Do you struggle getting along with others in church? You are not alone.
Paul’s first letter to Corinth is about dealing with relational differences, setting disputes, reinforcing God’s view of marriage and divorce, the essentials of public worship, the importance of Jesus’ resurrection, money issues, and so much more.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.” There is a single word in this command of Jesus which continually haunts me: the word “go.” It never seems to leave me alone. It forces itself into my brain at the most inopportune times, and it weighs upon my soul with tremendous gravity. It grabs my attention when I am occupied with other thoughts, and it refuses to release its grip on my conscience no matter how I try to ignore it. I find it singularly upsetting and exceedingly uncomfortable. It is a nuisance. “Go.”
“I’m sorry.” We hear that so often. Do we even stop to think: “What does it mean?” or “Where did that phrase come from?” Even if you have not spent any length of time dealing with those questions, at the very least you have formed an opinion about what a good apology should look like. All too often do you hear a celebrity or politician on camera apologizing for something they did wrong (or at least got caught doing). But, rarely do we believe them. Why is that? What makes an apology a sincere one? How should we respond to an insincere one? How can we avoid giving an insincere apology?
I currently work in the activities department of an Alzheimer’s special care unit. This translates into the fact that I spend eight hours per day in a room with 20-30 people who are experiencing moderate to severe dementia from Alzheimer’s disease or another cause. Revealing this usually opens up interesting avenues of conversation. One sentiment that I hear often from people who talk to me about my job is this one: “I’d rather be dead than go through that.” People have a variety of ways of expressing this feeling, and most often I just nod and say something like, “It is a difficult situation for people and their families.” There are very few ways to accurately communicate anything about Alzheimer’s without becoming too intense for a “Hi! I just met you” conversation…
I believe with all my heart that we can do nothing to merit eternal life. We are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. God accepts and declares us righteous not because of our good deeds, but because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot earn God’s favor. We depend entirely on his gospel grace. We can also be obedient.
The church in America is puzzled. Young adults are leaving in droves. Magazines, books and blogs are wagging the finger of blame to point out who is responsible. Some say it is a failure of youth ministry, some point to church budgets and some nail the blame on outdated, unhip worship services. We parents are shocked that our kids just really aren’t all that into Jesus.
They were the best of fads, they were the worst of fads—all at the same time. The faddish objects of our childhood were sometimes loved and sometimes hated but they were hard to ignore. Here are a list of the 50 best/worst from the 1960s to today…