Our Children are Asking

bread

Jesus said, “Which of you if your child asked for bread, would give them a stone”?

But our children are asking! And we are handing them stones.

A week ago, my daughter came home from school and told me about the #WalkOut her senior class was planning. She shared how they were going to rise up and walk out for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 students killed in the most recent mass shooting. But, more importantly, they wanted to take a stand against the violence.

I had not realized the #WalkOut was a national movement among high school students. There have been 63 mass shootings since January 1, 2018. Mass Shooting Tracker records the data on the location and number of casualties for each event. Some of these took place in schools. Others took place in churches, businesses, malls, clubs, and other public places. The frequency is increasing and we, as a nation, seem paralyzed and indifferent to confront the complexities of this problem.

harmony-relax-rock-moqui-161702

I have my ideas and opinions. But, ultimately, it will take us uniting to solve this problem. And the Church needs to be at the forefront. We [the Church], like the prophets of old, need to repent and call on God above to bring peace below. In past generations, whenever the Church would repent and pray, God would then raise up leaders to bring about change. However, the Church’s response to our teens and the #WalkOut campaign doesn’t give me much hope.

child school

I heard the Church mock our teens saying they just wanted to get out of class. For 17 minutes? That’s not even one class period. And no one skips 3rd period. You skip 1st or 6th in order to make it worth it. But perhaps we have forgotten the logic we used when we skipped school.

I heard people accuse them of immaturity as if they couldn’t possibly comprehend the complexity of the situation because of age. Yet, we have no problem sending these same students off to fight our senseless wars overseas. But the most disheartening was the counter movement #WalkUp. It’s not enough to mock our students, we must also tell them the proper way to execute their movement.

adult 4

Here’s the problem. #WalkOut and #WalkUp convey two different messages. #WalkUp is internal. It says there’s an internal problem. In other words, the problem is rooted in the teachers’ and students’ inabilities and if they would simply be nicer and kinder and more outgoing, then it would solve this massive violence problem in our nation.

#WalkOut is an external message. It says the problem is bigger than us. It acknowledges a systemic problem in our nation. It forces everyone to take a good, long look in the mirror. #WalkOut says that we can no longer give platitudes to our egos and self-gratification because the USA is not the hero it claims to be. We are so selfish that we are willing to sacrifice our children to the god of Molech (aka. political agendas).

broken

#WalkOut is a teenage prophetic movement. And it is a warning that we are headed for the fall of an empire if we don’t change our ways. Dear Church, you are asleep in a recliner! Wake up! Repent! And call on God!

 

Advertisements

33 Year Wait List

bus-stop-bus-waiting-john-cleese-53604

In those days…

Now in those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the Roman world.

Joseph belonged to the line of David and he went to Bethlehem to register with his wife, Mary. She was very close to delivering their firstborn son.

In those days…

It was 25 years since Octavian had been crowned Caesar Augustus; king of the Roman Empire. He declared that the entire Roman world should come and register their allegiance to him as Lord and King. But God had a sense of humor.

24388

In those days…

There were no hotels or Holiday Inns. Some could be found along the busy Roman roads. Small towns, like Bethlehem, would not have “inns”. People built guests room or upper rooms that were more like a modern day loft. Sometimes their guest rooms were on the roof.

In those days…

It was time for the baby to be born. And there was no room in the upper room. It was probably full of extended family members; each one who had come to pledge their allegiance to Caesar Augustus by registering their family.

I wonder if Mary told Joseph that the only gift she wanted this Christmas was a little privacy. Who wants twenty onlookers when you are in labor?

school-children-happy-food-159632

Mary gave birth and laid Jesus in the manger. It was the best they could do for a little privacy.

Here the true Lord and King rested in a feeding trough. While Caesar demanded the people come from afar to pay him homage, the One True Lord and King volunteered to come from afar and dwell among us.

That night, there was no room in the upper room. But He would be worshipped and glorified. Thirty-three years later, there would be room in the upper room. Here the Lord and King would celebrate the Passover. But instead of being worshipped and glorified, he would be betrayed and condemned.

pexels-photo-108150

Christmas is more than celebrating the coming of our Lord. It is the story that prepares us for the Good News of Easter. It points us to Jesus and it offers us hope for salvation.

Let Christmas open your eyes to the bigger picture; the story of truth and grace that is found in the Resurrected King.

How to Eat an Elephant? We’ve Come this Far

elephants

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: holiness!

It’s a journey. It’s a mystery. It’s a God thing that seems to have nothing to do with us.

For the last few weeks, we have been discussing holiness in our current sermon series. In week one, we recognized that we broke God’s trust when we sinned against him. We failed. All of us. And the first step in repairing our relationship with him is to admit that we failed.

During our second week of exploring this journey toward holiness, we talked about the past and the future. We recognize that we have spent too much time, an unhealthy amount of time, lamenting the past. The best way to eat this elephant called holiness is to break from the past. We cast our anchor into the future and secure it to Jesus who draws us forward. We are no longer sinners saved by grace. We are children of God being transformed by grace.

Sierra Exif JPEG

In week three, we were confronted with holiness beaconing us to be different.

Holiness is terrifying, overwhelming, and incomprehensible which is why we do our best to ignore it. God’s grace has given us freedom. And, while everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial. Yet, when we talk about holiness, we are not talking about preference or gray matters. God is calling us to be different; godly, holy.

St. Paul tells St. Timothy that in the last days…

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

light 5

Paul is not talking about the world or non-Christians. He’s talking about the Church.

We [the Church in the U.S.] spend all of our time talking about those things that are “permissible, but not necessarily beneficial”. And we should be spending our time cleaning our house. Until we are walking in holiness, we have no authority with the world to comment on things permissible, but not beneficial.

Last week we left the discussion with unresolved tension. And it’s exactly where we need to be. We need to allow ourselves to feel the tension so that it can do its work in us.

On Sunday, we will work to resolve the tension. We will talk about bicycles, butterflies, and how to eat an elephant! We will work to answer the questions: what does it look like and how do we get there?

Sunday at 11AM