate it as a day of bad luck, where if anything can go wrong, it's somehow more likely to happen today verses any other day.  This superstition is believed to date back to the Middle Ages, and some Christian traditions argue it goes as far back as The Last Supper, representing the 13th guest around the table as Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.  (I personally think that's a farce, but I'll try to keep my opinions to myself for now.) 

Whether you associate the number 13 as unlucky, casually hold to certain superstitions (i.e: don't walk under a ladder; if a black cat crosses your path mark the x's on your window to break the curse, etc.) or have become an expert in cultural superstitions, genuine faith in a Sovereign God and a proper understanding of the doctrine of sin and it's implications on humanity and the world around us seems to bring all of these things into question. 

In other words, superstition and faith don't mix.  Newsflash: The nature of the world we live in makes it just as likely for something bad to happen on Saturday the 14th as Friday the 13th.  And yet, God is just as Sovereign over both.  However, as human beings, we are prone to doing everything possible to predict and control outcomes around us - which is essentially what superstition is about.

Last week during our Sunday worship gatherings, we briefly looked at the account of the building of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, where mankind set out to build a great city with a tower that reached to the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves. (v.4)  While such an undertaking doesn't initially sound like a bad idea, the motive was to build an empire in defiance to God.  And in doing so, man, not God, could be in control.  Of course, as we see, God frustrates these plans and causes confusion by giving the people different language, which subsequently scatters people around the world.  

Human sin began in the garden, but it quickly became global.  Where sin separates us from God individually, it perpetuates and collaborates to build empires and systems of control that desire to remove God from the equation.

This is where the story of Exodus begins, and where it so accurately describes the world we live in today.  However, what we see unfolding in Exodus are the beginnings of the raising-up of a nation and people who are part of God's plan to redeem and bring things that were once separated and scattered back together.  We see the beginnings of a new humanity who will proclaim the goodness, mercy and grace of a God who is for us, not against us; who takes the tragedy this world brings and transforms it into something beautiful for the good of His creation and the glory of His name.  We as the church are a continuation and fulfillment of this story in Exodus.

While superstition and faith do not mix, that is no reason to condemn and point fingers who struggle with this today.  Instead, as part of the priesthood of God (Exodus 19:5-6:, 1 Peter 2:4-5), use the opportunity to show the people around you who God is and what God is like.  When people experience the God of the Scriptures, his perfect love begins to cast out ALL fear (1 John 4:18) - including fears associated with superstition. 

Coming Events

Fall Fest - 2017
Sunday, October 29, 2017, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Life Church and J.F. Hurley YMCA (next door) present Fall Fest (Free Community Event) on October 29 . Fall Fest is an evening of family-fun featuring food, games, Trunk...

Child Dedication Sunday
Sunday, December 03, 2017, 9:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Next Child Dedication December 3If you have a child (3 and under) that you would like to dedicate, we invite you to be part of our next...

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