This may surprise you, but Neil Armstrong and I actually have a lot in common. Well ok; maybe not a lot. But we do have some similarities. I like to tell people that I was born the year that the US landed on the moon. In fact my birthday was March 17th 1969 just a few months before Armstrong’s historic first step. Obviously Armstrong liked to fly and he actually earned his flight certificate even before he had his driver’s license. I can’t claim that kind of accolade, but I still love to fly. Even though I’m in my early 40s I still try to stick my head into the cockpit to look around every time I board a plane. Neil became an Eagle Scout in 1947. I entered the ranks of the Eagle Scouts in 1985.
But I think the real connection that I have with Armstrong is that we are both men who believe in a God who created the universe. The news media has said very little about this and honestly it may just be because Armstrong worked very hard to stay away from the camera and the public eye. But Armstrong acknowledged the existence of God and what many people are not aware of is that both he and Aldrin took communion with each other before leaving the Apollo lem module and stepping out onto the lunar surface on that historic day.
We can and should learn much from this humble leader in American History. We should learn from his example of hard work and dedication. We should learn from his example of exploration and visionary spirit. But I also believe a huge lesson for us today is to remember that God and science are not opposed to one another. (more…)
Well I wasn’t super happy this past week with my cholesterol check. Apparently the number 196 is not very good. At least my Dr. friend didn’t like it. He said that 200 is the beginning of the danger zone and obviously I’m not too far removed from that number. So I took my beating and was told that my exercise routine needs to get longer and my diet needs to get smaller. No, I was not thrilled at the results. Beyond just not liking the idea of having a growing gut I recognized that if my cholesterol grows there can be health risks which will hold ramifications for my family. In short, I need to get healthier not just for me, but for them. After ruminating a bit it became clear that there are also spiritual implications to this bodily discussion. (more…)
It was never so clear as the day the young couple walked into my office. They were in their early 20s, not yet married, with a wonderful little daughter at their side. I had spoken with the mother on the phone but had not yet met the father. So this was our first meeting together. As they came in, the young man addressed me as “Father” from his Catholic tradition to which I gave him a fun laugh, a big hand shake, and we set down to talk. The reason for their visit was to ask if I would baptize their little girl of two. In essence, the mother was Methodist and they wanted someone in between to do the spiritual deed.
After some fun introductory conversation I dove into the “theological stuff.” I tried to make two main points. 1. The Bible does not teach infant or toddler baptism and it is actually the product of Catholic doctrine which did not originate until about the 4th or 5th century. The little girl was not aware of her sin or her need to come to Christ. 2. That there was nothing special about me which would raise me to a “Holy Father” status. I tried to point out that while we do see leadership roles in the Church, the Bible does not make a distinction between the “Holy” Christians and the regular Christians. “We have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” I quoted to them. But no matter what slant I tried to bring into the discussion, it was clear that I was getting nowhere. I tried to point them as individuals directly to Jesus and Jesus alone. I gave them a Bible in modern English and encouraged them to read the gospel of Mark and then call me back. I never heard from them again even after I tried to follow up.
So what was so clear that day? (more…)
Ever doubted your faith? You know; it really is ok to answer that question. Most of us experience some form of doubt when it comes to God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Atheist, agnostics, and authentic Christ followers have questions about the Divine which can’t always be answered in a nice cookie cutter fashion. With that in mind we began a short series at The Crossings this past Sunday entitled, “Oh God, Help My Unbelief!” The launch pad for our study comes from Mark 9:24 with a man who struggled with his belief. The man had tried everything and prayed feverishly for a son with horrendous sufferings. Jesus came, healed the boy, and encouraged the man’s faith. But what about you and me and our questions? What about the times when Jesus doesn’t seem to swoop in and save the day? What about the times when we doubt? (more…)
If you’re like me you’ve probably heard people quote or refer to Jesus in backing up their conversations. You know; “Jesus said this which agrees with what I’m thinking so I must be right.” The funny thing, though, is that I have friends from all over the theological, social, and political spectrum who throw out the “Jesus said” card when they think He helps their case. But I often wonder how much we really read the words of Christ or simply refer to cliff notes prepared by someone else in our own camp of thought. On the other hand, if we value His truth as much as we let on, then wouldn’t it seem that we ought to be willing to go to His words first without preconceived ideas? This is of course true for Kingdom citizens who have already stepped out in the journey of being a Christ follower. But for all of us, skeptics included, my challenge this week is for everyone to take in a heavy helping of Jesus directly from His own words. The challenge is for everyone, me included, to simply read the words of Christ with fresh eyes and then readjust our world view to His teaching rather than forcing Him into our own paradigm. (more…)
At The Crossings this past Sunday we started a new series called Discovering Authentic Church. I love the Church and so do many of you. But I also know that some of you really don’t resonate with the whole idea of Church. Some of you have been burnt or jaded because of something someone did while wearing the name Christian. Others have experienced things in the name of Church that don’t feel too much like Jesus. I get that. It reminds me of a book that Dan Kimball wrote in 2007 entitled They Like Jesus, but not The Church. I’ve met Dan before and have heard him speak, so I know where he’s at on the issue. He loves Jesus and the true Church. He just points out that a lot of folks have simply been presented with a counterfeit model of the Church. I get that and have probably felt some of that pain in my own pilgrimage. I know I have. But my hope is that in this study we can see a picture of what the authentic Church really looks like. I hope we can clean up the mess of misunderstanding.
The true CHURCH is seen in scripture as a beautiful creation of God. She is loved by God. No, the Church is not perfect, at least not now. That’s because it’s made up of imperfect people. But she is still the “Bride of Christ.” Because of that significance, I hope everyone can take a second look at this mystery called the Church. As we continue through this series I hope you’ll ask questions and open up to what it means to experience Authentic Church. Yes, I love the Church and hope you will too.
What are some of your stories of experiencing the counterfeit? What are some of your stories of finding the authentic?