Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.
Last Sunday was my silver wedding anniversary. On Saturday, my wife was asked by a friend how we intended to mark the occasion. “Well, it is on a Sunday so I guess we will be in church in the morning and the evening for the regular services. Then in the afternoon we are planning to visit one of the housebound older ladies in the congregation. We will probably spend an hour reading the Bible and singing hymns with her.”
A question we hope to answer this Sunday during the Q&A of our adult Sunday school class…
This is a good, hard question. The way we answer it will both reflect and inform our understanding of justice and mercy.
In the book of Joshua God commands Israel to slaughter the Canaanites in order to occupy the Promised Land. It was a bloody war of total destruction where God used his people to execute his moral judgment against his wicked enemies. In moving toward an answer it will be helpful to think carefully about the building blocks of a Christian worldview related to God’s justice and mercy.
In his new book “Jesus Outside the Lines,” Scott Sauls says that he’s tired of taking sides. He’s had enough of “gossip and negative stereotypes; of political caricatures and talk-show outrage; of opinion presented as fact; of critiques and condemnation that forgo listening and relationships.”
We need a fruitful way to engage in public conversation about the issues of the day, Sauls says, and Jesus gave it to us. “When the grace of Jesus sinks in we will be among the least offended and most loving people in the world.” We’ll understand how to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. And by doing so, we’ll point to our Father in heaven. ByFaith spoke with Sauls about his book...
Once a woman shared the testimony to our church that she fell in love with Jesus not in spite of the treatment she received from Christians, but because of it. We need to imagine what it would look like for the church to rekindle what has always been true about salty Christianity — that it has an attractional value to sinners. We need to be sure that when we offend, it’s the same kinds of people who got offended by Jesus; namely, the smug religious insiders. We also need to be sure that those who are drawn to us are the same kinds of folks who were drawn to Jesus, namely, the tax collectors and sinner-types.