O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.1
The world is a profoundly broken place. In recent months this fact has become evident that there is a need for racial reconciliation in our country. It doesn’t matter what side of the story that you are on, if you are listening you can hear the cries of injustice that this country does not always protect the lives of minorities.
Over the past year, I have read and listened books and watched movies and documentaries that haven enlightened me and broken my heart over the racial injustices of country. I like most thought I lived in a country where racism is primarily a thing of the past and those who are racist fall into a very small minority. What I have come to realize is I live in a country that favors me because of the color of my skin and I have done little to speak the truth of the Gospel into the broken society in which we live. Continue reading →
This past weekend, we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus, one of the biggest holy days of the Christian year. As followers of Jesus, however, what do we do with the resurrection? Yes, of course, we believe it and we celebrate it, but what do we do about it? A fairly typical discussion of the resurrection and it’s result goes like this, “Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. Because he defeated death, we get to defeat death too. I can’t wait until the resurrection, then I’ll have a new body.”
While I believe that every part of that statement is true, I believe that there is more to the discussion than only the future hope of the resurrection. So here’s the question that we all need to work through, if the resurrection is true, how does this affect our present reality?continue reading
Today is Earth Day. For most Christians, this an ordinary day and many will probably fail to recognize the day, but I think it is appropriate for Christians to celebrate the day more than anyone else. We are in the Easter Season (the time between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost) and have just gathered to celebrate the resurrection. I believe we ought to celebrate not because the earth is divine, but because God made it. We should celebrate because the resurrection of Jesus began the process to restore all that was broken, including the earth. Continue reading →
Now the man’s older son was still out in the fields working. He came home at the end of the day and heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant said, “Your brother has returned, and your father has butchered the fattest calf to celebrate his safe return.”
The older brother got really angry and refused to come inside, so his father came out and pleaded with him to join the celebration. But he argued back, “Listen, all these years I’ve worked hard for you. I’ve never disobeyed one of your orders. But how many times have you even given me a little goat to roast for a party with my friends? Not once! This is not fair! So this son of yours comes, this wasteful delinquent who has spent your hard-earned wealth on loose women, and what do you do? You butcher the fattest calf from our herd!”
The father replied, “My son, you are always with me, and all I have is yours. Isn’t it right to join in the celebration and be happy? This is your brother we’re talking about. He was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found again!”(1)
This is the time of the year when many of us settle back into our normal routines. The Christmas decorations are gone and our break is over. Around New Year’s many people made resolutions about how they would change in the year to come. Most of our resolutions have now been forgotten. This month at Westbrook, we have been exploring how to move from making resolutions to being made new in Christ.
Our first teaching series of 2014 at Westbrook, New Year, New You, has focused on helping us go beyond resolutions and become the New Creation the God intends us to be. Our theme verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new is here!” When we submit our lives to Christ, we are made into a new creation! When God makes us new, he gives us a new mission as well. We no longer live for ourselves, but instead we live for the mission of Christ. Just a few verses later we are told we are now “ambassadors for Christ” in the world. continue reading…