The life expectancy of a church is about 70 years. How does one, like CWC, live for 125? There are many reasons but the most significant is that they are able to sustain the Founder’s vision and passion. Ours is the promise of Christ to build a colony of heaven at the gates of hell.
Christ is the Center of every Christian community and that community is the portal into Christ. They are not the same – Christ and His Community – yet we can’t get into the One except through the Other, nor into the Other except through the One.
Most of us have a deep longing to belong to another person or community but it’s often for our own sake. Paul describes a different kind of community and another way of belonging. In the Church, our community begins and continues in what Christ has done to both of us, whether we know it or not.
In the famous story of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, there were two encounters that changed Saul’s life. One was with Jesus himself. The other was with Jesus’ people. Both were essential to Saul’s conversion. Yet we speak of one more than the other.
It is common to hear people speak about love. We search for it but too often it eludes us. The Christian vision of love is more powerful and practical than almost everything we’re hearing. And it is within our reach. At the peak of Peter’s list of virtues is love – for those inside the Church and those outside as well- but how do we learn it and what does it actually do?
The first two virtues of a beautiful life, virtue and knowledge, are often competitors in society today. In reality they are joined, but how? How does knowledge stimulate virtue and how does virtue cultivate more knowledge? In other words, how do we get smarter without becoming insulated or arrogant? To link these two virtues we need to practice the Biblical vision of both as expressed in these prayers of Paul.
Of all those who become Christians this year, about one in four will actively pursue this spiritual growth and of those who do, about one in ten will move on to new heights. What the others lack is often a vision and/or a plan. What do you want to be? And how is that going to happen? In this passage, written to new believers in the first century, Peter gives us a vision (v.4) and a plan (v. 5-7) for getting unstuck in our spiritual lives.
When something happens, like what happened lately, our tendency as exiles is to get so embroiled in the controversy that we forget who we are. Without formally denying our identity – our right to practice our faith – the culture subtly gives us another one. Now more than ever, we must rediscover our narrative, our name and our agenda.
The past few months have been among the most disruptive and uncertain of our lives. We have suffered many losses and from everything we hear, there will be even more. Yet our hope is that in and by these losses we are being perfected and saved for the day when Christ is finally revealed.
Everyone wants to go to heaven … but not today! Perhaps it’s because we’ve misjudged it. What if heaven is other than we think? Closer than we think? In the ascension of Jesus everything changes on earth and in heaven. So why do we still stand “gazing into heaven” as though it were some idyllic place far removed from our world and our mission?
In times when the flesh is weak, the Spirit is willing and prays through us, for us, putting language to our confusion, our grief and even our anger. It is here where “the Spirit pleads for us in harmony with God’s will,” and this is why “all things work together for our good.” In the loneliness of suffering, we are more united with God than ever.
In various times, as God decides, the Spirit takes over our faculties and channels himself through us in superhuman ways. In these moments, we accomplish far more than usual and always for the glory of God. While these moments come and go, our daily lives continually prepare us for them.
The same Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness, then out again is the One who guides us into all truth, always reminding us of what Jesus said and sometimes even more. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is the faculty God has given us for hearing His Voice.
When Jesus “breathed onto” his disciples he intended to, not just sustain his ministry but to expand it with, in and through us. Through the Holy Spirit God dwells within the Body of Christ like he dwelled in the humanity of Christ. Through the Holy Spirit we may become, by grace, what Jesus was by nature. It is time for us to live up to that.
We’re in the middle of the two worst weeks, people are worried about the economy, about their families and their jobs. They’re looking for good news. Yet they want more than good news. What they’re craving – and don’t have words for – is Easter and Easter is more than the resurrection.
Palm Sunday is best known as the coronation of Jesus our King. But later that day – after the famous parade – our King’s heart was “troubled” as he confronted a dilemma and a question that confronts us in these worrisome days. What is the dilemma and “what shall we say?”
As disciples, our calling in a time like this is to be an extension of Christ’s own doing and being.
If you could have a private audience with Jesus and ask for anything you wanted, what would you ask for? No, really, with all that’s been happening you’ve got one ask and you’ll probably get it. What would it be? What should it be? Here’s an example of how we might pray in these times.
This has to do with our dis-ease: Do I still believe in wellness; do I think it is possible and do I really want it for myself? What about the change will be most disruptive?
This has to do with our trust: Where have I put my trust? In whom or in what do I have faith? Who will take care of me? How do I know I will be okay?