Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On the Physical Death of Jesus

This is what's called "Holy Week" on the Christian calendar. It's the most important week of the year for Christians. It's even more important than Christmas.

What's the big deal about this week?

We remember and celebrate Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. 

Christians believe that if it weren't for the death of Jesus we would all be dead in our sin and separated from the possibility of having a right and restored relationship with God. If it weren't for Jesus' resurrection, the fact that he rose from the dead, then our faith would be useless.

This week is all about those two pivotal events.

As I was preparing for this week's sermon (which you can listen to if you come to Spartan 16 Movie Theater on Sunday at 10 AM... shameless invite, I know), I came across a fascinating article that was published in 1986 in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled, “One the Physical Death of Jesus.” 

It's worth your time. I'm going to use some of it on Sunday, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing, even if your not a Christian.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Never put a period where God puts a comma

A few weeks ago I heard Mark Batterson say something that I had to rewind and listen to again and again. I'm still letting it sink in. It was both encouraging and challenging. I immediately wrote it down and am using it at the end of my sermon on Sunday, but thought I'd share it ahead of time. May it encourage and challenge you as well, especially those of you who are going through a tough time.
Never put a comma where God puts a period and never put a period where God puts a comma. All of us hit spots in our life when we think our life is over. But it’s not over. Oswald Chambers said, “Sometimes it looks like God is missing the mark because we’re too short sighted to see what he’s aiming for.” Before God adds he usually subtracts. Before God multiplies he usually prunes. Before God brings something to life, something usually dies. There’s a tendency to hit the panic button when God subtracts, when there’s a pruning in your life, when something is dying. But it may be that God is getting ready to do something in your life that you haven’t seen before. – Mark Batterson
For those of you in the Sparkle City vicinity, join us at Hub City this Sunday, 10 AM. Spartan 16 Movie Theater. For you out-of-towners, feel free to listen online next week. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Attitude is everything in marriage

I'm reading a fun and practical book on marriage called Creating an Intimate Marriage by Jim Burns. If you are married I strongly suggest you clicking on the link and buying/downloading this book. 

Today I read a chapter called Attitude is Everything.

We know attitude is everything, but we sometimes forget how important attitude is in a healthy marriage. Jim shares five important attitude adjustments that are too good for me to keep to myself. I hope these help you in your pursuit of intimacy.

  1. Stop Complaining. Philippians 2:14 says, "Do all things without complaining and disputing." Complaining is negative. It shuts down intimacy. Cut out the complaining.
  2. Show Gratitude: Paul writes for us to "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Happily married couples aren't happy because of their bank account, physique, or the fact that they never have arguments. What they do have is an attitude of gratefulness for their spouse. Make gratitude a daily habit.
  3. Practice the Golden Rule. Jesus says in Matthew 7:12, "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." Show appreciation, honor, respect and love to your spouse even if he or she doesn't immediately reciprocate that kindness.
  4. Control the "If Only's." James says to "Let your 'yes' be less and your 'no,' no (James 5:12). This involves misplaced expectations where you expect your spouse to be the one to make you happy. Don't expect the other person to be your solution. 
  5. Choose Fun and Optimism. Fun and optimism can change a marriage for the better. Small pleasures make for strong marriages.
Attitude is everything. Put these attitude adjustments into practice today. You can choose your attitude. Choose wisely. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When Life Hurts

One of the few things every human being who has ever walked on this planet have in common is that sometimes life hurts.

Hurt does not discriminate. Rich or poor, first world or third world, black or white, we all suffer at times. 

While the degree of suffering may be greater for some than others, we all experience hurt.

I know a lot of people who are hurting right now. Walking with them in their pain got me thinking about all the Bible has to say about suffering which led to what we’re going to talk about at Hub City Church for the next four weeks.

We’re not going to address every Bible passage that has to do with suffering. That would take over a year. We are going to talk about four things that will hopefully give us a more complete and healthier theology of suffering.

If you are looking for a church family then I invite you to join us at Spartan 16 Movie Theater this Sunday for week 1 of When Life Hurts.  If you’re out of town or already a part of another church, but this topic intrigues you, then I invite you to listen online.

For those of you who are a part of the Hub City Church family: Don't miss the next four weeks. I believe God is going to meet with us. Do whatever it takes to be there and invite someone who is hurting to come with you.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

There are too many of you

I love the Old Testament story of Gideon. You can read his story in Judges 6 - 7

I love that Gideon is this insecure, unqualified, oppressed, reject that God uses to deliver his people. God has this thing for using those nobody else would use.

I love the counter-cultural way God uses Gideon to defeat the Midianites. Gideon starts off with an army of 22,000 men. God tells him there are too many men, so he should let all those who are afraid go home. 12,000 leave. God then says there are still too many men and devises the infamous water-lapping test to whittle the army down to a whopping 300 men. And with 300 men, God defeats the mighty Midianite army.

We live in a culture that tells us bigger is better. Sometimes it is.

But the story of Gideon teaches us that sometimes smaller is better too. This is highly counter-cultural in our day. 

God used a puny army of 300 to defeat one of the greatest armies in the world. He did it so that neither the Israelites nor Gideon would receive glory. 

He did it so that God and God alone would receive glory.

Gideon's story is an encouragement to me today. May it encourage you, and my we all live lives for God's glory and not our own.

Monday, March 02, 2015

A piece of marriage advice

Yesterday we finished up a short series on Marriage at Hub City. The goal was to go back to a few basic and foundational principles that many of us know, but all of us need to be reminded of regularly.

I thought I'd wrap things up with offering one final piece of a marriage advice. Personally, I think this is the most important thing in a marriage after having a growing relationship with God through Jesus.

Prioritize your spouse above everything but Jesus.

What do I mean by everything? Everything.

Your spouse should take priority over your kids, your job, your hobbies, and even yourself.

This is what God is telling us when he says that a husband will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife. We forsake all for the sake of putting our spouse first.

Many people have a problem with that. Maybe that's why so many marriages either don't make it or they don't achieve the intimacy that could be achieved.

So, if you're married, how can you prioritize your spouse this week? 

It take work. It's countercultural. It's hard. 

But it's worth it.