Are you a parent? I am and I struggle daily with being a parent. It's really hard and scary work. Parenting is not for the faint of heart.
In America we organize everything around our kids. Over the last few years there have been helicopter parents and now lawn mower parents (I'll let you hit the Duck Duck Go Machine if you don't know what those are).
“I could never be a pastor. I don't know how you do it.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You have to walk through all the terrible stuff in people's lives. You're face to face with all the bad stuff all the time. I guess, I don't understand how a pastor could ever stay a Christian. It seems like it would be really hard to keep the faith when you see all the times that God doesn't do what you want.”
Where do you find your roots? Is your identity rooted somewhere? How do you know who you are?
As we walk through this life I think that this might be one of the most important questions that we face. The world comes at us pretty fast and more times than not the knowledge of who we are helps us to know what to do.
There are times when we feel like nobody cares about us. Sometimes, we feel all alone. That sense of being alone in the world is brutal. It lays us bare. It can feel like a million pounds is weighing us down.
This sense of being alone in the world and that nobody cares is not something new. It is common to the human experience.
Some Bible passages make us super uncomfortable in the modern era. It's often because we don't take time to think about what they're saying and what they're not saying.
The Scriptures were not written in a vacuum, culturally or otherwise. Neither should we interpret them that way. Nor are all passages written in the same genre and so we must take the time to understand what is happening in a particular passage.
Psalm 122 is one of those kinds of passages.
Have you ever noticed that life isn't quite as easy as everyone says it's supposed to be?
Our conversations so often look like this:
“How are you?”
“Fine. Everything's good.”
Then you find out they are dealing with marital problems, cancer, or something else super hard.
Why do we need to gather together in community? Have you ever thought about it? Seriously, why?
To gather in community is not something that only Christians do. People from all kinds of religions meet together. Non-religious people gather in community, why? What is it about gathering together that we feel the necessity to do so?
Today, I launch a new podcast series on #LoveWell called, “A Faithful Presence.” I will be walking through David Fitch's Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines That Shape the Church for Mission and discussing how we are living these disciplines out in our Missional Communities.
Before I dive in though, I wanted to talk about what I mean by Missional Community. I riffed off a nice little article by Brad Brisco where he defines “Missional Community.”
There are few passages in the Scriptures that have impacted me more than 2 Corinthians 5. The whole chapter is amazing as it centers on the reality of the one who seeks to follow Jesus is a “new creation.” The ultimate result of this new reality is that the follower of Jesus is called an “ambassador” and is entrusted with the “ministry of reconciliation.”
As you might imagine a pastor is connected with a lot of people and accounts online about religion. My feeds are filled with other religious people and with people critical of religious people. If there is one particular kind of thread that I see often it goes like this:
Christians only care about getting folks “saved.” The rampant hypocrisy of >the Christian is overwhelming. I love Christ but despise Christians.
To be clear, the particulars of this thread change, but that's the heart of it. I see it from Christians and non-Christians. I see it from theists and atheists.