How Do We See Our Homes?

apartmentcomplexWhether you live in an apartment, duplex, townhouse, or house, Christians can often see these places as sanctuaries or retreats. After a hard day at work, school, or just life, we look forward to coming home and retreating away from the worries of the world. Where we live, whether alone or with family, becomes a place to recharge as we prepare for the challenges of a new day.

Is this how Christians should see our homes? Is this the way our Lord Jesus Christ intended for us to live?

I know of individuals, ministries, and churches who will rent an apartment, or buy a home, for the purpose of having people live there as a base of ministry to reach the other folks in the complex and/or neighborhood. The people who live in those homes are there to intentionally be salt and light as they serve their neighbors with the hope of sharing the gospel.

For all Christians I think this is the way Jesus intends for us to live. In other words, we don’t come to our home to retreat, but to engage. Every member of every church should see their home as a ministry center in which God has placed them to reach their neighbors with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, I know we all need down times, times to retreat, rest, reflect, and serve our families.

But imagine what would happen if every family in your church made the commitment to, at least 3 times a month, have people in their homes for a meal, for fun, for friendship, for conversations, and as our Lord gives opportunity, for spiritual conversations. Imagine a church unleashed that’s not depending on a program to spread the gospel, but trusting in what our Lord has already given us, homes from which we engage the culture.

How we see our homes will go a long ways to demonstrating how we see our role as proclaimers of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May our Lord awaken an army of believers to the joy, and responsibility, of using our homes as ministry outposts to reach our neighbors for His kingdom.

Our Values: Intentional Community…The Notes

2.7.16_intentional community_Social_MediaYesterday I preached on the 3rd value that we’re introducing to our church: Intentional Community. You can listen to the sermon here. The first thing I did was share that Intentional Community is

demonstrated by welcoming people from all life stages as we build relationships in a growing community of believers.

From Acts 2:46-47 and 1 Thessalonians 2:8 I shared…

1. Community happens because Christ tears down walls that separate people.

2. Community happens because people intentionally open their lives to one another.

3. Community happens because people obey the commands of Christ to love one another (Mark 12:28-31; John 13:34-35).

4. Intentional community will become increasingly more important as we live in a hostile culture.

Our Values: Intentional Community

2.7.16_intentional community_Social_MediaWe continue in our Living & Loving sermon series as we think about the value of Intentional Community. We’ll look at 1 Thessalonians 2:8 and Acts 2:46-47 as focus on this value.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 (HCSB)
8  We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

Acts 2:46-47 (HCSB)
46  Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

Saturday Stuff, February 5, 2016

SaturdayStuff_socialmedia*With the X-Files returning for a new abbreviated season (kinda meh so far), here are some famous faces who have appeared in episodes past.

*Very excited that CBS’s Supergirl and the CW’s The Flash will have a crossover on March 28!

*And speaking of Supergirl David Harewood, the actor who plays the Martian Manhunter, talks about his role and who he’d like to see on the show.

*The Harry Potter movie franchise may be on the verge of a huge comeback.

*Not sure if this will be a good idea or not, but there are plans for a MacGyver movie.

6-String Salvo, February 5, 2016

bigstock-Guitar-9506791. Great encouragement from David Murray on patient parenting.

2. Continuing the theme of parenting here are 10 biblical truths on the obedience of children from John Piper.

3. Here’s a reminder from Mark Altrogge on how God drives out our sin.

4. While boys definitely need their dads Tim Challies says don’t forget that boys need their moms, too.

5. Jon Akin teaches us about contentment through the lens of Jesus, Ecclesiastes, and Groundhog Day.

6. In this time of heightened political awareness, Aaron Earls cautions us to see politics as one avenue to expand the glory of God, but not an all-consuming one.

And here’s Ives the Band with The Joker

Classic Contemporary Christian Music

When I was a senior in high school I was invited to a Campus Life meeting at Larry and Joyce McBee’s home. Larry became a great friend and he and Joyce continue to serve and minister today.

At Larry’s home he had an album playing (yes…an album) that had the great rock sound I loved but I was unfamiliar with the group. He said, “That’s DeGarmo & Key.” And right then, my world was changed.

Up until that time I only knew of the hymns we sang at our church and of Southern Gospel music. I didn’t know there was a thing called Contemporary Christian Music. But from that day at Larry’s home until today, I still listen, and am encouraged, by CCM.

And yes, like every genre of music, there’s good stuff and terrible stuff. And sometimes CCM was pretty terrible. But there were also artists and groups who were incredibly gifted and desired to give our God the greatest glory through their music.

From time to time I’ll share a video, hopefully a live version, of some of my favorite CCM artists. Some of the music, clothes, and contexts will be very dated. But for a kid who loved rock music, CCM was a cold drink of water in a barren land.

Aside from D & K, one of my other first groups to be exposed to was White Heart. Check them out…

Loving Control

controlPart of the tension that many feel with the elections is the lack of control they have over the outcome. Yes, I know our vote counts (we saw that in Iowa with some delegates being chosen by a coin flip because of how close the voting was, and anyone remember FL and hanging chads?).

But I live in Tennessee and it will be a little while before I can make my voice heard. And so while Iowa and New Hampshire get to enjoy the spotlight, the majority have to sit and wait until our turn. In other words, we have no control for now.

And that bothers us because most of us like to be in control. We like to know what our day has ahead. We don’t like the unexpected meeting, the unplanned task, the drop-in visitor. Those things upset our “control”.

Whether politics, the agenda for the day, or any number of other issues, we like the feeling that we’re the captain of our own ship. We love control.

But God often causes our lives to be such that we are faced with things out of our control. And these moments/circumstances remind us that: 1) We’re not God. 2) We need God.

Only God is completely in control of all things. He is sovereign over all things. All things exist and move according to His will for His glory. Which should give us peace when things are chaotic around us…God hasn’t lost control. He hasn’t abdicated His throne. In fact, when we lose control, we have a great and wonderful opportunity to praise the God who is in control.

We are all needy. When things are going our way and we are in control, we can easily become prideful thinking that there’s no need for Him. We childishly think, “Hey God, I got this.” Until we don’t have it. And God, in these moments, lovingly reminds us that we need Him.

While we may not like losing control, remember that in those situations we can find reasons to praise God and reasons to lean on Him.