Monday, August 21, 2017

This week's Hero Maker is John Temple from Wildwood Elementary School. At Hope Community Church we want to highlght hero makers in our community. A hero maker is someone counter cultural. It is a shift from it is all about me to a life of building others up.

Hero Maker Djuan Graham

At Hope Community Church we want to highlght hero makers in our community. A hero maker is someone counter cultural. It is a shift from it is all about me to a life of building others up. This week's Hero Maker is Djuan Graham from Wildwood Middle High School

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses
And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!
            Who was Humpty Dumpty?  There are a handful of people from the 17th century who have been  identified as the real life Humpty Dumpty.  In reality there are lots of things in life that we can call Humpty Dumpty.  We could rewrite this with the words:  “The community or civility sat on a wall. . .  We could use the words, “human beings.”  That’s what happened in the Garden of Eden.  We had a great fall.  There was nothing that the King’s men or horses could do to save poor Humpty.  Many today can relate to Humpty.   We live in a world where hopelessness is a reality.     

            Can Humpty be put back together? What can we learn from this nursery rhyme?  If we use Humpty as a metaphor for human beings or the world, this rhyme identifies a universal problem.  We live in a broken world with broken people.  Just watch the news or read your Facebook wall to see evidence of this.   The problem with the rhyme is that it does not offer any hope.  It’s not for lack of trying.  The task was too great.  The resources that where sought after were inadequate .  The people put hope in the wrong things. They still do.
The Bible warns us not to put our hope in the things of this world. The Psalmist write in Psalms 20:7, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.”  It not that the created things are bad, they are just not able to deal with our brokenness. In the Old Testament God warned His people to not ask to have a King put over them.  What did they do?  1 Samuel 8:4-7 tells us.  “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, ‘Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.’  But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed to the LORD.   The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.’”

            The world was broken in the Garden.  People have been trying to put it back together through religion, philosophy, and collective and personal efforts for thousands of years.  Where is our hope?  Is it the government?  Is it ourselves?  Is it in electing the right leader or getting the right laws passed? A thousand times no! All of the kings horses and all of the kings men couldn't put Humpty together again!  We are not without hope.  We have “the Hope” in Jesus Christ.  He is the One who is and can put Humpty back together again. He is the One who proclaimed “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)  Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pulling Weeds out of Potholes: Hope in Wildwood - A Church Plant in Wildwood, Flo...

Pulling Weeds out of Potholes: Hope in Wildwood - A Church Plant in Wildwood, Flo...: Today I have the privilege of sharing the adventure that a friend of mine is in the midst of. Don Winters is an amazing guy. I met him ...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, November 15, 2013

Justice Or Justification

The Bible talks about justice and justification. As we seek to follow Christ what should we choose?

Justification is the doctrine which explains how people are made righteous in the sight of God. In Ephesians 2:8  we are told, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." We experience salvation or justification when we place our faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21  "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

The Hebrew word for justice is "Mishpat." According to Tim Keller: "mishpat means more than just the punishment of wrongdoing. It also means giving people their rights. Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care. This is why, if you look at every place the word is used in the Old Testament, several classes of persons continually come up. Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor—those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.”

Paul Louis Metzger says, "Biblical justice involves making individuals, communities, and the cosmos whole, by upholding both goodness and impartiality." 

Churches throughout the US seem to champion either justice or justification.  One group says that what is really important is the salvation of souls and focuses on evangelism. The other side points to the hands on ministry of Jesus as he healed the sick and fed the hungry. This group proclaims that following Jesus is about pursuing justice for the marginalized.

The problem is that neither of these polemic positions are centered in the Christ of the Bible or the gospel.  Jesus didn't choose between justice or justification.  When we do, the gospel we promote is like this pool in the video.  It looks good on the surface but falls far short of its intended purpose. 

And is better! The first place we see the word "gospel" in the New Testament is in Matthew 4:23-25. "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”  Jesus came declaring that the reign of God has come into our world.  Sin had marred our relationship with God, one another, ourselves and all of the created order. Jesus came to defeat all that sin had affected. The second half of 1John 3:8 declares, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil."  Justice or justification? And is better.  What if Jesus just healed people of the physical diseases and hunger but did nothing about forgiveness of sin?  What if He forgave sin but didn't reconcile all things? And truly is better.  
When Jesus sent His disciples out  He said to them, "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)  Later He would tell them to "Go and make disciples (someone who is like their teacher) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus didn't have a false dichotomy, neither should we. And is better.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Desiring God

The central premise of Desiring God is that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.  This is what John Piper calls Christian Hedonism. Piper argues that Christians should not just seek their Joy in God but they are commanded to do so.
            Piper shares his own personal story about how he came to understand God as both the “all satisfying object” and the source of complete joy.  “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).  
            Through this journey the reader is presented with the philosophy and most importantly the scriptural evidence for Christian Hedonism. Like most of Piper’s writing this is a well written book that has an appeal to the biblical scholar. Piper is thorough in his arguments and shows how Christian Hedonism plays out in all areas of life. Overall this is an excellent read and a great book for anyone to understand the roots of sin and idolatry.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.