Thursday, August 27, 2015

God for the Rest of Us

I'm really excited about the new teaching series we're starting Sunday at Hub City that we're calling God for the Rest of Us

I was inspired to do this series by a book with the same title written by Vince Antonucci. I had the chance to spend a few days with Vince before we launched Hub City and was impressed by his hospitality and humility. I've read everything he's written. I think this may be his best book yet.

It's a book written to both those who aren't Christians yet to illustrate that God is for them, not matter what they've done, and to those of us who are Christians, to remind us that God's not just for us.

Over time we start to think misguided thoughts that Jesus is just for us. But he's not. He's for everyone. This book is a great reminder of that, as well as a great resource that could help us communicate the amazing love of God to a lost, hurting and dying world.

It would be a great book to read as a supplement to this series. I encourage you to get a copy.

A friend of mine asked me if our series was based on Vince's book. He didn't want to come to church for a book report. I don't blame him. I told him that it was "inspired" by the book, and that I'll even use it as one of my resources during the series. 

I'll also use other resources. If you're there on Sunday you'll notice that I'm going to use Dr. Seuss. Later on I'll use a TED Talk. One week I'm going to use Mumford and Sons. I'm even going to use Ashley Madison (the "Life if short, Have and affair" website). 

I like to use all kinds of resources.

But the series is "based" on the God who reveals himself in the Bible as the God who is for the rest of us.

So if you're someone who'd been turned off by church or by Christians, I want you to come and discover the God who is not turned off by you. 

If you're a part of the Hub City Family, do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring one of your friends, neighbors, or coworkers, to introduce them to God for the rest of us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Everyone did as they saw fit

I just finished reading through the book of Judges in the Old Testament. If you want to read a weird book of the Bible then read Judges. It shows the downward spiral of the nation of Israel as they fall away from the true God and instead worship man-made idols.

Honestly, it's a pretty depressing book and nowhere is this more evident than in the final verse.

Judges 21:25
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

There was no leadership. No one was giving direction to the Israelites. No one was there to provide any sort of moral or social compass to follow.

So everyone did as they saw fit. Another translation says that "everyone did whatever he wanted."

I think we might all agree that this statement is just as true in our day as it was in the days of the Judges.

But something jumped out at me this morning when I read that verse. See if you notice it: Who were the people who did as they saw fit?

It wasn't the pagan nations that surrounded and lived among the Israelites. It wasn't the Egyptians or the Babylonians or the Caananites or any other of the "ites." 

It was God's chosen people, the Israelites, who did as they saw fit.

That got me thinking about those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. I fear that we might be just like the Israelites at the end of the book of Judges. 

Isn't this why we church hop? Isn't this why we're so inconsistent in the activities of faith like reading our Bible, participating in corporate worship, or connecting relationally in small groups? Isn't this why we think our interpretation of certain passages is the only right interpretation? Isn't this why we're more "us vs. them" than "us for them?"

At the root of doing as we see fit is a lack of authority over us. We all have authority issues, don't we? We're inherently rebellious. 

But as Christians, submission to authority should be what characterizes us.

First and foremost, we must submit to the authority of Scripture. We're never told we need to like everything the Bible says, or even agree with the way God set things up. But we do need to submit to its authority, even if we don't agree with it.

Second, we need to submit to whatever authority God has placed over us. This could be governmental authority or spiritual authority (like pastors or elders). I know this is tricky, but in our rebellion and disagreements with authority we are being disobedient to the commands of God about this issue.

Finally, we need to submit to one another. Doing as we see fit is self-centered. It's all about us, which is really a problem of pride, or the idolatry of self.

If someone were writing a book about us to go in the Bible (I know that we don't add or take anything away from Scripture, but just imagine), if someone were writing a book about us, how would it end?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Our yard rabbit

We have a new pet around the Everette home. Actually, he's probably been around for a while, but we only started seeing him/her a few weeks ago. He/She is our yard rabbit. 

At first I wanted to shoot him because I thought he was eating my garden. I even told my boys I'd pay them $20 to kill him. But come to find out, some pesky birds were responsible for my garden nibbling.

So now I'm happy to let him live.

And this is a good thing because every time I see him hopping across my yard I pause for a minute because he makes me smile. 

I think the pause is an overlooked spiritual discipline in our busy, non-stop world. 

God is at work, showing off, all around us... and we miss it most of the time.

So maybe we should learn to pause, and during that pause thank God for life, rabbits and whatever else of his extravagant grace you might see.

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Not About You

My favorite first line of a book comes from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. 

It's not about you.

That hurts, doesn't it? 

Most of the time we make life all about us. 

But having an attitude and motivation that is all about us is deadly for our spiritual growth as Christians.

A significant change is supposed to happen as we mature as followers of Jesus. We're supposed to have a shift from being "me-focused" to being "other-focused." A "me-focused" person makes a lot of "I, me and my" statements. 

The Apostle Paul says it this way in Philippians 2:3-4:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

So, is life all about you? Do you make decisions by thinking of yourself first? 

Most of us wouldn't admit that life is all about us, but don't lie to yourself. Be honest with your motivation. 

I believe that "me-focused" thinking is quite possibly the biggest hinderance for Christians in our day. It's a sign of spiritual immaturity. 

It's not about you.