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Rambling through Romans (11): 1:19-32 (III)

19 This is because what is known about God should be plain to them because God made it plain to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. 21 Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. 23 They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other. 25 They traded God’s truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females t…

Rambling through Romans (10): 1:19-32 (Part II)

19 This is because what is known about God should be plain to them because God made it plain to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. 21 Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. 23 They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other. 25 They traded God’s truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females t…

Meet Generation Z

Home > Resources > Blog > Meet Generation Z
http://www.churchandculture.org/blog.asp?id=6368
Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014
I’d like to introduce you to Generation Z. 

I know, some of you are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called whoever followed the Boomers. Or maybe you leapfrogged over all that straight to Generation Y (Millennials), on whom marketers have been focused for at least a decade.

Let me save you some time. Drop everything and start paying attention to Generation Z, who now constitute 25.9% of the U.S. population. That’s more than Millennials (24.5%). That’s more than Gen X (15.4%). Yes, that’s even more than Baby Boomers (23.6%).

So who falls into Generation Z? There’s still some debate on exact dates, but essentially those who were born after Generation Y. So approximately 1995 to present. At the time of this writing, it is the generation that is now under the age of 18.

Do the math, and you realize that they …

Rambling through Romans (9): 1:19-32

“19 This is because what is known about God should be plain to them because God made it plain to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. 21 Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. 23 They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other. 25 They traded God’s truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females …

James, ‘the Rich,’ and the Complexity Argument

http://www.empireremixed.com/2014/08/27/james-rich-complexity-argument/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+empireremixed+%28Empire+Remixed%29August 27, 2014
by (A meditation at on James 4.13-5.20 presented at Wine Before Beer on August 26, 2014.) You just don’t understand. You make these stark pronouncements as if the issues are simple, but they are not. This is a very complex situation. And your self-righteous moral pronouncements look like they are taking the higher ground but they are rooted in an arrogant ignorance. You don’t understand the situation, with its complex history. You don’t understand that if you start boycotting certain companies and products all kinds of people will get hurt. You don’t understand that this whole system is the only bulwark we have against utter chaos, a reverting back to the anarchy of tribe versus tribe. You may feel good standing there with some sense of moral superiority, but you achieve such a position …

Rambling through Romans (8): 1:18

18 God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodly behavior and the injustice of human beings who silence the truth with injustice.

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What’s love without wrath?How could a lover, especially a Divine Lover, not be outraged, hurt, disappointed beyond measure by a Beloved’s betrayal, rejection, flouting of all the Lover stands for?What kind of a relationship would they have if such behavior elicited no response?
You see, wrath is not the opposite of love, indifference is.Wrath is love’s “tough love” for incorrigible partners or children.Humanity has behaved with wanton disregard from both God (“ungodly behavior) and other human beings (“injustice”).Yet God’s love for us has not cooled.It has not turned to indifference.Rather he keeps on reaching out to his alienated creatures to reclaim and restore them to right relation (justice) to him and to each other.
We experience his “tough love” (wrath) as being…

Is Church Too Easy?

Brain research says our efforts to make church comfortable may backfire. My six year old daughter is the most competitive personality in our home. While the other kindergarteners on her t-ball team are picking dandelions in the outfield, Lucy remains vigilant and “baseball ready” to make the play of the game. She recently came home from a summer backyard Bible camp disappointed. “The games were too easy,” she insisted. “They need to make it harder to win.” Lucy’s desire to be challenged reveals a fact often neglected in our culture--we only grow when we are uncomfortable, and too much comfort is not only be harmful but can be downright dangerous. For example, a recent FAA study found that pilots are losing critical flying skills because they are under-challenged by state-of-the art planes that virtually fly themselves. Ironically, the push for safety through computer flying is leading to more accidents as pilots “abdicate too much responsibility to automated systems.”  I wonder if the …

Rambling through Romans (7): 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”

Faith is another of those religious words we throw around but aren’t very clear about what they mean.And in Christianity faith has a particular meaning.
Paul uses “faith” four time in these few verses.Faith is the way human beings find salvation (v.16).Whatever exactly the phrase “through faith for faith” means, it is clear that faith is intimately tied up with God’s passion to set all things right (the “righteousness of God,” v.17).And faith is the means of living out that same passion (v.17).
But what does Paul and the other biblical writers means by faith?Faith means:
-reaffirming the truth as we have come to know it in and through Jesus Christ.
-entrusting ourselves to God the Father through Jesus Christ.
“Je…

Our Thoroughly Modern Enemies: ISIS in the 21st Century - Ross Douhat

IN his remarks on the murder of James Foley, the American journalist decapitated by the terrorists of ISIS, President Obama condemned Foley’s killers, appropriately, as a “cancer” on the Middle East and the world. But he also found room for the most Obama-ish of condemnations: “One thing we can all agree on,” he insisted, is that the would-be caliphate’s murderous vision has “no place in the 21st century.” The idea that America’s foes and rivals are not merely morally but chronologically deficient, confused time travelers who need to turn their DeLorean around, has long been a staple of this administration’s rhetoric. Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and tyrants in general have been condemned, in varying contexts, for being on the dreaded “wrong side of history.” Earlier this year, John Kerry dismissed Putin’s Crimea adventure in the same language Obama used last week: “19th-century behavior in the 21st century,” foredoomed by its own anachronism. Continue reading the main story

Rambling through Romans (6): 1:16-18

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”

“Righteousness” is one of those big religious words we hear in church a lot.And usually wrongly used!
We been taught to associate the words “righteous” and “righteousness” with morality or moral character, or “uprightness,” to use an older English word.
So, by this understanding, the gospel shows God’s moral uprightness, of which we fall far short and, thus, stand in need of his mercy and forgiveness.
However, “the righteousness of God” in the Old Testament, where Paul gets it from, means “God’s passion to set all things right.”It’s what drives God to deliver, redeem, restore, forgive, discipline, heal, and make everything just the way he intends it to be.
The “righteous” person, who lives by faith, is one who s…

Let's get "Vile" for Jesus!

Most of us Christians need to become more "vile."  If fact, I think "vileness" is both a fruit of the Spirit and a spiritual gift, not to mention a spiritual discipline!  If I was still preaching I'd preach on "vileness" this Sunday!

What is this "vileness" of which I speak?  George Whitefield taught and inspired John Wesley to become more "vile" with his innovative practice of preaching in the fields to the miners going to and coming home from work in the mines.  Willingness to get out of the church and in the trenches with the people is the vileness Wesley learned.  And I suspect it is the vileness most of us must learn today as well.

How Practical is Relevance?

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Lawson Stone The cry to “make the Bible relevant to today’s world” not only implies that the Bible itself lacks relevance, a point discussed yesterday, it also makes another assumption that is quite startling. This has to do with the allied demand that “making the Bible relevant” involves making it “practical.”
While several problems haunt this claim, I’ll go for the big one: this preoccupation with relevance and practicality  borders on idolatry.

First, it implies that our lives, and our needs, form the entire domain in which genuinely valuable truth can exist. If something is not immediately relevant or evidently useful to us, we judge it unimportant. But seriously, do we want to make our own felt needs the ultimate standard, indeed, the final filter, for what is true? That approach to life gave us polytheism—rain gods, fertility gods, war gods, love gods and the rest. Or that approach gives us atheism: if we only believe in or about God as we need to,…

Five Points of Bitterness Common in the Missional Church

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http://thev3movement.org/2014/08/five-points-of-bitterness-common-in-the-missional-church/ 1
inShare Forging communities on mission has been a refreshing and exhilarating experience.  I’m a strategist and futurist by nature, so I have the propensity to convince myself I’ve sized up all the challenges that will come my way, before they come my way.
There was one issue that I was not prepared to run into so regularly and widely… bitterness.
Over and over again, our team has collided with the thick smog of bitterness that saturates many conversations and any intentional gathering related to Christianity.  I’ve studied up on Post-Christianity but nothing could ready me for the discipleship challenge of very real and raw people being riddled with bitterness and cynicism.
Outside the Tent For as much theological space and diversity our community embraces, for as relational as our ethos is, for as organic as our church ecclesiology is, we’ve found no way around colliding with deeply entrenched …

Huckabee and the Heresy of Americanism

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by August 21, 2014
“America is a unique nation.”
“America is exceptional.”
“America is specially blessed by God.”
“America has a particular purpose in God’s plan.”
If you’ve grown up in the US, especially her American churches, all of these are pretty common refrains you hear bandied about. They usually come up around election time, the Fourth of July, or on the National Day of Prayer, when we’re urged to pray for our nation’s “return” back to her God and her former holiness. Mike Huckabee recently released a free video entitled “One Nation Under God” in the “Learn our History” video series, promoting it on Facebook: “Sadly, not enough of our kids appreciate God’s love for America.”
Now, there are two different ways of taking these statements. Let’s tackle what I take to be the more modest view first.

Read more at http://christandpopculture.com/huckabee-heresy-americanism/?utm_content=buffer32412&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Three Cheers for the Trinity!

Mark Sandlin, an influential progressive Christina blogger, is presently blogging on the theme of:“This Collar Is Too Tight: Heresies From a Southern Minister.”The second installment is titled “No Trinity for Me, Please.”

There is nothing new in the case Sandlin makes against the Trinity.It’s been standard fare from the time of the early church to today.And I respect his right to state his views.And he holds no brief against anyone who believes in the Trinity nor is he trying to “convert” anyone from belief in it. However, there is an agenda beyond a personal faith statement at work here.Sandlin wants “a larger acceptance of theological diversity in the Christian Church.”
Two questions frame his desire to promote this diversity:
-why do we make it (the Trinity) so important? and
-Why is it a dividing line of who is in and who is out?
And he goes on to say “Frankly, I am not deeply interested in the answers to those questions. I’m much more interested in the validity of those questions.” An…